Pictures and saves are in the end. I am playing Byzantines on the Sid level. I have excellent starting location alone in a big island. I receive SGL on writing and I am able to build both the library and the lighthouse. With these I am able to get the tech lead. I later gift the library away with plans to recapture it later. I research up to Gunpowder. I have no saltpeter, so I must capture it from the Inca. I am able to buy some saltpeter from the Mongols (who will soon lose it to the Aztecs) and upgrade my pikemen to muskets. The Inca have 2 iron, 2 horses and 1 saltpeter. Because the other iron is not coastal, I reason I must remove their horses before they research Chivalry. The second horse is under Macchu Picchu. On turn 240, I land on a mountain next to Macchu Picchu with 30+ musketmen. At this moment I am expecting to face 50+ attackers, but I soon find out the actual number is closer to 200. I have no artillery, because all my resources have been used to build musketmen. As none of my attackers can damage the defenders of Macchu Picchu, I choose to starve it from size 11 to 5. The AI will not attack a fortified 4/4 musketman on mountain, which I use to my advantage. If I leave all veterans unfortified, there are actually enough swordsmen to rip my stack to the shreds in a few turns. I must shuffle between fortified/not fortified, so that I can lure out all the swordsmen in Macchu Picchu. On turn 258, I have razed Macchu Picchu and I found a beachhead on its place. I did a mistake here by not building a settler to bring with me. After razing Macchu Picchu I found it alsolutely necessary to have barracks on the island, so I built a settler and shipped it, which delayed me at least 5 turns. On turn 272, the flow of attackers begins to trickle and I begin taking the other cities starting from the south. At this point, the Inca have maybe 100-120 units left, most of which are pikemen. In total, it takes me 58 turns to defeat the Inca. How would you shave 20-30 turns off that? With my current speed, I will never reach the domination limit before 2000 AD. The biggest problem most likely lies at the 32 turns which I spent from first landing (turn 240) and beginning my offensive in the other parts of the island (turn 272). But it still took me 26 more turns to capture or raze the rest of the cities on the island. I chose to keep all cities that were in "correct" places (6 cities in total), and most of these flipped back at some point, faster than what I could starve them. Should I instead raze everything, hoping this will keep all attackers going towards my beachhead? Should I attack the other cities as soon as my army has pillaged the roads, as I could load my troops safely back into the ships if I can raze a city in a couple of turns? How would you acquire this saltpeter, if there is no hill near it? If I place my beachhead on top of it, I would lose the 50% defensive bonus, which would most likely be a grave mistake. Should the first landing be on a hill, rather than on a mountain, so that I would be able to bring trebuchets? After Inca, I am planning to assault the Zulu. How would you do that, and in what place would you land? They don't have resources on their own, just one iron. But they trade horses and saltpeter, I fear they will have cavalry soon, if not riflemen.