I'm currently playing as Venice right now, and you're dead on. Although I have 4 cities right now, thanks to a Merchant of Venice and a war with Poland The problem is that puppeted cities prioritize gold, so they pretty much won't build a factory. Rush-buying them is too expensive, and besides, factories are pretty useless in a puppeted city anyway. So I'm currently in the process of teching to the modern era, but unfortunately that's putting me way behind ideologically. The good news is I can see what other civs are adopting, and factor that into my decision.