Good points, thanks. I must say that I really like the way Civ forces you to play with the hand you're dealt rather than forcing you down the same path every time. Another point I thought of: if you are isolated and you take the trouble, you can probably estimate when you'd be able to complete a given wonder. Is there a table of average AI completion dates for the early wonders? I'm sure it's level dependent, map dependent, number of civs dependent and exactly which civs matter too (Ghandi!). Still a general guide would be of use.