I take your meaning. I never finished that explorer, but then, we'd only get 1 promo doing it right now. (It needs 2 to get woodsman 2). It's in the q if Jeroen wants to change to get one of Vassalage/Theocracy (I'd suggest the latter). However, we've got forces over there now. Instead of the explorer, I'd just open the borders and send in the knights and maybe some shallow moves with macemen and/or cats. Remember that we don't need to map absolutely every bit of his land. We just need to find out where his roads go. Knights are just as fast as Explorers on roads. I'd suggest to Jeroen that we open borders, and you move in to see what you can see. Incidentally, if we declare war on him while our units are in his domain, they'll get teleported out. I'm not sure exactly how the game chooses where to put them, but it seems to just pick the closest spot. So, we can use this - once we're happy with the intel, just get the knights most of the way back, and they can teleport the rest. One other advantage to sending in some military units is if he has a resource way in the back somewhere that we want gone, along with a non-culture spot in range. We can save time for the invasion by pre-positioning forces back there. Yes, and the necessity for cats means (a) crawling up to the walls through cultural zones, (b) knocking down the walls, then (c) losing 1-2 cats while getting the collateral damage necessary (thus needing replacements). Healing battered attackers. All these things take time. Of course, a lot of it can't be cut with any unit. (b) is the main corner that can be cut, or (a) if you've got sea access later in the game. The baseline is a longbow in a city with no walls left is 6, +25% fortified, +25 city defense. Khan's defenders will be double or triple promoted, some with city defense promos. Our advantage will be greater when we get Riflemen, and Infantrymen. These are my usual attacking units. I don't normally use Grenadiers, but they seem good as well. I completely agree with this. Going in w/o enough info is not smart. The only reason I didn't open borders and start exploring myself is that I had a later start-date in my head. But if y'all agree to go with Knights (and I am happy to, in spite of my protestations about being cautious), then I think we should open the borders and get cracking w/ exploration. An interesting idea. Not sure if he'll trade us, is World Map red now or not? Actually I doubt it. I looked at our trade before choosing Mercantilism; borders were open w/ India. We had only two trade routes, of all our routes (2 in each city) which were with India. And those two routes were each +2; so in net we were getting +2 gold/turn, total. Of course, opening routes with Mongols would probably improve that somewhat. But even outside of GPP, Mercantilism gets +2 hammers/turn in most of our cities. Or +3 science, if you want a more direct comparison.