I've been playing Civ since the original, but am far from mastery of Civ IV. I've only just kicked the reloading habit and am now working my way honestly up through the difficulty levels. I can win at Monarch without reloading , and it was learning several key concepts from this forum that got me there. Now I'm looking for the key concepts I still need to understand to lead me forward to Emperor, Immortal and Diety. The following are the things that led me forward (vs. held me back) so far, in no particular order: (1) Specializing my cities (vs. the builder's instinct to get every building in every city). (2) Tech trading with the AI (vs. the hoarder's instinct not to share techs with "my enemies"). (3) Learning to be diplomatic and pick sides (vs. the "scr*w you" instinct to automatically refuse every AI demand). (4) Axe-rushing (vs. the peacemonger's instinct to only fight defensive wars) (5) Whipping and chopping (vs. the moral instinct not to kill my own population or decimate the local woodland). (6) Choosing a victory to shoot for relatively early in the game (vs. the "I'll just see what happens" instinct). So, my question for the higher-level players here is, what other concepts do I still need to learn? Lead me forward!