I've been following some of the shadow games, and decided to play above my level of incompetence and try monarch. My goal was just to survive to 1AD. Actually made it past 1000AD, but the game is not in the best of shape. I've learned the diplomacy is critical and that I whip far too seldom. My main problem is maintaining adequate military and research at the same time. I was not too badly off in tech, but my military sucked. I mainly survived by begging and pleading a lot. Played as Ragnar on a pangea map (random roll). If I could figure out how to get images from image shack to show in spoilers, I'd post the start position. If anyone wants to give at whirl, I'm willing to restart and have a better player shadow. I use the latest BAT mod if that's a problem. My initial post was hosed because I blew it with imageshack (sorry).