Well, I just finished my very first game of Civ IV and won a Space Race Victory in 2018 (I was almost caught napping by the flow of years!). After a few more turns I would have won a clear cultural victory over Cyrus, the runner-up, who had some 2000 less victory points. Not bad for a first-timer (well, I've played Civ I and III in the past), but definitely not anything to brag about. I played on Noble, because the game said it should be good for Civ veterans. I found the difficulty level sufficiently tough, although in the modern times I did dominate all fields too much for my own liking. For those who are interested, my score was a meddling 6572, I played with Catherine of the Russian people, and in the end I was likened to Herbert Hoover. Okay, on to my impressions: Warring: I had only two wars! The other was initiated by me against the Americans. We had a period of peace while I was attacked by Japan, but I proceeded to wipe out the Americans. They never made it to Gunpowder. The second war was against Japan, who, like I said, attacked me. I quickly turned the tables with my Cossacks and slaughtered Knights and Samurai on the desert which separated our countries. I took three cities with abundant resources, but in the progress I lost Chicago to a quick raid by Japanese Cavalry (I neglected its defence because it was in the Arctic region). I think the AI did much better at fighting now than in previous Civs. While it kept feeding me stacks one by one or two by two, at least they were constructed to withstand the attacks of any one unit type. Chicago was a surprise. I never saw the Japanese attack coming before they were at the gates. However, for some reason I was never really threatened by the computer. It seems the AI civs are no longer as aggressive as they used to be. I remember being constantly at war in Civ III. I was saddened by the fact that the computer didn't really have wars, or at least they had very ineffective wars. When looking at the history recorder in the end, I didn't even notice them warring, so slight were the effects. Diplomacy: Okay. It's improved by far. No longer can you get the whole world turn against you for a two millenia old grudge. I also like it how the computer honestly says what's bugging him ("You attacked our friends! -2"). Also, the computer tries to keep whatever scientific advantages it may have, while trading older sciences. Great! The greatest thing in this game has to be the fact that the AI now respects your borders! In the early phase of the game, I managed to cut off Germany to the smaller south part of the continent I was on and dominate the Northern part of the continent (after driving out Sarmatian barbarians). Thus, Germany was nice and all the time weak enough not to threaten me, but strong enough not to be taken lightly. I traded with Germany for the duration of thee game. They were my friends and most of the time lacked the crucial resources to keep up with me. Excellent! Something funny happened as well. In fear of the United Nations and wanting to create a permanent alliance with some faction, I started sucking up to Victoria (who was Pleased at the time). I gave her Hit Singles as a present and, to my utter surprise, she responded by saying: "Soon my numberless Gunships shall destroy you all!" The following turn she declared war on my other best buddy, Friedrich of the Germans! I never took any actions against either of them, and they remained best friends with me despite their war. Resources: It's really nice that you don't need every single resource but can use another in its stead. For example, Subs can be built with Oil or Uranium. Very very nice, although wars for crucial resources are now much rarer. I was lucky in the game that I got access to all resources that I needed even without warring. Micro-management: I failed to finish many games of Civ III because of the never-ending micro-management. However, this game I could easily finish, and I didn't even feel very War Weary in the end. The 200 years of warring did exhaust me to the point that I didn't have the energy to crush Japan with my tanks when I finally got them shipped from my continent and made peace instead. I was quite sure of my victory by then, because I had over 1000 victory points over anybody else, but when Cyrus began building the SS... Well, I rushed home for a Space Race victory. Civilization traits: Catherine is very good, although the Russian Workers require a bit more micro-management - if they're automated, they'll just create farms, which don't take advantage of Catherine's Financial trait. This was annoying. After this first game, I felt that Industrious gives a great advantage over the others, because you can churn out miracles like there's no tomorrow, something I often failed to do in Civ III simply because there were so many things to do that I couldn't get stuck in a 20-30 (let alone 40-60) turn project. Now I can create miracles in a matter of turns at best! How can anybody survive without Industrious, I don't know. But, heck, Louis XVI! What a man the Sun King is - Creative and Industrious! Like Industrious, Creative seems like a real game winner if you're into Culture. With the miracles that Industious peoples create, Creative must be terrific! I look forward to being tutored on this subject by those who have learned better. Edit: Some spelling mistakes.