I played some on Immortal/Normal/No Huts. 25AD: Spoiler : So Shaka turns out to be very close indeed. I really have to have that gold spot, though. I briefly considered axe rushing him as he didn't seem to have copper, but then a cursory inspection of Ulundi revealed that it was on a hill and that his land didn't really seem worth taking. So I went the ass-kissing route instead. Ah, this looks like a nice spot! Spoiler : Spoiler : And on the next turn: Spoiler : Tee hee! I'm a swine. Shaka is pleased in spite of this cruel trick I played on him, the trusting fool. Of course, he can still DoW me, so perhaps the last laugh will be on me... Speaking of barbs, there were a lot of them. My axemen developed huge biceps from all the strenuous hacking they had to do. HE was unlocked very early. Spoiler : Even a bruiser like Shak was not immune to barb intrusion. Spoiler : I had to literally bludgeon my way through the hordes of barbs to get my settlers out. Spoiler : Spoiler : At first I assumed that Cathy must have awesome land (I haven't seen it yet) as she was teching like a beast. I did manage to be first to Aesthetics, luckily, because commerce is unspectacular. The capital makes a superb settler pump, however. Spoiler : Later I discover that Napoloeon (gulp) is the tech leader and is presumably trading with her. The religious picture was somewhat grim. To the north Monty and my pal Shaka were Buddhist. To the west Cathy and Napoleon went Hindu, placing me in a quandry. Other religions also appeared in my cities. Hammy was Jewish, earning him the hatred of everybody (as if his peaceweight wasn't enough among this bunch), and Zara wasn't much more popular with Confucianism. I decided to sit on the fence, built the SP, and revolted into Free Religion. Meanwhile, returning to the barbs: Spoiler : FOUR barb cities. I'm whipping swords to go and take one or two (or four?). My empire's doing okay, despite the mediocre land. Hammams are up in most cities for a juicy +2 happy. Things got worrying for a while when Monty and pleased Shak both went WHEOOHRN, but Monty attacked Zara and I saw a Zulu stack heading that way too. Spoiler : I'm not out of the woods yet as Napoleon is gearing up for a fight as well, but I'm pretty sure he's not after me as I acquiesced to his demand for ivory. Game plan is to struggle along in a slow-teching sort of way, beat up some barbs, and probably have a look at whether Cathy is worth exterminating.