Sorry, but I think we have a problem. If it was there before, it certainly is there now with the new patch. Frankly, Firaxis has me confused at this point. This patch has done precisely what I expected, but I just don't understand why they're taking the game in this direction. Let me explain: There's a single line in the patch changelog which I doesn't stand out as something special but in fact has considerable ramifications: Reduced per-city Policy cost increase by 50%. This in particular, coupled with the main trend of this patch which in turn builds upon what was done in last patch - namely the conversion of building bonuses from being percentage-based into being raw numbers based -(such as how the Factory has gone all the way from a 50% production into a 10% (sic!) one - means wide empires are more powerful than ever before. Tall empires benefitted the most from the 50% bonus while wide empires will be pleased to receive that +4 hammers instead. The picture is the same across the board, the Universities, for example, have received the same treatment. It even continues into the policy system, where constitution no longer gives you a percentage-based culture bonus, but simply a flat +2 per wonder. It permeates every aspect of the game - the current CiV isn't even close to what it was out of the box. Another trend of this new patch is the allocation of happiness bonuses from being based on population into being based on number of cities. Even the reduction to luxury happiness leans towards this trend. Essentially, nearly every social policy is now an 'Order' policy, rewarding you with happiness not from growing your cities large and developing them well, but rather from founding lots of them. This is true even despite the fact per city unhappiness was increased by a single point. That single extra unhappy is made up for by the fact you now get your happy from your Stone Works, Circus, Monument, University, garrisoned unit and Walls - etc etc etc - all of which are per-city based. There's only a single policy left in the game now that rewards you for going tall: Monarchy. Everything else is numbers-based, arguably even the Landed Elite one from Tradition! In a sense, tall empires simply don't exist anymore - even 'tradition' empires will want to be more horizontal. Now, this isn't a problem to me. I like wide and I always disliked seeing only a fraction of the continent being settled, a wilderness ruled by barbarians even far into the industrial era. Rather, the problem is the national wonders which are starting to look woefully underpowered - with the exception of the ever-incredible National College, which has the benefit of being not only absurdly powerful (with a % science bonus that now dwarfs the University!) but also available very early - a powerful combination. So, the issue is this: Those national wonders - with the notable exception of the glorious NC - aren't going to get built. Why? Because the bonuses they offer, while very nice, simply aren't good enough to make up for your not expanding. 50% culture bonus from Hermitage? That's massive - but it's useless if it means you must stay at four cities throughout most of the game when you could have grabbed all that free land around you for a 12 city empire. Same story for the National Treasury or Ironworks - the bonuses are nice, but not if you must pay for them by being only a fraction of the size you could have been. Do recall that this is where the real change is from previous versions: You used to pay a hefty price for expanding by your policy cost increasing considerably - but it's been cut in half now and your policy cost increases just an insignificant 15% per city. I suspect part of the reason there is this 'problem' is the AI is too reluctant to expand and there are therefore too few luxuries being traded between empires, causing the whole word to have less happiness overall. But it does seem to me that now, more than ever before, there's no real choice between tall and wide - wide is the only answer. What are your thoughts on the matter?