1.Are you suggesting that IW is not so important for an early military? IW is necessary for iron-based melee units; how can these be ignored unless you've got horses? Sometimes the AI won't trade military-related techs so you've gotta do it yourself anyway (or maybe I'm not diplomatically savvy enough, as per religion and civics). 2. You didn't mention Alphabet, which other high-level players mention as a tech to bypass and trade for later. Do you agree? 3.Likewise, while unhappiness can be whipped away how can you avoid Monarchy if your little empire has no luxuries and your capital is stuck at 4 happy cap? (Or maybe I'm too pusillanimous to whip an army to grab some from the neighbors .) 4. But yeah, once I've got the necessary techs I try to jump ahead of the AI by researching a different line. Aside from the obvious beeline to Liberalism are there any other tech paths that the AI typically puts off 'til later? Thanks for your kind attention and great advice. Cheers!