to 1600 Spoiler : Yeah DrLake, they were mostly just annoying the bejeezus out of me, but I was never under true threat. Actually right after the last update, I founded some cities in the chokepoints leading south and barb activity 1. dropped off dramatically and 2. was easier to defend vs with fewer units. So anyway, I spread out to people my continent. By pzschrek at 2010-06-07 Maintenance was/is tough, but with enough wealth-building I managed to stay ahead of the ai in tech. Made lib, got nationalism, and built the Taj Mahal. Then I decided it was time to end Babylon, so I went for rifling and steel. He didn't even have gunpowder, or that many units. He did have a captured barb city by the dyes in the middle peninsula surrounded by my land with most of his offensive stack, but macemen and knights vs rifles and cannons = fail. I took a couple of his cities (to include the Sistine Chapel) in the SW and then decided to cap him...Maintenance is plenty high as it is, and I figured I might as well vassal him while he still generally likes me and will be able to assist with research and his navy later in the game. By pzschrek at 2010-06-07 State property is one tech away...relief at last! The forbidden palace will soon be up in the middle peninsula, so significant relief for the 9 or so cities i have across those peninsulas. By pzschrek at 2010-06-07 Everyone on the other continent is Buddhist, so it has been one big happy religion-fest over there. By pzschrek at 2010-06-07 A nice gem I acquired was a barb city in the far south of the middle peninsula...3 foods. I turned it into a production powerhouse to have a place to build a decent navy, since most of my game has been land-based, which will soon change now that I have secured my continent. Soon it will be time to break up the buddha party. On an aside, is there a list somewhere of good techs to get for trading with the AI? I have been a lot more aggressive of late about trading away a tech for the AI's $$ when it has too little value to trade for another tech but before it becomes valueless, this especially helped fund a lot of maintenance-driven deficit research early, but I'd like to optimize this as I move up in levels.