Well, here's how it goes for me, generally: Playing on epic length, terra landscape, normal size (I think?) earth. Well, at map start, I build city where settlers stand, if they're not on a coast-line. First unit I build is another warrior. First thing I research is mysticism. Usually, I keep building warriors until my population hits 4, then I build a settler and get my next city. In the original city, I usually build first worker right after settler. In the new city, I repeat and build warrior until pop hits 4. In the meantime, I try to research buddhism or hinduism (but the AI always seems to beat me out). After one of those is done, I usually go with the wheel and animal husbandry. After that, usually archery. The problem is, I'm only getting like 4 or 5 cities into operation before there's no room left to grow on the map. So far, I have been focusing entirely on having fast research and staying ahead of everyone technology-wise. This usually holds me in the most wealthy, most cultured, and most advanced civilization categories until the 1300s A.D. Well, then the wheels start to fall off. While I'm screwing with this stuff, I'm not building much of a military (past defense for cities). In the meantime, AI players are taking over everyone else's crap. If I get lucky, I cause a city to flip because my borders expand too close to it, but past that, I have no city taking. So then, as the AI players start to get more and more cities, they start to out-pace me in research times, numbers of "wonders" (or whatever they're called) and everything else. Before I know it, I'm sliding down to the bottom of the scoreboard. Mix in with that the fact that I usually get attacked by some p.o.'d AI person because my borders have expanded too close to them, and I have lost every game I've played so far when the date hits 2050. It says a lot for this game, though. The fact that I am constantly getting my ass kicked and still coming back for more. So I guess I'm looking for some kind of early build strategy, diplomacy strategy, and religious and research strategy that is going to keep me competitive on nobel difficulty. Forgot to mention that I almost always am the first to discover Christianity, for some reason. That seems to give me access to some extra buildings and stuff?