I'm slowly working my way through the Civs at King level. I've seen commentary about how gimped Norway is, and I was expecting an uphill battle. Surprisingly, I did much better with them than with Gorgo as Greece. It boils down to the early ocean travel. Norway has: - Coastal Raiding. - Berserkers. - An upgraded Temple. - No cost for embarking / disembarking. - Access to ocean travel at Shipbuilding. - Longships, which are faster and stronger than Galleys. - Melee ships (notably Longships) can heal in neutral waters. Coastal raiding is mostly a waste of time, though I did snag a fair number of unguarded barbarian camps with longships while exploring. Berserkers are gimped Knights. Just as expensive, substantially weaker if attacked, and almost as hard to research. You can theoretically beeline for them, but it's not much faster than beelining Knights. About the only plus is that they don't require iron, if you're short of that. I never built any. The temple Faith bonus for adjacent woods is nice but mild. No cost for embarking / disembarking doesn't help much until late in the game. in Civ 4 it was a big deal because water travel was a lot faster in the early/mid game than land travel. With speed-2 transports in the early game, it's no help to most units, and actually hurts faster units. What really gave me the big boost was exploring the world very early, and contacting all the city states very early. Including a couple where I was the only contact because they were on an isolated continent with no players. Early city state contact -> lots of free boosts in my capitol, plus more bonus envoys from fulfilling quests. Probably +2 or +3 envoys per city state, since I made contact an era or two earlier, and ran "first envoy counts as 2" as a wildcard policy for much of the early game. Yes, it does double the "first contact" envoy and quest envoys. Early ocean travel also meant I had that smallish continent all to myself if I wanted to colonize it. In practice this didn't matter, because I took out my neighbors Germany and Arabia earlier, and had more room than I needed on my home continent. I even left my neighbor France alone until ~1300 AD because I didn't need the room.