This is a recent game I'm playing that I decided to bring up here. I usually don't go total war this early, I wait until Trebs and Maces, but the Keshiks demanded a different kind of strategy. Anyway, I thought this would be a good learning exercise for everyone. I'll decide the course of action after others' posts and bring updates with pics and saves. You can play as many shadow games as you want. Let's go! The Background: You play as Kublai Khan on a Standard, Temperate Continents map, Emperor, Marathon speed. You start with good capital site, which turns out better once you discover Horses right next to it. You place your next city close, in a good production site and towards the nearest rival, De Gaulle. Someone appears from the north, it's Alexander! You decide De Gaulle has to go, there's not enough room for both and and you start on the warpath: Researching HBR and start building the Gers while Archery finishes up. De Gaulle has apparently popped Writing from a hut, because he comes up with an Open Borders agreement at turn 17. You use this for your advantage, scouting him and realizing there's nothing to stop you. No metals. As you are building the horde, Alex decides now it's a good time to attack: He DoW and brings a tiny stack which is quickly dispatched, then another and finally negotiates 10 turns of peace. His borders haven't even appeared on the map. Dumbass. To wrap things up: you quickly dispatch De Gaulle (he has only chariots and archers) and keep Paris for yourself. Then you decide Alex has to go: No way you're gonna take up crap from him, specially after declaring war twice. So after razing and pillaging and killing and razing again, Alex goes down. You decide 4 workers on top of your 6 is too much, so you disband them and head home, replacing unexperienced defenders with your horde units: There's no more fighting to be had. 2 GGs appeared and were settled on Beshbalik, a good production center. The Situation: It's 220 AD and you got 4 cities now when Alex goes down. Those 4 cities sport Granaries, Libraries and Barracks (and Gers), Karakorum has a Lighthouse. No Wonders at all. You have a whole continent for yourself: The rest lies in ruins. The competition seem to be VERY BUSY BEES. No, your continent has none of those, you didn't give De Gaulle a chance. All the early religions are gone up to Confucianism (founded in 180 AD). The Tech Tree: You got Calendar and Currency, you're researching CoL. You completely skipped the Religion tree, as they were all gone early (at the other continent) and you had fighting to do. Hopefully religious wars delay them while you build up. The Civics: Slavery. You're relocating the Palace in your 3rd city, in the middle of the twin rivers. The seafood on the current capital has been pillaged by a Barb Galley. You've just whipped yours to defend them and then you'll build Work Boats next. The Task: Basically, you got into forced isolation, with no tech trade because of the lack of Alphabet at the time conquest. Overall backwardness after the rush, but you rid yourself of your rivals. Now you're tasked to rebuild from the ashes. This will not be an easy task: Kublai Khan has no economy traits to help him build cities quickly and maintain a good rate of research. Barbarians are also going to be an issue now that 60% of the land is fog, however you sport several experienced units and the Creative trait to extend your borders. My Suggestions: Cottage spam the whole river areas and hope Cottage growth solves your money issues. Beeline Optics and find your rivals, then trade if you can. Once you see how the tech situation is over there, decide if you should pursue Liberalism, otherwise you should try for Democracy ASAP to make the cottages grow faster, then Workshop techs to develop the jungle grasslands on the middle. If it's possible to colonize the entire continent, pursue a Domination victory in the Industrial or Modern eras: You have exclusivity on a lot of land, you won't need much to conquest for a win. Info: Save is BTS ver 313 with Bhruic patch. If you play a shadow game, post in spoiler tags. Have fun.