without technology trading, and with City States.. I was all alone on my continent, with 4 city states. The arabs were on another one to the north, and the English were busy beating the ********** out of Persia, Siam and France, on the big continent. This was at Prince, my first Prince game and fourth game in total since I started playing. Until the late Industrial era, I was the world leader in tech and wonder-building. That never happened in Civ4 at anything above Chieftain, due to the insane tech trading between AI civs. I was able to hold my own, barely putting any resources into military until I saw a huge fleet of English infantry and anti-tanks coming my way, where I promptly popped a 42-turn golden age with Rationalism + a couple of great artists I was saving up + that wonder that adds 50% length to golden ages... Switched all cities to production focus and with my destroyer and submarine killed most of the infantries before they even landed. Ok so I may be able to out-think the AI and pop golden ages at the right time lol, but I loved the fact that I wasn't DOA just for being alone on my continent and having no tech trading partner.