Thankyou very much for your kind and detailed comments. I've mannaged to advance up to Monarch now partly thanks to the advice here and partly through reading up on some of the blow by blow accounts of victories on these forums. LionQ: Exactly right. Pretty much whenever I have a "Stop Trading with so-and-so" I'll refuse both, therefore getting a negative rep factor with both and remaining an outcast with both groups. I just don't like being mean to any civ. I want to be all their friends! However, I have tried the stratagy of differing camps and it seems to be working well. Polycrates You meany! Stay away from my cities! The main thing I find it hard to do is I find it difficult to "Specialise" too much. I think "I really should have a library in this city" even if it is a few food resources and mined hills without a cottage in sight.