I've been trying to get away from the standard tradition/rationalism strategy, so I've been playing around with other social policies to try to get them to work. I'm playing emperor to allow myself a little bit of breathing room, but so far I've been able to use these policies really well. Starting honor allowed me to kill off a ton of barbarian camps, and with the UA, this kept my economy afloat while making myself a nice archer/composite bow army. I built my first shrine after starting piety as my second policy, got about the third pantheon and second religion. With the mud pyramid mosque being a desirable building anyway, I used the faith and build speed for awesomeness, and soon I got one of the first religions, as well as one of the two religions on my continent. I still got a low t-80s national college on two cities, placing my third one directly afterwards. Having a religion helped me out diplomatically, as everyone on my continent but Korea adopted my religion and became my friend, while Korea is a scapegoat just so they have someone to dislike. My religion is basically set up with a faith gaining pantheon, stronger and cheaper missionaries (with 3 spread religious wonders), tithe for keeping up my income and allowing me to pay for my army, and now jesuit education to allow me to get up education buildings super quickly. Since my continent is converted, I've also been creating holy sites. Quick question: if you get new deal, does the culture, gold, and faith of holy sites increase by 4? After I completed piety, I went down honor a few more times for the +50% experience. I did take the opener of rationalism, but my tech level is on par or above every other civ at the moment. I haven't played this game perfectly, as I missed out on a perfect petra city (4 desert hills, lots of normal desert, with lake victoria) by 7ish turns, and I tried to use my xbow army to conquer Korea, but found the capital too tough as it is costal, has an awkward approach angle and I'm landlocked. Still, my army got some nice experience there, and I only lost one swordsman during the invasion, so it wasn't a complete failure. So, yeah, honor/piety actually has a bit of synnergy to it if you play it correctly with a good warmongering/religion civ. I don't think it's as good as tradition, but I've been moderately surprised at my results of this strategy.