@krikav Spoiler : Thing is I actually tested whether my whole "bulb/trade your way into tech relevance" idea had some merit to it, and in that reality the various powers weren't that balanced. I don't remember the specifics, thank you heatwave, but IIRC America settled into Darius' face and cut him off from settling his fair share of land, and Gandhi turned into his usual missionary-spamming self so Freddy (primarily) could settle a few more cities. Don't recall if that meant he had 12 or 18 cities, though, but I also don't think he was done settling cities by the time I was done. For what it's worth, it is definitely possible to tech trade your way into getting a slight tech lead over Monty, assuming he doesn't meet the other AIs and join in on the fun. Albeit at the cost of advancing all the other AIs a few hundred years, although undoubtedly there's better ways to do the trading than how I (mis)managed it.