Heya folks, I've lately become a huge Civ fan, and have been playing a lot of civ4 BTS lately. I love when games are close right up until the end, and never knowing whether or not my culture victory will pop before the other jerk's spaceship takes off. But games like that seem to be rare... the game always ends up being so one-sided! It seems that one of several things happen in my civ games: 1: (the most frustrating honestly). I'll just be playing and playing, and all of a sudden glance over at the scoreboard and notice that I've got double the score of the next closest AI. Alphabet tech finishes, and I start trying to trade techs, but , I'm so far ahead of *everyone* that there's nothing to trade for! From here if I keep on playing, I'll simply snowball ahead in size/tech/army so quickly that no one can stand in my way. Stomping macemen with riflemen was fun the first time, but now it's pretty dull T_T; 2. One of the AI's gets ludicrously far ahead, similar to the above. I think I'm doing all fine and dandy, and then see the message, "blahblahblah has discovered liberalism!" and I'm still in the classic era. Or that one AI which spawned by itself on a secluded continent has been expanding/teching in total peace and all of a sudden a destroyer shows up out of nowhere and I'm still finishing my first caravel. Ugh! 3. I'll have a great spawn spot, but then as I look to expand, there doesn't seem to be any other good places to put cities. A giant ring of desert or snow all around me. Running into an AI, I discover that they spawned in a lush river-infested grassland, with a pile of floodplanes just a few squares away, and a pile of mountains next to that. Rapidly leads to scenario 2. Is there any good way to prevent such snowballing from happening? It seems like either I grow out of control early on, or one, (or several) of the AI's does. There never seems to be a real balance of power in the world. Should I hop forward in difficulty modes? Might it be my play style? Any thoughts from more veteran players would be much appreciated! Thanks!