Hi everyone. I've been learning to get better at OCC (no size limit). Usually play with normal random map, deity, raging hordes, 7 civs. I'm still struggling to shave unnecessary turns off in early games and I have some questions. -What's the best color to play as? I assume that weak colors (white, blue, green) are bad as you're more likely to be your own key civ and won't get tech cost bonus? -Is it better to aim for Republic than Monarchy? What I've been doing is going for Monarchy and celebrate WLTKD to get the economy of a republic. I switch to high lux to get WLTKD first and then switch back to 0/7/3; the WLTKD will sustain itself with bonus lux from WLTKD. The reason I usually choose to go for Monarchy first is because Republic needs more tech to reach and most of the time I can't make a beeline to it because of tech hiding. Unless I'm very lucky with starting techs and huts I go for Monarchy first because it's much faster and I'll have less carrying cost toward Astronomy. But right now I'm not sure. Assuming that I have no starting techs, if I go Alp,Cer>Cod>Mon then my city has nothing to build but warriors, unless I get Bronze Working somewhere in between. But if I start building wonder that soon, the Colossus will finish before I get Trade. If I go Alp>Cod,Wri>Lit>Rep I can build library and diplomats which are useful. But I'll be stuck in Despotism for long and Trade feels very late with this route. I consider celebrating under Despotism but with the resource penalty it's just impossible w/o market. -How do you use your first 3 vans? Should I make trade routes with some nearby city ASAP, or is it better to spend some time sending it overseas to a demanding city for higher payoff but late trade routes? -Does constantly asking for gifts slow AI civs' progress? After I learned to stay pathetic and ask allies for gifts, I felt that AI civs research new techs much slower. Is it just me? -Should I prioritize Shakespeare or Newton? I usually goes for Shakespeare first because it allows me to raise science to 100%, and celebrating to 21. But I noticed that I don't always need size 21 to get 2 turn techs and I have to cut research and raise lux while celebrating. Right now I'm thinking that Newton first might be better, and I can just celebrate when tech carrying cost starts to slow me down, but I'm not sure. Also I'm having this weird idea of temporarily getting a colosseum. With about 100g (incremental buy for less than 200g cost and sell for 100g) I can get a quick boost to size 12 before Shakespeare (13 with sewer, but seems hardly worth it for just 1 citizen). Is it worth it? BTW what's the average time for normal OCC? I usually win between 1700-1800 AD and my best time is 1616 AD but I'm not sure how that compares. Thanks for you time.