Starting with all of those bonus tiles may, MAY, be the strongest trait we have seen from any civ so far. In any version of civ that I have played (I never played I), a fast and strong start pretty much guarantees a victory. A fast and strong start usually is quite dependent on having easy access to good tiles. Hopefully with Russia you won't have the usual delays in getting to choice tiles as your city demands them. And not only are you getting those tiles sooner, you are preventing your neighbors from acquiring them too. Not to mention clearing out barbarian camps too. I didn't see it in the LP video, but someone mentioned also the UD gives a +1 amenities adjacency bonus, and its built at half the cost being a unique district, plus the luxuries you are acquiring with all those extra tiles... Russia looks pretty strong to me. I, too, am a touch disappointed in the +1 tile per GP expended, and the trade route bonuses, but I think they first and foremost wanted a Russia that had a lot of land. And didn't want to repeat America's 50% reduction from V. So they went with the photo bomb (sorry, that's how I keep hearing it in my head). And then they balanced from there. But if you can grow that fast, and on top of that have a massive amount of faith generation, which can be used towards a faith victory, OR for great people generation or just getting your picks of religious bonuses, or both, which translates into pretty much any victory type you want, well, I don't see how Russia could be viewed as weak. Maybe the synergy and straight up bonuses aren't as jazzy, but the civ is strong. And I wouldn't necessarily run the tundra borders, either. Gobbling up the watery grasslands could be the nastier tactic. So head north or south, not east or west, with your first settlers, and let the AI make do with the tundra. edit: is there a civic that allows for cheaper tile purchasing? edit 2: and here is yet another civ that you probably don't want as a neighbor. Seem to be quite a few of these this time around. Well, his profile says he is from Southern Cal. I, though, AM from Vermont. While religion does indeed affect policy in the US, it does not do so nearly so much as pure greed does. And greed tends to turn a blind eye to the morality teachings of philosophy/religion... thus, separation of church and state. If you want to go off-road with constitutional analysis. edit 3: of all the resources you can acquire in the game, gold and faith are the two that can be used for the greatest variety of outcomes, aren't they? And Russia seems to be good at stocking up on both in the early game. -- in fact, it will be interesting to see if a player can build key early wonders faster as Russia, or as Egypt or China. edit 4: you know, it would be neat if they gave us the option to rename wonders that we have built.