I discovered this tac a few days ago and as it worked out like a dream to me, I thought I would post it here: When you start the game with an expansionist civilization, you get a scout in the beginning of the game and you can build more right on. Besides its value in reaching early contacts and exploring, scouts can be very efficient in restricting the AI's from expanding. I'm currently playing in Monarch level and I don't know how this tac would work at emperor or above. Because screenshots can illustrate my point way better than my words, here's an overall view of the map in 3350 B.C: http://koti.mbnet.fi/adreno/scouts1.jpg As you can see, there's incense in the middle of the picture and both Egypt and Zulu would secure it before me if I would just try to expand towards it one city at a time. In the top of the picture you can see a very lucky result of random map generation: the only way for Egypt to expand to the mainland would be through one of 2 narrow pathways or via water. Well, you can probably guess what I'm thinking right now: This IS really a random generated map, and it's not even the first time I see something like this. After going back and forth about 5 turns, Cleopatra realizes there's no way of getting through, and builds her second city where that Settler is standing. But the AI just wasted 5 turns before building that city, and at this stage of the game it's a major hit. Zulu sets up a city above Zimbabwe, and I'm expecting their next expansion to be towards the Incense. I'm also keeping an eye towards Egypt's further attempts to expand. And there's a way to protect that Incense and land mass with no cost: because my initial starting position had so many shielded grassland tiles and no 3+ food tiles, I am able to build spearmen and scouts from it without affecting settler production. And at this kind of situation, 3 scouts will be enough to stop 1 settler. I'm counting on that only one of them is going to expand towards the Incense before my settler gets there, so I'm having 3 scouts around the hills just waiting. Zulu is the first to try it, but the 3 scouts do their job: Settler moves 1 tile up, my scouts move 1 tile up. Settler moves 1 tile down, my scouts move 1 tile down. And after about 4 turns I build a city on the hills. Few more turns and the AI sends their settler back home. Some time later the Egypt sends a settler from Memphis. Well, same trick, and the Settler is forced to retreat. End result: - More cities and more land mass to myself. - 2 sources of Incense to myself. - Egypt wasted 5 turns before building their second city, causing them to be by far the smallest and least powerful civilization in the industrialized times. - Zulu also wasted time with an early settler, and when I razed them off the map about 20 turns later they probably had the smallest military in the game at that time. They only had a few useful cities, as they were forced to build other cities mostly around tundra.