I just finished a game as Babylon with 4 cities. I was one (1!) turn away from a spaceship victory when Siam popped a culture win. anyways, I very much enjoyed playing a small nation among giant continent eating empires. here's a few things I learned: 1. Population! it's important! if you don't have many cities, then you need those cities full if you are going to compete in any way. I'd stick to farm improvements on any and all grassland tiles with freshwater access. 2. Golden Ages! holy crap are golden ages amazing in civ5. they are a massive boost, and if you jigger it right between happiness, great people, social policies and wonders, i managed to get around one hundred (100!) consecutive golden age turns. 3. Resources! you are going to be lacking in resources, so be prepared to get them through diplomacy. the easiest way, (if you adopt some Patronage policies) is to get friendly with some of the more resource-rich citystates. you can trade with other empires for them, but they can be a lot less consistent. Also, for particularly important resources like Aluminum, you may need to expand to get it done. my Babylon playthrough began as a 3 city run, but i had to annex a neighboring roman city to get access to aluminum (though it also gave me an infinitely more defend-able position). 4.1 Defense! just because you aren't going on the warpath doesn't mean you can neglect your army. It's important to keep a respectable standing army simply as a deterrent. 4.2 Artillery on Rails! This is probably the most valuable tactical lesson I learned from this game. With such limited resources, and an Economy that can't support a huge army, i was hard pressed to defend against a war mongering Wu in the modern era. Luckily my southern border was a mess of hills mountains and lakes, so she couldn't get through it quickly. I built a railroad parallel to the border, 3 tiles back. I stationed a few mechanized infantry between the RR and the border, but then dropped all 5 of my aluminum on Rocket Artillery which i put on the rails. with this setup, i could move my artillery from one end of the border to the other and still set up and fire in the same turn when i got there. This one moment of tactical competence saved my empire a dozen times over. thats all i have for now, Looking forward to more discussion on this!