hi all, i'm new to civ4 and to the civ series. i've played rts and specifically the "age of" series for the past bunch of years. i used to play turn-based a bunch of years ago, oldies but goodies (defender of the crown, romance of the three kingdoms, etc.). anyways, i've learned a lot from reading the forums already and doing the tutorial and stuff, but i still have some specific questions. i'd appreciate any help: (p.s., I am currently playing on the 3rd difficulty level. 2 is too easy and 4 is too hard. I play on Terra with the normal size. This gives me usually 7 civs I think. Random climate. I play different civs each game to learn them, but currently am playing with china, not Mao, the other guy. I started off kinda sucking on this level, but now am doing really, really well, except for the questions below...) 1) Dealing with overcrowding: Is it just a matter of building more cities? Or is it that I have to increase happiness? How do I increase happiness? 2) What is the best way to siege a city? I found out that swordsman are good for attacking cities, but it's not enough sometimes. Should I get catapults, wear down his defenses as low as possible, and then attack using as many units that counter his as possible? Is there a better way? I generally try to cut off trade to the city by pillaging around it and stuff, esp horses and iron and stuff. 3) When is the best time to declare war? Sometimes I'm doing pretty well and then get confident and go off to war and then while I'm fighting some of the other civs start to slip ahead of me (or also attack me). 4) Controlling cities...This imo is the most non-intuitive part of the game. When I open up the city screen I don't really understand what I'm seeing (this would've been nice in the tutorial imo). What's the deal with the different white circles on the different squares around your city? In my specialized cities I want to build specialists. I found that I can click the plus sign beside the specialist I want, but when should I do this and what are the costs/benefits of doing it? What else on this screen is important that I should be paying attention to? 5) # of cities? When I first started I just kinda made cities wherever and whenever. In my current game, which is my best so far, I have 3 primary cities. My capital I tried to make my great person farm city, and it does pretty well that way. Then I have my production city, which I made by a nice clump of hills for mines, but now it is having trouble getting enough food (there are a lot of non-grassland plains around but I can't build farms on them??? i've researched the tech that gives irrigation and I still can't? any tips?). Finally I have my commerce city which does pretty well that way. I only get specialized buildings and stuff like that. Now there isn't really any more space to build more cities since the other civs are around me (I'm not playing on a huge map, just normal). I'm in a huge war with the mongolians and I captured two of their cities, so I'm working on developing them. Should I have more cities originally than 3 or is that enough and then is it ok to just add them through conquest? Which leads me to my next point... 6) After conquering a city, when should you implement your own governer and when should you let it burn, and why? 7) What about really really early combat? "Rushing" in rts terms (maybe also in turn-based?). Is it a good idea? When should you do it? What should you focus on when doing it? 8) Controlling your borders: When you are at war with someone is there a way to stop them from sneaking past your borders and pillaging stuff? If I have forts and/or units along the border will this stop them from getting past? 9) Even though I specialized my production city, due to a lack of food (I think), my capital (which is supposed to be great person farm and culture and happiness and stuff) is still better for producing military units. My capital produces units in 1-2 turns while my production city takes 5-6 turns. I try and build all production stuff in production city and non-production stuff in capital (except that my wonders so far have all been built in capital and my first couple great people in capital til i figured out that maybe i should send some to my other cities where appropriate). What do you think I'm doing wrong? 10) Great people. How can I tell if the great person I got will allow me to build a special building if I send him to a different city (e.g., if i send a guy to the city where i founded daoism he'll build the holy building)? What else should I know about great people? Thanks I'm sure I'll have more questions!