hello, been lurking this forum for some time already, posting for the first time. following games here is a very good source of information and helped to improve my game a lot. recently I moved up from monarch to emperor. usually I am tech-leading until later ages, well till it matters really, because all I want is rifles + cannons to start warring although I've noticed that AI speeds up a lot in later ages, like I'm tech-leading and *BAM* suddenly I'm behind a lot in 20 turns. very strange. got a couple of questions though, that bug my mind. is it good to build cottages not on a riverside? or just irrigate and go for specialists? what do you do with plains, when all you can do is irrigate (lack of food around city) ? leave it alone or irrigate after all? one thing I've noticed is that on emperor I have to build many more units to keep up with power level of neighbours. do you make a production city and build units non-stop there or what? as I've run into problems several times, when AI DOWed on me due to lack of power. and lastly about research path -> I win liberalism race 99% of times, but I'm a bit lost @ research choices. firstly I just research worker techs, then writing->alphabet (iron working sometimes) -> aestethics (or currency and then aes.) -> literature ( for great lib ) -> code of laws then I have to decide what to do - CS or go for monarchy ? as happy faces are a limiting factor at this point. usually I can't trade for monarchy this early. what to do better ? bigger cities would be faster research as well.. ghm. I go for CS now, but started to ponder maybe monarchy is better.. also when you get education - how to build universities faster ? as commerce cities usually are a bit low on production, and they need unis the most. go for slavery and whip ? hmmm ok. last one if you have a warmonger (shaka or montie) or serial backstabber like Alexander as your neighbor -> do you always rush em ? it seems I almost always have to go to war with them when I'm least prepared (don't like to war till rifles). and they have LOTS of units when middle ages start, and war = i fall behind a lot = lost cause.