Hi, maybe I can get good advice from you experimented players? Playing on Deity / Marathon / Huge continents map, I want to achieve a religious or domination victory. Reading how OP Basil II is supposed to be, I just can't seem to start off: because I rush for an early religion (which I get if I survive that long), my military therefore remains weak and even if I can fend off Barbarians, inevitably civs I have met will attack me with large forces and either conquer my cities, or at least weaken me to the point I give up. I don't ever get a chance to befriend them as they don't accept delegation or friendship on the first turn I meet them and then they become hostile and eventually declare surprise war on me. What am I doing wrong? Is it just a matter of bad luck, and hoping I meet no one until my military becomes on par (which would have other drawbacks anyway)? Or should I first concentrate on military with the risk of losing my religion (without which Basil II would be useless)? I've read multiple guides on this but I can't even seem to reach the point where Basil starts getting an edge. Appreciate any useful advice you might have, thanks.