Good thread TMIT! I just noticed it. I agree with 90% of what you've written in your 1st post.IMO, 3 most critical issues you've specified were: 1) starting tech path: Hereditary Rule before Writing makes a lot of sense. libraries aren't urgent when pop is less any way. Growing cities is priority #1. 2) less infra: having only the worthy city improvements is useful. i prefer building research or training units. with a rightful view of city specialization and civics, you need less infra. * workers and settlers are required anyway * with warring units, you either kill your enemy or pillage land or steal workers or at least have new GGs or or or... it is never a waste unless you're isolated. yet, after mid game i build more infra. 3) bulbing techs: it helps well in high levels. in my early days of BTS, i used to underestimate it.