Although I am officially in hiatus, the title attracted me and I played this out a bit, until 7th century: My view on the general strategy for winning this map: Spoiler : Three warmongers: Monty: I was sure he'd get a religion. He is almost always Buddhist, but he got to Hindu this time. I settled in a way to prevent me being his land target. That means you must position your city in a way that you two don't touch each other while also making any spot in between you undesirable. That + some luck should keep me safe. And it did. Shaka: Shaka WILL attack you. He is that kind of a guy. I have settled aggressively on a Plains Hill for defensive bonus towards him. Toku: Toku was relatively far and in expansion mode, so I thought I was reasonably safe from him for a while. Tried not becoming his land target early (sharing 7 land tiles with an AI). After some scouting, I have gotten the idea of continent layout, except from tundra in the North I never managed to get a military unit to. Barb influx suggested there was more to it, but I have figured that it can't be too much since tips of the continents are typically narrower. I was very wrong. This was a weird map script. With elephants below the city, the weapon of choice was obvious from the start. Spoiler : Strategy: The war must be as early as possible to prevent warmonger lovefest which would make all warmongers get to shiny weapons. Monty had great land and due to lack of free land got to just 8 (great) cities. That suggested his tech pace would be high and Longbows fast. So he was no target for early war. Zulu were pretty stretched and had many crappy cities and great and close core cities. Toku was in a brown part of a map and was busy building Mids and also expanding. That hurt his tech pace. So, what I figured out was that it is best to take Shaka's core cities before he gets to Longbows and then turn to Toku while he is still backward and his army stretched due to REX. Monty was busy spamming Hindu missionaries and was also Pleased. Execution of the plan: Settled 5 cities, commerce cities first, to get to Phants earlier. Elepult was ready around T100. Shaka raised a fist and attacked my hill city. Later than expected. Good, I killed his stack with my SoD in an open field and have proceeded to his core cities. Remember, in early wars you want to avoid Longbows so do everything you can to save a turn or two. Also, the swifter the war, the less defenders are whipped/produced. First rule: Don't heal too much. Heal as much but to keep the ability to take cities. Second rule: If a city has 2-3 defenders, don't lose turns bombarding. Sacrifice a Catapult or attack directly, whichever seems better. Once you take a city, move the rest of army forward. If you bombard a city, cats can't move. Not following the rules above can add to war duration 2-3 times. Shortly after I attacked Toku, he got to Longbows and a bit later, Samurai. If I had wasted 6 turns of Zulu war, he'd have an army full of Longbows and Samurai and it'd been good-bye for me. One more thing about not attacking Monty: As he was the most advanced guy, he couldn't have been bribed. If I had attacked him, he'd bribe other guys in a dogpile. It can be important to get any monopoly tech the AI you are attacking has and trade/give it to other guys so they can't be bribed. Figuring out the PrepareToDie concept: Spoiler : When Gandhi appeared with his caravel in early ADs + Mansa we could have seen in Demographics + 3 warmonger neighbours, I figured the evilness of this map. Duckweed's 10/10 difficulty level map. Anyway, this is where I stopped playing: Spoiler : Regarding economy,research and plans for the future: Spoiler : Education, Oxford capital, Seowons (+35% research). And, yes, I have captured 4 Acadamies. Commerce cities weren't whipped and I preserved an economy. No GAges were triggered, and one Great Scientist is saved for a Golden Age when all cities come out of a revolt and grow a bit. With 3 GAges and cities I continue capturing from brutally weakened Shaka and Toku, and soon Friendly Monty (unlimited tech trade) who is plotting against Gandhi, I could get to Marines + Fighters and quickly vassalize the peaceful continent without nukes. Anyway, I will not bring this one home since it'd be a bit wrong that a guy who left his SGOTM team in need spent more than 3 hours on a game, and also the next part of the game is even more tedious. (And if my wife found out I was playing while she was handling a grumpy child, me'd be divorced soon...).