Hi, I started reading these forums last month and I learnt many useful tips here. So I deciced that it is the right time to take the final step and win some deity games. But man, this is so difficult! When I lost about my first ten deity games, I decided to play under some more friendly settings (but still deity). First of all, I started a game on marathon difficulty. Hey, this was pretty straightforward! The AIs were so weak in warring, I started my first war with catapults and swords and didn't stop until I conquered the whole world in 1700s. I didn't have a strong start and a mediocre leader (Ghengis but without access to horse) but this was pretty easy anyway, I almost felt like it was Emperor. But the most disturbing thing was that the game was very very long (real time) so I tried to find other tweaks in settings. So then I continued playing with normal speed but I disabled barbs. Hey, this was even easier. There was no need to protect my settlers, so I could settle very strong distant cities without investing into military too much. This brought me about four more cities in each of the games than is possible with barbs. I won three consecutive games (conquest with Toku in 1800s, conquest with Gilga in 1600s and domination with Saladin in 1700s). I was very happy with my progress and I started several more games with normal settings again (deity, normal speed, with barbs) and I lost all of them. Of course, defending to barbs is easy, but it slows down everytng very much. You end up with only 6-8 cities (instead of 10-14 without barbs) and they are not so well developed. At this moment, I am tired of playing marathon or without barbs, this is not so challenging. But real deity games are too difficult for me yet. So I wanted to ask what other tweaks in settins could I do to increase the difficulty but still not reach the real deity difficulty.