Regarding pop, I figured it was too low, but didn't see a way around it. Building food improvements ahead of colosseums and shrines is something I've never tried. I assume it will kill me as far as religion, but maybe not. I'm not sure how I cut down on the NC that much. By making the changes above? Maybe. At what point in build order do you get to libraries? (I do buy them if hammers are low.) Game update: As of t197, I have 492bpt. Babylon has 6 Academies, all on non-river grass (lucky). All four cities have Public Schools. (A new fifth city has nothing.) I built the Chapel and the PT, and have 2 RA's going with the top two science civs, with Scientific Revolution already in the bag. City sizes, slowed down building the Schools and Wonders: 20, 12, 10, 8 and (the new one) 5.