What you're seeing in regards to tech costs isn't an AI bonus, it's actually an increase to your tech costs caused by difficulty level. This occurs in unmodded BTS as well, but it is set a bit higher in HR. For example, on BTS monarch it's +15%, on HR Monarch it's +25%. HR is balanced at Noble, and scaled up and down from there. I know that many other mods use Monarch or thereabouts as their balance point, so difficulty levels in HR will generally be harder than the equivalent in other mods. As I say, I haven't reviewed this for a while, so I'm definitely not claiming to have it just right at each level. It's definitely not a case of the AI running on a different game speed to you because that is simply impossible to code. I haven't had a chance to look at your saved game yet, so it's hard to judge without seeing how improved each city is. The AI is affected by distance maintenance (it actually pays a bit more than the player!), but I'm not sure why you feel it should be a significant factor for the Egyptians here. In that picture, they don't seem to have any cities that are significantly distant enough to warrant particularly high maintenance on that mapsize. Ramesses is also running Proclamation so they'll be getting a 25% discount on maintenance for number of cities. Finally, he's Creative and Industrious, so each of his cities will be getting some extra commerce and production from their culture level, regardless of their size or distance. The Egyptians are one of the strongest civilizations in the ancient era, as their traits and unique buildings and such synergize very well. I'll comment further once I've looked at your saved game. It's not my intention for the AI to have any drastic hidden advantages except for those that are already present in BTS. I'll see what I can find out. Cities do grow faster than I think is ideal in HR, which in turn leads to easier production of Settlers. I'm looking into ways of toning this down a bit. Detailed feedback like this can only help improve the mod, so no worries.