After a few games of Civ6 turning to disappointment, I went back and played Civ4 just to check if it was a case of rose-tinted glasses. Had my best game of Civ4 in ages! Very threatening Aztecs; took out Spain early on, netting them Madrid with both Buddhism & Hinduism holy sites, which gave them the financial base to push back China, Carthage, and Egypt! Green tide held back by a quadrumvirate of Confucian nations. (ordered in proximity to threat: Carthage, Egypt, Portugal, and Zulu[me]) Diplomatic co-operation with and between AIs (thanks to my Apostolic Palace) Voluntary vassalisation of Egypt by Portugal, due to threatening Aztecs =( Betrayal of Portugal by me; couldn't have them leading the Quadrumvirate! =) Force vassalisation of a depleted but still viable Portugal by me. (required 3 blitzkrieg wars, as they held Apostolic leader) Voluntary vassalisation of Carthage by me, due to Aztec incursions. Betrayal of the Confucian true faith by Egypt, such heresy obviously necessitated a holy conquest 2nd betrayal by the Egyptians, voluntarily vassalising themselves to the heathen Aztecs! final betrayal by the treacherous Egyptians; on the verge of extinction they abandon their Aztec overlords and soon after capitulate their final 2 tundra cities to me. (A tolerable concession as they returned to the true faith) Ultimate crushing of the Aztecs, and ascension of the mighty Zulu! The Chinese (and their colonial vassal the Ottomans) would have been my final conquest, but alas I achieved Domination the turn after I declared war. =( I think the game turned out to be so much fun because: All Civs started on a single continent I was hemmed in on a small peninsula, had no early Iron or Copper so couldn't immediately conquer my neighbours The Aztec's early acquisition of Madrid's double holy site gave them the finances to fund their militaristic ambitions, and turned them into a real threat. The Aztecs were on the opposite side of the continent, so I couldn't directly inhibit their expansion, instead having to war by proxy. Religious unity with my neighbours acted as an excellent diplomatic lubricant, and the Apostolic Palace performed the best I've ever seen it. While I'm sure this isn't nearly as interesting to read, as it was to play, I think it illustrates that interesting diplomacy lies at the heart of interesting games; it creates the interactions that result in memorably stories. This (and the tedium of 1upt) is why I've yet to extract any fun from either civ5, or civ6; their diplomacy is both broken & incomplete. FYI, this was all on PRINCE difficulty too! The way I see it, a bad start position is a far more interesting uphill struggle than the AI having piles of dumb economic bonuses. Interestingly I find CK2 (and EU4 to a lesser extent) give the best games that way too; pick a precariously positioned Count in the ass-end of nowhere and play their ascension to Emperorship!