OK, there's pretty much no way you can catch up in tech unless you start late (well, unless you conquer some cities with early conquerors). There is a way though if you are lucky enough not to get conquerors on yourself. 1. Build capital to emphasize growth, not commerce initially. If you start with a stupid set of techs (e.g. fishing/mining when there isn't any fish or hills around), restart. Preferably with a stone or marble but not absolutely necessary. 2. Mysticism, meditation, priesthood, masonry, polytheism, monotheism, theology. 3. Build Stonehenge and Oracle at all costs. 4. Switch to serfdom/HR when you oracle monarchy. 5. Settle first great priest in capital, then use 2nd one to partially bulb theology. Depending on your religious luck, switch to an appropriate religion and build AP and Hagia Sophia. 6. Save 3rd one to partially bulb DR, but in the meantime take care of your economy and don't forget to get DR before 1000AD. 7. No more than 8 cities until you get Code of Laws. 8. Bureaucracy in a capital with 3-4 monasteries and Univ of Sankore/Spiral Minaret is unbeatable. From then it's pretty much a space race/cultural win (you will have at least 3, if not 4 religions--Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam). With a lot of hard work you can do domination.