Really? Germany is on this list? I've played games where I made two combat units in the first 200 turns and ended up having an army of 30+ units -- and at -25% upkeep to boot. Many of the converted barbs were spearmen too and they upgrade into pikemen for a mere 10 gold. They're kind of like Songhai. They require barb camps and lots of them to be effective. I voted America. -25% land purchase is meh. +1 sight is meh. B52 bombers are normally pretty useless as they don't even enter the game. Minutemen are pretty good though. Still, they are a warmonger civ but there are at least ten other warmonger civs that are in a whole better league than America for this purpose. As for India, I hate getting India on random but love playing India when I choose them. The elephant archer is the ultimate barb killer. The mughol fort gives a nice +2 culture and can be placed immediately with two different world wonders in addition to becoming super castles with Neiwenstien (whatever). Their UA is probably the best in the game for running any kind of tall empire and has a natural synergy with a cultural victory and culture making castles. India is a solid choice for a cultural victory at least right now. Since they're changing the cultural victory big-time, India might need to get revamped.