Didn't read the thread in too much detail, being on a limited internet time schedule I just skimmed it...but here's a point: On the first move of chess, there are only 18 possible moves. When black first moves, he's got 18 choices as well, making the total number of "after first turn" possiblities 18*18 = 284. Now look at civ3(assume 100x100 map, 7 opponents for 8 civs total): First of all, the total number of opening "moves" is 16 for a non-expansionist Civ, and 24 for an expansionist, barring a coastal start, plus you have to include non-moving moves, so, the settler can build a city or move, 9 moves total, and the worker can move, build road, mine, (irrigate if near water). For up to 11 moves, although it's probably ten. So, for just one civ, after the first turn there's 90 or 99 possible starts. Let's round this up to 100 for simplicity. Now, there's 7 other civs, so the total "after first turn" positions is 100^8 = 10^16 = a whole ****ing lot. And THEN you have to decide which tile to work in your city(if you decided to settle) what tech to research and at what rate, etc etc etc. Overall, depending on which civ traits that a civ has, there's at least 10,000 possible different "starting positions" per AI civ. Keep in mind that although a lot of these are not feasible, the computer still has to spend some time sorting those out and choosing between the rest. And I didn't even get into looking ahead, which the AI doesn't seem to do currently. But analysing just the current position takes an awful long time as it is, so in order for the AI to become "smarter", even by looking ahead just one turn, would probably slow turns down by a factor of hundreds, if not thousands or millions. So, in conclusion, in order for the AI to get "smarter", it's not possible to do it with today's technology in a reasonable amount of time.