6) Other Playing Levels and Settings
a) Emperor Level
This level gets almost no attention in forum/GL posts, though it is fairly popular in GOTM's. It is hard to win quickly, because you start with only one settler, and lag behind Deity growth most of the game. The main advantage is happiness; you might even omit HG and Mike's, with city sizes up to about 3-4.
I suggest an extreme ICS at the start, with fewer militia or early wonders. Try to catch up with the Deity growth charts by 1000BC. After that, play as if on Deity, catching up on wonders and units [MPE around 800BC, first triremes out about 500BC, then ST, etc] until about 400BC. Delay HG until you see the need, maybe about 400BC. Your growth and unit-count will probably start to lag again, but you should catch up to the Deity statistics around 1AD, and can expect similar finish dates.
Emperor Schedule (averages of just a few games, mostly on normal maps):
2200bc: 4c, pr3.2, 5a/8 i6/s8, 3.3u
1000bc: 10c, p3.8, i8/18s, 8a/7@tr, 0W, 14u: 3S,9w..
400bc: 15c: p4.6, 15a/10, i13/s30, 400g, 1.9W, 33u: 2S,23w..
1ad: 20c: p5, 20a/30, i42/s16, 600g, no riots, 57u: 3S,23w,10e,6tr,4dip..
END 420ad: 42c, 25a i65/s25, 110u w 35cru (20lost)
Grigor adds "At Emperor level, the Size 1 settler strategy is imperative. This means do not found your city unless you will be able to work a forest square or better. Be careful - working a pheasant makes the size 1 strategy impossible." This seems like good advice for lower levels, too.
b) King and Below
The only times I have played these for EC were in GOTM's with weird maps. The growth and production rates seem similar to those on Emperor level until about 500 BC, when King/Prince gets ahead. Skip HG/Mike's if you aim for a very EC, before about 400AD. Consider building Pyramids to promote city growth. At Prince level, you can easily keep size 6-7 cities happy with just HG + militia.
c) Restarts ON [A conquered civ may come back. Different tribe, same color, usually a different location]
It has been asked - "Why?". This setting adds a huge luck factor, and at least 5 turns to most games. But it adds variety, and you may have to play with re-starts on if you play tournaments. If restarts are ON, you must add another "campaign" to your list. It is the last to finish, so treat it as critical. That is, spread out your spare units (eg tri+cru) across the lonely parts of the map to chase re-spawns. Use MPE to find them, and build extra triremes to hunt them. Expect to finish with 10-15 more units than usual.
Here is a strategy I've tried several times. It seems to work only about half the time, but doesn't cost much when it fails:
1) Kill your first civ ASAP. It will probably re-spawn into the map's main `re-spawn zone'. Find this zone by using MPE to get the new civ's map. Sometimes an AI kills the 1st civ for you, so pay attention to the text messages!
2) Send 2 crusaders to kill the re-spawn before finishing off any other civs. If it has made a city, do NOT capture it - RAZE it! Likewise, do not build an outpost city nearby. You want the other re-spawns to come there too, and a nearby city will deter that.
3) Leave your units in that zone, to wait for more victims.
4) There is some luck involved here, so spread out some other troops/boats, as in the usual anti-respawn plan.
For more on re-spawns, see La Fayette's Apolyton thread.
I have not noticed that the barbarian setting has much effect on my games. Raging hordes can be good, since they often bother the AI's more than you - and each leader is worth 150g. Consider putting a phalanx on a mountain to lure the barb fighters to their deaths, and then get the leader with a horseman.
Barbarian cities are easy to bribe, which may be the cheapest way to get an outpost near an enemy civ. And if the barbs take one of your cities, bribery is a good way to get it back. You can also bribe the barbarians themselves, and may even get cheap NON-units.
With huts, there is some risk of unleashing a swarm of barbarians, getting un-wanted tech or of causing support problems (during despotism). But in general, it's good to tip.
DaveV writes "Hut-hunting is crucial in the early and even mid-game. It's probably worth delaying founding your first city on a small map, especially if there's no good special nearby."
DaveV uses mainly horsemen to tip huts, but many people use warriors. Try using a dip for huts on grass, so you can bribe any barbarians that pop up. A cavalry unit just off a boat can do the same, and retreat back to the boat if necessary, without even slowing down the boat.
If you tip huts before founding your first city, the units you get do not require support, and you will not get barb's. If a hut is visible at the start, it is wise to tip it first. We'll briefly discuss some extreme hut strategies later, in Ch.8.