In Civ 2 and 3, the way to success was to pump out as many settlers as possible and claim every single square of land possible (until you run out of land). In most games, the entire continent and any islands within easy reach was claimed by no later than 1AD!
This settler factory/settler rush strategy was fairly tiring and unrealistic but it was the only way to succeed. In fact in Civ 3, they made it a necessity as the AIs were doing this very thing so it became a "settler rush" race from the get go!
Now in Civ 4, it would seem that they've retool this annoying aspect of the game with new features. How successful is Civ 4 in doing so? Has the mandatory settler rush phase been eliminated in Civ 4? I'm curious to hear from people who have played it. This "settler rush" race thing in Civ 3 was really tiring so hopefully that aspect has been diminished if not entirely eliminated.