After having traded for Pottery, America shifted some of its attention from expansion to building cottages for gold Ė especially in Philadelphia, a flood plains city northwest of Washington. On flood plains, even a cottage was enough for Americaís Financial bonus to kick in. Later, the city of Washington traded its irrigation for cottages as well.
After researching Alphabet, Lord Nathanís researchers went on to research Drama, mostly for trading potential but also for the potential to use the culture slider. Next, they went back to pick up Metal Casting in order to build Forges. Boston built the Great Lighthouse, providing additional trade routes for coastal cities and making a large empire a bit more practical than it would have been otherwise (especially as long as the extra cities are coastal). With Metal Casting completed, America turned its efforts to Philosophy and the discovery of Taoism, which was completed in 450 AD. With that discovery, America entered the medieval era. Tech trades have resulted in acquiring Calendar, Mathematics, Iron Working, and Priesthood. America has a slight overall lead in tech values, but some of the AIs have techs that America doesnít (and are not currently willing to trade them).
Expansion of the American nation continued through the Classical Era, but more sporadically and at a slower pace than before. In the year 450 AD, America settled its thirteenth city. The empireís size makes it extremely expensive to operate, running at Ė1 gold per turn at 60% science. But with a GNP almost three times that of the average AI, and with hair over twice as many cities as the nearest known rival, America can afford it, and getting the extra cities started now will make them more valuable later on.
The biggest drawback to my strategy thus far is that Iíve been leaving myself pretty wide open militarily. I have warriors in all my cities to keep them from being unhappy over not having any protection, but the most Iíve ever had in more modern units was two swordsmen and an archer, and one of the swordsmen has since been killed by an axe-wielding barbarian. If one of the AIs decides to get aggressive before I get around to reinforcing my borders, I could find myself in very big trouble.
In regard to my relations with the AIs, the one thing I truly hate about Civ IV is how demanding the AIs are. Itís just plain insane that I spend huge amounts of gold researching state-of-the-art technologies, and then AIs get irritated with me if Iím not willing to hand over the fruits of my enormous investment for free. Itís also highly irritating to be bombarded with demands from AIs to cancel deals with other AIs. I donít expect to be able to be everyoneís best friend at once, but neither do I like being penalized for trying to remain neutral in regard to the AIsí mutual dislikes of each other Ė especially when the AIs arenít actually at war with each other.
Right now my relations are at a net +1 with the Mongols and Germans, -1 with Egypt, -3 with Spain, and Ė4 with the Arabs. I have open borders with the first three, but not with the last two.
Iíve had a couple interesting adventures thus far. One came just before I finished researching Drama when a barbarian snuck up from the South and pillaged my only fur camp before I could get any units into position to do anything about it. That caused some anger in at least two of my cities (including the capital) until I finished researching Drama and used the culture slider to quell it. (Getting a new camp built took a bit longer.)
The other adventure came when the Mongols snuck in a city directly adjacent to one of my cities to claim some ivory that was supposed to be mine. For the time being, I managed to snatch away one of the ivories by using chops to help build a quick library and theater in my city and intrude culturally into the Mongol cityís first ring, but I donít know how long the situation will last.
Iíve also noticed that the resource situation in this game is a bit better than I realized when I set it up. I knew about some of it from deliberately looking in the World Builder to make sure there was at least one early-game happiness resource within a reasonable distance, but I hadnít realized quite how many resources the human player has within reach Ė at least insofar as the resources revealed thus far are concerned. Now that I have Calendar and am about to research Monarchy (both of which give me access to previously unusable resources), I should be in pretty good shape to let my cities grow a bit larger.
Egypt is in the lead in the wonder race with four wonders, while Spain, the Mongols, and I each have one. Thus far, Iíve been too busy doing other things to spend much time on wonders, but thatís likely to change in the near future.
Iím not sure what Iíll research next after I get Monarchy. I think Iíll wait and see if anything happens in the next couple turns to help me make up my mind.