In my games I tend to focus on Big Empires with a LOT of production.
It allows me to end up on top in any game.
Here is what you do :
*You set up an island game with high sea levels -> MUST do, you need the protection from the water.
It prevents early invasions from aggresive AI's on the higher levels.
*also make it so that events refresh at reload.
-You starting lacation MUST have the following aspects :
*at a coast
*bordering a mountain
*have a desert tile within 2 hexs
*At a river
You may pick any civ that suits your playstyle from these 5 :
- Egypt (25% wonderbuilding)
- Rome (25% production toward any building that already exists in the Capital)
- Russia (Strategic Resources provide 1 Production. Horse, Iron, and Uranium provide double quantity) + krepost
- Siam (Food and Culture from friendly City-States increased by 50%) -> this in itself may not seem a production civ, but the culture really helps in early game while the food boosts your growth and production in later game.
- Inca ( No maintenance costs for improvements on hill tiles, half maintenance costs elsewhere) and Terrace Farms -> same as siam on food while more suited for more warmonging people and providing more gold that is needed in this tactic too)
*Every city you build MUST be on flat land
*Try to build as many city's next to a river if possible
*Resourses first, food second, this means unless you can harvest a resource, you always pick the tile improvement that provides the most food.
*Try to build most your city's on a shoreline.
Now this is how you play :
First couple of turns :
*SCIENCE : Complete Animal Husbandry. than the wheel
*CONSTRUCTION first build a worker, than a waterwheel
*WORKERS : Build farms, and if possible a pasture.
*EXPLORATION, use your warrior to scout ahead, and find a good spot for your next city, (river, flat and near horses) and try to get at least one free tech, (pottery or mining) (if you dont get either of these reload and retry)
*SOCIAL : You want to get libery and after that Collective Rule, to get that settler!
*EXPANTION : use that settler to build your second city at the location your warrior found.
You are now well on your way time to expand further :
Next couple of turns :
*SCIENCE : Complete pottery, mining, sailing and masonry (2 of those you should have gotten for free by ruins)
*CONSTRUCTION first build a settler in your capitol), than start work on the piramids
in your second city build a waterwheel, than a granery
*WORKERS : Build that stonemine on the marble to boost production of your wonders, and build a road to your other city
*EXPLORATION, use your warrior to scout ahead, and find a good spot for your next city, (river and flat) and try to get at least one extra free tech (pottery, mining, saling or masonry) (if you dont get either of these reload and retry)
*SOCIAL : You get Republic, than unluck tradition.
*EXPANTION : use that settler to build your third city at the located spot.
End of your first 100 turns :
*SCIENCE : Complete archery, horseback riding and mathematics (1 of those you should have gotten for free by ruins)
*CONSTRUCTION in your capitol, finish the piramids, than complete the hanging gardens.
In your second city, build a stable, than a horses
In your third city, build a waterwheel, than a granery
*WORKERS : Connect all your city's with roads after that resources first than more farms.
*EXPLORATION, use your warrior to scout ahead, and find a good spot for your next city, (river and flat) and try to get at least one extra free tech (archery, horseback riding and mathematics) (if you dont get either of these reload and retry)
*SOCIAL : you need to get Aristocracy to further help speed wonder building.
*EXPANTION : none for a while, we stick with three city's for now that should maximise the use of your starting island.
I will not specefy all in detail after this but a few guidelines :
*you want one of your city's to be at a shore, have iron near it, and have either sheep, horses or cattle near it. (not your capitol) this will be your unit city, by having both a stable AND a forge their you will be able to build units fast there, you will also place your heroic epic there.
*You do not want TO much city's about 6 or 7 should be right
*Use your Gold at start to bribe cultural city's for fast social polictics, later bribe marine states.
*When you can use engineer-specialists do so! production + great engineer points.
*Dont use your great engineers to rush wonders, unless in great despair, use them to replace mines or exploit resources near your capitol so they will give you extra production.
Now the real trick, remember all that food??
-> make SURE you get statue of liberty, there are many handy wonders but this one is a must have for this tactic.
-> pick FREEDOM social policy, it halves the food cost for specialists!!
(now we have 2 production giving uneployed that cost only 1 food!!)
On top of this Freedom lowers the unhappyness from those specialists, boosts the effect of special tile improvements (remember what we used those engineers for, they now get real valueble!) and to top that increase golden ages (more production)
-> pick after that COMMERCE social policy, 3 more production for all your city's and eventually +1 gold for every specialist further increasing their usefullness.
You can adapt this strategy to match your own strategy as it can be mixed with most strategy's.
the main concept is the huge focus on those specialist production in later game, while having an excelent position in early game too.
The only thing that could be a problem is happyness, thats mainly why I advise against more than 6 or 7 city's.