It's frustrating sometimes when you get cornered early in the game and you have to fight for your existence from a very early stage. Generally, I prefer to have a chunk of turns in the beginning where I can focus solely on expansion and advancement before I encounter any other Civilizations. On the other hand, managing a large army from the very beginning while struggling to advance your civilization with greatly reduced resources is the sort of challenge that the game was really built to deliver. Adding wrinkles to that, spying and religion, new to the “Gods and Kings” expansion, add a little bit more flavor to the proceedings, but not quite in the ways you might expect. On the face of it, religion seems to have no real affect on international relationships whatsoever. The main benefit comes from bonuses you get as either a founder (which grow as your religion spread) or as a follower (which benefits each city following it). Unfortunately, the benefits seem to end their, you don't share improved relations with other nations that share your religion (as far as I can tell), nor can you leverage your religion beyond the basic benefits. Spy's on the other hand, affect relations in a few different ways: they can warn you of impending attacks, steal technology, or annoy nations by their mere presence. My favorite part is being able to share intel with other nations, effectively strengthening your bonds with potential allies while harming their relationship with your enemy.
Strategy/3D Turn-Based Strategy