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I've had exactly this experience in Civilization 2. Playing at the higher difficulties, the computer cheats and swaps any knowledge it learns to all other computer players. The computer players are all hostile 100% of the time (a feature of the version that I play), so will never help you in that or any other way.

It was quite a surprise after wiping out the most advanced and powerful civilzation other than me (they had 19th century riflemen, I was several tiers ahead of them so had tanks, battleships, and modern artillery) to have the other civilizations "trade up" to the same level of technology as me and have nukes flying at my cities.

The best way to stop computer civilizations from becoming a threat is to capture or raze all of their cities except for a single one, which you will keep as a pet. After all, you're not a monster.




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