Thanks for the comments. After reading your comments regarding the Bonus Grass, I had a feeling of Deja Vu, as I know I had just discussed this with someone recently, and then realized it was with you in RBC10 SG!
I will usually still avoid settling on a BG for my first city or two, as that extra shield comes in handy during the early phase and (assuming my capital is my settler factory) it won't get over 6 for a while. But in a case like this, where my capital was going to grow large early, it would probably have been worth it.
Although I always hate to see a GA limited like it was, despot/one city, there was no avoiding it in this game. But at least it kicked me up to 15spt, so it was well worth it, 3 extra javs at that point in time were critical. Now, if the despotism penaties had held me at 14spt, THAT would have been frustrating!
You also asked about my use of artillery w/ the javs, I actually didn't use that much early on. Checking back through the saves, I had none in my first war, a couple cats during my second dutch war to take Amsterdam (I would have actually benefitted if they reduced population there, as it was size 7). I was up to 4 trebuchets by the Carthage war, and did use them in attacks on cities, but my preferred method was to move move close, wait for any archer/sword counters to appear, and hit them in the open. Otherwise, I would use the Ancient Cavs (and 2-3 swords/MI I eventually built) to hit the cities, counting on their retreat to leave at least one wounded defender, and that's who I would save the javs for. The Jav armies were effective even against strong defenders (NuMercs). After that war, I was down to just the two Jav armies, and they would hang out to pick off redlined units left from Cav retreats.
BTW, I also replaced the animated GIF with a 4-part picture with captions instead. I was trying to show the struggle over Hannover and the aluminum, (and try out some animated GIF shareware I downloaded).