I've never understood the appeal of random. You have to live with it for 30 hours, and there are so many setting combinations that just make things terrible. Sure it's a surprise, but that surprise lasts what, 10 turns before you get a sense of the map type and civ density? I'd much rather have a predictaby good experience. If I want surprises I'll go for a hike with sausage wrapped around my neck. My first game will be big enough to have all the civs, epic speed continents map. Either as Japan or Egypt. If empty new world is an option, well I'm not sure actually. One of my major outstanding questions is how the current progression arc will accommodate mid-game expansion. Maybe I'll leave that off for the first game if given the choice, since 5 got it so wrong and I have seen no mention of it as a priority at this point.