Civ 4 offers a few alternative ways of playing the game and I thought I might be interesting to see what people's favourite settings are for a typical game. I've now tried quite a few of the map types and I my old favourite used to be a Continents or Archipelago map, and the main reason for this was because it emphasised the naval aspect and usually provided each civ with some inherent safety (i.e. the opposite being surrounded on a Pangea!). However, after a few games using standard sized Terra maps, this has since become my new favourite. The promise of a barbarian infested New World to explore and settle mid to late game is excellent as is the close quarters action in the early game on the continent where all the civs start. In terms of other settings I think the game is best played with Aggressive Civs and Permanent Alliances. I found standard settings on non-Terra maps to be extremely peaceful and it wasn't uncommon to go through entire games without any AI to AI wars let alone any wars that weren't started by me. Coupling Aggressive Civs with a Terra map leads to a very volatile situation, one which involves many interactions - AI to AI and AI to human. The lack of immediate land to expand into often means there's a shortage of vital resources (Iron and Horses in my current game!). As a result, nothing can be taken for granted each game. In my current game, I'm the biggest civ on the continent, but without Iron and Horses I'm having real trouble repelling the constant onslaught of Spanish Conquistadors and Roman Cavalry with my French Muskateers. I'm at a critical stage of needing Rifling ASAP! Permanent Alliances is a nice option because it can throw an unexpected spanner into the works by derailing an otherwise easy cruise to victory. My last game I was leading in score and was the biggest civ until two of the other AI civs joined forces and made it a close run in. So, my current fav settings would be standard Terra map, Aggressive Civs and Permanent Alliances. At the moment this is on Prince difficulty with 8 civs in total. What are yours, and why?