For a long time I avoid all the "special" modes like Secret Societies since they make the game feel less historical to me. Recently I have been following the Hall of Fame discussions for Science Victory runs with all settings allowed and saw how fun these could be, so I decided to take a shot at a Science speed run with fully "cooked" settings. I will post each turn here to both chronicle my game and force myself to play carefully. For this run I have self-banned "city flipping" (giving away a city of letting it flip by loyalty just to pillage/reconquer/repair/repeat) and buying all the AIs DF cheap to re-sell for a ton of gold later. These feel too exploitive / tedious to me. Anyway, here are the settings I choose and comments on them: Civ: Hammurabi. I think he is the best for maximizing a speed run in general, plus he can unlock things like Industries faster and benefits even more from some Heroes like Hercules (free buildings make the free districts better) and Sinbad (gold can be used for some broken early upgrades like rapid Pike and Shot). Difficulty: Deity - AIs are there to provide more cities, so give them more Settlers to start. Size: Standard - I personally just don't like maps that feel too large, not sure if this is optimal though. Speed: Standard Disasters: Left it at 2. Seems like the best balance of a few extra yields versus annoying district damage / pop loss. Modes: Secret Societies (early Governor Title, Old God Obelisks), Barbarian Clans (seems to greatly reduce risk of early barb disasters, plus chance to buy Eagle Warriors), Heroes and Legends (obviously awesome), Corporations (modestly useful mostly for Industries). Map Type: Continents and Islands. Pangea seems like it could also be good, but I chose this map mainly to have more late game huts on islands for more chances to pop free techs and to secure Voidsingers if I miss out early. This map also seems to leave more late game barbarian clans that can be converted into extra City States or cleared for possible tech boosts (I am still not sure what the odds are for this and how it changes over the game). City States: Pumped to 18 (max for Standard map). I selected 24 possibilities instead of 18, because this allows Barbarian Clans to turn into the remaining ones (otherwise the civilization feature will be disabled). I took all 8 Science, 6 Culture (all except Vilnius and Mohenjo Daro), 4 Industrial (Johannesburg, Hong Kong, Brussels, and Buenos Ares), 2 Military (Akkad and Granada), 2 Religious (Chinguetti and Vatican City) and 2 Commercial (Zanzibar and Cahokia). Resources: Abundant. This will make it harder to get Monopolies rolling, but I think a faster start matters more. World Age: Standard, did not want TOO many mountains blocking movement. Temperature: Standard. But not sure if there is any reason to prefer colder for more forests maybe? Rainfall: Wet (more forests=more chops). Sea Level: Standard. Start: Legendary. Wonders: Selected Paititi, Ik-Kil, Ukuru, Torres del Paine, and Piopiotahi. AIs: I find that with the standard 7 AIs you often don't have a close neighbor to rush. So, I bumped it to 11. I went for AIs with no defensive bonus or strong early unique units (except Gilgamesh). Here are my choices and reasoning: Kristina: Tends to pay a lot of gold for DF. Wilfred Laurier: Tends to pay a lot of gold for DF (or at least I think he does, haven't seen him in a few patches). Seondeok: Builds lots of fast Campus, good to conquer/pillage. Qin Shi Huang: Hopefully will build wonders to capture. Robert the Bruce: Not 100% sure but he seems to build lots of Campus and I think pays for DF. Mali: Builds early Commercial Hubs which are nice to pillage/Conquer Saladin: Builder Holy Sites which are actually kind of rare after the patch. Gilgamesh: Obviously to have one friend for life to trade with after everyone else hates me. Dido: Figured since she starts with Writing she may build more Campus. Pericles: Hopefully some Acropolis to conquer. Victoria: Threw her in as a random vanilla AI and hope she will build Harbors.