I has been said that the Inca is so overpowered that other civs are not competitive. This is certainly true for Conquest/Domination games on Micro-Pangaea maps, but Space Race does not boil down to taking a few AI's capitals super early, does it? So, let us put silly superstitions aside and get to work. Game speed As far as I know even on Settler difficulty BC Space is not doable on Epic, let alone Normal or Quick. It has to be Marathon, period. Map size There had been some debate whether Huge is better than Large. I have not played Large yet and after playing Standard I doubt that Huge will better than Large. In any case, I'd rather progress gradually and play Large first. Choosing the map script, settings. It is generally agreed to be Terra vs B&S. What is better? To begin with, lets get some raw data. Here are average values over 100 maps Terra(Temperate): Forests 730.97 Land tiles (green, brown and FP) 1905.88 Sushi resources 89.92 (32.72) Mining resources 79.08 (59.31) B&S (Temperate, massive continents, tiny islands, islands mixed in): Forests 474.19 Land tiles (green, brown and FP) 1347.12 Sushi resources 155.73 (53.4) Mining resources 71.2 (53.4) I choose Temperate for both map scripts because it provides the best balance of useful tiles and forests. Cold means more forests but also more useless tundra, while Arid has fewer forests without any particular benefit. I tried B&S with separated island area and the result was: no circumnavigation before Astro and only 126.44 Sushi resources Snaky continents or normal islands? No, thanks. Average Mining was 55.43 on Standard Terra and 48.15 on Standard B&S (same settings). Does it mean that Mining is stronger on Large than on Standard? Not necesserely - 100 maps is not enough to draw conclusions. Still, I hardly ever had Mining stronger than 40-45 on smaller map sizes. In this light WastinTime's 57 does not seem like a lot of luck, its only 3.6 above the average I got. I counted forests unavailable pre-Astro on one of the Large/Terra maps - 257. Assuming that it is not very far from the average value we should have 730.97-257=473.97 forests available without Astronomy, this is almost exatly the amount of forests on Large/B&S Even Terra's advantage of having more forests is non-existing. Not to mention the difficulty of collecting the corporate resources on the other continent. B&S a number of advantages. More food Always easy access to islands for 2(potentially 3-4) internal traderoutes. Powerful GLH. Extremely powerful Sushi (over 60 if you are lucky). No need for early Compass, Optics and Astronomy (skipping these allows essential Biology bulb). You never miss certain types of resources (even if something is missing on the mainland, you can always find it on the islands and get it connected without Astro). For example, in the recent 420 AD game I missed rice and it hurt a lot. Terra has more land, but raising the domination limit is very difficult. I have a theory how it can be done but I'm yet to put it into practice. Smaller distance maintenance. Every AI always starts on the same continent (no Mansa out on the island). Also makes it easier to spread corporations to your main ~100 cities. My choice is B&S, Temperate, Tiny Islands, Islands Mixed In. Game Settings Aggressive AI. For faster peace/cease fire. Helps with worker-stealing and has some other uses. No Barbarians. There is no need for extra random and potentially harmful factors in a game that already requires some luck. No City Razing. There is rarely real need to raze a city, but there cases when a size 1 city is worth keeping. Even if can't keep it at present time, take it for conquest gold, chop if there are forests and give it away, take back when you can afford it. There are also cases for repeated city gifting for recapture, that better be size 1 city without any buildings. It includes (although I had not thought of it) raising domination limit as described by @Kaitzilla https://forums.civfanatics.com/threads/civ-iv-hall-of-fame-update-discussion.668880/#post-16066472 Lock Modified Assets. Maximum number of AI's (14 for Large). I prefer Imperialistic, Financial, Industrious and Expansive because they help AI with expansion, teching and building useful stuff for me. Avoid Aggressive, Protective, Creative and major Oracle threats like Hatty or Gandhi. Civilization and leader. Julius the Stargazer of Rome. Rome is just a personal preference, several other civs can achieve great results. I think that Organized and Industrious are evenly matched. Organized is again just a personal preference. The start It does no look like much, either need third commerce recource or unreasonable amount of hut luck. Therefore I must move. Unfortunately, warrior can't reveal any relevant tile. I think there are two reasonable options to move: 2S or eastward.