Recently I started to push my ancient PC to its limit, by playing a Standard map. Since I prefer visitors, friendly or not, I usually go with Terra/Pangea. As the map size goes up from duel, tiny, small to standard, I can see a major difference - the location of a Civ usually determines its success. To be more specific -- the corner Civ that starts with a sweet, wide land mass always prosper. The Civ in the middle always go down, no matter how much resource and land it has. In other words, it is not a good iea expand towards the middle unless necessary, especially in higher difficulties. Middle land = more neighbors. Chances are some of your neighbors are aggressive -- they will attack you as soon as you have any sign of military weakness. Owning the middle land is like a dead-end. You can't move your army away, or your vicious neighbors are going to backstab you. You can't really initiate another military campaign unless you spend a lot of resources producing militaries. Military upkeep isn't cheap at start, the best time for expansion. Middle land = more border overlap. Sooner or later, the AIs will sit their settlers right on your border. Even worse, they are creative leaders, or they found a religion right there, so these annoying cities never gets swallowed by your cultures. Chances are your used-to-be-pleased neighbors won't like you soon, due to the border overlap. With the need for more military and the prescence of more annoyed neighbors, you are guaranteed of: - little further expansion - less income - slower research - less tech trade So what if you do start at the middle? Better take a corner as soon as possible. In the meantime, you may be able to get away by completely aligning with the other fronts. Once you take a corner, you should soon considering taking another corner. After that, you may even take another corner. Then you will have enough power to pursue whatever winning conditions you like. I am sure you know this -- always kill the aggressive neighbors first. It is nice to have a peace-loving neighbor who is at the middle, shielding you from all the aggressive forces on the other end of the world. Don't expand towards your friendly neighbor, since good friend is hard to come by in Civ. Just get your friendly neighbor involved in another warfare, and while he is too busy to backstab you, take another corner via either (his/her) land or the sea.