I'm trying to create the most optimal world and settings (along with some personal tastes of my own which do not hamper that goal). Please, feel free to post your personal settings with explanations on why you choose them... I'll do the same! Here is my typical setup: 10 civs total (myself included) The games seems to default to 7 when choosing a standard size map, but I prefer an even number which can be divided evenly between 2 continents. I feel with a standard size map, 10 (5 on each continent) gives adequate space for civs to expand. Too few civs makes it quiet and hurts warmongers... especially civs with early, unique units. Too many civs makes it very tight and can hurt civs who favor peaceful measures more. It also makes too many capital city "power" resource/tree sites when there's too many civs. I try to choose a total civ number which will allow all civs to easily obtain at least 6 cities (while still remaining "choosey" with terrain). That way, those civs will be able to build enough buildings to get their national wonders. (Ex. at least 6 banks for Wall Street on standard size maps.) I also want to divide up the resources enough among civs, but also want them each to have a good chance at getting necessary resource tiles like oil. Map: Hemispheres I just love this script. The maps look somewhat natural with some randomness too. They're balanced and will produce as many continents as specified... with a surprise, large island here and there. Size: Standard I prefer to manage less cities. This also makes the magic number "6" for natural wonders and "3" for cathedrals. Also, I feel with larger sized maps, I'm not "involved" much with some civs or regions far away anyway. I'd rather keep things smaller and more personal. Climate: Temperate For a balance of all terrain features and resources. Sea Level: Medium For a balanced map. Experimenting with Low though for more land mass and maybe squeezing in another 2 civs. However, I find that sometimes with low sea levels the ocean paths are cut-off on northern and southern ends which can handicap the mobility of naval units for civs located there. Era: Ancient Gotta start from the beginning! Speed: Epic My preferred speed. Others are too fast and Marathon just feels too long. I also feel Epic gives a good amount of mobility on standard maps... Marathon would be pushin' it. Continents Size: Normal Continents Just regular ol' continents. Islands Size: Tiny Islands I don't see much difference between the two options - can anyone clarify? I just go with the default. I'd rather have speckled, tiny islands than island masses which could trap a civ at the beginning. Number of Continents: 2 Two, nice continents... 5 civs on each trying to get along, lol. First half of the game is dealing with your own continent, then the second half is for each side to discover that "new world" and to deal with even more personalities. I feel any more continents would be unnecessary, and would decrease the number of neighboring civs at the beginning because of the division among different continents. Raging Barbarians They "spice up" the early game and keep me on my toes. I feel they also balance out the map. If a civ is getting squished in by another civ's cities, at least they won't have to deal with too many barbs. If a civ is a bit further from the other ones, and has a lot of terrain to play with (which means more fog of war) the barbs will keep them busy. Aggressive AI My personal preference. I like big battles, and I want to get my butt whooped if I don't maintain my army. I feel if I'm going to attack civs when I see the opportunity or have an advantage, regardless of my relations with them, then the civs should try to do the same to me. Choose Religions I choose this just to mix up the religions each game. It gets old seeing Hinduism and Buddhism all the time during the beginning.