I'm currently wrapping up an Emperor-level game set on the Greatest Earth Map with True Start Locations enabled. I let the game select my civilization randomly, and got a bit lucky playing the Romans with Western Europe mostly empty. I've been snowballing towards a Domination victory ever since crushing the Russians in a holy war, and have also consistently led on science in spite of only building a couple Campuses (the AIs suck at scoring Eureka moments IME). I'd like input on what my next challenge should be. I want the difficulty level to harder than the previous game (maybe even hard enough to compensate for the AIs seeming inability to boost anything!) but not totally impossible. I also want my next game to make as coherent an alternate history story as possible—I've found using True Start Locations to help with that, but my current game did have some oddities, such as Australia existing without England, and falling behind in the tech race to the point I could launch a launch a Colonial War against the land down under. I'm contemplating doing a late start in the Medieval era (because a fair amount of the game's content is anachronistic before that), and hand-picking civs so that only Eurasia and North Africa are initially populated. I kind of want to use as many civs as possible given said geographical constraint, but am worried about crowded start locations causing loyalty problems from turn 1. I've heard late starts make the game easier, so I'm thinking of skipping Immortal and going strait to Deity. On the other hand if I deliberately crowd my own start location a lower difficulty setting might be hard enough. So I'd very much appreciate thoughts on the difficulty aspect. I'm also not sure what civilization I want to play as. Part of me wants to see if I can win with a relatively peaceful style of play, which makes me incline towards India, China, or Sweden. I'm also interested in possibly playing as a historical underdog, which has me thinking about India (again) or maybe something weird like Georgia? Of course choice of civilization will also affect the difficulty level.