Map Types - Relative Difficulty
I don't think this is a suitable poll question since few people would have experience with all map types.
So my question is: Assuming you are playing at a difficulty level (single-player) that you find challenging, which map types are the most favourable or unfavourable for the human player?
Well playing up to level 6 I cant say I've noticed much different. Win one win all in my experience. I suppose maps that isolate you from other civs help by allowing you more time to develop (ex. island maps) but other than that...
Starting center-mass on a pangaea usually gives you the shaft, difficulty scaling proportionally to the size. If you stay small, you've got AI boring down at you from every direction. If you conquer, the AI furtherst from you will be far more enormous and out-tech you by the time you get around to them.
Small continents is always smooth sailing, you've got 1 to 2 neighbors tops and taking them over means you've got an entire landmass to yourself.
I'd say Pangaea type maps are the hardest. Lots of neighbours that will be coveting your borders, constantly declaring war, potentially expanding into "your" lands, and generally just keeping much closer competition. On the other hand, I (personally) find Pangaea maps to be very resource rich, allowing for mighty cities. Minimal coastal tiles means your city won't have half its tiles wasted by awful water tiles, again allowing for strong cities. They also probably allow for the greatest expansion and military options, provided you get started early.
Archipelago maps are probably the easiest. The AI will be friendly, since you probably aren't sharing borders. You generally don't have to worry about expanding ASAP because the AI won't really have access to your land. You can basically ignore your military, as the AI is unlikely to declare war, and if they do 3 ships are more useful than any number of land units. Unfortunately, it can also take you a while to meet neighbours, limiting access to RAs and luxuries, potentially slowing science and growth. As well, you generally have lots of coastal tiles in your cities, which are basically worthless. Military action is difficult because of how fragile embarked military units are, which also works against you.
due to the game mechanics, naval warfare favours the player. So any massive water map favours the player in all VCs.
Pangea/mass land can be 'favourable' to the player for Domination (right civ/location) but all other VCs will be harder.
Continents may or may not be 'balanced' or favour the player, depending on if the other continent is entirely conquered by a single civ by the time you get there.
I was just going to mention this. Continents can be the hardest as you have little control over a runaway Civ conquering almost the entirety of the other continent before you even discover it.
Originally Posted by MadDjinn
Its going to depend on the civ you choose too. Aztecs are stronger on the lakes maps. Germans and other early rushers are nice on pangea or more landlocked maps. Polynesia, England and maybe the Ottomans(horrible UA but not as bad on Archipelago) are better on Archipelago maps. Incas are awesome on the highlands map and if you set the rainfall to wet and weather to temperate you usually get more forests for the Iroquois. And of course if the weather is set to cold and there is at least some water Denmark rocks. For the ones that don't get benefit from certain terrains I think inland sea is the easiest since you really only have two fronts to watch but the city states can kind of crowd you a little on that one (maybe a nice one for Mongolia?)