Base options: I usually use the Island-based generator(/set generator "ISLAND") and let the game place one player per continent(/set startpos "SINGLE"). This makes sure that I don't get in contact with the AI too fast. Since I normally play with ｎｏｖｉｃｅ or ｅａｓｙ AIs, I have enough time to get a huge advantage. Also, I set contactturns to 100 to have enough time for diplomatic actions after meeting the AI, and phasemode to "PLAYER" or "TEAM" to avoid immediately losing strong attack units due to the enemy attacking when I move my units next to his city. sciencebox is normally 0, since this gives more room for advantage.
Science: Immediately after the game has started, it is wise(in my opinion) to set the currently researched technology to Masonry and set the goal to Bronze Working or Pottery. Either way, the other one is next up. After that, you should research either Map Making(because I like going to sea quickly) or Mysticism. Then come Literacy, Trade or, to help speed up research, Astronomy. The aim of all of this is get the Great Wonders more quickly than your opponents, the Great Wall being the first of them. You should also get to Construction quickly for Aquaeducts, and to Bridge Building so you can build roads on rivers. Monarchy is also useful, but it's up to you to decide. Fact is that you need to get the Wonder-Techs of the first column and second column as quickly as possible.
Building: If you have already gotten Masonry from a hut, immediately build the Great Wall. Then, build a unit for defense! Also, you should build a diplomat or spy to defend against other diplomats/spies. Other than that, you should build any Wonders you can build, City Walls(if you don't have the Great Wall), or Barracks and what else you can build. In general, until the end of the game, this is the order you should build your stuff in:
- Defending Unit(s)
- Defense Buildings(if you have laser, the SDI first)
- Barracks, Port Facility etc.
- Production and Anti-Pollution buildings
- Happiness Buildings
- Everything else
Oh, and one more thing: You should probably build most of your wonders in your capital and you earlier cities, not in those easily captured. Also, take care with those like Copernicus' Observatory, Colossus etc., since they only do something in the city they're in.
Diplomacy: Try to get a peace treaty, and maybe an Alliance with the others as fast as possible. Then, you have two ways.
- Build a huge army, declare war and kill your former allies. Brotip: Do it before they research Laser and nuke the hell out of them. Or come with a swarm of Helicopters. Or both. Works not every time!
- Build a strong defense and start to build a spaceship. As soon as you launch it, they'll declare war on you, but a perfect spaceship needs only about 15 years, so you're fine.
That's pretty much it. You should explore the whole world(for example, with Helis or the Apollo Program), have an embassy with everyone and terraform the area around your cities.
I'll probably re-work this , but until then, you could try this plan.