Everyone starts the game as an Empire, with a couple of free villages and they can settle anywhere in the world. Although peaceful (we had to ban fighting in the first round) the 'politics' of the game already start to form, depending on what oil is discovered and how 'aggressive' the initial settlement choice is.Link (Thanks, Mason!)
Send secret messages; fund terrorism; make deals; renege on deals; wage war; expand your empire; forge secret alliances; fund regime changes; kidnap politicians; be the terrorists
Empires then spread over the planet grabbing all available land, searching for the best oil and the most strategic borders. Some go for towns and cities, other spend their cash on extra empire cards, building up their political options. Maybe, if they're lucky, they'll get an early nuke.