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In Spain we have a faction that is based around aggressive exploration. They have two special units which appear in the same era, and a unique ability that encourages exploration from the first turn onwards.
Preferred landscape: Continents gives you a decent balance for your exploration. Spain receives a big monetary bonus for being the first to discover a Natural Wonder. Continents gives you land and sea exploration in a decent balance.
Spain likes to explore early. You’ll want to build a Scout and get them moving around the map. Discovering a Natural Wonder first leads to a big cash bonus
You’ll have to wait until the Renaissance era for your unique units, but with bonuses like these, the wait is worthwhile.
Your research should help your exploration, so getting to Optics first (via Pottery and Sailing) is a good plan. Build the Great Lighthouse to gives your ships an important line of sight bonus. If you can spot inland Natural Wonders from the coast, you’ll still receive the discovery bonus.
Your first policy
It really doesn’t matter. Feel free to pursue your favourite.
First 50 turns
Following the above research and building pattern will take at least 50 turns, probably more like 75. Scouts are important, and I like to use my monetary bonus to speed Settler and Worker production. However using the money to get an early army of Scouts is not a bad idea either.
Pantheon of choice
As with Policy, this really doesn’t matter, so feel free to choose the pantheon that best suits your starting position, or even ignore religion entirely.
Spain can comfortably achieve any of the win conditions in the game. The exploration options and Natural Wonder bonus lead you towards as scattered empire with many cities, but this is manageable.