Easiest? Settings for Veteran difficulty. Make good use of all the extra room, due to production requirement reduction.
The primary setting here is Goods Consumption – Spares
I have outlined the Veteran Difficulty settings I am currently using, after many rounds of trial and error. Hopefully this will help save others time by not making you create multiple games just to figure out a decent setup.
Spares goods consumption is the key. To get it nearly ever other setting needs to be set to its “hardest” difficulty. Most of those settings have almost no impact on the games actual difficulty, but from my experience this one does. With this setup the most annoying part is the calamities and enemy invasions, although that’s really just in the early game, not so much during the late game.
Doing this ensures you will build the least amount of production buildings, service buildings and will lower the amount of goods needing to be traded from region to region. This will max your housing footprint on each map, since you will need less area for producing your goods (which is even better if you are using houses to make power as well). It even results in less energy needed overall to power your regions. Due to it being so easy to meet your peoples needs, the Satisfaction Impact – High Impact is easy to handle. Once you get to Executives and Investors (or Synthetics), Provided Workforce – Spares also becomes a non-issue, but before that you can mitigate its impact with building mods.
I found it extremely annoying, with Medium or Plenty Goods Consumption, running out of coastal building sites and mountain building sites. Then having to deal with the ups and downs of the global market to meet those resource needs. And of course each World Market trade route only has a max of 500 items per, so its very limited help for end game (and extremely random with the price as well).
Easiest settings for the 4 million synth achievement? Maybe… Still working on that one, but it does seems doable now, without thousands of hours of game play.