Originally posted by Oncle Boris
Land claim is a great idea, but it would require a rethinking of some concepts.
Basically, there are too few civilizations and too much terrain.
There are hundreds of nations in the world. Even in the ancient times, all land was filled with something or someone.
Have a game with 100+ civs. At any given time, only, say, 15 of them would be considered "major powers" and have access to diplomatic benefits.
Major powers can land claim only on minor nation's territory, and in a certain era- the exploration era.
In the beginning, the struggle would be to become the most powerful city-state that collects tribute from other cities. Gradually, you could create a national identity. This should take centuries, just as it did with France, Germany, Japan or China.
Land claim obey to some historical conditions that must be reached in order to be possible. A nation must be strong and united, and the claimed territory must be inhabited by a backward people.
This is the kind of thing that could be easily integrated into the Clash of Civilizations concept (which is brilliant IMHO).