Originally posted by The diplomat
Well, #3 is unacceptable for me. #2 could be done but it might remove the soul of the game. After all, civ has been about building an empire that stands the test of time. If the game only lasts from say 3000BC to 0 AD, then you would lose some of the epic feel of the game. Of course, you would also be able to concentrate on a particular age like the Ancient Age and make it more alive.
If the game switched to a province based map instead of a tile based map, some of the timescale problems could be resolved. This solution has the benefit that it would avoid the problems from options 1, 2, 3 and 4.
A province map would mean that it would no longer take tens of turns just to reach an enemy city. Wars would be fought on a much shorter timescale, since you could conquer 1 province representing an entire region in 1 or 2 turns.
A province map would also mean more realistic times for unit movements. If an infantry has 1 movement, it would move 1 province a turn instead of 1 tile a turn. Ships could cross oceans in a few turns instead of tens of turns.
So, provinces would fix some of the issues.