Starting options in gal civ2 have settings for event frequency and major event. Sins has quickstart, settings for different rates of income/culture spread/research speed etc.
So, how about elemental has some of those, whichever are thought best and some new ones? such as:
"starting major event" enables a random event in the first turn or on turn 5 or 10. Playing with a major "production disabled for 100 turns" event would be very different or "a Necromancer has risen" type event. My reasoning is that they can be very frustrating when they're completely unexpected but could lead to fun and interesting games if you have either the option to not play with them or have them disrupt only a few turns play. Even just for testing the scripting of them and looking for bugs it'd be useful. +"major events" on/off and "event frequency" just like galciv2.
"underdog" a series of toggles that provide large but capturable bonuses to the AI, such as: additional artifacts, resources, spells and techs. For when the next difficulty level crushes you but you can otherwise handle the one before. E.g. sins, I used to have trouble with the levels above hard. I would have liked hard with the enemy starting with an artifact homeworld or 2 extra crystal and metal extractors or a few levels of health max/regeneration techs... something that would have made those early 1vs1 battles quite tough. Without having to switch to insane and have them produce 3x your ships and require completely different strategies (it's hard to fight well on 3 fronts).
I suppose the only ones that are important are ones that would be used. What would you use and what would you like?