I only do this at the beginning. I save at 4000 B.C. scout out the map with my settler and make sure it's going to be a game that I will have fun on and not die of boredom. In other words, if I start on an island, I leave and reload the map. It's just quicker to do it this way than to take the time to build a few warriors and scout just to find out that it's going to be a dull and un-enjoyable game.