I generally do: 1. 1city infrastructure ->NC -> 4 city. 2. 2city infrastructure -> 4city (2city rush/2city infrastructure) -> NC (will be late on tech) 3. 4city infrastructure -> NC (will be vulnerable to attack, but is great if no damage is taken) 4. 1city infrastructure -> NC -> heroic epic -> 1city rush (some maps expanding isnt an option) (will be late on tech) You'll notice I do infrastructure first. This is because I value hammers over beakers, and am willing to have a tech disadvantage so long as I an have a production advantage. Sometimes expanding isn't an option because a nearby opponent may just kill your expansion. There are some other variants, but these are the most common ones, especially numbers 1 and 2.