I'm thinking settle 3-4 cities in this order: 1 - copper (production) right 2 - 1SE of gold (cottage that river tile and grasslands-you'll need to start these cottages asap to pay for units/recover after the war) It's close between this location and the one Harv chose. Seeing what's further north might decide between the two. But the advantage of this spot is not for cottages; it's for the PH 3 - 1N of corn (production) 4 - 1N of pigs (production) Agreed on the city locations but I would take down Joao first. I'd probably skip Fishing and do Wheel -> Pottery -> Archery -> Writing -> Alphabet. I like to build cheaper archers to leave for defense while my axes move on to next city. If you can swing Alphabet before you end of the war you can probably get a couple of techs for peace, but also, since your economy will crash hard, you'll probably need to build research in your production cities to get back on track (currency). You don't need defence in an early rush. Archery is pointless. Skipping fishing is reasonable but, as there is no rush to Pots and you'll eventually need Fishing, you might as well get the discount. Also, cottage river tiles at capital early, you'll need them. City 1N of corn can help work them. There's a distinct lack of happiness on this map so there's no rush for cottages. Eventually, yes. For the moment, those mines need to get up and those forests need to be chopped.