Some thoughts This would usually be my thinking and I often road before mining. It takes less turns, gives a gold benefit and opens up more options. However in this case won't Despotism nullify the trade bonus? I am still all for roading first because it does get you more options early on. There are nine tiles that can be reached either side of ther river after border expansion so the choice is between a mountain & hill or two Grassland (one with a bonus shield). I like to leave 'difficult' terrain improvements until I have some extra workers as a rule (especially without the industrious trait). Has anyone done the math on time to complete a granary taking into account the various tile improvement strategies. IOW are we going for a settler or granary build first as this has a major effect on priorities for tile improvment. also there is the question of when to build additional worker(s). A possible option is to improve the three BG tiles running NE or at least some of them and look to cross the river around the time of expansion.