You said, I quote "In most cases it will take just as many turns to build a Warrior/Settler as it will to build a Worker/Warrior/Settler.". If that is true, why not build a worker since it takes as many turns? I am quite sure you were mistaken somewhere, thus my "" smiley. Well, let's take the case of the least productive resource you can get in the beginning: non-irrigated rice, or a mine, or irrigated sugar, or... whatever. You will always at least get that. And you can get irrigation or mining in time for the worker. Case one: settler first. Built at turn 25. Let's say it will settler on his second turn (quite early). Net gain specific from this setup at turn 34: one turn of food/production at +4 (turn 25), 8 turns at +8 (two cities), and 8 commerce (perhaps 24 if you have a river thanks to trade routes). Total: 68 food/production and 8/24 commerce Case two: worker/settler while improving rice; worker built at turn 15. Let's say he has to spend one turn to get to the rice (worst case). Improve in 4 turns, which makes 4 turns at +4 production for the settler and the rest at +6. Settler is out at turn 33, settles at turn 34. Net gain specific from this setup at turn 34: a worker (60 food/production), and one turn of production (at turn 33) at +6 food/production. Total: 66 food/production and 14 worker turns. Not to mention chopping (the settler), the speedup of the second city (there is a worker around) and the few more turns that the first city will spend at +6 compared to the first setup. I will happily trade 2 production and some commerce for all that. In the worst case. In the best case (irrigated corn, pigs), there is really no match. In fact, I am not even sure that imperialistic will change that too much, because unless you begin with a plains/hill/forest or settle on a plains/hill, the imperialistic will gain only 1 hammer/turn whereas in the second setup he is almost always assured to get a mine, or even better, a chop. That is, of course, unless I made a mistake somewhere, in which case feel free to correct me. I just notice that I am talking about normal speed when you are talking about marathon. Since I am only guessing that you will get mining or irrigation as your first tech before the worker, I do not see that changing much things. You can get it in 45 turns in Marathon, right ?