Like the other posts said, there are a LOT of "it depends" and probably even more IMHO (or maybe "not so humble"... I am not a warmonger... I've tried to get there, but maybe I'm just "chicken" (with apologies to Marty McFly). But here's a starting plan - should be good for a newby. I've yet to really move on an early war that I started. Sometime soon, the stars and resources will align and I will try it. I start with this build order: Warrior Worker Settler Warrior When the settler pops, I send him and the 1st warrior off to settle someplace else. The second warrior will protect the city very quickly, especially if you rush him (a.k.a. "whip"). I research agriculture (to give the worker something to do) if necessary. Mining, then bronze working - I immediately switch to slavery. I use the worker to chop trees (usually building farms). Usually that cuts down the time to build the settler & the 2nd warrior. With LUCK, when you complete bronze working, there will be copper in your immediate vicinity - so you can mine it and start producing axemen. If you find it "out there", settle near it, build another worker, and connect your two cities (if necessary). Start poping out axemen. Whip them, if necessary. Axemen are VERY powerful in the early game. VERY useful against roaming barbarians and barbarian cities - early. Take 2x the enemy defenders and you can almost always take a city. The barbs like to build archers. I understand that you can use axemen for an early attack on AIs. My problem is that by the time I get enough axemen built, the AIs have gotten a little too strong. The copper mines have not been really good to me. Last game, I had to research for the iron mines and then build axemen.