The outcome of this is certainly interesting. Let's say we find that chopping speeds the REX a bit what would be the conclusion? This is somewhat unclear to me because there will clearly be a trade off between chopping now for REX and saving forests for more free specialists later. Assuming that a strong NP city is important to do well in this competition what can we do to minimize risks given our limited knowledge at the start of the game? If we start chopping early we may later find out that there is no other suitable site for the NP city within reach and then we have done something irreversible that we may not recover from. If we settle the capital on the dessert hill and the GP farm in place we can chop a couple of forests in the capital FC and still have 9 forests left in the GP farm. We can then postpone the decision on chopping these forests until we have obtained information about the map. If there is indeed another strong site for a GP farm we can then chop the forests anyway. What we loose from this is bureaucracy bonus for a some forests and note that compared to settling south of rice we keep one extra forest for chopping. Compared to keeping the capital in place we bonus for a few more forests but we gain bureaucracy bonus for the gold hills. My conclusion is that from a risk management point of view we are better of settling the capital on the desert hill and the GP farm in place and then wait for more scouting before we decide what to do with the forests.