I am playing as the Chinese with the Financial/Industrious guy on Monarch difficulty. (Its a small/inland sea map, but thats irrelevant to the strategy). This is on normal speed. 1) Move my initial settler to a PLAINS hill and found there. (This took a turn). 2) Research Bronze working first, to be able to chop forests. 3) Build a worker first. Dont bother letting the city grow. The worker takes 12 turns. 4) Build a settler next (20 tuirns base), and chop forests. Each chop takes 4 turns. One to move, 3 to chop. 8 turns later I have 5*8 = 40 + 30 +30 production and get settler #1. 5) Settler founds a city that builds a SETTLER. (Maybe a worker then settler here would also be better, but this is my first try. City founded 3160BC. I found it on a plains hill also. Capitol builds Settler #2! My worker chops twice for my capitol, then goes and chops once on the other city. City #3 founded 2560 BC City #4 founded 2400 BC!! I am at -4 income, but I have 117 gold at this point from three huts my worker popped. This is lucky, but not so lucky. (It helps that he got exp, to become woodsman 2, which RULES). I now immediately switch to warriors before I die horribly. My settler develops a pasture on a pig, etc... I am now going to build several more workers once my cities grow slightly, and get my resources developed and hooked up, and the land covered with cottages (which will become big income sources for me, as I am financial). Once the cottage/hamlet money starts coming on line, I will do my second expansion, since then I should be able to afford it. This seems VERY strong to me. Much stronger than games where I waited until pop 3 to build my first settler or worker. I attached two saves of the game. The later one is a couple turns afte I have 4 cities, the other is in the middle.