It's the same since civ4. We all play on small maps with a timer on.
I start that by watch out for rush on these kind of maps. So as you will read bellow it is better to grow before making an army imo. But if the rusher are there, make an army first. I will use army in late game, that's my strats.
How to start and colonization.
Note: Worker fast.
So the point here is you need to take as much land as possible and as quick as possible too because otherwise you need to felt in war and try to take town and loose precious time. It is not good to search for exploration first because there is another way to get a shelter and it's the vertue that come with time and you should have your first shelter at about the 20th turns. So you need to take the prosperity vertu at first and than take the one that give the shelter. This is going to be the second town. Than when your main town is enough strong and big, like about 15 turns after the first shelter made from the vertue you need to build another shelter. You could do that quicker for taking land before the others on small maps or because you found such a good site that you can't afford to loose it. It is good to note that you need to turn on the resources indicator or call it whatever you want by clicking on the eye on the minimap. This way you can find out good spot for your new town. This should always be turn on btw. By choosing a good site according to the tile that have a lot, your town will be prosperous. The most important tile to choose are the those with a lot of food around. Than come the resources needed in the future game that you need to think ahead. For example if you go for harmony, you need some resources and you better think about that if you wan the strongest unit of the game in the late games. So I will repeat to make this clear, you search for a set of tile that have either a lot of food, this mean tile that can be change for farms, tile that already have 2 of food without farms. You always need at least 3 tiles of 2 food that can be change in farms or resources that give food to start a new town imo. It is better to find better than that but if you can't, there we go. Also you can search for tile that have a lot of energy aka money. It is also a good option to make a lot of money. It appear that it is not really important as it was to have tile with hammer or angrenage anymore because you can either build or purchase building with production boots. This is not sure yet, it has not been tested but I think you should not really care about hammer aka production tile. Of course it is always better to have a mountain or a resource that give hammer in town but it is not always possible to do so.
You need to search at the beginning for tech that give a lot of research. Than come the needed tech that depend on the situation and than come the tech that keep your civ healthy for a while but not for long because btw it appear that it is impossible to keep your civ healthy with time and it cost too much in time turn to keep it healthy and so take the advantage of some perks. Than how to deal with the tech web is quite simple: Because your civ do not generate a lot of research at the beginning, it is good to search only for simple and low cost tech. The way to do that is to search in circle around the first tech that you get. Just do the first one of each, or those that give new building or some advantage. I always search for simple tech that give building that give research first. After that, of course, it depend on what it is needed, weapons maybe because there is a rush. So if no weapons is needed what I suggest to do than is to keep your civ healthy for a while and than pass to super grow by taking tech that give more food and especially tech that give the super farms and that are located on top of the tech web. This of course is if your not attacked by nor humans or aliens. Because it could happens that you are attacked by humans and that you need to make some early and weak units to defend. These are all located in the center of the tech web. Read bellow about how to fight... If you are attacked by aliens, and btw, a good thing to say about that is DO NOT attack the aliens even if they do because they will according to some rumor around get more aggressive. Of course sometimes you have no choice to attack them but most of the time you have. If you need to clear the area because you can colonize do so with the army. Back on the research subject, than you need to make the super weapons for defending or attacking. It need resource to do so and also it could be good at this point to research and build wonder for points and advantage it give. Than I don't know, I did not go more far than that.
Ok so there is 4 units at early game you can play with. First are the soldier that can be upgraded btw I don't know how but I think with time. The soldiers are cheap and available at the start of the game. You should move to the roover when possible to move faster and have stronger weapons. It is a must in this civ to get the artillery infantry. So if you want to attack or defend, DO NOT forget this unit. Well used, this is very good. I'll show what I can do with that if I keep playing this game and also I'm not sure where the hell are these units on the tech web but I think they are in the center. Than you need the rocket to attack town and destroy their defence before taking it. We're not in civ4 anymore, a single soldier cannot take a town. This is good to know btw because you do not need to defend at the beginning. So a good mix of the 3 units should be fine for early game to not even say late game. Use well the artillery and wait for my stream to understand how to deal with this whole army. You'll see, I did it once in civ5, I beated the great greek army with some knight. For late game, I did not play that much to know how well the super units does but so far, I think I'll go with harmonie of I can and if I can't it will depend on the resource I have avaible. I say, wait for my stream because it appear that this aspect of life cannot be explain. But I could say at least, that I'm going to use well the tile and use artillery as much as possible. This way, I can attack army that are in cover on good tile, tile with forest or mountain, without loosing anything. Than you need to take the ground well. I mean, you need to arrange yourself so the opponent go in open field while your in cover field(Or cover tile).
You always withdraw as much as possible to not loose units and repair them. Promotion is important for new units, it is good to understand that new units heal quick because of promotion. So they are like 2 units when new. Older units take more time to get promoted but I'm not sure about that. Use heal if you need and power up if units is safe and|or can be repair.
NOTE1: It appear that trade route with outpost and friendly town are very good. Did not try....
NOTE2: Make friends and try to make allies at start.
NOTE3: Use money to buy building if you're full of it.
NOTE4: Use trade with allies to make good profit.
NOTE:5 Explore a lot to find good site for your town.
NOTE6: At the start, maybe it is not realy good to search for tech that could give more food like for example water tile. But when you civ is strong, this kind of tech take 3 turns and can give a good boots to a town.
NOTE7: Do not forget, healing unit is a very important aspect of combat in this game.
NOTE8: Special op at early game is possible. Trying to take shelter or block his way to colonization or sabotage.
NOTE9: One player is too good or have a score to high, sabotage or try to make him build army to slow him down by sending army around it with your allies.