I started in the SW corner and only later expanded into the NW corner when I needed more workers. Towards the end I started importing wine to raise my palace level; this was unnecessary and draining as well as risky. I didn't have enough workers / food to get the hippodrome, so importing a second type of wine wasn't too useful. I sure hated the lack of Marble / no Oracles. I usually use Oracles extensively to appease the gods and to boost desirability in key areas.