That Escapist article brings some data to the table, so let's take a look at it. In the Escapist article, Ed Beach (the Firaxis lead designer) posted an image of his test results, which isn't really called out in the article:
There were three experiments described in the article:
- Settle on the first turn ("baseline")
- Move the first turn and settle on the second ("move first turn")
- Skip the first turn and settle on the second turn without an additional move ("one turn delay")
If you look at the data, the "baseline" and "move first turn" results are pretty close. It's 149 total city output for the "baseline" against 156. Skipping your first turn is solidly behind, however. Further, there's not a lot of data here - it appears to be a sample size of one game, which doesn't really scream "statistically significant." Also, it looks like the games diverged quickly afterwards, so there are a lot of variables at play. Did workers improve the same resources? What was built in each city in what order?
From the data presented I can't really draw the conclusion that using your entire first turn to move is significantly better in all situations versus settling that turn. I can posit that your first turn is important, and should not be wasted.
Having talked about the article's results, I'll give you my strategy.
I will tend to move and settle without hesitation if I think I can get a better position with half my settler's first turn. When it comes to using that turn completely to move, that's a trickier proposition.
You can't do a lot of scouting in the first turn under the default circumstances - you're likely to have one combat unit that can make a move and reveal a few tiles, but it's generally not enough to expose the entire city working radius plus some to reveal a potentially better starting location.
My suggestion would be to consider a few things:
- Desert, Mountain, and Tundra tiles - are there a lot? (say, 3-4 or more within the city's proposed working radius)
- Can you get a better balance of luxuries by using your entire turn? (ie, you have 3 cotton at your spawn, but could get 2 cotton and a sugar if you move)
- Is the city's working radius dominated by water tiles, but you're not on the coast? (say, 4-5 water tiles and you're a full turn inland)
In these cases, I'd probably suggest moving. However, in most games I've played, I could balance the two and get the best of both worlds - a better spot than I spawned on, and the additional benefit of that early turn post-city founding.