In this game, you develop rice fields and villages. You score fame points by building and expanding palaces, building reservoirs, and holding festivals.
A couple of important things to remember that are not shown on the reference card. There are three ways to score during the game: building a reservoir, building or expanding a palace, holding a festival. Also, rank is important at two times during the game: building a reservoir, building or expanding a palace. This is in addition to final scoring in which you score by being the first or second ranking developer at each palace.
If you're the first player, spend an action token to score the first reservoir. This is a quick and easy way to maximize your score right off the bat. This will set up another player to create a higher scoring reservoir, so use your free move to place your developer next to a potential reservoir. This will position you to score later, or to cause your opponent to spend extra action points to raise his developer's rank to score that reservoir.
Early in the game, you want to score as many points as possible by building reservoirs. These are easy points and you want to grab them before someone else does.
As often as possible, position at least one developer adjacent to a palace. This will keep you from getting cut off from a palace during final scoring. This also means that you want to keep this developer as the highest ranking developer in the village. You can never be sure when final scoring will be kicked off, so be ready for it after the first few turns.
Try to build palaces on villages where you can cut off developers from a growing village. You want to score high for yourself, but keep other players from scoring any more.
Festivals are a good way to catch up if you're behind. However, it's expensive to replenish palace cards for future festivals. Buy palace cards only if spending action points in any other way will benefit your opponent and not yourself. When buying palace cards, take the face-up palace card if you don't have the symbol(s) on it. Take advantage of the fact that you can do this because it reduces the random factor (the chance of having a bad hand of cards) in the first place. It's ok to tie with an opponent when you're ahead, keeping cards for later festivals.
Along the way, look for opportunities to use your developers to block off important pathways. This is a low priority tactic, though.
I'm not sure about this one: following this strategy, it's ok to be the last player during final scoring. Being last means that no one will beat whatever score you achieve. There is a level of uncertainty, at any other position, especially if a weak player goes after you, which may open up golden opportunities for the players who follow.
During final scoring, check what your score will be before taking your final turn. This is especially true if you're the last player during final scoring. Doing this will tell you how many points you need to get ahead, and how hard you should look for scoring opportunities.