Going last in a round is a slight advantage, hence giving it to the person who did least well that turn. Since it's almost impossible for the same city-state to be ascendant two rounds in a row the start player will usually change between rounds - though not always.
and thank you for this cool game. I'm enjoying it a lot - great game!
Well, James is somehow true in what he said.
For example, in a 4-play session, it happened for me (player X) to be in exactly the same regions as another player from the table (player Y). Almost each time it happened for me (X) to gain control of the first area and that player (Y) to came in 2nd place. This resulted in another player (Z) to be the first at the beginning of the next round. At the end of the game this another player (Z) was the player that scored less points than everyone... I also think that the player that is the last on a turn is the most powerful, as he may decide the zones influence. But I think that a variant, in establishing this last player per round, may be reviewed...
Kind of "the player that gained lesser points from the last round will become the last player" in the following round.