This is going to cover as much of the game as I can squeeze into here, mostly saying what I like, dislike, and including mysuggestions. Keep in mind this is the impression I get after only about a full day of playing, and reading several threads on these forums. Generally, I find that the game will get real slow, real fast, especially in terms of resources and troop training. I seem to find that it jumps too far too quickly. I understand that it's slow to make people think more, but looking at it from where I am now, I fear future ages.
To start with, let's take a look at research. I really like the look of that big tech tree, because I like to research things. However,from reading posts, it seems that things start getting nasty about a little more than halfway into the second age, which I believe is called the Iron Age. From what I heard, and will soon learn for myself once I get some more supplies, goods generate incredibly slowly, especially without a bonus from a territory. From what I hear, it's 4 hours for 1 good. It appears that archery requires 36 marble, and you cannot get much further in the tree without researching archery. This will literally freeze the research of anyone who isn't planning ahead, or who hasn't bought diamonds, for several days. More on that later. Forge Points (FP) are well-balanced at one point per hour. I would like it to be faster, but that's just me being greedy. I would suggest more techs along the line of increasing production values, troop stats, etc, but such techs shouldn't show up until the 4th Age in my opinion. Now, back to the relationship between goods and techs, and some scenarios.
At 1 good per 4 hours, it would take about 144 hours to produce enough marble for archery with 1 building and without bonuses.That's 6 days, and this is only the second of 5 ages. If you did not plan ahead at all, it may have been a bit difficult to put in 1 of those 3x3 buildings that require a good 108 population, likely sacrificing one of your supplies buildings. But wait, there's still more goods that need to be produced for everything else! Maybe those expansions, however expensive they were, would be useful. But wait, you don't have any left. Well, maybe you could research agriculture or sewage? Wait, how many goods?! But I need those expansions to get those goods buildings! *rage-quit* I realize this scenario is pretty much the worst possible scenario, and probably won't happen all that often, but there will be several rage-quits or diamond purchases. Heck, I was thinking of skipping the tech Growing before I read some of the forums. After I read a few threads, Growing was the next thing I researched.
Now, those who plan ahead likely attempted to get 2 of each goods building, if they could. However, each goods building needs108 population (pop), which means you need 4 chalets (the best house for pop when you can get your first goods building) for 1 goods building, with 20 leftover. If you want 2 buildings for every type of goods, you need 33 chalets. However, you should have a bonus, so if you're thinking, only 9 goods buildings are (supposedly) needed, which means you need 31 chalets. Some may have a second bonus, but this will assume you only have 1 when you're constructing your first goods buildings, and that bonuses double the production rate. That said, houses don't improve in pop until the Iron Age, and you're going to need 24 dye to unlock the tech Procession that unlocks the tech Cottage for the real good improvement, not to mention the 15 stone needed to unlock the tech Architecture needed to unlock Procession. So you really need those goods buildings now.
Anyways, you're not going to have a whole lot of space yet either. You start off with a 16 x 16 square (256 space). Before yourfirst goods building, you can get up to three 4 x 4 (16 space each) expansions, and another shortly after (64 space total). So we're now at 320 space. But wait, your Town Hall is 7 x 6 (42 space). So now we're down to 278 space. We are going to need enough space for 32 chalets (2 x 2 each, 4 space each, 128 space total) and 9 goods buildings (3 x 3 each, 9 space each, 81 space total). That's 209 space, leaving us with 78 space, not mentioning trails, for production, military, culture, and decorations. You can probably get away with not building many culture buildings, but that's still a lot of buildings that you need to build. The best production per space at this point is the Fruit Farm, which takes up 20 space. The give 130 per hour, so I'd like 2, which would leave me at 38 space, and we still haven't factored in paths, military, or decorations, assuming we don't build cultural buildings. Let's assume we're going to need 20 paths, now we're down to 18 space, enough for 2 Spearfighter Barracks. Yeah, essentially, early on, if you plan on playing without diamonds, you're going to want to sacrifice either happiness or troops.
So, how many FP does it take to get to one of these expensive techs, for example Archery, after you have built your goodsbuildings? For the shortest route (not suggested), about 150. For the more thorough route, it would take about 170 FP. That's 170 hours (or a little over 7 days), which means that, if you plan ahead, you'll be fine! If you purchase exactly 26 FP, that'll mean you'll have just enough marble when you get to Archery! This completely wrecks the prepared scenario I painstakingly prepared for you before thinking about FPs!
So I guess I overdid it a bit with those scenarios, but you can see how nigh impossible it is for the unprepared player. So now,let's look at troops. Well hey, here's a nice, reliable unit, the Spearfighter (Spear). Cheap, quick to produce, reliable in battle, awesome! Only real threat are the warriors, but Spears are so easy to reproduce, you can just overwhelm the enemy. To be honest, I just love these guys. So let's look at the next unit available, the Slinger (Sling). Oh hey, a ranged attack that's not too bad. And they're strong against warriors too? Awesome! Cheap-ish too. Wait, 1 hour per unit? Didn't Spears only take about 20 seconds? That's like, a 18000% increase! (180x) Well, how about Horsemen (Horses)? Fast, good for those annoying Slings, and also better than most for the even more annoying Stone Throwers (Throwers) of the enemy, sounds good. Wait, 4 hours? And they can't travel over swamps or rocks? (I came across a map that had a full line of swamps, rocks, and lakes once, except for a bush at the bottom. You can bet I didn't see the bush until the battle was almost over) Oh, and they're not very cheap either, though it's not bad. Costs are well thought out, at least at this stage. Times, not so much. Theoretically, it will get way worse before this is over. I figure Throwers will take about close to a day. We still have 5 ages to go people, this will take nearly forever by the end. There is a chance that the next level of the troop (i.e. Spears to Soldiers) will take as long as the previous level. If that is the case, then the times are actually fine-ish. But if not...I'm probably not going to be playing this game long, and I doubt I'll be the only one.
Not really going to bother with a scenario regarding military buildings, I figure I wasted your time enough with the scenario forgoods buildings. So, let's move onto the battle system, which, in my opinion, is awesome. I love playing chess, and this is a lot like chess. Although, I find the defensive bonuses to be funny. We have plains (the unnamed areas), swamps, hills, rocks, bushes, forests, and lakes, yet so far I've only seen the bushes and the forests give defensive bonuses. Let's see some variety! Like say, have swamps take away 1 defense (any more would be a bad idea), and how about hills give a range boost to short ranged units? (They might, haven't tested yet.) Rocks could possibly give a small defensive boost as well. Oh, and try to avoid almost a whole vertical(well, where all the hexes are touching) line being taken up by rocks, swamps, and lakes except for a hex on the very bottom or top. That makes horses almost useless. Almost because they're fast, but because of this they won't reach the enemy until about the same time your other, slower units do, which makes their speed moot in those maps. A map preview option (only against NPC's though) could be another option. Not a bad idea either really. But I digress. The battle system is splendid, just don't click finish battle instantly too early, cause the AI's an idiot. You'll be better off doing it yourself.
I don't really have anything to say about supplies buildings, cultural buildings, or decorations at this time, besides the fact that Ineed more supplies buildings. I'm kinda out of time for today though, so I'm going to add a pair of placeholder posts as a just in case. So if you need clarification on something, ask! If you have an experience or statistic that you think will change my opinion on something, share! Tomorrow, I'll go into Diamonds and their