This guide assumes you have a basic knowledge of the game, I wont be going over: ratios, building placements, nor build order. That is up to you to figure out while playing the game.
Optimal / Efficient Gameplay Guide
Always start the game with at least 10 woodcutter huts. 20 is about right. Getting greedy early by buying wood is bad.
Getting hops early is crucial. The +8 from Ale consumption is such an easy tax generator. Keeping your peasants drunk only costs wood (which is basically free), and 100 gold per Inn. Get 2 hop farms minimum; they will sustain a population of 80 or so.
The Pig got it right, crossbowmen are the best early game.
Get as many Fletchers as possible making crossbows. They are a good income source as well.
Tanners are not as important, but if you can spare the oasis land, build a dairy farm, with the tanneries as close are possible to it.
Late game game armies are negotiable, but I prefer spamming horse archers.
Religion can be good, if you plan on playing a longer game with a high population.
If you are going for a quick win, don’t bother.
I like to stay neutral. Making gardens makes your peasants useless. And making Gallows costs too much in gold and army durability.
Ok, so… I have mixed emotions about this. Using cheats takes away from the game experience, but it can also add its own value. These aren’t really cheats, it’s just exploiting the game mechanics.
Use to your own satisfaction.
Build an orchard. Select the building. Pause the game. Double click the “Sleep” Button. Unpause the game and wait.
What you have just done is make the game think that it needs another worker to go to the building. It only works well with orchards, hop and wheat , chapels, iron mines (if far away, it’ll help), and pitch mines.
You can also lock enemies in their base. If you are having a hard time with a level, you can just build an ox tether directly in front (touching) of their stone gate. This works on everyone, but wont work on AIs that already have build spike traps in front of their stone gate.