The placement of your castle is vital, it must be near a range of mountains.
You can't hope to win without lots of mines. There are often only a few suitable mining areas. Later on a lot of the fighting will be over who controls the mountains.
Now for your building program. The fighting doesn't usually start until most of the land is occupied. You can do this quickly with guardrooms but they don't offer much security and will quickly be over-run by your enemies. Protect important areas with Watch Towers or Garrisons if there's room.
You'll need at least one of each building early on, except the boatyard and perhaps a pig farm and butcher, Start building military buildings on the edge of your territory straight away. Get your geologists out prospecting the and get those mines going as soon as they find anything. The mines need food, the
easiest way to get it is to use fishermen, later on you can progress to farms.
Next start a couple of woodcutters and and a stone cutters. For every wood- cutter build a forester, or you'll soon run out of trees. The stonecutter will exhaust surface stone after a while, so destroy the building and put up another one or the poor chap has to wander all over the land looking for suitable stone.
The sawmill is next, place it near to your castle. You now have all the raw materials for building work. Now get the other manufacturing buildings going. The steel worker, goldsmith, armourer and tool-maker. You'll generally start the game with stocks of raw materials to get them into production without
mining anything. Put the buildings as close as possible to your castle, along
with a military building or two for protection. These are vital buildings, you need weapons and gold to win the fights.
Get a corn farm going if your miners look like running out of food. Then
either a pig farm and butcher, or a windmill and baker. One butcher can serve
several pig farms and one baker and miller several corn farms, so you're
unlikely to need two of these unless your territory is huge.
When your power builds up a second goldsmith and armourer will help your army
expand and get tougher.
Attack enemy territories carefully, expand too quickly and you're left with
large areas dotted with guard rooms and little else, your army will be
stretched very thin. Keep the garrisons high and well stocked with gold. It's
easy to build more guard rooms, watch towers and garrisons than you have
knights to fill them.
Leave the warehouse for last, you only really need it when you have a large
kingdom and long supply routes. Once raw material production is in full swing,
concentrate on gold and weapons and build up your army. To keep your army well
trained keep rotating them with knights in the castle, where they train.
Keep roads straight and build a few short cuts if you can. Avoid building
"red" roads, keep them flat and level and your chaps will get about a lot
quicker. If you see piles of raw materials building up at a junction then a
bypass is in order. Try and build roads in a grid pattern rather than a star
or you'll get traffic problems.
Watch your enemy for a weak link, a single iron ore mine or a steel worker in
an outlying territory and let loose with a knight or two. Have a look at the
flag on the enemy dwelling and make sure your chaps are up to the job, you can
lose a lot of low level knights in an attack on a well defended building. A
neat and rather mean trick is to attack a building deep inside enemy
territory. You'll probably lose it soon enough if your enemy is any good but
it causes lots of destruction. And that's always a good thing.
The Goldsmith, the more gold you have the better your chaps fight so get at
least a couple of built as quickly as possible
Corn farmers wanders about sowing the seeds and harvesting the crop, it even
goes in seasons. One miller and one baker can very easily handle the output of
three or more of these corn farms.
The bigger the military building then the bigger the area it commands. Be very
careful when knocking them down, or you'll lose precious buildings.
The warehouse, too close to the main castle to be much of use is bad.
Nearly surround your enemy castle with military buildings. Strong forts ensure
he's not going to get the land back easily.
Eventually the supplies of mineable raw materials will be exhausted and it'll
be time to fight with the neighbours over the remaining supplies.
Keep those roads in a neat grid pattern. As soon as you spot a blockage, build
another road to go around it. It's frustration-city to see precious supplies
getting stuck at the crossroads.
The info screen with a descending Zig-Zaging stair (kind of) with tools, food,
weapons and supplies in small boxes:
You can tell your carriers which goods to carry first. When you need something
in a hurry, put it at the top (of the stair) and they will carry it in
preference to anything else.
The flowchart with arrows, diagrams and drawn lines to different workers:
This flow chart tells you if your chaps are getting enough raw materials. You
can quickly spot any shortages and take action.
The screen with the four castles, -/+ signs, Full, Good, Medium etc:
You can release a lot of soldiers for combat by lowering occupation levels for
a while, you'll have loads to play with. Beware of enemy attacks though.
The info screen showing the mines, sliders and food supply:
You can adjust which mines get what proportion of food. If you see someone
walking up and down outside the mine, he's on strike coz he's hungry.
The info screen with the big diagram (red, orange) in an X-Y axis with tools
food and weapon beneath:
As soon as production levels start falling do something about it. It's easy to
find everything held up because you're short of one tool.
Attack enenmy wood supplies (Woodcutter, Sawmill) to effectively halt his or
her expansion and then slowly eat away at their territory.
Have at least two weaponmakers and three iron foundries for a decent expansion
As a rule of thumb, have one mine per building requiring mined supplies, so
for the above example of military expansion have five coalmines and three
ironmines. This should produce small surplus for those lean times.
On higher levels, combat can be tough, so it's probably best to attack with a
ratio of between ten and fifteen to one.
If your settlement is under attack, attack an enemy settlement directly in
line. This will lead to your forces clashing halfway between the two settle-
ments; if you have good supplies of gold then you are certain to wipe out many
of the enemy before they reach your settlement. As a bonus, you could even
take the enemy settlement.
Try to surround the enemy main castle. This, coupled with the potential of
wiping out any of his warehouses, will also halt his expansion.
As a norm, on the troop allocation table have:
FULL/FULL - Front Line
FULL/MEDIUM - Behind Front Line
FULL/MEDIUM - Well behind enemy lines
MINIMUM/MINIMUM - Well out of it.
This will prevent the enemny nipping in and attacking when your soldiers have
set off to attack the enemy, since on higher levels the enemies await for you
to attack someone, then attack your reduced castles.
Always have seven to ten in your initial castle to prevent surprise attack.