1. The people: always keep on eye the overall number of your citizens. The more houses you build, the more pioneers will come, and the faster usage of precious supplies will appear. If you don’t keep up with the chain production of the goods, a great disaster will come upon you! And, forget about buying ones – this is just a temporary solution, only to “fix” minor shortages at a high cost! Never grow population more than you need at the very moment. Also, manage all of them properly: if the stone is very needed – add two more workers to the Stonemason to triple the working speed. And the opposite: if you need help in other things – redeploy them as needed.
2. The land: choosing the right spot for the first settlement is half the victory here. Try to find as flat and empty a piece of land as possible (even in the desert). The rocks and mountains not far away around are a bonus, but more important is nearby green land (steps or woods). After constructing the Town Hall, it is a good option to expand territory for 5000 gold immediately. This will bring you an additional place to build and plan the city better. Also, you should gain access to green lands, where the farms need to be placed. Not expanding territory right away will make you some trouble later on: the bandits like to camp very nearby your borders, so it is very likely they will “steal” a piece of your future land by doing so. In addition, it is possible that you won’t have enough gold to make the expansion after spending all of it on construction.
3. The Natives: natives are good for one thing – TRADE. In the beginning, they will treat you as a hostile and try to ride your settlement from time to time, but even so, it is possible to trade with them. What is more important, the prices they offer are twice the better than you get from Town Hall. And what is even more interesting, the natives will still increase the barter prices after you make friends with them! The funny fact is that with some time, more native villages will come around (or bandits if you are unlucky – it’s a random event). The worse thing you can do is to ride the natives – you will lose the best way to acquire goods for far better prices than the normal “Town Hall prices.” So attack the natives ONLY if you really need to (if they are too close, e.g.).
4. The balance: gold is crucial here. You start with 20k, and after expanding territory, you have 15k to start a basic self-sufficient village that covers all four Pioneers’ needs: Meat, Water, Firewood, and Clothing. To make that happen, you need homes for people and some production chain buildings. Beware: the trick is to make it in such a way that the upkeep cost of the production buildings will be balanced by income from renting houses – so you need to focus on exactly what is needed! And how exactly the income works?
– Shack: 14 gold per pioneer on Easy Mode (max 42 gold) and 11 gold on Hard Mode (max 33 gold)
– Simple House: 16 gold per settler on Easy Mode (max 48 gold) and 12 gold on Hard Mode (max 36 gold)
– Apartment House: 18 gold per merchant on Easy Mode (max 72 gold) and 13 gold on Hard Mode (max 52 gold)
Hotels have the same incomes per citizen, but they can fit up to 8 people. Try never to go into the red – below zero, or you will start losing money! Green is your color.
5. Colonization: at some point in the gameplay, you should consider to found another city – or even being forced to do so! The worst thing you can do is try to fit everything within the borders of your primary city – WRONG. Try to put the second one nearby the mountains with raw ore of coal/iron/copper/gold. If not the case, try to find at least a mountain with gold and coal (jewelry needs both of them, and it is needed to reach the merchant population level). The second village role is only to bring you supplies for the merchant population level along with others that are missing. Like a backup city – don’t invest in the same buildings and structures like the first one, only necessary ones.