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GoF New Player guide

As a new player, other players may seem to you to be more advanced and much stronger, and you may feel that there is too much challenge. Here are some instructions on how to get your first steps right.

Race
Humans are the easiest race to play, their skills are uniformly distributed. At the beginning they have numerous buildings to improve science production, which is a challenge for other races. Hobbits are for non-aggressive players and they have many defensive strengths. Elves with white magic have Guardian angel which is a good, basic, magical protection unit. Humans are strongly recommended for new players!

Location
Choose your village location away from the great militant tribes. As you view the world map more to the south in many realms, you may more likely find a good place with other new players as neighbours. The main reason players quit playing is that their location sucks and they get assaulted continuously, hour by hour. It takes a while before you are able to fight against other tribes of the same race, so locating your village among the tribes of your race will give you some protection. Terrains with extra resources are always a good choice. Mountains are scarce with food, but they have a good defence bonus - presumably not the best place for your first village. There is a significant resource bonus given if the village is on a terrain suitable for your race. So, boring grassland is a good choice for humans.

Basics
Game actions are based on different resources which are needed to build buildings, train units, casting spells and many other actions. At the beginning there are only very few buildings and features available, but as you research sciences, you soon have much more options.

First steps
First days are most critical, as you need to get strong enough really fast, and get as much as possible from Pioneer-bonus. Quests will guide your first steps, and they are usually worth following. Even there are no "right" choices, it's recommended to build Marketplace and Temple to maximum level and Stone Mason which provides stone needed for construction. Build Science academy to maximum level so your research will proceed further. If there are not enough food, you need to expand your food production. On plains and rivers this is easily done by Grain Field, but on other terrains you need Hunter and Rice Field, maybe Hunters' Hut as well. On plains they are worth of doing, but not that essential. Be careful with Potato Field, if Temple is not big enough you can end up negative culture which causes a lot of trouble. Monastery is essential for humans.

First objectives
Humans will soon get Monastery and University, which are essential for development. Other races have other buildings that they should invest into: orcs Ingenuity, elves Great wisdoms, dwarves Dwarf wisdoms and hobbits Hobbit innovations. This is your first bigger goal. The next is to build a second (and a third) village. To do so you need Settlers, and sciences: Fortification -> Luxurious palaces -< Colonies.

Expand your stashes big enough: if attacker gets no plunder, there are no reason (but conquer) to attack into your village.

Keep spirit points available so you are able to get your defence up in a short period of time, if needed.

Wall in and tower up: without a tower you can't see the attackers before they come knocking on your door, and the wall has many benefits for village defence. When your defence bonus is high enough, that's visible on the map, and you are less attractive as a target.

Enough defensive units so there would be some trouble and losses to attacker.

Gold and trade, chooses
As population (not units, however) pays taxes, gold production can be raised with Marketplace and Bank, and also with buildings with no maintenance cost: Temple, Church, Monastery, . You will need to make many decisions: which magic path to choose? What is proper tax rate for current situation? As there is rarely right decisions regarding these kind of issues, lot's of them are dependent on your style of playing. Also, think about what you need, not what you can build: Workshop is pretty expensive, and do you have to buy iron or wood, instead of producing it? How high your Watchtower has to be, really?

Attacking and looting
It's useful to start training up your military forces in a pretty early phase of the game, turn Plus: peace off while actively playing and rob the neighbourhood, maybe even do some conquers, thus expanding your empire. Especially in realms where honor-feature is activated, it's recommended to attack passive/small villages already in the early phase because when your army grows in strength you can't attack those villages because of negative honor you would get.

Alliances and guilds

Maybe you are capable to play on your own, but even the greatest leader needs friends. It's strongly recommended to join a guild. When a troublemaker in your neighbourhood is selecting a target, (s)he needs to make a risk calculation on how would your guild react if the attack is made. Lonely player next to you is an easier choice. Try to avoid being that player.

Village specialization
When it's time to establish a new village, place it close to the old one so they can easily support each other with resources or units. Also, try to select a different terrain type than your first village was placed on: one grassland village can produce food, one in forest focuses on wood, the third one in the mountains is for iron production. A single village does not need to produce everything. Train your troops and spies in one village instead of having all the expensive training buildings in every village. This requires some management skills and time, though.

Offline time

It's recommended to activate Plus: peace when you go offline. Alternatively, you can use a holiday mode, but then your resource gathering will be halted.

As there are no computer players, it's all basically a question about how you manage your relationships with other tribes.

See also Duck and cover - A guide to the starting human player.