A while ago I mentioned the advantages of specializing your cities – and a couple of people mailed me to ask, quite reasonably, what sort of practical examples I might give. Well, here goes….
The obvious option is to spend all your gold on maintaining Tier 2 (Advanced) Cavalry. Tier 2 Cavalry move fairly fast, are very tough on the attack, and are perfectly suited to attacking the biggest cities in Illyria – i.e. cities on plains. Lots of big players do this, and a mature city can easily maintain an army several thousand strong:
A treasury city is a less obvious option. This is a city where you can keep your stockpiles of gold, and any reserves of valuable advanced resources. Given that a player who has specialized in aggressive (Advanced) thieves could have thousands of thieves to send against you, any city that doesn’t have thousands of thieves defending it would be at risk. So, you can build thousands of Basic Thieves in one central repository where they can effectively defend your stockpiles. Of course, you also want to keep soldiers here, and while you can support some from this city you want most of your maintenance to be on thieves, so this may require you to send Reinforcements from another city on a long-term basis.
A haven for commanders is not an obvious option – after all, should not your troops be hard at work raiding, hunting or defending their home cities? Perhaps. But remember that your commanders are at risk from Assassins if hostilities do break out. And I personally like the idea of having a few commanders kept safe from assassins: one centrally located city with a few thousand Tier 1 (Basic) Assassins provides a safe haven for surplus commanders; since I rarely need 5 commanders in each city, it’s easy enough to send 1-2 commanders from each city to this safe haven. If I were to be targetted by assassins it’s unlikely that anyone would have enough to get to the heroes safe in this haven, and if my other cities were struck I could easily recall these survivors. (On the other hand, maybe I’m just paranoid.)
Specialist intelligence-gathering is another option or your cities. While people are busy pouring their gold into maintaining Cavalry, they are unlikely to have many Spies or Scouts to defend themselves from prying eyes. A medium sized player can specialize a city to maintain a couple of thousand Advanced Spies or Advanced Scouts, and then use these to pry into enemy cities. A medium sized player may not be able to compete militarily with those who have been building Cavalry cities for 2 years, but any alliance benefits from someone who can get good intelligence on enemies.