Alright lets just get to the point. Even though village went up in cost by 25 wood I believe the overall 75 wood savings is worth the minuet delay in age up. And here is how… and then why its worth.
Land map standard opening is to que an IO first and have all 6 villagers build a mill such that their first drop off is timed with the IO supervision. So effectively you get 7.2 villagers worth of food the first drop off. Now the 12 food is cute and all but it’s not gonna outright win/lose the dark age play.
IMO you’re better off immediately sending the 6 villagers to the closest straggler tree and gathering a combined 60 wood which should take just 20s and would coincide with the timing of your IO popping out of the TC. THEN have the 6 villagers build the mill immediately adjacent to the TC wherever they currently stand while having the IO oversee the construction and subsequent drop off of 72 wood!! Meanwhile you’d rally your starting sheep to the side of the mill away from the TC. Now you only need 3 more wood to get to 75w for a village and still be able to build your mining camp right after. Have your first villager to come out of the TC build the village on his way to gold mine. Meanwhile on of your starting villagers will gather the 3 wood such that after the gold villager builds the village he can subsequently build the mining camp.
You’ve effectively slowed your feudal by 65 wood plus time felling a tree (with 6 villagers should just be one swing but at worse its 2 idle gathering swings) and the 7.5sec longer it takes to build a village over that a house. Alternatively you would be aging up a few seconds sooner (27.5sec or so sooner) but the that 65 wood would only be worth a house plus 15 wood?! And Alternatively you’re macro need be tight in order to get 100 wood for a lumberjack and house without being popped assuming you’d built the lumberjack camp first.
Now to list the benefits
- safe getaway from early raids
- sooner recouping of the 75 wood savings
- momentum given more of your resources can be immediately go towards aggression or ramping up as oppose to transitional affairs (house, lumbercamp, house again or lumbercamp, house and soon house again).
Also the immediate mill build adjacent to the TC synergies well with having to go to the nearest straggler tree and you won’t need a new berry mill for a very long time (assuming you can get at least 12+ sheep, and you start with 5 around your base…).
Lastly with the IO basically standing on the mill and TC the IO will have no walk idle time between oversight and tax dropoffs which increases the IOs efficiency.
I’ve manage a 4min 34s feudal age up using 1 vil to build the landmark and be able to make a stable immediately on age up followed by wheelbarrow. IMO if you’re playing against a civ that also wants to boom or go fast castle I’d skip wheelbarrow and go directly into pro scouts and optimize that adjacent mill the more.