This morning I had a few hours to play, and wanted to get some more experience with Pariden and Altar.
3rd game in a row where it was not until 45 minutes in that I discovered the nearest place with any option at all to place a city was very very far (I would consider undefendably) from my original start location. These were all temperate maps, which are supposed to be relatively easy to expand on. I also have Dense Creatures and Powerful Magic.
Not to sound like too broken a record, but at least as an option, we should have a very high likelyhood of all of the following at any given starting location.
- A place with Essence of 2
- At least 1 shard within ZoC from the Essence
- At least 1 other resource within +1 ZoC from start
- At least 1 other option of any sort whatsoever for expansion within about 15 tiles.
Spending ~45 minutes each on 3 games in one morning only to discover that there were no feasible choices for expansion is pretty frustrating. Please offer us a "Utopian Starting Location" option with at very least the above as minimum for those of us who don't often get more than an hour or two to play. I like a challenge. I don't like spending 3 hours to still not have a competitive start.