I'm not a gaming noob, if something's in the red, I notice it. I read new messages and move around the map constantly to track my progress.
How can an AI have a dozen of upgraded soldiers by the time I get to it, while I'm struggling to fill my fortresses with level 0 soldiers?
Things that I'm doing that are maybe wrong:
1) I'm evacuating every single military structure after it's built and moving all forces out, I keep the soldiers in the building only near enemies, maybe I'm not supposed to be doing that? Should I be leaving 8 soldiers in every fortress to encourage soldier growth?
2) I'm also destroying military structures deep in my side of the map, to get back materials, while I'm still discovering the map. Maybe that somehow affects soldier production?
Things that I tend to do that I think are good:
1) As soon as I have farms, bakery and strong beer - build a battle arena.
2) As soon as I'm mining iron and gold - build training camp
3) As soon as workers are ready - I upgrade the metal workshop to have all 3 - metal workshop, axe workshop and the war mill.
4) Before I have the metal workshop, I usually build enough farms to run out of farm workers
My last game was especially annoying, had like 30 bars or iron, a bunch of iron ore, 3 smelters and I still couldn't get soldiers. I had maybe 4 full fortresses in the edges of my map, the rest of the buildings held 1 weak soldier, just to hold the building.
It feels to me that the soldier generation formula changed somehow to mess up specifically with my style of playing