If you’ve ever wondered how the “great” players get such good starts look no further. This is the answer: Farming and lots of it. It requires activity and aggressive action. Your goal here is to fuel your growth with other’s resources so you can get further ahead. The core of this is to get and use as many resources as fast as you can. The most effective means to gain resources isn’t always to build your mines. It’s actually to steal it from your neighbors.
resourcestroopmore resourcesmore troopsmore farmsmore resource more troopsvictory
If you're active it should pay off for you. If you only log in for around an hour a day, stick to other slower routes to LC. As you all should know, Light Cavalry are the best unit for farming. They're fast, and carry the best haul for the amount of population you put in (other than if you built 4 spears, but they're insanely easy to get killed off). LC are also fantastic attackers, which can give you a huge advantage if your enemy has built up a paladin and some swords, which axes would have been screwed against. This strategy may still not be your thing, but if you want it here's some rough guidelines.
The Strategy -
You shoot for spears from the off (after a paladin of course, but that should go without saying), and continuously build them up. You need to be actively farming villages in your area. You also need to build up your resource buildings minimally, but build them up to L9/10 then just leave them alone. From this point get the buildings you require for a stable:
Level 10 HQ (Build this up first)
Level 5 Barracks
Level 5 Smithy
Then build your stable, bypass Scouts and just upgrade the stable to L3. Research LC and start building them. Note that you also avoid researching Axemen and Archers whilst on the route to LC. Simply build up spears and farm like a mad man, or woman if you prefer. Again, I stress the importance of activity for this strategy - as without it you may as well stick to the more traditional build up.