@Thraeg, if it makes you feel better, my nose still hurts.
I learned to build the first city ASAP from you. My class was inspired by yours and @Mysterio’s in the last game. The wild magic adept came from @BloodyBattleBrain’s specialization.
In order to learn the new class / race / splecialization combo, I played 8 single-player games, tweaking the starting conditions as I was learning more about out MP game. Never in these SP games was I as lucky with my starting position as I was in this game. @Thraeg had one of his settlements taken over by raiders, @legowarrior lost his capital to them, and they also destroyed a settler belonging to @geggis. The only time (before @Thraeg occupied Rastorm) when something like this happened to me was when the Frostling Archdruid spawned near one of my outposts and promptly occupied it. But even in the case he parked his army there and decided to go for a swim in the lake in the middle of the map.
I was developing at about the same pace as @Thraeg was (@legowarrior started to build more cities somewhat later and @Mysterio and @geggis gave us an unfair advantage by not building cities at all), and then my expander specialization proved its strength on a large map.
What I did right was focusing on high level treasure sites. I was the fist to open all 5 seals (sorry, @legowarrior, if this cheated you out of the reward for occupying one of them). Some of the rewards were meh, but taking money was still an option.
The war with @Thraeg didn’t go as smoothly as I’d like to, but he had more fronts to protect and I had more resources. It felt weird that we decided to “cordially start a war” after being allies the last time. Still, thank you, @Thraeg, you were a worthy opponent.