Small thing I typed up awhile back giving a player advice on how to place his villages. I felt like expanding and updating it.
Tightly packed villages in 1 or 2 parishes
Donations ? You only have a single parish to donate to. The difference between a developed parish and a garbage parish is huge. The majority of the parishes I encounter have very little in the way of donations, as everyone is a freeloader and leaves the donations to others. If you place all your villages in a single parish however, everything you donate effects all of your villages. At the end of the day, the only person you can truly rely on for donations is yourself. A hunter?s guild, for example, takes 324,100 wood, 303,150 stone, 70,000 iron, and 7,750 pitch to fully upgrade. A ballista maker or a tunnelor takes hundreds of catapults and thousands of other weapons to max out, and these 2 buildings are very important for the defense of your villages.
Flags ? Capturing flags can be a chore, as you are unable to attack a parish with vassal armies. If all of your villages are in 1 parish however, each flag you capture ?benefits? all of your villages.
Parish Army ? Parishes have a limited supply of gold from tithes and goods sold to the parish. This can be an issue with the 1500+ troops it can take to destroy a mega wolf castle. However if all of your villages are near a single parish, you can ?focus? your troops to a single point. Consider this: a single village at 5x peasants can fully fill a 500 troop vassal army in 16 hours and 40 minutes. Ten villages all sending 500 troops to a parish can replenish those 500 peasants in 1 hour 40 minutes.
Parish Honour ? When the parish army attacks an AI castle, bandit camp, or wolf lair the honour is divided among the villages in the parish (assuming the target is within the parish?s honour circle). So if you have 8 villages in a parish and other players have 2, you?ll be getting the lion?s share of the honour.
Parish Votes ? The number of votes you get in a parish is 3 per day multiplied by the number of villages you have in the parish (and you can stockpile up to 7 days worth of votes, or 21 votes per village). If the majority of your villages are in a single parish, you can easily have the stewardship if you so chose. Please keep in mind that the stewardship is best held by an experienced player, so you might wish to vote for someone else.
Disease ? The fewer parishes you are in, the fewer parishes you have to cure of disease to keep everyone happy.
Drama ? The fewer parishes/countries you are in, the less drama and politics you have to suffer from other players. This can be a huge blessing, although it also means you might have a harder time getting to know other players.
Distance ? You can quickly send monks, resources, and reinforcements between your villages. This can be very important if you choose to go banqueting, if you have any low wood/stone production villages, or if you want to ship bread, vegetables, fish, or iron between your villages. Being able to quickly send monks between your own villages can be very important with interdiction and absolving villages that have been excommunicated. Even if a player tries to excommunicate all of your villages at once, assuming you notice it you can launch monks to have them in flight to absolve a nearby village before the excommunications land. Being able to send reinforcements between your villages can be a great help if you find 1 of your villages under attack, although this advantage is negated if all of your villages are under assault.
Bless ? You can use bless on a single parish to give all of your villages up to +50 happiness. Bless is not something I normally recommend due to the research point and faith point costs. Conversely, an enemy player could use inquisition on your single parish to give all of your villages -50 happiness, however given the large faith point costs involved and how minor an impact -50 popularity is, I doubt it?s something you?ll ever have to be too worried about.
AI Castles ? The fewer parishes you are in, the fewer AI castles you must kill. The largest Wolf castles are a chore to kill given the large expenses involved, however they give you a huge negative to your popularity and launch constant pillages and ransacks against your villages. By only being in 1 parish, you only have to kill 1 AI castle every few days. Some players might view this as a negative by wanting to kill lots of AI castles, although personally I don?t view the largest Wolf castles worth the huge costs in troops, weapons, and gold.
Siege Camps ? On the one hand, having all of your villages in one parish means that for several days each week you won?t have any siege camp attacks or have any castles you have to repair. On the other hand when that 1 parish has a siege camp, all of your villages will be attacked so you have a lot of castles to repair at once. Not really an advantage, not really a disadvantage.
Honour Circles ? Your honour circles overlap reducing the number of wolf lairs, bandit camps, and AI castles available. Wolf lairs and bandit camps provide a nice source of honour early game, but late game it quickly dwindles out. AI castles are a great source of honour when you are fighting rats, snakes, and pigs, however wolf castles are generally not worth the troop loss to honour ratio. You can also establish vassal armies at other player?s villages to supplement the number of wolf lairs, bandit camps, and AI castles that you have access to.
Resource Stashes ? Overlapping honour circles means fewer resource stashes will be near your villages for you to uncover. However its only 520 honour per uncovered stash, and the amount of resources you gain from scouting is based on how many hours you play and the competition in your area. Plus it takes a lot of research points to be good at scouting. On the plus side, if all of your villages are near each other, you will be able to quickly empty out the stashes near your villages to hopefully get a new one to spawn quickly (this is for players with only a few points in scouting).
Market Saturation ? By being in a single parish, that parish?s market (and nearby markets) will quickly become saturated with the goods you produce and sell. This can particularly be an issue for player?s who specialize in 1 or 2 goods to sell, but is less of an issue for players who have a more balanced production.
[New]All your eggs in one basket ? If all of your villages are near a war zone, attempting to protect all of them can be very difficult, particularly with how quickly a player can burn through faith points. On the other hand, having all your villages in one area can also mean that none of your villages are near a war zone, depending upon location.
[New]Vassal Armies ? This entry involves info from the previous headings, however it?s important enough to warrant it?s own entry. Earlier I mentioned that being in fewer parishes meant less drama, as you wouldn?t be forced to interact with as many people. On the flip side of this, by not interacting with as many people it can be much more difficult to find low level players to use as vassals. Vassals are very important if you are military minded, however this disadvantage can be overcome by simply being very pro active in asking people to be your vassals.
[New]Vassal Armies (Again) -Also by having fewer vassal armies, it might effect your ability to kill AI castles, however personally I think this is easy to get around. First off you will be in fewer parishes, which means their are fewer AI castles that you must kill. Second off, it?s very easy to use parish resources to kill the AI castles. Setting your tithe at 9x can bring in lots of gold for the parish to recruit troops, and you can also use the parish as a focal point for launching attacks. What I do is I?ll send 100 troops from each of my villages to the parish for killing AI castles. 100 troops only takes 1 hour 40 minutes to regenerate and since I have 15 villages near each other, that?s 1500 troops all sent to a single point (3 full armies).
Keep in mind that eventually physical limitations will effect where you can place. Trying to fit 10 or 15 villages into an active parish may be difficult. Personally I am in 2 neighboring parishes.
Being a little spread out (just enough so your honor circles don?t overlap)
Multiple Stewardships ? You can be the steward of multiple parishes. This gives you more clout with the sheriff, or can put you in a better position to be the sheriff yourself. If you were to become the sheriff, governor, or king, having multiple stewardships makes its much more expensive for an enemy house to remove you from that position by monking you out of those parishes. Keep in mind this assumes you are active enough and popular enough to become the steward of multiple parishes, and that you can get other people to vote for you as sheriff.
Honour Circles ? You won?t have any overlap in your honour circles, giving you plenty of access to AI castles, wolf lairs, bandit camps, and resource stashes. Please keep in mind that a prince can have up to 50 vassal armies, reducing the benefit of this for AI castles, wolf lairs, and bandit camps.
Distance ? It will take your merchants ~40 minutes to make a round trip from 1 of your villages to another. It will take your monks ~40 minutes to reach one of your villages for absolution and interdiction (although you can interdict a village from itself assuming you haven?t been excommunicated). It will take you ~40 minutes 1 way to send reinforcements from 1 village to the next. These times are all based on villages being just spread out enough so their honour circles don?t overlap.
Wolf Castles ? Depending upon how many parishes you are in, the number of wolf castles you may end up having to kill each week can be a huge. However, if these additional parishes have active players who are willing to kill the Wolf castles themselves, it may not be as much of an issue.
Look at the stuff for Tightly packed villages and figure for the opposite.
Being really spread out (1+ hour travel times for your merchants)
Colonization ? You can help your faction/house colonize an area that they deem desirable. Conquering an area takes villages for votes.
War ? Establishing villages on the ?front lines? can be very important for war. You will be in a position to launch razes with reasonable travel time, monks, and scouts. Your established village can become a vassal to another active attacker. Keep in mind having only 1 village on the front lines can leave that village vulnerable to excommunications.