The minimum playing time is 30 game years.
You start with a keep and moat plus a couple of buildings, and you are given a few archers and supplies.
You must build up your economy till you have the minimum amount of food, stone, wood, iron, gold and population required.
But, while you are doing this, every few years you will be attacked. Each attack will be larger than the previous. Eventually there will be massive attacks.
So, you must build up your defenses.
There will be other events occurring during the game, both good and bad.
A little hint below, scroll down.
Stop if you don't want to know.
Absolutely first thing; set your food ration to 1/2 and your taxes on low.
Don't let your morale fall below 50. Set your taxes on none to stop your morale decline.
Watch out for the wolves. Kill them, now.
There are bears in the woods. Kill them next.
Build 16 woodcutter huts immediately.
Start expanding your moat.
The first attack starts in 4 game years.
Need more hints? Scroll down.
Be sure you have started your archers expanding your moat as soon as possible.
When your woodcutters return the first time:
Build a hovel for 8 more population.
Build 4 wheat farms lower right inside moat.
Then build 4 fletcher buildings for bows next to the armory.
When the farms are close to harvest, build 2 more hovels for another 16 population.
Turn on your mill and build 8 baker huts.
As soon as your bakers start producing bread, you can increase your food rations and set your taxes on low.
Now you can start building your population and adding buildings as your resources grow.
Eventually you will need to build at least, 12 baker huts, 4 wheat farms, 2 mills, 7 fletcher buildings for bows, 2 stone quarries with 10 oxen, 4 iron mines plus the 16 woodcutter huts. As you progress and get an adequate wood supply, you can reduce the number of woodcutter huts to have people for the other buildings.