|This article needs an image for it to be complete. Please locate and insert one.|
Player's begin on a very flat prairie just outside of central steppe. 3 Yurts are provided nearby with each providing 5 population. Instead of a Scout Cavalry or an Eagle Warrior, each player starts with a Horse which moves faster than the regular scouting units but has much less line of sight. They also cannot attack and opponents can see them moving in explored terrain, and they don't take population space. Players also start with 6 villagers instead of just 3. Aside from this unusual start-up, each player is provided with normal start-up natural resources around their initial locations (2 Boars, 8 small herdable animals (Llamas or Sheep) or 6 Cows, 6 Forage Bushes, Gold and Stone Mines).
The central steppe features extremely flat terrain. The map also lacks cliffs. An abundance of huntables can be found in the central steppe providing a well source of food. Depending on the match, permafrost may or may not appear in the central steppe. Wood is plentiful on the edges of the map evenly distributed in pockets, and almost all the Gold and Stone Mines can also be found around the edges or in the central steppe.
Relics will be scattered about on the map and come in normal numbers. Wild beasts like Wolves are completely absent on the map.
The player can decide where to build their Town Center, although most players build their Town Center near the starting point or just at the starting point. It is advisable to place the Town Center near the Berry Bushes, a forest or the Gold and Stone Mines. This way, the player may save some wood and further walking time for Villagers, by skipping building the required dropsites for those resources and use this wood later for making their first Mill on the central steppe in order to get the Deer. The fact that each player starts the game with no Town Center may enable some civilizations (like the Persians) to perform a Town Center rush very early, but at a great economic risk. Since each player starts with 3 Yurts, making Houses early is not necessary.
Since each player starts with a Horse instead of a normal scout unit, exploring the map is a bit different. The Horse does not take any population space, and military units ignore it (unless an opponent targets it). It moves faster than a Scout Cavalry, but has much less Line of Sight. However, the Horse may be left unnoticed by the opponents and keep scouting all through the game.
Similar to Golden Pit, hunting the animals may give the player or the team an economic edge, but it may come at greater cost. Multiple invasions and attacks will occur and the flat terrain will provide an excellent and fast route for enemy military units to attack and massacre gathering Villagers. Since the food is highly plentiful on the map, a Scout Cavalry rush in the Feudal Age is a very commonly employed tactic (since this unit only costs food and the map is highly open).
Building Castles and Watch Towers over vulnerable Villagers will provide some degree of protection, but unlike other maps, taking control of the central steppe will be very hard and defensive structures will often be destroyed from constant enemy raids. Often, the game ends before players can create Castles on the central steppe. For a defensive playstyle, it is much better to go and take the forested edges of the map, as in these places walling is much more viable (however, the player's economy may struggle a bit without the extra food from the Deer).