@Oscar Kitty , I’m creating a new thread, because we are getting really off topic in The Harvest Festival thread. And yes, I’m to blame, because I brought up optional squad size upgrades. Since I don’t believe the Imbalance in Tournament thread that was recommended to you is suitable for player just entering chapter 2, here’s my extensive reply. First I have to say I haven’t analyzed the mechanics myself, but I studied a lot information; especially useful was the us forum. Also I witnessed/verified some of these mechanics - for example by researching two squad size upgrades in the middle of tournament - on purpose of course. ;-) I dare to say the following info is pretty accurate. First some how provinces work info: - Difficulty of world map provinces is based on their price to scout. And it’s still growing - only Advanced Scouts research affects it by lowering price of unscouted provinces. You have only limited possibilities to lower the difficulty: limited number of advanced scouts researches (to lower the enemy difficulty) and limited number of squad size upgrades (to bring more your troops into the battle). - Difficulty of tournament provinces is percentage based on your real current squad size. Meaning no matter if your squad size is 200 or 2000 the difficulty is the same - the ratio of your vs. enemy troops is the same. The diffence is only in number of troops you and the enemy bring into battle. When you research all optional squad upgrades: + You’ll be able to quite easily fight your world provinces, especially if you stay within the boundaries suggested by Advanced Scouts, maybe even if you exceed those limit a bit. - You’ll bring big-ish amounts of troops into your tournament provinces, meaning you’ll have high losses to replace. - The negotiation prize of tournament provinces will be high. If you research none of the optional squad upgrades: - You’ll have to negotiate wast majority of your world provinces (and you’ll be hard pressed for goods up to chapter 4, especially with T1 goods. However, you can adjust your city focus and after entering guest races the negotiation gets just about all right). + You’ll be bringing significantly less troops into tournaments and therefore will have much easier time replacing your lower losses before the next tournament. It’s because the speed of training is based on the corresponding military building level, not on your actual squad size (example: level of Training Ground decides the speed of training Cerberus). + You’ll have significantly lower negotiation cost in tournaments, because it’s also based on your real squad size. The decision is yours, you see the + and - for each path. However, tournaments are every week. The more world provinces you finish, the more tournament provinces you have available to reap all those rewards. You’ll be far far far more using your troops and resources in tournaments than in world provinces. In long term! (In short term you’ll have significantly harder time up to and including chapter 4.) EDIT based on discussion below: the optional squad size upgrades are the ones placed in the blind branches occasional leaves in the technology tree. The ones that have no dependent technology behind it and that can be safely skipped and the player can continue researching technologies into future chapters. Another EDIT: Useful info was posted below by Sitticus1: The actual increase in squad size is based on the 3x the # of the upgrade. Therefore skipping early optional squad size upgrades doesn’t have significant lasting effect. The later squad size upgrades have much much larger impact on the squad size.