I don't know if I'm doing this wrong, or what, but I've restarted the game twice now because I don't have enough heroes to send a full 5 out on missions, which usually results in deaths, which results in less heroes, leaving me with even LESS to send on missions, ad nauseum. I thought that my mistake was taking the focus off of building keeps early in my first game. I'd built a sage's thingy and a crucible for my 2nd and 4th buildings, and immediately retired people to these buildings when they were constructed. I also lost a couple heroes to combat "whoopses" as I encountered monsters I didn't understand.
The second game, though, I built four keeps right off the hop, got people breeding, and only built a crucible as the 5th building, and retired an infertile guy there because he wasn't going to be retiring anyplace else. I hadn't lost a single soldier in combat. And still, on my third combat encounter, find myself with only four soldiers to send out. So what should I be doing differently to avoid this? People are starting to die of old age and the babies are not yet old enough to go out and take their place.
Any tips to avoid this? Or is my experience kind of the standard? If so, I think something should be tuned differently to avoid this early game slump, as it's very offputting.