A number of items which have been thoroughly researched within.
I have been playing Banished off and one since it was released at the beginning of 2014. With the mods kit looming there is renewed interest in the game from those of us who have put hundreds of hours into it.
With the release of the mod kit coming there will be a new wave of players entering the game and because of that I have decided to publish a list of tips from a redditor by the name of chowriit. Their post is linked at the end of this article.
These are a few highlights from his thread. (NOTE: Items in this list may change due to future patches.)
Wooden houses burn (very approximately) 30 firewood a winter, while stone houses burn roughly 15. Using trading values to calculate the value of the saved firewood, a stone house pays off the investment of building it (instead of a wooden house) in ~5 years (in pure resource costs, assuming you’re trading the firewood for the building resources – the time to pay off is slightly higher, due to the opportunity cost of using the trader).
A trading post can be great for micromanaging your supply of materials – set your desired levels up to 9999 for (for example) stone and iron tools and your traders will move them from everywhere on the map into the trading post, then set the desired quantity back to zero, and they’ll move it all out again – into the nearest stockpile and storage barn. As traders carry 5 times as much as normal labourers, this is an efficient way to move large quantities of material about, e.g. from your outer foresters. You can also mark the nearest stockpile for demolition to cause them to drop off at the second nearest, etc. I like to use this to micromanage a few hundred logs into the stockpile next to my woodcutters every few years.
Idle traders work as labourers, but despite not having their wheelbarrows they appear to still have their increased carrying capacity, making them more efficient than normal labourers (more tests are needed on this one, and it’s presumed to be a bug).
Education is incredibly important. While we don’t have hard numbers for most professions, there seems to be a 33%-50% improvement in working speed or resources gathered per action across the board. Woodcutters produce 4 firewood per log instead of 3 with education (massively improving your output of a vital resource and probably the best trade good in the game), tailors produce coats two at a time (twice as fast, but no improvement in resource efficiency) and blacksmiths produce two tools instead of one per action, while consuming the same resources (double speed AND double resource efficiency, although this is presumably a bug and that they should act similar to the tailor). It’s worth checking regularly to ensure your blacksmith and perhaps also woodcutters are educated.
The best place for your first foresters lodge? The (nearly) middle of your town! You won’t expand in buildings fast for 5-10 years, so most of the area will remain free for trees for a long time, by having a short commute to houses, food and stockpiles it will actually likely be as or more efficient as one on the edge of your town, and your labourers can easily clear out all blocking stone and iron deposits early on without having to walk too far (and frankly, that’s where you’re likely to be mining stone anyway). My current game is in year 15, and my central forester is still producing more wood a year than the two in dedicated foresting areas. Your mileage may vary.
Hold shift to build diagonal roads. They take up twice the number of squares and therefore building time (and stone, for stone roads), and buildings cannot be built efficiently on them, but if workers need to travel on a diagonal anyway they provide 41% more efficient routes (square root of two) than going around in a square, if the workers weren’t cutting the corner on the previous road.
You can find the remaining tips which I didn’t list in this reddit thread. http://www.reddit.com/r/Banished/comments/1yu1eq/banished_discoveries_data_and_tips/