An opinion of Australia in version 1.8:
- I almost never used the sheep I received, because the barn is way too expensive (200 wood). Since their eco is weaker, I could usually not afford that.
- Most bonus techs at age-up are usefull; with the great exception of the Josephites tech.
- The rum corpsman and Whaler Horse don't feel pop efficient.
- I have no idea what the difference in gatherrate is when you produce one more villager.
- The aboriginal tracker: this unit seems only usefull against Austria...
I suggest: the barn costs 75 food; Josephites also improves Convict HP, +10 % gather rate (like the church techs) and more pray rate; rum corpsman -1 pop and a stronger whaler horse; add a detailed explanation about the convict somewhere on the forum; Give the tracker a bonus VS villagers and set a build limit (30?).
I started about 5 weeks ago trying to learn how to play the Australians, as they felt as one of the hardest civs. They are prone to rushing: your villagers cost coin, so relying on huntig and mills in II is not possible, thus you have to mine somewhere further away. Also, due to the weaker eco, you will not restore you army as quick as usual. This is why I have always failed in duels again the AI (expert). I really like to play them, because late-game you won't have the greatest eco, but you will have strong units (I really like the imperial spotooners and militia a lot). This is why the 1 pop Native Police seems balanced to me. This civ is also the counter of Austria (even without using the Aboriginal tracker): you have strong units like Austria, but you have more. I played that way against a friend, and he was getting annoyed because he couldn't harm me.
I hope Australia won't change too much, because how they work now is great (compared to the scaling cost they once had. I only played them once during the first (or so) version, and it was very annoying to pay 150 food the ca. 35th villager.