Thank you all for the very constructive feedback!
Your points make a lot of sense and some could indeed be brought to normal game worlds over time as well. In particular, we have identified the very limited catchup potential (that @Rashidix also described accurately) currently in the game as an issue for a while already. And we'll be trying to address it on the short game worlds via a couple new buildings. Those will unlock at specific points in time in the game (kind of like higher tier items) and boost troop production while reducing costs, so it gets easier to recover over time. This should punish more aggressive strategies way less and thus hopefully lead to a higher density of interesting conflicts.
On top of that we will also take some first steps to make the game more accessible. As mentioned we will reduce the number of "filler" building levels. Also we're planning to not have the smithy anymore and make all academy research "global" (i.e. if you unlock a unit once it applies to all your villages). There will be some smaller changes in the same direction, in general to streamline the game and get rid of the kind of complexity that doesn't really add a lot of gameplay depth in itself.
Interesting. Do you really view our Dry Season game worlds as "easier to manage"? Isn't it harder in a way, because you have to make reasonable trades constantly and can't just use the NPC trader for crop? I had the feeling they were in general seen as more "hardcore" than normal rounds.
In any case, I see what you're getting at with your post and as mentioned above we might indeed end up bringing some ideas from short worlds to normal game worlds in the long run, should they turn out to work well (and with the necessary adjustments for the increased round length of course). For example the mentioned increased catchup potential is something we've been wanting to do on normal game worlds for a while.
Concerning the "hard cutoff" after 6 weeks as opposed to the usual "reach World Wonder level X" rule, we'll just have to see how the rounds play out. One of the advantages of short worlds is they're short. So we can observe full-round (and normal-speed) results sooner and make adjustments based on those more regularly.