My 'welcome to the neighborhood' peace treaty is about to expire. Should I buy another one? I have enough crowns for the 3-day, wonder if it's worth it. What happens when I get attacked (and predictably creamed) while I'm not at the switch anyway?
It depends on how much you gold and food you have to protect. I generally don't bother with the peace treaties as I spend all I have upgrading and building. It may be more useful when the cost of building and upgrading is more expensive and therefore you may have periods that your mills and markets are quite attractive to looters but you're still saving for an upgrade.
At such an early stage of the game, my advice is to store up the crowns.
I agree with sjb on the fact that you should use ur resources to upgrade your buildings. You should not waste your crowns on peace treaties as you will get free treaties when you are attacked. Lets say tyou are away and you get completely destroyed you will only lose some resources and gain a 12 hour peace treaty (more if you are japanese). This allows you 12 hours to prepare and attack as much as you need. Until you log off again and at which point you will gain another peace treaty after getting attacked. Also getting attacked is one of the best ways to get crowns so don't ever buy peace treaties.
Mmm - I'm not in agreement about PT in the early stages of the game. The things you need don't cost as much early on, and a PT can be a very effective (if not a bit slower) way to get the things you want without being raided by higher level players. I utilised them a lot when I was starting out, and they are a good method. I've got guys a lot higher up in our Alliance (Global Gods) that still prefer them for big saves. (like an age upgrade)
When I was starting out, that's ALL I ever spend my crowns on, and I don't regret that at all.
The other best advice is to regularly collect your food and gold. That just minimises your exposure to raiding. You'll still get raided a bunch by higher level players, but it helps no end.