The answer to what happened with Age of Reason is in a new post (dated June 22) on treefroggames.com:
As a postscript to this it is Rick Soued’s fault that Stronghold had to cancel Age of Reason. I sold the rights to Struggle of Empires to the old Eagle games. Despite the fact that Age of Reason has a different set of rules he is convinced the contract also includes any game ‘like’ Struggle of Empires. The fact that there is no legal way in which to define ownership of a loose set of rules and concepts does not matter to him. Stronghold cancelled the game because of the threat of legal action, even though Rick would lose. That’s the way he operates, by bullying people with empty legal threats.