Age of Empires Hints And Tips Tue, 23 Mar 1999 19:14:13 -0500 This is my first faq so bear with me O.K.? I'm trying my best to make this decent. Although they are very different from single-player games, multiplayer games of Age of Empires consist of familiar stages in which you must choose a civilization; build it up with units, structures, and technology upgrades; and engage the enemy empires in strategic warfare. As you've probably already learned in single-player contests, the 12 ancient civilizations have many similarities, yet they are all very unique. Be sure to read the Age of Empires game manual carefully and learn the advantages and disadvantages of each civilization. Some civilizations can build things that others can't, and some civilizations can build things faster than others can. Choose your civilization based on your playing style, your opponents' playing styles, the terrain, the map, and your favorite units. You want to use fully the advantages of the civilization you pick. Style - do you like to attack quickly or play slightly defensive or all out defense? What are the game settings? What race would be best for your style on this setting? Terrain - terrain with lots of hills and valleys slows down your units drastically and greatly helps the defender. Use this too your advantage with ranged units at the top of this terrain for 'death from above.' I've seen 30 composites take out 30 horse archers with this method. A GREAT defensive maneuver. Maps - maps can be inland, highlands, coastal, or islands. For example, if you're playing on a map with a lot of islands, control of the seas is vital to winning the game. Use the Phoenicians for their wood bonus and Juggernauts whose area damage is magnified by shooting 65% faster. Units - certain civilizations have extra abilities with specific units. If one of your favorite units happens to fall in that category, it may be a good idea to choose that civilization. For example, Hoplites are extremely powerful offensive weapons, but they are extremely slow. Pick the Greeks to increase their speed by 30 percent. Resources - the amount of resources you start out with in a game REALLY sets apart what races you can use and still win. For example, in a low resource inland game, races like Hittite who are REALLY strong in iron are not worth taking. But on the other side, races like the Yamato, which are very strong in Default land games, are terrible in a Deathmatch The key to getting a good start is being efficient with your units and production. Whenever a villager is done being build, instantly build another. Keep your level of production up by creating more Villagers, but at the same time, don't create too many, as you need to save your food to upgrade to the next age. On the flip side, don't upgrade to the next age too early and create only a couple of Villagers, because the lack of production and resources will set you back technologically. Balance is the difference between a good player and a great one. Establishing Your Base Typically, during the first 10 minutes of a default resources inland/highland/coastal game, there is a race to A. Bronze Age and B. To mess your opponent's economy up enough to slow him down. Here is a basic, step by step way to start up your economy on any default res game. Notice that the steps are fairly vague, and that is because of the random maps, no one game is the same. 1. You typically start with a Town Center and three Villagers. As soon as you enter the game, click your Town Center and create a Villager. 2. Your first Villager should build a House. 3. Your second and third Villagers should look for the closest berry bushes or shore fish, preferably shore fish in groups of 3 or more. Shore fish are gathered TWICE AS FAST as berries. And 3 shore fish are equal to 5 berry bushes. A preferable outcome is to get 3 shore fish or more, and then to use your berries later instead of farms, which are slow. 4. When you find your berries or fish, build your gathering building by them (pit for fish, granary for berries) 5. Put as many villagers as you can on food, two to a shore fish spot, one to a berry bush, but make sure you have enough houses for a constant supply of villagers. 6. Your next Villagers up until your twelfth or so should harvest wood until you get enough for a storage pit. Then build a pit by wood and chop until you have enough wood to build either another pit (fish, dumbos (babars/elephants) , deer) or granary (berries) or dock (sea games). 7. Build your storage pit next to your forest and get more wood for your next food source, preferably more shore fish but any food is good. 8. Build Houses. 9. Build a Barracks before you hit tool. 10. A minimum of 17 Villagers is recommended. I personally do 20-24. 11. When food reserves reach 500, upgrade to the Tool Age. In the early stages of the game, people have very different strategies. Some people like to stay to themselves, spending most of their resources on upgrading rather than building a military. Others like to spend their resources on building a military, and don't upgrade until later. You want to focus on upgrading to the next age, but at the same time, you don't want to leave your base defenseless. The best way to tackle this dilemma is to find a good medium between the two strategies, having a fluid defense and a dynamic offense. You can use many things to your advantage to defend from an early attack. Natural barriers, such as trees, are a great source of protection from an oncoming military. You never want to cut down trees that form a natural wall around your city unless you are confident that your enemy is dead. Keep an eye on your Villagers-if the tree line is getting too thin, select the Villagers and make them harvest their wood in a different area. You start off the game with, at the very least, enough stone to build one tower or 30 wall segments. I personally recommend walling, because despite popular sentiment, walling is ALWAYS possible. Just ask Celestial Dawn, a guy that makes a living doing it. Tip Make several Villagers work on the same building to decrease the time it takes to build it. Do this to build walls quickly if you need an immediate defense. Villagers are surprisingly decent defensive units in the early stages of the game. If your opponents try to rush you with Clubmen, your Villagers can fight back. For this reason, clubmen are all but worthless to make. Both Clubmen and Villagers do 3 points of damage per attack with clubmen having a measly 15 more hit points. Thus, if your opponents send in a small group of two or three Clubmen you don't NEED to have have military to defend your base, use your Villagers to attack them. You should have more Villagers than the opponents have Clubmen at this point, and you will come out victorious. Warning Villagers do not automatically retaliate when attacked; manually select the Villagers and attack the enemy's units to engage in combat. But only do this to the weak tool units. To bronze or iron age units, this is a pointless gesture. Last, but certainly not least, you must not be afraid to run away. Tool rushes are so ineffective because your peons are either much faster (yamato/assyrian) or because you can build walls all over the place as you run away. Another key is SPREADING OUT. In a 1v1, the bigger your base is, the better off you are. Their army then has to run all over the place and even then its tough to find you. This 'guerrila warfare' as I've heard it called or 'rat infestation' makes a tool rush OTHER than the scout rush a useless gesture in the larger maps. (On tiny and small maps, the shang axeman rush can work out too) With all the different options on defense that you have, there should be no problem surviving an early attack from your opponents. The only real threat to your ecomomy in a 1v1 is the scout rush, and this can be defended by both walls and tool archers mixed in your peasants. No military other than this is really needed, but make sure that by bronze age your peons are protected. One key is, DONT BE AFRAID OF ATTACKING. But always be aware of how your opponent can get at your villagers. If you're playing a Yamato player, have 5 priests sitting in your base as defense, and have a field day when his cavalry get in by transporting around or through other ways. Always attack if you can. Go straight for the enemies' Villagers. If your opponent is spending food on villagers, it isn't going into a military, and when you can crush his military, he is.... dead! Like the dilemma you face in building a preliminary defense, you must again choose where you wish to devote your resources early in the game. If you plan on mounting an attack early(you'd better or you'll lose), you must catch your opponent off guard to succeed. There are several factors in a successful early attack: ú Attacking quickly - you must find your opponent's base and attack quickly before it can produce enough units to match yours. Often, people do not expect such an early attack, and whine like crazy that you rushed them. Send a Villager out to scout for the enemy base as soon as you reasonably can (there is no real set time). Once you find the base, you're set. Build up a military and go after the enemy. If you can do it, build inside the enemy's base, so he can't wall you out. Note If you can, try not to let the enemy see your Villager. If the other player doesn't think you know the location of their base, they will probably not be prepared for an early attack. ú Catching the enemy off guard - this is the key to success in an early attack. If the enemy knows you're coming, it will make it very difficult to overcome their defenses. Although you may have more military units than your opponent at the time you find their base, by the time your units walk to the base, the enemy will have easily amassed enough units to counter the force you send --- all the more reason to build in their base. ú Stopping production - go after the enemy's Villagers first, if you can. Your opponent probably spent most of their resources building Villagers to increase production. If you can kill enemy Villagers, even if the attack fails, you have still managed to slow their production. This is good enough to gain the edge you need to win the game. DO NOT waste that edge, keep attacking. ú Keeping up your level of production - while attacking, don't forget to constantly upgrade your base, even in the midst of battle. ú Avoiding stationary defenses - stay clear of the enemy's Watch Towers while mounting your initial attack. If you defeat their military and their Villagers seek shelter next to the Towers, send more units from your base. Keep the enemy's Villagers from harvesting more food, and destroy their Houses. When you have enough units, attack their Villagers. Don't bother with the Towers-if you kill off the enemy's ability to produce, it is worth the sacrifice of your military. ú Watch the timeline and the stats there, especially the military, and who has the biggest one. If you have the biggest, dont worry so much about defense except for your wall, but do your best to go after his economy. MAKE SURE you keep an eye on these stats because every little edge is important, especially against the elites. I've had several games where this has saved my sorry butt. ú Being lucky - there is a huge factor of luck involved in attacking early. If you are lucky, your opponent won't realize they're being attacked until after the fact. You can wipe out enemy Villagers before your opponent can react. Even if you're not lucky, disrupting the economy can win the game. One question, do you really wanna rely on luck? If you don't, read the rest of the bible, I'm just getting started. Intelligent warfare in multi-player games means knowing in advance what your enemies' are planning and hampering their ability to gather resources. Reconnaissance In war, there are winners and there are losers. Throughout the years, there has been one prevalent and proven factor that sways the war to one side's favor. In almost every instance, the side with the better reconnaissance (recon) emerges victorious. The advantages of having good reconnaissance are phenomenal. It is frightening to think of the power that you possess when you know at all times what the enemy is up to. With good recon, you also know the following things: The location of the enemy's base Where the enemy is expanding to The strong and weak points of the enemy's defense The location of the enemy's military When and where the enemy is amassing troops for an attack The best reconnaissance unit you have is the Scout, and later (in iron) the horse archer. It has an extremely long range of sight and is extremely fast. Make only a handful of Scouts patrol the more common areas, and if you can, ATTACK PEASANTS with them. If you have the stone, building towers by the gold on the map is a smart thing (by the wood vs assyrians) If you see a hole on the map where your recon used to be, you know that your enemy is likely coming through that area. This will give you time to prepare for an attack and will give you a good sense of the direction from which the enemy is coming. Tip Have recon near the enemy base at all times. To rid the map of enemy reconnaissance, send out a small band of Cavalries and one Priest to scour the area. When you see enemy Scouts or Towers or chariot archers, you can attack or convert them. Do not advance into enemy territory; instead, comb the map to destroy your opponent's information web. Do this several times over the course of the game, and at the same time, take resources from all over. Send your military through one of the areas the enemy no longer has recon in and surprise them. Controlling the Key Resources Although every one of the resources (food, wood, gold, and to a lesser extent stone) is necessary in default inland/coastal games, certain resources are more critical in different stages of the game. In the early stages, food and wood are vital to your survival and your ability to advance your civilization. However, in the later stages of the game, when both players have advanced to the Bronze Age, mining gold is an absolutely essential part of the game (unless you are assyrian and maybe egyptian or hittite). You cannot build any of the advanced units without gold. Stone, on the other hand, can be an important resource in every stage of the game. Without stone, you cannot build Towers or Walls, which are nice for a good, solid defense. But remember, fluidity is the key. Run your peons away if you can. While this is going on, kill off the enemy with your army. Tip If you build Towers near all the gold and stone mines, it is a great way to prevent your opponent from mining them. Preventing the Key Resources It is very difficult to prevent the enemy from harvesting food and wood early in the game, especially if you concentrate on upgrading quickly rather than on building a formidable military. It may not be necessary to focus on slowing down your opponent's food production early on, if you can prevent your opponent from mining any gold. Axemen make poor counters to Cavalry and chariot archers. If you are Yamato, send out Scouts early in the game to the gold mines nearest the enemy's base. If you see the enemy build a Storage Pit near the gold mine. Villager build a Tower near the Storage Pit. As soon as opposing Villagers come to mine gold, wipe them out. Keep your Scouts near several of the gold mines (or forests) around the enemy's area and repeat this process, sometimes running away and letting the peasants follow you, wasting his time. If you can keep this up, while building Hoplites and Cavalry, your opponent will be limited to building Scouts and Axemen, . Send in your Hoplites and Cavalry to wipe out their entire base, because they will have no significant defense. If you fail to wipe them out, you have still managed to slow their gold production to a crawl. It will take quite some time for your opponent to catch up. By the time your opponent can build ordinary Bronze Age units, you will have either upgraded to the Iron Age or have a military with twice the strength of theirs. Tip Use the Del key to get rid of unwanted units. Gaining a Better Fighting Position When you set up a base or defensive position, put your ranged units on high ground. If you fight at a higher elevation than that of the enemy, the manual says it gives you a 25-percent chance of causing triple damage. In reality, it does another « damage all of the time, and the guy attacking from below attacks at like 3/4 strength. If you set up your base on a plateau, wall off the base, and place Towers behind the Walls, it will make the base extremely hard to invade. Additionally, when you know that the enemy is about to attack, move your units onto a hill or plateau and make the enemy come to you. When they attack, your military will have a huge advantage. (Thank you Celestial Dawn) Use long-range units to counter the altitude advantage (preferably catapults/stone throwers because your opponent will be using ranged units too). Do not advance your close-range units until it's safe to move on. Tip If you know you are outmatched in a battle, flee to fight another day. Find a way around to get at his peasants. Invading the Enemy's Base Later in the game, the player who is losing may fully entrench themselves in their base, putting them in an extremely good defensive position. If you simply attack the opponent's base with a frontal assault, it will cause an extreme amount of losses for you, and its exactly what he wants. There are several ways to handle this situation. Besieging the Enemy's Base If you besiege their base, it cuts off all of their resource production outside of the base. Move some of your military to the outskirts of their base to prevent any units from coming out, while a smaller division of your military scours the map looking for their units. When you've made sure the map is clear of enemy units other than those inside their base, it's safe for you to attack. By invading this way, you fully control the production of all the resources; thus, you can afford the ounding forest. You must do this stealthily, because if your opponent finds out, they will just build Towers on the other side. However, if you manage to pull it off, you can make your Villagers cut through the enemy's trees secretly, creating a hole through which to send your military. Another way you can get into the enemy's base is by sea. An opponent doesn't often protect their base on all sides. It takes a lot of resources and time to do that. Typically, people build the bulk of their defensive structures at the front line, facing inland. Using Transport ships, you can sneak in through the back and catch the enemy off guard. The best way to do this is to send a tiny attack force against the enemy's front line, and then send in the Transports while the enemy's attention is focused on your military's attacks. Take out the enemy's villagers, so that they cannot instantly rebuild their military, they have to rebuild their villager count or get outresourced. Then, attack from the rear, where the enemy is weak. Controlling the Seas The importance of controlling the seas varies widely, depending on the map type on which you're playing. However, if you have control of any portion of the map, you definitely have an advantage. If you have sea control, it allows you to do many things that directly affect your land battles. First, ships have extremely long-range attacks. If you bombard the enemy's base from the sea, it can be very disruptive. While your opponent's attention is focused on the sea troubles, attack the opponent on land. At the same time, bring in Transports from the sea and land them on the enemy's coast. It is nearly impossible for the enemy to defend their base on two fronts while trying to avoid bombardment from the sea. Ships are also a great source of defense. If you place your ships on the coasts of narrow passageways, you should be able to fire at enemy units that have to walk across the passageways. This will give you a huge advantage when you meet on the battlefield. If you have control of the seas, you also have control of fishing. Fishing is a great source of food. You don't have to rely solely on shorefishing/hunting/farms for food if you have at least neutrality of the seas. It is hoped that this chapter enlightened you on the skills, tricks, and techniques you'll need to crush your opponents in a friendly game of Age of Empires. The most important thing to remember is that the game is played for fun. Chat with your opponents before and after the match. Playing games is as social as it is entertaining. And remember the other key to winning: experience. If someone bronzes faster than you with a slower race, its very likely they've played longer than you. Don't blindly accuse them of cheating because of that simple fact that they're probably a MUCH better player than you, especially with the wood bug not being fixed yet. Remember that this game is made for FUN. Winning and losing are part of the game. Now, let's go conquer the world! See you online! Although several factors play into a well-executed victory, most excellent players will agree that the most effective way to gain an advantage over your opponent is to use the element of surprise. In a nutshell, any time you do anything that your enemy doesn't expect, you gain the advantage of surprise. Of course, the surprise must somehow give you an advantage-either economically or militarily. If I don't make any Villagers the whole game and remain at three, I'll likely surprise my enemy. This doesn't gain me an advantage, though, so the surprise would be useless. Even though your surprise may be either economic or militant, when the rubber meets the road you'll have to convert that advantage into a military that the enemy isn't prepared to counter. This can be done in several ways, including the following: Attacking the enemy with troops that are technologically advanced Attacking the enemy with troops that are superior in number Attacking the enemy with different kinds of troops than he is prepared to defend against Attacking the enemy at a time or location that he isn't prepared to defend I'll now expand on each of the above and give specific examples of how you can use each in battle. Attacking the enemy with troops that are technologically advanced Tool Rushes epitomize this concept. Tool Rushes (which include the Tool Blitz, the Tool Brush, the Tool Rush, and the Tool Push) all project one into the Tool Age faster than the average Bronze Rushing opponent. Since the plain-vanilla multiplayer AoE competitors all rush to the Bronze Age, you can often surprise them by attacking in the Tool Age. The whole advantage to attacking hard in the Tool Age is that the enemy will be saving his resources to Bronze and you'll be spending yours to kill his economy. He expects you to be saving your resources to Bronze, too. Many people that Bronze Rush build very few defensive troops during the Tool Age, most don't build any at all. Another example of this concept is the Bronze Rush. The average multiplayer AoE opponent assumes that this is the best way to beat his enemy, and for the most part he's right. Bronze-Age troops are far superior to Tool-Age troops. If you allow your enemy to get a Bronze Army before you attack with Tool units, you're in big trouble. However, if both you and your enemy are racing to Bronze and you can get a few Cavalry (or other Bronze-Age troops) into his economic production areas before he arrives in Bronze, you'll have a decisive advantage. The classic Bronze Rush relies on a player making better use of his resources and arriving in Bronze before his enemy, then capitalizing on that speed advantage to kill the enemy's economy before it can be used to retaliate. The strategy is extremely linear; hence it is predictable. Since it is predictable, it is usually easily countered (granted you have a reasonable starting spot). Attacking the enemy with troops that are superior in number Allow me to clarify this a bit. When you attack with a single Tool Archer before your enemy Tools, you're attacking with military that is superior in number (1 > 0). That's not what I'm referring to here. I'm talking about attacking the enemy's town with, say, 20 Cavalry when he expects you to be defending your own economy. As a rule of thumb, this form of surprise is much less common than the first example. One my fundamental rules of AoE is that one cavalry in the enemy town at 13 minutes is better than a dozen in his town at 17 minutes. In the later stages of the game it makes sense to attack en masse because there is power in numbers (the power of mass). This is especially true with ranged units. However, in any rushing technique it almost always makes sense to attack fast with whatever you have. Taking the initiative early and drawing first blood forces your enemy to play a defensive game. When the enemy plays defensive, he hangs out with idle military in his own town. When he hangs out in his own town, you bring the battle to him. You always want to be fighting in the enemy town (not your own). Stray Villagers get killed during the fight, and slowly the enemy will lose steam. Another instance where this form of attack can give you an advantage overlaps somewhat with the fourth tactic mentioned above (that of attacking the enemy at a time he isn't prepared to defend). Specifically, if you build a large military in the Tool Age, but wait to attack until the enemy has already started the Bronze upgrade. Timing becomes a key issue here, but so does attacking with a lot of units. If you don't attack with anything immediately in Tool, your opponent may assume that you're rushing to Bronze and (in the interest of getting to Bronze quickly) completely skip a Tool defense. If you march into the enemy's economy with a few Scouts and a dozen Tool Archers while he's Bronzing, he'll be in serious trouble. Attacking the enemy with different kinds of troops than he is prepared to defend against Most good AoE players make assumptions about what the enemy will do and what kinds of units he will be training. Simple conclusions can be reached by noting the enemy's choice of civilization and recognizing that civilization's strengths. Classic examples of this include the following: Yamato - Cavalry Assyria - Chariot Archers Minoa - Composite Bowmen Greek - Hoplites Egypt - Chariots, Chariot Archers, and Priests You'll find that most players don't stay too far from this list; it really makes sense to build units that take advantage of civilization bonuses. However, the best players will never forget about the importance of the Dominant Timeframes concept. When I'm using Assyria, I'll frequently attack with Cavalry the instant I arrive to the Bronze Age. This almost always catches the enemy off-guard. My opponent assumes that I'll only make Chariot Archers. It takes me an extra minute and fifteen seconds after reaching Bronze to complete the Wheel upgrade, though, before I can even begin training Chariot Archers. Why not attack with a few Cavalry while you're researching the Wheel? In the time it takes to get the Wheel upgrade my enemy may prepare a defense. I've even played games with Assyria where my Cavalry rush is doing so much damage that I leave Villagers on gold (instead of switching them to wood) and kill the enemy with nothing but Cavalry. I assure you that Assyrian Cavalry are NOT common on the battlefield. As another example, Composite Bowmen are very powerful in large numbers in mid- late Bronze. If you're playing Yamato, you should definitely consider switching to Composite Bowmen (instead-or in addition to-Cavalry) at this point in the game. This is especially true if your opponent is countering your Cavalry with either Priests or Chariot Archers. Unit diversity is what attracts me to Shang. Everyone has a favorite civilization. When I first started playing AoE I favored Shang. Then, for a long time, I loved Yamato. For the last four months or so, though, I've switched back to Shang as my civilization of choice. One of the key advantages I find in Shang is that of an incredibly diverse Bronze-Age military. You never know what troops your Shang opponent will be training. Shang has the ability to hit immediately in Bronze with Cavalry while getting the Wheel upgrade. Soon Shang will be attacking with a mixed army of Chariot Archers and Cavalry while training Composite Bowmen and Stone Throwers. Just when you're preparing to counter Chariot Archers, the next wave of attackers will arrive-and it will consist of completely different units. Of course, Shang has the ability to do all this while continually producing the cheap Villagers (yet another advantage of Shang). Let me support this concept with another story from the battlefield. Although I usually plaly a very offensive game, in this case I assumed a highly defensive posture. I was thoroughly enjoying second-guessing my enemy's actions and chose to NOT go on the offensive early in the game. In this particular game I had selected Shang while my enemy was Yamato. I felt confident that the enemy would be making Cavalry. Instead of trying to fight an extended battle and match Cavalry for Cavalry against the Yamato discount, I used an alternative strategy. Since it takes a while to train Chariot Archers and/or Composites, I walled in my gold and wood immediately upon arriving to the Tool Age. I switched most of my Villagers to gold production as I upgraded to Bronze. Immediately upon arriving to Bronze, I built two Temples. Soon the enemy came into my town with four Cavalry. Unfortunately for him, I had three Priests with the Astrology upgrade (faster conversion) waiting to greet them. I was able to convert three of his four Cavalry while losing only one Priest. This left me with three Cavalry and two Priests. The surviving Priests healed the party, and by now I had four more Priests ready for action. When the enemy came in with the next wave of Cavalry (about eight), I was able to convert about six of them (again with minimal losses-two Priests). I now had a standing army of several Cavalry and a bunch of Priests. The best way to counter this army for a Yamato player would be to switch to Composite Bowmen production. I figured that after that second attack, my Yamato opponent would surely begin the Composite upgrades. I switched a good portion of my gold production to lumber production, and started making Stone Throwers and Composites of my own-positioning them on a hill in the path that my enemy would need to travel to arrive to my city. It wasn't long before I had a half-dozen Stone Throwers and about 15 Composites sitting on the hill waiting for the enemy (backed by the Cavalry I'd snatched and my Priests). Sure enough, the enemy came marching in with an army that consisted of almost nothing but Composites. A few enemy Cavalry were converted as they tried to kill my Stone Throwers, and my Stone Throwers made a mess of the enemy Composites. The battle lasted less than a minute. I had gained three Cavalry and lost one Stone Thrower. The enemy had lost his entire army. Then, without a word, he resigned. Surprise has its roots in diversity; attacking with units that your enemy isn't prepared for will win games. Attacking the enemy at a time or location that he isn't prepared to defend The spot where we intend to fight must not be made known; for then the enemy will have to prepare against a possible attack at several different points; and his forces being thus distributed in many directions, the numbers we shall have to face at any given point will be proportionately few. -Sun Tzu Generally speaking, your military stance is either offensive or defensive. This is especially true at the early stages of the game because you have few troops. Are those troops trying to stop the enemy from killing your Villagers or are they concentrating on killing the enemy Villagers? Obviously, it is always better to be on the offensive-thereby forcing the enemy to use his military defensively. Sometimes, however, you are forced to play defensively. A subtle point that many people overlook is that when the enemy is concentrating on offense, he'll rarely pay much attention to defense. This is especially true when the enemy has built military buildings near your town. In a situation where you're forced to play defensively, it often pays to send a few military units (just a few) to attack the enemy's Villagers. Frequently you'll find that although you're really against the ropes in your town, your pair of Cavalry in the enemy town will encounter no resistance at all-killing and scattering several Villagers. Sometimes the enemy will even completely call off his attack, retreating his military to help defend his city. I think it's clear that the best place to attack the enemy is where he doesn't expect it. So, where is it that he doesn't expect it? Any place that he has undefended Villagers is probably a good place to attack. It's safe to assume that if the enemy has walls nearby his Town Center, there are probably Villagers behind those walls collecting resources (likely not defended by military units). If you can manage to get a Transport full of military units behind those walls, you'll probably do a lot of damage. Stone Throwers work very well to knock down walls, too. I prefer using Transports wherever possible, though, because it gives the enemy very little time to prepare. If you attack the enemy wall, he can often relocate his workers while waiting for you to chew through the wall. If you unload a Transport behind his walls, he has no time to prepare (unless he sees your Transport approaching). Another tactic used by good players is that of distraction. Distraction can be used to split the enemy's forces or to divert them away from your true military target. If the enemy's production is spread out between 12:00 and 3:00 on the map, send a single military unit to attack at 12:00 while the rest of your army waits near 3:00 to invade. Make sure that the unit attacking at 12:00 is highly visible, attacking Villagers, buildings, or anything else you can see. Just make sure the enemy is aware of your presence and feels threatened by it. As soon as the enemy's military shows up at 12:00 to deal with your single unit there, attack with the entire force at 3:00. In the time it takes the enemy to move all his troops from 12:00 back down to 3:00, you'll have done some serious damage. Three ways to beat an early rush One is walls. The second is towers. The third is with tool age bowmen. All of these 3 are VERY effective against scouts. Now you're probably looking at the screen saying, 'walls'?? How do walls do you any good? The key is time. And when you are playing against Yamato, the more time you buy, the better off you will be. Yes, I am repeating that. When you wall your islands off properly, preferably into 3 or 4 parts, it is absolutely impossible to attack effectively with a Yamato. Your opponent will sacrifice a villager or 2, then escape to another section of the island, buying himself more time. Now, obviously you can use your transport to go around this as well. Gee, isn't that obvious? The thing is, if you are doing that, you are not going back to get the cavalry when you hit bronze. All I have to worry about is the scout. Why? Because if you build on my island at this point it would be the absolute stupidest thing to do. All of you 'good' inland players are saying, 'huh?'. I guaruntee it. Especially if you think you know something about islands. The Naval Aspect There are 2 slight problems with this strategy. One is the fact that all this time, I've been cranking scout ships. And I mean LOTS of scout ships. And now you are wondering why. Any smart person will boat fish on any kind of map. Especially on islands. Well, guess what I'm going after, along with free bombardment at your villagers. If you have a long, narrow island, you're screwed. If not, then this strategy is just beginning. Also, with these scout ships I will most likely have free shots at your wood that you just wasted. You see, with no fishing boats, and a severe lack of fleet (you built your stables or archeries on my island. Oops.) I am free to fish like mad. As in TONS of fishing boats. With these fishing boats, the food I gain goes toward making villagers that either mine gold or stone, depending on what I need more (stone earlier, gold later usually). It also goes toward an army that will soon overwhelm your puny attack. Stone so that I can now tower my entire island. After that, any invasion you try will be futile. Also, the towers will help defend from a sea attack if you decide to ship-rush me. Speaking of ship-rushing. It is also another viable strategy. I'll be honest with you, it is probably the only way you can beat me. I've beaten off more land attacks than interns have visited the oval office in the last few years. Fact is, atsq and celestial dawn, two top players each with more than six months experience, tried a double landing on me once. One was Yamato and one was Phoenician --- easily the 2 best rushing tribes on islands. I CRUSHED them. Back to the boat fishing. If you take mine out I am still not done, because odds are that I've taken yours out as well. That is why you need 25 villagers at the start, so that your economy does not die out so easily. Phoenicia matching up against Yamato So how does Yamato win if their early rush is so weak? The answer is : not easily. They have 2 arch-enemies and one opponent to avoid at all costs. Minoa and Phoenicia both have decent shots at beating the Yamato. Both have different reasons for this. Phoenicia's +3 wood gives them more ships, but the reason they beat Yamato is the fact that they get better towers and Priests in iron. Priests can convert triremes like mad with their +3 range. If they hold the Yamato off on the seas long enough to iron, then the Yamato is theirs. So how does a Yamato beat that? Well, with difficulty. The key, as usual, is to kill off their fishing boats. With their +3 wood, Phoenicia gets way more from the seas than a Yamato can. The Yamato economic advantage is in their villagers, but so is the Phoenician's. But Phoenicia's advantage is more placed toward the high seas. The +3 wood gives them more wood than the 30% faster villagers of the Yamato. So, they by rights should and will have more fishing boats faster. To counter this, make LESS fishing boats. The Yamato advantage is in its food gathering, specifically the shore-fishing which is in great abundance on island maps. They get shore-fish at a 15% faster rate than any other race but Assyrian. So what I do usually is have 5 fishing boats on top of my 25 villagers. This gives enough food for upgrades and for extra villagers if possible. The thing is, if you try to do more fishing boats, then you really do not have enough wood to make a sizeable fleet. Minoa matching up against Yamato The same strategy basically holds true against Minoan. The difference is that Minoa is much more vulnerable to an early scout rush. The problem is that if this rush fails you're literally dead in the water. Minoan Composites against anything, including horse archers, can get ugly. Especially if the Minoan is towered. The key is a quick one scout rush, along with a BIG fleet. Cheap ships should not be overrated, because they almost literally can make ships for forever. If they get a fleet the size of yours, you are done. Helopoli in iron really beat up on Yamato. Hittite matching up against Yamato Hittite gets destroyed by a Yamato ship/scout rush combo. One scout over to his island as soon as possible. Along with the fact that you tool earlier, have a better economy, and attack where they're most vulnerable before they can even defend, Yamato easily beats a Hittite. Egypt matching up against Yamato Then there's Egypt. I give you this warning only once (well, I did mention it with the general civ attributes). DO NOT take the Yamato against someone who knows what they are doing with Egypt. You will get summarily slaughtered. The reason is quite simply Priests. There is absolutely nothing a Yamato can do against them. Especially since a smart Egyptian will go pure speed bronze then just crank priests as fast as he can. And I mean LOTS of priests, literally 20 or more. Then they make those nice chariots and towers in case the Yamato gets any ideas of invading with composites. All I have to say about that match-up is... OUCH!! There are many I would like to thank for helping with this faq including Marshmallow who's done alot of N64 faqs (of which are great) also many others on my icq list. I would like to thanks gamefaqs the most for letting me post this faq also. Copywrite- Dee (pnuthead@capital.net) I also have ICQ :11036566