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