Age of Empires 2 v. 1.4
By Gullibility 92
Copyright 2000 Gullibility 92
(Note: This FAQ is meant for players with some knowledge of the game which
means if you just got the game, play a few random map games before reading
this so you understand some of the terminology).
This FAQ is owned by me, Gullibility 92. Do not reproduce or copy it in
anyway without notifying me. If you would like to view this FAQ in a more
organized format, got to http://www.geocities.com/gullibility92.
Version 1.0 – 5/10/00
The first version of this FAQ. This includes the strategies for all
civilizations and units. Version 1.1 will have information on the buildings.
Version 1.1 – 5/14/00
A few corrections to the civilizations and units. Added the buildings
section. Technologies will be in version 1.2.
Version 1.2 – 5/23/00
Added the Technologies section and King strategies. Economic strategies will
be in version 1.3.
Version 1.3 – 5/26/00
Added General Strategies: Economic Strategies and Neutral Units section.
Military strategies will be in version 1.4.
Version 1.4 – 6/5/00
Added General Strategies: Military Strategies.
Table of Contents
c. Cavalry Archers
d. Hand Cannoneer
a. Light Cavalry
a. Fishing Ships
b. Trade Cogs
e. Demolition Ships
f. Fire Ships
g. Cannon Galleons
E. Siege Weapons
a. Battering Rams
d. Bombard Cannons
F. Other Units
b. Trade Cart
G. Unique Units
c. Woad Raider
d. Chu Ko Nu
e. Throwing Axeman
i. War Elephant
k. Teutonic Knight
H. Neutral Units
A. Economical Buildings
a. Town Center
e. Mining Camp
f. Lumber Camp
h. Fish Trap
B. Military Buildings
c. Archery Range
d. Siege Workshop
f. Palisade Wall
i. Stone Walls
k. Bombard Tower
A. Building Technologies
a. Town Watch
c. Treadmill Crane
B. Economic Technologies
c. Gold Mining
d. Stone Mining
e. Double-Bit Axe
f. Horse Collar
C. Infantry Technologies
c. Scale Mail Armor
D. Missile/Siege Weapon Technologies
b. Padded Archer Armor
e. Murder Holes
f. Heated Shot
g. Siege Engineers
E. Cavalry Technologies
b. Scale Barding Armor
F. Monk Technologies
g. Block Printing
G. Ship Technologies
b. Dry Dock
5. General Strategies
A. Economic Strategies
B. Military Strategies
c. Defense Strategies
d. Miscellaneous Military Strategies
The Britons are a good offensive civilization. However they lack the ability
to convert building, siege weapons, and monks because they don't get
Redemption and Atonement. They are not the best at a sea siege since they
don't have any sort of cannon galleon. They have no gunpowder units at all,
which means many of the strongest imperial age weapons are not available. But
other than Redemption and Crop Rotation, they get most of the important
technologies. Most of their civilization bonuses are not very helpful. The
most helpful one though is a great bonus. With a +1 range bonus in both the
castle and Imperial Age, combined with Fletching, Bodkin Arrow, and Bracer,
gives their Elite Longbowmen a total range of 11 which out ranges every
defensive structure, except a fully upgraded Teutonic Town Center. Because
they have both Masonry and Architecture, They are also a good choice for
going for a Wonder or Relic Victory. Those few extra Hit Points may be what
wins you the game.
In my opinion, the Byzantines are the best civilization. They miss only 2
units and 6 technologies. Their civilization bonuses give them a wide range
of available victories. The 40% Building HP bonus opens the possibility of a
wonder or relic victory. The stronger fire ships, cheaper counter units, and
cheaper Imperial Age Advancement means you can dominate the sea easily,
counter most units cheaply, and reach the Imperial Age much faster allowing
access to the most powerful units much earlier giving you the chance to
overwhelm your opponent with more powerful units. Unfortunately they miss 2
important technologies: Blast Furnace and Siege Engineers. Without Blast
Furnace their cavalry and infantry will be much weaker in attack and the same
for Siege Weapons without Siege Engineers. Despite those few drawbacks they
still are a good civilization.
The Celts are a strong offensive civilization but not as strong as defensive
one. Their only gunpowder unit is the cannon galleon, which although is a
good unit, is limited to the sea. They miss about 7 good, uncompensated
technologies which are Redemption, Block Printing, Illumination, Ring Archer
Armor, Bracer, Plate Barding Armor, and Crop Rotation. Their true strength
lies in Siege Weapons, which opens the possibility of being able to attack
with fewer Siege Weapons with equal effectiveness. Their Siege Weapons are
faster to create, fire faster, and mixed with the Siege Engineers Tech, are
more powerful. Their archers however are very weak without Arbalests, Bracer,
and Ring Archer Armor. Their only reasons for going for a wonder victory are
the Treadmill Crane and Masonry making the Celts a better choice to go for a
The Chinese are not particularly good at any type of victory condition but an
early attack stronger than an average rush. Early in the game is where the
Chinese have the biggest advantage. You can hold back on building a house
until a little later since town centers can support a larger population and
you can advance much faster with an extra 3 villagers at the beginning. Farms
also produce +45 food even in the Dark Ages, which means less time and wood
spent on rebuilding them early in the game while gaining more food. With
cheaper technologies you can upgrade your army slightly faster allowing a
faster attack. But late in the game, during the late Castle Age and the
Imperial Age, the Chinese miss many powerful and important upgrades and
units. They lack the Hand Cannoneer, Bombard Cannon, and Fast Fire Ship.
These 3 units are very helpful in attacks because of their power, range, and
quick attacks. As for technologies, the most helpful, uncompromised,
technologies the Chinese miss are Block Printing, Siege Engineers, Hoardings,
and Crop Rotation. On certain cases it may also be disadvantageous to miss
the Treadmill Crane and Guilds Technologies.
The Franks are a good rushing and Wonder/Relic civilization. Stronger Knights
means fewer needed to attempt an extra early rush. Free farm upgrades means
the saved money can bring in an extra Knight or Light Cavalry, while still
gaining extra food from farms. Cheaper Castles means an extra castle or two
adding defense or using the excess stone to research technologies or build
extra towers for supporting the castles. The Franks are also pretty effective
at the end of the game with Siege Engineers and Bombard Cannon. Unfortunately
the Franks are extremely disadvantaged with archers much like the Celts. The
Franks do not get Ring Archer Armor, Bracer, Arbalests, or the Two Man Saw.
The Franks also do not get Redemption and Atonement which means monks are
limited to standard Military Units and Villagers. The Treadmill Crane and
Masonry/Architecture Technologies open the possibility of a Wonder or Relic
The Goths are the worst civilization. They lack Stone Wall and all towers but
the Outpost, Watch Tower, and Castle. This limits them to a conquest victory.
Unfortunately they would this is a big drawback. With the Treadmill Crane,
Masonry, and Architecture the Goths would have made a great civilization for
the Wonder/Relic victory. However the Goths are good at one of the most
difficult strategies in the game: The Feudal Age Rush. Infantry are cheaper,
faster to create, and stronger against buildings than most other
civilizations. This advantage means a quick large force of Men-at-Arms
supported by a small contingent of archers can quickly come in, eliminate as
many villagers as possible, run a short distance back to wait until the
villagers are not garrisoned in the Town Center, and repeat. However this
means you need to mine gold in the Dark Age and attack fast enough that they
won't have reached the Castle Age and defend themselves with stronger units.
If this fails then the Goths are pretty easy to kill off. The one thing that
keeps them alive in the endgame is the +10 population limit, which means a
slightly bigger economy or slightly larger military. But in the endgame you
would expect they at least had Plate Mail Armor since they have an advantage
with infantry. Unfortunately they miss Redemption, Block Printing, Gold Shaft
Mining, Dry Dock, Hoardings, Siege Engineers, Plate Mail Armor, and Plate
Barding Armor. The Goths do not have a very strong endgame army since they
miss the Arbalest, Paladin, Siege Ram, and Siege Onager. Because the Goths
have such a limited amount of strategies, they are one of the most difficult
civilizations to play as.
The Japanese, like the Goths and the Chinese, have an advantage early in the
game. Quicker attacking infantry, cheaper resources deposit buildings, and
efficient fishing ships allow an early rush or quicker advancement through
the ages. Later in the game the Japanese civilization bonuses are not as
helpful except the increased infantry attack speed. The Japanese also are
rather weak against a walled in opponent during the Imperial Age with only
Capped Rams and Trebuchets as their land siege weapons. They are not the best
choice for a Wonder or Relic victory since they don't have Architecture or
the Treadmill Crane. The Japanese, although strong in early development and
attacks, have a harder time in the mid to endgame since they miss many
resource gathering technologies like Crop Rotation. The Japanese's major
uncompensated missing technologies are Gold and Stone Shaft Mining,
Hoardings, Crop Rotation, Plate Barding Armor, and in some cases Guilds. But
they do get most of the important units other than the later powerful siege
The Mongols are a good rushing civilization that does pretty well in the
endgame as well. Fast hunters, better land scouts, and stronger rushing units
make the Mongols one of the best Castle Age rushing civilizations. A mix of
Light Cavalry and Cavalry Archers poses a dangerous threat to enemy villagers
early on especially with the Mongol bonuses. In the late game they have a
good variety of units, which makes a difficult force to counter. However they
are not as effective in a wonder/relic victory since they do not have access
to the Architecture and Treadmill Crane technologies. The Mongols do miss
several important technologies including Dry Dock, Redemption, Sanctity,
Block Printing, Illumination, Ring Archer Armor, Plate Barding Armor,
Architecture, Two Man Saw, Crop Rotation, and in some cases Guilds.
The Persians are good at endgame conquest civilization. The Persians are also
somewhat effective at stopping a rush. They start off with extra resources,
and have boosted hit points and work rates for the Town Center and Dock,
which makes the Persians very good at advancing a bit earlier than other
civilizations and perhaps allowing them to make an army strong enough to
defeat a rush. In addition if you are facing a civilization with a good
chance of making a Feudal Age Rush Persian knights have a small bonus against
the archers, which means it is a bit easier at luring the infantry into the
range of your town center. The Persians are not too good at a Wonder/ Relic
victory because they lack the Fortified Wall. On the Conquest victory, they
have strong siege weapons but don't get the Paladin, Arbalest, Two-Handed
Swordsman, or Champion. As for technologies, the best technologies the
Persians miss are Redemption, Sanctity, Illumination, Bracer, and Siege
The Saracens are a well-rounded civilization. Their bonuses can help with a
rush or siege attack. However 2 of the Saracens bonuses are for ships, and if
water is not extremely abundant on the map, they are almost completely
useless. The Saracens are a good civilization for all victory conditions
although they lack Architecture. The Saracens miss only 4 units: the
Cavalier, Paladin, Fast Fire Ship, and Heavy Scorpion. They are extremely
effective at a siege approach because they only miss one siege weapon. The
only drawback to the siege is they miss the Cavalier and Paladin. However the
purposes of Paladin and Cavalier can easily be replaced with a cheap variety
of counter units like Elite Skirmishers, Pikesmen, and Light Cavalry. This
combination costs no gold at all leaving money for the training of other
units. The only major, uncompensated technologies the Saracens miss are Stone
Shaft Mining and Crop Rotation.
The Teutons are definitely a good choice for a Wonder/Relic victory. They
need less wood for their farms, get Murder Holes for free, have an extremely
effective anti-rush ability with the increased range and power, their Monks
heal from 2x the distance which means they can stay behind walls, and towers
can garrison 2x the units and fire 2x the garrison arrows. All of these
bonuses point at a defensive victory. The Teutons also have the Bombard
Tower, the most effective defensive structure against units attacking at the
base of a wall. Although they are a defensive civilization, the Teutons are
capable of pulling off a siege. They don't however, work with a rush since
they lack Light Cavalry. The Teutons have access to most of the powerful
siege weapons. They miss only the Siege Ram, which although must get close to
attack, is a cheaper anti-building siege weapon than the Bombard Cannon and
Trebuchet. The Teutons are slightly disadvantaged with archers since they
miss the Arbalest, Heavy Cavalry Archer, and Bracer. Other important missed
technologies are Gold Shaft Mining, Dry Dock, and Architecture.
The Turks are definitely a good choice for an offensive civilization, with
all the gunpowder units. They are also good at a rush with Light Cavalry
upgraded instantly once the Castle Age is reached. But all of their
civilization bonuses are useless until the Castle Age so try to reach it as
soon as possible. With Masonry, Architecture, and Treadmill Crane the Turks
are also a good choice for the Wonder/Relic victory. Unfortunately they are
disadvantaged when it comes to a strong, varied, siege army. They miss the
Elite Skirmisher, Pikesmen, Arbalests, Paladin, Fast Fire Ship, Onager, and
Siege Onager. A combination of all these units makes a good army to counter
anything your opponent might send to defend him/her/itself but since the
Turks do not have these units, you might have to settle with the earlier and
weaker units. Yet the Turks have extra strong Gunpowder units that train
faster. Do not be afraid to have a large portion of your army being Gunpowder
units. The Turks do not miss any useless technologies. Instead they miss
several important technologies. These technologies are Block Printing,
Illumination, Stone Shaft Mining, Siege Engineers, and Crop Rotation.
The Vikings are good at a rush approach even in the Feudal Age. They have
cheaper warships to complement your rush, stronger infantry, and Wheelbarrow
and Handcart researched free. With these bonuses, you can gather resources
faster and send an early yet strong rush. In the endgame the Vikings are not
particularly good at any single type of victory but instead are a mediocre
civilization for all of the types of victories. With Masonry and Architecture
the Vikings make a good Wonder/Relic civilization although they lack the
Treadmill Crane. Without the Hand Cannoneer, Heavy Cavalry Archer, Paladin,
Siege Onager, and Bombard Cannon, the Vikings are at a disadvantage in a
siege since they miss these units. However, creating a strong navy is not
hard with the Vikings, despite the fact that they miss the Fire Ship and Fast
Fire Ship, and since they get the Longboat. The Vikings miss several
important technologies, which are Redemption, Sanctity, Illumination, Plate
Barding Armor, Stone Shaft Mining, and in some cases Guilds.
Swordsmen are the basic grunt units, relatively cheap but effective
throughout the beginning, middle, and end of the game. They are not
effectively countered by anything other than the Cataphract. However they are
not specifically good at countering anything themselves. In the Dark Ages you
are limited to the Militia for attacks. Never train Militia, they are too
weak and expensive to use effectively. Once upgraded to Men-at-Arms, the
swordsman becomes a much more useful unit. They gain hit points, attack,
speed, and a bonus vs. buildings. The Long Swordsman is another important
upgrade; it adds more hit points and attack without any drawbacks. Once you
reach the Imperial Age it is more important to think about upgrading to the
Two-Handed Swordsman. Although it adds power and attack, the swordsman
becomes slower. If you do upgrade however, just go the whole nine yards and
upgrade to the Champion. This adds hit points, attack, and armor.
Pikesmen are extremely effective at countering all cavalry except the
Cataphract, which it is less but still effective against. Since many people
use Knights, Cavalry Archers and Light Cavalry as a large part of their
force, the Pikesman becomes a good and cheap counter. They are effective at
guarding siege weapons against cavalry. They are also one of the most
effective counters against War Elephants. They deal out about 50 hit points
of damage as Pikesmen and about 30 as Spearmen. However the Pikesmen do not
work on much else other than cavalry and the War Elephant. They can be used
to stop Battering Rams and Skirmishers if no other units are available
The basic ranged unit is the archer. If you use Archers in large groups,
upgrade to at least the Crossbowman if not Arbalest. They work well against
most infantry and other slow moving units. They are horrible at attacking
building, so if they are used in the Feudal Age rush, they should only attack
villagers and any attacking units. Cavalry, Skirmishers, and Huskarls easily
defeat archers so they need support from other units.
The Skirmisher is the cheapest counter against archers. They can easily crush
a force of Archers with double the amount of units. Unfortunately they are
torn apart by and other units make sure they are properly supported. A force
of Swordsmen and Skirmishers is a good combination for taking out units
One of the best rushing units is the Cavalry Archer. With a ranged attack,
quick speed, and a good amount of hit points, the Cavalry Archer is perfect
for hit and run tactics. Later in the game the Cavalry Archer requires more
support because so many units are capable of countering it. Use the Cavalry
Archers with Light Cavalry or Knights to help defend them from close range
The Hand Cannoneer is incredibly powerful. Unfortunately it can not increase
its attack strength or range any higher. Use at least 5 in a group since they
miss very often at long range. Support with Cavalry or Pikesmen to stop
Archers and Cavalry from closing in on them.
The Light Cavalry is a good unit for rushing. It can run in kill a few
villagers and run out quite fast. It is also a great scout. Once you can,
upgrade to Light Cavalry. It is faster, stronger, has longer sight, and more
hit points. Support them with Pikesmen and Archers.
The Knight is the most overestimated unit in the game. Many players attack
with nothing but siege weapons and Knights. But Pikesmen and Camels easily
counter the Knight. The Pikesmen can tear through Paladins and cost far less.
This does not mean stop using Knights, but simply use other units as well.
The two counter-units are both crushed by Swordsmen. With just these units,
it is difficult to counter and if more types are added, then it becomes
extremely difficult to counter.
The Camel is just a Light Cavalry with a bonus against mounted units and more
hit points. Unfortunately it costs quite a lot of gold for those bonuses.
Pikesmen are much cheaper and more effective. A Heavy Camel loses in a one on
one fight with a Paladin. The Camel is too expensive for its benefits and is
countered by so many units it is pointless to create so many types of units
to support the Camels.
The Fishing Ship is a good way to gain food on island or coastal maps. With
Fishing Ships, you require a few less villagers collecting food and a few
more collecting wood. Make sure you rebuild docks to make the trip back from
the fish shorter. Guard them with at least a few Galleys early on and a few
more in the endgame, especially if you are depending on them for a majority
of your food income.
The Trade Cog is basically a Fishing Ship for gold. You need to be at least
neutral to trade with someone. The farther away the Dock is the more gold you
get but don't go through dangerous territory to gain more gold, a shorter
trip means more loads of gold. Like fishing ships, try to guard them with a
The Transport is important on water maps especially islands. Try to upgrade
at least Careening to make more room on the Transport and make it less
vulnerable. Guard them with a few Galleys and Fire Ships. If a Transport is
converted the units in it are not. If there are a lot of units, press delete
to sink the ship with all the units on board. If a Transport is destroyed
with a Monk holding a Relic, the Relic will appear on the shore closest to
The Galley is the basic warship. It is good for attacking units on land,
Transports, Fishing Ships, Trade Cogs, Demolition Ships, and Cannon Galleons.
Use them to escort Transports and guard Fishing Ships and Trade Cogs. Upgrade
your Galleys to at least War Galleys so even if you don't intend to use them
you can at least get Fast Fire Ships and Heavy Demolition Ships. Watch out
for Fire Ships, Bombard Cannons, and Trebuchets.
Demolition Ships are useful for only one thing: killing Fire Ships. A fleet
of Galleys or Longboats will shoot down Demolition Ships relatively fast.
Cannon Galleons have enough hit points to withstand one blast from Demolition
Ships making it too expensive to use since it kills itself. It is also has a
bonus against building but it takes at least 6 hits to kill a dock with Heavy
Demolition Ship making it incredibly expensive.
Fire Ships are the best counter for every ship other than Demolition Ships.
They do not work well against buildings and land units. Use them in the mid
to endgame to escort your Transports, Fishing Ships, and Trade Cogs. Use
Galleys to defend them against Demolition Ships.
The Cannon Galleon is basically a Bombard Cannon on a ship. They are great at
taking out seaside defenses before you drop off your units for an attack.
They are good at taking out units on the shore except against the computer,
who will always dodge the cannonballs. They will also work against ships that
aren't being watched, two hits will take out just about any ship. Make sure
they are escorted by Fire Ships and/or Galleys.
The Battering Ram is an effective anti-building siege weapon. It is virtually
immune to arrow fire meaning they are good at taking out walls guarded by
Watchtowers, Guard Towers, Keeps, and Castles. But Battering Rams are quickly
killed by hand to hand combat, even villagers. Later in the game Battering
Rams become less effective with Bombard Towers, Bombard Cannons, Mangonels,
and the Hand Cannoneer. All these units and buildings are ranged attackers
without arrows which means they can do loads of damage to incoming Battering
Rams without endangering themselves. Trebuchets are also effective but must
already be deployed. A surprising thing about the Siege Ram is it has a blast
radius. If several houses are bunched together they will all get damaged if a
Siege Ram attacks the center one, unfortunately the blast radius does not
affect units. Battering Rams also get a small bonus against siege weapons, so
if you can sneak one by your enemies Trebuchets while they are marching to
your base, and your enemy doesn't notice you might be able to take out one or
Mangonels are anti-infantry/archer siege weapons. They will also work on
buildings, but do not get a bonus. A cavalry unit can work wonders on an army
with several Mangonels while never having to attack. Simply run the cavalry
through their forces and if there are a lot of low hit point units, the
Mangonels will probably kill or wound some of them while attempting to hit
your unit. To prevent this from happening to you set your Mangonels to no
attack stance. Another nice little feature is Siege Onager can cut through
forests. This is especially helpful in Black Forest maps where one or two
Relics are completely enclosed in forests and to get to them requires cutting
through the woods. You can also launch a sneak attack by going to an
undefended side by cutting through forests. Be sure to move them to the back
of your force otherwise if your enemy sees them, they probably send cavalry
to kill them.
Scorpions are another anti-infantry/archer siege weapon. They fire huge
bolts, which act like arrows. They do not work against buildings and do not
have a blast radius which means it is safer to keep them near your troops for
protection as opposed to farther away for the fear of hitting your own units.
They fire slightly faster than Mangonels making them better for a smaller
more armored group of infantry or archers.
Bombard Cannons are expensive anti-building siege weapons. They also have a
bonus against ships. The Bombard Cannon is extremely overpriced in my
opinion. It cost more than a Trebuchet and all it has over the Trebuchet is
mobility while firing. The Trebuchet has more attack strength, hit points,
armor, and range. But the mobility gives the Bombard Cannon one big
advantage, which is the ability to move forward while attacking, a great
ability if your opponent is using Trebuchets for defense, you fire and due to
the high arc of Trebuchet shots, there is enough time to move out of the way.
Bombard Cannons have range just beyond a fully upgraded tower's, allowing
them to fire undisturbed.
The highest line of siege weapons is the Trebuchet. With massive power, hit
points, pierce armor, and range the Trebuchet is unmatched in sheer power for
destroying buildings. Trebuchets are also effective at destroying ships that
are not being micro-managed. Trebuchets are also useful for cutting through
forests if you are a civilization without the Siege Onager or don't want to
spend the resources upgrading to it. You can also use the Trebuchet to scout
out your enemy's defenses since their long range means long sight too. The
only drawbacks to the Trebuchet are a high arc causing inaccuracy, slow rate
of fire, and the need to unpack. If used in groups of at least 4, they can
take down most buildings in a matter of seconds. Any unit other than archers
can counter the Trebuchet so guard them with a variety of units.
The villager is the most important unit in the game. It is impossible to
advance through the ages and create an army without an economy and it is
impossible to create an economy without villagers. You should have at least
half of your units being villagers or some sort of resource gathering unit.
Usually if you are planning a siege, you will want to bring Monks to heal
your units and the same is for siege weapons and ships; they require repairs
to prevent them from being destroyed. If you don't want your villagers
sitting around doing nothing while waiting for your siege weapons or ships to
be damaged, you can set up some military buildings near the enemy base to
bring units over faster or research Sappers and set them on weak buildings
like Houses, Mills, and Lumber Camps.
The Monk is a fragile, slow, low hit point unit. Yet they are one of the
game's most useful units. There are 3 uses for them: healing units,
converting units, and gathering Relics. Usually when an attack is sent there
are at least 2 Monks with the attack force to heal the units. I recommend
about 5 to 6 Monks varying on the size of the attack force and whether or not
your enemies has garrisoned Relics you want to capture. The second use,
converting units, is a good way to get powerful units for free. Use multiple
Monks to convert more dangerous targets faster. If a transport is converted,
the units on board are not so sink the ship if a large and/or dangerous army
is on board. Research Redemption, Block Printing, and Illumination to improve
your Monk's converting abilities. Atonement is another conversion upgrade but
is way overpriced for the ability to just convert enemy Monks. The third and
final use for Monks is one of the ways to win a standard game. Capturing
relics slowly generates gold for your coffers. Research Fervor and Sanctity
to improve your Monk's chances of getting back alive. Wolves do not attack
Monks so feel free to walk by one to get a Relic or to shake off an attacking
unit for a while. Monks also have long sight because of their long conversion
The Trade Cart is a way to gain gold easily with an allied or neutral player.
Later in the game where the only way to get gold is by selling resources,
garrisoning Relics, and trading, the Trade Cart becomes pretty important.
Build at least 10 of them to get a good constant supply of gold coming in and
make sure they don't need to travel through hostile territory. Build your
market as far away as possible from your trading partner while still being
able to defend it, this will allow you to gain more gold per trip. Make sure
your Trade Carts are defended to prevent your opponent from picking them off.
Likewise, if your opponent is difficult to attack, attack their Trade Carts
to greatly diminish their gold income.
In Regicide games you start off with a King and a Castle plus several
Villagers and the Town Center. Immediately garrison the King in the Castle in
case someone tries to rush and kill the King early. Fortify the Castle well
and try to put some Monks in it too so if it is destroyed they can heal the
King if he comes under attack. If the Castle is destroyed, try to put the
King in a Tower, a Town Center, or another Castle as soon as possible.
Chances are your opponent will try to rush at him with cavalry as soon as he
comes out of the Castle so try to have another place for him to stay nearby.
Longbowmen are the Briton special unit. They are slightly more expensive than
the generic foot archer but also stronger and better ranged when upgraded to
the Elite Longbowman. Attack in groups of about 10 for a light skirmish
battle to weaken your enemies forces before they send a siege and are
organizing their troops. With the bonus range the Britons get, you can fire
upon most things without going into the range of their units. A group of 10
can destroy almost any unit before going into range and finally retreating
back into your town without getting injured. When fully upgraded, Elite
Longbowmen can fire at towers without going into range. But because archers
are extremely weak against building, you shouldn't bother using your
Longbowmen for this purpose.
The Cataphract is the Byzantine special unit. The Cataphract is the only unit
with a bonus against infantry. This is especially useful against a
civilization with strong or cheap infantry like the Goths or Japanese. They
are good for the traditional role of cavalry: rushing at archers and siege
weapons. Because they have a bonus against infantry, they do not lose as many
hit points against a Pikesman than a Paladin does. The most dangerous unit to
a Cataphract is probably the Camel. Since there are only 2 counter units, and
the Pikesman is not as effective, the Camel can dish out heavy damage.
Although the Elite Cataphract has 150 hit points and 12 attack, a Paladin
still can counter it. Still, with the only bonus against infantry, they are
very useful. Deploy large contingents specifically against the Goths,
Japanese, and Vikings.
The Woad Raider is the Celt special unit. The Woad Raider is possibly the
most useless special unit. The Elite Woad Raider is a slightly faster
Champion, without the armor, +5 cost in food and gold, and 10 more hit
points. The manual says they are strong vs. archers, but they must get close
first and they are just as fast as archers are so they are going to lose
quite a few hit points getting to them.
Chu Ko Nu
The Chu Ko Nu is the Chinese special unit. The Chu Ko Nu is a fast firing
crossbow with shorter range. They fire about 5 arrows in each volley with 8
damage an arrow. This comes to 40 damage per volley. Unfortunately the Chu Ko
Nu has shorter range than the Arbalest. The Chu Ko Nu cost more wood than the
Arbalest but less gold. They can effectively take the place of the Arbalest.
The Elite Chu Ko Nu only has +5 hit points and therefore it is much better to
research armor, range, and damage increasing technologies. 760 food and gold
is enough to research enough technologies that will allow your Chu Ko Nu to
do more damage and last longer than an extra 5 hit points.
The Throwing Axeman is the Franks special unit. It is not exactly a
replacement for any unit but better as an army supplement. They are good for
anything you would use your swordsmen for. They attack with normal attack so
they work against units with massive amounts of pierce armor. Having a ranged
normal attack is a good ability to have since they can stand behind Battering
Rams while attack the same building. They do not get the upgrades for archers
but they do get the infantry upgrades. Unfortunately this means you cannot
extend their range except for up grading to Elite Throwing Axeman. With short
range, they are still easily countered by Archers, Scorpions, and Mangonels.
The Huskarl is the Goths special unit. It is good for taking down archers
since they have a bonus attack against them and high pierce armor. They are
also good for attacking towers except for the Bombard Tower since they have a
bonus against buildings like most other infantry. Unfortunately Huskarls are
quite expensive so it can be cheaper to use Skirmishers to counter Archers
and more effective to use siege weapons against buildings. However, with the
25% cheaper infantry bonus in the Imperial Age, Huskarls are only slightly
more expensive than swordsmen without the bonus are, making them a bit more
useful for their cost.
The Samurai is the Japanese special unit. The Samurai is very much like a
Champion except for one difference, a bonus vs. other civilizations' unique
units. The Samurai is perfect against a player who thinks they can win using
only special units. The Samurai can win in a one on one battle against any
unique unit that is not micro-managed except the Teutonic Knight, Cataphract,
and War Elephant. They also have the general infantry bonus against
buildings. Like most infantry they are weak against Archers, Scorpions, and
The Mangudai is the Mongol special unit. The Mangudai is a Cavalry Archer
with slightly more attack, an increased cost in wood, a decreased cost in
gold, and a bonus against siege weapons. The Mangudai is not very different
from the Cavalry Archer except for its bonus against siege weapons. This
makes the Mangudai a good replacement for the Cavalry Archer since wood is
generally far more abundant than gold. Mangudai are good at the same tactics
as Cavalry Archers but now can use hit and run tactics during a siege against
Trebuchets and Bombard Cannons. They can also hide behind walls and fire at
Battering Rams. All pierce armor on siege weapons do not affect the damage
the Mangudai inflicts upon them.
The War Elephant is the Persian special unit. The War Elephant is the most
powerful unit available. When upgraded to Elite War Elephant, it gains +5
attack, +1 pierce armor, and +150 hit points. With a bonus against buildings
they can be used as Battering Rams. They have trample damage against all
infantry or foot archers in front or to the side of them. However they are
one of the few units weak against monks due to their incredibly slow speed.
This also makes them weak against any ranged unit when the unit is micro-
managed. Pikesmen, Camels, and Mamelukes are effective counters against the
The Mameluke is the Saracen special unit. It is like the Throwing Axeman in
the fact that it is basically a Camel with ranged attack. It has more attack,
less hit points, more armor, and a higher price in gold. They are so
expensive that it is better to use Camels or Pikesmen to counter cavalry.
Also they count as regular attack meaning they work against siege weapons and
they do not receive range or attack bonuses from Fletching, Bodkin Arrow, and
The Teutonic Knight is the Teutons special unit. These units, although slow
and expensive are very powerful. If you use a lot of them, upgrade them to
Elite Teutonic Knights. They gain +5 armor, +5 attack, and +30 hit points.
They have a bonus against buildings like most infantry and will hack through
most hand to hand units. They are weak against all ranged units except
perhaps Skirmishers, who can still win a battle with hit and run tactics.
They are also weak against monks due to their slow speed. If there are Monks,
just run away unless they are about 4 to 2 tiles away. Teutonic Knights are
good in groups but require support against ranged units.
The Janissary is the Turks special unit. It is a Hand Cannoneer with slightly
higher stats and a slightly higher cost. However, the Janissary doesn't have
the minimum range disability. They are still quite inaccurate at long range
so use several in a group. They cannot upgrade their attack or range like the
Hand Cannoneer. The upgrade to Elite Janissary is not too important but is
still a pretty useful upgrade. They can replace the Hand Cannoneer if you
have a bit more money and you can get them in the Castle Age making them
great for attacks on enemy Villagers early in the game.
The Berserk is the first of the two Vikings special units. The Berserk can
replace the Swordsman since it has more armor and attack than a Champion does
when upgraded to Elite Berserk. It is only 5 gold and food more than
Swordsmen are. Unfortunately the even Elite berserk has fewer hit points than
the Champion does but with the Viking infantry hit point bonus they can
exceed another civilization's Champions' hit points with their Elite Berserk.
The Berserks also slowly heal themselves but it is so slow that this only
makes a difference if you have no Monks, your Berserks are wounded in battle,
and you have units to cover them to let them heal. In the middle of a battle,
the Berserk's self-healing ability will probably not make a difference and it
is much better to use Monks to heal in the middle of a battle.
The Longboat is the second Vikings special unit. It is a great replacement
for Galleys. Although it is significantly more expensive, the benefits are
very high. With the cheaper warship bonus, the Longboat is only slightly more
expensive than the normal Galley. The Longboat, when upgraded to Elite
Longboat, has virtually the same stats as the Galleon except the Elite
Longboat has –5 hit points. However the Longboat has a rapid-fire ability
like the Chu Ko Nu making it far more powerful. The power of one volley of
shots from the Elite Longboat is about as strong as 5 Galleons firing. The
most effective counter to the Longboat is Fire Ship. Bombard Cannons,
Trebuchets, and Mangonels are also quite effective as well. But due to the
rapidness of the Longboat's attack, Demolition Ships are knocked out by 1 to
2 volleys from a Longboat.
Deer are a good source of food since hunters are safe while hunting them and
they can hold several times more food than other sources. There are usually
at least 3 Deer in the surrounding starting area of your base. Try shooting
the Deer from a certain direction so they run towards your Mill or Town
Center. Deer rot as time passes so collect the meat quickly.
Sheep are the fastest source of food since you can herd them to your Mill or
Town Center. There is much strategy for Sheep except using your Scout to try
to find at least 8 in the surrounding area. Sheep, like Deer, rot through
time so don't let a carcass with meat just lie around.
Boars are a good source of food but hunting them can be dangerous. Since they
give chase, you can fire an arrow run to your Mill or Town Center to lure it
over and ambush it with several Villagers. You can also get an archer to fire
a few shots to weaken it and kill it with a Villager to collect the food. You
should find about 2 Boars in the surrounding start area. Boars rot like all
Deer and Sheep so collect the meat with several Villagers per Boar since 350
food comes from each Boar.
Wolves cannot be killed for food and Villagers fight them hand to hand. They
can kill Villagers quite easily until you research Loom. Try to go ahead and
kill them with soldiers before your Villagers get attacked. The number of
Wolves in the starting area varies between each map and type of map.
Fish come in 2 forms, Shore Fish and Boat Fish. Both Villagers and Fishing
Ships can gather Shore Fish. Boat Fish appears only in large pools of water
and can only be gathered by Fishing Ships. There are two types of Boat Fish,
regular and great fish. Great fish have 350 food compared to the regular
One of the possible ways to win a standard game is by collecting and holding
all the Relics for a few centuries. Relics also generate gold when garrisoned
in a Monastery. However even 5 Relics do not generate gold fast enough for a
reliable source. The only time Relics generated enough gold for me to use
dependably was in a custom map with over 30 Relics right next to my base.
Once you have collected all the Relics, Consider moving them to a better
defended Monastery or spreading them out so if an opponent attacks that one
Monastery, They won't be able to collect them all at once. There is usually 1
Relic near you at the beginning as long as there are no more than 4 other
players. Even if you aren't going for a Relic Victory, try to collect at
least one so you will have a little gold income and so anybody that goes for
a Relic Victory, will have to get into your base first. If they get to see
where the Relic is, relocate it on another spot in your base. Another trick
is to use the rally point button and garrison a Monk in Monasteries so flags
will appear tricking your opponent into thinking that there is a Relic
The Town Center is the start for every civilization. It is where several
important technologies are researched, any type of resource can be dropped,
Villagers can be garrisoned for protection, and most importantly where
Villagers are created. Town Centers also support 5 population and 10
population for the Chinese. When you start your game, the best defense
against a Feudal Age rush is your Town Center. By ringing the town bell, you
will be able to automatically have 15 Villagers go away from what they were
doing and fire arrows at enemy units that walk into to range. Try to build
your starting structures 3 tiles away from the Town Center so you can defend
them with your Town Center and still build Farms next to them. In the Dark
and Feudal Ages, you can only build Town Centers if you don't already have an
The House is what allows you to increase your population early in the game.
Each House supports 5 population for any unit. They are very cheap but do not
build too many in the Dark Age since you will need the wood for other
buildings, especially Farms and/or Docks and Fishing Ships. Later in the game
you can also use Town Centers and Castles to increase the possible supported
units. Monks can raise you over the population limit by converting units.
The Mill is the best way to increase food gathering production. All sources
of food can be deposited in the Mill. You can also upgrade the food
production of Farms at the Mill. Build your Mills adjacent to Forage Bushes
and near your hunting and shore fishing areas to decrease the distance from
the source of food. Build your Farms next to your Mills and Town Centers as
Farms are a reliable source of food provided you have enough wood. Since it
cost money to build them, work on all other food sources around you first. Be
sure to upgrade your Farms as you advance through the ages to be more wood
conscious. Later in the game Farms will become your major source of food.
Always make sure you have enough Villagers chopping wood so you always have
enough to build your Farms. Also use the hotkey "Home" to zoom in on your
expired Farms and right-click to rebuild them.
The Mining Camp is the Mill for gold and stone. You can drop off both gold
and stone in the Mining Camp. You also research technologies to improve your
mining speed. Build your Mining Camps adjacent to the resource deposits
unless there are two resources relatively close to each other in which case
you should build right in between them. Destroy them after there aren't any
more gold or stone deposits nearby and they are obstructing your base.
Otherwise they can be used like an Outpost to warn you of an oncoming attack.
The Lumber Camp is the place to deposit wood. You can upgrade your wood
cutting speed there too with the technologies. Early in the game, use the
trees near your Town Center for wood before building a Lumber Camp so there
is room next to your Town Center for Farms. Build them adjacent to huge
forests so the trip from the wood to the Lumber Camp is shorter. As the
forests are depleted rebuild the Lumber Camps and re-command your Villagers
to the new forest.
The Dock is a crucial building in water abundant maps. In the Dark Age you
can only build Fishing Ships which are a good supply of food since there is
usually a large amount of fish in the nearby area, and if there isn't then it
generally isn't worth it to build a Dock so early. In the Feudal Age you can
trade, transport, and attack with the new units you can build in the Dock.
Technologies only pertaining to ships are researched in the Dock as well.
Fishing Ships and Trade Cogs also drop off their resources at the Dock.
You can build Fish Traps with Fishing Boats once you reach the Feudal Age. If
the surrounding fish are depleted, you can either build a new Dock in a
better position or build Fish Traps. Fish Traps, like Farms, cost wood and
are eventually depleted. In the Feudal Age the Fish Trap is a better
investment since it can yield more food per wood than a Farm. This is also
true in the Castle Age. However once you reach the Imperial Age, with Crop
Rotation researched, Farms are cheaper for wood per food. Fish Traps should
also be built near or adjacent to your Dock.
The Market is not too important early in the game. You will probably use it
just to get a few resources that are needed or research technologies. Later
in the game, where the gold and stone deposits are depleted, you will need to
use extensive amounts of Trade Carts and buy and sell resources frequently if
you don't have a neutral or allied player.
The Blacksmith is where you research the primary improvements on your
infantry, archers, and cavalry. The first technologies are basically a must
research since they are extremely cheap. Later in the game you will want to
pick which technologies you research since they will become more expensive.
The Monastery is a very helpful building. You can research technologies for
Monks and create Monks. You also can garrison Relics inside the Monastery.
Build your Monastery early and close to as many Relics as possible. But don't
build it where you can't defend it. Build your Monastery early and grab at
least one Relic so someone else can't win by a Relic victory.
The University is where you research important endgame technologies. Most of
the building technologies cost stone so make sure you have already started
mining stone. The University is where you upgrade your towers. They become
extremely deadly if everything available is researched. Try to build your
University later if you aren't using many towers.
The Wonder is useless in a conquest game. In a standard game you can win by
holding a Wonder for a few centuries. The time will vary with the size of the
map. In score games they can be helpful too since they are worth several
hundred points. If you are planning on winning by Wonder, you need at least
10 villagers working on it if not more. Research Masonry and Architecture to
make your Wonder stronger. Research Treadmill Crane so it builds faster and
wall it in. Try to build it with one side to the edge of a map and deep
inland to protect it from Cannon Galleons.
The Barracks is where you create your infantry. It is not very useful until
the Feudal Age since in the Dark Ages you can only build Militia. Late in the
Game in can provide you with some very useful support units but should not
make up a huge amount of your army. Since you build the Barracks early in the
game, if there is room put it in the range of your Town Center while leaving
room for Farms.
The Stable should be the third military building you construct, although it
may vary depending on what approach you choose. The Stable will probably be
where you create most of your army late in the game. If you are going for a
Castle Age rush, Light Cavalry are among the best rushers. In the endgame,
Knights will probably be the mainstay unit in sieges for protection against
archers. Camels are also useful units especially if your opponent is using
archers and cavalry, although they should be much more useful since they cost
so much. Generally by the endgame you should have at least 2 Stables if you
haven't just been attacked and one was destroyed in the attack.
The Archery Range is another important building for attacks. You can train
units for any purpose: Feudal and Castle Age rushes, stopping rushes, and
sieges. You should have at least a couple of Archery Ranges in the late to
endgame. You should build the Archery Range early in the game, preferably
before the Stable, since the Archer and the Skirmisher are more useful than
the Scout is.
The Siege Workshop should be built a bit later in the Castle Age unless your
opponent reached the Castle Age much earlier than you. In general, the Siege
Workshop is not absolutely necessary if your opponent doesn't have defensive
structures like towers or walls. However if you plan to take out an entire
enemy base, you'll almost definitely need a Siege Workshop for the Town
Center. The Siege Workshop is generally built around the same time as a
Castle so try to get them in the defensive range of the Castle.
The ultimate defense structure is the Castle. Place a Castle in a location as
soon as you have researched Murder Holes, and your opponents will attack from
a different side until they can afford several Battering Rams. To increase
the defense even further, you can garrison up to 20 units in side. If these
units are all Archers or Villagers, the amount of arrows flying out are
capable of killing almost any unit with one volley. However the Castle will
require some support against Siege Rams, Bombard Cannons, Trebuchets, and
Cannon Galleons. Luckily, the Castle happens to be the place where each
civilization's unique unit is created and where the powerful Trebuchet is
made. You also research several important technologies at the Castle.
This is one of the most useless military structures available. Palisade Wall
will stop nothing other than Militia and any Foot or Cavalry Archers. If you
think you will need a warning then go ahead and wall yourself in, but the
wood you waste will be enough to bring in an extra Archer, Spearman, or
Skirmisher in the battle.
The Outpost is a semi-useful structure. Place it near areas with resources to
check if your opponent is mining anything there. Place it in front of choke
points to your base to see if your enemy is sending an attack. However, the
Outpost cost stone and although only a little, the stone you spend could go
to a wall or tower.
The Gate is a crucial structure if you have walled yourself in with
Stonewall. Leave holes in the wall so you can build Gates without wasting
stone by building over your walls. If you need to stop enemy units from
entering your base when your own units go through, lock it and kill off the
enemy forces first. Many people believe that if an enemy unit is under a Gate
without a friendly unit holding it open the Gate will squish them. This has
not happened to me and I do not believe it works. I have seen the computer
have one unit stand under the Gate, holding it open while the rest of their
army marches in.
Stonewalls are very important structures especially if you are going for a
defensive victory like the Wonder condition. Stonewalls hold back enemy
forces so you can gather your own troops while the attackers have to deal
with Towers and Castles. Build several Gates so if you are being attacked
from one side you don't need to open the Gate on that side to let your forces
through. If you just need some defense, build Stonewalls, but if you are
going for a Wonder/Relic victory, upgrade to Fortified Wall.
Watchtowers are the first attacking towers you can get. They allow you some
permanent defense while you send a rush or siege. You can garrison up to 5
units inside and if you are the Teutons you can garrison 10 units inside.
Like with the Castle, Archers and Villagers increase the arrows fired.
However they do not work well by themselves in the Feudal Age since you
cannot research Murder Holes. Build them in pairs 1 to 2 tiles away so they
cover each other until you reach the Castle Age when you can research Murder
Holes. Once you reach the Castle Age, you can also upgrade to Guard Tower,
and in the Imperial Age you can upgrade to Keep. These upgrades are somewhat
expensive so don't upgrade if you aren't planning to build a lot.
The Bombard Tower is not an upgrade of the Keep but a separate type of Tower.
The Bombard Tower is great for attacking hand to hand units attacking the
base of a wall. They are also the best counter for Battering Rams since their
shots are not affected by pierce armor. But you must Research Bombard Towers
before you can build them. Although the game and manual say Bombard Towers
are not affected by the Murder Holes technology, Bombard Towers are affected
by it and can attack at units at their base.
Town Watch is not a very important technology, but if you have a bit of extra
food and an extensive amount of Outposts, go for it. However +4 sight for
buildings is not is not useful for much more. The Town Patrol upgrade is the
worst possible deal. The food and wood spent could go to much better
technologies. The only reason I see to research Town Patrol is if you are
immensely rich and far stronger than anyone else in the game is and you need
to waste some money. Otherwise don't bother.
One of the most important technologies for a person who is going for a Wonder
or Relic victory is the Masonry/Architecture technology. It is far more
important in a Wonder victory though since the upgrades don't affect walls or
Gates. The Masonry upgrade increases building hit points by 10% and the
Architecture upgrade increases building technologies by 30%. With the massive
amount of hit points already on the Wonder and Castle, this makes them even
harder to destroy. Masonry and Architecture also increase building armor that
makes them even stronger but this won't make a huge difference when attacked
by powerful siege weapons. With a castle, research Hoardings before Masonry
and Architecture and it will have even more hit points.
If you are going for a Wonder victory, this is a very helpful technology.
Treadmill Crane increases the speed that Villagers build structures. Since
building a Wonder takes a very long time, this will allow you a bit more room
in your population limit for defense, getting your Wonder up faster, and
extra defenses up faster. Treadmill Crane is otherwise a somewhat helpful
technology but not absolutely necessary except when you want to set up a
small base near your opponent when you are about to send a siege.
Hoardings is a very helpful technology. It increases you're your Castles' hit
points by 1000. Research it before you research Masonry and Architecture and
your Castles will be slightly tougher than if you research Masonry and
Architecture earlier than Hoardings. If your opponent is using Battering Rams
as their anti-building siege weapon, Hoardings is a bit more helpful than if
they are using Trebuchets or Bombard Cannons since your Castle will probably
not be able to attack anything if they aren't using Battering Rams.
Loom is the first technology available. While you are waiting until you have
gathered enough food to upgrade to the Feudal Age, research it, it is cheap,
helpful, and is researched very quickly. Loom gives your Villagers a better
chance to survive an enemy rush and they can kill Wolfs one on one. They
still should be protected though. A few more hit points and a bit of armor
doesn't make them invincible. They still cannot take on Boars without
micromanaging so don't let them just go and attack a Boar one on one.
The Wheelbarrow/Handcart upgrade is probably the best economic technology.
Since it affects everything type of resource gathering there is other than
boat fishing and trade. Your Villagers will move faster and carry more
resources with each trip. If you need all kinds of resources and you're low
on resources, research Wheelbarrow since it affects all your types of
resource gathering with Villagers. It should be one of the technologies you
research in the Feudal Age and Handcart should be one of the first
technologies you research in the Castle Age.
If you are planning a Feudal Age rush using Swordsmen and Archers, you are
probably going to have to research Gold Mining. Even if you are going to rush
in the Castle Age, try to research Gold Mining and start mining gold so you
can attack with more powerful units like Knights. Gold Shaft Mining is
another important technology since most units require gold to create.
Researching Gold Mining and Gold Shaft Mining will not do a job by
themselves. Try to get several Trade Carts or Trade Cogs, at least 1 relic,
and at least 8 Villagers mining gold.
Stone Mining can be more or less important than Gold Mining but in most of my
games it has been less important. If you don't have enough stone to build a
Castle, and you are under constant attack, you are going to need stone very
fast. Research Stone Mining and Stone Shaft Mining if you need quick
permanent defenses if you think a rush is coming. Try to wall yourself in
early instead of building a Castle. It is cheaper and eventually you will get
the time to build a Castle or towers. Otherwise don't rush to immediately
research these technologies. You will need them but if you started mining
stone very early, you can hold back on it for a while to save resources.
Try to research Double-Bit Axe and Bow Saw as soon as possible especially if
you are playing on a water dominant map. These technologies will help you
chop wood faster allowing you to build several structures, ships, archers,
and siege weapons without the problem of too little wood. Two-Man Saw is also
helpful but it is the most expensive and only increases wood chopping
production by 10%. Still, these should be the one of the first technologies
you research when you reach a new age.
Another one of the most important technologies is Horse Collar. Horse Collar
by itself is very helpful, but the amount of food you get increases each time
so it becomes much better when you research Heavy Plow and Crop Rotation.
Like Double-Bit Axe, Horse Collar should be among the first technologies
researched when you reach a new age. In the manual, it says Heavy Plow
increases the food capacity of your Villagers by 1, however this does not
Coinage can be an important technology or a useless one depending on what
position you are in. Since it lowers tribute prices, you should try to figure
out if it is cheaper to research Coinage and Banking or if it is cheaper to
just pay the full fee. If you are paying massive amounts of tribute to
another player, it is probably better off to research them. If you are not
planning on sending any tribute at all don't even bother researching Coinage.
Guilds is like Coinage in the way that it can be very helpful or useless. It
also can be cheaper if you aren't using it a lot. If you are on a map with a
scarce amount of one type of resource and you need that resource frequently,
chances are you are going to need to buy a lot of it at the Market. However
if you don't really need that resource, don't bother researching Guilds.
Cartography is yet another of the technologies that can be useful or useless.
If you have an ally, this is great for helping you scout out the map much
faster. However if you do not have an ally or your ally was rushed and is
barely in the game don't bother. If you allied with a player late in the game
or didn't research Cartography earlier, don't research Cartography if you
have a lot of gold and you are planning on researching Spies, since Spies
automatically clears what your ally can see even if they break the alliance.
This is one of the best technologies, especially for its price. You can send
a siege a bit earlier or pump out units faster to stop a siege. This affects
the units created at the Barracks, Archery Range, Stable, and Castle.
Conscription even affects the Trebuchets creation time but no other siege
weapons are affected.
Sappers can be helpful to some extent but do not make your Villagers
replacements for siege weapons. If you happen to bring along some Villagers
to a siege to repair your siege weapons and they are hanging around doing
nothing, Sappers turns them into mediocre units for destroying buildings.
However, if they are attacked, have them retreat immediately and heal them.
Spies is a very useful technology but not mandatory. The ability to see
everything your opponents see is very useful. If you see an opponent
attacking another person, attack their base when they are half way into
destroying your other opponent's base, causing as much damage as possible
while trying to reduce casualties and leaving when their siege army comes
back. Unfortunately on large games with several players, the price of the
Spies technology can go well over 30000 gold. If you want to research it
cheaper, try to rush into their base with fast units like Light Cavalry and
Cavalry Archers and kill as many Villagers and research Spies before they
have time to create more. If you do this to several opponents simultaneously,
the price can drop several thousand gold if you kill enough Villagers. As for
Treason, which replaces Spies in regicide games, it is a very expensive
technology considering the fact that if you scout out your opponents' bases
early on, all you have to look for is a Castle near their Town Center with a
flag on top and the King is probably inside.
Tracking is a somewhat useful technology. If you either want a second or
third unit to scout or you lost your Scout, research Tracking and use
Spearmen as your next scouts. You can also use Men-at-Arms for this job. With
longer sight, your infantry will become useful scouts until you can upgrade
to Light Cavalry. Spearmen and Men-at-Arms are just as fast as Scouts are and
Men-at-Arms are stronger. But other than early in the game Tracking is pretty
The Squires technology makes your infantry slightly less vulnerable to
Mangonels and Scorpions. Since they move faster, you might be able reach the
Scorpion/Mangonel before it shoots down all of your infantry. They are also a
bit better at chasing down archers than before. However, you are probably
better off using Light Cavalry for the above jobs so unless you want your
infantry to arrive at an enemy's a little earlier, don't bother with it.
Scale Mail Armor
One of the most useful technologies, when you are a civilization that has
strengths with infantry, is Scale Mail Armor and its upgrades. When you
research Plate Mail Armor, it gives a +2 pierce armor as opposed to the usual
+1. However if you are a civilization without any infantry bonuses or with
bad infantry, chances are you won't use as many infantry units and you should
not upgrade too much on the infantry armor. However always try to research
Scale Mail Armor since it costs only food.
Forging is one of the most important technologies. It increases the strength
of not only infantry attack but cavalry attack too. Forging is relatively
cheap so research it as soon as you can. When you research Blast Furnace, it
increases your infantry and cavalry attack by 2. Forging should be researched
before a rush, and if you can afford armor or Iron Casting research those
Missile/Siege Weapon Technologies
One of the most important missile technologies is Fletching. It increases not
only the attack but also the range of missile weapons and units. Fletching
and its upgrades should be one of the first technologies you research if you
either have a civilization with missile unit bonuses, you use many archers,
or you depend heavily on towers.
Padded Archer Armor
Padded Archer Armor increases the armor and pierce armor of all Archery Range
units and archer special units, including the Janissary. Padded Archer Armor
cost only food so as soon as you have a few archers research it. Like all
third upgrade armors, Chain Archer Armor increases the pierce armor of your
archers by 2.
Chemistry is a two-purpose technology. On one side it increases archer attack
by one and gives them flaming arrows. But the most importantly is the fact
that you can research and build gunpowder units after researching it. However
if you do not like using gunpowder units very often try to research up to
Bracer first since it increases range as well as attack. However if you like
flaming arrows or you use gunpowder units often go ahead and research it once
you are in the Imperial Age.
Probably the most important missile weapon technology, Ballistics should be
the first thing you research in the University with maybe the exception of
Murder Holes. Ballistics makes sure oncoming units get nailed by every
arrow/bolt fired at them. If you are using several towers, upgrade this after
Murder Holes but if you don't have any towers then research Ballistics first.
The most important tower technology is Murder Holes. Towers are as good as
dead if not defended by other units if they cannot attack units at their
base. To prevent this, build pairs of towers 2 to 3 tiles away from each
other so they cover each other's bases. However you should still research
Murder Holes incase your opponent attacks just one tower so only one will be
able to attack. Murder Holes affects the Bombard Tower, contrary to what the
manual says. Town Centers can already attack at units at their base.
Heated shot is very useful in water abundant maps, especially island maps.
With 50% more attack against ships, line your coast with towers and your
opponent will not be able to land a transport on your island unless they have
Cannon Galleons. If you are facing the Britons, then you are extra lucky
since they don't have Cannon Galleons of any sort. If your opponent is too
lazy to research Cannon Galleon, and tries to use Galleys, Attack the
Transports first then the Galleys. If you place your towers adjacent to the
water, Demolition Ships can attack them so place them 1 or 2 tiles inland.
Siege Engineers is a very helpful technology in the endgame. It increases the
range of siege weapons and attack bonus against buildings. This means you
probably won't need as many siege weapons or you can knock out buildings
faster. In the endgame, you probably have a lot of food and wood stockpiled
so research this as soon as you can. Siege weapons can also be used on the
defense, namely the Mangonels and Scorpions. Siege Engineers will increase
their range so they don't accidentally go through the Gate and allow enemies
to go through the Gate.
Husbandry can be helpful to getting a Castle Age rush to the enemy base a bit
earlier giving them less of a chance of getting enough units to defend
against it. However, the resources you spend on researching Husbandry could
go to 3 more Light Cavalry, researching Forging or Scale Barding, or an
important economic technology. All these will help you get a stronger rush
for around the same price. But it is your choice and if you want a quicker
rush then research Husbandry. Husbandry affects all mounted units including
Cavalry Archers and War Elephants.
Scale Barding Armor
During the Feudal Age, you are given the option to research Scale Barding
Armor. However the only cavalry you get is the Scout, which is too expensive
for its weak attack and low hit points. If you have a bit of extra food and
you are planning on a rush, research Scale Barding Armor after creating your
army and researching Forging.
If you are playing on a map without much water and you are going for a relic
victory, research Fervor and go for the furthest away relics as soon as
possible. However make sure you get nearby ones first. Fervor will also speed
up the time it takes your Monks to arrive at the enemy base. This is
especially useful when all your units are in a single group as opposed to
several groups according to speed.
Sanctity is an important upgrade for your Monks. If you are going for a relic
victory on a water abundant map, get a Transport so your Monks move much
faster than normal and research Sanctity so they can convert any units
guarding the Relic without being killed. Sanctity is also useful since most
sieges will have a few Monks and more hit points means they'll last longer.
Another important Monk technology is Redemption. You can convert enemy siege
weapons and most enemy buildings. You can convert enemy Battering Rams as
they attempt to knock down your walls and you can convert enemy unit
producing buildings like Barracks so you don't have to build another one near
Atonement is too expensive for its limited purpose. The only time I think
this is actually somewhat effective is on Saladin's 3rd level. Other than
that, Atonement is just a technology to research if you have spare gold. And
if you do have spare gold it could probably go to a better technology.
Illumination is very helpful if you do not have many Monks in your army and
need to convert large amounts of enemy units. Quicker rejuvenation means you
can convert more units faster. You can then use the Monks that just converted
units to heal while they rejuvenate for another conversion.
Faith is a very expensive but useful technology. It does not affect just
Monks so if you are having some serious Monk problems research it quickly.
Faith is basically mandatory if you are Teutonic or Persian since they have
the most vulnerable units to conversion.
Block Printing I another important conversion technology. If you have long
range for conversion then units have to travel a bit further to reach your
Monk, which means those few extra seconds can mean the difference between
losing a Monk or gaining a new unit for free.
Careening not only increases all of your ships' pierce armor but also doubles
the capacity the Transport can hold. This is important on island maps where
you must use Transports. It will make the Transports more durable and you
will need fewer Transports.
Dry Dock is another important ship technology. It increases the speed of all
ships and doubles the Transport capacity. You must have Careening researched
before you can research Dry Dock.
Shipwright is not a very helpful technology. It cost quite a bit of gold and
a lot of food. Only research it if there is little wood available to you,
which is very uncommon, and you need several ships.
5. General Strategies
Early in random map, regicide, and death match games, the most important
thing for you to do is build up an economy. I recommend at least 25
Villagers/Fishing Boats before you upgrade to the Feudal Age. Get your first
Villager to build 2 Houses 3 tiles away from your Town Center. Use your Scout
and other 2 Villagers to look for sheep while you queue up as many Villagers
as you can with the starting food available. Get 4 Villagers on the sheep and
the Villager who was building the Houses to chop wood near your Town Center.
Get your next Villager on wood around the Town Center as well. Build a Mill
near Deer, Forage Bushes, or Shore Fish next. Continue to queue up Villagers
as you get more food. Build a Lumber Camp with your next Villager adjacent to
the biggest nearby forest. Build more Houses as you reach 2 units to your
current limit. If you are near a lot water and fish, switch a few Villagers
over to wood and build a Dock with no more than 7 Fishing Ships. As you use
up food sources, switch over to farming. Before you upgrade to the Feudal
Age, you should have about 15 Villagers on food and 10 on wood. I like to get
3 extra Villagers before upgrading to the Feudal Age. Command 1 Villager to
mine stone and the 2 others to mine gold. This will allow a Feudal Age rush a
bit earlier or a Castle Age Rush with Knights and/or Cavalry Archers. While
you are waiting for the food to research Feudal Age, research Loom, which
will allow your Villagers to fight off Wolves while still having about 20 hit
points left. Never train soldiers during the Dark Ages, Militias are too weak
to be effective. As you reach the Feudal Age, build a Barracks if you haven't
already and get a Blacksmith up fast. If you are allied with another player,
build a Market on the side opposite them so you might get a bit more gold
during trade. If you are going for a Feudal Age rush build an Archery Range
first and if you are going for a Castle Age Rush build either the Stable or
the Archery Range depending on whether you are using cavalry or Cavalry
Archers. If you send a rush, just concentrate on the rush except to pause to
rebuild Farms. In the Feudal Age, you should immediately research Double-Bit
Axe, Horse Collar, and Man-at-Arms. Also research Wheelbarrow when your Town
Center isn't training Villagers. Build several more houses and train several
more Villagers. I also suggest training a few soldiers now. Get a few more
Villagers mining gold and stone and several more on food and wood before
upgrading to the Castle Age. If you think a rush is coming, wall yourself in
with Stonewall. Try not to build towers though since they are too expensive
for the weak attack, short range, and inability to attack at their base. When
you reach the Castle Age, upgrade to Light Cavalry if you are going for a
rush with Light Cavalry, Long Swordsmen if you want some good defense units,
Pikesman if you want some defense against a rush, and the basic economic
technologies along with a few military technologies. If you are going for a
Relic victory, build a Monastery first then a University. This will allow you
to get the Relics and have strong walls and/or towers. When you have enough
stone, build a Castle at a choke point but try to research Murder Holes
before the Castle is completed. Train several more Villagers and continue to
expand your economy. The Castle Age is usually the time when I start building
Trade Carts. There are 2 directions to go once you are well established. You
can try to upgrade to the Imperial Age to try and overwhelm your opponent
with stronger units, or try to attack them in the Castle Age while they may
not have as many soldiers. By the end of the game, at least half your
population should be Villagers. In the Imperial Age, you generally want to
upgrade your economy first, then your army. Larger economy means more money
for military purposes. However one exception might be if you desperately need
a stronger units like the Fast Fire Ship or you need a military technology
like Conscription for your survival. Once you have a strong economy, it is
easy to build an army quickly with plenty of upgrades.
The Rush is an attack early in the game where you squander all available
resources to build a fast army capable of killing enemy Villagers
effortlessly. There are 2 types of rushes: Feudal Age and Castle Age. The
Castle Age rush is more common since you get better cavalry units in the
Castle Age rush. However a Feudal Age rush can get better results if done
correctly. The trick for any type of rush is to build up a strong economy.
You will want to try to mine gold for a Castle Age rush and definitely for a
Feudal Age rush. If you are rushing in the Castle Age, you should use Light
Cavalry, Cavalry Archers, and/or Knights. If you started mining gold early
on, you will be able to employ a stronger rush using a combination of Cavalry
Archers and Knights. In a Feudal Age rush use Men-at-Arms and Archers. Go
straight for enemy Villagers and don't bother with any military units unless
you are far stronger than they are. Retreat your forces to outside their base
when the Villagers are garrisoned in their Town Center and return once the
Villagers are all back to work. As you do this keep reinforcing your attack
force until you have a large enough army to start at least destroying Lumber
Camps, Mills, and Mining Camps. Eventually bring in a few Battering Rams to
take out the Town Center. Throughout all this, you should try to concentrate
on your rush and not your Villagers. Try to stop managing your units if you
need to rebuild Farms or to train more units for your rush. If you are still
building an economy you shouldn't have sent a rush.
The siege is an attack in the endgame with the intent of completely
annihilating your opponent's base. A siege takes a lot more preparation and
strategy than the rush. If your opponent is walled in, bring Battering Rams,
Bombard Cannons, Trebuchets, or a combination of them. If your opponent has
Bombard Towers, you probably will not want to use Battering Rams. Always be
prepared for any type of unit. Have a sufficient amount of counters for every
unit your enemy can defend with. Try to set up an encampment near their base
so your units will get to the battle faster. Bring along several Monks as
well. I usually try to have a Monk for about every 6 to 7 units. You might
also want to bring Villagers to repair siege weapons. If your opponent is
near the water send a small force of assorted ships to divert your opponents
attention. If they are not by the water send a few siege weapons and a couple
of infantry and archers. Make the force large enough to cause considerable
damage and take an average amount of damage. Send this force to the opposite
side of their base and attack their walls. When all their units are rushing
to that side of the base send your real army and knock down their walls
quickly. Send the cavalry and archers to harass enemy Villagers while your
siege weapons and Swordsmen take out buildings. Use Skirmishers, Pikemen, and
Camels to hold any units trying to attack. Go for the Military Buildings
first then Economic Buildings perhaps with the exception of the Dock and Town
Center. Try to team up certain units with other units of similar speed or
ability. Team up Knights with Light Cavalry, Camels with Pikemen, etc. You
might also want to team up units that can cover each other. Pikemen and
archers are a good combo, and add a few Scorpions to the group and they can
stop almost any units. They are also all pretty slow units so they can travel
at a pace that doesn't slow down the units very much. You might also want to
try a more naval approach to the siege if you are on an island map. Get
several Cannon Galleons, Fire Ships, Galleons, and a few Transports with
varied units. Use the Cannon Galleons to take out shoreline buildings, the
Fire Ships to take out enemy ships, the Galleons to clear out any attacking
land units, and finally the land units can clean up whatever is left. You can
also set up a diversion attack with this strategy, just use one Transport
full of cheap units, a few siege weapons, and maybe a Monk or two. Trick the
enemy units into going to the opposite side of the base and attack with your
ships and unload your units while your diversion force distracts your
You will have to think to defend against organized rushes and sieges more
than a disorderly attack somewhere in between the rush and siege so scout
ahead and see if the enemy is organized or not. If you are being rushed
chances are you don't have walls up yet or you only have Palisade Walls. If
your opponent is rushing with only Cavalry Archers, Palisade Walls can stop a
Cavalry Archer rush but not much else. If you mine stone early you might be
able to build a stone wall in the Feudal Age. If you do you will be able to
stop almost any rush. Do not build towers until you can have Murder Holes. If
you have walls you will be able to stop any rush with Foot Archers and
Skirmishers. If not you will need Swordsmen, archers, Pikemen, Skirmishers,
etc. It takes several types of units to be able to counter any units your
opponent might attack with. Once you are in the late Castle Age you can
expect sieges. In the Castle Age, towers and Castles will stop anything with
a few Light Cavalry for the Battering Rams. In the Imperial Age it is much
harder to defend with Trebuchets and Bombard Cannons since they have longer
range than Towers. You will need a siege army of your own with effective
counters for any units defending the siege weapons. Set up Trebuchets near
the wall to attack any enemy Trebuchets. Mangonels and Scorpions work well at
keeping advancing armies from the walls. Monks can also help by converting
enemy units while staying behind the Walls. Bombard Cannons pose a big
problem since they can take out your Trebuchets with fire and move tactics.
Rush at them with hordes of Light Cavalry. Check around your base to see if
the attacking enemy has any encampments near your base so you can slow the
production of units attacking you. If you think you might be defeated, try to
build a few scattered buildings or a second base far away. If you are on an
island map get a transport and sail to another island to start a new base.
However if you have the resources, build the second base early so it will be
developed and capable of defending itself when the time comes. Build more
bases if you have the money and scatter them. You will have access to more
resources and a higher chance of survival. If there is no where to go that is
not occupied build a base right in your ally's base just don't get in their
Miscellaneous Military Strategies
This section contains strategies for military units but not a particular type
of attack. Most involvement of military units is with a rush or a siege.
However, if an opponent has a large amount of Villagers undefended, including
Fishing Ships, Trade Cogs, and Trade Carts, you might want to attack them
with a larger force than a rush but smaller than a siege. I call these
attacks skirmishes. Usually the enemy will send a few units to defend their
Villagers or sometimes their whole army. Bring a few Mangonels since they can
hit several Villagers with one attack. Support the Mangonels with good anti-
cavalry units like Pikemen. Bring some archers, Infantry and a few Light
Cavalry. You should try to use cheap units so your skirmish force is
expendable. If it is made of Pikemen, Skirmishers, Light Cavalry, Swordsmen,
and Mangonels it will be quite cheap to create and capable of dealing with
all types of units. Another type of attack similar to a skirmish is something
I call sabotage missions. They are skirmishes with marching military units.
You will probably want to use Light Cavalry and Cavalry Archers. However the
skirmish units mentioned above work very well too. Just attack the anti-
building siege weapons first then the Monks, Mangonels, and Scorpions. If you
want to bring a few Monks convert the Scorpions and Mangonels since they can
do tons of damage to a large army. Your opponent will probably realize what
you are doing in a short while so do as much damage as you can while their
units are marching and will not fight back. Sabotage missions can greatly
reduce enemy armies effectiveness and are very cheap to produce.
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