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VIKING STRATEGY GUIDE

This is a Viking Strategy FAQ, seeing as lots of people seem to underestimate
the Viking civilization?s unique capabilities. This FAQ is intended to get you
started on using the Vikings with fairly good speed and understanding of
exactly how you should use them. If you?re already an experienced AoK player,
this FAQ is not for you.





LEGAL STUFF

This FAQ is the sole property of Ben Leer. It is not to be reproduced without
permission. If it is placed outside of the GameFAQs website, this is illegal.



VERSION HISTORY

1.0- made the main strategy guide portion and got the outline finalized
1.01- added legal stuff and credits
1.02- added version history and extra tactics


ON TO THE GOOD STUFF

First, I?m going to explain both the benefits and the downsides to playing with
the Vikings (aren?t I open-minded?). Some people may have counters which they
think negate Viking advantages, but again, this FAQ is my opinion.

PROS: Vikings have a massive advantage in infantry. Their Champions own anyone
else?s, except maybe the Japanese?s. The +20% HP difference can make or break a
champ flood, and this bonus tries to swing it in your favor.

The navy of the Vikings may not be necessarily as well-equipped as the
Japanese, but if you?re going for a naval rush/fishing boat boom, Viking is the
way to go. Docks are cheaper, meaner you can drop one in sooner, and the -20%
warship cost lets you pump out those Galleons fast (plus Longboats make
efficient fishing boat destroyers or hit-and-run assaults).

Wheelbarrow and Hand Cart are free, meaning you have more time to be gathering
more resources than your opponent who has to research his techs does. Your
villagers will accumulate supplies faster, and this lets you boom better.

CONS: The Vikings do not have Fire Ships. This leads to an unhealthy reliance
on Demo Ships if you?re playing against the Byzantines or someone with a good
navy who gets Fire Ships.

The only counter the Vikings can lay out against cavalry is the pikes/scorpion
mass attack, which can be expensive for the actual cost delivered. Better to
wall in and attack with siege weapons.

There are a lot of counters to infantry in the game, so you have to devote some
resources to make sure your beefed-up champs survive.


Wasn't that painless? Now, onto strategy.

VIKING STEP-BY-STEP STRATEGY

Now that you've gotten into choosing the Vikings, the next thing to do is
choose a map that suits you (presuming you can). The best maps to play on for
Vikings are Coastal, Islands, Team Islands, Archipelago, Mediterranean, and
Baltic. This is because they boast lots of water that you can use to best
advantage with your naval might. If you?re gonna be playing on Arabia or
Mongolia, skip the Vikings entirely, unless you?re so much better than your
opponent that you're sure the loss of water won't make a difference.

The first thing to do with Vikings is a pretty basic strategy: a villager boom.
This is effective because of the free gathering techs (see above), and their
cheap Docks, which allow fishing to go quickly.

Once you get control of your mouse, quickly select one villager and build a
house near the edge of your LOS (hit hotkeys B, then E for quicker building.
Hit H, then use up all resources building villagers (I'm assuming you're
playing with standard resources for now) and get one of your remaining villagers to
scout. Send your Scout out in a circular pattern around your base (use
Shift+right click to make waypoints), and get all the sheep you find close to
your TC. By this point, all your guys should be done houses, so get them all on
sheep (they're the quickest resource). Your next villager out should build a
lumber camp, and put most of the next few guys on the wood. Once you've got
enough, build a dock. If you run out of sheep build a mill near berry bushes
and get foraging. From the dock you want to build about ten-fifteen fishing
boats and gather them on deep-sea fish (more efficient). The total amount of
villagers you want is about 25-30. 8 of these should be going on food, 13 on
wood as you start to Feudal, and 2 each on stone and gold. Make sure to get
Loom before you Feudal.

In the Feudal Age, you should not build any more villagers for now. With all
the fishing and gathering, you should have almost enough to hit Castle Age.
However, you should build buildings, if you have enough time before Castling,
in this order: Blacksmith, Stable, Archery Range, Market. Also research
Fletching, Double-bit Axe, Gold Mining, and Horse Collar. Then Castle as fast
as possible.

In the Castle Age, you want to boom with villagers and set up for a massive
Imperial strike. Whenever you've got enough wood and stone and have resources
that you're going for, send three villagers over and build a TC. By the time
you finish Castle Age, you should have at least three-four TCs in your base:
one near gold (and stone if possible), one near stone, one near wood, and the
one you started with, which you should use for farming and building villagers
to build stuff. Set the other TCs gather points on resources. If you can spare
the resources and think it's worth it, send a few archers plus cavalry support
over to the enemy base and terrorize villagers. Once I tried this with an idiot
computer player, and he wasted like ten villagers and most of his archer-based
military trying to bring me down as I waltzed around his camp. Stockpile and
hit Imperial.

Now, I'm assuming that even without me telling you what upgrades to research in
the Castle Age, you were fairly smart and upgraded your swordsman, etc., built
a Castle (which you are going to need Murder Holes for; don't have it? Get it
now!), and done all that other smart stuff. If not, get at least Long Swordsman
before you hit Imperial!!!!!!!!!

Okay, in Imperial, the Vikings need to make the most of their civ bonuses.
Because of their lack of Paladins, you may want to opt for Elite Berserks mixed
in a strike. I like Elite Berserks better than my Champions for several
reasons: The Berserks are just as strong as Champions and they build faster,
plus they regenerate life in-between battles (while fighting it's not much use
unless going up against a tower or TC), and they have more armor. However,
Champions, especially Viking Champions, are never to be sneered at, and they
make a really strong flood attack. Now, hopefully you're on a map like Islands
or Archipelago, and you've been managing to hold off naval strikes by building
up your own navy. At this point you want to research Chemistry, followed by
Cannon Galleon. Why? Because with the warship bonus, your Cannon Galleons will
come out faster than anyone else's. So, build some of these nasty suckers,
create a mixed army of Cavaliers, Berserks, Trebuchets, and Arbalests, and load
up the troops. Make sure to have three or more castles back home, plus champs
and some reinforcement cavalry in order to fend off any strikes. Leave your
fishing operation open, it'll distract the enemy. Now, use your excellent
Cannon Galleons to clear the beaches for you (especially enjoy knocking down
castles, HEHEHE), and put everyone on the island. Your Trebuchets are high-
priority weapons, you want to guard them with some of your Cavaliers and only
turn them loose on important buildings (Castles, TCs, Walls, and Towers-
especially Bombard Towers, they'll knock your Berserks down like ten-pins).
Once the Castles and walls have been neutralized, break out the chaos. Ignore
the Trebuchets and go straight for the TCs. Once these are down, it degenerates
into a search and destroy mission for your cavalry and archers. The navy that
the enemy had earlier won't be a threat much longer if they never managed to
load transports, as you're sitting in the ruins of their base. Replace losses
in your ranks with Demolition ships and fleets of Galleons, and hunt down the
stragglers. That's it. You win.




SPECIFIC HINTS, STRATEGIES, ETC.


Never get the Vikings caught on a land map with no water. Without a convenient
warship bonus to let them pound on navies, they're going down because of lack
of sufficient cavalry and counters.

If you get hit with an attack before you can muster a defense, you have to
build TCs and Siege Workshops like crazy. Staff your TCs with villagers, and
throw everything you've already got in military at them. If this doesn't
entirely kill them, advance with mangonels and scorpions and tear them apart.
Build TCs in a leapfrog pattern so as to cover each other. Force them back and
get to the next age if possible. If not, use superior economic power to whip
their ass.

Goths and Celts are as grass before the scythe with you. Berserks slaughter
both of their unique units, and the Celt Siege bonus ain't gonna help 'em when
you use your bonuses to counter that one. Goths have no walls, so you can pour
into their base easy, and the Celts are just wimps if they can't accurately
protect their siege weapons (just knock down the walls and send in the
cavalry.) They do get Paladins, but no Plate Barding Armor, so send in the
Pike/Scorp or Pike/Cavalier combo and watch them fall.

Beware of the Byzantines and the Spanish. The Byzantines will get to the
Imperial Age faster than you given equal playing skill because of their bonus,
and their buildings provide a problem for razing with extra HP. Also, the Fire
Ship is one of their more potent weapons, forcing you to train Demo Ships or
research Heated Shot, which is sometimes a waste of resources. Spanish are
dangerous because of their two unique units: Conquistador and Missionary. The
Conquistador is a gunpowder unit and wastes infantry unless they're firing all
at once. If the controller can work out staggered rounds, any Berserks die
before a hail of bullets. Your solution to them is to send in the Cavalier/Pike
combo- make 'em bleed. The Missionaries are annoyances, and it would be wise to
have some Light Cavalry on hand to chase them down before they convert your
whole army. Beware, they're fast, and you don't want them racing across the map
to convert your town. Kill them at first opportunity.

So, your list of easy kills:
-Goths
-Britons (the TC bonus is bad for you, but the Longbowmen can't keep up with
the advance rate of your cavalry- use them and watch as they crumble. With no
appreciable infantry, they're sunk)
-Chinese (I know the techs are cheaper, but they have no efficient military
bonuses, you're doubtless able to find something to exploit your top-of-the-
line Champs with)

Bad enemies:
-Byzantines (kill Fire Ships and Cataphracts at all costs)
-Spanish (destroy missionaries like heck)
-Franks (cavalry bonus and castle cheapness means you have to put more strategy
and overwhelming numbers into your attack plan- better to use frontal bases
than an unsupported attack)
-Teutons (TCs and Towers can cause you a very bad day- abuse Trebuchets and
Cannon Galleons)

Units to look out for:
-Cataphracts (infantry bonus... KILL)
-Turtle Ships (decimates Longboats, hit with Demo Ships or Galleons)
-War Elephants (very resistant, use pikes and siege weapons to cause major
pain)
-Teutonic Knight (well, not that much of a threat, but built like a tank and
hard to stop)
-Paladins (since you don't get these, your cavalry countering system needs to
be good)
-Camels (these can wreck your Cavalier rushes- destroy with Berserks
*MwaHAhaHa*)

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SPECIFIC UNIT COMBOS AND TACTICS

Cut off the Head....= this is a basic attack meant to kill your enemies' economy
as quickly as possible. Using this tactic requires you to already have either tied
up or neutralized outer defenses. What you do is to send in either a bunch of
Cavaliers and/or Berserks (preferably about 40) and ignore military (unless you
find a castle you haven't dealt with yet). Go for any TCs you see. The villagers will
garrison and attempt to fight you off, doubtless with exterior support. If their
support isn't too drastic, you can easily kill the TC and wipe out a bunch of
villagers. This way, even if you've lost your force, you've slowed up their economy
and probably cost them quite a bit of military depending on how you managed your
attack.

Bait and Switch= This one is a smaller scale tactic, but quite effective. Pick three
Trebuchets and set them a ways apart, all on the same target. The enemy will see them
and try to take them out. To make sure they go for it, you should have four Cavaliers
per Trebuchet to make the attack seem credible. Then, once they rush out, you do one
of two things: take out the forces with a hidden garrison force as they rush to the
Trebuchets, or you can slip in the gate as they're rushing out.

Ring Around the Rosie= if you can get to the Castle Age ahead of your opponent with a
good economy, this is a beauty. what you need to do is have a villager boom strategy
going (described above), and then you build exactly four knights and four crossbowman
or skirmishers or Light Cavalry. If you haven't, research Fletching and Bodkin Arrow,
then group your units and move inon your enemy. The goal is to keep your knights and
archers darting around the outside of your opponent's camp (ie, resource collection
areas) killing as many villagers as possible. When you see defensive units, run off
again and try to keep hitting as long as possible. I once defeated an opponent using
this much more quickly than usual. It can really disrupt someone's economy and get
them to sacrifice resources to drive your units off.

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CREDITS AND CONTACT INFORMATION

Special thanks to Ensemble Studios for making the best RTS game ever played.

Also thanks to all other FAQ writers whose strategies influenced my gameplay.


If you see anything wrong with this FAQ (it could happen) or if you just want
to contribute strategies (only Viking ones, this is a Viking-only FAQ), write
me an e-mail at dictionary_000@hotmail.com . If I think it's placeable in my
FAQ, I'll post updates and will put you in the Credits.

Thank you, and successful gaming!