Age of Empires II The Age of Kings For the PC Strategy Guide FAQ By Doomsayer13 and J. Kirsch Contact us at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org ================= Table of Contents ================= I. Introduction II. Version Release III. Contact Me IV. Contributors V. Disclaimer VI. General Information 1)Civilizations 2)Economics VII. Battle Strategies 1)Overview 2)Defensive 3)Offensive VIII. Units 1)Infantry 2)Foot Archers/Skirmishers 3)Mounted Archers/Knights (coming soon) 4)Cavalry 5)Siege Units 6)Water (coming soon) IX. Structure Descriptions (coming soon) 1)Production 2)Defensive 3)Upgrade structures 4)Special XI. Explanation XII. Battle Stories XIV. Conclusion ============== I. Introduction ============== Well, Hello all and welcome to our Age of Empires II: Age of Kings FAQ. I'm Doomsayer13, one of the co-authors of this Faq and I worked long and hard on this Faq and I hope you all like it. It is actually my first Faq, so I hope I came in with style. I must say that the game is indeed one of the better RTS games on the Internet and since there were no FAQ on Gamefaqs, my friend Jon Kirsch and I decided to write a FAQ complete with unit and structures descriptions, economic and battle strategies, and Campaign walkthroughs. And with that, I hope you enjoy our FAQ and find it to be of some use. ================== II. Version Release ================== Version 0.8-ninth version of the Faq. It has Unit and Structure descriptions, but more will be added. New "Battle Stories" recently created. Incomplete unit descriptions. We will get working on that as soon as we can. ============== III. Contact Me ============== It's actually quite simple. If you need any specific help that isn't covered in the Faqs, then you can always e-mail me or my co-author at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org and we will try to respond. We will, however, not respond to questions that are explicitly answered in the Faq, or if you insult or demand us to do your bidding in an impolite manner. I wont even give you the satisfaction of being flamed. I simply will block your address and get on with my life. Please type so it's legible and in good ENGLISH. Keep in mind that we have school to attend and things to do other than Faq write, so we WILL update this Faq, but when we see fit. If you see anything that's wrong with our Faq or have any tricks or strategies that you could give us, any help that I can get is well appreciated. Anyone who's nice enough to send something to us in, we'll happily place it in our Faq and give credit where it's due. I also like to read criticism on my Faq, so if you don't like some aspects of this Faq, please mail me and tell me your suggestions in a polite manner. I'll always try my hardest to make this Faq the best it can be, and I could really use your help. =============== IV. Contributors =============== Doomsayer13 (Doomsayer13@mailcity.com) Co-Author of the Faq. Heh, I guess I shouldn't give that much praise to myself. I formatted the FAQ, drew that horrible ASCII art(which Kirsch deleted) and organized everything. J. Kirsch (email@example.com) Co-author of the Faq. He co-wrote most of the Unit descriptions and helped make second party decisions of what to put in the Faq. I actually couldn't have done it without his help. Maximum_Dragon (Maximum_Dragon@hotmail.com) He helped me test some units and sent in their results. Nice guy, really. -So far their aren't many Contributors, but if you help us out, I'll gladly put your name on this list and write you a letter of Thank you. ============ V. Disclaimer ============ This document is © Doomsayer13 and J. Kirsch, 2000 In no way should this Faq be rewritten, reproduced, and retransmitted in anyway without the consent of the authors. Nor shall this Faq be posted on a website other than www.gamefaqs.com without the knowledge or consent of the authors as well. When and if posted, the Faq MUST be in it's full form, giving credits to the authors and contributors. This Faq cannot be altered and changed in anyway when used. All violators of the above are subject to prosecution under United States copyright Laws. It's actually quite simple. If you want to use this FAQ on your website, that's fine. All you need to do is ASK US first. Usually I say yes, sometimes I say no, but it'll go a long way to ask us. I have clearly stated my e-mail address and my partner's e-mail for you... all you have to do is ask! The most recent version of this FAQ can be found at www.gamefaqs.com ===================== VI. General Strategies ===================== ---------------- 1) Civilizations ---------------- In Age of Empires II, you have 13 civilizations to choose from. In terms of units, each side has basically the same units/structures available with the exception of unique units that are explained later in the Units Section. But each civilization also has unique attributes and distinct advantages and disadvantages. For example, the Britons can build Archery Ranges 20% faster while the Chinese farms hold 45 more food. Kirsch's Civilization Ratings (1-10) 1 = worst, 10 = best Britons: 2 Byzantines: 10 Celts: 5 Chinese: 6 Franks: 9 Goths: 7 Japanese: 3 Mongols: 5 (land only) Persians: 7 Saracens: 4 Teutons: 8 Turks: 5 Vikings: 4 (water only) The following civilization descriptions provide you with some general information on that civilization's attributes and unique units and how to use these most effectively. Taking into account the fact that all civilizations have the same structures and buildings in common (except for one unique unit), we thought it best to just describe the strategies of a few different civilizations which we think are most distinct. The abilities of the Britons, Byzantines, Celts, and Franks will be explained in some depth. Britons ======= As the Britons, you have very few useful advantages. You may notice after looking under the civlization attributes, that –50% town center cost and shepherds working 25% faster isn't all that helpful. The only remotely good civilization attribute you possess is a +1 Castle Age and +2 Imperial Age range bonus to foot archers. Yet despite this advantage, archers in Age of Kings do not always fire accurately, especially from longer distances, and countering foot archers is extremely easy. Mounted knights or fast-moving infantry will be able to cut up your units despite their insignificant +1 or 2 range bonus. My advice to you is to use longbowmen as more of a diversion than anything else. Placing a few around your Castles not only will warn you of an attack, but they may be able to lure some of your enemies' units within range of the Castle's powerful arrow volleys. Byzantines ========== This civilization could very well be the most powerful in the game for two important reasons - #1, a versatile unique unit, and #2, an array of highly advantageous civilization attributes. Almost every civ attribute here has definite pluses and uses throughout the game. Buildings having +10%HP Dark Age, +20%HP Feudal Age, +30%HP Castle Age, and 40%HP Imperial Age, will make your fortifications, castles, and towers more impervious to assault. At the same time, you can save needed resources since upgrading to Imperial Age is 1/3 less expensive, and camels, skirmishers, and pikemen cost 25% less to build. In addition, camels are a good counter against siege units, skirmishers are an effective counter against archers, and pikemen work well against mounted troops. What you have here are 3 different counter-units that can be used to neutralize almost anything your enemy sends against you. Build these low cost units in large numbers, and be sure to upgrade them. Also, build a TON of elite cataphracts. They cut down mounted units, archers, and infantry units – and there is no truly effective counter against them. Now you're probably thinking that pikemen, who receive an attack bonus against mounted units, would be able to cut them down with ease, right? But that advantage is negated by the fact that Cataphracts receive an attack bonus vs. infantry. Their speed and strength vs. infantry is what makes them so versatile and put them one step above other mounted units. You can have them fight off champions, chase down pesky archers, or obliterate siege units with relative ease. Celts ===== This race's only major flaw is their pathetic unique unit, the woad raider(the woad raider's apparent weaknesses are discussed later on in the units section). But there are many ways around this weakness – most notably the champion-siege unit combo(which is also discussed in more detail later in this faq). Since infantry units are 15% faster and siege weapons fire 20% faster, a combo of say 20 champions and 5-10 siege units can be quite effective. Depending on your target, you will have to adjust this combo. For instance, if you want to take out a castle, then sending in 5 siege rams or 5 trebuchets would be better than say, sending in onagers or mangonels. If you wanted to take out a large army of infantrymen, then you would want to use siege onagers. No matter what your strategy, I would still advise using some mounted troops b/c even with the speed bonus, champions are not the ideal when it comes to mobility. In other words, if u need to take out some trebuchets or onagers ASAP, mounted units are still the best way to go. Also you will want to build a barracks near each of your major castles. That way you can defend yourself with champions rather than having to rely on woad raiders. And of course, UPGRADE those champions – believe me, it's worth it. Franks ====== Next to the Byzantines, this civilization is the best there is to offer. Key things to note include a 25% reduction in Castle cost. In other words, instead of paying 650 stone to build a castle, you're only paying 488 stone. Other things to note include +20%Hps for Knights, Cavaliers, and Paladins. Knights will have 120HP instead of 100, Cavaliers will have 144HP instead of 120, and paladins will have 172Hp instead of 160. As you will find out later on, I am a big fan of this civ's unique unit, the throwing axemen. Of all of the ranged units, only the throwing axemen and elite throwing axemen specialize in taking down fortifications and towers thanks to an added attack bonus vs. buildings. Again, like Cho ko nu, it would be wiser to use them as support troops, although in the mid game armies of pure axemen work alright. Later on, when your enemy gets siege onagers, you will want to supplement your axemen with faster units. A battalion of axethrowers become sitting ducks to any enemy onager that happens to be passing by. Essentially, a combo of throwing axemen and cavaliers/paladins should make up the bulk of your forces. ------------ 2) Economics ------------ Villagers, villagers, villagers. It's really that simple. Build many and you shall reap the rewards of their toil. A bare minimum economy consists 16 working villagers and 4 builders. A booming economy would require at least 25 villagers, 20 or so on resources and the rest as builders. Keep in mind that although villagers are cheap, it pays to protect them. Don't go creating mines in unprotected or unexplored regions. Expand logically and carefully as necessity and caution permits. Similarly, make sure to send roving units to see if your enemy is making the mistake of expanding too quickly. If he is indeed taking such a gamble, then with the press of a button you can cripple his economy early on. I know this is going to sound obvious, but always build a mining structure next to what you want to mine ?. Make sure there is at least a tower, a castle, or some other from of military presence near or around every mining area. Lastly, know which resources are scarce and which are abundant and act accordingly. Stone, the rarest resource, should be valued higher since it is required for the construction of powerful castles and impenetrable walls. Gold on the other hand is much easier to come by – using the marketplace and trading carts you can get gold easily through trade. Also helpful are relics which you keep in your monastery and provide you with free revenue. As for wood, unless you're playing an island map with very few trees, finding this resource won't be a problem. Since food is directly related to how much wood is available, you shouldn't have to worry about running out of this basic and essential commodity. Note: When using trade carts, the longer the distance from your market to the foreign marketplace, the more gold you will ultimately receive. Simply put, don't build a marketplace next to your ally's, even if it is a much shorter trip for your trade carts. ===================== VII. Battle Strategies ===================== ---------- 1)Overview ---------- Age of Empires II is a game of military and economic strategy. This section is designed to provide you with detailed information on the military aspect. Unlike most RTS (real time strategy) games, Age of Kings is a highly defensive game. Whereas in Warcraft II or Starcraft, one could mass a large army and go wipe out cities nonchalantly, in this game your troops can easily become fodder for castles and towers. The rush is rarely successful in this game, and my advice is simply don't try it. Victory can only be achieved by careful planning. An offensive takes time and the utilization of various troop types. An impenetrable defense takes mass amounts of stone, numerous castles, towers, and walls. An offensive must be well-coordinated and requires considerable skill. In contrast, one can easily throw up an overwhelming defense so long as one has the villagers and resources to do it. A player skilled only in the art of defense may force a stalemate. A player adept only in the art of offense may neglect the preservation of his economy and resources. The true player is one that can use a balance of two strategies to achieve victory. ----------- 2)Defensive ----------- Okay, I know you've heard this before, but in Age of Empires II, a good defense is a good offense. Usually, you can't really get into a defensive stage before the Castle Age, mainly because in the Dark and Feudal ages you're focusing on building essential structures, buying upgrades, gathering resources and what not. Unlike in other RTS games, the defensive walls in Age of Kings are very hard to penetrate. In games like C&C they were worthless. In this one, they are not. Once you've gathered enough stone, you will want to build a castle which will halt most enemy attacks. Always build a castle near essential resources or structures. A castle should be fortified with archers to increase the rate of fire. Once fortified, you might want to build towers around the castle to ensure an impenetrable defense. After that, stone walls must be built in order to impede enemy advances. The trebuchet can be a good defensive unit as well. Though primarily used for offense, trebuchets positioned behind fortified walls can take out the attacker's trebuchets before he can unpack them. A good idea would be to have a pack of light cavalry around to help take out especially dangerous units like siege engines and Mangudai. Not only are the light cavalry fast, but they only cost food, making them very expendable. ----------- 3)Offensive ----------- The mark of a skilled player is his ability to coordinate an effective offense. In Age of Kings, there are three essential parts to any offensive. First, is MOBILITY. I can't tell you how important this is. Having powerful cavalry units nearby at all times increases your ability to adapt to whatever is going on around you. The elite cataphract is quite possibly the most powerful cavalry unit in the game. They are fast, have considerable hp, a high attack strength, and a bonus attack vs. infantry units, thus rendering pikemen and other "cavalry killers" obsolete. Sadly, only one civilization is blessed with such a unit. But there are alternatives. Knights and camels are viable options, having good attack strength, abundant hps, and speed. The second ingredient to a good offense is CONTROL. If you don't control your troops, you won't be able to execute well. Always use ADVANCED COMMANDS. When besieging enemy fortifications, put all your units on a defensive stance or use the "guard unit" command. This way your troops will pursue enemy units only a short distance and then return to their original position. Trebuchets are unaffected and will continue to fire at anything in range(this is a good thing). Every good offense requires a certain amount of PLANNING. It takes time to scout out your enemy's defenses, build up your forces, and properly position them. Don't expect this to be a walk in the park. The rewards you reap will all depend on how long you're willing to wait and plan things out. Take just long enough to plan carefully and then execute thoroughly and professionally. The Standard OFFENSE VS The Standard DEFENSE: A garrisoned castle surrounded by trebuchets, towers, and walls is nearly impervious to assault. Only a force of ranged horsemen, knights/camels, and siege engines can break this defensive juggernaut. Your trebuchets must be placed in very precise locations so that the defender's wall can be attacked from a safe distance. Cavalry units should remain alert in case the defender sends a force to engage your trebuchets. Once the walls have been decimated, use a combination of heavy horse archers and knights (knights should be in front, with heavy horse archers behind to provide extra support) and have them destroy the defender's trebuchets. Leave a significant force of cavalry back to protect your trebuchets. Withdraw your attacking forces as soon as the defender's trebuchets have been dealt with. This will render your enemy's castle utterly useless. Your trebuchets are now well protected and free to pound the castle at their leisure. At this point your enemy will have one of two choices; either send in an overwhelming military force to take out your trebuchets, suffering heavy casualties in the process, OR, abandon the area and reestablish a position elsewhere. In my most humble opinion, these are the five best offensive combos: 1) light cavalry(+30% hp), elite mangudai, and trebuchets (Mongol only) 2) champions(+15% infantry speed) and trebuchets (Celt only) 3) elite cataphracts, heavy horse archers, and trebuchets (Byzantine only) 4) heavy camels, elite mamelukes, and trebuchets (Saracen only) 5) paladins, heavy horse archers, and trebuchets (all civilizations) Combo Analysis: The #5 combo is the standard offense because all of the units listed can be built by ALL civilizations. Of all of the combos, the #1 and #2 combos cost the fewest resources. Mongol light cavalry have +30% hps and require only 80 food, making them the most cost-effective unit in the game. Champions are also relatively inexpensive and worth the resources as they are immune to "counters". In contrast, the #3-5 combos rank higher in power and mobility but are expensive to build. Elite cataphracts and elite mamelukes cost a pretty penny once you consider the cost per unit and the cost of the elite upgrade. Also, if you plan on using the standard combo, keep in mind that upgrading from knights to cavaliers to paladins can cost a fortune. Assessing Cost: One general way of evaluating a unit's price tag is by looking at its "combined cost". For instance, champions (60 food + 20 gold) have a combined cost of 80. Using combined cost is a quick, easy method of finding which units are cheap and expendable and which units are costly and precious. Here's my rule of thumb. A unit with cc (combined cost) of 0-100 is dirt cheap. A unit with cc of 100-125 is medium. A unit with cc of 125+ is costly. 200+ cc units are, in a word, outrageous (but often insanely good). ========== VIII. Units ========== Author's Note: A rating of 1-10 has been assigned to each unit. Units with a rating of 7 or above will have a special "strategy tips" section included in their description. This is intended to provide the readers with extra information concerning units that I believe are vital or useful in achieving victory. Under the defense rating you will notice two numbers with a slash in between. The first number represents that unit's regular armor class while the second number signifies that unit's piercing armor class. A unit's piercing defense rating is the number of damage points less that it will receive from projectiles. Thus, a unit with a high piercing armor is almost immune to attacks from archers and other ranged units. Since each civilization has its own special attributes and abilities, it is necessary that I make certain distinctions. When you see two different values for a unit's attribute or rating, you will notice that the second value is in ( ). For instance, if you see 80 food (30 food, Chinese) that means that the standard price is 80 food, but for the Chinese civilization, the price is only 30. In other words, the value in ( ) is the exception for one particular civilization. An attack and defense value in ( ) however, does not refer to one specific civilization. In this case, the attack or defense value in ( ) represents that unit's attack strength or armor class once that unit has been fully upgraded. All regular units have brief descriptions to give an idea of their strengths and weaknesses. Unique units are described in more depth. ---------- 1)Infantry ---------- Militiaman: 1 -attack 4 -defense 0/0 -hp 40 -60 food, 20 gold -built at barracks In a word, pathetic. Slow, weak, and way too costly. If you actually make any of these guys, then you deserve to be smacked. Any food that you have should be spent in trying to get to the next age. Man-at-Arms: 6 -attack 6 -defense 0/0 -hp 45 (50 hp, Viking) -60 food, 20 gold -built at barracks In a word, decent. Medium speed, medium strength, medium cost. An all around OK unit. Spearman: 4 -attack 3 -defense 0/0 -hp 45 -35 food, 25 wood (26 food, 19 wood, Byzantines) -built at barracks In a word, specialized. The first "cavalry-killers". They're reasonably quick, and excel against light cavalry/horse archers. Pikemen: 6 -attack 4(8) -defense 1/0(3/4) -hp 55 -35 food, 25 wood (26 food, 19 wood, Byzantines) -built at barracks A step up from their predecessors. More hp, better attack, better defense. Perfect for killing light cavalry. Good against knights also. Useful but often neglected, a pikeman's potential is seldom realized. Long Swordsman: 3 -attack 9 -defense 0/0 -hp 55 -60 food, 20 gold -built at barracks Just another stop on the way to champions. Keep upgrading, and don't look back. In Feudal Age, men-at-arms are the best life has to offer, but long swordsmen are a far cry worse than most castle age units. 2H Swordsmen: 5 -attack 11 -defense 0/0 -hp 60 -60 food, 20 gold -built at barracks Not too shabby. Good, standard infantry unit. Even so, make the final leap and upgrade to champion status. Champion: 7(8)(Celts) -attack 13(17) -defense 1/0(4/4) -hp 70(83 hp, Viking) -60 food, 20 gold -built at barracks These guys form the backbone of most decent armies. Good dmg, good hps, good armor – in a word, GOOD. Difficult to counter also. Strategy Tips: The Celts are unique in that their infantry(+15% speed) and siege weapons(+20% fire rate) both receive special bonuses. This makes for the perfect offensive juggernaut. The Celtic 20-punch is an attack force that consists of 20 champions and 3-5 trebuchets. With the added speed, your champions will be able to chase down and kill enemy archers and horsemen. They will also be fast enough to avoid attacks from enemy onagers and mangonels. There is no unit that can combat the 20-punch. With the increased rate of fire, your Celtic trebuchets can take out castles and town halls with ease. Your powerful champions have the mobility to take out anything that your enemy may send to halt your advance. Castles, horse archers, knights, and all other forms of horsemen are powerless to stop you. Skirmishers are also harmless against your forces. The only effective counter against the 20-punch is either overwhelming forces or a horde of champions. Only a fool would use the first counter because after the battle is over, he will have lost considerably more resources than you. The second counter works well except that his champions won't be as quick (your Celtic champs have +15% quickness remember) and the chances of him having 21+ champions is extremely remote. In my most humble opinion *grin* the 20-punch is one of the most simple, cost-effective, and potent offensive strategies in the game. Axe Thrower: 8 -attack 7 -defense 0/0 -hp 50 -55 food, 25 gold -built at castle -unique unit* (Franks) Decent. Only infantry unit that does piercing damage. One of the strongest castle age units. Use them primarily for defense. Strategy Tips: Place 6-8 axe throwers in each of your castles. Create a war party of them and raid enemy resource areas. At this point in the game, no one should have siege onagers yet(the most effective counter against your axe throwers), so feel free to plunder and pillage as you like. Be forewarned, that when your enemy gets onagers/mangonels, it's time for a change in tactics. Elite Axe Thrower: 9 -attack 8(12) -defense 1/0(4/4) -hp 60 -55 food, 25 gold -built at castle -unique unit* (Franks) In a word, awesome. My personal choice for best unit. They can dismantle towers and fortifications with unrelenting zeal. Strategy Tips: What to say, what to say. There really isn't much that axes can't smash. Why are these guys so damn good? I'll tell you why – because most units don't have piercing armor, meaning defense against projectile weapons. Can you see where I'm taking this? Only 2 units in the entire game can stand up to 12 piercing damage. This is the amount of damage that upgraded elite axe throwers inflict. An army of axe throwers and light cavalry/cavaliers complement each other quite nicely. Have your horsemen scout out ahead for signs of onagers or mangonels. Siege weapons, namely catapults, can wipe out axe throwers in droves, so I suggest you take precautions against them. Your knights should attack any catapults they come across. If your horsemen encounter any other form of resistance, and you don't see any catapults nearby, then have your cavalry pull out and let the axe throwers get to work. Champions also make a nice addition to the attack force. Put a contingent of them in the front lines and they'll dice up the enemy with clockwork efficiency. Woad Raider: 2 -attack 8 -defense 0/0 -hp 65 -65 food, 25 gold -unique unit* (Celts) Hehe. HA. Need I say more? Ok, let me explain this to you. These guys make militiamen look halfway decent. This is the saddest unique unit I have ever seen! Medium hp, no defense – the only plus is the unit's attack. But with 65 hp, he won't be around long enough to enjoy it, now will he? Woad raiders specialize in taking out siege engines and archers. One slight problem – 95% of the time siege engines are protected by cavalry or infantry (unless your opponent is either a) a complete fool or b) a computer player on easy or easiest mode). Are woad raiders useless? Not completely, but pretty close to it. They can take out archers, but oh…wait…so can skirmishers which cost like 1/3 the resources…and knights…which are faster and have more hp. Elite Woad Raider: 3 -attack 13(17) -defense 0/0(3/4) -hp 80 -65 food, 25 gold -unique unit* (Celts) These guys give me a reason to cry. Essentially what we have here is a unique unit that is no better (in fact worse) than the champion. Why build elite woad raiders when you can build champions? Champions only have 10 less hps (Viking champions actually have more hps) and cost fewer resources. Champions also have a higher armor class and do the same amount of damage. The champion upgrade costs a small fortune, whereas the elite woad raider upgrade costs a large fortune. Which is better, to pay $1 for something, OR to pay $2 for that same something? If your answer is $2, then elite woad raiders deserve you, and you deserve them. Teutonic Knight: 5 -attack 12 -defense 5/2 -hps 70 -85 food, 40 gold -built at castle -unique unit* (Teutons) SLOW almost to the point of immovable. Very high hps and armor for a castle age infantry unit, however. Respectable damage as well. Elite Teutonic Knight: 6 -attack 17(21) -defense 10/2(13/6) -hps 100 -85 food, 40 gold -built at castle -unique unit* (Teutons) Built like a tank. An insane number of hps. Significant improvement in attack and defense. Great castle support. Unstoppable against infantry. Huskarls: 4 -attack 10 -defense 0/4 -hps 60 -80 food, 40 gold -built at castle -unique unit* (Goths) Not a particularly impressive unit. Pales in comparison to Teutonic Knights and other castle age uniques. Good piercing armor. Their slowness negates any real advantage, however. Elite Huskarls: 5 -attack 12(16) -defense 0/6(2/8) -hps 70 -80 food, 40 gold -built at castle -unique unit* (Goths) Same number of hps as the champion and a lower attack strength, but their piercing armor is a wonder to behold. They are good against archers, although their slow speed is somewhat of a handicap. Samurai: 5 -attack 8 -defense 1/0 -hps 60 -60 food, 30 gold -built at castle -unique unit* (Japanese) Kind of like pikemen in that they are specialized. Primarily good against uniques. Difficult to use effectively. Elite Samurai: 6 -attack 12(16) -defense 1/0(4/4) -hps 80 -60 food, 30 gold -built at castle -unique unit* (Japanese) New and improved. Defense remains the same, but attack strength soars. Great for castle sieges, tearing apart enemy uniques. -------------------------- 2)Foot Archers/Skirmishers -------------------------- Archer: 4 -attack 4 -defense 0/0 -hps 30 -25 wood, 45 gold -built at archery range The first archer unit available. Good for feudal age skirmishes, but not much else. Extremely poor accuracy and minimal attack power. Only good for tower garrisons to increase tower arrow rate of fire and damage. Crossbowman: 5 -attack 5 -defense 0/0 -hps 35 -25 wood, 45 gold -built at archery range Next step above archer. Useful mainly as support troops. Cheap and easy to create. Skirmisher: 6 -attack 2 -defense 0/3 -hps 30 -25 food, 35 wood -built at archery range Best feudal age unit besides men-at-arms. Ideal skirmishing unit of course, and also cheap. Specializes in archer-killing. Elite Skirmishers: 7 -attack 3 -defense 0/4 -hp 35 -25 food, 35 wood -19 food, 26 wood (Byzantines) -built at archery range Perfect support troops. Low attack, defense, and hp, but very cheap. Good combo unit. Good against archers. Strategy Tips: Just place 10 of these little buggers next to your castle. Make sure they're on stand ground command so they don't run off. There is nothing more pointless than having 10 able skirmishers chase an enemy villager. It wastes time, manpower, and stands a good chance of getting your men killed as the villager may lure them into a trap. Once positioned near your castle, the elite skirmishers will be able to serve as good support for your defensive. Enemy cavalry and infantry units that get through the castle's arrow barrage will suffer casualties from your skirmishers nearby. Be sure that you haven't placed them too close to your castle. This way your enemy will be in a lose, lose situation. Either he attacks the castle and gets pelted by spears, or he attacks the skirmishers and gets pelted by arrows. Note: in order to handle enemy onagers/mangonels, be sure to spread out your skirmishers a bit. This way your skirmisher force won't get crippled by splash damage. If you see the enemy is throwing some onagers at you, then garrison your skirmishers in the castle and act accordingly with mounted warriors. ------------------------- 3)Mounted Archers/Knights – coming soon ------------------------- --------- 4)Cavalry --------- Scout Cavalry: 5 -attack 3 -defense 0/2 -hp 45 -80 food -non-combat unit* Mobile. Low hp, weak attack. Good for early exploration. Light Cavalry: 7 -attack 7 -defense 0/2 -hp 60 -80 food -non-combat unit* Quick, perfect for blitzkrieg tactics. Especially adept at raiding enemy supply lines. Only requires food. Strategy Tips: Create a force of 10-12 light cavalry. Send out a few of them to probe for weaknesses. Attack enemy resource areas that have little or no defenses. Remember, buildings can be easily replaced. Go after the villagers first. Fall back when enemy troops arrive. *Coming soon . . . Archers and Cavalry Unit Descriptions --------------- 5)Siege Weapons --------------- Note: Remember that siege units are ALWAYS required for a good offensive. Here are the 3 types of siege units that you need to know how to use: 1)Trebuchets – good for long range, demolishing helpless towers and enemy structures. Must be protected at all times. Has very poor mobility. 2)Mangonels and Onagers – good for medium range, destroying clusters of archers or infantry. More mobile than the trebuchet, but not by much. Inflicts splash damage, which means the possibility of friendly fire. Put your troops on "stand ground" so they don't get in the way. 3)Battering Rams – good for close range, battering down towers and castles. Requires protection from enemy infantry and mounted units. Almost impervious to projectile weapons, however. =============== XI. Explanation =============== The following stories are based on games that I have actually played. These accounts should give you an idea of different strategies to use. Depending on the type of terrain, you may want to choose one civilization or another and adapt your methods accordingly. For example, the Viking civilization, whose special attributes are geared towards water units, would not be the best choice if you're playing a land map. In contrast, the Mongols, with their light cavalry bonus and proficiency against siege weapons and infantry, excel more on land maps. =================== XII. Battle Accounts =================== 55 Things to Worry About I joined a 3 on 3 game hosted by Titoo, map type archipelago, size normal, starting resources medium, population 75(this was my first multi-player game). I decided to be Mongol just to make things interesting. My allies, Cashen and Kellia2o2, chose the Chinese and Japanese civilizations. My enemies, Titoo, Genotome, and 55killer, opted to be the Turks, Saracens, and Vikings. The host asked if we were all ready. In seconds, the game was underway. Dark Age: Building feverishly, I started out by constructing two houses and a lumber mill. I sent my scout to find sheep. About two seconds later my scout had found 4 sheep. I sent him out to explore the map, discovering 2 more sheep a short while later. Once I had completed the houses, I promptly spent all 500 food on villagers. Of the 13 total villagers, I put 5 on wood, 5 on food, 2 on gold, and kept one to build. As soon as my shepherds had killed the 4 starting sheep, I put them to work on the extra 2 sheep that my scout had found nearby. Meanwhile, I stockpiled wood, built a mining camp, and told my 2 gold miners to get to work. Feudal Age: At 500 food, I began upgrading to the next age. As soon as I reached the Feudal Age, I bought 6 more villagers, putting 3 on food, 1 on wood, and 2 on gold. This gave me a total of 8 on food, 6 on wood, and 4 on gold. Thus far I had neglected to mine any stone. I built a shipyard and a couple of fishing boats to provide me with an extra source of food. Next I built a barracks and mill. My sheep were all gone, and so I had my 8 villagers on food detail begin farming near my town center. I sat and waited, gathering resources, hoping to get to castle age before my opponents. I kept exploring with my scout. My allies and I exchanged messages about enemy positions and what not. Castle Age: Cashen sent me a message requesting help, and I knew that I had to do something. I quickly built 2 transport ships. I put 5 scouts in one and 2 villagers (one male, one female) in the other. This was a desperate move, but I hoped that I might be able to sneak in a castle before Genotome noticed. I unloaded the small army and the 2 villagers on the island and set to work immediately on a castle. I could see an enemy siege workshop just within my range of sight, and I estimated that if I could get my castle up in time, then I would be able to take it out. Unfortunately, this was a big gamble. If Geno realized what I was doing, he could send an army to come take me out, which is exactly what he tried to do. He attacked with 6 skirmishers and 6 men-at-arms (he had not bothered upgrading yet). He and Cashen had been constantly fighting since the Feudal Age, and both were behind technologically. By sheer luck, my ally was keeping him busy so he didn't have any more troops to spare. My light cavalry, complete with a +2 armor upgrade and +30% hps, managed to push back Geno's troops while my two villagers ran for cover. My outnumbered light cavalry skirmished with his troops for a few minutes, achieving a small victory, but I had only a lone horseman remaining. Luckily, the castle was complete less than a minute later. I quickly garrisoned my light cavalry unit and the 2 villagers and awaited reinforcements. Imperial Age: A joint offensive by Cashen and I led to Genotome's ultimate demise. I created a massive force of mangudai to support Cashen's troops, and together we bottled up Geno, forcing him to retreat into his fortified base at the northern tip of the island. However, things had not gone well elsewhere. 55killer had launched a devastating assault on my island and destroyed my entire city. I now had only my castle, one light cavalry unit, 2 villagers, and a host of mangudai. The only relief was that I had stockpiled plenty of resources. That and tributes from Cashen allowed me to pump out mangudai at a fairly constant rate. Kellia2o2 had been defeated by Titoo and left the game, so it was just me and Cashen now. While Cashen and I were trying to finish off Geno, killer55 decided to play dishonorably. Taking off allies, he launched a surprise attack on his own partner, Titoo. In the span of a few minutes, he had all but wiped out Titoo's main city and outlying bases. Titoo, who had been concentrating on sending aid to Geno, was totally caught off guard. My ally and I pretended nothing had happened, and continued to pound Geno's two castles. After vanquishing Geno, my ally and I decided to make a deal with Titoo. We allied up, hoping that our combined strength would be enough to overcome 55killer. The scales were slightly in killer's favor. Titoo had only a few structures left. Although I had rebuilt a medium sized town, my economy was weak, having no more than 10 villagers. My partner, Cashen was powerful but had not expanded to any outlying islands. 55killer had bases on 3 separate islands, each fortified with a castle. The game lasted for another ninety minutes or so. It took a combined effort to capture killer's islands, one by one. Since he had access to many times more resources, the success of our first invasion was doubly important. We were able to take out his castle handily with a force of mangudai, cavaliers, heavy camels, and trebuchets. We began to fortify the area and mine out the island's resources. About forty minutes after taking the first island, we launched an all-out attack on killer's second island stronghold. This was met with bitter resistance from bombard towers, killer's castle, and a counterattack of 20 berzerkers that had been garrisoned inside. Needless to say, our forces were slaughtered. But we then tried another attack using cannon galleons, which worked quite nicely. As our ships pummeled his castles and bombard towers, killer's berzerkers were virtually helpless. I unloaded some mangudai and let them wreak havoc on 55killer's economy. It took another fifteen minutes to finally take total control of the island. It was at this time that 55killer launched a last all-or-nothing strike on Cashen's island, where my new city and Titoo's new city were located. Rather than load our forces into transports and send them back to defend, we decided to attack killer's main island. The carnage was rather immense as each side hacked at the other's main city. We had an advantage in that our combined population limit (225) was greater than his mere 75. His troops took out most of our cities, but not before we could devastate his entire island, destroying his economy, his structures, and his town center. 55killer typed a few unkind words and left the game. Cashen, Titoo and I congratulated each other on a long, drawn-out, and hopelessly exhausting game that we had somehow managed to win. ================ XIII. Conclusion ================ Updates of this FAQ Strategy Guide are inevitable, for this FAQ is as prone to criticism and the need for improvement as any essay or literary work. It's been fun making this FAQ. Since the days of Warcraft, I have always been a fan of RTS games and always will be. That's what makes this so enjoyable and satisfying. Who knows what new things will emerge as the RTS genre is delved into more deeply. Certainly there is a lack of creativity among many gaming companies which have copied Warcraft II without including any true innovations. But one can always hope – and hope I shall (like until Warcraft III comes out).