hide results

    FAQ/Strategy Guide by doomsayer13

    Updated: 06/20/00 | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

    Age of Empires II
    The Age of Kings
    For the PC
    Strategy Guide FAQ 
    By Doomsayer13 and J. Kirsch
    Contact us at doomsayer13@mailcity.com or rcherry@megsinet.net 
    Table of Contents
    I.	Introduction
    II.	Version Release
    III.	Contact Me
    IV.	Contributors
    V.	Disclaimer
    VI.	General Information
    VII. Battle Strategies
    VIII. Units
         2)Foot Archers/Skirmishers
         3)Mounted Archers/Knights (coming soon)
         5)Siege Units
         6)Water (coming soon)
    IX. Structure Descriptions (coming soon)
         3)Upgrade structures
    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 
    doomsay13@mailcity.com or rcherry@megsinet.net 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 
    J. Kirsch (rcherry@megsinet.net) 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 
    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 
    The abilities of the Britons, Byzantines, Celts, and Franks will be 
    explained in some depth. 
    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.
    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.
    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. 
    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
    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.
    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 
    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 
    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 
    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.
    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 
    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 
    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 
    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
    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 
    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 
    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). 

    View in: