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  1. 1. SYBEX Sample ChapterAge of Empires™Strategies & Secrets(Unofficial)Multiplayer Strategy GuideScreen reproductions produced with Collage Complete.Collage Complete is a trademark of Inner Media Inc.SYBEX, Network Press, and the Network Press logo are registered trademarks of SYBEX Inc.Mastering, Expert Guide, Developer’s Handbook, and No experience required. are trademarks of SYBEX Inc.TRADEMARKS: SYBEX has attempted throughout this book to distinguish proprietary trademarks from descriptive terms byfollowing the capitalization style used by the manufacturer.Netscape Communications, the Netscape Communications logo, Netscape, and Netscape Navigator are trademarks ofNetscape Communications Corporation.Microsoft® Internet Explorer ©1996 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. Microsoft, the Microsoft Internet Explorer logo,Windows, Windows NT, and the Windows logo are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation inthe United States and/or other countries.The author and publisher have made their best efforts to prepare this book, and the content is based upon final release soft-ware whenever possible. Portions of the manuscript may be based upon pre-release versions supplied by software manufac-turer(s). The author and the publisher make no representation or warranties of any kind with regard to the completeness oraccuracy of the contents herein and accept no liability of any kind including but not limited to performance, merchantability,fitness for any particular purpose, or any losses or damages of any kind caused or alleged to be caused directly or indirectlyfrom this book.Photographs and illustrations used in this book have been downloaded from publicly accessible file archives and are used inthis book for news reportage purposes only to demonstrate the variety of graphics resources available via electronic access.Text and images available over the Internet may be subject to copyright and other rights owned by third parties. Online avail-ability of text and images does not imply that they may be reused without the permission of rights holders, although theCopyright Act does permit certain unauthorized reuse as fair use under 17 U.S.C. Section 107.Copyright ©1997 SYBEX Inc., 1151 Marina Village Parkway, Alameda, CA 94501. World rights reserved. No part of this pub-lication may be stored in a retrieval system, transmitted, or reproduced in any way, including but not limited to photocopy,photograph, magnetic or other record, without the prior agreement and written permission of the publisher. Copyright ©1997 SYBEX, Inc., Alameda, CA.
  2. 2. Copyright ©1997 SYBEX, Inc., Alameda, CA.
  3. 3. 5MULTIPLAYER STRATEGY GUIDECopyright ©1997 SYBEX, Inc., Alameda, CA.
  4. 4. 190 CHAPTER 5 Multiplayer Strategy GuideW hen you first started playing Age of Empires, you likely thought that the computer’s artificial intelligence (AI) player was the most bril- liant and fearsome opponent with which you’d ever cross paths. Yet, over time and after many bloody battles, you’ve realized just how predictable and rigid its strategies are. Days, weeks, and, even, months of testing your wits against this AI have passed. These days, you frequently emerge victorious, effortlessly demolishing multiple AI players simultaneously. You consider yourself to be a master strategist, even pro- claiming yourself to be the rebirth of Napoleon. By now, you probably think that there must be more to the game. As fate (or the game’s designers) would have it, there is—multiplayer games. Like a fighter pilot practicing on a flight simulator to prepare for real combat, you practice against the computer to prepare for the real challenge—battles versus live human opponents. Copyright ©1997 SYBEX, Inc., Alameda, CA.
  5. 5. Making the Transition from Single-Player to Multiplayer Games 191MAKING THE TRANSITIONF R O M S I N G L E - P L AY E R T OM U L T I P L AY E R G A M E S Not to be underestimated, the computer AI is undoubtedly a formidable foe. Although the AI is generally regarded as being extremely predictable and often stupid, its instant and constant control of its units makes up for its ineptitude. The computer offers a very static game plan, which sets a consistent pace to learn how to play the game and use your units effectively. However, it cannot offer you the opportunity to think logically, counterattack, use advanced tactics, or experience a variety of styles of play. Multiplayer games take Age of Empires to a whole new dimension. They add the element of live interactivity and the unpredictability of the human mind. Games, such as Age of Empires, nowadays are often designed specifically for the multiplayer expe- rience. What can possibly be more satisfying than wiping out your friends’ entire civ- ilizations and taunting them afterward in front of hundreds of people? This chapter is dedicated to teaching you everything about multiplayer strategy— from the subtle lockdown of the enemy’s resources to the use of brute force with a frontal assault. The complexity of this game makes it very difficult to go into every lit- tle detail; thus, it is assumed beforehand that you have played enough single-player games to know what each unit and building does, as well as how to control them. It is also assumed that you know the advantages and disadvantages of each civilization. There will be times when you are asked to refer to the game’s manual for details. The tips, tricks, and strategies you’ll learn in this chapter will guide you in your crusade to conquer the world! S E T T I N G U P A M U L T I P L AY E R G A M E Age of Empires makes it easy to find opponents to get a multiplayer game going. You can play with up to eight players over a network or the Internet, and you can play with two players over a modem or serial connection. However, it is not necessary for all players to have the CD to play. For up to three players, just one CD is required. For four to six players, two CDs are required. For seven or eight players, however, three CDs are required. Copyright ©1997 SYBEX, Inc., Alameda, CA.
  6. 6. 192 CHAPTER 5 Multiplayer Strategy Guide Playing over an IPX Connection If you have a local area network (LAN), you can play within that network using the IPX protocol. You should configure this in the Windows 95 Network control panel. Make sure that all the computers in the network use the same frame type, workgroup name, and network client. Consult someone who is familiar with configuring networks if you have problems. To play an IPX game, choose that option on the Multiplayer Connection menu. The host computer should then create the game. Ideally, the host computer should be the fastest one on the network. When the name of the host’s game is visible on the screen, all other players should select it and join it. Playing over an Internet TCP/IP Connection Over the Internet, you can play a game with up to eight If you have a network that uses the TCP/IP protocol players. However, unless instead of IPX, you can use the Internet TCP/IP each player has at least an option to connect each other in a multiplayer game. ISDN line, never play with more than four players simultaneously. This is a great way to painlessly play Age of Empires with your friends. The host who creates the game gives all of the other players his or her IP address. The host then creates the game from the Multiplayer Connection menu, and each player joins it by selecting the Join button and typing the host’s IP address. An Internet IP address is a series of four numbers that identifies your computer. The series will typically look something like, The person hosting the game will usually give you this number; if you are the host, give it to everyone else. To determine your IP address, connect to the Internet, and then run a program in your Windows directory called winipcfg.exe. It is a program built into Windows 95 that gives you, among other things, your IP address. Playing over a Modem Connection The modem connection option allows you to connect with one other person. Usually, the modem option is used to play a game with your local friends. You can play over Copyright ©1997 SYBEX, Inc., Alameda, CA.
  7. 7. Making the Transition from Single-Player to Multiplayer Games 193the Internet if you want, butmodem-to-modem play ismore direct and usuallyfaster. The person who cre-ates the game answers thecall, while the person who If your modem line has call-waiting, you may wantjoins the game inputs the to disable it, so that an incoming phone call doesn’tcreator’s phone number to interrupt your game. In most cases, you do this bydial and connect. preceding your friend’s phone number with the string *70, or 1170, before you dial it. Contact yourPlaying over a local phone company if you are unsure.Serial ConnectionIf you use a serial cable to connect one computer to another, it can be an economicalway to network two computers, because you don’t have to buy network cards. Connecteach end of the cable to the computer where you normally plug in an external modem.Configure Windows 95’s serial port networking and you’re ready to go. To connect inSerial/Null Modem mode, select that option from the Multiplayer Connection menu.Again, the person with the faster computer should host the game, and the other playershould join it.Playing over the Microsoft Internet Gaming ZoneThe best part about Age ofEmpires is that it is sup-ported by the MicrosoftInternet Gaming Zone (IGZ).Games played on the IGZare limited to four players.After you connect to the Age The red and green bars to the side of each player’sof Empires section of the name display the player’s ping time, which is a mea-IGZ, there will be a list of sure of the amount of time it takes for informationplayers on the right side and to get to that player and come back. Try to play witha list of games on the left players with bright green bars, which generally (butside. If you want to host not always) mean faster gameplay.your own game, find an Copyright ©1997 SYBEX, Inc., Alameda, CA.
  8. 8. 194 CHAPTER 5 Multiplayer Strategy Guide empty game room in which to host your game. If you want to join someone else’s game, find a game room with players still waiting for the game and join it. Many game rooms will have games in progress, which you probably don’t want to join.P L AY I N G M U L T I P L AY E R G A M E S Although they are very different from single-player games, multiplayer games of Age of Empires consist of familiar stages in which you must choose a civilization; build it up with units, structures, and technology upgrades; and engage the enemy empires in strategic warfare. C H O O S I N G A N A N C I E N T C I V I L I Z AT I O N As you’ve probably already learned in single-player contests, the 12 ancient civiliza- tions have many similarities, yet they are all very unique. Be sure to read the Age of Empires game manual carefully and learn the advantages and disadvantages of each civilization. Some civilizations can build things that others can’t, and some civiliza- tions can build things faster than others can. Choose your civilization based on your playing style, your opponents’ playing styles, the terrain, the map, and your favorite units. You want to use fully the advantages of the civilization you pick. Style—do you like to attack quickly or save up to upgrade technology? Terrain—terrain with lots of hills and valleys slows down your units drastically. You may want to pick a civilization with faster units in this type of terrain. For example, Villagers are relatively slow and will be even slower when they have to walk up a hill to harvest wood. Use the Assyrians to increase their speed by 30 percent. Maps—maps can be inland, highlands, coastal, or islands. For example, if you’re playing on a map with a lot of islands, control of the seas is vital to winning the game. Use the Phoenicians to increase the firing rate of your Catapult Triremes and Juggernauts by 65 percent. Units—certain civilizations have extra abilities with specific units. If one of your favorite units happens to fall in that category, it may be a good Copyright ©1997 SYBEX, Inc., Alameda, CA.
  9. 9. Playing Multiplayer Games 195 idea to choose that civilization. For example, Hoplites are extremely pow- erful offensive weapons, but they are extremely slow. Pick the Greeks to increase their speed by 30 percent.B U I L D I N G YO U R C I V I L I Z AT I O N The key to getting a good start is being efficient with your units and production. Keep your level of production up by creating more Villagers, but at the same time, don’t cre- ate too many, as you need to save your food to upgrade to the next age. On the flip side, don’t upgrade to the next age too early and create only a couple of Villagers, because the lack of production and resources will set you back technologically. Establishing Your Base Typically, during the first 5 minutes of a multiplayer game, there is a race between the players to upgrade to the Tool Age first, because there is a limited supply of food close to your base. To have efficient food production, you need to build a Market and Farms, which you can only build in the Tool Age. A step-by-step method for a productive and efficient start follows. Find out what works best for you, as there are many variations to advancement. 1. You typically start with a Town Center and three Villagers. As soon as you enter the game, click your Town Center and create a Villager. 2. Your first Villager should build a House. 3. Your second and third Villagers should look for the closest berry bushes. Berries will be your source for food in the early stages of the game. 4. When you find the berry bushes, look at where they are in comparison to your Town Center. If they are close by, make your Villagers pick the berries. If the bushes are relatively far from your Town Center, build a Granary right next to the bushes. This will considerably decrease the time it takes to harvest food. 5. Your first, fourth, fifth, and eighth through eleventh Villagers should pick berries. 6. Your sixth Villager should build another House and then harvest wood. Copyright ©1997 SYBEX, Inc., Alameda, CA.
  10. 10. 196 CHAPTER 5 Multiplayer Strategy Guide 7. Your seventh and twelfth Villagers should also harvest wood. 8. Build a Storage Pit. 9. Build another House. 10. Build a Barrack. 11. Wait for your food reserves to reach 500; then, upgrade to the Tool Age, move your Villagers from picking berry bushes to harvesting wood, and build a Market and Farms. Preliminary Defense In the early stages of the game, people have very different strategies. Some people like to stay to themselves, spending most of their resources on upgrading rather than build- ing a military. Others like to spend their resources on building a military, and don’t upgrade until later. You want to focus on upgrading to the next age, but at the same time, you don’t want to leave your base defenseless. The best way to tackle this dilemma is to find a good medium between the two strategies. You can use many things to your advantage to defend from an early attack. Natural barriers, such as trees, are a great source of protection from an oncoming military. You never want to cut down trees that form a natural wall around your city. Keep an eye on your Villagers—if Make several Villagers work on the same building the tree line is getting too to decrease the time it takes to build it. Do this to thin, select the Villagers and build a Tower quickly if you need an immediate make them harvest their defense. wood in a different area. You start off the game with, at the very least, enough stone to build one Tower. Build the Tower near the center of your base, but within range of most of your Villagers. It’s very likely that your opponents will go after your Villagers first. If you don’t have a military by the time your opponents come in, make your Villagers run next to your Copyright ©1997 SYBEX, Inc., Alameda, CA.
  11. 11. Playing Multiplayer Games 197Tower for protection. If your opponents choose to attack your Villagers anyway, useyour Villagers to retaliate. If your opponents decide to hang around on the outskirtsof your base, build a Barrack and fight back with a military. Villagers are surprisingly decent defensive units in the early stages of the game. Ifyour opponents try to rush you with Clubmen, your Villagers can fight back. BothClubmen and Villagers do 3 points of damage per attack. The only difference betweenthe two units is that Clubmen have 15 more hit points. Thus, if your opponents sendin a small group of two or three Clubmen and you don’t have a military to defend yourbase, use your Villagers toattack them. You shouldhave more Villagers than theopponents have Clubmen atthis point, and you will likelycome out victorious. Villagers do not automatically retaliate when Last, but certainly not attacked; manually select the Villagers and attackleast, you must build your the enemy’s units to engage in combat.own military. You shoulddefinitely build at least acouple of Clubmen and dedicate them to base defense. You don’t want to spend toomuch food on building a military, because it will keep you from advancing to the ToolAge quickly—but do not leave your base entirely defenseless. With all the different options on defense that you have, there should be no prob-lem surviving an early attack from your opponents. A tiny military, backed up byTowers and Villagers (if needed), is sufficient to thwart the most persistent of enemies.If you notice, however, that your opponents are spending all of their resources onoffense, you should adapt your play and spend more resources on building a military.Because a civilization with good defense, in most cases, has the advantage, wait untilthe enemy attacks again. After you destroy the assaulting military, counter with yourown attack. Go straight for the enemies’ Villagers. Your opponents will likely havevery few of them, because they probably spent most of their resources on the militaryrather than on Villagers for production. Once you kill off the enemies’ Villagers, theywill be a sitting ducks. Copyright ©1997 SYBEX, Inc., Alameda, CA.
  12. 12. 198 CHAPTER 5 Multiplayer Strategy Guide Preliminary Offense Like the dilemma you face in building a preliminary defense, you must again choose where you wish to devote your resources early in the game. In most situations, the defense has a slight advantage over the attacking force. Therefore, if you plan on mounting an attack early, you must catch your opponent off guard to succeed. There are several factors in a successful early attack: Attacking quickly—you must find your oppo- nent’s base and attack quickly before it can pro- Try not to let the enemy see your Villager. If the duce enough units other player doesn’t think you know the location of to match yours. their base, they will probably not be prepared for an Often, people do early attack. not expect such an early attack. Send a Villager out to scout for the enemy base right off the bat. Once you find the base, you’re set. Build up a military and go after the enemy. Catching the enemy off guard—this is the key to success in an early attack. If the enemy knows you’re coming, it will make it very difficult to overcome their defenses. Although you may have more military units than your opponent at the time you find their base, by the time your units walk to the base, the enemy will have easily amassed enough units to counter the force you send. Stopping production—go after the enemy’s Villagers first, if you can. Your opponent probably spent most of their resources building Villagers to increase production. If you can kill enemy Villagers, even if the attack fails, you have still managed to slow their production. This is good enough to gain the edge you need to win the game. Keeping up your level of production—while attacking, don’t forget to con- stantly upgrade your base, even in the midst of battle. Copyright ©1997 SYBEX, Inc., Alameda, CA.
  13. 13. Playing Multiplayer Games 199 Avoiding stationary defenses—stay clear of the enemy’s Watch Towers while mounting your initial attack. If you defeat their military and their Villagers seek shelter next to the Towers, send more units from your base. Keep the enemy’s Villagers from harvesting more food, and destroy their Houses. When you have enough units, attack their Villagers. Don’t bother with the Towers—if you kill off the enemy’s ability to produce, it is worth the sacrifice of your military. Being lucky—there is a huge factor of luck involved in attacking early. If you are lucky, your opponent won’t realize they’re being attacked until after the fact. You can wipe out enemy Villagers before your opponent can react.Using Military UnitsTo build up your empire’s military, it requires a good understanding of the strengthsand weaknesses of the units you produce. Let’s take a look at using military units ina multiplayer contest.CLUBMEN AND AXE-MEN Clubmen and, later,Axemen are the first mili-tary units you can produce.Although these units are If you focus too much on the military in the begin-weak and are quickly sur- ning, you will be way behind technologically withinpassed by more powerful 10 minutes of starting the game. Balance yourunits in advanced ages, resources wisely.they are extremely useful inthe very early stages of agame. They are great in the beginning for disrupting the enemy’s Villagers anddefending your base.HOPLITES, PHALANXES, AND CENTURIONS Hoplites, Phalanxes, andCenturions are the epitome of close-range fighting units. Hoplites (we will use this termto include also the other two levels of the unit, Phalanxes and Centurions) have thegreatest offensive close-range capabilities in the game. Their lone drawback is that theyare extremely slow. They do their best either up in the front lines or back on defense.Their slowness makes them extremely vulnerable to Archers and other long-range Copyright ©1997 SYBEX, Inc., Alameda, CA.
  14. 14. 200 CHAPTER 5 Multiplayer Strategy Guide attackers. Use Hoplites to defend your long-range units, such as Archers and Catapults. When your long- range units attack the enemy, the enemy will usu- Group Hoplites with Catapults. Make the Catapults ally turn its attention to attack enemy units from long range. When the killing your long-range units enemy units come in close to attack the Catapults, first. Make a group of Hop- make your Hoplites step up and intercept them. The lites wait in front of your enemy should already be severely damaged by the long-range units and inter- Catapult attacks, so when they run into the cept the enemy before it can Hoplites, they should be mincemeat. reach them. BOWMEN, IMPROVED BOWMEN, AND COMPOSITE BOWMEN Bowmen, and their two more advanced descendents, are cheap and effective units that you generally leave in the back of the troop to do long- range damage in battle. They don’t have many hit points, don’t have armor, and have only average speed, but they will get the In the early stages of the game, use Bowmen to kill job done. These units are Clubmen. Shoot Clubmen from long range, and then expendable because they run away. Turn back around, shoot more of them, are so cheap, but with good and then run away again. Repeat this process. protection from Hoplites or Bowmen have the same speed as Clubmen, so other close-range units, Clubmen shouldn’t be able to catch Bowmen if they Bowmen can do quite a bit start off far enough away. You can also use this tac- of damage. tic against the slower units, such as Elephants or Hoplites, in the later stages of the game. CHARIOT ARCHERS Chariot Archers are the most cost-effective Archers, though they are not necessarily the best. You don’t have to use gold to build these Archers. They are extremely quick and can easily outrun most of the close-range units. They only inflict average damage, but the fact that you don’t have to use any gold to build them is an extremely big plus. As for all Archers, Copyright ©1997 SYBEX, Inc., Alameda, CA.
  15. 15. Playing Multiplayer Games 201make a group of close-rangeunits guard in front of themto prevent the enemy’sclose-range units from get-ting too close. Chariot Archers have a high resistance to conversionELEPHANT ARCHERS and inflict triple damage on Priests. If your oppo-Generally, you want Arch- nent is into building Priests, build Chariot Archers toers to be quick and maneu- hunt them down.verable, because once aclose-range fighter, such asa Hoplite, gets within range to attack, it’s over for the Archers. Elephant Archers, onthe other hand, are extremely slow—but they make up for their lack of speed by hav-ing 600 hit points, like War Elephants. Their attack damage is average for Archers, butthey are outrageously expensive (costing you much food). How useful they are isbased mostly on how interactive you are with your units. If you tend to leave yourunits alone, without bothering to watch them, you should choose Elephant Archers.Since they have a lot of hit points, you can use the mentality that they can outlast theirenemy before the enemy outlasts them, no matter whether they’re in a close-range bat-tle or a long-range battle. However, if you are quick and like to maneuver your units,Elephant Archers are a horrible choice for you.H O R S E A R C H E R S A N D H E AV Y H O R S E A R C H E R SHorse Archers are prob-ably the most efficient Archers. Although they aren’t cheap, they aren’t that expen-sive. They inflict a significant amount of damage and are extremely quick. A groupof five Horse Archers can pick apart an entire army of Hoplites. Using hit-and-run tac-tics, attack slow units, such as Hoplites or Elephants, and make them chase you. Theywill spend all day chasing you, but will never be able to catch up to you. As soon asthey commit to attacking the Archers, they have no choice but to go after you. If theydecide to give up the chase, turn around and shoot them again. Keep this up untilthey are all dead. Generally, the Heavy Horse Archer upgrade isn’t worth the hugeresource costs. Unless you have a lot of resources to spare, don’t bother upgrading.SCOUTS Scouts have extremely long ranges of vision. They are very quick, and youshould use them mainly for reconnaissance purposes. They inflict the same attackdamage as Villagers and Clubmen, but they make up for their lack of attack prowesswith their speed. They are good units to use to finish off enemy Villagers in an early Copyright ©1997 SYBEX, Inc., Alameda, CA.
  16. 16. 202 CHAPTER 5 Multiplayer Strategy Guide attack. Scouts can travel across the map in a short time, so they are good units to send to your opponent’s base before your opponent can recover from an initial Make the Scouts use hit-and-run tactics on attack. Villagers. When you initially attack an enemy Villager, your opponent won’t notice. Once they CHARIOTS Chariots are notice, they will likely select all their Villagers to very similar to Chariot attack the Scout. When that happens, make your Archers—they’re the most Scout run away. A Scout can easily outrun Villagers. cost-effective units out of Your opponent will give up the chase and make the Cavalry, yet they’re not the Villagers go back to work. When you see their necessarily the best. Again, Villagers turn around, go back and attack them like Chariot Archers, they again. Continue doing this until you’ve taken out have a high resistance to every one of their Villagers. conversion, but they do only double the attack dam- age to Priests. Chariots have few hit points, but do a fair amount of damage. It would be worthwhile to make Chariots hunt down Archers, Catapults, and Priests, but little else. C AVA L R I E S , H E AV Y C AVA L R I E S , A N D C ATA P H R A C T S Cavalries and their two successors—Heavy Caval- ries and Cataphracts—are Send a group of Heavy Cavalries to the enemy’s extremely effective units, base. They should be quick enough to run by the because they are fast and base’s defenses without sustaining too much powerful, have a decent damage. Run around in the enemy’s base; cause amount of hit points, and do chaos, kill all the Villagers, and destroy all extra damage to Infantry. the Houses. When your opponent reacts and com- However, the main disad- mands their forces to chase your Cavalries down, vantage of building a lot of run back home to base and draw your opponent Cavalries is that they cost a into your defenses. lot of gold (80) to build. Copyright ©1997 SYBEX, Inc., Alameda, CA.
  17. 17. Playing Multiplayer Games 203Cavalries are generally regarded as the most versatile units in the game. They are fitfor every situation, whether they chase down Catapults and Archers, or fight in thefront line versus Infantry. Although they are extremely versatile and do extra damageagainst Infantry, these expensive units are better used away from the front line, wherethey can use their quickness to their advantage. Send a group of Cavalries around thefront line, to attack from behind the enemy. Take out the enemy’s long-rangeweapons, and then escape before their front-line troops engage you in combat. Aswith all of the most advanced units, the advantage Cataphracts have over HeavyCavalries isn’t enough to warrant the many resources it takes to upgrade.WA R E L E P H A N T S War Elephants are extremely slow, have no armor, and do amaximum of 15 points of damage per attack. However, they have an incredibleamount of hit points—600 to be exact. They also inflict trampling damage on anyadjacent enemy troops.Use Elephants to tank foryour army—make themlead the assault at thefront line. Use them to takethe brunt of the attack.The more enemy units that Priests should accompany attack forces, but theyattack the Elephants, the should stay in the rear of the forces. During battles,more damage they inflict use the Priests to heal units that sustain a lot ofon themselves due to the damage. Pull the units that are hurt the most duringtrampling damage. While battle from the front line, and replace them withyour Elephants take the newer, fresher units. Use your Priests to heal thedamage, make your offen- damaged units, and then bring them back to thesive-savvy units (such as front line. The overall efficiency of your military isHoplites) attack the enemy increased dramatically by having a Priest in it.from the side.PRIESTS People tend to underestimate Priests. Although Priests are the mostexpensive units to create in gold (125), they are most certainly worth the expense. Inalmost every attack force you amass, have at least one or two Priests amongst thegroup. Healing does not take up any of the Priest’s faith, so it can be done even dur-ing battle. Priests have an extremely long range of vision and an extremely long reachfor healing and conversion. Priests can heal your units during battle and heal theentire military’s units to full health before going into another battle. Their healing Copyright ©1997 SYBEX, Inc., Alameda, CA.
  18. 18. 204 CHAPTER 5 Multiplayer Strategy Guide powers alone are worth the 125 gold you spent to create Priests. On top of their heal- ing powers, if your attacking force encounters one particular enemy unit that is caus- ing incredible amounts of damage to your military, you can use the Priests to convert the enemy unit and use it as your own. Priests can also act as scouts with their extremely long range of vision. STONE THROWERS, C ATA P U LT S , AND H E AV Y Stone C ATA P U LT S Throwers and their two successors—Catapults and Heavy Catapults—are the strongest military units and have the longest attack range in the game. They can inflict more damage in one blow than any other unit. They are, however, made specifically for long-range attacks. Without proper protection, Catapults are totally worthless. With proper protection, they can be utterly devastating to your opponent’s military. Catapults come in handy in several situations: 1. They are great for destroying ships. Catapults have more range than any ship, so it is a good idea to use Catapults while playing on sea levels. 2. Catapults work extremely well against Towers and walled-off bases. A Catapult bombardment will demolish the enemy’s fortified base in a mat- ter of seconds. 3. Catapults give long-range support for the front line. If you can hurt the enemy’s military before it even reaches the battlefield, you have a huge advantage. It can also be very frustrating for a player on the receiving end of the Catapult bombardment. 4. A pair of Catapults behind fortified Walls of a base can be deadly. Anyone who tries to break through the Walls will sustain heavy damage from Catapult fire. As described in the Hoplite section, a Hoplite and Catapult combination is extremely deadly. With Hoplites defending Catapults and Catapults doing the long- range bombardments, there isn’t much that can stop them. Ballistas are more or less the same as B A L L I S TA S A N D H E L E P O L I S E S Catapults, with just a few small differences—attack damage, firing rate, and range. Copyright ©1997 SYBEX, Inc., Alameda, CA.
  19. 19. Playing Multiplayer Games 205The tactics you use with Ballistas and Catapults are the pretty much the same. Transports are very help-L I G H T T R A N S P O R T S A N D H E AV Y T R A N S P O R T Sful when you want to mount an attack from the sea. Often, people do not build anydefenses on their shoreline, because they assume the attack will come from land. Anattack from sea could catch your opponent totally off guard.S C O U T S H I P S , WA R G A L L E Y S , T R I R E M E S , C A T A P U L T T R I R E M E S ,A N D J U G G E R N AU TS Ships are an important part of the game that many peopleignore. Ships have an extremely long attack range and are very cheap to build. A seabombardment can be especially devastating if your opponent builds their village nearthe coast. Do not attack enemy ships if you are outnumbered; wait until you haveequal force before engaging in a sea battle.BuildingStructuresA well-designed base is anextremely important part ofthe game. It can improve Buildings have no effect on the population limit. Ifyour resource production, you have the resources available, build multiple mili-your defensive and offen- tary buildings, such as Academies and Stables. Thissive capabilities, and your way, when you are at the population limit and sendoverall chance of survival. your military to attack, you can rebuild your lostM I L I TA R Y B U I L D I N G S units quickly.Military buildings includeBarracks, Temples, Stables,Academies, and ArcheryRanges. In general, placeyour military buildings onthe outskirts of the base.When mounting an attack,you want your units, espe-cially the slow ones, to be When you have 49 units, start building as many unitsready to attack as soon as as possible simultaneously before you hit 50. You canthey’re created. You don’t surpass the 50-unit population limit by doing this. Copyright ©1997 SYBEX, Inc., Alameda, CA.
  20. 20. 206 CHAPTER 5 Multiplayer Strategy Guide want your units to have to weave their way around Farms, Houses, and other build- ings just to get to the outskirts of the base. However, you will want at least one mil- itary building somewhere within your base, in case the enemy is able to sneak by your front lines and defenses. Stables are a good choice for this interior building, because they produce fast units, which you’ll need to intercept the enemy units before they reach the critical areas of your base. RESOURCE BUILDINGS Your resource buildings include the following buildings: Granaries—place Granaries near berry bushes and, more importantly, in open areas, because you will want to surround them with Farms when you upgrade to the Tool Age. You want to build the Farms so that your farmers do not run into each other or block each other’s path to the Granary. Storage Pits—the placement of Storage Pits isn’t par- ticularly important, but it is extremely important to protect Villagers while they are harvesting or mining. Build Towers and Walls to protect scarce resources, such as gold. Technology buildings—you can generally place Government Centers and Markets anywhere, because people tend not to attack them. Use them as barriers to block the way to your Houses. OTHER BUILDINGS Additional buildings you will use to build up your empire are as follows: Houses—it is critical that you do not build Houses in huge clumps. Huge clumps of Houses just beg to be destroyed by the enemy, especially by enemy Catapults. Build Houses in, at the very most, pairs, and place them near the back of your base where they are harder to reach. Surround them with Walls to ensure they are safe. Houses have very few hit points and you need them to build units. Build enough Houses to hold approximately 75 units. If your opponent infiltrates your base and takes out your Houses, you will be glad that you built a surplus of Houses in different areas of your base. Copyright ©1997 SYBEX, Inc., Alameda, CA.
  21. 21. Playing Multiplayer Games 207Docks—the place-ment of Docksisn’t necessarilyimportant.However, you willwant to build Late in the game, both you and your opponent mayadditional Docks be filled to the brim with resources. It’s very difficult to gain an advantage over an opponent who canthat are closer to rebuild their army in a matter of seconds. One waynew schools of to disable their ability to rebuild is to take out theirfish when you Houses. If you destroy their Houses, your opponenthave used up all won’t be able to produce more units until theythe fish around rebuild their Houses. After you take out theiryour area. It’s a Houses, wipe out their military. It’ll take some timegood idea to build for the enemy to reproduce it, because they have toa couple of Towers rebuild their Houses and then their military. Next,on the shorelines you can go after your opponent’s military buildingsnear your Docks. (such as Academies), their Villagers, or the HousesIf your opponent they are rebuilding.gains control ofthe seas, you want to be able to defend your shores from a sea assaultand protect your Docks.Town Centers—these buildings arethe only onesfrom which youcan buildVillagers. Near the If you’re playing on a map that has random patchesmiddle of the of water inland, build a Dock in one of the patchesgame, build Town that is near commonly traveled grounds. BuildCenters instead of several Triremes and let them sit in the water. Ships have an extremely long attack range. Your ships canStorage Pits, espe- damage any enemy units walking by before theycially when you even meet your troops on the battlefield!intend to work on Copyright ©1997 SYBEX, Inc., Alameda, CA.
  22. 22. 208 CHAPTER 5 Multiplayer Strategy Guide a faraway gold mine. If you build a Town Center near the gold mine, you won’t need to bring a bunch of Villagers with you. You can just create Villagers from the Town Center and mine the gold quickly, without tak- ing away from production elsewhere. It is also a good idea to spread out several Town Centers across the map. If your main base gets overrun, you have several other places you can go to rebuild and regroup. Walls—it only costs 5 stone to build a Wall. Walls have extremely high hit points for their cost. Surround your base with Walls to add an extra layer of defense. Walls also buy you some time, because enemy units have to destroy the Walls to move forward. A good tactic to use when building a defense is to build a cou- To build a Town Center, it only costs 80 wood more ple of layers of than it costs to build a Storage Pit. A Town Center is Walls. Leave room more versatile and is worth the extra 80 wood. behind the second layer for a third layer. If the enemy breaks through the first layer and is about to break through the second layer, work on the third layer behind the second layer. If you keep building Walls behind the ones the enemy is breaking down, it will take the enemy a long time to reach your base. Meanwhile, it is hopeful that you have built Towers behind the Walls so that any units attacking the Walls are under fire. If that is the case, very few enemy units should survive to break through the last Wall. Towers—Towers are an essential part of your defense. As you progress through the ages, your Towers will become more powerful. In some civi- lizations, you can build Ballista Towers, which have a very long range Copyright ©1997 SYBEX, Inc., Alameda, CA.
  23. 23. Playing Multiplayer Games 209 and do 20 points of damage per attack. When you combine several Towers with a couple layers of Walls in front of them, it is extremely dif- ficult for the enemy to get through your defense. Towers have one weak- ness, though. Catapults and the like have longer ranges than that of Towers. If the enemy manages to get a Catapult within firing range, your Towers will not be in range to shoot back. You should have Cavalries ready to charge Catapults if you see them near your base. E M P L O Y I N G T H E T O W E R AT TA C K You can also use Towers as great offensive weapons. To use the Tower attack, first build a set of Towers just outside the range of the enemy base. When the set is built, start building new Towers progressively closer to the base—skip a couple of steps and build another Tower closer. Keep doing this until your Towers Use the Tower attack early in the game. Send some have worked their way into of your first Villagers to mine stone right off the the enemy’s base. Do not bat. Early on, when your opponent has only Clubmen spread your Towers out as military units, your Towers will easily outmatch thin—keep at least two the enemy Clubmen. You should place your first Towers in the range of each Tower near the enemy’s Villagers, because you want other at all times, so that to slow down their production immediately. Work when one Tower is attacked your way deeper into their base. The enemy will not by enemy units, the other be able to recover if you can build two or three Tower can shoot at those Towers inside their base. units, too. It is always a good idea to upgrade your Towers. Towers are a big part of this game, and any resources you spend to improve them are well worth it.ENGAGING IN WARFARE Intelligent warfare in multiplayer games means knowing in advance what your ene- mies’ are planning and hampering their ability to gather resources. Copyright ©1997 SYBEX, Inc., Alameda, CA.
  24. 24. 210 CHAPTER 5 Multiplayer Strategy Guide Reconnaissance In war, there are winners and there are losers. Throughout the years, there has been one prevalent and proven factor that sways the war to one side’s favor. In almost every instance, the side with the better reconnaissance (recon) emerges victorious. The advantages of having good reconnaissance are phenomenal. It is frightening to think of the power that you possess when you know at all times what the enemy is up to. With good recon, you also know the following things: The location of the enemy’s base Where the enemy is expanding to The strong and weak points of the enemy’s defense The location of the enemy’s military When the enemy is amassing troops for an attack The list goes on. It is impossible to surprise an opponent who has reconnaissance that extends far beyond their base’s boundaries. By the time you reach the enemy’s base with your military, they will have had plenty of time to build Towers and Walls for defense and intercept your oncoming military. The best reconnaissance unit you have is the Scout. It has an extremely long range of sight and is extremely fast. However, with the 50-unit population limit, if you have too many Scouts, it will curb the size of your military. Instead, make only a hand- ful of Scouts patrol the more common areas, and build Towers instead of Scouts on different areas of the map. Have recon near the enemy base at all times. When Make sure your reconnais- you see your opponent amassing their military on sance covers every passage- one side of the base, send in a group of quick units, way possible, from at least such as Cavalries, to attack the opposite side. When the middle of the map to the opposing military attacks your units, run your your base. If you see a hole Cavalries back home. This hit-and-run tactic is very on the map where your effective, because it forces the opposing military to recon used to be, you know spread out to protect all sides of its base. that your enemy is likely Copyright ©1997 SYBEX, Inc., Alameda, CA.
  25. 25. Playing Multiplayer Games 211coming through that area. This will give you time to prepare for an attack and will giveyou a good sense of the direction from which the enemy is coming. To rid the map of enemy reconnaissance, send out a small band of Cavalries andone Priest to scour the area. When you see enemy Scouts or Towers, you can attackor convert them. Do not advance into enemy territory; instead, comb the map todestroy your opponent’s information web. Do this several times over the course of thegame. Send your military through one of the areas the enemy no longer has recon inand surprise them.Controlling the Key ResourcesAlthough every one of the resources (food, wood, stone, and gold) is necessary for awell-rounded civilization, certain resources are more critical in different stages of thegame. In the early stages, food and wood are vital to your survival and your ability toadvance your civilization.However, in the later stagesof the game, when bothplayers have advanced tothe Bronze Age, mining goldis an absolutely essentialpart of the game. You cannot If you build Towers near all the gold and stonebuild any of the advanced mines, it is a great way to prevent your opponentunits without gold. Stone, from mining them.on the other hand, is animportant resource in every stage of the game. Without stone, you cannot build Towersor Walls, which are necessary for a good, solid defense.PREVENTING THE MINING OF GOLD It is ordinarily very difficult to preventthe enemy from harvesting food and wood early in the game, especially if you con-centrate on upgrading quickly rather than on building a formidable military. It maynot be necessary to focus on slowing down your opponent’s food production earlyon, if you can prevent your opponent from mining any gold. Send out Scouts early in the game to the gold mines nearest the enemy’s base.When you see the enemy build a Storage Pit near the gold mine, allow them to finishbuilding it. Then, bring a small army and a Villager close to the mine, but not closeenough that they can be seen. Use your Villager build a Tower near the Storage Pit. As Copyright ©1997 SYBEX, Inc., Alameda, CA.
  26. 26. 212 CHAPTER 5 Multiplayer Strategy Guide soon as opposing Villagers come to mine gold, wipe them out. Keep your Scouts near several of the gold mines around the enemy’s area and repeat this process. If you can keep this up, while building Hoplites and Cavalries, your opponent will be limited to building Scouts and Axemen. Send in your Hoplites and Cavalries to com- pletely wipe out their entire base, because they will have no significant defense. If you fail to wipe them out, you have still managed to slow their gold production to a crawl. It will take quite some time for your opponent to catch up. By the time your opponent can build ordinary Bronze Age units, you will have upgraded to the Iron Age and will have a military with twice the strength of theirs. PREVENTING THE MINING OF STONE You use stone for only three things in the game: building Towers, building Walls, and building Wonders of the World. However, two of the three structures are essential parts of a solid defense. A defense consisting of just Walls and Towers can withstand an attack from an entire military. When the game starts, there is only enough stone for one Tower. If you can prevent your opponent from mining stone early in the game, you won’t have to worry about dealing with Towers in their base. Knowing that, it will make it safe to send a military by their front line, straight to their Villagers. You know there won’t be a line of Towers defending their base, so you can walk freely around their base without being dam- aged. Use the same tactics you would use to prevent the enemy from mining gold. Expanding Your Territory It is extremely important that you don’t get too caught up in battling and forget about expanding your territory. When two sides are fully entrenched in their bases with heavy defense, success comes down to which side can outlast the other side. While you battle the enemy for control of the invaluable resources, such as gold, remember to keep up the production of your more plentiful resources. Remem- ber that Farms run out, so Use the Del key to get rid of unwanted units. check back often to make sure they are still cultivable. Continually rebuild your Farms so that you never have a shortage of food. Make sure that the rest of your Villagers continue to do worthwhile Copyright ©1997 SYBEX, Inc., Alameda, CA.
  27. 27. Playing Multiplayer Games 213things. If you cannot find something worthwhile for them to do, delete them to makeroom for a bigger military.Gaining a Better Fighting PositionWhen you set up a base or defensive position, build on high ground. If you fight at ahigher elevation than that of the enemy, it gives you a 25-percent chance of causingtriple damage. If you set up your base on a plateau, wall off the base, and place Towersbehind the Walls, it willmake the base extremelyhard to invade. Additionally,when you know that theenemy is about to attack,move your units onto a hillor plateau and make the If you know you are outmatched in a battle, fleeenemy come to you. When to the highlands and wait for the enemy tothey attack, your military come to you.will have a huge advantage,because every unit in yourmilitary has a 25-percent chance of inflicting triple damage. Use long-range units to counter the altitude advantage. Do not advance your close-range units until it’s safe to move on.Invading the Enemy’s BaseLate in the game, the player who is losing will often fully entrench themselves in theirbase, putting them in an extremely good defensive position. If you simply attack theopponent’s base with a frontal assault, it will cause an extreme amount of losses foryou. There are several ways to handle this situation.BESIEGING THE ENEMY’S BASE If you besiege their base, it cuts off all of theirresource production outside of the base. Move some of your military to the outskirtsof their base to prevent any units from coming out, while a smaller division of yourmilitary scours the map looking for their units. When you’ve made sure the map isclear of enemy units other than those inside their base, it’s safe for you to attack. Byinvading this way, you fully control the production of all the resources; thus, you can Copyright ©1997 SYBEX, Inc., Alameda, CA.
  28. 28. 214 CHAPTER 5 Multiplayer Strategy Guide afford the repeated attacks on the enemy base, because you’ll regain the resources as you lose them. However, the enemy will become a prisoner behind its own Use Priests to convert enemy Towers. It is a good walls, with absolutely no way to turn the enemy’s beefed-up defenses into way to add to their resource your offense. stores. Build some military buildings right outside their base, so that your units are only a few steps away from battle as soon as they’re cre- ated. Eventually, after many attacks, your opponent will no longer have the resources to sustain a military and will be forced to surrender. GOING THROUGH THE ENEMY’S DEFENSES The most effective way of going through a base that is heavily defended is to use long-range bombardment to knock down Walls, destroy Towers, and then weaken the enemy’s front line. Catapults and ships If you bring Priests along, you can use your regular have extremely long-range units to attack the Walls and Towers. When your units attack capabilities. By using have sustained about half of the damage they can them to destroy your withstand, pull them back and put in a new set of enemy’s fortified defenses, units. Use Priests to heal the damaged units. Do you don’t have to charge this several times, until the Walls are broken and your close-range combat you’re ready to take on the entrenched military. units past the Walls. After you break down the Walls, use long-range attacks to draw out the enemy’s military units. When they come out, launch an all-out assault and rush into their base. GOING AROUND THE ENEMY’S DEFENSES Sometimes, a full-on confronta- tion with the enemy’s front line is not the best idea. A head-on clash may even the battlefield for your opponent, who is encamped at a higher elevation. Instead of tak- ing the enemy head on, go around the bulk of their defenses. Have a Scout walk Copyright ©1997 SYBEX, Inc., Alameda, CA.
  29. 29. Playing Multiplayer Games 215around the natural boundaries that your opponent uses as defense. It is possible thatyour opponent’s Villagers unintentionally chopped through the natural forest with-out knowing it. If this is the case, you can send your military into the enemy’s basethrough the hole the Villagers created. Using a similar idea, build a Storage Pit on theother side of the thinnest area of the opponent’s surrounding forest. You must do thisstealthily, because if your opponent finds out, they will just build Towers on the otherside. However, if you manage to pull it off, you can make your Villagers cut throughthe enemy’s trees secretly, creating a hole through which to send your military. Another way you can get into the enemy’s base is by sea. An opponent doesn’toften protect their base on all sides. It takes a lot of resources and time to do that.Typically, people build the bulk of their defensive structures at the front line, facinginland. Using Transport ships, you can sneak in through the back and catch the enemyoff guard. The best way to do this is to send a tiny attack force against the enemy’sfront line, and then send in the Transports while the enemy’s attention is focused onyour military’s attacks. Take out the enemy’s Houses, so that they cannot instantlyrebuild their military. Then, attack from the rear, where the enemy is weak.CONTROLLING THE SEAS The importance of controlling the seas varies widely,depending on the map type on which you’re playing. However, if you have control ofany portion of the map, you definitely have an advantage. If you have sea control, itallows you to do many things that directly affect your land battles. First, ships haveextremely long-range attacks. If you bombard the enemy’s base from the sea, it canbe very disruptive. While your opponent’s attention is focused on the sea troubles,attack the opponent on land. At the same time, bring in Transports from the sea andland them on the enemy’scoast. It is nearly impossi-ble for the enemy to defendtheir base on two frontswhile trying to avoid bom-bardment from the sea. Keep your ships moving at all times, even in battle. Ships are also a great You can dodge Catapult and enemy ship fire if yousource of defense. If you constantly your ships on thecoasts of narrow passage-ways, you should be able to fire at enemy units that have to walk across the passage-ways. This will give you a huge advantage when you meet on the battlefield. Copyright ©1997 SYBEX, Inc., Alameda, CA.
  30. 30. 216 CHAPTER 5 Multiplayer Strategy Guide If you have control of the seas, you also have control of fishing. Fishing is a great source of food. You don’t have to rely solely on Farms for food if you have control of the seas. This chapter enlightened you on the skills, tricks, and techniques you’ll need to crush your opponents in a friendly game of Age of Empires. The most important thing to remember is that the game is played for fun. Chat with your opponents before and after the match. Playing games is as social as it is entertaining. Winning and losing are part of the game. Now, let’s go conquer the world! See you online! Copyright ©1997 SYBEX, Inc., Alameda, CA.