September 19, 2005

Persians vs. Americans (Great Sahara)

Persians are a better Nation. Their strengths are to harass their enemy early in Ancient Age, utilize their cheap CIV research for 3 Cities, and get a quick and effective economy going for a strong Medieval Assault (link will be added soon). When utilizing their Unique HI and WE's, they can effectively be an all-round Nation.
  • Weakness: Weak Military. The Persians against strong Nations such as the Aztecs, French, Iroquois, and Romans, which all have strong military, have to amass much more of their army in order for it to be effective in battle. Therefore the Persians need to protect their economy and not risk a direct confrontation until they have enough to do the job.

Americans are a better Nation. Their strengths are to utilize their free Governments, free Scholars from Universities, the instant Wonder bonus, and extra resources from having Barracks units. This gives the leeway to be flexible, but unless they survive until the Enlightenment Age, they aren't as tough as they seem.
  • Weakness: Wealth. The Americans are in great demand for Wealth in order to properly defend their economy. They will need to gather Wealth from having Barracks military until they can safely secure 3 Caravan trade routes. Since the Barracks military don't give resources if garrisoned, it's best to raid and attack the Americans early, and attacking their Military is just as good as killing Citizens.

The showcase game for this article is where I play RU_CaLLuM on Great Sahara. Watch the game here.

The Great Sahara map lacks one major resource, Timber. There are no rivers, bottleneck forests, or huge mountains to slow down raiding parties. Raiding enemy WoodCutter's Camps is the best strategy to employ, next to getting a foothold of the center Timber area. Adequate City placements can protect yourself against raids, and bad City placements can leave you hanging without a second Timber resource.

In this game, I start with a SCI 1 MIL 1 research at the Library. Military starts can be used for multiple purposes: scouting, rushing, raiding, or distraction. You can find more information on Military starts here (link will be added soon). With my FA, I get lucky to find a vulnerable Timber area at his 2nd City. I manage to kill 2 of his Citizens with a FA and HI, making him not collect Timber for a decent amount of time, and forcing him to build a Barracks and Foot Archer in Ancient Age. This enables me to not worry about him doing a Fast Classical Raid and already puts him in defensive mode.

All this stems from his poor 2nd City placement. If you're not the Bantu, Chinese, Koreans, Lakota, Persians, or Russians and don't see an immediate forward 2nd Timber area, it's best to build a Temple at your Capital to extend your borders. If CaLLuM had done so, he would have had a much easier time protecting his original 2nd Timber area by having his 2nd City closer to it.

Meanwhile, since I was the Persians, I quickly build my 2nd City near a 2nd mountain which will protect my future miners, research CIV 2, and prepare to quickly build my 3rd City in the center near the center Timber area and Buffalo Rare.

At this point I take stock of my Rare Resources. Buffalo gives me +24 Food, Horses give me +12 Food and +12 Metal, Sugar +10 Food and +10 Timber, and Relics +20 Knowledge. I know I can cap my economy at +100 without having any more than 4 Farms. This saves me a lot of Timber, which is good since that enables me to still be aggressive in Classical Age by doing a quick MIL 2 in Classical to go Rare raiding, which happens, but I only take out his Cotton Rare, which is worth losing a blind HA that dies running past a Tower.

Now, most players don't do this, and it can make a big difference. Once I get merchants to my Rare Resources, I am overcapped on Food and Timber when I reach Classical Age. Instead of making Citizens, I use ones that are over-resourcing to build my Senate, Universities, Military Buildings, and place them to gather Metal. That way I can cap +100 Food, Timber, and Metal while minimizing my overhead. You'll see me gathering +98 Food with only 2 Farms. That's efficiency! Yay!

Once I notice CaLLuM moving his Capital to his 2nd City, the game's pretty much in my favor. His only chance would have been to build a 2nd Barracks instead of a Stable, and churn out 2 HI's for every FA. He had Salt and Cotton (and Wine which he didn't see to get), which would enable him to make quite a large Infantry army, and very quickly (and very cheaply upgradeable if he had Wine). Meanwhile, I was continually making my own large Infantry army with some HC with the help of the Horse Rare.

The Rare Resources were evenly dispersed, except CaLLuM didn't utilize his Nation's strength with the Rare Resources that he had, while I did with mine. He also made the mistake of moving his Capital closer (which is rarely a good idea). Note that no Wealth went to building any Scholars or even for researching SCI 2 (CaLLuM should not have researched SCI 2 and instead built an extra University or two earlier), since I would be doing an all-out Medieval Assault. Usually +50 Knowledge is good enough to have if doing a Medieval Assault, +80 if planning a decent Gunpowder Assault.

German vs. Japanese (Amazon Rainforest)

Germans are a better Nation. Their strengths are to capitalize on their ability to cap their economy. This enables them to boom fairly well at the same time creating a sizeable army.
  • Weakness: Time. The Germans need time in order to build their first two Granaries, Lumbermills, and Smelters in order to research the economic upgrades and cap their economy. However, the Germans have a fairly quick start, and they can remain aggressive early to slow their opponent down while getting their economy up to speed.

Japanese are a better Nation. Their strengths are to utilize their Farming bonus for a quick start and cheap Barracks military for a large infantry army. This allows the Japanese to constantly attack while preventing the enemy to boom peacefully.
  • Weakness: Wealth. The Japanese are in great demand for Wealth in order to protect their Barracks military advantage. They will need to secure any Wealth from Fish or Rare Resources, and once that is done, they will be hard pressed to stop with their constant barrage of attacks.

The showcase game for this article is where I play Elite_WildBoy on Amazon Rainforest. Watch the game here.

The Amazon Rainforest map is abundant in resources, and with proper defenses, can easily stop enemy raids. Booming is the best strategy to employ, but take time to note the surrounding terrain. Adequate City placements can protect yourself against direct assaults.

In this game, I start with a SCI 1 MIL 1 research at the Library. Military starts can be used for multiple purposes: scouting, rushing, raiding, or distraction. You can find more information on Military starts here (link will be added soon). With my FA, I get lucky to find a vulnerable Timber area at his Capital, and see a Merchant passing. Wildboy makes his first mistake attacking the lone FA with his Citizens. He loses 2 Citizens from my FA while I safely retreat my FA to look for any remaining Ruins. Meanwhile, my Scout finds a Cotton Rare, so I create a HI to head toward the area. It's where I think the earlier Merchant I saw passing is heading.

While all this is going on, I wait to see the best place to put my 2nd City. I see the big middle mountain with lush forests, and I want to put a City there to protect my front so I can buy me some time to play defensive and boom. In order for that to happen, I needed to build a Temple at my Capital, which is why it took me such a long time to get my 2nd City up. I did a SCI 1, MIL 1, COM 1, CIV 1 start, which is quite unusual on a non-fishing land map.

Once we get to Classical Age, I knew raiding would ensue. I figured since he knew I had a Barracks with a FA still alive, sending in a HA wouldn't be very effective. Therefore I build a Stables, research MIL 2, and create 2 HC's instead of a LC. When he follows his HC with a HA, that's when I build a LC.

I send my HC's to raid, but when I pass by some HI's with one of them, I build another FA and bring my FA that's been healing inside my Capital. It's enough to stave off the small raid-attack. I build a Tower on the left side of my 2nd City, forcing WildBoy to attack from the bottlenecked right side, or on the left side where he has to march through a long river.

The right side of the map looks very protective, which is why my 3rd City gets placed there. Meanwhile, I get to Medieval Age and see that his 3 Cities are straight down the middle of the map, and I see a Siege Factory. This means he's planning an early attack with Siege, or he just wasted 60 Timber and 60 Metal for something he's not going to use.

This is a crucial time for his attack because this is when I'm building my Granaries, Lumbermills, and Smelters. However, WildBoy makes a 2nd mistake wasting time taking out my Tower. In case he's trying to raid the WoodCutter's there, I delete my WoodCutter's Camp and build it below my 2nd City. I use that time to raid with my small army, build another Tower in my 2nd City just outside the bottleneck, and start making an army at my 2nd City do defend against his attack. He doesn't have nearly enough army to do any harm except take out my Barracks, but I promptly build another one.

My initial small army that was raiding catches his Supply Wagon and 2 Catapults. Killing those just bought me a lot of time to boom freely. The only way he can possibly catch up is to boom also. However, booming against the Germans is a very difficult thing. Once I reach Gunpowder Age, I just use my Arquebusiers and HC to raid and I build a 4th City to the left while I'm distracting him with the raiding. From there the game ends, but I would have gone to Enlightenment and built a 2nd Barracks, 2nd Stables, and a Siege Factory there to start my assault, where I would have a better position to attack without having to go around a mountain.

The Amazon Rainforest favors the Germans more than the Japanese due to the defensive nature of the map. The Japanese's only chance is to try and get a quick 3rd City start for a better attacking position with an extra Caravan for Wealth and assault the German's Capital or 2nd City nonstop in Classical and Medieval Age.