February 19, 2006

3vs3 Boom Psychology

Coming back from a 7 month break to play RoN:T&P, I've decided to show some of my rusty game playing abilities from today's games. I've already posted the 1vs1 with RTS_sonsi_gu, and this one will be regarding a 3vs3 game where I am positioned in the pocket as the Chinese. You can watch the game here.

Team 1:
El_Capitan (Chinese)
AU_tl (British)
GPU_ALPHA (Aztecs)

Team 2:
ElitE_El_Che (Egyptians)
ElitE_CrAsH_TesT_DuMMy (Inca)

The map is Amazon Rainforest, a typical non-fishing land map with a good amount of Rare Resources and a decent amount of Ruins. El_Che and I am positioned in the pocket opposite each other, while tl is matched with NAOTO, and ALPHA is matched up with CrAsH_TesT_DuMMy.

From knowing tl's abilities, and with him being British against NAOTO's Maya, I knew he wouldn't need much help unless he was doubled. With ALPHA being Aztecs and Ancient Age rushing CrAsH_TesT_DuMMy's Inca, I figured it would be enough to slow him down. My decision early on was to boom, due to the map type, my position, and the Nations my teammates had.

The Rare Resources available made my plan easier to accomplish. Now, rather than going into the game details, I'm going to explain why unprotected booming is safe and effective, as far as this game is concerned. It has more to do with Psychology than ability, as this is perhaps my 5th game in over a 7 month period.

Instead of a typical Military boom order with 2/1/1/2, or 3/2/2/3, where the SCI and MIL lines are researched to get to the next Age relatively quickly; I do an Economic boom order with 1/1/2/2, or 2/2/3/3. The thing with the Chinese, I'm not particularly vulnerable to a rush. Plus, as long as I am one to two Ages ahead of my prospective opponent, which was El_Che, attacking me isn't a viable option.

First of all, when someone gets an Age ahead of you, you can't attack them at that point unless you're ready to, and if you're in III while they're in IV... it's likely you won't be able to hold your position of attack and will get pushed back to military superiority. Secondly, if you are 2 Ages ahead, you still have the military advantage without having to have the 2 Age-Up Military... 1 Age-ahead is sufficient.

Therefore, when I reached Enlightenment when El_Che was just reaching Gunpowder, I knew I'd have enough time to create a sufficient force with the economy I had in case he decided to attack. By the time I reached Industrial Age soon after, he would only have enough time to upgrade his army, while I was already on my way to sack his Capital with a small army of Infantry and Commandos.

I wouldn't say it's all about how the opponent's react, but when someone has a two-Age advantage, attacking seems like a suicidal decision, and booming is the next best thing... but by the time they decide to catch up, it's too late.

Spanish vs. Dutch (Australian Outback)

Spanish is a better Nation. Their strengths are: getting an initial head start by finding Ruins; knowing where to raid the enemy's rare resource merchants; and on sea, displacing enemy fishing boats with their free Heavy Ship(s) from building a dock. Unique Heavy Infantry give them a particular advantage for early assaults from Classical Age to Gunpowder Age.
  • Weakness: Ruins. Unfortunately, their most important strength is also their weakness, since it is a bonus that can be influenced by their opponent's ability to scout.

Dutch is also a better Nation. Their strengths are: getting an early economic advantage; having self-defendable merchants against light raiders; and on sea, being able to influence the enemy's fishing by sending Light Ships (receiving one free for each dock built) to raid. They are particularly strong when left alone early, and should focus on booming when that happens.
  • Weakness: Time. Their economic bonus doesn't help them until they become stabilized in resource accumulation. Their Merchants and Caravans are effective against raiding Horse Archers, but not against Heavy Infantry and Heavy Cavalry. Keeping an army for defensive purposes is necessary, but having not enough or too much can be a detriment.

The showcase game for this article is where I play RTS_sonsi_gu on the Australian Outback. Watch the game here.

The map is Australian Outback, that means the Nations start closer together, and fighting usually begins on the sea. The Spanish have the advantage in the early naval battles, but the Dutch can protect their Rare Resources better from the more constricted land mass. The most important thing for the Spanish is getting their Ruins, as there are half the normal amount there usually is than on a typical land map.

My start begins with a SCI1, COM1, Dock, Market build order since I see that two very good Rare Resources are in my starting area; Silver and Dye. However, I don't put them to much use in this game. I send my free Heavy Ship straight toward my enemy's area, and catch a fair amount of unprotected fishing boats before it gets destroyed. This is the proper way to use the Heavy Ship, as the enemy must go up to Classical Age early to get a Fire Ship, or spend a critical amount of Timber for their own Heavy Ship in Ancient Age to defend against it. Light Ship raiding from sonsi_gu in Ancient Age does not do as much harm, and is easily defended by a Light Ship of my own.

In Classical Age, I build a Barracks first, expecting to defend with a Foot Archer and numerous Heavy Infantry while I prepare for an aggressive assault in Medieval Age. Sonsi_gu, spent too many resources in:
  • Building a Heavy Ship in Ancient Age
  • Building more fishing ships to replace the ones lost from my raiding at sea
  • Classical Age straggle raiding with a Horse Archer and a small army raiding force that gets ambushed by my Heavy Infantry
It would seem as though those resources shouldn't affect the outcome of the game as drastically as it did, but the Spanish on Australian Outback is a force to be reckoned with. Raiding the Spanish isn't as useful as being able to outboom them, and that's what I would have done if the Nations were reversed.

February 08, 2006

What's Sup? Com?

I'm back! Well... kind of.

I've stopped playing AoE3 two months ago, and it will most likely be that I won't ever be playing that game again. I have visited T&P and find that I still enjoy the game and the tight-knit community, but I have too much fish to fry (I'm a vegetarian, so that's definitely a figure of speech). I will clear up my blog if it's worth it in the next month or so... if I decide to come back to the life of strategic gaming. =p

Anyways, I did check out Supreme Commander from a wikipedia and went to Gas Powered Game's new site. It looks interesting, but let's just see how it turns out.