Tactics And Strategies
By The AOE Trial Central
# Battle Preparation #
Building An Army
Before you go to war you'll need to raise yourself an army. Now
while it's easy to go for the "purist" strategy of simply pumping
out massive amounts of one unit type (i.e. All cavalry or all
composites), the ideal army consists of a variety of units suitable
to respond in all types of situations. That means consisting of
squads of infantry, cavalry (including chariots) and bowmen
(including chariot archers), with support units such as stone
throwers, priests, and if located close to shores, warships.
However, the drawback to this approach is the extra amount of
micromanagement involved. Nevertheless, with experience you'll
be able to manage your large armies effortlessly.
The general method to managing your armies is to assign them to
smaller groups and assign them group numbers. Cavalry, for example,
should be grouped together; if however, there is too many cavalry,
consider splitting them into two groups, and if there's few cavalry,
consider grouping them with chariots if you use them (both units
have the same speed). The group numbers you assign should correspond
to the order your individual groups should march out and attack.
See the section on combat order.
I'm sure you've seen the massive armies that faced each other
before battle in perfect formation on the numerous Age of Empires
screen shots, and boy, are they pretty. But we all know it's
useless to plan out these elaborate formations simply because
a.) units don't tend to stay that way when attacking and most
importantly, b.) it takes *way* too much precious time. However,
that's not to say you shouldn't use basic formations in battle.
Knowing where to position your units before and even during
battle will help you coordinate your attacks.
Naturally, infantry should be your first line, and be sure to
use Hoplites if at all possible. These guys can take the initial
hits and will prevent any enemy mobile units (i.e. cavalry) from
ripping through your army. Before your infantry you should place
a scout or two. They will give your warnings to any enemy advancements.
All archery units (including chariot archers, though this is more
of a preference) should be positioned behind your infantry and spaced
between the spaces of your infantry (allow easy forward and backward
movement) and are spread out (not TOO far though). Remember: archery
units can generally maintain their formation, especially if they go
in a straight line. That is, if you have them spread out on one line
and have them all go forward, they will maintain their spacing and
placement among each other. Why is this important? Well when units
get bunched up together it becomes much harder to move and easier
for your enemy to kill (the first time your cluster of archers get
hit by a stone thrower you'll know why).
Behind your bowmen comes your support units. That includes stone
throwers, priests, their escorts (always make sure they have escorts,
i.e. hoplits) and any reserve units.
So where does calvary come in? Well cavalry (chariots and cavalry) is
1.) the fastest units in your army and 2.) they do NOT maintain their
formation when attacking. That is, they tend to bunch up together when
moving. Based on these two points, you should realize the errors in
placing them along with your main army. They will have a hard time
weeding through your huge army since they tend to cluster, ultimately
hampering their speed and effectiveness. Thus, you should always place
your cavalry to your sides where they won't be obstructed by any of
your units. This also helps in attacking your enemy's flanks which
would be weaker than his front line.
# Combat Sequence #
Outlined below is a general combat sequence. Naturally, every battle
varies and will always produce unpredictable outcomes, but the
following will help you in knowing when to use your units. BTW, when
I refer to infantry, I'm talking about hoppers. These are the ONLY
infantry units you should use. The barrack infantry units are useless.
1.) While your infantry may be your first line in formation, these
guys should NOT be your first group to attack. Unless you are very
close to your enemy your hoppers will simply take too long to reach
your enemy. See the archers you've placed behind your infantry (you
did place them there right?), have them all move up in front of
your infantry a considerable amount of steps but not too far, you'll
want them to have enough time to retreat behind your infantry. And
if you've placed your archers between the spaces of your infantry,
they should all move in unison. Have them fire at your enemy.
2.) The following are some of the possible responses from your enemy:
a.) He will unleash his cavalry on your archers. This is why you
don't want to have your hoppers right behind your archers for your
enemy will surely notice this and will go for an alternative route.
Anycase, if he does send cavalry, have your infantry move up to
protect your archers and have your archers move back behind your
infantry. Your hoppers will make short work of the cavalry units,
especially since they're backed by your archers. If your enemy's
cavalry are breaking through your infantry, have your flanking
cavalry route them.
b.) He will use stone throwers. Wait until the stoners have targeted
your archers, then have your archers retreat a safe distance while
unleashing your cavalry on the stoners from the sides.
c.) A combination of stone throwers and cavalry. In this case, your
own response should be a combination of the two from above (retreat
your archers, move up your infantry, unleash your flank cavalry).
d.) With infantry. If he uses barrack infantry, use cavalry and try
not to let his infantry get too close to your archers (use your
hoppers if they do). If he's dumb enough to use hoplites, have your
archers concentrate on taking out individual hoppers one by one.
This is also the time to use your support units (i.e. stone
throwers and especially priests). Priests will have a field day
if your enemy sends his hoplites.
e.) With his mother...hmm, in this case, tuck tail and run like
the wind. Never mess with a guy's mother...
3.) After the initial attacks, and assuming you are not losing
like hell, you should press forward with your infantry and all
your support units (ahem...stone throwers). If your flanking
cavalry still haven't made their show yet, consider unleashing
them on your enemy as soon as the two armies make contact.
However, you do not want your cavalry to engage your enemy's
main army, but rather, his support units such as stone throwers,
priests, and also archers first.
4.) At this stage, you've either send your enemy scrambling or
got your ass whopped. If the former, and if you're ruthless, you
can have your calvary chase down any retreating units (though
make sure it's not some sort of trap). If the latter, get those
peons to work. You've got another army to raise for enemy target
# War Compaign Strategies #
Escort/Protect Missions (i.e. Artifact capture/escorts)
The most important advice in these types of missions is to go small.
That is, don't send in your whole army guarding your artifact or
person. Your enemy will easily be alerted to your presence with
such a big army. The idea is to covertly escort your prized
item/person while doing everything to avoid your enemy. Howevever,
your big army is great for distracting your enemy while you escort
A typical escort group would consist of something like:
One Scout: Believe it or not, this guy is the most important
one in the group. Your scout should be scouting ahead of your
group at all times to keep an eye for the enemy. The early
warning your scout provides you should give you plenty of time
as you divert your group away from the enemy without being spotted.
Two or Three Cavalry Units: These are the bulk of your
guards. However, you never want to make a stand with your
escort group unless you're absolutely sure you can win.
Otherwise, these guys can be used to lure your enemy away
from your group. If your enemy is small in numbers, these
guys must take down your enemy fast (too long and you'll
give your enemy plenty of time to send reinforcements, as
well as know exactly where you are).
Two Hoplites: Basically your last line of defense. If you are
escorting slow units (i.e. a priest or artifact) in which
case, these guys must be on your "escortee" like shadow,
never leaving them. If you are escorting infantry-speed units
or mobile units, you will want to get 2 cavs or one cav and
one chariot archer instead. You do NOT want your "escortee"
to have to wait up for his guards.
One Chariot Archer: This is your backup scout (second longest
vision) and also your distractor unit. If you spot a huge
army and there's almost no way to avoid them, you can try to
lure your enemy away with a hit and run tactic.
If you are escorting an artifact or person back to your camp,
you might consider posting additional guards along the route
your escort group will be taking. These sentries will ensure
maximum protection and can backup your escort group in case
of an attack on your way back.
Infiltration by Water (The Coast Haven Strategy)
In any map with water, having a powerful fleet is crucial.
Tribes like the Hittites and Yamato are especially deadly
in sea (Hittites' fleet *especially*, in the trial). Control
the sea at all costs, period.
The following strategy assumes your enemy is for the most
part reachable by water. The assault consists of the following steps.
1.) Locate your enemy's dock(s). At this time, you should
have a large fleet with your army ready to depart in
transports. It is your task to control the seas. Have
your fleet take out all enemy ships and docks. Once done,
spread your fleet around and position them relatively far
from his shorline, but close enough so that you can *see*
all of his shorline. Have them on the stand ground command
and prevent any of his villagers from building another dock.
Next, chose a strategic position on his land, relatively
away from his main structions, and perferrably on a high
terrain, then have the majority of your fleet (at least 4
or 5 ship strong) approach it as close as possible and guard
this coast. This coast will be the only safety base for your
units on enemy land. This is Coast Haven.
2.) Wait some time for the enemy to recover from the attack.
Why? Because he will be *expecting* an attack after his loss
of docks and ships. Give him some time to calm down, making
him think that was just a skirmish or that you're simply
content with ruling the seas for now. But don't wait too long
for him to build up a humongous army. Next transport your units
to Coast Haven. Your first load should consist of your scout
and four other *mobile* units such as calvary or chariots.
Have one transport near this coast. In case the enemy spots
you and attacks, have your five units bail out on the transport
and withdraw from the coast. Then pick another spot and repeat
from step one. Do NOT stay and hope to fight off the attack.
Doing so will alert your opponent of your exact position on
his land and he will, most likely, do everything to eliminate
your presence. Better to make him think you're retreating.
If the initial load is successful, begin to land the rest of
your troops. In one of the loads, make sure you transport at
least two priests and a villager or two. Have the villagers
set up a couple of guard towers near the coast and military
structures if preferred. Have ab couple of mobile units,
preferrably cavalry, guard your priests, who should be near
the shorline and protected also by your ships. They also act
as a small reserve force.
3.) This step, though small, is very important. Remember
those ships you positioned to watch his shores (not the one
guarding Coast Haven)? They will serve as a distraction before
your big assault. Have all of them move in as close to the
shores as possible without actually touching (so won't be
attacked by infantry units) and have them attack any enemy
structures or units. Do not worry about the unit or structure
you're attacking, as long as it's *a* structure or unit. You
are basically trying to attract the enemy's attention. Make
sure there is a relatively large distance between Coast Haven
and these ships, as you don't want to draw attention to Coast.
Naturally, your enemy will try to send reinforcements and
villagers to defend the shores being attacked. If you want
to be even sneakier, land a few troops on his coast. This
will no doubt draw his troops towards your decoy force. As
soon as you see reinforcements coming near the shores, begin
4.) Have your army march out from Coast Haven and begin you
assault. Your enemy might be so busy trying to defend his shores
that he might not even realize his town is being attacked until
it's too late. At this time, if you've landed the decoy forces,
you can load them back into a transport and have it take them to
Coast Haven to act as reserve forces, or you can have them
continue to distract the enemy.
5.) In the event that you are losing (hmm...), do not panic. This
is why you have Coast Haven. Withdraw all your units towards
Coast; infantry, stone throwers, priests, and any slow moving
units *first* as your mobile units cover their retreat, then
withdraw all your mobile units except the last one (preferrably
one who is about to die). Have this last unit take a different
turn and try to lead your enemy away from Coast Haven. In the
end, you will most likely have to sacrifice this unit. But if
he's succesful, your enemy will not find Coast Haven. And even
if he goes back to search again, it'd be too late.
If your distractor unit fails and your enemy somehow manages
to follow you to Coast Haven, your fleet, your guard towers,
your priests, your reserve calvary units, and what's left of
your original army at the coast should be more than enough to
force your enemy to turn back, at least temporarily.
As soon as your withdrawn armies arrive at Coast, have your
priests go immediately to work on all your wounded units.
Your scout (he is alive right?) should be the farthest away
from the shore watching for any enemy counter-advances
toward the coast.
At this time, your military production structures, both in
your own town and any ones set up on the coast, should have
been pumping out units for another attack. Land them on Coast
if they are in your own town. Do all this as fast as possible.
The enemy, thinking you have retreated, will spend much of
his time rebuilding. This will give you the element of
surprise as you begin another assault immediately after
the first one.
Your first asssault should have already pinpointed his
structures. Note the important buildings (houses, towers,
farms, and military structures) and destroy them in this
next assault. Pay attention to any villager trying to repair
or build structures on this assault. If you spot any, kill them.
Also on this second assault, you can bring along your priests
and any reserve units to support your army. This assault
should be your last and final one.
Good luck Admiral.
# General Tips for the Emperor #
Know where your enemy is. This is repeated again, and again.
You do not want to send a force to try to blindly locate your
opponent and hope you've hit his main spot. If you have an ally,
get writing so you can share explorations and coordinate attacks.
You should produce a scout as soon as you have a stable and,
using waypoints, send him to all four corners of the map and
work his way inwards until he has explored the whole map.
Once you have located your enemy, have a scout (use the same
one if you no longer require his service) and position him
near the enemy. His sole mission is to spy on the enemy. Do
not have him engage in combat; hide him from the enemy as
best as you can. If he is discovered, have him run through
your enemy's town and kill off as much villagers as you can,
or if you can't afford to lose him, have him run away. Whatever
you do, do *not* order him back to your town if the enemy has
mobile units following him. If you do, you've just painted a
bright bullseye on your town.