Age of Empires II

14 Jun

What with the recent E3 gaming conference that has just taken place, I thought I share some exciting new tactics from Age of Empires II—a recent release from that junk sale down the road.

OK so it’s 15 years old and no one plays it anymore, but it’s good fun, it requires and rewards good strategy, and it is wicked hard to beat when set on the higher difficulty levels. So here’s something interesting I found when trying to beat three opponents on a random map when set to the hardest difficulty.

Firstly, I noted that playing as the Chinese gives you extra villagers at the start (but fewer resources), so I decided to use my additional units to try and sack an enemy civilisation before they could develop (while leaving some behind to build my own civilisation). If successful, there is the added bonus of being able to use all the resources located in the enemy quadrant.

I then had the idea of walling off the enemy town centre while they’re preoccupied with developing:


It is reasonably difficult to get this done (villagers attack you the second you give a build instruction), and it took some trial and error to get it right. But once walled in, the AI doesn’t know what to do in response, so all the villagers whether inside or out just stand around confused for the remainder of the game.

But the second thing I discovered about AOE is that if you stunt the right enemy civilisation, one of the remaining two will also never develop. Presumably, the programmers linked two enemy groups to make the programming more efficient: they both follow the same build instructions at the same time (or something like). So if you destroy the master civilisation early, the slave civilisation can do nothing. In the scores at the end, the slave one won the prize for most wood collected, but they were still stuck in their starting age and had no military units at all. I did this 3 or 4 times to check that it wasn’t a fluke, and it isn’t.

Not sure what you should do with this information, but there it is.


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