Большая статья на английском по всем билдам с полезными советами

10.02.2020 Автор: OLADUSHEK

Build orders

Through the years, players have figured out the most effective build orders. It’s a mathematical endeavour as we know the gather rates of various resources. A good build order can cut your target time by multiple minutes so you should learn some build orders by heart. A good source is the Build Order Reference (pdf).

Almost all builds begin like this:


1-6          Food (sheep)        6 total on Food

7-10       Wood     4 total on Wood

11           Boar       7 total on Food

12-15     Berries, House     8 total on Food, of which 4 on Berries

16           Boar       12 total on Food

After that, builds diverge depending on what your goal is. Already in Dark Age, you lay down the foundations of your build. Different builds want to go to Feudal Age at different populations and it can vary from 21 to 28 villagers. The reason some builds prefer to stay longer in Dark Age is to create more villagers. It results in faster Castle Age time because more villagers are working while you are advancing. The reason some builds want to advance early is that they can attack earlier.

For any build order:

  • Start by queuing up 4 villagers (H, then SHIFT+A) and build two houses.
  • Keep TC working. It should produce villagers constantly.
  • Keep scouting.
  • Research Loom before Feudal Age. It can be done when there is not enough food to create a villager but is best done just before Feudal Age because there will be more villagers working meanwhile. Without Loom, you are vulnerable to drush and wolves, so Feudal Age is too late to get it.
  • Pop 12 and 17 should fetch boars. Another guideline is that you send the villager out when around 175 food is left on the boar. You can deduce or add to that number depending on how far away the boar is.
  • Build houses with wood cutters, except villager 12 which builds a house en route to berries.
  • Build farms with injured villagers first because they can be garrisoned fast.
  • «Food» means sheep, boar, deer or farms. Take the free resources before making farms.
    Berries should have exactly 4 villagers, not more, because it gets crowded and ineffective. The berries don’t decay like animals do so there is no rush to consume them. Place Mill 1 tile away from the bushes.
    It is usually not advisable to mill the deer. If deer is close to TC, you can push them with the scout. If they are far away and in a safe location, milling is the only option. The tradeoff is 100 wood for 400 food. Use 4 villagers so they can fetch all the meat at once instead.
  • Keep a maximum of 6 villagers per lumber camp. Make a new lumber camp after that.
  • For any rush, you can bring a few villagers to build a tower or two.
  • Research Double-Bit Axe, then Horse Collar as soon as possible in Feudal Age. The exception to Horse Collar would be if you know you won’t be farming for some reason. Upgrade these in the next ages.
  • Only villagers are included in population numbers for builds in this document. For example, a 22 population scrush will end at 21 because you have 21 villagers and 1 Scout.
  • Builds can be designated by their population to Feudal Age, e.g. «31 pop fast castle». Such numbers include military. 31+2 means you make 2 villagers in Feudal Age before clicking Castle Age.
  • Don’t gather resources that you don’t plan to use. It wastes wood on the mining camp and villager time that could be spent on other resources.

Target times

Target Feudal Age time for a good player is 15-30 seconds from perfect time.

Perfect time includes 25 seconds to research Loom. Villagers take 25 seconds to create.

Perfect Castle Age time means you create 2 villagers, then immediately click up.

Villagers                Perfect Feudal Age Time   Perfect Castle Age time

18           8:50

19           9:15                       —

20           9:40                       —

21           10:05                     —

22           10:30                     —

23           10:55                     —

24           11:20                     —

25           11:45                     15:15

26           12:10                     15:40

27           12:35                     16:05

28           13:00                     16:30

29           13:25                     16:55

30           13:50                     17:20

If you reach Feudal Age later than 12:00, rushing is not really possible anymore so you should play more defensively.

Reaching Feudal Age too early can cause problems for your economy because your villagers didn’t work while advancing. For example, archer builds need a few more villagers (22-24 pop) or you will not have enough lumberjacks and it will backfire. Scout builds, however, want to go up as fast as possible because you only build a single stable and only make one batch of Scouts.

Reaching Castle Age too early gives you problems when trying to boom because you lack villagers and that can actually delay you more than if you went up later. If you’re not rushing a Castle Age unit, it is beneficial to have a few more villagers so you can boom faster once you get there.


Feudal rush. You go to Feudal Age quickly (22-23 pop), build military buildings and devote your entire economy to producing military units from those buildings. The earlier you attack, the better. If you are fast enough, you can catch the opponent off guard and kill villagers.

For any flush, it is necessary to build multiple military buildings. With a single building, it takes too long to create the units so it defeats the purpose of the rush. The investment into buildings is only wood and it is worth it. You don’t have to build the same type of building twice either. You can use combined arms, for example Scouts and Archers. Scouts and Archers complete each other well because they can kill Skirmishers and Pikemen, respectively.

If possible, you can try to deny Feudal Age buildings (Archery Range, Stable, Blacksmith etc) because the opponent can’t go to Castle Age without them.

Flushing is good on open maps such as Arabia. If the opponent walls up, it is more difficult.


The main reason to rush with Men-at-Arms is that they are the earliest Feudal Age unit you can get. This is

because they can be created in Dark Age as Militia and the upgraded immediately.

After attacking with Men-at-Arms, you are not supposed to make more. You already used their advantage which was their early attack. You should build another military building and transition into a flush with that one. Archers and Skirmishers are a common option. Pikemen can be used to protect from cavalry. Skirmishers protect against Archers.

22 pop Men-at-Arms into Archers

17-18     Food

19           Barracks

20-21     Gold. Feudal Age (22 pop).              2 total on Gold

Advancing            Create 3 Militia

Advancing            3 Food -> Wood  7 total on Wood

Advancing            2 Food -> Farms

Feudal Age           Man-at-Arms upgrade

22-26     Wood                    12 total on Wood

2x Archery Range, Blacksmith

27-32     Gold (8 total).                   8 total on Gold

33+         Farms

If you have time to create more than 3 Militia while advancing, you will have to move some wood cutters to food temporarily to sustain them and the upgrade.


Tower rush. Build the first tower out of sight so the enemy can’t counter it by building a tower next to it. Build the tower close to a resource where villagers are working.


1-21       Same as Men-at-Arms flush

Advancing            5 Food -> Forward (with Militia)

Advancing            Make sure you have 40 gold to upgrade Militia

Advancing            3 Food, 2 Gold -> Stone                    5 total on Stone, 0 on Gold

Feudal Age           Man-at-Arms upgrade

22+         Depends on what you want to do next.


Archers are better than infantry at picking off villagers. Archer flush is a quite weak strategy in high-level games because it is too slow and any other build can counter it.

Don’t build any farms in Dark Age because you need to save wood. You should push deer with the Scout instead.

Goal: 6 archers by 14:00. Don’t attack later than 16:00. It takes 14 arrows with Fletching to kill a Loomed villager so 7 archers would kill it in two hits.


23 pop Archers

16-17     Food (1 farm)

18-22     Wood. Feudal Age (23 pop)             9 total on Wood

Advancing            2 Food -> Wood  11 total on Wood

Advancing            3 Food -> Gold                    3 total on Gold


Feudal Age           2x Archery Range, Blacksmith.

23-27     Gold                       8 total on Gold

28+         Farms

Each Archery Range requires 2 villagers on wood and 3.6 villagers on gold. 8 villagers thus yield a surplus that can be used on upgrades and Castle Age.


Eagles are anti-monk, anti-archer infantry only available to mesoamerican civilizations as a replacement for cavalry. They have high conversion resistance and pierce armor. In Feudal Age, they are however rather weak so an Eagle flush is situational at best. One Eagle is worse than a Scout Cavalry in almost every regard. It is slower (1.1 to 1.55), deals less damage (4 to 5), takes longer to create (60 to 30), loses to man-at-arms and costs gold (50 to 0). The slow time means it is hardly a «rush» and putting down three barracks to counteract the creation time would further delays the attack. Blacksmith upgrades are absolutely necessary before you fight with the Eagles. However, Eagle has no direct counter in Feudal Age, has +5 HP and defeats Spearmen. This means they can hit-and-run enemy woodlines where opponents normally would leave Spearmen standing around to keep out Scouts.

22 pop Eagle Scout flush

17-18     Food (2 farms)

19-21     Wood. Feudal Age (22 pop).            7 total on Wood

Advancing            4 Food -> Gold                    4 total on Gold

2x Barracks

Feudal Age           Blacksmith

22-24     Wood                    10 total on Wood

25-26     Gold                       6 total on Gold

27+         Farms


Scout rush. The advantage of Scouts over e.g. Man-at-Arms is their speed. If you find a lone villager or military unit, there is no way out for it. If you see units you want to avoid, you can run away because Scouts are the fastest units in the game. Other units are forced to fight but you can choose if you want to fight. You can do hit-and-run attacks all over their base. Scrush sometimes forces the opponent to over-invest into Spearmen which cost food, slowing down their economy.

After the initial attack, you must make another unit to avoid getting countered by Spearmen. You also don’t want to make more Scouts because they cost a lot of food which you need for villager creation and Castle Age.

22 pop Scrush

1-16       Normal, except -1 wood, +1 food

17           Food (2 farms)

18-21     Wood. Feudal Age (22 pop).            7 total on Wood

Advancing            3 Food -> Wood  10 total on Wood


Feudal Age           Stable, Blacksmith.

Make 4-6 scouts and attack.

22-28     Farms

29-32     Gold                       4 total on Gold

33+         Farms

Full Scouts

Feudal Age           Another Stable

Scrush into Archers

33-38     Gold                       10 total on Gold

2x Archery Range

Scrush into Skirms

33-32     Wood                    12 total on Wood

1x Archery Range

Scrush into Castle Age

33           Gold                       5 total on Gold


Dark Age rush. You create 3 militia (or 5 as Aztecs because they create faster) and attack. Your Scout also joins the attack. It can chase injured villagers for the last few hits.


17           Barracks (before 6:30), then collect 10 gold.

Create 3 Militia before 8:30.

Drush fast castle

Dark Age rush into fast castle. After the drush, you fast castle. This leaves you vulnerable to attack because you don’t create any more military units until Castle Age. Therefore, this build should only be done on maps where you can wall, and your opponent can’t, and your important resources are not difficult to defend.

Target times: Feudal Age 13:45. Castle Age 16:25 (31 pop) or 16:55 (32 pop). Perfect Castle Age times would be 16:05 (31 pop) and 16:30 (32 pop). These include 3 Militia and 1 Scout.

32+2 pop drush fast castle

18-21     Wood                    8 total on Wood

22-28     Food (8 farms). Feudal Age.

Advancing            4 Food -> Gold                    4 total on Gold

Feudal Age           Blacksmith, Military building


Feudal Age           Archery Range

29-30     Gold. Castle Age.                6 total on Gold

Advancing            2 Food -> Gold                    8 total on Gold

4 Food -> Wood  12 total on Wood

Second Archery Range


Feudal Age           Stable

29-30     Gold. Castle Age.                6 total on Gold

Advancing            Second Stable

Drush flush

Drush into flush, specifically archers.


28 pop drush flush

18           Wood                    5 total on Wood

19-24     Food (3 farms). Feudal Age.

Advancing            7 Food -> Wood  Total 12 Wood

Advancing            4 Food -> Gold                    Total 4 Gold

Feudal Age           2x Archery Range, Blacksmith

24-27     Gold               Total 8 Gold

28+         Farms


Every unit you make must generate an advantage lest it be wasted. If you drush with 3 militia, they need to pay for themselves (180 food and 60 gold) because you could have spent the resources on a faster feudal time instead. The resources spent take around 720 man seconds to create so that can be seen as a guideline for how much damage they need to inflict. 720 man seconds means idling 12 villagers for 1 minute. Each villager killed generates 30 seconds advantage because it takes 30 seconds to replace and that delays opponent’s castle time by 30 seconds (or, if they go to Castle Age with one less villager, they still do so later and have less resources once they get there). A dead villager will also be idle for the rest of the game, leading to 720 man seconds lost after 12 minutes (720 seconds). This can be seen as exponential too since villagers work faster with later upgrades. This should mean a single villager could make a drush worth it but some say you need to kill 2 or even 3 villagers if you’re going to trade off your Militia.

These are the advantages of drushing:

  • You can disrupt economy, either by causing idle time, killing villagers, killing military units or forcing opponent to build defenses such as walls and towers. Builds these days are extremely tight and even the least disruption can disrupt the whole build.
  • It delays your opponent’s attack.
  • It puts the opponent under pressure and takes the fight to their base, leaving your own base unharmed. Flypaper theory is a military concept that says you should draw enemies to an area far away from where they can do damage. Rushing forces the enemy to defend themselves at home, leaving your own base intact. Building a tower in their base makes that tower a flytrap. The same goes for putting three Militia in their base.
  • Drushing delays your Feudal Age which is advantageous if you want to fast castle. You have time to create more villagers.
  • If you don’t drush, you would spend the resources on walling up or flushing anyway.
  • If you drush and opponent doesn’t have Loom, you have an advantage so you should fight aggressively. A villager with Loom, however, defeats a Militia or Dark Age Scout in 1v1. Without Loom, whoever attacks first wins in a 1v1.
  • It denies walling because Militia is already inside the opponent’s base and they can hardly send a villager to wall alone in that situation.
  • It can keep the opponent temporarily off a resource that they need, particularly gold.
  • Any rushing, including flush, gains you map control because opponent is stuck in their base.

Good civilizations for drush are those that can get Militia out faster so they can attack earlier, typically a civilization with early economic bonuses.


Galley (Fire Galley, not Galley) rush. Advantages of a grush:

  • Take control of the water so you can use it for fishing and transport.
  • Deny opponent from fishing, especially the fastest deep sea fish.
  • Destroy buildings near shorelines.
  • Control strategic points, such as river crossings.


12           Builder (Docks and Houses)

13           Wood                    5 total on Wood

14-24     Food, of which 4 Fishing Ships        18 total on Food

Feudal Age (25 pop)

Advancing            9 Food -> Wood  14 total on Wood

5 Food -> Gold                    5 total on Gold, 4 on Food (ships only), 1 builder

Second Dock

Feudal Age           Create 3 Fire Galleys and attack

25           Gold                       6 total on Gold

Third dock

26-39     Food                      18 total on Food (4 ships)

Blacksmith, Market

40-41     Gold                       8 total on Gold

42-43     Food                      20 total on Food (4 ships)

44-45     Wood. Castle Age.              16 total on Wood

Advancing            8 Food -> Wood  12 total on Food, 24 on Wood

Fast castle

Instead of attacking early, the fast castle strategy relies on getting to Castle Age as fast as possible so you can attack with stronger units or boom even faster with multiple TCs. The typical goal is Knight but some civilizations have other goals. You should always wall when fast castling. It is therefore easier to fast castle on closed maps or if playing as pocket in team games.

27+2 pop fast castle

17-18     Food                      14 total on Food

19-23     Wood                    9 total on Wood

24-26     Gold. Feudal Age (27 pop).              3 total on Gold

Feudal Age           Market, Blacksmith

27-28     Wood. Castle Age.              11 total on Wood

Advancing            3 Food -> Wood  11 total on Food, 14 on Wood.

Stone is initially worth more than gold so you can sell 200 stone to reach Castle Age sooner.

Stone trick

1-23       As fast castle

24-25     Stone                     2 total on Stone

26           Wood                    10 total on Wood

Then      As fast castle

Knight rush

28+2 pop Knight rush

1-26       Same as fast castle above

27           Wood. Feudal Age (28 pop).            10 total on Wood

Advancing            Barracks

Feudal Age           Stable, Blacksmith

28-29     Gold. Castle Age.                5 total on Gold

Advancing            1 Food -> Gold                    6 total on Gold

Advancing            Second Stable

Make around four Knights before sending them out. Do hit-and-run attacks against villagers.

Unique unit

29+2 pop unique unit rush

1-25       Same as fast castle above                2 total on Gold

26-28     Stone. Feudal Age (29 pop).             3 total on Stone

Feudal Age           Market, Blacksmith

29-30     Stone                     5 total on Stone

Advancing            3 Food -> Stone                  8 total on Stone

Castle drop

28+2 pop castle drop

1-22       Same as fast castle above                8 total on Wood

23-24     Gold                       2 total on Gold

25-27     Stone. Feudal Age (28 pop).             3 total on Stone

Feudal Age           Market, Blacksmith

28-29     Stone. Castle Age.              5 total on Stone

Advancing            2 Food -> Stone                  7 total on Stone

Fast imperial

The goal with this build is to get the strongest units in the game as early as possible. It leaves you vulnerable in the early game. It is mostly done on maps where turtling is possible such as Arena and Black Forest.

Target time for Imperial Age: 30:00.

32+2+2 pop fast imperial

17-22     Wood                    10 total on Wood

23-26     Food                      16 total on Food

27-30     Gold. Feudal Age (31 pop)               4 total on Gold

Advancing            2 Wood -> Gold   8 total on Wood, 6 on Gold

Feudal Age           Market, Blacksmith

31-32     Gold. Castle Age.                8 total on Gold

Castle Age            Monastery, Siege Workshop

33-34     Gold. Imperial Age.            10 total on Gold

Castle drop FI

1-26       Same as Fast Imperial.      16 total on Food, 10 on Wood

27-31     Gold. Feudal Age (32 pop)               5 total on Gold

Advancing            4 Wood -> Stone 6 total on Wood, 4 on Stone

Feudal Age           Market, Blacksmith

32-33     Stone. Castle Age.              6 total on Stone

Advancing            2 Food -> Gold                    14 total on Food, 7 on Gold

Castle Age            Castle

34-36     Gold. Imperial Age             10 total on Gold


Fast castle, then build two more Town Centers. Set all gather points to wood and build farms as soon as they can be afforded. You can also get a fourth TC later by mining stone or using the market.


Monk rush. You do a fast castle with a monk civilization and build lots of monks. Every unit converted is a two-for-one. You can control group each monk 1 to 9 to micro faster. Use converted villagers to gather resources in the opponent’s base or build towers.


1-16       Normal, except -1 wood, +1 food. Must push all four deer.

17-20     Food

21-22     Wood. Feudal Age (23 pop) click 8:00. 5 total on Wood.

Send one food villager to gather 10 gold, then back to food.

Feudal Age           Market, Blacksmith. Sell stone for 100 gold.

22-23     Food. Castle Age (25 pop) click at 11:00.

2 food -> Wood. 7 total on Wood.

9 food -> Gold. 9 total on Gold.

Castle Age            2x Monastery, Siege Workshop


Siege Monk rush. Similar to monk rush, but you also build a forward siege workshop and create Mang’onels, Rams and Scorpions to damage their base.


Scorpion rush. After a fast castle, build multiple Siege Workshops. Protect Scorpions with Spearmen.

Wonder rush

After a fast imperial, keep turtling and defend a wonder. This is rarely an option because conquest is the default victory setting.

Relic rush

After a fast castle, build multiple monasteries, research Fervor and send out monks to get as many relics as possible.

Modular gameplay

Unit production calculator

A concept where you treat each production line as a “module”. For example, one module would produce archers. It consists of one archery range, supplied by 4 gold miners and 2 wood cutters. That’s sufficient to keep that archery range constantly producing archers. This means if you want two archery ranges, you should put 8 villagers on gold and 4 on wood to supply them.

Unit        Wood     Food      Gold       Note

Archer    2             0             3.6          0

Skirmisher            4.5          3.5          0             More villagers required because it creates fast.

Man-at-Arms       0             8.7          2.7

Spearman             6.4          9.7          0

Scout     0             8.1          0

Galley    4.2          0             1.4

Tower    2             0             0             6.3 stone

Villager  2             6             0             One lumberjack can sustain 3 farms.

With villager production:

2x Archer              7             7             8

2x Scouts              3             25           0

2x Skirmisher       13           15           0

2x Spearman       9             19           0

1x M@A               3             17           3

2x Galley              11           7             4

2x Knight              2             21           14

2x Cavalry A.      11           7             12

2x Eagle W.          3             13           8


Active vs reactive gameplay

An active player goes on the offensive, taking initiative to harass and attack the opponent.

A reactive player constantly reacts to what the opponent is doing, such as countering their strategy or changing your strategy because of something the opponent did. For example, you would cancel your feudal rush if the opponent walled up their base.

It is preferable to be active because having the initiative is important. If you only focus on countering your opponent’s attacks, you aren’t pressuring them. Scouting is important to be active so you know where to attack.


Default maps have these resources near your base:

  • 8 sheep
  • 2 boars
  • Berries
  • 2 gold mines
  • 2 stone mines
  • 4 deer

Scout in a circle around your base.

Use sheep to scout. You have no use for them just standing next to the TC. If you find all your resources earlier, you can scout the opponent earlier.

Don’t scout patches where you know there is probably nothing of value, such as inside forests. You’re not scouting to make the map look pretty. Scouting has a purpose and it’s important to do it fast.

Once you find all resources near your base, scout the opponent’s base instead. You want to find their weak resources.

  • If their gold or wood is forward or far from the TC, it is a good area to attack.
  • If wood and another resource is right next to it, a tower built there can deny both.
  • If there are lots of hills around their base, archers are stronger than otherwise.
  • You can see what the enemy is building. If you see their military building, you know what to counter.
  • If the enemy is walling, you can search for entrances.
  • You can find other strategic points such as choking points.
  • You can find out if they forgot to research Loom.
  • You can lame (steal) boars and sheep.
  • If you see someone using stone walls in Feudal Age, you can assume they are slinging the other player (because they can’t afford town centers once they reach Castle Age since they cost stone).
  • If you see someone walling in Dark Age, and/or building barracks before 8 minutes, except a drush, because they are likely going for a drush fast castle build.

Analyzing a replay

Replays forum

Ladder (replays can be downloaded)

  • What is strong and weak about their map? Is it wallable? Are any resources vulnerable?
  • How are they distributing new villagers and what build does it indicate?
  • When did they start scouting the opponent instead of their own area? What did they find of importance?
  • Which units to they lead with? (Militia, Man-at-Arms, Scouts, Archers, Skirms, Spears)
  • What do they transition into? (Scouts into Archers, drush fast castle)
  • What do they transition into in Castle Age? (unique unit, Cavalry Archers, siege units)
  • When they build a new type of unit (e.g. Spearman), why do they build it and when?
  • Is their base well-protected? Where is it vulnerable?
  • Why do they research the thing they are researching? What are they planning?
  • Why did they choose to engage / not engage in a possible battle?
  • How did they respond to a certain tactic from the opponent, such as a forward tower?

Misc strategies

Sling: A team game strategy. One player walls themselves in (with stone walls) and turtles and uses their whole economy to send resources to the other player. The one receiving resources is slung quickly to Castle and Imperial Age so they can afford more and better units to fight multiple opponents (carry) alone. It is not uncommon for the one slinging to be in Feudal Age when multiple other players are in Imperial Age.

Landing: On Team Islands, rush a few villagers and the Scout to the other island with a transport ship and build military production buildings between the opponents. This way, both opponents are threatened so both have to respond by building walls or attack. Landing against only a single player leaves the other player unthreatened. The non-landing player in the team goes for grush and water control.

Forward: When you build military buildings close to the opponent. If your first military buildings are forward, it is an all-in strategy because you have no defense at home for any counter-attack. You must thus force the opponent to constantly be on the defensive.

Unit types


This list excludes unique units. There are many unique units that are anti-something.

This table shows which units counter other units and which units you should therefore bring to counter the counter.

Unit type                              Counter

Infantry                                Hand Cannoneer, mass archers

Archer, Cavalry Archer     Skirmisher, Eagle

Cavalry                 Spearman, Camel

Spearman, Eagle Stronger infantry (e.g. Militia line)

Skirmisher                            Cavalry, infantry, Eagle

Hand Cannoneer                Anything but infantry

Monk                    Scout, Eagle

Expensive unit     , e.g. Knight          Monk


Building                Ram, Trebuchet, Bombard Cannon, Petard

Tower/Castle                       Long-range unit, Ram

Siege                      Infantry, cavalry, siege


Slow units                             Cavalry, monks

Mass units                            Mang’onel, Scorpion


Galley                    Fire Galley

Fire Galley                            Demolition Ship

Demolition Ship  Galleon



  • Cheap to create. This makes infantry a cost effective unit, trading beneficially if you get one-for-one.
  • High attack
  • Non-spearman infantry gets attack bonus vs buildings
  • Created quickly. You can amass a large infantry army fast and sustain it.
  • There is no widely available counter to mass infantry.
  • Fast infantry, e.g. Eagles and Woad Raiders, can do hit-and-run attacks.


  • Low HP
  • Low armor
  • Low speed
  • Must close the gap before they can attack

Attack bonuses:

  • Scouts and Eagles get +6 to +10 damage bonus vs monks and resist conversion.
  • All infantry deals +2 to +6 attack against Eagles.
  • Hand Cannoneer gets +10 attack vs infantry.
  • All archers, including skirmishers, get +2 to +4 attack vs spearmen.
  • Gunpowder units and Bombard Towers deal pierce damage but Bombard Cannons and Bombard Galleons deal melee damage.



  • All can attack at the same time. This is why archers are best when massed.
  • They can pick off villagers more easily than infantry.
  • Ranged attack lets them attack first.
  • Can attack through walls.
  • They cost no food so they don’t delay advancing or research.


  • Archers must be massed to be good so they are weak to Mang’onel.
  • Countered by Skirmisher.
  • Weak to pierce armor such as Skirmishers, rams, siege towers and Huskarls.
  • Weak to cavalry because they can close the gap and often have pierce armor.

Attack bonuses:

  • Skirmishers get +3/+4 attack vs foot archers and gunpowder shooters, and deal minimum 3/4 damage.
  • Against Cavalry Archers, Skirmishers get +3/+6, and deal minimum 3/6 damage.
  • Cavalry Archers are archers with higher speed but they take bonus damage from spearmen because they are horses.
  • Hand Cannoneers and Skirmishers are archers so they take bonus damage from Skirmishers.



  • High speed
  • High attack
  • High HP
  • High armor
  • High effectiveness per population slot


  • High cost. The best cavalry requires gold which will run out eventually.
  • Countered by Spearmen
  • A bit weak in closed maps because archers can use choking points.
  • Must close the gap before they can attack

Attack bonuses:

  • Spearmen get +15/+22/+32 attack vs cavalry.
  • Camels are anti-cavalry cavalry. They get +10/+18 attack vs cavalry.
  • Camels are not cavalry but have their own armor class («camel»). Spearmen get half bonus against them but towers get +6/+9/+10 attack against camels.
  • Eagles get +2/+4 attack vs cavalry.
  • War Elephants have their own armor class. They take double damage bonus from spearmen (+30/+47/+60) but normal bonus from Camels, Mamelukes and Eagles. They also take extra damage from Scorpions (+6/+8). Battle Elephants have the same armor class as War Elephants.


  • Scout Cavalry gets +2 line of sight per age. They also get +2 attack and 25% more speed in Feudal Age.
  • Battle Elephants deal 50% of damage as splash damage.

Army composition:

  • Cavalry is weak against Spearmen so it combines well with infantry.

Siege weapons


  • Cannot be converted but also cannot be healed (just repaired)
  • Effective against buildings (Ram, Bombard Cannon, Petard, Trebuchet) or personnel (Mang’onel, Scorpion).
  • Rams and siege towers can transport troops closer to the enemy. Rams move faster when doing so.


  • Expensive
  • Take long to produce
  • Expensive and slow to upgrade
  • Slow movement
  • Many siege weapons have a minimum range which makes them vulnerable once the gap is closed. They must be protected by other units.

Attack bonuses:

  • Siege weapons deal 40 to 65 bonus damage to each other.
  • Gunpowder shooters deal minimum 1 to 6 bonus damage vs rams. This bonus decreases as rams are upgraded.
  • Eagles deal +3/+5 attack vs siege weapons and +6/+8 vs rams.


Attack bonuses:

  • Bombard Cannon deals +41 damage vs ships. Spearman deals +2/+6/+11. Towers deal +7/+9/+11 and benefit from Heated Shot. Castles also deal bonus damage vs ships.
  • Fire Galley gets +3 vs ships but only +1 vs turtle ships. It also gets +1 vs buildings. However, they attack about 12 times faster than Galleys so this bonus is more like +36.

Land and Water

This unit                               Corresponds to

Fishing ship                          Villager

Transport Ship                    Siege Tower

Trade Cog                            Trade Cart

Galley                    Archer

Fire Galley                            Skirmisher

Demolition Raft  —

Cannon Galleon  Bombard Cannon

Longboat                             Chu Ko Nu

Turtle Ship                           War Wagon

Caravel                 Scorpion


Attack bonuses: Infantry deals +1/+2/+3 damage vs buildings. Spearmen only deal +1. However, buildings have armor. Palisade walls have 2/5, TC 3/5 +1 per age, gate 6/6, tower 1/7, stone wall 8/10, castle 8/11, outpost/farm 0/0, and others 0/7 + 1 per age.


  • Never engage in combat if you don’t think you will win. Save your units when you can. They can be used later to outnumber the enemy.
  • Numbers are everything. If you fight 40 champions vs 30 champions, you will get out with 20 and 0 champions respectively, not 10-0.
  • If the enemy engages with a small force and a bigger force is approaching, fight the small force and then get back.
  • When an enemy is fighting you, it is either because they think they can win or because they have no other choice, such as protecting their villagers.
  • Avoid ringing town bell because it attracts all villagers, not just those who are in danger. You accumulate idle time for no benefit.
  • You can control group your TC. Pressing H selects it but also moves the screen to it. If you control group it, it is selected but you don’t jump to it.
  • Avoid Mang’onel shots by splitting your army to flank formation (V), then back to line formation (Z).
  • If a unit fires uphill but dies before the projectile reaches its target, the projectile will deal full damage. You can delete your unit to deal more damage if it was about to die anyway. This can ensure a one for one trade Mang’onel vs Mang’onel even if one was uphill.
  • A Ram can tank for you by moving in front of your army against archers.
  • Always harvest a dead deer with 4 villagers. They will take it all so nothing will decay and they will only carry the resource once.
  • Target Archers before Skirmishers because Archers die in fewer hits.
  • A villager beats a Skirmisher one on one.
  • Separate multiple layers of walls by 1 tile to avoid rams’ splash damage.
  • Ballistics assumes the target unit will continue moving in the same direction at constant speed. It is difficult to out-micro ballistics but possible. You have to change direction after the shot has been fired.
  • Gather food from only one sheep at a time. It nets you 18 more food over the course of a game (3.1 per sheep) compared to placing all sheep under the TC at the same time. At least 12 food will decay from each sheep no matter how you do it.
  • Placing a gate on a wall foundation does not refund the cost of placing the foundation.
  • For Blacksmith techs: Get armor first for melee units, damage first for ranged units. Melee units need to survive longer while ranged units need to kill before they take damage. This is mathematically proven.
  • 3 Scouts can beat one Spearman but if numbers are less in your favor, fighting is not a good idea.

Stacking: Usually one tile allows four units to stand in it. This means four Scouts at a time can attack one segment of a wall. Stacking, however, lets you stack up to 16 units in one space and all of them can attack at the same time. This can be used to take down buildings quickly because the units don’t have to gather around the building. To stack, approach the building from a 45 degree angle. SHIFT + Right click right click the building, then right click just next to it. The units will stack. It sometimes requires multiple attempts.


Here are some things I’ve learned about the AI in HD version:

  • It creates an army extremely fast. This invites either rushing or turtling against the AI.
  • It can micro every single unit independently and simultaneously. This means if you step within range of a few monks, each of them will immediately start converting one unit each. Ranged units kite you, each individually in different directions. You cannot out-micro the AI so you will have to out-macro it or use tactics such as choke points, hills, attack in greater numbers, use counter-units, hit-and-runs and raids.
  • AI always goes for all relics as soon as it reaches Castle Age and it knows exactly where they are. If you want any relics, you have to get them early.
  • AI doesn’t use formations. All units just stand in a line and work independently so all can attack at the same time. This means splash damage, such as from Mang’onels or Scorpions, is only useful in choke points or to defend from Rams.
  • AI rarely builds Militia line units. This makes units like Jaguar Warrior less useful against AI.
  • AI almost always builds Archers and Skirmishers in Feudal Age. Any infantry is meaningless against the AI because it can kite forever and you will never attack his archers even once. Skirmishers are also kited eternally and can’t even get a single attack off. The only time you can fight the AI’s archers is if they are the ones attacking. Otherwise, they will move like a handball defense around their TC. This however means that any outlying resources are extremely vulnerable. If wood is far from TC, you can raid it perpetually. The same goes for gold and stone. You can eventually starve the AI out and leave it with only farmers and a horde of archers under the TC.
    If AI has only a few archers, you can delta split. The archer will often continue to follow its original target, allowing the other half of your army to flank it.
  • AI favors trash units such as Skirmisher and Halberdier. It pumps out those units forever, until all trees on the map are consumed. The only way to stop this is to attack their economy. Kill as many villagers as possible over and over while maintaining at least 2.0 kill/death ratio and eventually the AI will run out of resources. Then you can finally attack and destroy their base. It might take a few waves before they give up.


  • It can’t get through a wall protected by a castle and Mang’onels.
  • It can’t handle forward towers.
  • It leaves some gold and stone unchallenged. Players can just mine them for free.
  • It can’t handle choke points well. It just sends in units and lets them die.
  • Try to take control of as many resources as possible. However, the AI can attack multiple places at once so you will have to protect them with castles and walls.
  • AI rarely walls. All resources are open and raidable. Hit-and-run tactics are effective against the AI, for example by Cavalry Archers. You find a spot with many villagers, run there, kill them all and get out before the enemy army arrives.
  • AI never garrisons newly created units. You can camp the military building and spawn kill them.
  • AI does not mind sending a unit into a fight with its counter-unit. On the rare occasion that the AI goes cavalry, you can build mass Halberdiers and kill all enemy units.


Resource gathering

Carrying capacity is better than gathering rate because it reduces time spent walking. For example, Berbers get 10% faster movement speed for villagers and Aztecs get +5 carrying capacity. This results in 1-3% and 4-12% faster resource gathering, respectively. The Aztecs’ ability is much better.

Building extra lumber camps to reduce distance to forest is worth it after 24-26 minutes of chopping but not earlier.

Farms on the right side of the TC or mill work faster because villagers only ever gather food from the left side of farms.

Mills are slightly more efficient when placed one tile away from the berries.

If a villager finishes building a drop-off building, it will drop off any resources, even if that building would not normally receive them. For example, food would be dropped off at a lumber mill. Farms can also receive resources when built.

If you only partly construct a building and cancel (destroy) it, you only get resources back for any unbuilt progress.

Build town centers with one or two villagers but not more. They are better used gathering resources.

Wheelbarrow pays off only once you have at least 46 villagers, assuming you have lumber mill and mining upgrades already. It affects farming (13.6%) much more than any other resource (3%) so get it only when you have lots of farms (at least 22). It should not be used to fast castle. Wait until Castle Age. The corresponding number for Hand Cart is actually lower than for Wheelbarrow (40) so it should be researched as soon as Wheelbarrow is done.

Food collection rates          Food per minute  Food to wood ratio

Fishing ship on large fish   29.22

Villager on shore fish         25.56

Hunting (boar and deer)    24.48

Fish trap                               22.8 / 28.05 (Gillnets)      7.15 (better than farms before Crop Rotation)

Sheep                    19.80

Farming                19.6 / 22.2 / 23.9 (Hand Cart)      2.92 / 4.17 / 6.25 / 9.17 (Crop Rotation)

Berries                   18.60

Fishing ship on shore fish  16.80

Number of villagers            Building time (3B / (n+2)) where B = building time and n = number of villagers

1                             100%

2                             75%

3                             60%

4                             50%

5                             43%

6                             38%

7                             33%

8                             30%

9                             27%

10                           25%


Prices start at 100, except stone which starts at 130. Every transaction changes the base exchange rate by 2. The price is the same for all players. The minimum price is 20 and the maximum is 9999. However, it will usually say 14 in the UI because it includes a 30% trading fee (30% of 20 is 6). The trading fee can be reduced to 15% with the Guilds tech.

One player can «bottom out» a resource by selling 4000 of that resource to the market. It can be beneficial to do so first because any future player who wants to buy gold will have to pay more.


Building Petards With Masonry and Architecture With Siege Engineers With both
Town Center 5 6 4 5
Stone Wall/Gate 2 2 2 2
Fortified Wall/Gate 3 3 2 (wall), 3 (Gate) 2 (wall), 3 (Gate)
Tower 2/3/5 2/3/5 3/4/6 2/3/4
Castle (w Hoardings) 8 12 7 9
Wonder 10 12 7 9


Against Byzantines, a few extra Petards are required.


Conversion is attempted once every 1.2 seconds. It sometimes takes only a few seconds but other times it takes longer due to RNG. There is however a minimum and maximum time. Some units resist conversion.

If multiple monks convert the same unit, each works independently, granting you more attempts, but all lose their faith at the end.

Switching targets retains progress so you can sometimes convert instantly. This can be exploited by targeting one unit with multiple monks, then switching to multiple targets. This is why you shouldn’t back off and then reengage against converting monks.

Factor    Resistance            Chance              Min time               Max time              Building min        Building max

Normal  0             28%       5             12           18           29

Scout/Eagle          8             5%          —              —              —              —

Teutons +2           13%       +1           +2.5        +1           +2.5

Faith      +3           9%          +2.5        +5           —              —

Teutons+Faith     +5           6%          +3.5        +7.5        +1           +2.5

Inquisition            —              Building +2%       -1            -1            -6            -6


Factor                    Healing/minute

Monk                    150

Missionary                           75

Berserkergang Berserk       40

Herbal Medicine 24

Berserk                  20

Maghrabi                             15

Garrison                                6


  • Boom: To building multiple town centers and produce lots of villagers to make the economy boom. The downside is that you can’t create as many military units while booming so you are weak to attacks. If you focus too much on booming (overboom), you are a sitting duck.
  • Trash war: When all gold and stone has been mined and used and the market prices are as high as they will get, players start scrambling for so-called trash units that cost no gold such as Hussar, Spearman and Skirmisher.
  • Pocket: A player who starts in-between team mates in a team game. They usually do a fast castle because they are unlikely to be attacked early. The opposite of pocket is flank.
  • Laming (as in a disabled limb): To send your Scout early to the opponent to steal their sheep and boar and kill their deer. Some consider laming bad mannered because it increases RNG influence. You can lose your boar or sheep to this simply because the opponent got lucky and passed by them.
    Other ways of laming:

    • Killing their boar with a villager (by palisading yourself in and shooting it)
    • Stopping them from luring the boar by standing next to it and attacking it when they try
    • Palisading around a military building or lumber camp
    • Palisading around gold or stone
    • Waiting for them to build a farm and attacking it when it has 1 HP to destroy it
    • Chopping down a tree near the TC and placing a wall on it to remove it altogether.
    • Luring wolves into the opponent’s base
    • Attacking villagers, forcing a reaction. However, two villagers defeat a Scout.
  • Pitched battle: A battle where both sides agree to take the fight, as opposed to hit-and-runs, raids, harassment etc.
  • Straggler: A tree next to the town center. It can be used for quick wood cutting or to spread out the wood cutting so villagers don’t bump into each other near the main lumber camp. It can be used when transitioning to farms because the lumberjacks on stragglers can build farms as soon as you can afford it. That way, they don’t have to walk far.
  • Eco: A player’s economy, i.e. their villagers that are gathering resources at home. If possible, you want to attack a player’s economy to cripple them.
  • Transition: To stop producing one type of unit and start producing another. This is often done in castle age when you access Knights and unique units.
  • Housed: When you can’t build more units because you don’t have enough houses.
  • Restart: It is conventional to let each player call one restart per series, or multiple restarts for long series (e.g. best of 13). Restarts can be called before 04:00 for any reason. A new seed is generated. If you know you will restart, you should try to up your score as much as possible to make the opponent believe you are doing well so maybe they will call a restart first. You can increase your score by using all units, including villagers, to explore the map. It actually happens sometimes that the opponent calls a restart when you already knew you would do so otherwise.
  • Tech switch: To research a new branch of techs to go for a different unit. It is usually not desirable because costs resources and time. Min-maxing techs optimizes resources.
  • Population efficiency: The idea that one population can be more or less efficient. For example, a Halberdier is less efficient than a Mang’onel but both take one population slot.
  • China style: When you are under pressure, you sneak an army out of the base and into the opponent’s base.


  • Stats: https://aoe2stats.net/
  • Draft: https://aoe2cm.net/
  • Flag for no intro videos: SKIPINTRO (without — in front).
  • Flag to skip splash screen (launcher): NoStartUp (without — in front). You must also delete Launcher.exe and rename AoK HD.exe to Launcher.exe.
  • Upgraded units are created faster than original units. For example, Crossbowman and Arbalest are created in 27 seconds but Archer is created in 35 seconds.
  • Spend your resources as soon as possible. Don’t stack them up, except when you plan to advance to the next age with them. They need to be put to use.
  • Map install folder: Steam\SteamApps\common\Age2HD\resources\_common\random-map-scripts
  • Map database 1: https://aoe2map.net/maps
  • Map database 2: https://www.aoezone.net/mapdb
  • All map images: https://mega.nz/#F!McBSwIaD!XPvit7qv7g1i9ZmFZ80MHA
  • Thumb Ring has no effect on gunpowder units, despite what in-game description says.
  • Thumb Ring is extremely effective on some units but less effective on others. It gives around 25% more dps for most units but Cavalry Archer and Heavy Cavalry Archer get a hefty 60% dps increase.[ Skirmishers are almost unaffected.
  • Fix for color problem (bat file):

taskkill /F /IM Explorer.exe
age2_x1.exe -nostartup
Start explorer.exe

How to play on Voobly

  • Install Age of Empires HD Edition with all expansions on Steam. Install to C: only.
  • Make sure you have a working account at voobly.com.
  • Install AoE2Tools: https://github.com/gregstein/AoE2Tools/releases
  • Run AoE2Tools. Convert HD to AoC. Make sure all four checkboxes are green: HD to AoC, WololoKingdoms, UserPatch and Voobly. If not, click «Fix it» and restart AoE2Tools.
  • Run the game from C:/Users/YourName/AppData/Roaming/Microsoft Games/Age of Empires ii/Age2_x2/WK.exe

These are installed by AoE2Tools so you no longer need to install them manually:

Must-have mods

  • Better fish outlines                             HD         Voobly
  • Advanced idle pointer                       HD         Voobly
  • Short walls                           HD         Voobly
  • Small trees                           HD         Voobly
  • Alignment grid                    HD         Voobly
  • Hotkey Trainer                   HD only

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