When playing Rise of Nations, one of the concepts in the game are wonders.
One of the wonders that arguably gets rushed is the Terracotta Army. What this wonder gives you is an unending stream of Light Infantry units at regular intervals, the interval is dependent upon the number of units already produced by the wonder. So that over a period of time, the production rate of Light Infantry goes down and plateaus.
Sounded innocuous and impossible to me too. But get this, it CAN be done, and it works well in border push strategy.
If you are Romans in Rise of Nations, then do give this tip a try to put your opponent on the backfoot. No one wants to attack a well defended outpost, even if the outpost is right next to your borders especially because its being guarded by a castle, and god knows how many units are garrisoned in there! Add to the additional territory push that Roman castles have, and you are literally taking away the opponents lands!
The key to this tactic is getting early ruins.
Remember, that Romans have Mil 1 researched at the start. A castle costs 281 wood.
Here’s what you do –
Go Sci 1
Do NOT build farms, they consume wood.
Instead fill up on lumber by all the villagers you create
Use the additional villies and scout to capture ruins
Start building 4 outposts (do not complete the building, just start the building so you consume the wood that you are getting via ruins, so now you keep getting wood via ruins). The key is to keep your wood lower than the rest of the resources without really using up wood.
Once you have 4 outposts queued. Now start building the farms, and booming. Target Civ 1
Once you have Civ 1, go near your opponents border and plonk your second city there.
Cancel the outpost building (all 4 of them). This should give your wood back to you!
Now start building the castle!
Now you have a well defended outpost as your opponents next door neighbor. Start booming, build a barracks, and garrison some units in there.
So I was talking to King Ameya (who often comments on my Rise of Nations posts). He was mentioning that the previous post on Heavy Cavalry was actually a lesson on raiding.
For those who are new to the game, raiding is a concept where you use a small armed force to take down the economy of the opposing nation by attacking commercial resources (merchants, caravans, timber mill, mines, etc). That way, you generate resources whereas your opponent is struggling to get off a good start.
At the advanced levels, rushing is considered to be an amateur tactic and a pro can easily fend off a rush. What works instead is constant raiding and an expert can actually bring down opponents by doing this the entire game.
The best way to showcase this is by giving you a recording of a game that I played with King Ameya. He was Iroquois and I was Bantu. It was pre-decided that he is going to raid and I thought that let’s boom for a change and see how much could a raid impact my economy.
See for yourself!
At the end of the game, I had four cities, but virtually zero resources and no barracks to fend myself. Two of those cities fell at the same time and I had to give in. Raiding can be lethal if carried out properly.
Some points to note –
Scout early and scout often; by the 3rd minute Ameya had the entire map scoured and almost all the ruins were consumed for resources
Small attacks, first aimed at merchants and caravans, then at villagers and resources
Raiding gives you resources, having a Despot increases your gains
You do not need a massive force to deal the final blow
A major part of all Alexander the Great’s battle strategy included cavalry. The light cavalry for quick raids (which I shall cover in a separate post) and the heavy cavalry (or his Companions as the vanguard unit).
In fact the fall of Alexander was largely attributed due to a mutiny amongst his vanguard troops.
Learn from history
A liberal use of heavy cavalry units right from the start of the game can really make a difference between a well fought battle and a whooping victory. Here’s how –
When I was playing a random map, I was given Mongols (but I mistook them for Lakota!! mea culpa!!). Fortunately, my strategy was unaffected by misinterpretation, I still was going to make Stables, and raid early with cavalry, and then focus on an army of heavy cavalry. The map style was Himalayas, so that helped!
Start booming and race to Age II. Have a barracks ready and some defense troops.
After Age II, go Mil2 and Sci2
Build a Stable, and get a Despot
Have 2 Heavy Cavs, and 2 Horse archers ready. This alongwith the Despot is your flash army.
The flash army can move fast (doubly so if used forced march), ambush and patrol the enemy territory for taking out merchants, caravans and resource buildings
It can also hold a sizeable army until you build defenses and/or send reinforcements
Start building your main army slowly and steadily using the resources from raiding while your flash army keeps the enemy engaged. I prefer to build a separate artillery force (3 trebuchets and a supply wagon) and make an attack on one of the outposts
A small bit of micro-management and you should get one of the computer’s cities
The cool part about focusing on Heavy cavalry on a map like Himalayas is that wood and iron is abundant, so siege weapons come easily.
Even if you fail at doing well early on the game, keep your heavy cavs alive and they turn into formidable tanks!
I myself am not that big into cavalry, but today while mistakenly taking the Mongols for Lakota, I realized just about how awesome they can be. I had roughly 4-5 HI, 2 bowmen, 6-7 Heavy cavs, a despot, 4 cannons and a supply wagon with some heavy archers to spare (Mongols, get them free for each stable, so did not keep a count, although I had 3 stables). Almost all of my food came from raiding and sacks.
Note: The post was ill-timed, when I wrote it I was completely unaware of the Japan crisis. I realized my folly when a friend informed me of the same. My apologies, this was not meant to be a stunt to get more attention. The post was neither tweeted nor posted on Facebook.
I love the Japanese civilization in Rise of Nations. It is by far one of the strongest infantry civilizations in the game. There are of course the Mayans and the Aztecs who can give the Japanese a run for their money, but with Japanese barracks churning out units faster than any other barracks and with each unity being stronger than the normal unit, you can’t go wrong.
The civilization benefits are also geared in such a manner that it ensures that as ages advances, the Japanese will keep on becoming a stronger force to reckon with. The civilization benefits are as follows –
Farms 50% cheaper, Farms and Fishermen produce +25% resources
Build aircraft carriers 33% faster and ships are 10% cheaper
Barrack Units do 5% extra damage vs buildings for each Age plus Military research
Barrack Units built 10% faster, 7% cheaper,for each Age plus Military research
What this means is that the Japanese player can kick off a good boom at the start itself. Cheaper farms and +25% more food means more villagers to collect wood with. More resources at the start translates into ideal boom conditions.
Typically what I do is –
Start with 5 farms at the start of the game (you have enough wood to do this)
Then science 1 and civ 1
Then a town to expand your territory
Then commerce 1 and build an additional farm
Then a woodmill and more farms
Then a trade center and a temple
Then science 2 and mil 1
Tower for your frontier town and a barracks between your towns
Complete the farms and get the rare resources
Age. As you are aging start building heavy infantry
Get the senate built and a despot (cheaper infantry and war resources)
Get 5 HI, 1 archer, patriot and go mil 2
Start towards your enemy town and start raiding (rare resources, merchants) but avoid frontal assault (you benefit later in the game)
Get a siege workshop and have some siege engines built (2-3)
Now go for the first town
Its downhill from then on. The key is to know that you are going to be stronger and stronger with your infantry (atleast till age VII, then you have stronger units). Take towns, and hold your lines. During those times build more units (infantry, light cavalry to take down archers and siege + supply wagons if needed). Use villagers to repair towns and build your barracks closer to the front lines.
Rare resources that you need to go after – Cotton and Whales
The Cotton will reduce unit production times by 25%, and Whales will give you the resources required to generate more Heavy Infantry.
This tip is not more of a tip, but rather an interesting experiment which players can try to confound the attacking horde. For you to successfully pull this off, it is strongly suggested that you have a defensive army and are an experienced player.
One of my clan members gave me this idea, and I decided to try it out. The idea is simple and I feel like a fool that why could not I have thought this. You go for Forbidden City wonder, and build a Senate for that city … making it the Mega-Capital. Know that Forbidden City has a higher border push and being a wonder has oodles of hit points. You do this right, and put your capital wonder city right on the border of your kingdom and you suddenly have a veritable fortress city.
(Contribution from Ameya Mane) This will only work before the Industrial age, from then onwards normal cities have higher HPs!! Nevertheless, it could be a good military tactic to reduce capital timers.
There are a few drawbacks of this idea, first Forbidden City comes for a minimum of 250 Food, 250 Wood. Thus it cannot be your second city, also by this time you will have built a Senate. So while building your wonder, you will have to simultaneously raze your own Senate. If your Patriot dies during that time, then you will have to wait for the entire process to finish to get him back.
When I first heard about the idea, it sounded crazy. Crazy enough that it might just work!! Now kids, dont try this at home, you need a special set of conditions for this to work. You for one have to be Turks (since this strategy uses the Turks powers to the fullest). If your target happens to be Lakota (well you have hit the jackpot then!!)
Notice the above screenshot (its the 7th minute), what the Turkish player does is focus on booming, he builds many villagers (since they are cheap and fast), and gathers a decent amount of resources. With the surplus villies, he scouts for ruins. He ensures that he does Mil2 before he hits Classical age (that way not only military researches are cheaper, the siege is also available). On hitting Classical age, he builds not one but two siege workshops (since each workshop gives 2 free siege weapons for the Turks).
He also has ensured that he as a tower built, in Classical age, he researches Militia, which as we know is an extreme defensive tactic to fight an invasion.
(Contribution from Ameya Mane)
Build a senate and research Despotism. That way your villies get a +2 attack bonus. Also build a university in the background and have one scholar at least, this is your back-up plan in case you fail to retain the capital – in which case now you can safely boom.
Now, the money move … he gathers all his villagers and converts them into militia. That as his defense for his siege engines, he launches an attack on the hapless capital of his enemy. 7th minute, 4 siege engines … that’s fast.
Like all rushes, this move also depends on knowing beforehand the location of the capital and scouting.