Fast Food Sling
This document outlines a 2-player slingshot strategy. The name? C
= Chinese. F = Frank. Fast = emphasis on a very early feudal. Food
= Food is what is tributed. (And overall, is sounds like a scene
from Animal House.) One player, the "sling", plays Chinese and
feudals quickly with a small economy, and tributes a stream of
food to his partner, the Frank bullet. The bullet builds 28
villagers in the dark age, then quickly advances through feudal
and castle age to reach imperial at around 21:30 with roughly 40
villagers, a forward castle, and 6-10 knights. The bullet then
builds a couple of trebs, upgrades to Cavaliers, buys blacksmith
upgrades, and attacks the opponents, while the sling continues to
tribute food to fund the upgrades. At about 23:00, the bullet is
on his own, and the sling starts building for a very late castle.
This is not an easy strategy to execute. Both players need to be
competent in the "2 minute drill" (see ). They need to communicate
well. The sling is totally dependent on the protection of the
bullet, as his total defense consists of the original TC and one
tower. The bullet must build a forward castle and attack
immediately when the first treb is produced at around 22:00, while
expanding his economy at home.
I use Chinese and Franks in this example. The Chinese are a good
fast-start civ, with roughly a 30-second jump on villager
production and a chance to loom with no time penalty. Their farm
and house bonuses reduce the wood requirements, allowing most of
the villagers to work on food. Other civs, particularly Teuton,
may be well suited for the sling role. I chose Franks for the
bullet. Their lower cost castles make it easier to get the
required stone on time. Their improved knights (+20% HPs and +2
LOS) make a good choice for a single unit to chase villies and to
protect the trebs.
The Tribute Schedule
Because of the complete interdependency of the two players, I've
tried to simplify the tribute and scheduling process as much as
possible. The Chinese sling player tributes only food. He sends
all his food at specified times. The bullet makes a small amount
of food on his own, and puts most of his villagers to work on
wood, gold and stone. The goal of the sling is to meet the
following schedule and approximate amounts:
Rev 2 note...with the sling now continuing to add villies in
feudal, the first tribute will be 50 smaller, the second tribute
may be 100-150 smaller, and later tributes should be larger.
At 11:00, first tribute, approximately 450 food. Bullet hits
feudal button immediately.
30 seconds after bullet feudals, tribute all food again, about
400 food (13:40?).
30 seconds after bullet castles, tribute all food again, about
550 food (17:00?).
Every minute or two after that, send all food (almost
200/minute). At about 23:00, bullet tells sling to stop, sling
can then expands, mines gold, and goes castle.
The Sling's Role
Use a standard Chinese startmake one villie, loom, get sheep
ASAP, resume villie production ASAP. Try to build to 19 villagers,
but you must hit the feudal button by 8:15 at the absolute latest,
and 7:50 is much better. (It's OK to be one villie short if you're
on time.) Put the first 12 villagers on food. Use sheep, lure
boars, and use the berries. Put the next 7 on wood. You need just
two houses, a mill and a lumber camp. Roll food gatherers into
farming as wood becomes available. Try to keep the ratio of 7
woodcutters to 12 food gatherers/farmers. Note for rev 2: Some
slingers report that 7 on wood leads to a wood surplus, and one
lumberjack can be assigned to farming.
Tell your partner when you hit the feudal button. When you reach
feudal, build a market. If you're running late, put 2, 3 or 4
villagers to work to speed the build time (use woodcutters, not
food producers). As soon as the market is complete, hit the
tribute screen and give all your food to your partner, who should
then immediately hit the feudal button. In rev 2, the slinger
would queue one villie before tributing, and then keep one villie
in the queue continuously, making the first tributes smaller and
the later ones larger. Ideally, you'll send 450 or so food (out of
600 or so starting). Use one villager to build one tower near your
wood supply. Continue to shift shepherds and berry pickers onto
farming. Make sure your scout is mapping your half of the map,
which includes the enemy territory closest to you. (You partner is
doing the other half of the map, cartography will give a total
picture.) Note that you should not build more than 2 houses, and
you shouldn't build a barracks or any military buildings.
Watch for your partner's "reached feudal" message, it should
happen about 2:15 after you tribute. 30 seconds after that (as
he's finishing his two feudal buildings) again tribute all the
food you have. This should be close to 400 units (more like 300 in
rev 2) at roughly 13:40 in the game.
Again, watch for your partner's "reached castle" message, and 30
seconds later (about 17:00?) tribute all your food, which should
net out to 500 for your partner. This should be enough to support
his jump to imperial. Now, use your market to sell 100 wood for 70
gold, and buy cartography when you have enough food, so you can at
least watch the fun.
At 19:00, and each minute after that, tribute whatever food you
have. (This should be around 300 at 19:00, and about 170 every
minute following. ...or more like 200 to 400 in rev 2) Do not buy
any upgrades, do not add new villagers. Rev 2: Buy farming and
woodcutting upgrades around 19:00 or 20:00. Your partner should be
able to set you free after your 23:00 tribute, which will let you
add 10 villagers and reach castle age at the 32 or 33-minute mark.
In rev 2, you should have about 40-50 villagers, so hit the gold
mining and castle immediately.
And remember, shout if you need military protection! Your partner
is going to be very busy with some complex multitasking, so he may
not notice if you are being attacked.
The Bullet's Role
Do a normal Frankish start, loom when you can. Use sheep, boars,
then berries as your food sources. Put the first 8 villagers on
food, and no more! For this strategy to work, you need huge
supplies of wood and gold. Put all your remaining villagers on
wood, except for the final four (villagers 25-28) who start mining
stone. When the first tribute arrives, you'll already have a small
(100-300) food surplus, cancel any queued villagers and feudal
immediately. Note for rev 2: Because your sling will be sending a
bit less food initially, putting 10 villagers on food (instead of
8) may be appropriate initially.
As you hit the feudal button, put 10 (yes, 10!) villagers on gold
immediately. While this will be overkill for the 200 gold needed
to castle, you'll need 800 to imp, about 600 for your knights, and
700 for your cavalier upgrade and first two trebs, so take that
gold mining seriously. Your villager breakdown while researching
feudal should be 8 on food (roll onto farming when berries run
out), 10 on gold, 4 on stone, and 6 on wood. (You should have a
significant wood surplus at this point.) Set the TC gather point
on wood. Build a barracks and a couple extra houses.
When you enter feudal at 13:20 or so, immediately queue two
villagers and build a blacksmith and a market. Tribute will arrive
as you're finishing those buildings, hit the castle button as soon
as the second villie comes out. If you're going to be a bit shy of
the 800 food, cancel the second villie and/or ask your partner to
send a bit more food immediately. You should now have 8 on food,
10 on gold, 4 on stone, and 8 on wood. Hit the castle button
While researching castle, buy cartography. Build two stables, set
the gather points to a forward location near the map center or
between your two enemies, assuming that you now have cartography.
(This will be your castle location.) Do not build any knights or
buy any upgrades yet, you'll need the food to reach imperial. When
you're 50% done researching castle age, get 5 or 6 villagers
moving toward your forward base. Because it will take about 90
seconds to build the castle, they have to be in place before you
reach castle age!
As you enter castle age at 16:40 or so, immediately start building
the castle. Queue 4 villies at your TC, send them to replace the
forward builders. (If you sent woodcutters ahead, put the TC
gather point on wood.) Don't worry about extra housing, the castle
will cover that for the moment. Your tribute should arrive while
you're still building the castle. If you're going to have less
than the required 1000 when the castle is complete, either delete
some queued villies or ask your partner for more food. (He should
be able to add >100 every 30 seconds.) If you have enough wood,
start building a second TC near your wood/gold source. Hit the imp
button at around 18:20.
While researching imperial, keep villagers streaming from your new
TC, and put them to work on farming, or wood if you don't have
enough wood to farm. (You may want to have your forward villies
make the new TC after the castle is done.) This should give you
another 6 villies by the time you imp, added to 4 during the
castle transition, 2 during the feudal transition, and your
original 28, for a total of 40 when you reach imp. Use any excess
food to build 6-8 knights, gather-pointed to the castle area. Use
excess food beyond that (if any) to buy the first blacksmith
attack and cavalry armor upgrades. Be sure to reserve 200 wood and
200 gold for the first treb.
The instant you reach imperial, queue your first treb, add a
second if possible. As soon as food permits, upgrade your 6-8
knights to cavaliers. Immediately attack one enemy when the first
treb comes out. Be careful to not waste your cavaliers running
into a TC or castle, use them to chase down villagers, but their
primary role is to stay alive to defend your treb(s). While
attacking, queue another treb or two and another 6-8 cavaliers.
(No villie production right now, all food for cavaliers and
upgrades.) As soon as the cavaliers are all queued, thank your
sling partner and let him start building.
Use the second treb (or second pair of trebs) to attack the second
opponent. Realistically, while fighting on two fronts, you won't
be able to do much econ expansion, but try to set the TC gather
points on wood and crank out more villies, in preparation for
huge-scale farming later. Buy the second attack and armor upgrades
when you can, get husbandry when you can. Keep scouting. There is
a good chance that the first opponent you hit will flee toward his
ally, so set your second group of cavaliers patrolling that border
to intercept them.
Through all of this, keep an eye on your partner's vulnerable
base. Be ready to send one of your cavalier teams to the rescue,
or send food/gold tribute to help him get to castle age. (With
multiple TCs, he at least has a chance of surviving an attack.)
When it works, this should be a nearly unbeatable strategy. On the
other hand, this is a rather "brittle" strategy, in that a
significant mistake by either player will guarantee disaster. Both
players have to be using the same planif the sling sends wood and
gold when the bullet was expecting food, they'll both die. In this
outline, the tribute is purely food for simplicity and
predictability, and the bullet has to remember to not buy military
units or upgrades until imperial research is under way. The sling
needs to continue to provide food for the first minute or two of
imperial, to help the bullet add cavaliers for his second army.
The role of bullet is much more challenging and much more
exciting. (A "1650" rated player should be able to do a decent job
of the sling role, but even a "1700" player may need a bit of
practice to really get comfortable with the bullet role.) If there
is a big difference in skills, have the more skilled player take
the bullet role. If both players are veterans, take turnsthe
sling role can be seriously boring (best case) or frustrating when
The success of this strategy depends on speed to imperial, and an
immediate, aggressive, crippling attack on at least one opponent.
Attack immediately when the first treb comes out, targeting enemy
castles, TCs, and wood operations in that order. (Because the treb
will take out so many buildings, trying to cut off wood may be
much more effective than cutting off gold. Wood is needed to
rebuild, and wood is needed to make pikes.)
This write-up assumes a two-player team. This strategy can be much
safer with a third player to quickly reach castle and make a
mobile armyto harass the opponents or ward off early rushes. The
third player should build most of his military in or near the