Late game scouting and walling - the essentials. (kinda long,
There is a lot of talk on the list about early strategies.
Build orders. Times for feudal and castle. Flush/Anti-flush.
Basically ways to quickly crush your enemy. If you execute
these correctly, you may end the game in castle or even
earlier. But what happens when you are very evenly matched by
your opponent and the game is dragged out? Usually epic
battles ensue. What you dont want to happen is have a few
pesky villagers ruin it for you by sneaking in. This post
regards some basic late castle/post imperial tactics to make
sure you dont get burned.
There are a few good ways to make sure that if you get
beaten, you are going to know where they are coming from and
will at least have SOME time to prepare for the attack. And a
lot really has to do with keeping up the same strategies we
use early on to make sure we are aware of oncoming flushes and
Early scouting is ESSENTIAL. But what about late game? Chances
are good that your first scout is dead, and you are
concentrating on building a military. Scouts are cheap (either
80 food or 20 food / 50 gold for an eagle). Build 3 (if its
early) or more, maybe have 5-10 new scouts, only for scouting
purposes. If its a reveal map, this is still essential to make
sure you know where your opponent is relocating to or building
up a military.
Patrol around the remaining resources. If you havent
expanded to grab remote resources, have a scout or 2 (on
patrol) move from gold/stone site to site keeping tabs on
your enemy and whether you can eventually move here or not.
Scout your own base, especially the outskirts.Have a scout
run around the outside of your base, checking for enemy
developments... a castle being built by a few villagers
right by your remote gold can really put a damper on your
late game economy.
Scout EVERYWHERE you havent seen / dont have direct view
of.If you dont have direct view of an area via units or
buildings, your enemy might be moving there. Having scouts
patrol around remote locations, even if there isnt anything
of interest (key choke point, gold/stone, etc) there, they
might be massing troops or relocating their woodcutters. You
need to make sure they dont expand and keep tabs on where
they do. Having 5 or so scouts moving around the map
individually gives you a very good way to keep track of the
ENTIRE map, not just where you are currently located.
Expand your LOS with houses and outposts.
Houses - Your former radar houses (if you had any) are now
more or less in the middle of your base. Just because you
are in imperial doesnt mean you should stop building them.
Houses are cheap, you need them, and they have good LOS for
the cost. If you have 100+ villagers you can spare a few to
run around and throw down houses ALL OVER THE PLACE. This
may seem dumb but if you take away 5 woodcutters, you wont
notice a drop in wood anymore and these might just save you.
Outposts - In imperial with the LOS upgrades, outposts have
a RIDICULOUS line of sight. And they are fairly inexpensive.
If you are really short on stone you may want to stick with
houses. Otherwise these can provide better LOS where houses
might be lacking, in certain spots like:
Behind your walls
Edge of water
Deep in a forest - On BF maps woodcutters can cut quite a
path through wood, as well as siege onagers. On a reveal
map it will be obvious to see where to put outposts to see
them coming. On other map types, dropping an outpost here
or there will save you some anger if they do choose the
route of cutting a path through the forest.
There are other good posts on walling, but its important that
walls are not just useful early on.
Keep villagers out. Its imperative to keep enemy villagers
out of your town late. You might not even see their
buildings if they are just out of your LOS or even if they
walk through your LOS and hide comfortably in the back of
your base. You may not have walled early because you felt
comfortable attacking, and didnt need the protection. Late
game, when wood flows like water, its nothing to walk 6
villies in a remote corner of your base, drop 10 stables and
kick out like 80 hussars and ruin your nice econ. Or if its
an even game and your opponent is doing well, a castle in
your town can go up with a few villagers and wreck you.
Again, you can spare some villagers now. Make it a point to
walk around and wall off. Make sure woodcutters havent cut
around your walls making them useless, and if they have,
lengthen them. Even if you are walling with palisades, they
will keep villagers out, or if they try to attack them, you
will be notified of it and can respond.
Ruin trade and economy with walls. Building a palisade
around a lumber camp early was bad for your opponent because
of the loss of wood. Now, that is not an issue. But
palisading a lumber camp late, if undetected, can cause a
LOT of villagers to walk a LOT farther. It may seem dumb and
its clearly visible on the mini-map, but you may be able to
get away with it if the battle is intense, as it usually is
at this point. Also if you find a trade cart path, those
speedy buggers are hard to kill. However if you build a
palisade, you could cut off that path and kill trade dead.
At this point, stopping the flow of gold might stop their
Keep out the backdoor attack. This is what really made me
want to post this. I got burned bad with a group of 50
elephants come in and wreck my econ a few games ago, very
late in the game. Sure on a tiny map this probably wont
happen. With a 2v2 or 3v3 on a large or giant map though,
this is very possible. The same walling to keep the
villagers out may not keep out 10 paladins for long, and you
could lose your villager population trying to build barracks
to counter. Stone walls can get pricey, but for your core
group of farmers/woodcutters, its a good idea to wall them
in. That way when the enemy starts beating on your stone
walls, you will have time to react.
Mental effects. When your opponent sees a wall, he might
just try to go around it. Even if its a palisade, mentally,
its something he has to knock down and the first response is
to try to get around it, not take it out for fear of quick
counterattack. They cant just walk in and see what you have
behind there, and mentally its easy to think you might have
more behind that wall than you really do. Expanding walls
constantly makes your force look a lot bigger than it is,
which is a good thing. Keep em scared!
So summing up - Dont be afraid to keep up the same strategies
that kept you safe in the Dark Age, even when you reach
Imperial. Houses, walls, outposts, and scouts are cheap but
they will give you a better picture of what is going on around
the entire map, not just where you are concentrated on, which
late game will be the battle.
Disclaimer : This is more or less geared towards beginners,
but its a good idea to keep this stuff in mind... let me know
what you think and post your own ideas about late game defense
with scouting and walling!