Captn Kidd's Strategy Guide for ES@Pilgrims
First, let me pat my coworkers on the back. This map is absolutely, positively the 'kewlest' and most fun random map I've ever played. Jon Peters, Greg Street and Kevin Holme have done a superb job of mixing in equal amounts of fun, strategy and variety. We've only had a couple days to test out strategies, so this can be nothing more than a quick guide…I'm sure there are better strats yet to be discovered.
For the non-US citizens in our audience, "Pilgrims" and the timing of this map may need some explanation. Thursday Nov. 23rd is the Thanksgiving holiday in the US, a day set aside to take time to appreciate all we have to be thankful for. It's traditionally celebrated with a turkey dinner. It supposedly dates back directly to the settlers that landed on "Plymouth Rock" in Massachusetts in the early 17th century. These settlers are now referred to as "the Pilgrims". (The term "Pilgrims" was applied long after the fact. And the "direct" link to the Pilgrim's first Thanksgiving, and the status of "Plymouth Rock" as the exact landing spot may well belong in the realm of mythology. But the way I see it, even if it's a 19th century holiday, and the settlers weren't pilgrims, and they landed on the beach instead of a rock, well, it's still a heck of a holiday!) So, the theme of this Thanksgiving Holiday map is that of a small band of settlers trying to survive on a large, unexplored continent…with wolves, and lots and lots of turkeys. Enjoy.
You start on your own island. Your allies and enemies are on similar islands, all very near you. You get your normal starting number of villagers, plus a transport…and no scout. On your island, you can expect to find no wolves, perhaps two sheep, about a half dozen "straggler" trees. You can also expect a single rock and single hunk of gold for mining, both inconveniently located. Your primary food source is the shore fish that ring your island.
Somewhere on the other side of the map is a huge continent, with wolves, turkeys, deer and boars, and many resources. Your starting island's meager resources are barely enough to get you started, so transporting to the new world is going to have to happen early.
The Obvious Start
Use your typical HCCCC start and build a pair of houses. Get the first villagers on food. You'll want to use your transport to scout the perimeter of your island ASAP, to learn where the shore fish are hiding. Because shore fish are almost as quick to gather as boar meat, you can get a lot of food quickly…if you can limit the walking distance. For that reason, proper location of a mill or two is absolutely crucial. You'll probably also want to drop a lumber camp somewhere opposite your TC, to prevent your woodcutters from wearing out their shoes.
At some point, you'll need to get villagers over to the mainland to keep your wood supply running. When you do this, and how, determines your course.
One useful strategy is to use your transport to explore the shoreline of the new world. If you're early enough, the transport will discover some turkeys, claim them, and allow you to use the turkey to explore the interior of the new world. You may even want to send your empty transport over before exploring your own island, just to make sure your allies don't get all the turkey scouts.
You'll want to keep your first TC busy making new villagers non-stop. Once you have a good number of villagers on shore fish, and a few gathering wood, you'll certainly want to get a few over to the mainland before you run out of wood. You'll find that you can keep your transport busy all the time, just ferrying groups of five villagers to the new world.
Fishing and Boat Wars
Wood is in limited supply on the starting islands, but once you've set up camp on the mainland, you can drop a couple of docks and start some serious fishing in these rich oceans. But beware, your opponents may try to reach feudal quickly, in order to send out a few galleys to sink your fishing fleet and cut off your transport routes.
The Early Invasion
How about going for a quick feudal time, then invading (and towering) your opponent's home island(s)? You can severely impact his early food supply, cut him off from his first few hundred stone and gold, and basically mess up his early game… all for a small investment.
The TC Transplant
Or…how about cranking out villagers in the dark age, moving to the mainland, then deleting your initial TC and rebuilding on the mainland? It's not that much more expensive than a lumber camp, mill and mining camp, and lets you boom your population on the mainland far earlier. The jury's still out on this one, but it has some interesting potential.
The Quick Scout
OK, how about this one….get to feudal ASAP, and crank out 2-3 scouts on the mainland. You can spot all the gold, stone and enemy locations for your whole team, and claim most of the turkeys, giving your team a huge edge.
You'll be able to work together and cover each other (and double- or triple-team an opponent) much more easily if you all land on the same end of the mainland. Be careful to leave enough space, however…if you end up farming, you may run out of room for building placement.
OK, so what do I do?
You're starting to get a feel for the wide-open strategy options on this map. In a 3v3 game, I'd suggest a mix like this:
The two players nearest the mainland immediately send their transports to the mainland (empty), to try to claim turkeys for exploration. If successful, you won't need to have one player go the early-scout route, which is terribly expensive. Get cartography to share the info as early as you can.
Have at least one player go for a fast feudal and a galley rush. A pack of 4-5 galleys can do really really bad things to the transports, and can pave the way to your private ownership of the fishing resources. Since real estate around your new world bases may be at a premium, sea control helps a lot by avoiding the need for farms.
If you spot a really sweet resource location, have one player delete his TC (late dark age) and rebuild in the new world.
Get a military ASAP. By 20 minutes, EVERYBODY is going to be going TC-crazy on the mainland, a few military units can totally shut down the opponent's building spree.
Work together! Build complementary units (like archers and cav), get cartography, and cover each other. Because the new world gets developed so quickly, teamwork and communication are crucial.
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I love this rms, it is great fun to play with people
I can see how this map would just kick butt with alot of people. Unfortunately, its impossible to play with even one computer player, whether an ally or not. They never leave the first island. So after awhile, they run out of resources and then just stand there.
So if you play with any computer players, either find a new AI script or forget this map.