On the Road to Expert 5: Castle Probing

Article written by DaRq_DarkJihad
Originally published on 11-11-1999 ; updated on 08-17-2014
Tags: Basics Archives

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Ok just a quick note first... i just bought a 3m precise mousing surface and wanted to say.. ITS GREAT... get one they're really cool and work oh so much better than a regular mouse pad. Several problems I've had/been having with mouse accuracy have dissapeared.


Castle probe with push to imperial:

Many people over at the gx forum (www.gamersx.com/aoe) seem to feel that attacking in castle is generally a futile effort and should be avoided at all costs.. I DON'T agree. I tend to take the same view as Staffa in that you don't always need to kill the TC right away, and that in general attacking in castle can be a good thing, you've just got to know what you're doing and evaluate the situation.

With that in mind, today I bring you my version of the castle probe. In this attack you need to do several things:

1. Advance to castle in less than 20 minutes, with as many villagers as possible (ie on water maps build boats like a madman)

2. Build DIVERSE buildings... but stable first

3. Have a lot of guys on wood initially in castle

Ok basically heres how it goes:

You castle... you've already gotten the armor upgrade for knights, double bit axe and gold mining. Grab two-three wood choppers and immediately tc your wood. Instead of getting wheelbarrow build 2-3 villagers out of your TC and have them build a TC on your stone (preferably as near to your gold as possible so your goldies have a place to run) Produce 2-3 knights from your stable, several spearmen from your barracks and a couple of archers from your range. Use your forward builders to first build a seige workshop, then another Town center. Hopefully your scout is still alive... if hes not oh well... Grab the scout and knights and run them towards your enemys town... you're looking for unprotected villagers... preferably those on gold first, then wood. If you spot the tc, go ahead and run towards it but if the villagers go to garrison run away. If they don't kill 1-2 and then run... your opponents not that stupid. Run your knights around and around your opponents town looking for villagers that aren't garrisoned.. .and stay away from the tc until you spot villagers going back to work. If you see any pikes (you probably will) RUN AWAY. Thats a basic knight rush. Now heres part B... while doing this continue to spend all your food on more villagers(you DON'T need to spend any on military except a little for spearmen since you're buildings archers and seige mostly) You've spotted pikes... move your archers and spearmen for opponents knights (upgrade to crossbow please) and seige at them... which should absolutely slaughter the pikes at least. Proceed to smash stuff... tc if its close, military buildings if its not. Don't spend too much on military. Keep building more tcs and villagers and now really start to put them on food (25 mins into game) Keep those knights which hopefully are still alive running around and harrassing villagers. Spend little or no more on military (cept maybe a coupla knights for seige), build a castle somewhere between you and your opponent, preferably where he'd have pass through to counter attack with the same units that beat your attack off. Build villagers and more villagers and imperial asap. Now attack in imperial with whatever your civ does best, I suggest paladins but whatever works for you. Essentially your goal is to disrupt not to kill in castle while preparing yourself for a strong imperial. Use Trebs to smash his buildings and keep expanding your economy, if your minimap doesn't look like its covered with your color you're not building enough villagers, tcs, buildings etc. Obviously i've ommited almost all the economy, and buildings in here.. refer to earlier strat for that. This will only work in conjunction with my previous strats on economy... if you screw up your villager distribution too much (realizing that on this strat you're initially incredibly skewed towards wood, needing only enough food for Villagers, Crossbow, a couple of knights, a couple of spearmen, and some upgrades) or don't build enough TCs you could be toast. REMEMBER TO KEEP BUILDINGS VILLAGERS. Executing this strat is something like 80% economy.

Counters to this:

Walls and imperial jump... if hes got trebs before you do you might be in trouble, then again maybe not especially on a big map where your superior economy will have time to equalize and destroy his military. Just remember to wall and run. Feudal Rush... MAYBE.. if well executed and you don't play too well.

Things that shouldn't work:

BIG CASTLE ATTACK: FOUR TCs in your initially area smash anything except seige, and he shouldn't have much seige, its very expensive as far as gold/wood goes... the resources we've been harrassing.

Saved Game Example: I'm sure I don't do this exactly, and in fact i used my post knight force mostly to smash his forward base but this is sort of what you want, and also watch where and how many TCs i get up.

Jihad shows castle probing
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