Death by Choking

Article written by Ryan
Originally published on 12-06-1999 ; updated on 08-17-2014
Tags: Military Archives

I've been playing AOE since it first came out, followed it through the rise of Rome and now like you I love Age of kings. All this experience has taught me a few things about the game. In this article I will outline my strategy for a slow but certain victory. I call it death by choking because you win by slowly constricting the freedom of your enemies until eventually they have no options. If you have the temperament for a slow game where you build towards victory then read on.

The strategy summarized is this: Take a defensive military stance to start, putting all your resources into growth and technologies. If you use only as much energy as is required to fend off your enemies how can they possibly ever keep up? If you and your opponents are relatively equal in strategic ability then you can try to tilt the playing field using better technologies. Eventually you will be far enough ahead that you can make the change into an all military society and begin your sweep to victory.

Here are some key points to consider.

The DARK AGES: This is not a military age for anyone. Everyone is so weak you only need worry about falling behind. So be quick!! The "," hotkey puts you on your scout, get him moving. Then one villager ("." hotkey to see the first inactive villager) is put on "B" "E" (build -house) hotkey(s). Then to the town center and queue up as many villagers as possible. Why am I writing this? I'm not the type to give a blow by blow of the whole game but these first moments are crucial. The quicker you get things rolling the sooner your growth curve is going to start it's climb. Do you ever look at the timeline when you've finished? It tells the tale in most games; you must expand fastest to advance first, you must advance early to build the advantage necessary to win. Use the dark ages to build up a solid work force. It's possible to keep the town center churning them out non-stop from the word go.

Remember to
1) make food the priority
2) build houses early(before you get the "unit production stopped...."message)
3) keep those villagers moving "." (inactive villagers...)!!!!!!!! In your spare time get that scout out there and explore. Note a good source of stone and gold. Send sheep back on their own. AND LOOK FOR CHOKE POINTS.

What is a CHOKEPOINT? A choke point is an important feature of the terrain. One of the best examples is the marshy bits that connect large land masses in some games. You may have to look carefully to see a way to close off your lands but there is almost always a way ( A long row of cliffs here a pond there maybe a forest....) If you throw up walls on the chokepoint the enemy will have to expend a lot of energy and time to get through or around it.In the coming age you will be trying to slam the door on your enemies by closing the choke points that access your territory.

When you trigger the advance you should be looking to set up a stone mine, a goldmine and be moving villagers towards the chokepoints. You should also build a barracks although you shouldn't have to use it...yet...

The FEUDAL AGE: did you manage to close those chokepoints? A gate with extending walls and a tower are virtually impenetrable to anything your opponents can send towards you. I know that there are always ways around walls...particularly using transports but don't worry about that. Let your enemies build up a battalion of militiamen and a flotilla of puny transports. If they sneak some in then ring the town bell and let them see what they can do in a hail of arrows.Just remeber not to get tricked into this yourself; use your energy towards building the population so you can develop the technology. What good is a dozen swordsmen against 2cavaliers with plate armor? Or some castle units? Your time will come.

The feudal age should be about wood and buildings. Build towers liberally and in spaced pairs!! If there is a rush before you have murder holes then a lone tower is a sitting duck. Put them down in pairs. If there's a flair-up garrison the towers with whoever's around until the culprit is shot to pieces,then it's back to work!! Build a blacksmith and get the upgrades started. get that double bit axe tech. from the logging camp. Build houses to spare. The end of this age should see you with all the military buildings and the beginnings of your army. The timeline has two colors one for civilians and one for military units. Your's should show a thin dark line until this point; now you can start to build up a fighting force.

The CASTLE AGE: Now is when you have to keep on your toes. Up until now your enemies will have been too weak to breach the walls but most of them probably have a siege workshop by now and a castle in the works. When they start to storm the walls you will need to be ready. That means new defenses. At every gate recommend stationing three knights. They will have to rush out and destroy any siege weapons. A couple or three priests are also great converting enemy infantry in their spare time and healing up those knights if they survive a sortie. Each gate should have a couple towers and I like to garrison them with infantry to mop up leakers (enemy units that slip through the gates) A hint the "stand ground" posture is a good way to keep those archers inside the gates. The main thing is to keep the miners mining, the farmers farming. If you're being hassled by boats convert a few fireships. If the sea is really a problem build a "secret" dock around the corner and send the navy down when it's strong enough. I like to build a dock in a pond inside the walls; there I can develop naval technology undisturbed. Try to get a castle built and churn out a few special units as a shockforce if one of your borders is really getting hot.

The IMPERIAL AGE: this is the only age to win in! You might try earlier if you happen to find all the relics but this is unlikely.Usually if a player diverts energy to a wonder before he's up the tech tree his opponents will come down hard with units he can't compete against.

If you've followed this recipe you should find yourself getting to the apex of technology and resources before your opponents. This is the moment of truth!! Start pumping out military units as fast as you can! Group them using the "control","(numbers1-9)" hotkeys into units of like types(archers,infantry etc...) If you reach a population max then look at your stockpiles. Highlighting and deleting villagers is a good way to make room for soldiers. If your enemies have done anything other than develop (ie/ wasted time and energy on failed missions..) you should find yourself outside the castle door by morning and it's nice to enter the field with a horde of slashing elite samurai when your opponent is trying to make it to the imperial age! Good luck and have fun!