SERUSH - Siege Engine Rush

Article written by Socvazius
Originally published on 08-22-2000 ; updated on 08-17-2014
Tags: Military Archives


This article shows how to pull off a Early-Castle attack(18-20 min) using seige as the bulk of your army, while leaving your economy in a powerful condition. The idea of this strategy is to catch you opponent totally off guard, as he/she was generally expecting an attack with cavalry, not with powerful seige engines. Surprisingly, a siege attack can cost almost less than an attack with heavy cavalry. Even though seige engines are slightly more expensive, the effect that it has on the power of your economy is approximately the same. That is because in the Castle Age when most offensive players are trying to get enough resources(with a strong army) to jump to the Imperial Age, they do not need nearly as much wood as they do food. The best strength of this strategy occurs if you hit your opponent approximately :30-1:00 before they reach the Castle Age. That strength is that there is no effective counter to seige engines in the Feudal Age. The fact that your opponent has to simply take the beating until they are able to train knights will give you an enormous advantage. This strategy is designed to hit your enemy unexpectedly and keep the pressure on, while your economy is building for your jump to the Imperial Age, where you will finish the opponent off.

Civilization Choice

The Celts are the best civilization to conduct a SERUSH, as they are an economically fast civilization. They are able to steal the sheep from their opponent rather easily, causing the opponent to slow down while the Celtic player is economically ahead. Despite popular opinion, the strategy of sheep-stealing actually is rather useful, given a player has the micromanaging abilities. Along with being quick out of the starting gates, Celts also have a very powerful seige line, with both 20% faster firing seige engines and seige workshops that build 20% faster. In order to support the large amount of wood that seige engines require, Celtic villagers gather wood 15% faster. When the majority of the enemy army and defensive buildings are destroyed, the fleet footed Woad Raiders can kill the opponent's villagers before they can escape.
So as you can see, the Celts are superbly built for Seige Rushes, though several other civilizations can pull off them with similar success. These civilizations include the Japanese(1/2 cost drop off sites and fast working fishing ships equals quick advancement. Also, the fact that you save 1/2 the wood for drop off sites means that you will have more wood for your seige engines.) and the Vikings(Free wheelbarrow/hand cart and cheap docks equal fast advancement, along with not having to spend on a large amount of wood on them.)

Dark Age: Build up your economy

You should que your starting 4 villagers and build 2 houses, sending your scout cavalry to continually scout rings around your area. When the houses are built, order your villagers to kill your sheep. Keep your Town Center gather point at your sheep until you have 11 villagers, where you will change it to one of the trees beside your TC. Build another house. As you start gathering your last sheep(Approximately 9:00-9:30), order one of your shepherds to lure a boar and send one of your shepherds to build a mill beside your berry patch. When the boar is close to your TC, order you villagers to drop off their food and kill the boar. Continue making villagers, with the gather point set to wood. By this time, most of the nearby trees should be chopped down. Order all but one of your lumberjacks to build a lumbercamp beside a wood patch. The remaining lumberjack will finish chopping down and stragglers. Build another house. When your killed boar is gathered, lure the second boar and kill it. Build another house. When you complete training 18 villagers, change your TC gather point to your berry patch until you reach 20 villagers, where you will change it back to wood. By now(Approximately 9:30-10:00), your second boar should be gathered, so send 8 of your villagers to build a mill beside the nearest deer herd and kill each deer in groups of 4. The remaining 2 villagers should build a mining camp beside a gold patch and mine it. Build another house. Keep training villagers and when your villager count reaches 25, you should order your newly created villagers to start farming. When your villager population finally reaches 29, you should have 500 food and should click the "Advance Feudal" button(Approximately 11:30-12:00). Though if you do not, research loom, then advance when you have the required food. By now, your 8 hunting villagers should have gathered the 4 deer in the herd. Order them to build farms around your town center. As you are advancing to the Feudal Age, use your scout cavalry to scout your enemy. When you reach the Feudal Age(Approximately 13:30-14:00), your villager task count should be this:

Total Villagers: 29

Food Gatherers: 15

Farmers: 11

Berry Gatherers: 4

Lumberjacks: 12

Gold Miners: 2

Feudal Age: Jump to the Castle Age

As soon as you enter the Feudal Age(Approximately 13:30-14:00), use your lumberjacks to build the appropriate buildings to advance to the Castle Age(The blacksmith and market.)(Also Remember, a blacksmith is needed to build a seige workshop.). Along with those 2 buildings put down a barracks and archery range(queing around 4 skirmies) in your village(along with outposts, defensive towers and pallisade walls, if you feel that you need them.), so that you have a small defense against the best counter to this strat, the Feudal Rush(This will slow you down slightly, but if you are able to stop a Feudal Rush, your opponent will most likely be worse off than you are.) Immediately upon 2 Feudal buildings being completed, click the "Advance Castle" button(Approximately 14:30-15:00.)(You should have enough food and gold by this time.). But if you do not have the resources(most unlikely), you should use some of your lumberjacks to change to a gold miner or food gatherer(depending on which resources is needed), switching them back to wood cutting when you have enough of that particular resource. You could also trade wood or stone at the market, but you generally get less resources than you pay. When you have the resources, advance to the Castle Age. When your berry gatherers have gathered all of the berries, switch them to farming. If you have the resources, research double bit axe(+20% wood chopping speed) first, then gold mining(+15% gold mining speed), in order that you have enough resources to support your Castle Age army. While you are advancing, order three of your farmers and one of your lumberjacks to build a forward base near your enemy. The forward base should compose of 2 barracks and one stable. Start training 2 spearmen in each of your barracks, with their gather point set to the buildings. When you reach the Castle Age(Approximately 17:00-18:00), your villager task count should be this:

Total Villagers: 29

Food Gatherers: 12

Farmers: 12

Lumberjacks: 11

Gold Miners: 2

Castle Age: Take to the offensive

When you reach the Castle Age(Approximately 17:00-18:00), build 2 siege workshops in your forward base. Along with building your forward base, keep training villagers, tasking them to whatever resource is needed, after you order 2 to mine stone. When the siege workshops are completed, start building 2 scorpions in one and 1 mangonel/1 battering ram in the other, with their gather point at the area inbetween your enemy and your forward base. Train 3 knights and 2 more spearmen. Keep building scorpions after your initial engines are built, and move deeper into your enemy's territory when you have 4 scorpions. Garrison 4 of your spearmen into your battering ram, so that it moves more quickly, has a higher attack, and can ungarrison to defend itself. First target the gold and stone piles, attempting to cut off your opponent's ability to train high quality troops(such as knights, the most effective seige engine counter). Destroy houses with your battering ram(so that your enemy will have to wait for new houses to be built in order to train new units), defending your seige engines with your spearmen. Keep building scorpions and a couple more battering rams and move deeper and deeper into your enemy's territory. Try to destroy your enemy's military buildings and begin raiding with your knights.

With your scorpion army growing, try to mow down any unit that gets in your range. Also, use your long-ranged mangnonel to eat away at your opponent's town center(villagers can ungarrison and destroy your battering rams). Try to contol all of the nearby gold and stone piles with your scorpions, using these areas as bastions for your attacks. Keep razing houses with your rams and pump out more mangnonels, destroying the town center.

Eventually, even with repeated battering, your enemy will reach the Castle Age. Put up a castle when you have enough stone, and train several woad raiders(or knights, if you are not Celtic). Send them to sweep through the area and kill any villager they find. Guard your seige engines with a couple woad raiders/knights and order your seige engines to get into staggered formation, as your opponent may try to crush your scorpions with mangonels. With the ability to build more TCs, your opponent will try to expand quickly. To combat this, try to completely surround him/her and patrol the borders with woad raiders, having around 4 scorpions for support, each. With your economy booming and your enemy crippled, it is time to advance to the Imperial Age and finish your opponent off.

Imperial Age: Move in for the Kill

Tighten the noose around your enemy, hitting him/her with waves of scorpions and fleet footed, fast training woad raiders(or knights). The is a small chance that your enemy might have sent some villagers to a "refuge" earlier in the game, so send out scout/light cavalry to scan the map. If you find a base of your opponent's, send the proper troops to destroy it(woad raiders/knights are usually enough, but you may want to send a battering ram). Build a couple trebuchets to support your rams and finish off what is left of your opponent.

SERUSH Antidote

So you're on the recieving end of the SERUSH? Sadly for me, there are counters for the SERUSH. The best strategic counter is hitting your opponent before he hits you, a determined Feudal Rush. Since the SERUSH player will already have some defenses put up(skirmishers, walls, etc.), be sure to have a couple of men-at-arms along with your core army of archers to take down the pallisades(if you hit stone walls, try to find a way around them), single towers, and skirmishers. Hit your opponent hard and fast, so that there's a chance for you to come out ahead.

There is another counter to SERUSHes, the Meso American civilizations. Along with being able to conduct a powerful Feudal Rush, they can hold their ground in the Castle Age, an age which both can reach rather quickly. It will be rather hard for a SERUSHer to upgrade his infantry to long swordsmen or train enough in order to counter the quick eagle warriors that have a bonus attack vs. seige engines, as he/she may not have enough food and gold during the beginning of the attack.