Nomad Strategy

Article written by Magicmel with additions from Dedkrikit
Originally published on 01-24-2001 ; updated on 08-17-2014
Tags: Random Map Archives

Luck does have a role to play, mainly in 1v1 games, but it takes a rear seat to patience, basic AOK skills (read On the Road to Expert Series) and flexibility. Below you will find a generic strategy for playing Nomad. As with all AOK: TC games you should be able to win with any civilization.

Most "nomad newbies" panic at the sight of a blank map. Their first reaction is to resign, always to the frustration of more experienced players. The more appropriate reaction is patience. Even though the nomad map has more variation than standard random map scripts (hence the fun), it does have a certain degree of consistency. Use this consistency to your advantage.

Your first priority is to find a good location for your tc. It should be placed close to extensive sources of food. Do not be lured by the piles of gold or stone without food. Remember, the first stages of AOK require large amounts of food and wood to advance, not gold and stone. Good locations include shore fish, boars, deer, or berries. Don't be tied to any particular type of food source. Our favorite location has three boars, shore fish, deer, a thick forest and a pile of gold. (For a great debate see also "The Key to a Great Nomad Start" in AOK Battlefield Strategy Forum.)

"WAIT!!!!," you say, "I would have to be lucky to find such a spot." No, just patience and map knowledge. Patience means walking a little and not panicking as the other scores rocket up from houses or docks, both are useless at this early stage in the game. Map knowledge means looking near the water's edge, toward the outside of the map. Depending upon the location of your villagers, walk them to a spot near the two villagers that are closest to each other, collecting stray sheep along the way and noting the location of gold and stone (in a team game your allies may ask early for your help finding gold and stone outside of their line of sight). As your villagers reach the area scout it, looking for resources and other tcs. Once you have found the right spot build your tc with at least two, preferably three, villagers.

If by chance one of your villagers were on the opposite side of a large or giant map, it might be best to stay put. Instead of crossing the map to build a tc, which has already been completed, villager three can walk to the nearest shore and build a mill. This will delay your dock production (see below), but will give you a quick food injection. This villager will also be key to later building a dock, houses and a second base. He/she may even be able to help out an ally in need by constructing military buildings or towers close to the his/her base.

After your tc is up, villager allotment will take practice until you find the right balance. Your goal should be to produce a seamless flow of villagers, fishing boats, and houses. After the tc is built and producing villagers, use one villager to build a house, one to fish/eat sheep and one to gather wood. At this point multiple tasking skills become important. You will need to alternate your tc's gather point between food and wood. Use the third villager to build a dock, and then explore, building the necessary houses and outposts along the way. Remember, with the tc and the dock producing you will need houses sooner than you think. Instead of the normal two villager cushion between your real population and actual population, you will about a five villager difference. Build your houses and outpost in concentric circles away from your tc, creating a visual frontier which will allow you to spot those annoying forward builders. Once you have enough extra wood, order about four villagers to build a lumber camp away from your tc; never put all of your eggs in one basket. Remember the name of the game is Age of Empires. Control of as much territory as soon as possible without overextending is a key to success. When your population nears, or exceeds thirty, you will be ready to advance to feudal between 14 and 16 minutes. The speed at which you reach feudal will depend upon how many villagers you allocate to food gathering in addition to fishing ships.

You have several choices at this point depending upon the resources at hand during the transition to and immediately after reaching feudal. Use all of your basic AOK knowledge to make the best choices. You might want to build a gold or stone mine. Stone would be used to protect your resources with towers or launch an offensive strike early. Gold is necessary for war galleys which could protect you fishing fleet or could attack you opponents' boats. You can also use gold to support an early knight rush once you reach castle. Researching double bit ax and building a barracks are a must. Double bit ax will boost your wood chopping, and the barracks will allow you to build your feudal age military building, especially a stable. Your second feudal age building is a matter of preference. I have found that a market is the most useful. By selling resources early you can usually jump from feudal to castle in a very short period of time.

The transition from feudal to castle is really the last uniquely nomad period in the game. Hunt all available boar and deer to delay farming, but you should begin the transition to farming around your tc. You can not rely on fishing boats to reach imperial or to field an army.

We don't promise this strategy will lead you to victory every time. It will, however, allow you to have fun. Even if one of your initial villagers gets killed, don't quit. Just alter your game plan, have a little patience and learn from your mistakes.