Ask Sandy XX

Article written by Sandy Petersen
Originally published on 05-02-2000 ; updated on 03-13-2017
Tags: General Info, Ask Sandyman, Interviews

Q) Won't the teutons be even more handi-capped in Dm play since they lack the l.c. upgrade which now has an aditional upgrade....I mean their lack of the l.c. is one of the major reason's they are bypassed in Dm play and now with an additional upgrade they will be even more vulnerable to the "scout" rush. How (if) did you address this?

A) I find it hard to believe that the Teutons will be more vulnerable to a scout rush now than they used to be. Their defensive capabilities are just about as strong as before up to Castle.

Q) Does the Jaguar Knight beat a TK? And is the cost resonable, are they more expensive than regular infantry? Or what? And does he have a special Unique cabability?

A) The Jaguar Warrior (we could have called him a Knight, but didn’t), is somewhat more expensive than regular infantry. They have a semi-unique ability. That is, one other unit in the game gets it.

Q) Will there be an upgrade for hand cannoners?

A) We did not add arquebuses to the game. We did, however, improve hand cannoneers.

Q) Do the Koreans have any special bonus for turtle boats

A) Besides being the only civ in the world that gets them?

Q) Has Captain Kidd made a big difference to playtesting?

A) We are much faster at finding balance problems and bugs than we used to be.

Q) Do you believe (as I do) that the only real balance issues come from not playing AOK within the spirit of the rules?

A) Well, I don’t believe that the ONLY balance issues stem from this, but a great many surely do.

Q) I use Elephants alot and I want to know if there will be a unit better to fight against them

A) Halberdiers are better than pikemen vs. elephants. The Persian UT however, in my opinion, helps the Persian player much more than the existence of halberdiers hurts them.

Q) Remeber that picture that showed a message board in an ES office, that gave away the Huns by saying "Give Huns . . ."? What exactly where you going to give the Huns?

A) That picture was in the office of an MS playtester. It was not at ES. Therefore I can’t be sure what Kevin was planning to ask us for. Maybe cheaper cav archers.

Q) heavy cavalry does rule the battlefield (3 pikes really is not a counter for something), it justs costs the earth to field enormous armies of them

A) Well, halberdiers make the lives of heavy cavalry somewhat more problematic.

Q) Firstly, petards. From what I gather, these are some sort of explosive siege weapon that you roll up to a wall and boom, it does the damage.

A) A petard was a keg or bucket filled with gunpowder. You were supposed to carry it up to the enemy gate or wall, nail it on, light the fuse, and get away before you were blown up. Usually you got blown up (i.e., “hoist” through the air), though. Petards are not very good vs units, except for siege, but are excellent vs. walls & some buildings. They are not an effective substitute for all other siege weapons, but in certain situations they are very handy.

Q) You circumvented the Turtle Ship being built in the late 16th century, could you also make arquibusiers, dragoons, mortars, entrenched cannon, and rockets

A) I suppose we could, but did not.

Q) are/do any of the new civs faster in age advancement than the chineese

A) Some of the new civs are comparable in age advancement speed to the Chinese, Persians, and British.

Q) Do any new civs miss fewer techs than the byzantines

A) I have not done a tech-by-tech count, but the Spanish are probably pretty close.

Q) Do any new civs have better defenses than the best defensive old civ

A) Two of the new civs are comparable in defensive ability to the Byzantines or Teutons.

Q) Do any new civs have better champs than the vikes

A) “Better” is kind of hard to define. Aztec champs are a match for Viking champs in melee, but Viking champs survive arrow or gunfire better than the Aztec ones, so I guess they’re better overall.

Q) Why did you name the chinese the chinese and the japanese the japanese?

A) Um ... this question kind of answers itself doesn’t it? What should we have named them? The Russians? That might have made some people happy.

Q) Is the Montezuma campaign played from the Aztec perspective? It is Montezuma II, right? If so, will we have an opportunity to change the course of history or are we doomed to go down in a blaze of glory?

A) The Aztec campaign follows the course of history until the final scenario which, if you lose, you follow history, but if you win you get to change it.

Q) does that mean Spain gets fully upgraded H.Camels as well

A) The Spanish don’t get any camels.

Q) when will the first screenshots of the new architecture be shown, E3?

A) I sure hope so.

Q) If the Aztec and/or Mayan replacement for the scout is more powerful than the scout. I am going to have fun with an early rush on the other civs

A) “More powerful than a scout” does not necessarily mean it’s good for rushing other civs. But you’re welcome to try. We all did, at least once.

Q) How would a fleet of fully upgraded Elite Turtle Boats compare (beat/lose) to the following for a fixed amount of recources... A fleet of fully upgraded Elite Longboats? ..........................Saracen Galleons? ..........................Byzantine Fast Fire Ships? ..........................Chinese Heavy Demolition Ships? ..........................Turkish Elite Cannon Galleons?

A) Well, for the same number of resources, the turtle boats would definitely lose to the fire ships & demo ships. Maybe some of the others, too. But one-on-one they hammer any other fleet. You MUST outnumber the turtle ships to beat them. They’re kind of like Frankish paladins. Two or three pikemen will kill them at a cheaper cost, but it eats up your pop cap to do the trick.

Q) What is your order of music preferences of the following... AoE CD (My best vote) RoR CD AoK CD AoK:TC CD

A) I like the conquerors best, but that might just be because it’s newest.

Q) Would ES ever consider releasing an "Age of" game featuring ONLY native American civilizations, much the way AoK originally included ONLY European and Asian civs?

A) Actually, one of the alternatives we considered to AoK was just this, an Age game featuring only Amerinds.

Q) What do you think about AoE/TRoR/AoK/TC on Console in general?

A) I have absolutely no loyalty to any platform whatsoever.

Q) If I were to pics Mayans on a land map, who would you pick?

A) I dunno. Maybe the Turks or Huns.

Q) Sandy's Reason for not including Russians: "When you think of someone Russian you think of a guy that lives down the street. When you think of Huns you think of savage warriors." I'd love to hear ES_Classyman try to explain himself for quite a controversial comment posed in the thread titled " Why Russians weren't included in the x-pack "

A) Saying that “Russians” make me think of the guy down the street is “controversial”? You are scraping the bottom of the barrel looking for controversy, friend. My doctor’s wife is Russian. I grew up around the corner from an old Russian couple. Most Americans know several Russian emigres. I imagine this is true of most Europeans as well (I imagine there are Russian immigrants to France, England, Germany, etc.) What the heck is “controversial” about that?

Q) What should we do with the Gonzales boy?

A) I’m with Old Man Murray on this one – probably the best thing is to try him as an adult and sentence him to death.

Q) Do the Maya speak Qechua?

A) Of course not. The Incas spoke that. The Mayans speak one of 20 or so different Mayan tongues. I don’t know which one we picked.

Q) I was wondering if you have read any particularly entertaining and/or detailed accounts of the fall of Constantinople to the Turks in 1453 B.C.E.?

A) The new book edited by John Keegan, entitled “The Book of War” has a good account of the last stand of Constantinople.

Q) Will the turtle boat have a fast, slow, or average rate of fire?

A) Slow.

Q) Will the turtle boat have a minimum range?

A) No, but it has a pretty short range.

Q) Will the turtle boat get multiple shots (like the longboat)?

A) No.

Q) Will the elite turtle boat be a very noticable upgrade from the castle age turtle boat?

A) It’s about the same as other elite upgrades.

Q) Being an ironclad, I assume ranged fire doesn't hurt it very much, does the turtle boat's armor offer protection from fireships?

A) Well ... not much. If it did, then NOTHING could sink them. As it is, you need 2-3 fireboats per turtle ship to have any chance of success.

Q) Says Sandyman: We don't want to play russians 'cause they’re just the guys from the next door

A) Look here wiseacre. I think Russian history is fascinating. I’ve watched Alexander Nevsky about fifty times. I minored in Russian in college. We could only put five civs in the X-Pack. Russians didn’t make the cut. Take your gripes to someone who cares.

Q) Will the Janissary unit be given any new tech or will be left the same ?

A) Janissaries are slightly changed. I won’t claim they’re “better” necessarily, but they’re different and more all-around useful.

Q) With the new halberdier unit, will the Turks finally get at least the pikemen

A) No. We had to be very careful with the Turks. The recent improvements of hand-cannoneers and bombard cannons made them even tougher, not to mention the addition of free hussars. Turks are a civ to be reckoned with. We had to keep them from getting pikes just to keep them in bounds.

Q) The Janissaries are lethal against infantry. Will the Mayans and Aztecs have anything to counter against them, maybe their UU?

A) One of the ways the Janissaries have been changed is to take away their bonus against infantry, but to let them do more general damage. The Aztec UU is not particularly effective against Janissaries, but the Mayan one is pretty good. More to the point, they have other units which are useful against Janissaries. But I will admit that janissaries are a non-trivial problem for the New World civs, and they will have to push hard in Feudal & Castle to keep the Turks trimmed down to size.

Q) Although we dont see him on the zone as much, we realize that his contribution to the AOK community is far greater with his current work

A) You are right to be proud of him. AoK:TC will be the first Ensemble game with his mark on it and he has made a colossal contribution.

Q) Could you give an example where Turtle Boats would be superior to Galleons?

A) In naval combat, expecially in places where the galleons can’t just run away. Turtle boats have a very short range, so they aren’t very dangerous to land units or buildings, except docks.

Q) Will there be any generally available new techs besides the UTs?

A) Yes, off the top of my head I can think of 7 new techs that are not unique.

Q) Will any of the new civs get ships with added hitpoints?

A) No.

Q) Will those new cav archer techs affect the Mangudai?

A) Yes. There’s actually only one new tech that benefits only cav archers. But there are some other techs which benefit cav archers in conjunction with other units.

Q) You said the Turks have slight change in what they're used for, what is this change?

A) Not in what they’re used for – they have just undergone lots of changes. Mostly to keep them from getting way too strong, because some of the new things we added turned out to be Turkish force multipliers. Turks are still strong, and are certainly more dangerous in the X-Pack than normal AoK, but I think we’ve managed to keep them from being all-powerful.

Q) What is the reason you would you want to use Turks against Mayans?

A) Janissaries, bombard cannons, and good horse archers.

Q) about the randomness of the map, you said fairness is giving priority. but I think you can't always be fair,

A) Of course not, but we try to be as fair as possible.

Q) I never mentioned, but I say it now. I am Chinese, I believe we invented BlockPrinting, why Chinese Monk don't have that tech?

A) Beats the heck out of me. I wasn’t privy to that decision. To quote Chairman Mao: “Our forefathers were wise. They invented Gunpowder, but used it for fireworks. They invented Printing, but not newspapers. And they invented Navigation, but did not use it to discover America.”

Q) what is Aztec infanty fair against hand cannon line

A) Hand cannons are a problem for Aztecs. Not insuperable, any more than Vikings are helpless against them, but if I were fighting the Aztecs and I was a civ that got hand cannons, I’d use them.

Q) Please tell us something new about the vikings or chinese

A) The chu-ko-nu gets some slop-over benefit from the new technologies, and the chinese UT was so gross for a while that we had to tone it way back (but it’s still good, and the Chinese player gets it every game). The Berserk is now worth training, and every game with Vikings sees those players produce as many ‘Serks as they can. Of course, they still have to fill in the ranks with Viking champions, but nothing’s wrong with that.

Q) Don't you agree the game would be more accurate historically if you replaced one of the Mesoamericans with the Slavs?

A) Not in the slightest. The meso-americans had a thriving civilization throughout the time period we are dealing with. The Slavs didn’t really rise to international importance until 1700.

Q) Did the Mesoamericans travel to America by boat from Japan and Russia? Or did they cross the land bridge to Alaska and travel south?

A) The Amerind population has a lot of regional variability. Compare a Navajo to an Aztec to a Yanomamo, and they look very different from one another. I see no reason that the various Native Americans could not have descended from multiple origins or migrations.

Q) Will the mayan and aztec monks be those guys with bird suit?

A) No. They have fancy headdresses and colorful robes.

Q).-Will the Korean unique unit be a siege weapon?

A) Not exactly.

Q).- Will the Moctezuma campaign be based in the invasion of Spain to Mexico?

A) Only the last few scenarios.

Q).- What king of art will the Huns have?

A) They use the Eastern European building set.

Q).- Will there be additional units to existing civs?

A) Yes. Every civ gets at least one of the new units.

Q) Will you be able to rotate the map?

A) In our next game. Not this one.

Q) Will the existing civs still keep its civ bonuses?

A) Yes. A few of those civ bonuses have been “fiddled” with, but all are still there.

Q) Will there be more features to recorded games?

A) Chats are now visible in recorded games, and you can place bookmarks in a recorded game so you can skip ahead to the “good part”. I don’t know exactly how the bookmarks work. I’ve not used them.

Q) Does the Jaguar Warrior get regeneration, like the berserk. I bet it does

A) You lose. Send your money to Ensemble Studios, care of Sandy.

Q) What do you make of all the people who are deeply offended because 'their' Civ is not in the X-pack?

A) Frankly I think it’s pretty inane.

Q) I am baffled by the suggestions of politics & bias at ES. Some people seem to think that not being represented in AoK is like being denied a seat on the UN Security Council. Many analysts think that the next World War will be fought over water, oil, or economic migration. They are all wrong; it will happen because country A will get insanely jealous of country B because country A didn't make it into AoEIII. How does it feel being responsible for global peace?

A) I guess our next game will have to have 200+ civs to satisfy everyone. Here’s a sneak tip though – Nauru is the big screw civ; they beat everyone.

Q) Did u ever read 1984 by Orwell?

A) I think it’s a great book. I like everything by Orwell I’ve read.

Q) will the spanish have a their own tile set, like houses with those red tiled roofs

A) Sadly, no. They just get the standard Western European art set.

Q) and will the bug on boats building buildings near the shore be fixed

A) Already done.

Q) How about Mesoamerican Animals? No Boars, Sheep or Deer

A) Okay, the first thing to remember is that the wildlife is native to a MAP not to a CIV. No deer? There are plenty of Deer in the Americas. I think we have more native species of hooved mammals in North America than there are in Europe. No boars? There are peccaries, which fill the gap. And yes, when playing on a meso-american map, if you click on a boar, it says “peccary”. So there. Sheep? If you are playing on a meso-american map there are no sheep.

Q) Will the patch address any balance issues or will it only fix bugs and the TC problem?

A) We’re going to concentrate on the bugs, but I predict some of the simpler balance fixes will get into it.

Q) Do petards carry buckets of oil?

A) They carried gunpowder, mostly

Q) Are UT all the same cost or do they vary from civ to civ?

A) They vary from civ to civ, just as does the cost of other unique stuff.

Q) how expensive are these things, 3 times a fireship?!

A) Even a cannon galleon costs three times as much as a fireship. Fireships are not particularly expensive.

Q) most Deathmatchs are played with the post-imperial setting. Did you worry about balancing deathmatch with the post-imperial setting?

A) Yes.

Q) Will the Teutons UT increase the speed of the TK?

A) The Teuton UT does not affect the TK in the slightest.

Q) What are your (I mean ES) reasons for inclusion of the new civs?

A) The coolest subject was, we decided, The Conquerors, which meant that most of the civs we’d include would need to be famous warriors. We chose the Huns because they are infamous for their conquests. We chose the Spanish for the same reason. I really wanted to include the New World and I had to fight hard for them. There was a certain amount of opposition to the New World civs at the start, even at ES. I was able to win out. We inserted the Aztecs both because they were conquerors in their own right, and because it was cool to have a campaign with them vs. the Spanish. Since we knew we’d need new art for the Aztec architecture, we decided to include the Mayans as well, who used similar buildings. Then, several months later, we squeezed in the Koreans – we know they weren’t conquerors, particularly, but they were cool, well-known, had appeared in AoE, and had a really terrific UU idea.

Q) will the villagers, after depleting all of an originally assigned resource, stand still or begin doing something else useful

A) They behave as they do now.

Q) if you tell a ram that is garrisoned with barracks units to attack a wall, and the ram is destroyed, will the units inside attack the wall or what destroyed the ram?

A) They will attack whatever destroyed the ram if they can get to it, and it is within their line of sight.

Q) If the powers that be at ES said, "It is up to you alone to pick the five civilizations to include in the second expansion pack for AoK," what would they be?

A) I would take weeks to think it over and discuss. If I were prevented from discussing it with other ES people, I would feel less certain of my decisions. But my initial impression is that I’d go either with darkest Africa or the Indian subcontinent.

Q) Would you prefer to keep the AoE series in chronological order with AoE III: Age of Colonialism, Imperialism, Revolution, Guns, Powdered Wigs, etc., or would you prefer to skip straight to AoE III: Age of Panzers?

A) I am not wedded to a strict chronological order. And I am sadly aware of the fact that though the time period from 1500-1800 was fruitful militarily, it is extremely obscure to most people. It’s also grossly Eurocentric, so the civs would mostly be boringly the same – different-colored uniforms on various brands of musketeers and sabre-armed cavalry.

Q) Will the smoke belching from the Turtle Boat have any effect in gameplay or does it just look really cool?

A) It serves exactly the same purpose as in the original turtle boats. That is, it just looks cool. In the original turtle boats, the Koreans created the smoke by tucking a smudgepot into the prow.

Q) Do camels really spit?

A) Yes, they really do. And so do llamas. Apparently camelids are quite accurate with their spit, but they only do it when they’re seriously annoyed.

Q) What about making Trebs a lot Inaccurate

A) Right now they have only a 15% chance of hitting the spot they are aimed at. Of course, if the target is wider than that spot (like a castle), even a missed shot often hits anyway.

Q) I think the best infantry civ are not Viks, Japs and Goths.... the best infantry civ are Franks!!! because T.A.s can kill easy all these champions, UUs,.... what u think?

A) I would gladly hurl my Viking champs vs. your Frankish throwing axemen.

Q) Do you think that the battle of Gettysburg could HAVE been won by the south had Longstreet convinced Lee to withdrawal and move around to the right between washington and Meade?

A) That might have given Lee more of a chance, but it assumes that Lee could have pulled a march on Meade. Meade was no slouch, and he was very much aware of the need to stay between Lee & Washington (which had an immense garrison, incidentally). If the south had withdrawn after the first or second day, though, it would probably have been counted as a southern tactical victory. Fundamentally, Lee lost as soon as he invaded the North. The whole campaign was flawed.

Q) The mongols get the HP bonus for light cav, they do not have this bonus for scouts, so does this mean that they will or will not be getting an HP bonus for Hussars?

A) All bonuses that affect light cav also affect hussars.

Q) Did you make anychanges to Outposts?

A) Yes. We changed them just recently though. I know they have more line of sight. Don’t remember if their cost is different, though.

Q) Do Hand Cannoneers still have +8 attack vs. infantry?

A) They still have a bonus vs. infantry. I am not sure if it is still +8.

Q) I realize AoK out of syncs are caused by many things(ex.overclocked ram/processor,cable issues) however, intentional OOS's are a problem, especially among rated multiplayers. Will the expansion/patch help stop the "intentional OOS zone lamers"?

A) Is there some way that software could help? I mean, aren’t they just pulling out their plugs? I assume the fix would be to automatically count the OOS guy as a loser, which would presumably penalize people who’d gone OOS “legally”. I’ll discuss it with the patch programmers.

Q) I’ve watched Alexander Nevsky about fifty times." In the theaters or on television?

A) I own the video tape.

Q) Will Audie Murphy be a hero unit in Age of Panzers?

A) Certainly.

Q) will the Mayans get some sort of bonus on account of their amazingly accurate calendar?

A) I suppose you could ascribe one or more of their civ bonuses to their calendar if you like.

Q) If you had to make an AOE based on the current world, what "civs" would you have?

A) USA, Europe, Russia, China, Japan. Those are the five economic powerhouses in the modern world. While some are stronger than others, the weakest of the five is still by far above and beyond the second-tier nations.

Q) With all the new counter units like elite light cav and upgrade to pikes dont you think that the game will often result in stale mate?

A) All I can tell you is that they don’t. Games last about the same length of time, or sometimes shorter (it’s harder to run away and rebuild because of changes in the TC).

Q) Im afraid of the TC rush being replaced with a frank calste rush. Then again with the rams being so good it might not be. Waht do you think?

A) I think the franks have the best castle rush of all. But with petards, garrisoned rams, outposts with superior LOS, such a rush is harder to do, and you’ll need to guard your castle with soldiers.

Q) Since you are putting all this efort into the UUs (and by the look of the screen shot they rule) have you done anything to make UUs more oftenly built (mayeby increase build speed or lessen the cost)?

A) We have made them generally more useful by means of the UTs.

Q) Do you think that the janissaries, before they became family men and house burning civil officials, represent the modern day United States Marines?

A) No more than any elite force of soldiers share certain resemblances.

Q) Do you think there was any possibility of saving Constantinople, I know several men believed that Mehmed II's army of 300000 could have plowed across Europe, though the city did put up a fight- what do you think they could have used, or was it inevitable?

A) Nothing militarily is inevitable.

Q) You ever read Ender's Game?

A) Yes, I have read all the Ender books by Orson Scott Card.

Q) Have you ever played on the Zone?

A) Yes, but not AoK.

Q) Do you recomend I read the Lord of the Rings?

A) If you are longing for a more action-packed fantasy I recommend trying out Edgar Rice Burroughs “A Princess of Mars”. The action starts on page one and keeps up hot and heavy throughout.

Q) Will the Aztec priest have offensive combat ability?

A) Just like any other priest.

Q) are any of the new techs that aren't unique techs for the monastery?

A) Three of them.

Q) Since the Celts are one of only 6 or so civs with Paladins in the X-pack, will they get Halberdiers?

A) Celts, at this time, get halberdiers. Despite the fact that they have paladins, we consider them a mainly infantry-based civ.

Q) Shouldn't the Spanish be called Castilians?

A) We wanted to include the basques and catalonians though. We always try to be as inclusive with a civ as possible. We even have hopes that the Portuguese will feel included in the Spanish civ (yes we know they’re different, but they shared the same royal house for a while).

Q) Will TK remain the strongest infantry unit? and Slowest?

A) Yes to both.

Q) What do you mean by Aztec's will have super-monks? Does that mean they will have full monk technology, or monk bonus?

A) One of the aztec bonuses is a monk bonus.

Q) What will be the name of the toughest infantry unit in X-Pack?

A) The Teutonic Knight.

Q) Does the Jaguar Warrior have the ability to convert units somewhat like a priest does?

A) No. Surrendering to a jaguar knight seems like a bad idea to me …

Q) Don't know if it's been asked before, but do the meso-american regular units have a different look from the other civs' units?

A) No. Except for priests.

Q) Will Halberdiers (thanks for putting them in!) get a curved Spanish helmet (can't remember the name)?

A) The helmet is named a morion, and the halberdiers do not wear one. They wear what was called an “open” helm.

Q) After a few years how will you explain to kids that Mesoamercian indian cultures did not have those the technolgies they will need in order to make them a vialble AoK civ?

A) I was unaware that it was our responsibility to educate children about mesoamerican civilizations. If all our game does is get some of them to read a little about the subject, that will have been enough, in my opinion.

Q) I understand that the Xpack won't affect much the Byzantines but …

A) The byzantines get a pretty full selection of the new units (including cheaper halberdiers, as per their bonus), plus cataphracts are now one of the most popular units in the game.

Q) Given that a fair number of the younger posters here seem to get much of their knowledge of history from this game, and have been convinced by your inclusion of the Meso-American civs that those warriors would have been able to stand on the same field of battle with any of the Eurasian civs, do you feel a responsibility to in any way correct this disinformation?

A) Not in the slightest.

Q) Are you worried that the inclusion of stone-age tribes will lose the market segment that wants a wargame, and requires at least a minimum of 'realism'?

A) Obviously not.

Q) Since MS does your marketing, does it concern you that MS's marketing tactics have been ruled illegal, and non-competitive?

A) Their marketing tactics with respect to games have never been ruled such, nor has anyone made such claims. We have no part in their internet browser.

Q) The current proposal for dealing with MS will give Bill Gates the choice of owning interest in only one of the two spinoffs -- either the "Windows/Operating System" company or the "Applications(MSOffice, etc)" company?

A) I think I personally would be better off if BIll chose the Applications company, but if I were Bill I would choose the operating system company.

Q) They said that Nelson just arrived in Copenhagen on day called Battle on the nest (Slaget på Reden in Danish) and said that Nelson won and was victorious over the Danes, Hmm.....ive read in a history book that the Danes fought so hard againts him, that NELSON offeder a cease fire to Denmark, our navy was pretty big. So my qusition to you is, who do you think that are right?

A) My understanding is that the English initially tried to get the Danes to promise not to join Napoleon, and they refused, retaining a sort of neutrality. Then, Nelson crushed the Danish fleet at Copenhagen, and he then offered a cease fire which the Danes accepted. Much as I love Denmark and the Danes (hell, I’m Danish myself), I must agree with the Danish politico who said that Denmark hadn’t won a war in 400 years.

Q) I was on the zone and noticed that a plurality of the games running during the time I was on were locked on *fast* ... and realized that one modification that many gamers would like is to have a "faster" setting (even faster than "fast").

A) In our playtest version of the game, we are able to set the game to go faster than the “fast” setting. BUT this is so fast that the game has to “interpolate” where units are moving. The result is that units frequently get stuck inside buildings or trees, or can’t find the right spot to gather berries or lay down a foundation. The game is really screwed up at superfast speeds.

Q) Do you believe Confederate forces could have won the Civil War if they had stuck to simply defending their established borders?

A) I think the Confederacy could have won even if they’d followed their actual battle plan, if the Union had just been a little dumber. The Confederacy had by far the advantage in the war. The Union did not have enough soldiers to occupy and control the Confederacy. In fact, at the war’s end, the Union only held a few coastal cities, northern Virginia, and parts of Tennessee. The problem with just defending their established borders is twofold. First, the Confederacy was run by highly aggressive fire-eaters who were unlikely to approve of a passive defense. Second, there was dispute over just where the Confederacy’s borders were located – were Kentucky and Missouri part of the Confederacy? Jeff Davis said they were. How about West Virginia? You get the idea. That said, the invasions of the North by Lee in the Antietam & Gettysburg campaigns were wrong-headed and doomed.

Q) I cannot understand why there are screenshots given out to gaming magazines, while all the fans have to wait until someone suddenly finds them. Can't you post some pics as well? Any comments on the following screenshot? Maya/Aztec U guess, please tell us more?

A) The picture you show is of a Mayan city. Hope that helps.

Q) I've read somewhere that the Myans and Aztecs didnt even had the wheel, is this true?

A) No it’s not true. They manufactured wheeled toys, for instance, used rollers to move stone, etc. They didn’t have good roads, or pack-beasts suitable for pulling wagons, so they didn’t have large-scale use of the wheel, but the technology was known to them.

Q) Is it any unit that you considered to be in AoK but then was added in the x-pack?

A) The Halberdier.

Q) Which civ in AoK do you think have the worst econ in late imperial, Japanese?

A) Goth?

Q) do cataphracts get defence bonus against pikes?

A) No, they get an attack bonus against them.

Q) Why is AOK:TC being released this fall sence it already exists and has been tested for a while now

A) Testing is not through and we release games for economic reasons, not just because they’re finished.

Q) What was 'petard' used for ages ago in real life?

A) Blowing holes in castle gates & fortress walls.

Q) Do the Mesoamericans have another domestic animal to Compensate for the lack of sheep? Dare I Mention Llamas?

A) Mesoamericans did not have access to llamas.

Q) Since you do not mind the different console platforms, Any chance that ES will provide a PORT to LINUX based systems?

A) We’re published by MS. Think about it.

Q) What exactly needs to happen in order for a "battle event" to show up on the timeline of the Acheivements pages after a game? Do a certain number of units have to die w/in a set period of time?

A) No, it means you have to KILL a certain number of units (like 20) within a certain amount of time.

Q) Am I correct in assuming petards have an attack bonus vs. buildings? If so, when would petards be more useful than rams, since the latter are reusable and garrisonable.

A) Petards are faster than rams, and they do their damage immediately. Rams take a few seconds to pound through a wall, but with petards you get instant gratification. By the time the enemy can react to the attack notification sound you already have your knights through the wall and headed towards his woodcutters.

Q) How accurate is the Turtle Boat?

A) It rarely misses.

Q) Can a player who is an excellent micro-manager use a single Viking longboat to destroy a single turtle boat by using hit and run tactics?

A) Yes. I’ve done it myself. Good hunting.

Q) In Norway we learned as young that the Danes were forced into the war by the bad English.

A) Well, I am happy to agree that the English of the early 1800s were bad. After all, we Americans fought a war vs. them only a few years later.

Q) The AI is better, plays faster, etc. than before. He regularly has a castle time less than 18 minutes now, for instance . . ." Is the less-than-18-minute castle time in reference to hardest level?

A) No, that is an uncheating AI. The hardest level AI castles earlier, of course.

Q) Brit TC's will cost full price in Dark and Fuedal, but do Brit retain their -50% TC cost for Castle and Imperial?

A) They still cost half the wood in post-Feudal times.

Q) Is Russia's economy really *that* much better than Canada's?

A) Its gross national income is better than Canada’s, which is no surprise, but more importantly, Russia’s geographic situation is essentially a good one. They have a large population of technologically-savvy, well-educated people, plenty of natural resources, and a fairly sizable infrastructure of power plants, factories, and so forth. Their problems, while serious, are transitory, in my opinion. Their advantages are eternal. When they get rid of the crooks and racketeers, their natural resources will still be there, and so they will always be a nation to be reckoned with.

Q) which do you like better, Star Wars or Star Trek?

A) I would rather watch movies about Star Wars, but I would rather live in the Star Trek universe.

Q) You mentioned that there are 7 new techs of the top of your head. Are these techs somthing you would get at a university or like economic and military upgrade things.

A) None of them are from a university.

Q) did you notice that the loom says it increases viligher HP by 15%. it really gives it 15 more HP

A) Yes I know. I didn’t write the help screen. I apologize for its erroneous nature.

Q) Why is there info on turtle boats when there are other UUs that we also would like to know about?

A) Because CGW mentioned turtle boats, but not the rest.

Q) Well, so far you've said the Turtle Boat is slow, expensive, and slow to build, and is quite ineffective against land units. Then someone else mentioned that you said it has a short range. What the heck can the Turtle Boat be used for then?

A) While ineffective against land units, they absolutely kick major caboose on other naval units.

Q) I have no idea how something can stand toe-to-toe with a Berserk, except maybe a Teutonic Knight. Berserks worked themselves into demon-like rages, and I'm sure they would beat a Jaguar Knight

A) We call them Jaguar Warriors, not Knights, and they were subject to a similar fanatical rage, plus raised as killers from their youth. You didn’t get to be a Jaguar Warrior because of your family ties – you had to earn it, by golly. Berserks are probably more all-around valuable than Jaguar Warriors, but when I’m Aztec I train as many of the latter as I can.

Q) Is there any sort of team bonus that affects the two meso-american civs if played together in a team environment?

A) No more than the normal team bonuses. I mean, they both have a team bonus. They aren’t particularly well-suited as allies (why would they be?), but neither are they complete mismatches.

Q) Hey I saw the art of mayans, pretty cool eh. They look a bit similar to incas, you must admit

A) No, I don’t admit that at all. I think Incan architecture and art looks completely different from Meso-American. I mean, just look at it. Compare Macchu Pichu with Chichen Itza, and there is no resemblance at all, except that they’re both built of stone.

Q) Were japan, Sarcs, and Franks changed in any way? Not the UT.

A) Japanese were changed because we changed the samurai. Saracens were changed because we improved cav archers across the board. Franks were pretty much not changed.