Out4Blood & El_Cap's Rise of Nations Strategy

Thursday, January 15, 2004

How To Think During A Game
People who are learning to play to get better constantly ask questions, and the difficult part is that there are so many different answers to give! I can give them multiple options to use, but my answer is always the same when they ask me, "What would you do?" I answer, "It all depends on the situation."

Therefore, I will write an article on how I think when I play a game.

First off, I usually play random, and it's a good start in learning how to think when playing RoN. Let's say I get Japanese. I need to know their advantages.

1. Great Rushers.
2. Decent Boomers.
3. After Gunpowder Age, they can have a great-single-sized army, or 2 separate good-sized ones.

Now that I know their advantages, plus the fact that I picked Random and my opponent doesn't know what my Nation is, I have plenty of good options. All that needs to be determined now is who my opponent is and what nation he is using, and what the map is.

Let's say the opponent is unknown, and so is his Nation. You can be 100% positive that if you both picked Random and you got Japanese, he isn't going to be Japanese either. Random isn't 100% random. What I would normally do is go for a Kamikaze attack anyway. The exeption to this is if it's a water map, or Great Lakes. If my opponent scouts me out early, I should be able to click on his scout and see what Nation he is. If he's Maya or Chinese, I'll switch to my Delayed Power Rush if I have time. If he spots my Barracks out early, I'll feint a Kamikaze Rush by not building anymore units, but still have 1 Heavy Infantry acting like I am still going to rush, and 1 Slinger to help scout for Ruins while booming instead. If his scout is idle there to see if I continue to make units, I send an additional one of my units to attack it. Plus, if his scout is idle there trying to see what you're building, he's not getting any Ruins.

Okay, let's say he actually ended up as the Maya, and I was doing my Kamikaze Rush, and the map was Old World. Here are the Maya advantages:

1. Great Defense.
2. Good Boomers.
3. Can have a good-sized army while defending, too.
4. Strong Quick Border Push.

If I didn't know he was Maya while I was Kamikaze Rushing, and he didn't know I was going to Kamikaze Rush, then I'm still going to sack the Capital. It all matters whether or not who scouts who. As a defender, you're more vulnerable if you don't scout. As an offender, you're more vulnerable if you get scouted.

After I take the Capital, it's all about booming from that point while microing my units and razing as many buildings as possible. I'll go up to Classical Age as soon as I can and border push my 3rd City near his 2nd and commence a heavy Classical Age attack. That's the only chance against Maya. However, a good Maya player will know this, or expect the enemy to boom, so they go crazy on booming as well and border push trying to get to your Capital. So you have to be careful and solidify your borders by protecting your Capital from encroachment.

The closer I get to his Capital, the better. Old World is an open map, so rare resource raiding can be helpful. Not only to raid the rare resources, but also to catch unprotected Citizens trying to build Cities and Forts at the edge of their borders.

The Maya will be too focused on building an early defensive army from my early attacking army, so I know there will be delay in his booming process. I also know that if he's building 2 Towers at the 2nd City, he's not going to have many resources for a quick Fort or Heavy Cavalry raids, and that he's trying to boom to make up for lost time. So I spread my army out a little trying to catch a 3rd City and try to find his mountains so I can raid them a little. The more Towers he puts up, the more defensive he gets. Therefore I halt my military production temporarily and boom while solidifying my borders.

At this point, early attacks are not going to help me. I'll have to wait until Gunpowder or even Enlightenment Age until I press my main attack. If that's the case, I want to try to press up and flank around his borders closer to his Capital if I can. I'll even start preparing defenses at my own Capital and Cities that guard it.

When Gunpowder Age hits, I've been preparing mostly Heavy Cavalry and Arquebusiers with left-over Heavy Infantry. Mostly guarding my 4 or 5 Bombard Cannons while slowly making headway. I'll know that the most vulnerable point at that moment for me is being counter-attacked near my Capital. I'm Japanese, so I can afford a 2nd army back home, easier to defend, and go up to Enlightenment as soon as I can because the ranged Heavy Infantry will better defend me against his Gunpowder Age attack. I'll know he'll be slower to go up to Enlightenment by the size of his attacking army... even for the Maya.

I'll continue booming while fighting and defending all at once, but I'll make more headway by having a larger army on both fronts, and being able to keep an Age ahead. It's pretty much over at that point.

That's it. Pretty simple, really. Playing a lot of games enables you to "feel" what is possible for yourself and your opponent by what you see out in the field. Adapting to your opponent is crucial, but to win games, you must force your opponent to do what you want, and not what he wants. If you play into his game, you've pretty much lost on that account unless he makes a mistake and you can capitalize on it.

Good luck, and most importantly, have fun!

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