Out4Blood & El_Cap's Rise of Nations Strategy

Friday, February 13, 2004

RON:T&P Update - The Lakota
Of all the new nations and features in the game, the Lakota tribe intrigues me the most. They have the unique ability to build buildings outside their borders, but not in enemy territory. This could be Huge. One of the unique (and limiting) factors in RON is the concept of borders, whereby you cannot build anything outside them. The introduction of the Lakota blows that concept out of the water. You can build all military buildings (e.g., docks, stables, towers), cities, and resource locations (e.g., mines and lumber camps) anywhere not controlled by the enemy. This enables a player to play the game simialr to AOK. Cities, resource spots, and military buildings can go almost anywhere. And this will likely reward very aggressive players the most -- Forward Building is back! The drawback is that military buildings placed forward, without the support of a city, will eventually get ungulfed by enemy border pressure and could be vulnerable to attrition, or even bribery. The question is, are the Lakota strong enough as a nation (tribe) to take advantage of their new found freedom. We shall see.

First of all, there are some limitations. You can only build buildings outside your territory that do not have city limit restrictions. For example, the university must be built within city limits, so you can't just go off and build a bunch of universities in the corner.

A second limitation is the economy. The Lakota don't make farms -- their citizen and stable units provide intrinsic food income. To compensate, they start off with fewer units. In fact, they currently start with only 2 villagers! Ouch!! So any early movement off to build will cause you to lose a big percentage of your income. Tied to that is the fact that each villager can only make +5 food. At first, your villagers will only be chopping wood, so you will exceed the wood cap well before you reach the food cap. It takes 20 villagers to make 100 food. So your extra villagers end up being idle, or off scouting. Scouting with villagers takes some extra micro, so you'll need to focus extra effort to make sure you maximize that scouting role and don't have too many idle villagers.

By themselves, the Lokota don't seem all that dangerous, since even if they rush over to cramp you with their #2 city, the villagers are slow enough that an opponent can place a good #2 before you get yours started. So don't expect to be building right on top of their capital. However, pair a Lokota with a Mayan, Russian or a Bantu and you can expect to see some pretty dominating territory tactics. Territory expansion is limited by having to build WITHIN the existing border. But if you could build outside the border, your city border influence doesn't overlap. One theoretical strategy is to have the Lokata buidl far forward and have the Russian/Mayan/Bantu ally build in the Lakota territory, effectively getting the same bonus. The Lakota could then raze (if needed) and build elsewhere, setting up another great spot for the ally's #3 city. Imagine those as Russian cities! Ouch!

UPDATE: yhano points out that they might be good candidates for fishing. I agree, they'd probably be perfect for a fishing boom, since all their early vills are going on wood. Meanwhile HalfLotus thinks that the forward building cities will create long trade routes vulnerable to raiding.

UPDATE II: El_Capitan posted his vision of a hypothetical Lakota rush.
The Lakota will be tough to stop if they ever succeed in a Kamikaze rush. Imagine... once they sack your Capital, they can have any Citizens brought with them to build a Tower and another Barracks because once you take the City, the area becomes neutral until taken back or assimilated. However, a good strategy would be to go to the middle of the map with a few Citizens and build the 1st Barracks there. After the Barracks is made, the Citizens continue to the outside border of the enemy's Capital. By then, you should have 5 HI. Raze the Barracks when your units are out and start your attack. Once your Barracks is razed, you build another one right outside the enemy Capital's border to make your 3 LI. Once you take the Capital, you get your bonus resources. Continue streaming in LI and FA from your new Barracks. Your Citizens should be at the taken Capital by now to make a few Towers and repair the Capital. Game over.
Indeed. I've been thinking about how the tower and barracks building in neutral territory makes them a cinch to take and hold someone's capital. Sounds nasty.

UPDATE III: I imagine Lakota would be pretty strong on Nomad, since they'd be collecting food while building that first city. Also, if they got the normal 3 villagers, they wouldn't start off behind other civs like they do with small town.

Regarding the funky economy: Normally, to reach +100, you would need to have 2 cities + 8 choppers and 8 farmers. Lakota can do it with 2 cities + 8 choppers + 8 vills standing around. Or instead of standing around, they could be scouting for ruins, building stuff, and later mining metal. Basically, Lakota just saved the wood for EIGHT FARMS! To compensate, you start slower -- only 2 vills instead of 5. We'll have to see whether the granary allows them to upgrade that +5 in proportion to other resource production boosters.

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