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Age of Empires Heaven » Forums » Age of Empires / Rise of Rome / Definitive Edition » TBTS: Early Scouting
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Topic Subject:TBTS: Early Scouting
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Bearded_Tim
Inactive
posted 08-25-99 00:05 AM ET (US)         
Well, I'm going to take Mark up on his offer and post the first installment of "The Bearded Tim Show" (aka TBTS, see previous reference in BTs APC Strat Guide if you're still clueless). In an effort to help the rebuilding of the forums, this will hopefully be a series of topic discussions to help learning players (not just because I wanted to know how to do these things right). I'l try to keep the episodes progressing through the things that happen in every ROR game.

Anyway, welcome to the inauguration of "The Bearded Tim Show". Today we will be discussing early scouting methods. One thing that I'm almost always guilty of is missing that one all important shallow, eventually leading to 10 axers runing through my town at 11 mins, while my explorers went up against lions hepped up on goofballs and lost. First, I'll describe what I do, and then all you guys can tell us how to really do it. There are, of course, previous threads about scouting, so if you wish to reference one of these then by all means go ahead.

There are two cases I see in games: playing a connected land mass game (hell, inland) where there really aren't shallows, and then games with land masses connected with shallows (med, cont, coastal, narrows), islands is totally different since there is no dock-blocking or finding the enemy early anyway. Lets take the inland type games first. Maybe this is my downfall right away, but I usually start scouting with vil 10 (after building the house). I like to get the first 6 on berries for food production, and get the next 3 on stragglers to start getting wood for houses at least and a pit later. I usuall send vil 10 toward the enemy, later to be joined by another vil depending on when the pit goes up. I usually stagger these vils around so that they generally go toward the potential enemy location, but can sway to and fro to find any resources along the way. Once they find the enemy they are the ones to put up the rax (or two) and further forward buildings (eventually even a new TC should the forward base still be standing). Other vils go exploring when new resources are needed, such as finding a forest for a wood pit, or new berries, or gold, etc. I'll have them search in circular patterns around my base to reveal as many resources as possible.

The shallow connected case is a bit more interesting. Again I start exploring with vil 10, and send him toward the enemy, but he will almost always find a coast first. I let him follow the coast looking for good dock spots along the way. If he finds a shallow, and it's not already dock-blocked, then I'll go ahead and send another vil, and have them dock block the shallow and continue on that direction for a forward base. Once the wood pit is up, and its time to start docking, I'll have 2 vils wander around the coast to build docks. Along the ways, again, they may find other shallows (to enemies, I usually don't worry about the ones connected to allies early). If they do find a shallow, again, if not already dock-blocked, I will try and dock-block that shallow as well and build on the other side. I may then have to have more vils search the remaining coast for other dock spots or shallows.

So here's the questions I have. Is it better to just send 1 vil exploring and hope he can survive wildlife attacks so that there's 1 more vil gathering rather than not? Do I really need to start sending the 8th or 6th first, instead of the 10th (this might be a no-brainer, not sure)? Is it always a good idea to dock-block any shallow, or just plant a radar house and prepare for defenses? When dock-blocking multiple shallows, is it good to put forward bases beyond every one, or leave some blocked but save the vils for local gathering? Is it a necessity to scout out the entire coast-line as soon as possible, before even searching for the enemy? How come I miss 1 shallow in the pocket position and still get tooled when my partner on that side is left alone? How come I'm still rambling on about this?

Well, now that that's done, you can rip apart my strat and knock some sense into me. I would assume others will learn from these comments as well. And remember, any guest that has something constructive to say is welcome on TBTS.

P.S. For some deranged reason, Mark (he really is a sick muther) wanted me to post a pic so I dusted one off.

- Bearded_Tim

[This message has been edited by Bearded_Tim (edited 08-25-99).]

AuthorReplies:
Mark_Aurel
Clubman
posted 08-25-99 03:57 AM ET (US)     1 / 35       
A sick muther???

Yes.

You see, Tim --- I've cut and pasted every conversation we ever had and saved them. And I took the disks with me to school, just in case you might try to pull something like this.

Here is a snippet of conversation, if you remember:

Mark_Aurel> Maybe you should post some pictures, then...
Bearded_Tim> What? Who do you think I am? Tiger Lily?
Mark_Aurel> Hehe
Bearded_Tim> You guys don't want to see my picture
Mark_Aurel> Are you THAT ugly?
ChubbyHubby> He doesn't really have a beard, you know?
Mark_Aurel> What?
Mark_Aurel> Bearded_Tim doesn't have a beard?
ChubbyHubby> I have a beard
Mark_Aurel> I have a beard too, sort of
Bearded_Tim> I suppose I could do some photoshop fakes...

There you have it!

As for the early scouting, I prefer to do one of a number of things:

1) You must always scout out your immediate vicinity and find all the resources you require as early as possible, so that you'll be able to time your buildings in such a way thatyou can place them when you have the resources to build them.

2) If you plan to Tool Rush, use vills as early scouts to find your enemy in Stone Age.

3) If you plan to skip the Tool Age, send forward builders to the middle, and use Scouts to find the enemy instead.

How you forward build depends on your style of play. I generally prefer to forward build between me and my enemy, but I know many good players prefer to build behind their enemy. Vary this from instance to instance and remain unpredictable.

Tenaciti
Clubman
posted 08-25-99 06:15 AM ET (US)     2 / 35       
hey cool a strat and a pic too thanks!

I had a long post and deleted it cause it looked like whining (well it was)
Thanks again for helping RoR/AoE to remain alive.... there is no better game.....

Tenaciti the one with no-timing/tactics

Bearded_Tim
Inactive
posted 08-25-99 11:14 AM ET (US)     3 / 35       
I guess I should start calling Mark the "Linda Tripp of the forums", and people like gedn wonder why I don't chat all that much.

P.S. I'll save the forward building for another episode.

- Bearded_Tim

Cruentus
Inactive
posted 08-25-99 12:18 PM ET (US)     4 / 35       
Whoa! The Linda Tripp of AOEH!
armagedn
Clubman
posted 08-25-99 12:41 PM ET (US)     5 / 35       
I don't wonder why you don't chat much, Tim. I wonder why you'd entrust details of your life to Mark_Aurel, a vile scoundrel who would slit his own mother's throat to get to her gold mines.

Oh. Wait. That's me. Sorry, Mark.

TheDarkLord
Inactive
posted 08-25-99 01:03 PM ET (US)     6 / 35       
You a sexy baby,Bearded_Tim. I want to mess you all up! Just kiddin, I am not a gay wad!!! I just wanted to ask, could I be a co-host in the show? I will reply to the show and criticize it like a loony bin, then we could go fighting and really bring up the spirit in the forums!!! How'bout it?
armagedn
Clubman
posted 08-25-99 03:32 PM ET (US)     7 / 35       
In the interests of full disclosure, I must confess I had almost the exact same idea. I will now proceed to the oven, and turn on the gas. Farewell.
Hemlock
Clubman
(id: S_Hemlock)
posted 08-25-99 03:58 PM ET (US)     8 / 35       
Wow Tim, this looks to be better than The Red Green Show. I can hardly wait for the next episode.

Regarding scouting villagers, I almost always send them out in pairs. When I send them out individually, they are killed by wildlife about half the time. The other half of the time, they end up with <10 hit points after their kitty encounter, and are killed by enemy peons. Two is the only way to go IMO.

As for which 2 villagers to send? Numbers 6 and 7 are my favorites, especially if I have two 75 wood strags close by. And unless I have really bad berries, I won't put a 6th villie on them. In practice, I am often able to maintain constant villager output from the TC with only 5.

Regarding dock blocking: I have done it on occasion and will do it if I can block with only one dock. But in my experience, it usually takes a minimum of 2 docks, often 3, and sometimes even 4 docks to block a shallows. I find that I can't afford the wood early on, especially if the fishing isn't particularly good there.

Exploration patterns depend on what I'm planning. If I'm planning a rush, I'll have my villies explore extensively around my TC looking for second and third land food before heading out to find the enemy. If I'm booming, I'll scout to find the shallows and good fishing locations along the shoreline.

------------------
No other success can compensate for failure in the home.

Bearded_Tim
Inactive
posted 08-25-99 06:27 PM ET (US)     9 / 35       
Darth,

Sorry but there's a reason why I put you on my ignore list on ZF (damn, too bad there isn't the same thing on these forums, sure would shorten the number of posts to browse). And by the way, I figured you would be too busy watching "Big Daddy" or "Happy Gilmore" or "The Waterboy" to co-host.

Gedn,

If this is any consolation, you would come before Darth in the race for co-host (I know, its bring the toaster in the bathtub time).

Hemlock,

I've never heard of "The Red Green Show" before, is it like the "The Redd Foxx Show"?

I can't really say this is a rousing success just yet, since out of all 8 responses, only 2 actually had strategy talk.

Do you find that using vils 6 and 7 works ok and doesn't slow down your pit time? I guess if you had 2 close strags with 75 wood each that saves time from travelling further for strags early. It still sounds like taking 2 early vils slows you down. I might start trying scouting with vil 6, and maybe join him with vil 10 later, but using 6 and 7 seem a little scary (although I'll have to try it out and see, so next game I'll prepare to get whipped). Also, what do you do with shallows if not dock-blocking? Do you just put a radar house and watch for enemy crossers? It always seems like if I'm next to someone decent (maybe I don't bother when playing newbies) that if I don't dock-block then they will build on me and rush (many times this happens even if I do dock-block). Maybe I just have to work on my defenses better.

- Bearded_Tim

Thinker42
Clubman
posted 08-25-99 06:35 PM ET (US)     10 / 35       
I am soooooo bad at exploring. Does it make a difference what size map? On huge and gig it just seems like a waste of a vill to send it to the other side of the map looking for enemies. BTW Bearded_Tim, when you were younger did someone say to you "Luke, I am your father"?
TheDarkLord
Inactive
posted 08-25-99 08:05 PM ET (US)     11 / 35       
Hey Bearded_Tim, you look so much like Luke Skywalker. That's so freaky man! If I was co-host, it would work out so much! Wanna try it for an episode? It would be so fun!
Cherub Lobby
Clubman
posted 08-25-99 08:29 PM ET (US)     12 / 35       
Scouting.

Usually makes or breaks a game.

I always send 2 and it is usually after I have my pit up. So it is usually about vills 13 & 14. Any earlier you seriously effect your pit time and wood for docks etc.

I have them rotate out and build 1-2 docks in good spots first. Then I head them into enemy territory. This way you keep you economy at its peak.. use a woody to explore locally for more land food !

When the explorers cross the shallows.. look at the way the gators are situated and facing this will tell you if the enemy has scouted you. Good intelligence to prepare a relocation spot in the expectation of a rush. I never dock block unless 2-3 fish are available… the waste of resources is crucial !

2 Vills allows for protection from lions (just run from gators). If you are attacked by 2 lions you have to run with 1 vill. If I have lost a vill to a lion I usually cease the exploration and go for bronze. Use the forward guy to build military buildingg though.. If both vills survive the trip to enemy territory.. the tool rush is on.. and they immediately whack up raxes.

I try to time the scouting so that I have those forward vills standing around as little as possible (in other words Tool clicks in about the time they finish their 2nd rax). If you send early vills they are idle far too long ! Forgive my math but if you sent early vills and lost 3-4 mins production from them(that’s could be as much as 400 wood = 8 fbs’ or almost all your tool requirement buildings). If those vills are idle too long waiting for tool to click in.. a wood pit in enemy territory can be an extremely valuable resource in a heavy double rush game !

BTW Bearded Tim.. Mark Hamill does not look good with a beard !

Bearded_Tim
Inactive
posted 08-25-99 08:43 PM ET (US)     13 / 35       
You guys found me out . . . he's my twin brother. He got the movie roles (although most I wouldn't want on my resume), and I got the beard, go figure.

- Bearded_Tim

Hemlock
Clubman
(id: S_Hemlock)
posted 08-25-99 09:01 PM ET (US)     14 / 35       
quote:
Do you find that using vils 6 and 7 works ok and doesn't slow down your pit time?

Couple of things here. One of my explorers usually is taken from my berry pickers, so in these cases your pit time shouldn't be much worse than if you sent a single explorer and had 6 berry pickers.

I don't keep close track of my pit times, but it's usually around vil 14-16. As far as losing a couple of seconds in pitting, I've never had a game that I lost where I said at the end, "If I'd only had an extra 20 wood, I'd have won that game." My play is punctuated by so many other mistakes that pitting a few seconds later is lost in the noise.

Sometimes I will use 10 as my second explorer if my strags are not very close to my tc. I can't say if it helps or not... Like I said, lost in the noise.

Another thing when you have only two 75 wood trees: Make sure you get your pit down before house #4 goes up. That means don't build it as soon as vil 14 pops out, otherwise you'll need to go after a third strag. In my opinion, it is much better to get your pit up and risk getting housed than have you villies make a long trek to that third stag.

quote:
Also, what do you do with shallows if not dock-blocking?

Mostly I make a note of where they are so I can wall them when I get to tool. I will put up a house there if I need it, but I'm not very good about checking the minimap, so radar houses often don't do much good. Generally I just cross the shallows and prepare to defend in that direction.

By using 200 or 300 wood to dock block, you are giving your opponent the initative. You've sacraficed wood that might better be used on fishing boats, food pits, or another granary. And, like you pointed out, sometimes opponents have already crossed by the time you block it. Other times my blockers are discovered and boned. Even if they're not, they sit around waiting for enough wood to do the job. It's generally not worth it to me.

Of course, fake beard or not, you usually beat me in games, so take it for what it's worth.

------------------
No other success can compensate for failure in the home.

blue_myriddn
Clubman
posted 08-25-99 09:12 PM ET (US)     15 / 35       
Am i missing the boat on dock blocking (hehe, what a pun)? I don't see how it is all that beneficial relative to the enormous wood cost. By the time u have those docks up wouldn't someone who is going to tool rush you already be on your side of the land? Couldn't any defensive boats you make from the dock be better used offensivly? (and save defensive boats for your fishing operation) Wouldn't you be better off investing in fb or another granary to get food so you can make an army to fight back against an attack?

But since I see them posted so often and (coincidently?) I lose so often, are there big benefits that I am not seeing?

BTW Tim, are you going to do a top ten list on your show like the tonight show? You could have things like the top ten reasons you'll get whupped if you get Carth in random civ. Or maybe the top ten reasons why ES is pissing us all off by not releasing a patch (etc, etc)

Wuzat
Clubman
posted 08-25-99 09:24 PM ET (US)     16 / 35       
i would reply but i have come to the conclusion that i am allergic to root beer which increases my energy to a startlingly high amount which causes me to cease all strategy thought causing me to go to a 80 vill 16 minute bronze (or something like that). and when i do a "false" tool of 4 clubbers the opponent resigns. hehe
i have done in general 5 vills o berries and 6 scout and 10 scout (if i remembr to make him) and maybe like 16 or something. i send them all out in different directions tho. i make lion food. simba is my vills 3rd best friend. Scythes are 2nd best friends. Hcats are the Bestest best friend in the whole wide world!

hehe time for a Sig change!

------------
hmmm where is that wood pit? hey! why is my army at my wood pit? ARRGH!!! my vills are attack AE!!! no! Woe is me, woe is me!

Cherub Lobby
Clubman
posted 08-25-99 10:41 PM ET (US)     17 / 35       
Blue Myrhdinn

I will post the top 10 reasons why you lose with Carth in a Random Civ Game.

1. You got Carth
2. You got Carth
3. You got Carth
4. You got Carth
5. You got Carth
6. You got Carth
7. You got Carth
8. You got Carth
9. You got Carth
10. You got Carth

Nuff said !

Hemlock
Clubman
(id: S_Hemlock)
posted 08-27-99 12:06 PM ET (US)     18 / 35       
I did a little experiementing last night to see how bad early explorers hurt your economy. Unfortuanately, the numbers are in an Excel table at home. I have a pretty good idea of what they were... I'll double check them when I get home.

I set up the game with full tech tree and reveal map. Full tech tree to remove any civ bonuses, and reveal map to make it as repeatable as possible. While the times I generated may not be attainable in a standard non-reveal game, I believe that you would get approximately the same deltas.

My goal was to see how long it takes to gather 120 wood for your first wood pit with a standard berry start. Houses were always built by #6 & #10, but #14 did not build a house. As soon as I reached 120 wood, I paused the game and recorded the time.

I will try to post a screen shot of the start position later, but until then a description will have to suffice. Good berries are available just out of LOS towards 3. The granary was placed in the same position every time, one tile away from the bushes. One 75W strag is in LOS to the south with 2 40W strags out of LOS a bit further to the south. All woodies first chopped the 75W tree, then went to the closer 40W strag, and finally to the further 40W strag. (Times could probably be reduced further by micromanaging the woodies, but I was more interested in repeatability.)

Time 3:37 - 5 berrymen, no explorers
Time 3:40 - 5 berrymen, 10 explores, delta = 0:03
Time 3:43 - 5 berrymen, 10 & 11 explore, delta = 0:06
Time 4:00 - 6 berrymen, no explorers, delta = 0:23
Time 4:20 - 5 berrymen, 6 & 7 explore, delta = 0:43

At first glance, it may appear odd that there is so little difference in the times of the first three tests. The reason for this is because in every case, I hit 120 wood when the villagers dropped off the last of the wood from the third tree.

200 + 75 + 40 + 40 = 354 (Wood bug)
354 - 120 - 30 - 30 - 30 = 144

There is not much difference between the time it takes for 4 villagers to chop and clear a 40W strag, and the time it takes for 5 (or 6) villagers to chop and clear a 40W strag. That is why the first three times are so close together.

I'm not sure how these times would translate to a different start position. Would bad berries make a big difference? Would only 1 strag make a difference? Would 2 75W strags make a difference?

While I had been using vil 6 & 7 to do my exploring, in light of what I found last night, I may change my strategy.

------------------
No other success can compensate for failure in the home.

Potejon
Clubman
posted 08-27-99 12:20 PM ET (US)     19 / 35       
I don't explore early with vills(for enemy that is) I look for water within 10-15 tiles, if there is none I redirect the explorer in a circle home and go berries. I find that I alwys go berries first in 90% of the games I play, found out thatI don't loose to much either.
neilkaz
Clubman
posted 08-27-99 02:10 PM ET (US)     20 / 35       
GREAT work S.Hemlock !!

This is how to improve at the game. Instead of waiting for me to tell him that he has been hurting his economy too much by overexploring early on.. he decided to test it for himself. That is how to get better at the game. There are so many things that an intelligent tester can determine.

A couple suggestions..

1) You need to take down all 3 trees to pit so don't have more than 4 vils on a 40 wood strag !! Even having more than 3 vils/tree causes bumping and stuff. So don't chop the trees 1 by 1 when you need two or three strags gathered to pit !!

2) I hope you're not running your first 3 vils immediately to the berry patch. This is QUITE unrealistic and results in an early food intake that will almost never be achievable. If you grab those berries immediate on reveal you may gain an unreasonble benefit from using only 5 vils because because they start gathering soon that the effects of gathering only 45 food w/ 5 vils in 20 sec aren't felt as you had surplus food. (This is akin to my fast berry Shang start w/3 foragers.

Thus for best results.. assign your first 3 or 4 vils on a normal exploring pattern and when one "sees" the berries send em all there and then save the game !! Restart all further simulations from that point and you can ACCURATELY determine the effects of having 5 or 6 foragers !!

Off course 5 foragers allows one more woodie and a quicker pit.. but is it worth the slight villager delay. You can even add a 6th forager as soon as you have that 120 wood. By continueing just a bit the lost vil production time can be measured perfectly!!

Great work/// neilkaz ///

neilkaz
Clubman
posted 08-27-99 02:14 PM ET (US)     21 / 35       
Bearded_Tim.. this is it.. you've ruined my marriage.. I will be hitting the road soon and if I find you.. well you just watch out !!

My wife..just thinks that picture of you is so f---ing sexy that she's done nothing but dream about you for 4 days.. she just drove off.. vowing to find you to satisfy her ravenous lust for you !!

As she left her parting words were, "May the force be with you"

...neilkaz...

TheDarkLord
Inactive
posted 08-27-99 02:20 PM ET (US)     22 / 35       
See Tim, I told you! You are one fine man! I think I just might convert to gayism so I can find your sexy bod and play wit it all day long!!!


PS
please tell me you are gay

Hemlock
Clubman
(id: S_Hemlock)
posted 08-27-99 04:44 PM ET (US)     23 / 35       
Thanks for the compliment Neil.

Your suggestion for the wood choppers is correct, of course; however, the strags were well spaced and I saw very little bumping between the villies.

Regarding the berries, I did send the villies over there immediately. I know this generates unrealistic pit times, but I was trying to eliminate as many sources of variation as I could. Having me try to recreate identical search patterns 5 different times seemed like it would introduce noise to the experiment. (Saving the game after discovering the berries didn't even occur to me. Good idea.)

Anyway, I was more interested in discovering the time delta for the different exploring strats, not the absolute times each strat would give me. Even though knowing where the berry bushes were would allow me to avoid villager delays, I think the deltas would be about the same.

Incidentally, 5 villies on berries allowed me to maintain almost constant villie output. The 5th load would consistantly come in less than 1/4 second after the last villie was birthed.

As I look over those numbers again, it seems painfully obvious that if you delay your wood gathering by one villager (see case 1 & case 4), your pit time will be set back by 20 seconds. If you delay it by 2 villagers (see case 1 & case 5), pit time will be delayed by 40 seconds. (I guess sometimes I need to be hit in the face with the obvious before I notice it.)

What is less apparent (unless you look at the numbers) is that by changing my exploring villies to 10 and 11, I can get almost as good a pit time as if I had no explorers!

------------------
No other success can compensate for failure in the home.

Hemlock
Clubman
(id: S_Hemlock)
posted 08-27-99 04:54 PM ET (US)     24 / 35       
Incidentally Lobby, your gater tip is a good one. Tidbits like that is what really keeps me coming back here.
borgboy12
Clubman
posted 08-27-99 04:58 PM ET (US)     25 / 35       
This thread is getting a little to weird for me
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