Archers: The strength is in Numbers


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Game Playing Tips By Sandyman, Ensemble Studios

Archers: The strength is in Numbers

Walls are the great problem for archers. Walls & towers have 2 points of missile armor, plus all remaining damage is divided by 5. Hence, a non-Hittite archer only does 0.2 damage per shot; 30 archers take around 30 seconds to knock a hole through a 100 point wall. You can cut this time in half if you have alchemy. That sounds impressive until you consider what can happen during those 30 seconds.
If the wall is backed up by cats, towers, or priests, the archers will be suffering attrition during the process. They can also be distracted by releasing cavalry against them — archers CANNOT ignore a cavalry attack — they must switch targets to the cavalry or they’re dead. While switching targets, the cats, priests, or defensive towers can wreak havoc. This isn’t to say that an archer rush isn’t strong — it’s a fine thing to see. But it’s probably the most “stoppable” of all the single-unit attacks. I’m surprised by one player’s comment that he doesn’t bother with units that cost gold — he ought to try it. Composite bowmen outrange normal archers, last longer in combat, and do more damage. A composite bowman knocks down a wall three times as fast as a normal archer.
The most fearsome are, of course, heavy horse archers — a Hittite heavy horse archer with alchemy does 10(!) points of damage per shot. It only takes four (4) of them to knock down a wall as fast as 30 normal non-alchemy archers.
On the other hand, normal cavalry have their charms too — for one thing, during the 30 seconds it takes for the archers to punch a hole in a weak wall, most players can get 3-4 cavalry into the archer’s undefended home town, where they gobble up peasants like popcorn. Even towers won’t stop the cavalry, who can kill peasants faster than towers kill them (walls slow them down, though).
As I’ve said before — using walls against the computer player is cheating. He can’t use walls against you, so you shouldn’t do it against him (except when you’re just learning to play).