Crappy Bronzing Revisited

Hitting the Bronze Upgrade

You’re in Tool with your 20 villagers and 2-3 fishing boats. Your opponent isn’t all-out Tool Rushing you and is also planning to go Bronze. What do you do?
If your opponent hasn’t spent resources on Technologies immediately, it means your opponent is not about to all-out Tool Rush you. But this doesn’t mean you’re out of the woods. You may still be vulnerable to Late Tool Rushes, where the enemy only launches his Tool attack after he has clicked on the Bronze upgrade.
Unless you’re stuck in the barren wildernessimmediately research Small Wall as a matter of principle. Early walling never does any harm. The flip side of Achievements here is that if you see your opponent Tool and then immediately research a second technology, they’re walling.
The only exception to this principle is when you’re headed for a very good Bronze time (12:30 and under). With times like these (especially with Cavalry civilisations), the prospect of hurting your opponent in early Bronze becomes very real (other times your opponent just walls in). But unless you can hit the Bronze button by 10:10, wall first as a matter of course.
Apart from walling, build your first Archery or Stable next to your wood, then a Market. Why next to your wood? Why not on the enemy side? Well, the thing about building your first Stable or Archery on the enemy side is this – 1 villager builds pretty slow (40s) and if he is caught building that Stable or Archery, you’re going to be able to ill afford that 150 wood.
The second reason is – just as you aim to attack the enemy, the enemy aims to attack you. Do not expect your opponent to just leave you alone, expect an attack of some kind sooner or later. It takes a while for you to get another 150 wood, so if the enemy Tool Rushes you in the meantime you’ll have a totally defenceless base. You will then be very glad to have your first Stable/Archery on your side.
Why wood? Why not next to your gold instead? Wood is life. At this stage of the game, it remains important for you to be able to construct more Stables and/or Archeries, so that you can pump out the military in numbers later. One measly Stable or Archery is hardly going to be sufficient. Secondly, if you are forced to flee your base, all the gold in the world is not going to help you if you don’t have another 120 wood to start a new wood pit. Only after you’re well into mid-Bronze does wood become less important.
Don’t build more villagers in Tool. Spending the extra food on villagers while you’re in Tool slows down your Bronze time. Bronze first, then build more villagers in Bronze. Of course, if you’re literally swimming in food and are waiting for wood, then by all means – build more villagers. But you should never let your Bronze time suffer just because you are waiting for food or are waiting for a new villager to be completed.
Don’t farm. The rate at which you get food from farms is slow (slower than berries). Apart from the wood expense, the slow rate will slow down your Fast Bronze. Don’t farm until you are in Bronze.
After hitting the Bronze upgrade. You’re going Bronze – what now? If you are planning to build Cavalry, Priests or Composite Bowmen, build a new storage pit next to gold (if you haven’t already) the moment you get 120 wood. Put at least 5 villagers on gold. If you plan on Towering, this is a good time to put 5 miners on stone.
Reordering your production. All this time you’ve simply been building new food buildings the moment one food source runs out – focusing on shore fish wherever possible. Once you’ve hit the Bronze upgrade however, priorities change. Food is no longer the most important resource.
You need only one food source in addition to your dock. Leave 5 guys on food (3 if shore fish) and put the rest of them on wood or stone or gold, according to how much of each resource you need. If in doubt, put more villagers on wood, as you’ll need more of that resource initially.
Research Woodworking. It doesn’t matter if you’re not planning to use Archery units or Towers, your interest here is in the economic bonus – both the extra +2 carrying capacity and the faster woodcutting. When you hit Bronze, you’ll need wood – and quite a lot of it – for Villager Booming (see X. A Guide to Villager Booming). Get Woodworking – believe me, you won’t regret it.
Research whatever else you need. Toolworking, Leather Armour, Gold Mining, Stone Mining – whatever it is you require. Chariot Civilisations be mindful that you need to save 175 food for Wheel, so don’t go around spending your food all at once.
Build at least 2 military buildings. 1 Stable/1 Archery if you’re planning to go Cavalry/Composite Bowmen and 2 Archeries if you’re planning to go all Composite Bowmen or CA. You should certainly try and build more (3 or 4) if you have the resources. If not, don’t worry – just make sure you build at least a 3rd military building in early Bronze. Build them on the enemy side of the map if you can.
Build more fishing boats. Start booming from your dock, taking care that you have enough wood to build the required number of military buildings.
Explore with a fishing boat. It is almost a given that your opponent will have a dock as well. Use a fishing boat to find that dock. This will give you fair warning about the direction from which you can expect an enemy Transport and it will also tell you the extent of enemy fishing.
Harass the enemy. Build Tool units to harass the enemy if you haven’t already. If your opponent is in the process of setting up walls, do your best to stop them from going up. But this does not mean sacrificing your units – if a Scout is about to die, withdraw him from the engagement and send him exploring the rest of the map instead. When you hit Bronze, that same Scout can serve as eyes for blind Cavalry. Don’t foolishly send Scouts to their doom, especially if the enemy has Bowmen.
Build a Scout ship (or two, if you expect resistance) and send it to destroy enemy fishing, if any. The earlier you take out those fishing boats the better.
If enemy is walled in, discover the location and extent of the enemy fortifications. Note any weak links or areas of production that are within range of missile units. Note also if the enemy camp is approachable by water. In other words, find the weak points in your opponent’s defences.
Late Tool defence. As far as defence is concerned, much that applies to defending against an all-out Tool Rush applies here. Make sure you wall, and don’t build more Tool units then strictly necessary. Achievements is again your guide to the timing and form of enemy attack. The main difference here is that you have more time to prepare and that you are already on your way to Bronze.
Keeping your defences intact. If your walls come under attack, repair them. A Bowman or two behind walls usually keep even Cavalry units a healthy distance away.
Securing your side of the map. Apart from walling your town, there is that problem of opponents setting up forward military buildings on your side of the map. To root these out, if you don’t have anything else to do at present with your Scout, send it scouring your side of the map for enemy buildings. If you’re lucky, you might even catch an enemy villager in the middle of construction. 

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