Crappy Bronzing Revisited

Achievements in Stone and Early Tool

“Know thy enemy.”
The Achievements screen has attracted more than its fair share of controversy. Some players feel that no one should enjoy the benefits of unearned scouting simply by bringing up a screen that can potentially tell you what your opponent is up to. My personal view is that one must be able to recognise that Achievements also has its limitations, and ceases to be a useful tool after early Bronze. It doesn’t give nearly as much information as some people think it does. Time spent examining Achievements is also time lost micromanaging. I believe it to be a balanced tool, and one that is available to both sides.
Whichever side of the argument you favour, Achievements remains part of the game. A good player thus needs to be able to read and interpret Achievements. Don’t worry – interpretation is not an obscure art form, just a little applied common sense!
Watching for a Villager Rush/Tool Blitz. Both Villager Rushes and Tool Blitzes are very similar in their outward signs – 30% or more exploration by their 12th villager. Another sure sign of either of these coming is Ruin control – Ruins (if present) are spread out over the map, so control of 3 or more Ruins by the 12 villager mark means they are actively searching for you. Exploration doesn’t always tell you the whole picture, but Ruins always do.
Tool Blitzers build Clubmen, and will upgrade to Axemen on hitting Tool. So if you see Largest Army at or around Villager 12, expect trouble.
Tool Blitzers usually build 12-14 Villagers, so by watching Villager High you can tell if your opponent has stopped building Villagers and is preparing to Tool Blitz.
Achievements isn’t very useful beyond this stage, as Achievements won’t tell you anything you won’t know when 4 Axemen or a huge bunch of Villagers walk into your town at about the 6:30 mark.
Watching for a Tool RushTool Rushes don’t depend as much as Tool Blitzes on finding you early, so exploration isn’t such a useful guide. Watch the Villager High instead – Tool Rushers build 16-18 villagers. A word of warning though – Tool Rushes (unlike Tool Blitzes) are not difficult to mask with fishing boats, so Villager High may not always give sufficient advance warning. You will have to rely on Technologies (see below) as backup.
Again, Largest Army while your opponent remains in Stone means your opponent is going Axemen. Bowmen Rushes and Scout Rushes (and the dreaded Scout/Bowman Combined Rush) are also quite popular, and you can predict that you will be hit within the next 30s if Largest Army goes up soon after your opponent Tools.
Watching Technologies also gives you early warning of an imminent Tool Rush. A sudden jump (52 points) in score means your opponent has Tooled. If your opponent does not yet have Largest Army (meaning no Axemen) and immediately gets a total of 3 technologies right after they Tool, you can bet your money that a Scout Rush is coming (Toolworking + Leather Armour Cavalry). If your opponent builds 16-18 Villagers and stops at a total of 2 technologies right after they Tool, expect a Bowman Rush instead (Leather Armour Archers).
Note that Tool Rushes can also be executed if your opponent builds 20 or more villagers (fortunately these are nowhere as effective). The key to telling whether any opponent is planning to Tool Rush is immediate expenditure on technology, followed by military – signifying an intention to abandon the chance for a Fast Bronze.
Miscellaneous uses of the Achievement screen. It is sometimes a good idea to check the Military column to see if your opponent has any losses. If you weren’t responsible for that loss (say by bashing the stray enemy villager that walks into your town), then it means that your opponent got a little too friendly with the native fauna. This is useful information to know, especially if your opponent is 2 villagers down. This means that your opponent will be weak initially in Tool, and it might be a good idea for you to depart from your usual strategy and consider aTool Rush on your opponent instead.

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