The Fast Bronze Strategy

Heaven’s Reference Pages

The Fast Bronze Strategy

By NathanC (MrGQ)

After many multiplayer AOE games on the Zone and on efnet/undernet via tcp/ip, I have found one strategy that works better than all others. For the time being I will just outline the process and later explain why this is the best strategy.

When first starting out, immediately build a villager using the shortcut HC. It is imperative that you learn to use all the shortcut keys. All experts will do this so you should too. I will give you further evidence of why this is so crucial at a later time.

VillagersNext take 2 villagers and build two houses (shortcut B SHIFT-E E) Make sure both are working on the same house.

GroupTake your remaining villager and use him to find berries as soon as possible. For ease of control, assign him a group number (CTRL-#).  Also it is a good idea to hit F4 (show score) and F11 (show timer and gamespeed) at this time so that you can guage your progress.

GranaryBack to your builders, take 1 villager off when the house is half complete and also use him to search for berries. Allow the other builder to finish his work. By now a new villager will have been built. Create another one. Never stop making villagers until told otherwise. Again, the new villager is used to scout for food. In total you should have 3 scouting in all directions for berries and 1 finishing up the houses. When the latter is done, have him scout too. Hopefully, you will have found the berry patch by now and should be constructing a granary.

Now take all villagers and have them finish the granary and forage food. You must have at least 6 men getting berries to ensure a steady stream of new villagers.

More BerriesIn my example, I found my berries early and can hold off on having them all forage. Instead, I kept one to search for more food. Sure enough, there was another berry patch nearby. Scouting is essential at this early stage. Many experts do not control their scout. I prefer to control him so I don’t accidentally get eaten by a lion/gator.

More BerriesOK, next order of business is finding some wood. After the 6 villagers have been placed on berries, you should make new villagers chop the trees near your towncenter. I have circled back with my scout villager and found a forest. When I have 120 wood, a storage pit will be built nearby.

FishingStorage PitAhhh, fishing is also another good food source. The general rule is if it is about 7 squares away, no need for a storage pit. Ten spaces for yamato or assyrian. Villager fishing is twice as productive as any other food gathering method.

GranaryOk, a few minutes have elapsed. You never stopped making new villagers. Notice the 6 men on berries. There is that villager still fishing and one still scouting for more goodies on the map. Of course I need new houses. I have placed the storage pit in a convenient location near wood, gold and gazelles. I’ve already begun some hunting. Always hunt. Just accept for now that hunting is better than farming. Farming is your last resort for a food source. Farm as late as possible.

FoodMore time has elapsed. My emphasis has shifted from wood to mostly food gathering. About 3/4 of my villagers are getting food. The rest are getting wood. I have already begun the tool upgrade. It will take exactly 2 minutes from the time I hit the button to complete the upgrade. I went with 23 villagers. Twenty One villagers will give you the maximum bronze time possible though as many as 27 is also ok. I am at 79% complete with my upgrade and notice how good my resources are. As soon as I make tool age, I will build a market and stables. This will allow me to hit the bronze upgrade as soon as they are built. Do not build new villagers at this time. Also, I will still not need to farm. Still have a lot of berries left.

ResourcesI used my woodcutters to build the market and stables real quick and immediately hit the upgrade button. I’m sorry I didn’t get a screenshot of this happening. Was too preoccuppied with hitting that button as soon as possible. The upgrade will take exactly 2:20 from this point. Notice my food level is pretty good but wood is a bit short. That is ok. I still don’t need farms. At this time, take about 3 food guys and put them to mining.

TimeDuring the transition period between tool and bronze, I will be making the following upgrades in this order (woodcutting then goldmining). I will also build a scout unit and hopefully upgrade toolworking and cavalry armor. If you can only have one of these last military upgrades, grab armor first. I have my scout and am searching for more food and of course, the enemy. I’ve almost depleted my berries but I found some more gazelles and an elephant. I’m at 86% complete to bronze and the time reads 14:08 which is not too bad (though not great).

ScoutsOnce you are bronze, build 2 cavalry units and again, make villagers continuously. Assign about half to food, a third to wood, and remaining to gold/stone (I don’t mine stone in case you asked me). I hit bronze at about 14:35 this game. I have brought my scout and 2 cavalry units over to the enemy. Notice that they do have the military upgrades. I am now going to stop the enemy’s economy by harassing his villagers. Go only for villagers.

Government CenterIt’s a little later and the enemy has lost about 10 villagers to my attack. I think he’s suffered enough that I can start my way towards iron age. I’m building my government center and academy. I still haven’t farmed yet and it’s 17 minutes into game.

ElephantsWow, more elephants and almost ready for iron at 18:35. it will take 2:40 from the moment I hit the button. Again, still no farms but it’s ok to start farming now. 

Town CenterMy first group of attackers never died. I guess I chased his farmers away too. Now attacking his towncenter.

Town CenterI hit iron at exactly 21:37. I’ve given up on the other food sources and will rely on farming from here on out.

Town CenterHey, could always use some more villagers. =)

TimelineHere’s a summary of my achievements at this time.

Things Explained.

OK, now it’s time to explain a few things I did.

Why do a fast bronze?

Well, simple, 1 cavalry will kill 4 tool age archers (3 if assyrian). What about a tool age rusher? Well, not many people can attack that quickly. Besides, your were scouting with your villager early on and finding the location of your enemies.

Why is 21 villagers the fastest bronze?

Twenty One villagers will get you the maximum bronze age time. This is the minimum number that will get you 800 food and 300 wood during the tool/bronze transition. In theory you can get as fast as 12 minutes with a civ like shang, as fast as about 12:30 with yamato/assyrian, 13:30 with any other civ.
A few more than 21 will not hurt as long as u keep it in the range of 21-27 made in stone.

Why get the upgrades in the order specified?

A lot of people don’t understand how the upgrade works. I will explain in detail how they work in a future column. For now, get upgrades as soon as you can get them. Make sure woodcutting is first. Goldmining/wheel can be either one first though I prefer goldmining since I usually cannot research wheel just yet (not in bronze yet).

Why not upgrade earlier then?

You still need the food to bronze. Getting to bronze supercedes any of the other upgrades.

Why attack with only 2 cavalry and 1 scout? Shouldn’t I make more units?

No. This is an absolute no. this is one of the biggest problems intermediate players and beginners have. Even some very good players still do this. Age of Empires is a game that is best played with small armies. They are easier to control for one, take less time to build, and therefore, your enemy has less time to build a suitable defense. I already stated 1 cavalry will kill 4 archers. Don’t fret over towers, just ignore towers and hit villagers. The scout is there to improve your visibility but he can attack so long as he has armor upgrade.

What if the enemy has walled in?

This rarely happens. 15 minutes is usually not enough time for a player to wall in completely. Look for a hole. If he is accessible by water, transport over. All you need to do is hurt his economy.

What if he kills my troops?

Well you decide for yourself. If you think he hasn’t been hurt enough, attack again. Make another stable and send 4 cavalry and a scout. Repeat until you find yourself at an adavantage over your enemy. Generally speaking, I can do about 4 bronze age attacks (2 cavs, 4 cavs, 4 cavs, 4 cavs) and still iron in 28-32 minutes. Iron becomes a clean up rather than a seige age.

I’ve done what you’ve told me but still can’t bronze in less than 15 minutes. What am I doing wrong?

Try the game at normal speed instead of making it fast or very fast. Game speed affects your reaction time and therefore makes you slower. Every civ can do 15 minutes by the method described. I average about 14 minutes myself.