The “HOW-TO”‘s of CO-OP Play


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The “HOW-TO”‘s of CO-OP Play

Leo Brum

In summary, CO-OP is useful for “OMNI-PRESENCE”: You are (almost) everywhere at the same time, and “Specialization” – you can fight well * AND * manage resources well, something hard to do on yourself alone. 

This is the only thing that justifies overcoming the difficulties of competing with your partner for control of the same civ… You can really cause trouble to ANY opponent, just by launching a combined multiple attack, for example… 

The major obstacle to overcome is NOT communication: that’s only the second… 

The major problem to overcome is that CO-OP play is NOT a Democracy!… It can only work with one taking and the other giving ORDERS. Battle is truly an ugly event. Everything is paid with blood (well, Hit Points, in AoE…). So, there is no forgiveness, very especially for two capital things: 

Blindness (you failed to take notice of what’s coming, or of the possible entry points for you…) 

Paralysis (you really didn’t do it on time…so the other guy did and now you’re in trouble). 

Antidotes, such as Exploring, and Combat Unit Micromanagement have the corresponding toll at home… your economic activity stops or crawls until you get back from an exploration trip, or a fighting expedition. 

That’s where Co-op shines: now you CAN BOTH attend home care business while you take war to the enemy’s front porch (or even better, to his backyard…) 

How do you do this?… 

Here’s the key: ROLE PLAYING. 

In real life, studying, working for companies or government, you assume a “role”, a fixed set of conduct rules that patterns your contributions. In other words, you “ACT LIKE” some character, reputed as necessary for the business or organization. The “role” demands that you also assume a social and psychological stand, which makes it possible that actions flow predictably and smoothly. Example: In the Army, you are supposed to be OBEDIENT to your superior personnel, at any rank. This is because the military are supposed to be SWIFT in their decisions, in order to EFFECTIVELY blow the enemy to pieces. 

That’s exactly what happens in CO-OP play: 

You have a Main ROLE and occasionally, a SECONDARY role. 

There are FOUR roles: 

Two for common actions: Fighter and Supplier (DIFFERENT Players). 

One for Strategy: Strategist / Planner (Accumulated) 

One for Authority; Commander. (Accumulated) 

The Normal state of affairs is that the Strategist is also the fighter and the Commander. 

It is almost aways more correct that the field function of Commander belong to the one that was the Strategist. 

Here’s what these roles accomplish: 

Strategist: 

BEFORE the Game he determines which is the best course of action and the best means to carry it towards victory (“PLAN A”) and the alternatives (“PLAN B”, “PLAN C”…). He obtains the agreement of his Partner. During the game, he tells when to change to “PLAN B”, if the things go differently than anticipated… 

Commander: 

DURING the Game he issues MOST (definitelly NOT All) of the orders and determines the way the game goes, both in Supply and in Combat. Normally, it is also the Strategist who commands, but in the field, this does not need to be the Fighter. I have met a successful partnership with someone that fights better than I do, but prefers to be told where and when to strike, because otherwise he would lose concentration on the infinite details of placement of units and their manipulation. 

The important Command concepts are: 

The Commander is there to accomplish the plan made by the Strategist. 

The Commander MUST be the one always watching the map (even during battle!…). NOTHING goes by without the Commander noticing! 

The Commander MUST issue supply directions IN ADVANCE, never on the moment – there are NO instant supplies in AoE and ALL Attcaks need planning ahead. 

The Commander is the one that determines: WHEN to attack; WHERE to attack; With which UNITS to do it (also part of the pre-defined global strategy!… You don’t choose to attack with archers when the Strategy was defined around a Cavalry attack!…; he also determines if there will be a COMBINED ATTACK from two sides. In this case the Supplier is called in to supply the strings for the second group of puppets… 

Any player (Fighter or Supplier) can be the Commander. 

The Commander is NOT necessarilly the Fighter – he may be the Supplier, because this job of resources leaves fore time to watch the field… 

Finally, if the Game is LOST, the COMMANDER is to blame in 70% versus 30% of the other guy. RESPONSIBILITY goes with Command. 

Fighter: 

BOTH will have to play this role. In the beginning of the game, the spread will be like 95% / 5%, but, when the time is ripe to go after the blood, then maybe 55% / 45% will be in effect at times. The Fighter is responsible for ALL activities related to War Buildings – including Temples – he’s the one who knows which are required and WHERE he wants them!… The Fighter is also responsible for Storage Pit Upgrades, temple upgrades and war building upgrades. Upgrades in the Command center belong also to him (artillery and academy upgrades). 

In the beginning of the game, it is VERY important that 2-3 peons (ahem!… Angels) be given to the Figther for a) Close exploration for resource-finding b) Long range exploration for the tracking of enemy activity. this should be done for a) Immediatelly (1) b) When 10 villagers reached (2-3) 

Supplier: 

All throughout the Game, one person has to CONSTANTLY tend to domestic business. this implies the following tasks: Farms (super-important in Bronze and eartly Iron), Wood (always important), Gold (starts in Tool…) and Stone (at least enough for the complete wall-in). Construction of Houses, Upgrade buildings (Market, Command Center, Granaries, Storage Pits, 2nd Town center, etc..) He also tends to the ALL-IMPORTANT Market building upgrades, all STONE buildings and placement of walls. He’s responsible for the STATIC PERIMETER DEFENSE (basically walls and Towers…) and for manipulating a statioanry unit task force, that is used for camp close defense. I reccomend that this reserve force be at least 1/3 of the total and as upgraded and fit as the main attack force. He’s the captain of this force that has two missions: close defense and Reinforce asuccessful attack from a different angle. also, in a Naval Battle with disembarkment of troops he must manipulate the war ship escort and landing protection force of vessels. the fighter will work with the land forces. The Supplier is also the one that determines how small or big the town perimeter will be. This should be discudded first, if possible. 

Now you see that, no matter how “brilliant” one player is, he must OBEY and not make waves, if is not the Commander. he must STICK to THE PLAN, if he is the Commander. The Fighter must go & attack where the Commander says. And so on – ORDERS, NOT DISCUSSIONS, during a battle!… 

Two Luminary players, no matter how Angelical their condition is, must decide who is the Commander, the fighter, the Supplier and the proportion of resources to attribute to each important funcytion (as a rule of thumb, of course….). 

Then, the Commander commands, the other obeys; The Fighter fights, the other gathers resources and helps with the fight; the strategist determines Plans A & B and BOTH respect the Plan. 

All the time, one plays a submissive role, the other has to be more bossy. 

SOME TRICKS: 

Naval Warfare: One can bombard the shore while the other holds the enemy ship defense with the triremes – try it, it works… 

Enemy Encampment: When attacking, one can go North, the other south, for example… 

Sacred Ambush: One takes the Priests, the other the rest… DEADLY. 

Catapult War (my favorites): One takes 1/2 of the Cats, the other one the other half. The Enemy is in the Sandwich… 

Catapult War: one takes the cavalry, the other holds fire when needed – use the patch!… 

D-Day : One takes of Naval escort and shore bombardment – the other takes the Land forces. 

D-Days (part two): A meager force disembarks ostensibly (one guy); the enemy having rushed to shore, that side, the other guy attacks from another point with the main force… 

A Tale of Two Cities: Comes bronze age and we put up the Command center. Immediatelly, one player takes 1/2 of the units & peons and goes to start a city somewhere else (do this ONLY in very resource-rich maps). 

And so on… as long as you explore the beauty of having FOUR HANDS ! 

ONE MORE THING: 

Remember to TURN CHAT TO ALLIES ONLY !!!!! Fatal, if you forget, the enemy gets a great report… 

Remember, to finish where we started: 

THE MAIN PURPOSE OF CO-OP IS OMNI-PRESENCE AND SPECIALIZATION. 

Please continue to have fun, but, this time, IN GOOD COMPANY !… 

Leo.