The _Sheriff_’s Guide to Hill Country Survival

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The _Sheriff_’s Guide to Hill Country Survival

by The_Sheriff_

One thing that I love about Rise of Rome, is the variety of playing style the new maps have brought about. Playing on a hill country map is very much different than on the water maps, you simply must change your playing style to adapt if you really want to win. Hill country yields absolutely no water and very little food. The berries and animals are usually very scarce and far apart. Finding food is always a challenge, unlike the other maps where you can never run out. Over the last month, I have been practicing a new strategy for hill country maps, and it has granted me excellent results so far. The proceeding strategy will work with any civ, but it heavily favors the sumerians, and so I will be writing from a sumerian perspective.

Part 1 – The Stone Age

There is not a whole lot I can help you with in the stone age. As usual, start by picking berries with your first 5 peasants. then send the 6th and 7th peasants to chop wood around your town center. The 8th and 9th peons are your explorers, start roaming the land (I usually explore around my town center spiraling outward). After you find a second berry patch and a few animals, put your explorers to work somewhere. Do not get discouraged if you cannot find any food, this is not uncomon and is not the end of the world. One thing I would like to stress, is do not wander off too far in search of food, if your peons need to walk more than 3 screens to your food it is probably not worth the trip. To give you a feel of how much I will explore, my exploration score is usually around 15% when I stop looking. 
Build 24-26 peons and advance to the tool age. Make sure you have completed a barracks before you reach tool. Placement of your barracks should be between your woodcutters and your town center

Part 2 – The Tool Age

Get ready, this part is long. Once you reach tool age, immediadely que up 4 villagers. Build 2 archery ranges next to your barracks and start building more houses (you will need a lot) if your opponent is using an archer civ, start building slingers and tool archers. If he is using a stables unit civ, or axemen, make only tool arcers and get armor. Do not stop producing tool age units until you have 10 or more. As soon as you are able, build a market and research woodcutting. Que up a couple more villagers. As your villagers pop out, put them to work building farms, when your berry pickers finish, have them build farms as well. You will need most of your peons chopping wood while you are advancing to tool and in early tool in order to build the farms. Now, farms you ask? I know almost every expert will say farming as a last resort. But on hill country, you really do not have much choice. You can farm, or you can waste your time searching for berries 5 screens away from your production sites. The great thing about the sumerian farms is you do not have to worry about them running out until you are into the iron game, 500 food for each farm! Continue building more peons, more farms, and more tool archers.
Now you are ready for the tool rush, actually, you are hoping for it, because you can easily repel it at a very low cost. If however, your opponent has gone for a quick bronze upgrade, things can get tricky. What if your opponent is bronze, and you havent even started the upgrade yet? Don’t panic, you are fine! You still have 10-15 tool archers remember. Most players generally will attack you with their bronze age units as soon as they are produced, this means your 10-15 tool archers will be fighting 2 cavalry, again, you will win at a very low cost. If you lose part of your army, don’t hesitate to rebuild them. You must not feel rushed into advancing to bronze. Maintain a very large number of defensive units, 15-20 now that your opponent is in bronze. Are you still making villagers? You should be.
By the 16-18 minute mark, you should be ready to bronze. You should have 30-35 villagers and a large tool age force. While bronzing, build 2 or 3 more archery ranges if you havent done so already, and start building more houses (you will need a lot again)

Part 3 – The Bronze Age

By 18-20 minutes you should be bronze (pretty stinky huh?) Immediately que up 4 more villies, research the wheel, and build a government center. Look at your woodcutters. By now they are probly walking a great distance to that forest from the storage pit. Split these peasants into 2 groups, and send them to 2 different, close forests. Have each group build a town center next to the wood, and resume chopping. Que up peons in all of your town centers. Begin producing chariot archers. Research craftmanship, then goldmining. Now it is time to dispose of your tool archers, send them out towards your enemy city and kill as many villagers as you can. Are you still building peons from all 3 town centers? You should be. By now you should have 40-60 villagers, once you get 60 you can stop cause that’s enuf J Send 10-15 villagers to the gold mine and start mining it. Mass up your chariot archers until you have a group of 15-20. Leave them on defense for now. Stay on the defensive until you go to iron age. With 50 villagers it doesn’t take long to get the resources for the iron upgrade, and the catapult and horse archers w/ ballistics is twice as effective as chariot archer raids. Once you are on your way to iron or at least close to being ready, begin your chariot archer raids. Build 4 or 5 siege workshops and research stone mining (you will be able to get heavy cats before too long). Start making stone throwers.

Part 4 – Iron Age

Now you are in Iron age, and your economy and military strength is immensely superior to your opponents. Research ballistics, catapult, engineering, alchemy, siegecraft, and heavy catapult in that order. You can now let your little brother take over for you if you feel like it, your opponent should be gaping in awe at your colossal civilization, and wondering how anyone could beat him with tool archers and a 20 minute bronze time

Part 5 – Miscellaneous Tips

  1. Which civs pull this strategy off best?
    Sumerian (farms, peon hitpoints)
    Phoenician (more wood = more farms)
    Minoan (farm bonus, unbeatable comps)
    Shang (duh)
    Roman (low cost farms, buildings)
    Assyrian (fast peons, great archers)
  2. When to use peasants to fight and when to flee?
    a. Attack enemy units with your peons if, lone scout attacks woodcutters
    b. vs. sligner only armies
    c. vs. sligner + archer / axeman only if your archers are helping
    d. vs. archers / axemen that do not have armor and only if your peons outnumber them 2 v 1 or better.
  3. How to counter this strategy?
    Fast bronze, mass up large armies of bronze units before attacking, avoid fighting defensive archers and hunt peons. Use stone throwers.
  4. Should I get the farm upgrades?
    Unless you are Sumerians you should definitely get domestication, preferably before you build the farms.