City of Lakes (Land of Lakes before the Definitive Edition) is a random semi-closed water map introduced in Age of Empires II HD: The Forgotten. It features a large land landmass dotted with multiple lakes and ponds, giving the map its name.
Players start out on a dry land peninsula on either corners of the map. On team matches before the Definitive Edition, team members share a side and still have a whole a peninsula to themselves. Each peninsula features very flat terrain with little to no hills and provide well land to build on.
The main feature of the map is that there are extremely large amounts of lakes and ponds, each containing rich banks of fish. Sometimes, two or more lakes are connected by thin portions of shore land terrain.
There are little to no hills, and cliffs are completely absent. Wild beasts such as Wolves are present and scattered on the map, as well as the Relics, which come in normal numbers and usually can be found on the isthmuses formed by the lakes. Forests of Palms can be found all around the map, so wood is plentiful, especially at the shores of the central lakes, Gold and Stone Mines are of normal variance outside initial settlements. Start-up resources for each player is the standard one.
The lakes on the map present unique challenges and opportunities to players. Galley rushing can prove to be catastrophic on the wrong lake and fishing on the right one can be a great boost to the player's economy. These should all be kept in mind when playing on this map and each lake should be explored well. Players should try to get control of the larger and best connected lakes in order to get a tactical edge over their rivals.
Due to the lakes surrounding each side of each peninsula, the player can expect attacks on all fronts, and building walls can help rid of land enemy invaders. However as like in maps like Rivers or Highland, enemies may circumvent a Turtle strategy by creating Transport Ships (which, unlike on Rivers and Highland, the invading player must be sure to place Docks on the right lake). Any clever player must use Castles and Towers for defending from a landing, in combination with their walls, in order to perform a turtle, and then they can follow up with a Boom. Walling specific isthmuses may make the map more "labyrinth"-like for land troops (messing with their pathfinding so they have to take longer ways to reach an opponent) and may help to enclose areas that contain additional gold and stone mines.
Civilizations that have advantages in City of Lakes include:
- Naval civilizations: Vikings, Spanish, Byzantines, Malay, Italians, Portuguese, Persians, Koreans, Japanese, Saracens, etc.
- Civilizations with good defense and particularly good towers and Castles: Koreans, Incas, Teutons, Byzantines, Turks, etc.
Civilizations that may struggle: