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An island brimming with gold in the center of a caldera lake. Steep elevation and lack of trees make it hard to build there.
—Map description

Crater Lake is a multiplayer-only random map in Age of Empires II. It features a large lake with a single, gold-rich island located near the lakefront.

A peaceful Crater Lake


Crater Lake contains a massive lake in the center of the map, reminiscent of the body of water found on the Baltic map. However, the water of Crater Lake covers about a third of the map, with a comparatively smaller land area. Players generally start on differing sides of the lake - if there are more than 2 players present, jutting peninsulas are formed that are incompletely separated from other players by an "arm" of the lake.

The most notable feature of the lake is a single, off-centered island that contains a large amount of gold. This island can vary greatly in size and shape, but is always located near a lakeshore. The island typically contains no other resources, though it frequently is populated with wolves. On bigger map sizes, scattered trees and (more rarely) stone can be found on the island. Some other wild predators are scattered around the ring coming in pairs

When it comes to the resources outside of the island it can be said that the map is rather average. Wood is plentiful and stone can be found with ease. The lake contains plenty of fish to provide food. When it comes to gold the map isn't particularly lacking, though it remains advisable to try and control of the island, as most gold on the map is concentrated there. The start-up for each player is the standard one with 2 Boars near, 8 Sheep or 6 Cows, 6 Berry Bushes, 3-4 Deer and normal stocks of Gold and Stone Mines. Aside from the initial herdables, there are some other of them scattered on the ring of land coming in pairs.

Crater Lake comes in temperate and snowy variants. Sometimes the lake is generated partially frozen, which could lead to a shift in focus from naval warfare to ground-based combat.

It has the in-game map tag "Water".

Viable strategies[]

As Sheep and Deer are positioned closer than usual to the middle of the map, it might be possible for the player to snipe away other players' Deer by scouting, while guarding against other scouts is advised. Small rushes are a good way to bring the enemy out of balance, especially when coupled with a bit of boom.

As the wild predators come in pairs on the ring of land (while the land space is very constricted), in theory it is possible to perform a " Wolf rush" which consists of luring those animals to the opponent's settlement with a Militia or a Villager.

Getting control of the lake island may become a priority in the middle and late game, as the gold mines there may give the player that controls them an economic boost that may be decisive for the victory.

Any strategy that works on Baltic works as well on Crater Lake. As the teams are divided on land by narrow strips of land, walling those places can be a good way to limit the opponent. After walling off an opponent, a player should focus on cross sea attacks using transports and Galleons, or placing military facilities on the land border.

A player needs to focus on both land and water in order to emerge victorious from the battle. Focusing food production on Fishing Ships rather than Farms is a good way to prevent overstraining wood economy.

Booming and turtle strategies are very effective on Crater Lake. Early land rush standard strategies (infantry, cavalry or archer rushes) may work only if the opponent forgets to wall the narrow points. Because of this, Galley rushes and land-to-rush strategies may be preferred.

Civilizations with advantages include:

Civilizations that may struggle:

  • Civilizations with poor navy: the Aztecs or the Cumans for example.

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