|“||A build order is a series of actions that you perform to execute a certain strategy. In this challenge mission, you will learn to master one such build order. Can you outperform your friends and earn a medal in this particularly difficult mission?||”|
Fast Castle Age is one of the two possible third scenarios of The Art of War in Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition. As the name suggests, it takes the player's skill at managing an economy into another level by introducing the concept of build orders. In this case, the player will learn the common "Fast Castle" build order designed to reach the Castle Age quickly while spending as few resources and population as possible.
Intro[edit | edit source]
A good commander must learn to be decisive in war. Hesitation or mistakes can mean the difference between victory and defeat. Just as a soldier practices his spear thrusts, so too must a commander learn to be efficient and repeat tasks until he knows them by heart.
Sun Tzu says: 'A clever fighter wins his battles by making no mistakes. Making no mistakes is what establishes the certainty of victory, for it means conquering an enemy that is already defeated.'
Few generals make it this far. Let us see if you are one of them.
Video instruction[edit | edit source]
One of the most common strategies in multiplayer games is the Fast Castle Age. Today, you will learn to execute a particular build order for this.
A build order is a set of instructions to be strictly followed in order to generate the most efficient gameplay. They are quite common in multiplayer games, so research them in your free time.
First of all, it is very important to never leave your Town Center idle. Check your Town Center regularly to see if a villager is being trained. If not, use the "Go to Town Center" hotkey (default 'H') to jump over to your Town Center and click the Create Villager button to train or queue up another Villager. If you do not have enough food, force your villagers gathering food to drop off their resources. Use the rally flag in your Town Center to tell your Town Center to send new Villagers to a resource or construction site on completion, or when garrisoned.
When villagers are newly created or when they finish a task, they can go idle. Keep an eye on the idle indicator on the top panel and click on it or use the "Idle Villager" hotkey to cycle between idle villagers and send them back to work.
Remember: build orders are a great way to get better at the game, but do not forget to strategize. Not one game is the same, so you will often need to think outside the box.
Scenario instructions[edit | edit source]
Main objectives[edit | edit source]
Hints[edit | edit source]
- For more information about how to properly gather from Sheep and on how to lure Boars, check out the 'Early Economy' challenge.
- Exploring is very important in any game. You should immediately look for the two Boars and eight Sheep in the vicinity of your Town Center. After that, you need to find your Forage Bushes, your main Gold Mine, and the nearby herd of Deer. Most standard random games have 2 groups of Stone Mines and 3 groups of Gold Mines in total, so you should look for those as well. After that, you can start to search for the enemy players.
- You should use your most damaged Villagers to build Farms. That way, they are close to the Town Center and safe.
- You can see what tasks your Villagers are assigned to by cycling through the minimap mode.
- Age of Empires II: DE has introduced mixed queuing. This means that you can queue both units and technologies at the same time. Be sure to make use of this feature.
- Another feature that the Definitive Edition introduces is multitasking by using the Shift hotkey. For example, if you build a House while having a Villager selected and then Shift + right click on a tree, the Villager will go chop that tree immediately after it has built the House. This is a good way to avoid idling your Villagers, but will also take some time to get used to. Other uses for this feature include managing your Villagers gathering from Sheep or hunting Deer.
- In this challenge, you will be able to build a Market and a Blacksmith. These two buildings are the cheapest and therefore the fastest way to advance to the Castle Age.
- Skipping the Loom research is risky, but will allow you to advance to the next ages more quickly and speed your pursuit of a gold medal.
Scouts[edit | edit source]
Your scouts report:
We have not gathered any information yet. You must instruct us to explore the surrounding region.
Medals[edit | edit source]
- Gold: Complete the scenario in 14 minutes
- Silver: Complete the scenario in 17 minutes
- Bronze: Complete the scenario in 20 minutes
Strategy[edit | edit source]
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Follow the voice-over's instructions, deviating as little as possible from the build order that they describe. Timing and precision are very important for the purposes of earning a gold medal, and situations like being unable to find every sheep within the first couple of minutes will make acquiring a gold medal nearly impossible. Queuing Villager tasks and setting up the Town Center rally point correctly will minimize villager idle time.