Age of Empires II
Ghost Lake is a majority land-based map, with a large frozen "no-man's land" lake in the center. It is a very open map in the same vein as Arabia.
Start-up resources are the standard ones (6 Berry Bushes, 8 Sheep, 2 Boars and normal piles of gold and stone), with the exception that the herd of Deer is fixed to 3 Deer. Resources along the map are low, since the central frozen lake occupies a big portion of the map (depriving this map of the typical wood, gold and stone glut in the center of the map). Gold and Stone are of relative abundance around the lake, Wood is scarce (however, there are lots of small tree lines around). However unlike most maps, a large number of Sheep can be found on the central lake, usually found in pairs, as well as small portions of water that may contain shorefish.
Elevations and hills of various sizes can be found around the lake, as well as some cliffs; however, most of the map is flat. Wolves are present in normal numbers all around the lake, but not on the lake, sometimes appearing in pairs, which makes them relatively easy to find. The number of Relics is standard and varies with the map size. They appear scattered all around the map.
Ghost Lake is a fairly fun map even though it contains less than the normal resources. This creates an interesting dilemma as both booming and rushing struggle. The high level of wolves often deters Militia and Men-at-Arms and the low resources often harm the booming player as Villagers become a massive food drain. However, it will be pointed out that Feudal Age rushes followed up by a fast Castle is an effective strategy to put a player into the leading seat, although later offensives will surely be needed. The map can also be relatively wallable due to lots of small forests around the player's starting area; however, there is often a giant open area (if the player starts close to the frozen lake), in which case walling becomes harder.
Since natural resources are scarce, this often leads to trash wars in long games.
Scouting the lake early can grant a reliable source of food, since players can find lots of additional Sheep there, so is advisable that instead focusing early on found the 4 hidden start-up Sheep (as in most maps), the scout unit instead may be used to get Sheep on the center of the map. Because of this, players often engage in early scout fights on the lake in order to prevent their rivals from getting those Sheep. Using some of the Sheep near the Town center to explore the surroundings is highly advisable, as in this map, those are a bit more expendable than in most other maps. The players that get those extra Sheep may also save wood as they may delay creating Farms.
Most strategies that work well in Arabia may also work on Ghost Lake. In addition, a Wolf Rush may also be possible, since players that know that Wolves only appears around the lake and not on the lake can find them more easily, then they may mark their locations with palisade basements, and then lure them to an opponent location using an infantry, a villager or foot archers.
Scarcity of resources also makes Relics much more valuable in Ghost Lake, as their gold trickle provides a reliable source of gold for the late game.
Civilizations with advantages includes:
- Civilizations with good early aggression bonuses: Goths, Aztecs, Huns, Celts, Vikings, Japanese, Mongols, Magyars, Malians, Malay, Bulgarians etc.
- Archer based civilizations: Mayans, Britons, Ethiopians, Chinese, etc.
- Civilizations with good towers (as it allows for a tower rush in the Feudal Age): Byzantines, Teutons, Incas, Koreans
- Civilizations with bonuses regarding Sheep and shepherds: Tatars, Britons, Celts, Mayans.
- Civilization with good trash units: Magyars, Persians, Vietnamese, etc.
Civilizations that may struggle in Ghost Lake include:
- Civilizations with poor early game bonuses or poor early game defense: Portuguese, Turks, Italians, Vietnamese, Saracens, etc.
- Civilizations that may rely on a strong economy: Spanish, Turks, Saracens, Indians, etc.
Age of Mythology
|“||The sinister, frozen lake in the center of this map may never thaw, but still cannot be built upon.||”|
Ghost Lake is also featured in Age of Mythology, also as a land map with a frozen "no man's land" in the center, though unlike the Age of Empires II version, the map features no fish (or water to begin with), and predators don't attack military units, meaning that early game rushes are more viable. There are still numerous predatory animals on and around the lake so worker units must travel with care.
- While the Ghost Lake map doesn't appear in Age of Empires III, the winter version of Great Lakes is similar in practice, with a frozen lake providing a no man's land.
- A variation of King of the Hill in Age of Mythology features a frozen lake, with the Plenty Vault objective in the middle. In this variation, it is impossible to camp with structures, or execute a Castle drop.