Golden Pit is a random map featured in Age of Empires II HD: The Forgotten. The map is very similar to Gold Rush with greenery and forests surrounding an arid region filled with filled with heaps of Gold Mines but features a large pit at the center instead of a hill.
Player's start out in a forestland near the edges the map near small forests of deciduous trees. The start-up resources for each player is the standard one: 8 small herdables, 2 aggressive huntables, a herd of 3-4 passive huntables, 6 Berry Bushes and normal piles of gold and stone. Similar to Gold Rush, additional Gold and Stone Mines on the map can only be found on a central depression of the map, so players must fiercely compete to get control of it. Additional Berry Bushes can be found scattered on larger maps.
Small pockets of forests can be found all around the map. except on the central depression. As with other maps, Relics will be found in small numbers scattered throughout the map. The same goes for wild beasts like wolves. Outside of the central depression, the map is flat and there are no cliffs.
Similar to Gold Rush and unlike most maps, where players must compete for resources all around the map, players must fiercely compete to gain a monopoly of the central Gold and Stone Mines, lest they face a shortage of resources that will inevitably grant an enormous economic advantage to their foes.
It is advised to rush to control the depression as quickly as possible (including Tower rushes), in order to stave off enemy Villagers, whereas Castle drops and walling off the central depression is highly recommended in later stages of the game. Standard early rushes against the opponent's settlement also work well, as the map is pretty open like Arabia.
Unlike Gold Rush, the central Gold Mines are on a depression rather on a hill, so units and buildings in the golden pit in the center are highly vulnerable against ranged attacks from upper altitude and outside the pit. Multiple raids and attacks from enemy troops over control of the pit will happen frequently on the map. As the edges of the pit are at higher altitude than the central depression, this gives archer units an advantage over the vulnerable mining Villagers down in the pit. The same logic applies to ranged siege units and ranged melee units such as Gbetos. Building Castles and Watch Towers will help protect Villagers from these attacks, but in this case, it is much better to place them outside and around the pit than in the pit (as they will fall quicker if placed in the pit, due to the hill bonus damage from siege units on higher ground).
If a player gets out from the gold center, is advised that they must prepare armies of gold-free units (trash units) in order to conquer it, or at least resist enemy attacks for a while; otherwise, players that are forced out of the center must use the Market for obtaining gold or go and get the Relics. In team games, preparing Trade Carts for commerce is also advised in order to circumvent at least in part an eventual expulsion from the center.
Civilizations with advantages include:
- Civilizations with good early aggression bonuses: Goths, Aztecs, Huns, Celts, Vikings, Japanese, Mongols, Magyars, Malians, Malay, Bulgarians etc.
- Civilizations with bonuses regarding gold mining collection rates: Malians, Turks, Indians (this because of the Sultans technology).
- Civilizations with good defenses: Byzantines, Teutons, Incas, Koreans etc.
- Civilizations with bonuses regarding alternative ways of generating gold and stone: Spanish (better Trade Cart gold generation for the team), Saracens (Market interchange bonus), Aztecs (team Relics generate more gold), Portuguese (Feitoria available), Indians (the Sultans unique technology), Vietnamese (the Paper Money technology)
- Civilizations with good trash units: Magyars, Berbers, Vietnamese, Malay, Persians, etc.
- Special mentions: Tatars (their hill bonus damage is pretty useful for attacking the center against opponents that are already there), Cumans (their second Town Center available in the Feudal Age is an excellent tool for taking the gold center very early in the game)