Micromanagement (known as micro) is a strategy element that involves selecting specific types of units and using them carefully to execute specific maneuverings. It is a difficult but important skill to master, as it allows a player to greatly reduce their casualties and defeat their opponents with a minimally sized army.
At all games throughout the series it is an important skill, but particularly to civilizations that handle fast or tricky units (especially if they are fragile or easily countered, e.g. by spear/pike/bayonet units), such as cavalry, and to ones that possess unconventional traits.
Villager micromanagement is another vital element to consider, as it, if executed properly, greatly reduces Villager idle time which increases the overall resource generation rate. The less time Villagers walk or actually idle the more time they spend actually gathering/building. Therefore, it is important to always check for idle Villagers (best done with the assigned shortcut) and make sure that drop-off points are not far from the gathered resource. Furthermore, it should be made sure that Villagers do not clutter and slow themselves down. It can be more effective to work a Gold Mine with 10 Villagers than with 20.
Age of Empires II Edit
Micro-intensive civilizations in Age of Empires II include, among others, civilizations that frequently use Cavalry Archers or other ranged cavalry, as tactics involving them are both expensive and complicated, whereas many units can beat them, if they manage to close the distance with them. Therefore, it is important to micromanage them to use the hit-and-run tactic to put them out of harm's way, while effectively eliminating a significant portion of th enemy forces. These are usually also the ones that combine these units with Light Cavalry/Hussars and also possess Parthian Tactics.
Civilizations that use frail, slow, vulnerable to Monks, and/or expensive units also benefit from proper micromanagement. Examples include:
- Ethiopians (Shotel Warriors)
- Indians (Elephant Archers, no Heresy)
- Koreans (Turtle Ships)
- Slavs (Boyars, no Heresy and Faith)
- Malians (Gbetos)
- Persians (War Elephants, no Heresy)
In addition, some civilizations have "double-edge sword" civilization bonuses that require good micromanagement to use to the fullest effect and can backfire on the player if used improperly.
- Chinese: Start with -200 food, -50 wood, and three extra Villagers.
- Khmer: Can build any building or advance to the next Age with any prerequisite.
Age of Empires III Edit
- Ottomans: They are considered by many people the most difficult civilization to properly play, due to their longer, automatic "spawning" of Settlers, their limited if powerful selection of units, their population limits on Settlers and their dependence on artillery (making them highly vulnerable to Culverins). Spahis are sent from their Home City, artillery are available earlier and Mosques are mandatory to exploit their quirks, meaning micro is imperative.
- Portuguese: A lack of Settler cards plus free Covered Wagons means that while they have a harder start, once they reach the Fortress Age, they can potentially use many tricks up their sleeve, such as placing Town Centers close to waterways (gunning down thus Fishing Boats and other unlucky ships) or strike enemies with Organ Guns and early Dragoon rushes. They also require micromanagement for other reasons: a Portuguese Explorer (mind, 3 can be brought from the Home City) should abuse his Spyglass ability correctly to spy accurately an enemy, whereas Cassadores are really strong offensively (and tough at range), but also frail at melee and easily dispatched by artillery).
- Sioux: Not needing to build Houses (as they start with 200 population) may make the Sioux seem simple to play, but their lack of walls, high dependence on natural resources and their cavalry-oriented (if still balanced) forces, as well as the auras their War Chief and Teepees provide, mean they are one of the most difficult to play civilizations in the entire game. On top of that, certain of their units, namely the Tashunke Prowler and Rifle Rider, have certain quirks that require much mirco; Rifle Riders have the best ROF of all ranged units, but struggle against light cavalry, whereas Prowlers need to be in groups and sneaky in order to be effective.