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Mountain Pass is a random map in Age of Empires II HD: The African Kingdoms and Age of Empires IV.

Age of Empires II[]


Mountain Pass selection

"Lost and scattered in snowy mountains, regroup your villagers build a strong town and conquer the lands around."
Age of Empires II description

Mountain Pass is the only map in The African Kingdoms that is not set in Africa. It is a nomad-style map where players begin without a Town Center and scout, and all their three Villagers are scattered across the map as in Nomad.

Unlike Nomad, the map is almost entirely land with few ponds (the ponds also lack fish). There are a lot of Sheep throughout the map, along with some herds of Deer, but no Boars or Berry Bushes. The herds of Sheep can be found most commonly near the edges of the map. Elevations of various sizes are present, but without cliffs. However, unlike most maps, there are Mountain decoys that are unpassable obstacles scattered through the map. Relics are present in normal numbers, and wild beasts are absent.

Unlike other random maps of the expansion, Mountain Pass is a Eurasian map, set in an unknown mountainous land. Mountain Pass itself is a cold, alpine landscape with snow-covered terrain and trees.

Trees are numerous, but Stone and Gold Mines are not. Chokepoints are also plenty, featuring mountains, a random number of lakes, and forests.

Viable tactics[]

Like in Nomad, ideally when picking where to build their Town Center, players should vie for a settlement that includes an abundance of resources, but food and wood are top priorities, since without them the player cannot build Houses or train Villagers. Unlike Nomad, since Sheep can be found almost everywhere (and the player can move them to another location), that makes much easier to pick a location, and in this sense founding Gold and Stone may be prioritized more frequently. The player should try to explore as much of the map as possible with at least one of the Villagers and do not wait a long time to build a Town Center, because the enemy might have already built their own. Since Sheep are abundant, the player may also use some of them to explore early at the potential cost of losing them to an opponent player. Making a Militia early is also useful for scouting on Mountain Pass.

If a player luckily enough finds where an opponent is moving in order to create their settlement, the player may employ very unusual strategies, like a Town Center rush, or simply attack with their initial Villagers, which may be very risky and often resolves on which player had the better micromanagement and how the elements of the map were positioned. For this reason, finding a secure location with enough resources early and creating the Town Center as fast as possible is of key importance. Villager rushing on maps like Mountain Pass is the reason why Chinese and Mayan extra Villager bonuses were modified and now those additional Villagers spam immediately after the Town Center is finished; the same logic applied to the Aztec free Loom bonus, which was changed to +50 initial gold; however, the Villager rush in Nomad can still be employed by some other civilizations like the Berbers (whose Villagers move 10% faster, so they can pursue enemy Villagers easily).

In multiplayer, if playing on team games, teams can try to unite their Villagers early in the game in an attempt to quickly destroy their opposing player's forces. However, such a tactic is risky at best, as failure could lead to a severe economic disadvantage. Teams may also build their bases very close to each other (or even together), trading availability of resources for safety. In any case, it is advisable that players on a team tell their team mates where they are placing their settlement or where they plan to place it, so they can plan further their strategy and logistic. If a player in a team game finds where an opponent is placing its Town Center, they must also tell that to their teammates.

Once the players finished the construction of their Town Centers, things start to become more interesting. Sometimes players from opposing teams selected locations too close to each other; sometimes one teammate realizes that the opposing team placed their settlements around him, isolating the player from the team; sometimes teams or players are more or less dominating one side of the map. Depending on how players placed their settlements, the strategies will have to be adapted. Usually, if a player is isolated from the team, that player becomes the primary target of the opponents, since this way, they can get rid of the player, so the other team can get numeric advantage and more map control.

Rushing strategies work especially well on Mountain Pass, as the map is fairly open. However, if a player selects a corner of the land for the settlement, they may employ a Turtling strategy followed by a Boom.

Civilizations with advantages include:

  • Civilizations with bonuses regarding Villager raw stats: Berbers and Koreans for example.
  • Civilizations with good early aggression bonuses: Goths, Aztecs, Huns, Celts, Vikings, Japanese, Mongols, Magyars, Bulgarians etc.
  • Civilizations with bonuses regarding Sheep: Tatars, Britons, Celts and Mayans
  • Civilizations with bonuses regarding early Town Centers: Malians (All buildings cost less wood), Spanish (builders work faster)m Persians (Town Center double hit points and work faster), Teutons (Town center better garrison space), Chinese (Town Centers better Line of Sight and hold more population, first Town Center spams three Villagers), Incas (Buildings cost less Stone, First Town center spams a Llama), Cumans (can create a second Town center in the Feudal Age)
  • Special mentions: Vietnamese (they can spot enemy first Town Centers as soon as they finish building them), Burmese (they and team mates can spot Relics since the beginning of the match, which can help players to select a location), Portuguese (their team mates share Line of Sight since the beginning of the game, so they can coordinate better where to place their first Town Centers or inflict an early attack on an opponent even before they can place their Town Center), Khmer (they do not require to unlock buildings and farmers don't need to drop off food on Mills or Town Centers, enabling them to place their initial settlement much more freely and can even start gathering food before finishing their first Town Center), Huns (don't need Houses, so this allows them to save wood for Fishing Ships and boom), Tatars (they get more food from Herdables, and Sheep in Mountain Pass are highly abundant; also, elevations are very common)

Civilizations that may struggle in Mountain Pass include:

  • Civilizations with poor early game bonuses or poor early game defense: Turks for example.

Age of Empires IV[]

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Mountain Pass icon AoE4

Mountain Pass icon

A mountain range with narrow passes cuts through the center of the map.
Age of Empires IV description

Mountain Pass is a random map in Age of Empires IV. It's a closed map that features a large mountain range in the middle, only leaving a small gap to cross, so players can wall it without much effort. This map favours trade, as it can be defended very easily.


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For maps used in high-level tournaments, see liquipedia.