|This article is about the map. For the technology, see Nomads.|
Nomad is a random map featured in Age of Empires II: The Conquerors and Age of Mythology. "Nomad" denotes the period before the Dark Age and Archaic Age respectively. In both games, players do not begin with any buildings and need to build a Town Center in a location of their choosing before they can advance technologically.
In Age of Empires and Age of Empires III, Nomad is not a particular map but is instead a setting that can be enabled for any map. If enabled, players will begin without any buildings and with just enough units to establish a settlement.
Age of Empires
In Age of Empires, Nomad is a game mode that is enabled in the settings for random map and Deathmatch. In this mode, all players spawn with only one Villager. The placement of the Villager is still affected by fixed positions.
Age of Empires II: The Conquerors
In Age of Empires II, Nomad is a map where players begin with three Villagers scattered and no initial Scout or Town Center, but each player has in their stock additional stone and wood to built it. Usually, two of the villagers are closer to each other than the third one, so players often place their first Town Center in an area between the two closest villagers.
The map consists of a large landmass surrounded by ocean, most of the the time on three sides. Occasionally, lakes and rivers and (on larger maps) even a sea may be present in the middle of the map. The land may feature temperate terrain with Pine Trees and grass, or desert terrain with Palm Trees and sand. Since players do not start at fixed positions like in other maps, resources like Wild Boars, Sheep, Berry Bushes and herds of Deer appear scattered all around the map as well as the Gold and Stone Mines, and animals like Wolves are absent from the map. Relics are present in normal numbers and there are a bit more on larger maps. Elevations of various sizes can be found all around the land; however, cliffs are completely absent from the map.
Ideally, when picking where to build their Town Center, players should vie for a settlement that includes an abundance of every resource, but food and wood are top priorities, since without them the player cannot build Houses or train Villagers. The player should try to explore as much of the map as possible with the other Villagers and do not wait a long time to build a Town Center, because the enemy might have already built their own. If the player finds a Sheep early, they may consider to use it for scouting so all the Villagers can focus on building the Town center. The same logic can apply after the Town Center is finished; this of course at the risk of losing the Sheep to an opponent. Making a Militia early is also useful for scouting on Nomad.
Building a Dock early can also be of key importance, especially for civilizations like Vikings, Malians or Italians (Vikings have cheaper Docks, Malians have wood discount on all buildings, Italians have cheaper Fishing Ships); in the Malians' case, they may even create a Dock, a Fishing Ship and a House before they finish their Town Center, and this can boost their economy very early.
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 Nomad 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 Nomad, 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. Natural resources on Nomad are plentiful and matches on Nomad tend to end soon, so trash wars are very rare on this map.
Civilizations with advantages include:
- Civilizations with bonuses regarding Villager raw stats: Berbers and Koreans for example.
- Naval civilizations: Vikings, Malay, Portuguese, Italians, etc.
- Civilizations with good early aggression bonuses: Goths, Aztecs, Huns, Celts, Vikings, Japanese, Mongols, Magyars, Bulgarians etc.
- Civilizations with bonuses regarding early Town Centers: Malians (All buildings cost less wood), Spanish (Age of Empires II) (builders work faster) 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 spam 3 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 facilitate players to select a location), Portuguese (in addition to the navy, 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 much more freely their initial settlement and can even start gather food before finishing their first Town Center), Huns (don't need Houses, so this enables them to save wood for Fishing Ships and boom)
Civilizations that may struggle in Nomad include:
- Civilizations with poor early game bonuses or poor early game defense and poor early navy: Turks for example.
- As revealed by Ensemble Studios employee and Age of Empires series designer Sandy Petersen, the Nomad map style was originally included in the original The Age of Kings, but was removed due to lack of balance from the Chinese being present. A fan asked Petersen where the Nomad start was, but he revealed that it was removed, later admitting that they could add it back.
Age of Mythology
|“||Your Villagers start scattered with no Town Center. You'll need to find a Settlement to occupy during the time that combat is prevented.||”|
Nomad in Age of Mythology is very similar to its Age of Empires II counterpart, however it is instead depicted only as a semi-arid land with no rivers or lakes, and ocean on three sides of the map. There are many chokepoints in the land, as there are neat numbers of cliffs, and decent amounts of mixed oak and palm forests.
Once again, each player begins with three Villagers (two for the Atlanteans) randomly scattered around the map, the game starting at nightfall. Norse players however start with three Ulfsarks instead, as Gatherers cannot build.
By the time the game begins, a special Ceasefire is cast, and as it draws to its conclusion, the sun rises. Huntables in this region are typically African, including Baboons, Elephants, Giraffes, Rhinoceroses, and Zebras, and there are also plenty of stray Goats, and some Berry Bushes. Fish are present in the waters, and include Mahi-mahi.
As Town Centers can only be constructed on top of abandoned Settlements, players are more limited as to where they can construct their own settlements compared to Age of Empires II. Atlanteans have a huge advantage in this map as their villagers can start to collect resources since the beginning of the game, Oranos have the most advantage in the map as this major god can see the location of all abandoned settlements.
- This map is the only one in the vanilla game to alternate between unique lighting modes; the starting lighting is "Night", and as Mother Nature's Ceasefire goes on, the lighting alternates to "Dawn".
- Nomad is one of the two maps where Mother Nature casts a god power, the other being Open Fields.
- The Ceasefire never occurs during a Treaty Match as no player, including Mother Nature, can cast God Powers during the treaty's duration.
- Due to an oversight by the Forgotten Empires team, Peasants do not have their construction speed increased during the Ceasefire.
- The shape and map balance elements of Nomad in Age of Mythology is based upon Coastal from Age of Empires II.
Age of Empires III
In Age of Empires III, Nomad is a game mode that can be enabled for any map in the game. In Nomad games, European civilizations begin with an Explorer and a Covered Wagon. Native Americans begin with a War Chief and a Town Travois and Asian civilizations begin with a Monk and a Town Rickshaw and a free resource building rickshaw (e.g. Cherry Orchard) . The wagons allow players to build a Town Center for free in a location of their choosing. Once the Town Center has been constructed, several free villagers and resource crates will spawn around it.
- On some maps, the Covered Wagon may appear outside the playable area of the map, and be unable to move, or get into the playable area to begin construction.