Boom, also known as Fast Fortress (FF), refers to an economic boom; a strategy where the player focuses almost exclusively on their economy instead of investing resources for military purposes. It is commonly used to counter the Turtle strategy, as a boom economy can very easily outperform a turtling economy in the late game. Due to their lack of focus on rapid military development, they are extremely susceptible to a rush. Booming is a late game strategy that is best used when a map makes it difficult to attack without higher tech units.
A booming player will typically have a weak military at first, investing the bare minimum in military in order to survive while powering economy as much as possible. A boom typically has a goal that, when reached, will start rapid military production in order to catch up to and eclipse opposing forces. This often coincides with a specific technology, unit availability, or threat level of opposing forces. A specific type of boom may sometimes be referred to by its resource type or the location of resources. Fish boom (maps with water, but only fish) and Water Boom (maps with water, fish and Whales) are common usages.
Age of Empires II
The most important aspect of booming is Villager count, which is derived from Town Center production and food availability. Since, in all but the most unusual cases, food availability is a constant for any competent player, the most important factor is Town Center production time. The player is limited to one Town Center until the Castle Age, meaning that getting to Castle Age with the resources to build extra Town Centers and maintain Villager production is key to a strong boom. Typically, this means using starting 200 stone to build two additional Town Centers immediately on hitting Castle Age, after having tuned economy to have sufficient wood and food to maintain Villager and Farm production. The booming phase ends when sufficient additional Villagers are produced to start military production without cutting Villagers, and the boom is successful once the game-state stabilizes with the booming player having a larger economy.
Boom strategies actually take longer to get to the Feudal Age, but then reach the Castle Age almost immediately after, stopping only long enough to build prerequisite Feudal Age buildings. Imperial Age is optional, usually being completed early if against an opposing boom strategy. Against more aggressive opponents, its common to stay in Castle Age for much longer in order to stabilize the game-state.
Age of Empires III
The primary goal is always to have a ceaseless Villager production from the Town Center until the maximum build limit is attained. Every civilization is limited to one Town Center until the Fortress Age (except the Portuguese and Incas), meaning that getting to Fortress Age with the intention to build extra Town Centers and maintain Villager production is the key to a strong boom, as mentioned in the Booming The Art of War scenario. It is highly recommended to send Economy cards such as Refrigeration, Royal Mint, Sustainable Agriculture, Food Silos and Rum Distillery whenever necessary to enhance the boom potential further. In the case of booming, Economy, Villager and Resource Crate shipments must be always prioritized over any other type of shipments.
Since it takes a lot of time to set up a perfect economy, many civilizations usually stay in the Commerce Age or the Fortress Age for a long time. Industrial Age is optional, usually being completed early if against an opposing boom strategy. Against more aggressive opponents, its common to stay in Commerce Age or Fortress Age for much longer in order to stabilize the economy and prepare proper defense measures.
- Egyptians - They have 25% cheaper farms, which means they can place more than other civilizations and have fewer Villagers on wood. In addition, they have much better gold mining thanks to their civilization bonus.
- Babylonians - Their cheaper Market technologies allows them to perform a significant boom, as they can research all sooner than other civilizations.
- Greeks - Their Town Centers work 10% faster, starting at the Tool Age, which grants a better Villager production and also helps advancing ages faster,
- Palmyrans - Despite the expensive cost of Villagers, they work 25% faster and have +1 armor to both melee and ranged attacks.
- Assyrians - The fast Villager speed makes them collect and gather resources much faster than other civilizations in early games.
- Romans - While lacking direct bonuses to Villagers, they have 15% cheaper buildings, including Farms, allowing them to save resources.
- Shang - Shang civilization can produce Villagers at a cheaper cost per unit, food instead of the usual 50. This gives them an edge in resource collecting in the beginning of the game.
- Yamato - Similarly to the Assyrians' case, Villagers have speed, allowing them to collect resources faster than other civilizations.
- Aztecs - Their Villagers can carry +3 resources, giving a huge advantage as they can collect much higher amount of resources. Aztecs also have very strong military, which is helped with the faster creation speed. Also, their Monks are the best in the game, plus the collected Relics grant 33% more gold.
- Bengalis: Their Town Centers spawn two Villagers when advancing to the next Age, making it easier for them to develop their economy. In the Imperial Age, the Mahayana unique technology allows the Bengalis to save up population space for more military units.
- Berbers - Their Villagers move 10% faster, which means they can drop off resources faster. Their Fishing Ships also move 10% faster, being effective at maps with water. Helping a lot for their cheaper Stable units.
- Britons - Cheaper Town Centers and faster herding makes for a quick and reliable boom. Having additional archer range in the later ages is a good military output to a large economy with advanced technology.
- Burgundians - They can research economic technologies an age earlier than their opponent, giving them an economic advantage in the early game. In fact, booming strategies are recommended, as they need to research their economic technologies and hit their power spikes at the right time with their ability to upgrade their Knights into Cavaliers in the Castle Age.
- Bulgarians - While their stone discount of Town Centers isn't effective as the Britons wood discount, they still can do quick booms without mining extra stone, the Blacksmith and Siege workshop technologies food discount and the 80% fast researched Blacksmith technologies means that they can also upgrade their army and get siege much faster than others while also saving a good amount of food.
- Cumans - The ability to build an additional Town Center in the Feudal Age gives the Cumans a considerable head start compared to other civilizations when building up a large economy.
- Chinese - Starting off with extra Villagers means that potentially more resources can be gathered, despite losing out on both food and wood initially. For more experienced players, this means that one ultimately has more control over their Villagers in the early game and can siphon food quickly and then shift some of them over to wood. Their Farm bonus allows for some very efficient farms up until the Imperial Age, saving wood. Moreover, they save 5% more resources on technology upgrades every age. Of all civilizations able to Boom, the Chinese probably have the most options for their units which benefit from the technology discount as well. Their Town Centers provide +5 population and a greater line of sight which helps to find resources quickly and gives the player more visibility.
- Dravidians: They receive 200 wood when advancing to the next Age, allowing them to build a Blacksmith or Market immediately. On water maps, their Fishermen and Fishing Ships carry +15 food.
- Franks - They have significant advantages for booming capabilities; Their Foragers work 15% faster and their Mill upgrades are free, which means that they can get more food before farms run out of it, allowing them to produce their strong Paladins very easily.
- Goths - While Goths lack solid economy bonuses to improve the speed of their boom, Goths in the Castle and Imperial Age with large economies are among the most difficult civilizations to stop, particularly through the advantages of Perfusion. The accepted practice is to never allow Goths time to boom, or the game is already lost. In addition, Goths can research Loom instantly, which helps in the early game, allowing for one extra Villager and advancing a bit faster to the Feudal Age.
- Gurjaras - Start with two Berry Bush at their Town Center and can garrison herdables in their Mills for a trickle of food. In the Castle Age, they get a further food discount for their military units with Kshatriyas.
- Hindustanis - They have a consistent boom during the entire game, thanks to their Villager discount through ages, which saves significant amounts of food. With the Grand Trunk Road technology researched, all Gold income is 10% faster, helping more to their Boom.
- Khmer - Their Farmers work 5% slower, but don't need Mills or Town Centers to drop off the food collected, which translates into a food trickle in the entire game, so the player doesn't worry about Farm placement. Also, they don't need buildings to advance ages or to access other buildings. These two bonuses allows them to boom extremely fast, as the player can just wait for the food trickle to reach the necessary amount to advance ages. Helping to reach their deadly army of Battle Elephants and Scorpions.
- Malay - While lacking in land-based economy bonuses and having a weak Imperial Age, the Malay can still abuse their faster Age advancement. In total, they save 114 seconds on their Feudal and Castle Age advances, allowing them to either advance significantly sooner, create more Villagers before reaching the next Age in a timely matter, or a combination of the two. On water maps, they truly excel at booming; cheap Fishing Ships and Fish Traps (that provide unlimited food), combined with quick Age advancement, allow them to accumulate and save much food and wood and flood foes at later ages with cheap units, such as Karambit Warriors and Malay Battle Elephants.
- Malians - Lower wood cost on buildings (except Farms), extra Gold obtained from mines, and rapidly researched University upgrades provide much boom potential. Similarly to the Goths, they have to boom up to later Ages in order to abuse their flexible advantages, namely their arrow-resistant infantry, anti-infantry units and strong cavalry.
- Mayans - Longer-lasting resources extend the effect of the early-game food sources that are collected more quickly, making for a reliable boom. Starting with an extra Villager means that they are forced to research Loom immediately to make efficient use of Town Center worktime, but this also means that the Mayans will have a permanent economic edge after the opponent researches Loom. Cheaper archers and higher HP Eagle Warriors are a powerful military output to a large economy.
- Persians - Faster Town Center and Dock work rate gives more Villagers and Fishing Ships earlier, starting in the Feudal Age, but increasing in effect in the Castle Age and Imperial Age.
- Poles - Their unique replacement of the Mill, the Folwark, supports 5 population and can collect 10% of the newly constructed Farm's food instantly, as well of the re-built ones around it, which greatly speeds up their booming capabilies. Their stone miners can also generate gold, meaning they can also reach the Castle Age with an advantage of having Villagers on stone and no gold and place more Town Centers, depending of the strategy.
- Saracens - While they aren't known to their booming capabilities, their cheaper Market with the commodity fee of 5% can be easily used to perform a solid boom, but needs some practicing to maximize the effect.
- Sicilians - Their farm upgrades provide +100% additional food, allowing them to save more wood for building important buildings rather than reseeding their farms. Their Town Centers are built faster, allowing them to produce additional Villagers sooner. Their Castle Age unique technology, First Crusade, rewards the player for having multiple Town Centers by spawning 7 Serjeants from their Town Centers. They also start with +100 stone, meaning they can place three Town Centers without mining or buying extra stone.
- Slavs - Their Farmers are the most effective in the game as they work 10% faster, which means they can collect food much faster than other civilizations.
- Tatars - If the player manages to use the main advantage of 50% extra food on Sheep, they can perform a very strong boom saving a good amount of wood as the newly constructed Town Centers in the Castle Age spawn two Sheep, helping to save even more wood before placing farms.
- Teutons - Their defensive bonuses allows them to boom under pressure. Also, their farms are 40% cheaper, the cheapest in the game, which means that they can place more farms than others. The Teutons' late game is among the strongest in the game, especially in closed maps.
- Vietnamese - Their economic upgrades don't cost wood. While much weaker than other booming bonuses, it still allows them to not be behind other civilizations for booming. Also, it translates to wood savings for more Farms and their strong archers.
- Vikings - They get Wheelbarrow and Hand Cart technologies for free, not only saving resources of those technologies, but also leading to a very significant Villager and resource advantage for the entire game.
The following major gods in Age of Mythology are well suited to a booming strategy. A god can be considered "boom"-based if she or he provides at least three economic bonuses (including god powers and technologies)
- Ra - Pharaoh empowering yields +5% bonus resources, Priests can empower buildings, Monuments are 25% cheaper and have 20% more HP, Rain, Skin of the Rhino
- Isis - Flood of the Nile, all technologies cost 10% less, Town Centers provide +3 population, Prosperity, Obelisks cost 33% less, Monuments block the use of enemy god powers in the surrounding area
- Gaia - Economic Guild technologies are 30% cheaper, Caravans and Fishing Ships cost less and have +25% HP, Gaia Forest, Channels, all buildings create special Lush terrain around them on which enemies cannot build and which blocks the use of enemy god powers, buildings regenerate HP
- Thor - Pig Sticker, Armory technologies are cheaper, Dwarves are more effective gatherers and cheaper, Dwarven Mine
- Nü Wa - Markets can be built in the Classical Age, Gardens provide +1 population and generate favor 20% faster, Recreation, Acupuncture
- Fu Xi - Domestication, buildings cost 20% less wood, unit line upgrades 20% cheaper, Year of the Goat, faster build rate through Blessed Construction
- Shennong - Wheelbarrow, wall upgrades are 50% cheaper, Timber Harvest
These minor gods also provide advantages in booming:
- British - A civilization that uses a strategy known as the Manor Boom, focusing on rapid settler creation with their bonus of a free settler every time a Manor is built. It is possible to make Manors 35% cheaper by sending the Virginia Company card, allowing the construction of many number of Manors with ease. It is recommend to keep building Manors until the maximum build limit is reached. It is also possible to train a high number of settlers from both Town Centers and Manors by sending the Estates card upon reaching the Industrial Age, but very slowly.
- Dutch - Their low Settler count is compensated with their ability to construct Banks providing a large economic boost if harnessed correctly. It is very essential to build banks until the build limit is reached. Bank's build limit can be further increased by sending specific cards such as Bank of Rotterdam and Bank of Amsterdam, researching Coffee Trade (requires Church card) from the Church and by researching Excessive Taxation from the Capitol.
- French - Coureurs des Bois, while costing 20% more than normal Villagers, are able to acquire resources 25% faster. They also move faster, resulting in less idle/walking time while gathering resources.
- Germans - The Settler Wagons are expensive Villagers that gather twice as fast as normal Villagers, providing a strong economy along with normal German Settlers, when sent as Home City shipments. They can also become trainable from Mills after sending the Germantown Farmers card.
- Incas - Kancha Houses can provide a strong food income, especially after sending the Chinca Brewing card, which helps the civilization to focus on gathering other resources to maintain a well built economy. It is recommend to build Kancha Houses until the maximum build limit is reached. These Kancha Houses can also act as Walls when built closely, giving a proper defense while booming.
- Japanese - Similar to the British Manor Booming strategy, The Japanese use Shrines to maximize their boom potential. These specialized houses provide a small trickle of a particular resource, which can be enhanced upon building them closer to huntable animals. The Shrine can be made cheaper by shipping the Heavenly Kami (also increases its gather rate) and by allying with the Portuguese in the Consulate. Tempo Reforms must be researched upon reaching the Industrial Age to greatly increase the Shrine's gathering rate. It is recommended to build Shriness until their build limit is reached. Since Japanese Villagers cannot hunt, they are only able to gather food from Cherry Orchards and Berry Bushes in base in the early stages, thus their Villagers have less idle time and can be hard to raid, which results in slightly better performance economy-wise.
- Portuguese - A strong water boom civilization which has the feature of gaining a Covered Wagon for free whenever an age is advanced. This helps to increase the Villager production further and also provides map control over resources and a great defense from the shorelines during naval combat.
- Swedes - Torps can provide a strong economy when built near natural resources. They are able to gather multiple resources at the same time (if all of the resources are in the gather radius). Torps also spawn a small berry bush which helps to improve the food income, This can be further increased by sending the Blueberries and Blackberries cards. Their coin gather rate can be further increased by sending the Engselsberg Ironworks card and their Tree gather radius can be greatly increased by sending the Great Northern Forests card. It is recommended to build Torps until their build limit is reached.