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SYBEX Sample Chapter
Age of Mythology: The Titans Expansion: Sybex Official Strategies & Secrets
Doug Radcliffe and Michael Rymaszewski
Chapter 2: The Game Economy
Copyright 2003 SYBEX Inc., 1151 Marina Village Parkway, Alameda, CA 94501. World rights reserved. No part of this publication may be stored in a retrieval system, transmitted, or reproduced in any way, including but not limited to photocopy, photograph, magnetic or other record, without the prior agreement and written permission of the publisher. ISBN: 0-7821-4303-2 SYBEX and the SYBEX logo are either registered trademarks or trademarks of SYBEX Inc. in the USA and other countries. TRADEMARKS: Sybex has attempted throughout this book to distinguish proprietary trademarks from descriptive terms by following the capitalization style used by the manufacturer. Copyrights and trademarks of all products and services listed or described herein are property of their respective owners and companies. All rules and laws pertaining to said copyrights and trademarks are inferred. This document may contain images, text, trademarks, logos, and/or other material owned by third parties. All rights reserved. Such material may not be copied, distributed, transmitted, or stored without the express, prior, written consent of the owner. The author and publisher have made their best efforts to prepare this book, and the content is based upon final release software whenever possible. Portions of the manuscript may be based upon pre-release versions supplied by software manufacturers. The author and the publisher make no representation or warranties of any kind with regard to the completeness or accuracy of the contents herein and accept no liability of any kind including but not limited to performance, merchantability, fitness for any particular purpose, or any losses or damages of any kind caused or alleged to be caused directly or indirectly from this book. Sybex Inc. 1151 Marina Village Parkway Alameda, CA 94501 U.S.A. Phone: 510-523-8233 www.sybex.com
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The Game Economy
he economy in Age of Mythology: The Titans exists for just one purpose: to let you win the game. It is a means to an end, and youll focus your attention on different resources depending on
game circumstances. Optimizing the economy may involve 20 workers gathering food in one game, but just 10 in anotherfinding the right balance for your strategic goals is crucial to success. Fortunately, there are still some general rules that will let you stay on top of your economy at all times. This chapter discusses how game specifics (choice of mythology, map, etc.) affect those rules. It also examines in detail all of the games economic notions (game resources, labor force, etc.). Most importantly, this chapter explains how to combine economic flexibility with prompt attainment of long-term economic goals.
C H A P T E R
Copyright 2003 SYBEX Inc., 1151 Marina Village Parkway, Alameda, CA 94501. World rights reserved.
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Making Things Work for You
The economy in AoM:The Titans is a tool: it serves you, and not the other way around. Building up the work force to an imposing size does not guarantee victory, particulary against the computer. If you dont believe this, win a solo game against the AI at higher difficulty level and check the postgame economic data. No human player can expand the The economic balance in AoM: The Titans is economy as swiftly and efficiently as the AI slightly different than in the original AoM does at higher difficulty levels, and youll release. The six patches since AoMs debut see that having a labor force twice as big as include tweaks that have big economic implicathe enemys doesnt guarantee victoryyou tions even when they do not directly concern the economy have to know how to use that labor force to (such as lowering the cost of Greek hoplites). outproduce your enemies. Remember that each worker counts toward the population limit! More workers may mean fewer military units, so if youre not using those workers effectively itll hurt you in the long run. This doesnt mean you shouldnt have a large economy; expert players state that one of the biggest shortcomings of players new to multiplayer is a weak economy. The distinguishing characteristic of a well-run economy is this: it always delivers the resources you need when you need them. This is very easy to achieve if you set about it as the AI does, and simply pile workers on resources until you reach a saturation point. However, workers dont come free of charge, and the hidden cost is especially heavy in the beginning of a game. Each extra worker delays your advance into the Classical Age, and thereby the development of your military forceswhich means missing a chance to hit the enemy at a time when any damage inflicted will really hurt. But if youre preparing for a strong late-game economy, those extra Archaic Age workers will pay off in the end. Killing a single enemy worker in the opening stages of a game has a greater impact than killing 10 workers a little while later. It has such big consequences that many experienced players will use a one-time god power such as Lightning Bolt (Zeus) to eliminate one of a competitors workers right at the start of the game. This does not mean you should sacrifice economic progress on the military altar. But when you see stocks of resources increasing even though youre continuously spending them, its time to stop creating workers even though youre still well short of the magic 50 or so that most winners end up with. To manage your economy well, you must excel in two areas: * Worker management. This begins with creating exactly as many workers as you need no less and no more. Assigning them to the right task at the right time is vital. At a given point in the game, an economy that employs 20 well-managed workers can be more appropriate than one that has 40; youll find more details in Putting People to Work later on in this chapter. * Resource management. This doesn't always mean spending all resources as soon as you get them. It means not wasting resources; being wasteful is very easy to do and instantly erases any gains you made through good worker management. Your economy should be
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balanced: do you have too many workers on gold and not enough gathering food? In the final analysis, resource management is even more important than worker management.
This chapter assumes you have read the game manual, and that you take advantage of the excellent in-game help (right-clicking a unit or building icon brings up a detailed and beautifully illustrated information panel).
The first step to mastering resource and worker management is to use hotkeys (see Figure 2.1). If you dont, youll fall behind despite using the minimap to navigate the game world quickly. Hotkeys will let you micromanage your economy to peak efficiency; their usefulness isnt limited to controlling multiple groups of military units. Want to create a new lumberjack? Hit the H key (default) to jump to the Town Center, press C (default) to begin creating a worker, move the assembly point to the trees you want him to work on, and thats iton to the next task. You can get everything done at least three times faster if you use hotkeys at every opportunity. Players who use the mouse for everything have very slim chances of advancing beyond intermediate level in multiplayer games.
If youre having trouble managing your workforce, a tool that keeps track of your workers might help. Youll find it at http://www.mrfixitonline.com/readTopic. asp?PostingId=1090519. (Note that if you reassign a worker from one resource to another, the tool might count that worker as working on both resources, effectively counting the worker twice.)
Figure 2.1: Make a point of learning (and perhaps customizing) hotkeys that can help you micromanage your economy.
Putting People to Work
The Greeks have villagers; the Egyptians have laborers; the Atlanteans have citizens, the Norse have gatherers and Dwarves. All these characters serve the same purpose: they gather resources, andthe Norse exceptedbuild structures (Norse structures are built by military units, which makes forward-building, placing structures near the front line, a snap.) In spite of their shared purpose, there are meaningful differences between worker units of different mythologies. The list below reviews these differences, and the roles they play in the game.
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Note that while Fishing Boats cost the same from mythology to mythology, Egyptian Fishing Boats gather fish at a slightly slower rate than the others. * Greek villagers cost 50 food each and have 65 hit points. Theyre excellent construction workers, erecting buildings and defensive structures in record time. This is a handy ability, because the Greeks need to build drop-off facilities next to resource-gathering sites. This costs 50 wood per facility, which is not much but still hurts in the initial stages of a game. * Egyptian laborers cost the same as Greek villagers, and also have 65 hit points. They build structures much more slowly than other workers. They require a dedicated facility for each resource (Granary for food, Lumber Camp for wood, Mining Camp for gold), which results in a meaningful time handicap that is not quite balanced by the fact the facilities are free. Remember to use the Pharaoh to empower the laborers working on big projects, such as a new Town Centeritll significantly cut down construction time. * Norse gatherers and Dwarves are land-based workers. The gatherers cost 50 food and have 65 hit points; the Dwarves cost 70 gold (60 under Thor) and have a gold-mining efficiency bonus, plus 75 hit points. Unfortunately, spending gold to get more gold is a little troublesome, especially in the early stages; use gatherers to mine gold until you can comfortably create at least three Dwarves in a row; otherwise the mining bonus will be meaningless. All Norse land workers enjoy the benefits of a moving drop-off facility the Ox Cart. This gives them great mobility, in line with the aggressive strategy you need to pursue with the Norse mythology. Note that the gatherers can build only one type of structure: Farms. * Atlantean citizens come equipped with a pack donkey that acts as a dropoff facility (see Figure 2.2). This, plus a bonus to their gathering rate, means they have unrivaled resource-gathering speed. However, their efficiency comes at a steep price. Each Atlantean citizen costs 125 food and 25 wood (and takes proportionally longer to create), and counts as three toward the population cap (all other workers count as 1). Atlantean citizens have 165 hit points, but they lose those easily when raidedthey move very slowly. Their cost in resources and population points means you should be very wary of creating more citizens than you need; often youll have to build a Manor the moment you create your first new
Figure 2.2: A single Atlantean citizen gathers resources as efficiently as three workers of any other mythology.
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citizen. Manors are a new feature in AoM: The Titans; they are Atlantean superhouses that support 20 population but cost 80 wood and 25 gold. Thats much more than the 50- (Greek) or 40-wood (Norse) cost of a standard House, which supports 10 population points (Egyptian Houses are free).
Land-based workers all have 8 hack attack and some armor; used in groups, the workers can defeat weak Classical Age raids without assistance from military unitsas long as the enemy doesnt use ranged attack units (all types of archers, Centaurs, etc.). Of course military assistance to counter raids is always desirable, but grouping your workers to fight off a small raid is preferable to letting them wander away from their tasks to be killed one-by-one. And dont forget Atlantean citizens can be upgraded to Hero status and can be used to counter mythological-unit rushes early in the game.
When managing your work force, youll be facing the most terrible opponent in the game: time. AoM:The Titans features lots of fast action, which encourages mass production of units and rough solutions to problems. Its easier to put 10 workers on food then four or five on wood and gold. But easy doesnt always mean good, and its much better to put just the initial five or so workers on food, then begin alternating them between the various resources. This is because resources take time to accumulate. What matters is that you have a certain amount of resources on hand at a certain time. If you put a couple of workers on a task early, youll avoid having to put four on the same task later. In short, managing your work force is about long-term planning. Remember to optimize your workforce at regular intervals! If you dont, youll end up creating unnecessary workers. For example, the demand for wood often fluctuates sharply, and even with excellent planning youll be forced to put extra workers on wood occasionally. As with everything else, think ahead. Say to yourself, Thats the last Fishing Boat Ill be building for a while. Its time to build more military units, so Ill move a couple of lumberjacks to gold. Dont Remember that good worker management involves constructing industrial buildings or resource drop-off wait until you hit a four-digit facilities (Granary, Lumber Camp, Mining Camp, Dock) surplusassign everyone to the right close to resource sites. This maximizes worker producjob ahead of time. tivity by minimizing the time workers spend traveling between the To avoid creating unnecessary resource site and the drop-off facility. workers, make sure your economy is optimized with appropriate upgrades. As a rule, an upgrade is worth the cost whenever youve got three or more workers assigned to a specific activity. Need more wood? Dont automatically create a couple of new lumberjacks; consider upgrading the skills of your existing wood choppers instead. Need more food? Look into food-gathering upgrades, and remember to upgrade your Fishing Boats at the Dock! Dont forget to build resource drop-off facilities, and to rebuild them when theyre no longer right next to the gathered resources. When playing the Norse, remember to check on your Ox Carts and move them to cut workers travel time to a minimum. All these adjustments can greatly increase your economic output without creating any extra workers.
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The Art of Warehousing
If youve been playing real-time strategy games for a while, youve probably heard the axiom that you should never hoard resourcesthat you should never have more than 100 units of any resource in stock, and that if you do youre neglecting an opportunity to build this or create that. If youre striving to be competitive in the online multiplayer mode, the axiom certainly holds true. Expert players will tell you never to leave resources in the bank. But in the single-player game or when youre still learning the games economy, warehousing some resources can help adjust your tactics or save up more quickly for an important upgrade or Age advance. Naturally, youd never advance an Age if you were to take the axiom literally. As you know from the manual, Age advances start at 400 food and get progressively more expensive. Running on empty throughout the game can impair your flexibility. You could have a small reserve of resources available by the early middle game to adjust your strategy as needed (for instance, perhaps you need to start producing archers to counter your enemys infantry). The ability to turn out half a dozen more military units in an instant is simply priceless. Plus, it takes much less time to save up for a major expenditure such as an Age advance if you already have a couple of hundred in the bank. Your circumstances always determine the amount of resources you should keep in stock. Assuming the circumstances arent unusual, your stock should include a minimum of 400 food, 300 wood (more on water maps or when playing the Greeks, less when playing the Egyptians), and 400 gold (more when playing the Egyptians). Dont be afraid to breach these limits when its expedient, but make sure you rebuild them afterwardsafter all, it wont take more than a few seconds. When you become more comfortable with the economy and how to adjust your workers to increase particular resource types, you can begin to leave fewer resources in reserve. As stated, expert players spend those resources almost as quickly as theyre gatherered.
The Four Keys to Economic Success
The vast majority of AoM games feature economies that employ 40 to 50 workers (60+ for expert players) by the time you reach the Heroic Age. Be especially wary of creating too many workers in the Archaic Age: you should never have to build more than two Houses or Manors, and thats allowing some space for the military or mythological units to come in the approaching Classical Age. You should instantly acquire a new Town Center and max out the population thereafter, creating new workers, soldiers, and mythological units as appropriate to your strategy. Every Classical Age features fightingif your enemy hasnt visited you, you should visit the enemy. Heres how to set about formulating an effective long-term economic strategy: * Know your people. Knowing your people means being aware of the economic aspects of your chosen mythology; for instance, choosing Egyptians means focusing on gold early (see Figure 2.3). The game mythologies differ significantly from each other, and these differences set distinct economic priorities.
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* Know the map. The biggest map difference is between water maps and land-only maps. Water means fish as a food source; plenty of water means a big navy and thus very high wood requirements. Your starting position on a map always carries big economic consequences, as does the location of settlements that you can convert into Town Centers, relics with economic significance (such as the Ship of Fingernails, which provides extra food), placement of gold deposits, forests, berry bushesyou name it. Remember that good reconnaissance has as much economic impact as at least five extra workers, and possibly ten.
Figure 2.3: When playing the Egyptians, dont waste time go after the gold.
* Know yourself. Choosing your major and minor gods has great economic impact even if the deities of your choice do not offer immediate economic benefits (such as Thors ability to create Dwarven Mining Camps and cheaper Dwarves). For example, if youre playing with Greeks and decide to go the Apollo route, youll need a lot of wood for Apollos mythic unit, the Manticore. The ability to create powerful new units wont help you if you cant afford them.
AoM: The Titans features several relics that bring economic benefits to their owner. This is another argument in favor of swift reconnaissance early in the game, and for quickly creating a hero to put relics where they belong (in your Temple).
* Know your enemy. Your enemys choice of major and minor gods offers many hints as to the strategy theyre likely to try against you. For example, someone who chooses Hades as a major deity will most likely be fielding plenty of archer units; you can counter this in advance by researching Improved Pierce Armor at the Armory, and creating counter-archer units. All this will place specific demands on your economy. Going through these four points in your mind at the start of every game will automatically tell you what resources youll need, and when. Assign workers accordingly. Always plan for heavy military spending (buildings, at least some military/mythological units, at least a single hero, and unit upgrades) when you reach the Classical Age (you should shoot for getting there around six minutes into the game, five if youre planning a rush). Subsequently, plan to reach the Heroic The Four Keys to Economic Success
Plan for acquiring military upgrades as soon as youve created a sizable army. Improving your existing units when you have fifteen or more units is as important as adding new ones.
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Age no more than 10 minutes into the game (unless youre winning already). Once again, to take advantage of Heroic Age benefits, youll have to stock up on resources beyond those you need for the Age advance itself.
The Fast Heroic Strategy
There is a popular AoM economic strategy known as Fast Heroic (FH). It focuses on reaching the Heroic Age as fast as possible, without meaningful military investment in the meantime. Very powerful units and buildings become available in the Heroic Age, so the desire to reach it quickly is understandable. Although the FH approach might work on big maps with a relatively small number of middling opponents, it wont work against an experienced human opponent, or even against the AI at high difficulty level. The AI doesnt have to click the mouse or scroll across the screen. It doesnt even have to think. It already knows what it must do, and it will do it faster than you can unless you upset its plans. And an expert human player will make a point of locating you quickly and hitting you where it hurts.
In the early stages of the game, you dont have to kill anyone or destroy anything to hurt the enemy economy. Half a minute of downtime for enemy workers will do the job (see Figure 2.4). Your opponent may have more workers than you have, but if they arent working the advantage is meaningless.
Its easy to determine the worth of a favorite strategy by asking yourself how strongly its based on expediency rather than genuine strategic wisdom. If you find yourself thinking of things you might have done given some extra time, its really high time you started using hotkeys. The sections that follow review game resources and the games four mythological economies.
You already know that resource management can be a tricky balancing act. The following sections review each game resource and its significance. All the statistics related to the economy, such as the amount of food obtained from a zebra, are included in the appendices at the end of this guide.
Figure 2.4: Disrupting the enemy economy early in the game is always a good move.
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Food is the foundation of your empire and its economy. It enables you to create land-based workers, without which there is no game. Its a requirement, along with gold, for creating the majority of the games military units (soldiers). Its also used to create many powerful mythological units, to acquire most military upgrades, and to advance through the games Ages. Not surprisingly, food is an especially acute priority at the start of the game, when youll be creating new workers at a rapid pace. Food is obtained from many sources. * Wild animals. Every map features enough wildlife to fill a small zoo, with special species such as the walrus or the elephant appearing only in suitable climates. Wild animals include combative species such as lions and rhinos, which can seriously harm the hunters if you arent careful. Hunting is a very good way to gather food quickly in the opening stages of the game, and remains a good source of food well into the middle game (see Figure 2.5). Upgrading your workers Figure 2.5: Hunting is a lot of fun and the best food source hunting abilities with Hunting early in the game. Dogs is well worth the cost. * Domestic animals. Shepherd domestic animals to a safe location as soon as you find them, then leave them to fatten up; if you slaughter them instantly youll only harvest about a third of their potential food yield. Consider researching Husbandry at the Granary if youve found five or more goats, sheep, pigs, cows, etc. Husbandry isnt a wise move if the countryside abounds with wild animals, and youre playing the Atlanteans. However, when playing any other mythology, Husbandry is helpful even if you dont have a single domestic animal. It increases the food-carrying capacity of your workers, cutting in half the number of trips they have to make to drop off food at the Granary. * Berry bushes. Theres often a clump of bushes growing near a settlement, and many players choose berry bushes as their initial food source. This is a mistake if there are any hunting prospects, though, because gathering berries isnt the most efficient way of feeding your people: you cant upgrade berry-hunting the way you can other foodgathering activities.
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* Fish. Not surprisingly, fish are available only on water maps (the water in question may be a lake). Fishing isnt the fastest way to gather food; although the supply of fish is inexhaustible, the trips to and from the Dock add up to a lot of time. However, building a fishing industry has one great advantage: it requires wood, not food. This means you can increase your food supply without using any of your existing food; if you have adequate resources in stock, you can create new Fishing Boats and new land-based workers at the same time, accelerating economic growth. * Farms. Farms never go fallow in AoM: The Titans, but they only become a good choice later in the game. Initially slow to produce food, Farms can be greatly improved by researching Farming Upgrades at the Granary. Egyptian farmers are especially dismal to start with, but you can boost their performance with a little help from their gods. Note that you cant have Farms until the Classical Age unless youre Egyptianthe Egyptians can build Farms in the Archaic Age.
On water maps, you should build a Dock very early on and start fishing early. Each Fishing Boat is essentially another villager helping you create a large economy. The added resources can subsequently help you focus on building a fighting navy.
In most games it makes sense to begin with hunting. When this source of food begins to dry up, consider gathering food from convenient berry bushes or slaughtering domestic animals (check their weight beforehand; a fully fattened specimen yields 300 food). Fishing and farming require up-front investments of resources and labor, which make them questionable food choices in the early game. However, their importance grows as wild animals and berry bushes are used up and disappear off the map. Farming and fishing become the mainstays of your food industry in every game that lasts into the Mythic Age.
Wood has five main purposes: building structures, building ships (for fishing and military use), creating ranged attack units (soldiers and mythological), and building selected siege weapons. Certain upgrades to structures, ships, soldiers, and mythological units also require significant amounts of wood. The demand for wood varies both from game to game and within a single game. Anticipate sudden demand spikes (such as building new military buildings upon advancing to the Classical Age), and keep a core group of workers busy cutting down trees at all times. Of course, the demand for wood will be much higher if you play a water map. If youre playing as the Greeks and have chosen to follow Apollo, things may get crazy, with hordes of lumberjacks clear-cutting their way across the land. By comparison, the Egyptians need very little wood, and this is a strong argument for building a fishing industry, if the map allows it, instead of Farms. Egyptian fishermen are less efficient than fishermen belonging to other mythologies (the same goes for Egyptian farmers). However, as noted earlier, building Fishing Boats means you spend wood instead of food to get more food.
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The rule of the thumb with wood is this: either you dont need it, or you need a lot of it fast (see Figure 2.6). It makes no sense to create just a couple of ranged attack units or to construct a Dock and subsequently build only a single Fishing Boat.
Gold plays an increasingly important role as the game progresses. Its importance is slight in the beginning; the gold you start with covers the building of your first Temple, and Atlanteans can also afford a couple of Manors. Figure 2.6: A Dock, a few Fishing Boats, a few ships to Things change rapidly upon entering protect the Fishing Boatsit adds up to a lot of wood spent the Classical Age. Every subsequent very fast. Age advance involves large amounts of gold; more importantly, the Classical Age ushers in a series of industrial and military upgrades together with the ability to build military units. Things get particularly crazy for the Egyptians, whose economy requires gold where others require wood. The gold hunger grows steadily with each new Age while the gold deposits keep shrinking. Once you reach the Heroic Age, you may build a Market and supplement your gold income by selling resources and running caravans; however, exhaustible mines are likely to remain your main source of gold as long as theyre around. Gold is rarely spent by itself (although the Egyptians are again an exception). Youll spend it along with other resources. All military units require gold plus food or wood. All military and economic upgrades require gold. Securing a couple of gold deposits is a top priority in the opening stages of every game, and securing extra gold deposits is vital thereafter. Order at least a couple of workers to mine gold midway through the Archaic Age at the latest, and steadily increase their number as production of other resources allows. If you plan to rush, youll need the gold to create your army and outfit it with Classical Age military upgrades. Its not strong enough to reduce Town Centers, but it can win you the game if used well. Thereafter, the demand for gold grows steadily unless youre falling behind with the gathering of other resources, most notably food. The demand reaches its peak at the transition into the Mythic Age, which usually comes shortly after the first gold deposits have been mined into extinction. Most games are decided by then; if yours isnt, youd better make sure youre the player who has the most goldor ample trade routes established.
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Different mythologies obtain favor from the gods in different ways. The Greeks need at least one villager praying at the Temple; the Egyptians build Monuments; the Norse win favor by fighting. The Atlanteans dont have to do anything special to obtain favorthey get a steady, healthy trickle from every Town Center under their control. You need godly favor for Temple-based upgrades and to summon (create) mythological units. Since mythological units are the most powerful in the game, the importance of favor cant be overstated. As with gold, the only way youll accumulate a lot of favor is by running short of other resources that you must spend in conjunction with favor to purchase mythological units. Atlanteans are an exception, since they start accumulating favor from the word go. Favor is obtained in different ways in different mythologies; Greeks have a particularly easy time getting it (see Figure 2.7). This is because you can regulate Greek favor flow simply by manipulating the number of villagers worshipping at the Temple. The Norse and the Egyptians need favor most, and the Norse have the hardest Figure 2.7: Having a single villager combine praying time obtaining it. The Egyptians have a with building new Houses is a good Greek solution early significantly easier time thanks to the stable in the game. favor supply provided by their Monuments.
The Four Economies
The four mythologies have distinct economies, although they work according to the same model. The differences have a meaningful impact on the types of challenges youll face while building your own economy.
The Greek Economy
Greeks have an easy time obtaining favor, and they need all the favor they can get, because meeting their resource demands can pose a challenge. The Greeks need food just as badly as everyone else doestheir premium infantry eats a lot of meat. They arent as desperate for gold as the Egyptians are; theyre roughly at the same level as everyone else, which means they can use all the gold they can get. The reason that you might have trouble meeting Greek food and gold demands lies in their demand for wood,
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and the resulting strain on your labor force. Youll need plenty of lumberjacks! No other economy burns through so much wood so easily. In that respect, the Greeks are kings. Begin gathering wood at the start of the game with a single villager (your fourth or fifth) and add more as you approach the Classical Age. Build a House while you wait for the Classical Age to dawn, but make sure you have enough wood for a new Town Center! Greek Town Centers are expensive: they cost 100 food, 300 wood, and 300 gold. On top of that, you have to build three types of military buildings to create the full range of Greek soldiers: Hoplites (infantry), Toxotes (archers), and Hippikons (cavalry); though it may be more costeffective to focus on two unit lines and add the third later if necessary. Add the Town Center, an Armory, and a couple of Houses, and youre looking at 800 wood.
The Egyptian Economy
The Egyptian economy runs on gold. Egyptians use it to build structures such as Farms and Barracks, and some units that cost just goldno other resource, just lots of gold. Egyptian human soldiers arent the greatest, and youll be making heavy use of mythological units and assorted god powers to win the game. This will put big demands on favor, and youd be wise to make building Monuments a very high priorityits best to have a laborer working on them from the moment youve built a Temple. Remember to use the Pharaoh to boost the sluggish performance of the Egyptian builders and farmers! When playing on a water map, consider building a Dock and Fishing Boats even before you advance to the Classical Age. The wood requirement can be handled by a couple of laborers if you put them onto wood early enough. Note that the Egyptians get free Tower upgradesyet another wood expense spared, and a feature that probably makes them better suited for defensive warfare than anyone else in the game. Youll need all the food you can get when playing as the Egyptians; its a hungry mythology. The Egyptian military needs plenty of food; one War Elephant costs as much food as four or five regular infantry. Ra is the best food god because of his Rain god power. If youve built Farms in the Archaic Age, invoke Rain right after researching the first farming upgrade and hitting the Classical Age (Greeks, Norse, and Atlanteans cant have Farms this early). With the help of Ra, your food supply will be much greater than your opponents and help support those hungry Egyptian troops. When you play as the Egyptians, securing new gold mines is a top priority at all times. Remember that when choosing the settlement for your new Town Center!
The Norse Economy
The Norse economy has two sides. The Norse Ox Carts make gathering ordinary resources (food, wood, and gold) extra-easy. Obtaining favor isnt easy, and may prove a big problem if you dont have a talent for offensive warfare. Even though the Norse have a nice human-army lineup, they still need the assistance of mythological units to prevail over a competent opponent. One of the most useful Norse mythological units, the Valkyrie, costs 18 favorthe reward you can expect for winning a small to medium (no more than 30 units all told) battle, and the cost of winning a battle like that can be significant. The Four Economies
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The Norse economy is distinguished by the fact that buildings are constructed by military units (Farms can only be built by gatherers). Since constant warfare is practically a given, youll have to put plenty of emphasis on food and gold; theyre required for the vast majority of Norse military units. Demand for wood is healthy but not insane like with the Greeks. Remember to take advantage of the mining bonus offered by the Dwarves and start working on your gold-mining industry early! Youll want to replace any gold mining gatherers with Dwarves as quickly as possible. Take full advantage of the mobility that the Ox Carts offer to seek out wild animals; you should be able to obtain food exclusively through hunting and gathering berries until the Heroic Age. If youre fighting heavily in the Classical Age, expect to need Farms to support those troops. Above all, make sure your economy can support constant aggression. Norse buildings are easier to destroy than those in other mythologies. The Norse is definitely not the right choice for players who favor defensive warfare.
The Atlantean Economy
Most players will find the Atlantean economy the most user-friendly. Atlantean citizens represent the ultimate in resource-gathering flexibility, and this compensates fully for their dreadful slowness when moving or building structures. Atlantean industries dont require drop-off sites; economic upgrades are researched in the inexpensive Economic Guild building (see Figure 2.8). The military requires just two unit-producing buildings (Barracks and Counter Barracks). The Atlantean economy places strong but balanced demands on all of the game resources. It needs the least care and attention of all the game economies. Since the Atlantean military is geared solidly toward a Heroic Age offensive, you may want to concentrate largely on food and gold to advance through the Ages quickly. Fast resource gathering is an Atlantean specialty, and favor is obtained automatically through the Town Centers, so handling challenges is rarely a problem. Remember that every Atlantean worker costs three population points, and dont forget to develop a fishing industry (Fishing Boats cost just one population point each) if the opportunity Figure 2.8: The Economic Guild is the Atlantean center for presents itself.
ordering economic upgrades.
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