If you can micro properly, you can win a lot more battles and have a much more effective economy. Here are some general micromanagement tips:
Economy Management Tips: Shift+Clicking
When you are in the early stages of the game (Discovery Age especially) you will want to move as fast as possible. If you hold shift and on many separate things your villagers will automatically move to the next work item without having to be told. Many people neglect to do this (or just don't know how). This can save a prodigious amount of time . So-ESPECIALLY as the British, you can tell your villagers to build this house, then cut this tree- instead of having to:
A: Click the Idle Villager Button
B: Scroll over to the place you want the villager to go
C: Click the thing you want your villager to do
...you can have you villager build the house and automatically cut the tree without having to manage him.
British manor houses spawn settlers when built. It is much easier to set a gather point from the houses onto a gold mine or trees or other resources than have to select the villager. The villager will walk straight out of the house straight to work.
Idle Villager Time- AVOIDED!
Often when fighting a battle or micromanaging skirmishers or hussars to kill settlers, you will have 10-20 settlers completely idle wasting away doing nothing. You can avoid this Lets say that you have a group of gold miners. If you are going to enter a battle with only 400 gold left in that mine, you should shift+click on that mine and then another so that once that mine is finished, the villagers will automatically walk to the next mine. This avoids the horror of villagers doing nothing while you are micromanaging your troops.
Basic tip, you should group your town center(s) into group 9 so that no matter where you are on the map you just press 9 and then click the villager button (or press V). This is better than pressing T in my opinion because you avoid having to take your eyes off the part of the map you are currently looking at- it will select the TC and not make you have to look at it.
Holding shift while clicking on the market icons (selling wood for gold, etc.) will let you buy and sell in groups of 500. Don't sit there clicking the button thousands of times. Do it 5X as fast and hold shift.
Surround your Town Center with houses. This is ultimate rush protection- less units can get through to the town center and it will take longer to get it down.
Military Management Tips
A lot of people do not know several counters to specific units. Here are some:
Although a lot of people do not currently play Germany, Anti Infantry counter War Wagons.
Grenadiers and Abus Guns are light infantry- not artillery.
Minutemen OWN Petards
Culverins are simply amazing units. They own falconets and field guns like nothing else (except cavalry ). They also have immensely long range so you can see the enemy coming and destroy their cannon so your infantry has a chance! They are very underused
See this guide for unit counters:Jaafit's Guide to Unit Counters
Bump and Run: A nasty little tactic that will obliterate your enemies army. 5 skirmishers can defeat an infinite number of musketeers or units with a shorter range than them as long as there is land behind them. Move back, shoot a unit, move back, shoot a unit...etc. Very easy to do and extremely effective.
Raiding: Keep a separate group of cavalry, skirmishers, or natives close to your enemies base to kill his villagers off while they are attacking your main army. Guaranteed damage.
Grouping: In a big battle, keep about 10 halberdiers surrounding your cannon- you will slaughter his cavalry and your cannons will still be alive. Keep your soldiers grouped for maximum effect.
Barracks or Blockhouse: Control+B
Artillery Foundry: Control+A
Market: Control +M
Town Center: T
I find it easy to group my barracks as group 9, my stable(s) as group 8, and my artillery foundry (or foundries) as group 7.
Scout like crazy. If you know what they have, you can counter it. If you find some villagers, you can kill them. Scouting IS the most important thing to do in Age of Empires III.
Shoot huntable animals toward your Town Center. It saves walking distance and keeps your villager safer from enemies trying to raid you with their mean cavalry.
Save your HC cards. If there is nothing good to get at level 22, save it for level 25. Lots of good card options become available at level 25!
Constant Villager production- Never stop! (Until you get to the max you want- standard booms go to about 60 or 70, but a lot of games get up to the max).
Research the LOS technologies at the church- HUGE boost in sight.
DO use surgeons, priests, medicine men. They easily pay for your units and means whenever you enter a new battle you will have fresh units. And the expensive falconets will live longer!!!!!!!
Check on the opponents deck. It will help you to identify what he is doing. To check, click on MENU --, Player Summary --> Your enemies flag. This will get you a picture of his deck (and the name of his deck too- sometimes very revealing!).
Research market technologies early- colonial age. Get the tier 1 upgrades.
Tower up gold mines/herds/your forward base. These help a lot.
Always raid a LOT. He won't be expecting it. During a big battle, send 10 cavalry behind his base- you will do a LOT of damage- and as his attack horn is going off elsewhere it is unlikely that he will notice your raiding.
Kill his villagers- they ARE his colony.
Gather treasures. They boost your economy, give you experience, and give your opponent less treasure. Anything free is a plus .
Always make soldiers in groups of 5 if possible- same amount of training time as a single one.
Learn your hotkeys!
To find your explorer, press /.
Treasure hunting is extremely beneficial to any Age of Empires III player. A lot of players neglect treasures as being useless, but they provide a large boost to your economy (and sometimes units) if you can gather enough. The most amazing treasure is to pick up a "Boots of Arkantos" that increases the Speed of the unit that picks them up by 30%- which, if you pick them up with a villager means that ALL villagers will move 30% faster. This means more resources, faster escape, and a much better economy. Here are some tips to defeating certain guardians:
Coyote:The easiest guardian in the game: 2 ranged shots and 1 hand attack to kill. Don't waste a sniper shot on them.
Wolf:Stronger than the coyote. 3 ranger shots and 1 hand attack to kill. Again, do not waste a sniper shot on them- you can take on about 3 safely.
Crocodiles, Cougars: Stronger than wolves- and they attack faster. Sharpshooting these is OK but still not needed. You can take on 2 or 3.
Jaguars: Quite powerful- you can only take on 1 at a time and sharpshooting is a good idea here.
Black Bears: Weak bears- you can sharpshooter these. You can probably take on about 2 or 3 at a time if you use bump+run tactics.
Grizzly/Polar Bears:Much stronger than black bears. Polar bears have HUGE HP but low attack, Grizzlies are strong too. Sharpshooting is advised.
Outlaws: Strong. Riders, pistoleros, and bandits are all hard and have a strong ranged attack (but their hand attack is crap). You can hand attack these and win easily.
Carib Blowgunners:Strong ranged attack, but only 5 hand attack. Melee these and snipe if there is more than 1.
Pirates: Extremely powerful. Don't attempt to attack these unless you have sniper and some back-up troops.
Tactics to Gain Treasure Easier
Bump-and-Run: Your explorer will lose a lot of HP from units if he just charges into treasures. But what if he could take on the guardians one by one? Here is how: There is an "Invisible line" surrounding the treasures. Upon reaching this line, the guardians will retreat backwards. If you can shoot a guardian, then move back, then shoot him again, and then move back until he starts running away, you will know where the line is. Use this to: Shoot the furthest out guardian, move back, shoot as soon as he has reloaded, and then stand on that line to just hand attack kill. This will make it a lot easier (especially against coyotes). Mokon's Guide to Treasure Hunting has this and more in detail.
Using Terrain: Get behind trees, cliffs, or stone walls to make the guardians have to run further. This should allow you a lot more ranged shots and probably the death of the guardian.
I got some help from Mokon's Guide to Treasure Hunting as some help here. Just avoiding plagiarism !
More to come...please suggest some civilization specific ideas/strategies- I will include them .
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