This strategy has been around in several different forms since the early days of The Asian Dynasties. The idea is to build an Agra Fort as a forward base, sacrificing your early economy to get a fast advance time and hitting your opponent quickly. In doing so, you take advantage of Indiaís bonuses. First, you can send the equivalent of a villager card (1.25 wood/second & one villager) without any population room. Next, you can build that large fort in the middle of the map, giving you map control, a quick advance, a place to drop off shipments, two sepoys upon age-up, and a barracks to boot! Finally, you can train villagers while you go up to the second age, allowing your economy to catch up after you have sacrificed it for a fast advance time. The result is a strong, fast rush that can fall back on map control and a relatively good economy.
In this guide Iíll outline the basics of executing the Agra Fort Rush, also known as the 10/10 rush (because you advance to the second age with 10/10 in population space), giving you to tools to perfect a build order while also outlining some ways to adapt to different situations.
When to Agra Rush: Starting Gold Is Not Your Friend
As India, you will always start with 300 wood and 200 food in crates, plus one extra, random crate. I like doing the Agra rush only when that extra crate is either wood or food. When itís gold, I find that my age-up times are too slow, and I might as well advance normally with a better eco, as it wonít be much slower.
As soon as the game begins, task villagers to your starting wood crates. Try to start training your first villager within seven seconds. Quickly send out a villager to move hunts back towards your town center, but only work one herd towards your TC at the beginning. Because your villagers cost wood, you only need to gather 600 food (plus your 200 food in crates) to advance, so walking a villager to get your second hunt, when the first herd will have enough food to advance, will slow down your age-up time.
Train Villagers Until Your Pop Is Full: Donít Build a House!
You want to stop making villagers and put everyone on food when you reach 10 villager population and you donít want to build a house! India starts with six villagers. That means when you start with 400 wood (thatís 300 starting wood, plus an extra wood crate), you wonít put any villagers on wood: just send everyone straight to food! When you start with an extra food crate, youíll need to gather 100 wood before you can put everyone on food. I like to put 5 villagers on wood so I get the wood quickly.
Scout and Creep: Find a Spot for the Agra while Focusing on Food and XP
Your top priority with your two explorers is to find a place to place your Agra. Itís a pretty big building and you have to keep in mind the no-build radius around your opponentís town, so this can be tricky. Go after food and XP treasures before you start building the fort. You want food because it can improve your age-up time, and XP will help get you your villager card sooner. Once the wonder is being built, food, wood, gold, and XP are all great to get, because you can use all of them when youíre in colonial.
Start Building Your Agra
You want to start building your Agra the very second you have 800 food. Because you want to build your Agra forward, it can be a little tricky to time this correctly. My general rule is to send one villager out of my town to where I want to build the Agra when I have about 650 food. For bigger maps, youíll want that number to be a little lower. for smaller maps, or if your only good spot for building the Agra is closer to your town, youíll want that number to be a bit higher. Once the Agra starts building, you have a decision to make: should you keep the villager building or task her to gathering? If you let the fort build by itself, youíll get to colonial a square two minutes after you started building it. If you keep a villager on the fort, youíll age up ten seconds faster. I like to have the villager gather during this time. The 120 Villager seconds youíll gain is equal to 60 wood, 72 gold, or 101 food (if youíre hunting). One thing to avoid is tasking that forward villager to hunting if your opponent hasnít already seen your Fort being built. If he sees a dead animal through the fog of war, he will likely infer that you are Agra rushing him, without actually having to scout you.
Reorganize Your Economy: Everyone to Wood
As soon as you gather 800 food, put all of your villagers onto wood. You need to get villager production going again, but before that you need a house. Build it and train that villager as quickly as possible. Around the time you start your fort, youíll send your first card: Distributivism. Thatís going to give you a 1.25 wood trickle + 1 villager. Once you get villager production going again, keep in mind those roughly two ďinvisibleĒ villagers which are gathering wood as the game goes on. As you age up, maintain constant villager production and build one more house (total pop = 30) before you hit colonial. Youíll need 6 or so villagers on wood to do this after you get that house done and the initial villager out. Youíre going to be making sepoys once you age-up: organize your other villagers accordingly, keeping in mind what treasure youíre getting.
Get Your Sepoy Army Going and Attack!
As you reach colonial, start training sepoys from your Agra Fort (you should be able to get four or five in your first batch), send your 2 free sepoys to your fort, and ship 5 sepoys. As soon as your first patch of sepoys and shipment have arrived, go put pressure on your opponent. Keep in mind that 6 sepoys kill a villager in one volley, so splitting your sepoys into two groups early on can be useful.
From here on out, there are a bunch of different things you can do. Youíve likely attacked your enemy before he can get much military going, so youíll have the advantage of shutting down his economy. You can keep pushing militarily, building more sepoys, or gurkha if heís building heavy infantry, and shipping 4 sowars as your next shipment. You can also invest more heavily in your economy, sending Foreign Logging (thatís 2.35 wood/second, plus one villager) and building a market quickly. The longer you can maintain your map control advantage and the longer the game goes in colonial, the better position youíre in. India has really great 2nd age cards that provide you with an incredibly strong and diverse army. (Donít forget to use your consulate! The British are almost always your best option.)
Hereís an example deck for a land map. I suggest working with something similar to this. Take out cards that you find yourself not using and put things in that seem more useful to you. The two unit shipments and camel upgrade cards are really must-haves, however. [Example deck will be posted soon]
Note on Special Maps
This strategy is incredibly effective on maps that start you with extra resources, such as Carolina and Deccan. You can start building your fort very early in the game and youíll usually not lose any time in villager production!
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