Russian Imprisoning FF- Sourced from HG- AoE Patch 1.07

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Russian Imprisoning FF- Sourced from HG- AoE Patch 1.07

Post  ~Admin~Kestrel~ on Sat Aug 02, 2008 1:47 pm

RIFF - Russian Imprisoning Fast Fortress
(For those who have already read it, I've re-wrote the entire fotress age sections to give a bit more detail on what I'm trying to accomplish)


This is the strategy that have been using for the past few weeks with my Russian home city. It begins quite similar to ultimitsu's Russian fast fortress. I use the 20 settler colonial with 500 food age up combo that ultimitsu devised and then play aggressively from then on, using multiple military shipments and maintaining villager flow. I have had much success with it, often beating players ranked up to 10 power rating levels above me.

The strengths of this strategy are the following:

Competitive fortress time (~7:45)

3 shipments available for military upon hitting fortress with the 4th coming soon after

Your deck is not revealed until after you click fortress (optional)

Strong (20 settler) economy upon hitting fortress

Very little idle TC time

Allows settler production upon hitting fortress

Does not require trade posts

Very flexible

No particular cards are actually needed!

It's unexpected!
That last point is actually very important. Almost everyone expects a Russian player to rush. I've even shocked some higher level players with my fortress time. One (German) opponent simply said 'Umm...' when I reached fortress before he did.

There are also some problems with this deck:

A fast unexpected rush can sometimes be fatal

This version requires a level 60 home city
On that last point, it's obviously a very tall order for having a level 60 home city. It is however needed for the 500 food. You can do a version of it using 17 settler age up 400 wood and shipping 700 gold but you lose a shipment and waste time. It is however a little safer since you get to colonial faster.

I know what you're all wondering; can this strategy beat the German FF? I am pleased to say, 'Indeed it can!' I've won the last two games I've had against German. The first was 5 power ratings higher than me and did a standard fast fortress; I started by destroying his trade routes then locked him in his base using town centres. The second was only 1 level higher than me and tried a reasonably slow Nootka rush. I've included record games of both of these as they demonstrate the strategy well and everyone always likes to see the Germans lose!

The Deck

As I said earlier, this deck does not require any specific cards. The cards you choose is really up to you, however there are some strong recommendations I would make.

2 Falconets - Excellent card, I don't think I need to say much here.
6 Oprichniks - The best raiding cavalry in the game. You cannot play aggressively and not raid. They're also useful if you just need a little extra help taking down buildings.
Upgraded Church - 9 Kalmucks are you foremost anti-cavalry/artillery units.
9 Highlanders - Excellent anti-cavalry support. These usually come out later on.
1000 wood - You're going to need a lot of wood in this strategy.

The above cards are highly recommended. I don't think any Russian deck should be without them.

As for the other cards, choose cards that will aid your aggression. I suggest at least another 2 fortress age military-based shipments (eg. 17 strelets, 11 musketeers, Advanced Strelet Training).

This is my current deck. I'm always changing it around so I wouldn't expect you to copy it card-for-card but instead just use it as a reference point for your own deck.

Notice all my colonial age cards and the 300 wood card. Those are there to trick my opponent into thinking I'm going to rush. It also deters them from trying a rush themselves as it looks as if I am heavily prepared. That only works if you reveal your deck though so having these cards is up to you. You could leave them out of your deck and keep your deck hidden but like I said, it's your decision.

The Strategy

Okay, so this is the actual strategy. I'll simply list the build order and then give some additional details at the end of each section.

Discovery Age
Plan: Get 20 settlers and do a lot of herding. Send no cards.
Build order:

All settlers on food, get 3 settlers queued ASAP.

Send 1 settler to the wood crate(s) and 1 to herd, leave others collecting food crates.

Build house; leave the gold crate; all settlers on food.

Herd! You need lots of huntables nearby in case of a raid/rush.

Keep queuing settlers, sending the last 2 batches to gold

Advance (500 food) and distribute 13 settlers on gold and 7 settlers on food. This should give you around 900 gold and 700 food when you arrive in colonial.
I cannot emphasise enough how much you need to herd. If your villagers are ever more than 3 seconds away from your town centre then a raid or rush will kill them. You should have at least 2 packs of huntables right over your town centre by the time you hit colonial. Thanks to herding, German uhlan raiding can't touch you. See the recorder game (especially the second one) to see what I mean by the herding. The raiding uhlans couldn't even get close to my settlers.

Regarding treasures, I recommend getting wood treasures for houses first. You may have noticed that making 20 settlers completely fills your population meaning you can't ship units if you need them.

Colonial Age
Plan: Collect 500 food and advance. Send no cards. Keep herding!
Build order:

Send 3 or 4 settlers from either food or gold to collect the age-up food.

Advance using 17 strelets as soon as the 500 food is collected.

Once you've clicked, distribute settlers with 13 on wood and 7 on food once you have another 200 gold (You'll need this to upgrade your strelets).
And while advancing:

Send for upgraded church.

Build a church a market and as many houses as you can.

Upgrade wood cutting in market

Use food exclusively for queuing settlers.

Don't redistribute settlers when these are done!

Send all new settlers to food.
Not really much to say here. Have your wood cutters cut at the single trees close to your town centre first as these are the most protected. Build your houses and church in front of your town centre to act as a sort of wall. Have them still in range of the town centre though: we don't want to lose them but I'd rather lose them than our settlers or TC.

Early Fortress Age
Plan: Conjure up a huge army using shipments while continuously producing settlers and then start gaining map control.

This is where build orders go out the window and the real strategy comes in. Our goals in this age are to:

Create an Army to:

Destroy any opposing FF army

Dominate the map

Protect your explorer

Scare your opponent
And if your opponent is still in colonial booming

Destroy or cripple them
and to
Build 2 town centres to:

Imprison your opponent

Give you the fastest fortress boom in the game (9 settlers every 50 seconds)

Cut off your opponents gold supplies

Put your opponent on the defence
If you sent for upgraded church you will have 2 shipments when you hit fortress and another shipment arriving just after 9 minutes. The first card sent should always be 1000 wood so that you can afford the Kalmucks from the church. The second card depends on what your opponent will have. I usually send 17 more strelets since they seem to do well against everything and the Kalmucks can take care of everything that counters them (melee cav and falcs). The third card I usually send for one of the following:

6 Oprichniks to raid your opponents miners and hunters while you boom and get TCs up.

11 Musketeers if you want a fast addition to your army.

Advanced Strelet Training if you think that massing strelets would be a good idea against your opponent.

2 Falconets if your opponent is weak and you want to siege.
This army that you send for is going to be very population consuming. You really have to pay attention to what you queue first. Queue settlers first since they require 3 pop space. Then queue military shipments, they require just 1 pop space to ship. Once you have sent for all your military cards, send for the Kalmucks. The great thing about the church units is that you can be completely under-housed and still send for them. Keep in mind though that if you want to keep up settler production you're going to need to build more houses. Because of this it's important that you queue as many settlers as you can so that they keep coming while you get those houses up.

You should be able to beat any other FF army with yours and still have some units left over. Depending on your casualties, try to get some more strelets out but DO NOT attack your opponents base. Your armys purpose now is to guard your explorer while he imprisons them with town centres.

The Army

These are some of the different armies I like to have. Units are listed in the order I ship them (ship 1000 wood when it says Kalmucks, note that Kalmucks are listed first because I send for the 1000 wood first. You should actually call out the Kalmucks last since they require no pop space)

9 Kalmucks + 34 (17+17) Vet. Strelets + 11 Musketeers - This is my primary army for against any opponent that is also fast fortressing and I expect they have a large army. I've found it works well against the Germans, Ottomans, Spanish, French and I would imagine the Dutch too though I am yet to play them. Tip: Try to get the Kalmucks out as fast as possible since many teams can raid with cavalry in early fortress (Germans with uhlans, Otto with Spahi and hussars, Spain with lancers and hussars). If you can get your Kalmucks out before these come then you can quickly wipe them out giving you a huge advantage. Against one Spanish player who was about 7 levels above me, I took out an army of lancers and hussars without taking a hit because of my Kalmucks.

9 Kalmucks + 34 (17+17) Vet. Strelets + 2 Falconets or 6 Oprichniks - Sometimes I include falconets or oprichniks if I need some siege for taking out trade posts or maybe even a forward base. Use this with caution though. If you suspect a large army then it's usually best to keep the siege for later as falconets will die quickly to the likes of war wagons or Spahi.

9 Kalmucks + 17 Vet. Strelets + 2 Falconets + 6 Oprichniks - This is the army I use against the Brits. The British generally use infantry and falconets in fortress. Use the Kalmucks and oprichnik to take out the falconets and the longbows and any pikes should be a breeze with your falconets and strelets. This leaves you with a strong army for launching a siege on them. Take out barracks or stables first then find settlers. Don't waste time on the town centre or houses. I find that British are generally the easiest team to face.

This army would also theoretically work against a Russian that doesn't rush, however I'm yet to encounter such a player. If you expect a fast Russian rush, just send for 300 wood early on and build a barracks. Strelets won't be able to take out the barracks before you get to fort and most of them will die anyway. Just continue with your shipping (you can skip the Kalmucks if you're low on shipments), take out the forwards base then overwhelm him with your superior army.

For those of you playing at home, you may have noticed that I haven't written up anything for against the Portuguese. I've only played one Port with this strategy and unfortunately he was a Brigadier (I'm a Major) so it was a pointless game anyway. I honestly don't know what to do against Port as Russian. Dragoons, minutemen and town centres are a bit too much for your army to handle and you can't out boom them so I'm afraid you're on your own when it comes to Portuguese. Sorry

After the First Battle

This is often the turning-point in the game and also varies very dramatically. I will however try to share some of my experience with you.

What you do depends a lot on how much of your army survived (I actually assume that it did, against another FF, you should always have the better army). Regardless of what happens, I recommend that you try to produce a lot of strelets. You've upgraded them so you might as well use them. Hopefully you've still got a fair number of Kalmucks alive so cavalry aren't too much of a threat to your strelets.

If your army is still quite large and you have both falconets shipped and alive you might want to consider attacking their base. Send a Kalmuck to quickly explore their base (try not to let it die), if they are massing units you probably don't want to attack. If they appear not to have many units then by all means attack. You should take out any trade posts they might have first. Many FF'ers rely solely on their shipments for units, destroying one trade post now might save you from having to handle 13 jaegers later.

If it doesn't look like a good idea to attack then simply move your units close to his base (but not in it), preferably near some gold or at least hunts. This is your way of gaining map control and putting him on the defence. You should be getting close to 600 wood stockpiled. Have your explorer come down behind you troops and build a town centre next to some gold. Your army has to protect him while it goes up. I recommend also trying to get a barracks up nearby and then do the same on the other side of their base. You should be booming settlers and queuing strelets as much as possible.

Your primary objectives are these:

Put him on the defence

Keep your army alive and growing

Keep queueing settlers from as many TCs as possible

Cut off his gold supplies using your army and town centres
No gold => No mercenaries => No falconets => No cavalry => No trouble for your strelets

Watch the game against Fire_Dragon (British). The image below is of the mini-map once I had established map control. This is exactly what I expect to happen with this strategy. Two town centres, one either side of his base. He starts to build falconets and even manages to take out a town centre but I hold back and before long he is out of gold. Also notice how I put the second town centre right on the coast. This would have harassed any fishing boats if he made them. He can't build falconets and can't build cavalry. I soon overpower his massed long bows with strelets and a few falconets for siege and its game over.


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