As has been discussed in countless previous threads since Age3 has been released, Germanys Age2 military has something to be desired, as they lack the standard "Musketeers", and Dopplesoldners are a bit expensive (not to mention, lack the range advantage the musketeers enjoy). On top of that, Germanys Eco simply can't keep up in early game (age2-early3) when compared to that of the Ports, British, or French.
For these reasons, I find it effective to use a Fast Fortress strategy versus British and Portugal, and *sometimes* French. Normally I like to put the pressure on French a little earlier and use something more along the lines of the Calvary start against them.. but definitely against British and Portugese, the Fast Fortress can be effective.. Here's the Build Order starting at Age2.
-Click AgeII button using 500 Food politician
-Move ALL of your SW's to Gold (10 gold)
-Leave 7 settlers on food
-Queue up 1 settler from TC
-As soon as you age, use 1 SW to collect 500 food, and as soon as your villager spawns from TC have him assist. When both are finished collecting Food, move SW back to Gold, Villager to Wood.
-Use 3 SW Shipment, when it arrives, send 3 SW's to Gold
-Use 2 Uhlans from shipment to raid and scout.
-Shortly after your 3SW shipment arrives you should hit 1200 food 1000 gold (at approx the same time).
-Click to AgeIII.. Here, you have a couple options:
1. Sacrifice super-fast age time for a stronger military in Age2, and use the 6 Skirmisher politician
2. Get a super-fast age time (6:00-6:30), which will give you access to Age3 cards more quickly.
3. You need to decide what card you are likely going to send once you hit age3.
I prefer to send the 10 Landsknecht card, because Lands pretty much dominate any Age2 military Brits or Portugal has, including crossbows/longbows, assuming you assist with your Free Uhlans. And, Lands can drop houses, outpost, and TC's with a quickness.
For super-raiding power, go for Black Riders.. If your opponant is massing Muskets, go with Jeagers..
You could also send 1000 wood card, build a second TC, a barracks, and some houses, followed up by a merc or something as your next card.
Assuming you want to go the Merc route, you have a couple problems..
You are going to need another 1000 gold, which requires you keep as many villagers/sw's as possible on Gold and less on wood, which means a bare minimum amount of buildings, including no barracks..
And you will need a shipment shortly after you age, which requires XP.. If you are raiding villies and you are still using your explorer to gather treasures, you may get your 3rd shipment rather rapidly.
One option here is to use 100 wood to build a market at any point during the game thus far, and sell excess food off in exchange for gold, which will get you to your 1000 mark quicker, which will effectively give you a very strong contingent of merc units quicker than most civs can handle them.
If you go with the Exiled Prince (fast age), and gather 1000 gold as quickly as possible, and rush with Lands. A lot of times Brits and Ports will make the mistake of trying to keep up with you rush themselves into Fortress Age without making much military in hopes of competing with whatever you throw at them. IF this is the case then you should still get Lands before they have any really decent military and you can dominate them before (or shortly after) they get to fortress..
The other thing that can happen is that they attempt to send whatever military they have at your doorstep and try to take you down before you get your shipments.. this can present a problem, but it is counterable. If this happens, you need to make sure you have 150f and 1150g for your Lands and Minutemen. Your minutemen and TC fire should hold them off for long enough so your Lands can arrive and wipe out their military, as well as give you enough XP and buy you some time for a 2nd shipment so you can go in and finish them off.
The other possibility here is that you chose to go the Marksman (6 Skirmishers route). This will ensure that you have 1000Gold, and the Experience necessary to send Mercenaries right when you hit age3. The only problem is that you will probably not get your mercenaries until 8-9 minutes into the game, where you are completely vulnerable to enemy attacks up until that point.. although, it also gives you Skirmishers which will counter any Muskets they have, which can be a problem for your 10 Landsknechts if your enemy uses them wisely. Skirmishers remove this advantage from your opponent.
That decision is your own to make and I usually make it mostly based on a sort of gut instinct.
Regardless of the route you choose, you are going to need wood as a priority going into Age3 because you will need to put houses and barracks down.
Assuming you send the 3sw and sw cards you currently have a 24 villager eco. Seeing as 12 villies (or 6SW in this case) should give you a sufficient gold income to hit your 1000g quota by the time you have a shipment, and we have 7 villies on food (which is a good number, for now), you can use the remaining 5 villagers (2 sw + 1 villager) for wood.. As you draw nearer to your 1000g quota, or, as you see you have enough villies queued up and excess food, you may move a villager or two from gold or food over to wood. The important thing is that you can put enough houses down for your shipments, a market for trading if it becomes necessary for defense, and eventually a barracks sometime after you send your first shipment (or right before).
I would also strongly recommend searching for wood treasures as this can make this FF strat really shine.
What you decide to do in early age3 is what makes or breaks the game for you, and every situation is different so unfortunately I cannot give you a "Cure all" solution. Only advise you based on my experience.
The Build Order
-Standard Age1 17 Pop Build Order (As described on page 1)
-Select 400W Politician
-Queue up 2 Villagers after Age.
-Set GatherPoint to GOLD
-Move 4 Settler Wagons + 1 Villager to WOOD (9)
-Leave 1 Settler Wagon + 6 Villagers on FOOD (
-Find TradePost w/ Explorer -> Build TradePost ASAP
-Build Docks with 1 SettlerWagon
-Age to Colonial
-Send 3 Settler Wagon Shipment
-Send 700 Wood Shipment if you built a Docks. 7 Fishing Ships > 3 SW's
-Send new villagers to Gold
-Collect 400 Wood with 2 SWs from WOOD (Return to Wood)
-Use 2 other SW's from WOOD to build Barracks + 2 Houses (Return to Wood) Alternatively, you could Build a Native Tradepost and use 1 less house if you got a good Native tribe near you. (Cree, Cherokee, etc.)
-Begin training Military from Barracks/Tradepost (I would recommend Xbows/Minor Native Skirmishers)
-If it was 3 Settler Wagons, split the SW's up as needed. I usually put 2 Food 1 Gold.
-If it was 700 Wood, Collect wood and begin training Fishing ships
-Send 2 Free Uhlans to scout and raid. Get an idea of what units your opponent is creating, if any. Also try to locate his Barracks, Stables, a nearest Huntables/Wood source/Gold Mines.
-After creating an adaquate amount of military, attempt to do the following things:
1. Research StageCoach at TP and set your TP's to whatever resource you need (including XP!)
2. Build a Market and research upgrades
3. Research Docks improvements
4. If you have excess wood, get another TP or Docks, build Towers, No more than 7 houses, and possibly an extra barracks (or a stable, or saloon).
-Send Palatine Settlements when you have the opportunity.
-Harrass Villagers with free uhlans, and keep your own villager production up. Put villagers on Food/Gold as needed.
-Send for 9Xbows if you get rushed. Send for 5 Uhlans for more Raiding Power.
-Age to 3 when you have the resources and are not under immediate pressure.
-Switch ALL Settler Wagons over to GOLD
-Switch some villies from Gold to Wood and/or Food.
-After you Age, either Send for Mercs, Or Produce Cannons, or Produce mercs from Saloon (TWC) while you send a 8 Skirmishers/9Uhlan/3WW shipment (Depending on what kind of mercs you have available)
-Go on the offensive
The later portions of this strat are vague and have many options, because that is how games are.. You do what you feel is right at the moment and no single option is the best in EVERY situation.
The point here is that you can have an inexhaustable eco and get a very respectable age3 time while having enough military to harrass and fend off most rushes. Your TP/Docks + SW strong Eco can keep up with the best early ecos in the game. TP's will also help you get more shipments which brings German shipment rate back to where it's supposed to be.
Germans were made to be a Semi-FF civ. They have free raiding units to slow down enemy Eco's and keep them in age2, great shipments, great economic cards, and an outstanding age3 military (including mercs).
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