About the Flush
This is a description of a fast Feudal rush that involves reaching the Feudal Age between 9:30 and 10:45, attacking with a main force of archers, and towering up your opponent while continuing to make villagers at home.
The main goal is to attack with an effective military force at the earliest possible moment. When done correctly, you can be on your opponent before they even reach the Feudal Age.
I find China to have the fastest Feudal Rush with their +3 villager start and the fact that their town centers save you a house. Persia has the next fastest Feudal Rush (about 30 seconds slower than China) because of their +50 food and +50 wood. With both versions, I usually use a 22 villager + 1 scout start. The following describes the Chinese version that I typically do. The main difference with Persia is that you will probably want to Loom after the last villager is completed rather than right after the first one.
Getting to the start of the Feudal Upgrade
Villagers 1-15 go to food. Villagers 16-22 go to wood. Start the Loom upgrade immediately after the first villager is built. Put the first 6 villagers on sheep and set the town center gathering point to the berries. Your first priority is to eliminate all villager build delays. You need to anticipate the creation of the next villager and be ready to command a new villager build as soon as you have the 50 food. Get multiple villagers queued up in the town center as soon as you can.
If you didn’t see sheep right away, send five of your villagers to berries and then transfer them to sheep after they return to the town center. Use the 6th villager to help your scout find the sheep.
Have your villager that is not eating sheep to start a house. You need to start it once your second villager build begins. After he finishes, send him to berries.
For the first few villager builds, you will usually need to force your sheep eaters to dump their food just before a villager is finished being built. Early food dumping can save you 15 seconds or more on your Feudal time which is significant for such an early attack.
Your second priority is to find the two pigs lurking around your town. By the time you have about 5 villagers on berries, you should have just delivered a pig to them. Have them dump their berries at the mill and kill the pig. It is important to save as many berries as possible for Feudal when you will need low-maintenance food. You don’t want to have to be trying to build farms or hunt during the early phases of your Feudal attack.
Deliver the second pig to the sheep eaters at the town center.
When luring pigs, don’t start running your hunter away until the pig is just about to hit him. Watch the pig on the way back. If the pig stops, immediately shoot him again. If you are running to the town center, ALT-rightclick the runner on it so that he will garrison as soon as he arrives. Immediately ungarrison him so that he doesn’t idle. If you are running to the mill, run circles around it as your other villagers shoot until the pig is dead.
Once your population reaches 16, change the town center gathering point to a straggler.
By 7:30, you should have achieved the following: reached a population of 21 (20 villagers + 1 scout), found 2 pigs, found gold, found stone, and found a deer herd. This will give you all the resources you need for a strong Feudal attack and economic expansion. If you don’t reach a population of 21 around 7:45, a Feudal rush is still a viable option though a bit riskier as you will not get to the Feudal Age until around 10:45. If you have not accomplished all of these things by 7:45 against a good player, then you should probably go on to a fast Castle instead of Feud rushing. You still have that option as it is very doable to get a sub-17:00 Castle with a population of 30 using this China start. As soon as your scout has found the pigs, gold, stone, and deer, you should send it in search of the enemy.
Monitor your villagers cutting the straggler trees around your town center. Once you have made the required three houses and your cutters are carrying enough wood to reach 100, have them dump their wood at the town center and go build a lumberyard. Preferably, this will be at a nearby forest that is also close to gold and stone.
As the lumberyard is just about to complete, monitor your food gatherers. As soon as you estimate that they are carrying enough food to reach 500, have them all dump their food at the town center or mill.
If you’ve timed everything well, you should finish the lumberyard, reach 500 food, and finish your 22nd villager (giving you a population of 23), all at the same time.
Practice this start in Single Player Mode until you can begin the Feudal upgrade before 8:20 which will result in a 10:30 Feudal time. If you can’t begin it before 8:20, restart the game and try again until you do. Once you get fairly good, you should be able to occasionally begin the upgrade by 7:30, resulting in a 9:40 Feudal time.
Preparations during the Feudal Upgrade
Send two villagers towards the enemy to act as forward builders. Give them a number so that it is easy to check on them.
Put two villagers on food. Put all the other villagers on wood. I usually have 3 to 5 villagers cutting stragglers around the town center in order to reduce crowding at the lumberyard.
By the time you are 75% to Feudal, your forward builders should start building a barracks in a good spot near the enemy with easy access to their woodcutters and nearest gold mine. Your scout should have recently covered the area all around the build site to ensure you are far enough away from any enemy villagers and buildings that you will not be discovered.
As soon as you have 100 wood after starting the barracks, send a villager to make a mining camp at your gold mine. If there is a gold mine and stone mine near one another, put the camp right between them (this will save you 100 wood later).
From this point on, you should make sure that your scout is always moving and scanning the area around the enemy as well as all unexplored areas of the map so that you know the likely spots that the enemy might run to. Give your scout 15 or so waypoints at a time so that you don’t have to constantly monitor him.
The Feudal Age
As soon as you reach the Feudal Age, start making an archery range with your forward builders. Build a house.
Start a second archery range as soon as you have 175 wood. This should happen before the first one is done.
Start queuing up villager builds at the town center and set the gathering point to food (probably berries). Once you eventually have at least 7 on food, periodically change your gathering point to whatever other resource you are short on.
Send 8 of your woodcutters to gold so that you now have 9 miners total. You should send these guys as soon as you see that you will have no problem getting the wood to start your second archery range once the first one is started.
Send two more villagers to join your two current forward builders. These will probably come from your woodcutters although they might be miners if you have excess gold.
Immediately queue archers when your ranges are done. Also start a couple pikes at the barracks.
Start a stone mine. Transfer 4 gold miners and 4 woodcutters to stone. If you are short on wood, just set the TC gather point to stone instead of transferring the woodcutters.
Once you have 5 or 6 archers, a couple pikes, and 4 forward builders, go attack the enemy, giving priority to their wood operations and then stone and gold. If possible, put your force between the enemy gatherers and their town center before you start attacking. Just make sure you are not within range of the town center. Use the stand-ground hotkey “n” to prevent your units from following the villagers to their town center. Your units can still be moving when you apply the stand-ground hotkey to them and they will stand-ground once they get there.
While your military units attack, start making overlapping towers near them to disable the gathering spot. Try to position the towers so that they cover multiple resources. Split your builders evenly between the towers you are making as that is more efficient. For example, if you use two builders on one tower and two builders on another at the same time, you can complete both towers in 38 seconds. If instead, you use all four on the same tower before starting another, it will take you 50 seconds to finish both. For more information on construction efficiency, refer to my article at http://www.ageofkings.cc/readPosting.asp?PostingId=826
Keep making archers non-stop at your ranges and spread them around to prevent resource gathering until you can tower or wall things up. If the enemy is in Castle and is getting gold, research fletching and archer armor and try to keep your archers in groups of at least 5 with a spearman or two.
If the enemy has put up a single tower, just locate your archers right up against it and put them on stand-ground so that the tower cannot hit them. The archers will stop the resource gathering and even kill the tower eventually. Just don’t do this versus a Teuton when they are in Castle as they get automatic murder holes once they reach Castle Age.
If the enemy has more than one tower up, find an angle where you can build a tower that will hit their resource gatherers while still being out of ranges of their towers. This is almost always possible and is really just about as good as taking the towers down. If your towers have trouble reaching a spot, be sure to get Fletching.
Your scout should be running all around during this time, looking for relocated villagers. Do not let the scout stop unless it is for a very good reason. You should count on there being a new wood operation starting up right after you attack the first one. Look for it! As soon as you see it, attack immediately. Wood is usually the enemy’s most important resource at this time as it is what they need to relocate and counter you.
Ring the enemy town center with stand-ground archers and/or towers to prevent farming and straggler cutting. If the enemy is Teuton, you need to use towers for this (preferably with Fletching). A Fletched tower has a range of 9 whereas a Teuton town center has a range of 11. If you place the tower just out of range of the town center, the villagers will only have a 2-tile safety zone. Since farmers like to walk around a lot, they will still get hit even if the farms are right next to the town center. For non-Tuetons, there will be no safety zone all. Note that you can easily count out tiles with the pre-built tower by dragging it away from the edge of the town center as you are about to place it.
If you run into skirmishers, use your pikes, villagers, and towers to help beat them down. If you did your job in attacking his wood, you shouldn’t see many skirmishers. If you do, retreat to your towers and make some Men-At-Arms.
Once your berries run out at home, go hunt those deer you found. After that, start farming. You should have enough woodcutters by then to lay several farms. You should have a better economy than the enemy does by this time and you should also be pretty close to starting the Castle upgrade. If the enemy is in Castle, be sure to have some spearmen at your town.
Once you have around 30 villagers, send three villagers out to start walling up all of the remaining gold and stone spots that the enemy might relocate to (you should have them all scouted by now). Don’t lay the foundations until you get there as the enemy may have beaten you to it. If so, call in some military for backup and then tower the site up.
After the Feudal Age
You are unlikely to completely wipe your opponent out in the Feudal Age so you must plan on reaching Castle and expanding your economy from the very start. With your constant villager building in the Feudal Age, you should be in a very nice position at this point.
My goal in Castle is usually to use my economic advantage to put town centers all over the map and build up my population even more for a big Imperial. During all this, it is important to continue raids upon the enemy in order to keep their economy in check. It can also be very helpful to research murder holes, guard towers, and Bodkin Arrow, to make your towers more powerful. The enemy will often be busy trying to clear out your towers from gold and stone while you are building your economy. A small group of knights can be very useful in killing off any rams that might show up. The knights usually don’t need much backup either since your upgraded towers will tend to keep away any knight counters.
I believe that part of the advantage to being able to strike forcefully with a Feudal attack is that your opponent doesn’t know what to expect early in the game. This is especially true in AOK since there is no achievements screen to monitor. The threat of a Feudal Rush can be as good as the actual thing if it makes your opponent spend time and resources early on to defend against an attack that never comes.
I’m not sure whether to give this strat a name or not. Maybe “Flush” would be good as it is a FeudaL-rUSH and it is probably about the closest thing to a Brush that you can effectively do in AOK. Well, whatever it is, I know that several others and I have had great success and a lot of fun with it even against very good players. I hope you find it useful.
Good luck and have fun.