Strategies to use at the Bronze Age in Age of Empires 2: Return of Rome
If you just started playing AoE2:RoR or want to improve your gameplay, I might be able to help you out.
I have been playing AoE1:DE quite a lot in the past years, and these are the most common and effective strategies that can also be applied on Return of Rome!
Please consider that in general, for bronze rush strategies to work well, you would click up to Bronze Age before 13 minutes in-game time. See how to perform a fast bronze.
Table of contents
1) Chariot archers rush
Probably the most common strategy, expecially with Hittites (+1 attack on archers) or Assyrians (archers fire 25% faster). Egyptians have +33% chariots HP.
Your goal should be a very fast bronze age (click up by 11-12 minutes game time) and research the wheel in the market as soon as possible. After that you can research the wood cutting upgrades, also in the market, and eventually the archer armor upgrade if you think you will fight against infantry or cavalry.
Most importantly, research Nobility because it will give your chariot archers more hitpoints.
In short terms, the main advantage of this strategy is that you have a very good mobility for raiding and attacking from a distance. Remember that not all civilizations have the Chariot Archers, and these units are countered by composite bowmen and cavalry.
A good way to defend from a rush of Chariot Archers is to make towers in your base, while a good counter is making Camels.
2) Composite bowmen rush
This can be performed expecially with Minoans, their composite bowmen have a +2 range bonus.
Composite bowmen are cheap and pretty effective when you have a lot of them. You should go for a fast bronze (12 minutes) and build at least 3 archery ranges, then research the wood cutting upgrades in the market and the upgrades to Improved Bow and Composite Bow in the Archery range.
At that point, start producing as many archers as you can. Remember to build houses.
To keep up the production you should have at least 2 villagers on gold per each archery range.
The Iron Age composite bowmen for Minoans will have a 7+5 range, which can surpass the range of most of the other units. Even if you are playing with other civilizations like Shang or Babylonians, composite bowmen are still good when massed, because they cost much less than chariot archers and are a great menace in large groups.
On the other side, they become not so useful in Iron Age, because there are many more powerful units in the field like Heavy Horse Archers, Centurions, Legionnaires, and Armored Elephants, so if you play with Minoans you should focus on attacking your opponents in Bronze Age, and remember to research Alchemy and Ballistics in the Government Center of course.
Moreover, they lack mobility, being much slower than cavalry. This is why I mentioned that they are good only in large numbers.
Pro tip: to counter large number of archers, make catapults and towers. Even elephants are good but you have to reach the Iron Age to have them. In the bronze age, also Hoplites can be good because of their pierce armor, bu they are very slow. Cavalry is excellent thanks to its speed, but only against small groups of archers.
3) Swordsmen rush
This can be a deadly strategy if you can keep up the production regularly. Swordsmen are very cheap and very strong against buildings and most units. Since they are so cheap, they can be hard to counter.
The most effective way to defend from a rush of swordsmen in the bronze age, is to prevent your opponent from booming and having a good economy that will allow one to go for a steady production of units.
Large groups of composite bowmen can decimate swordsmen quickly, but the swordsmen only require the broad sword upgrade, while the composite bowmen require the Improved Bow and the Composite Bow, thus requiring more time to be produced in large numbers.
The best counter to swordsmen is cavalry, but it costs much more.
So, in a few words, if you plan to go for this strategy, make sure to go for a fast bronze (12-13 minutes) and wall up your base to protect your economy. Then you should make at least 3 barracks and start producing short swordsmen while you are researching the upgrade to the broad sword.
Remember to research Logistics when you have more than 30 swordsmen in order to make them take only half the population space.
The best civilizations to perfmorm this are Romans (attack 33% faster) and Choson (+20 HP in Bronze Age).
In the Iron Age you can eventually make the upgrades to Long Swords and Legionnaires keeping your units production on a good pace.
4) Cavalry rush
Yamato, whose cavalry is 15% cheaper, are the best for this strategy.
Cavalry is very good to raid your opponent's economy and make a lot of damage with minimum losses, because horses are fast and infantry can't keep up with them.
You should go for a fast bronze (12-13 minutes) and make two stables. Keep 5 villagers on gold per each stable, and start producing cavalry. You will also need a good amount of food. If you want to build a decent eco behind this, you can produce horses only from one stable, but be sure to make as much damage as possible.
The counter to this strategy is mostly hoplites and camels. If your opponent is going camels, for example with Carthaginians, you should probably start making composite bowmen or swordsmen, or even hoplites yourself if you civilizations can then go for centurions in the Iron Age. Yamato can, as an example.
Never fight a group of camels with your cavarly, because you will most likely lose, unless those camels have no upgrades and your horses are fully upgraded.
Remember to research Nobility in the Government Center that increases by 15% the hitpoints of your horses.
This works well with Greeks (Academy units move 30% faster and cost 20% less) and Macedonians (Academy units +1/+2 pierce armor in bronze/iron age) and Carthaginians (Academy units +25% hitpoints).
Go for a fast bronze (12-13 minutes) and send a couple villagers forward.
Academy units in the Bronze Age are not very cost effective, also because they are very slow to move and for this reason, I think the best way is to build at least two academies near your opponent's base.
Research Aristocracy in the Government center to make your hoplites 25% faster, and infantry attack and armor upgrades. If you are fighting against archers, also research the shield in the storage pit for increased pierce armor.
If you can build a good economy behind this strategy, your opponent will have troubles to counter it. You will be able to break walls kinda easily and overcome almost any defence.
Indeed, the best counter to hoplites are probably priests.
6) Priests and archers
Priests are surely hard to use, as you probably know, but can be effective if you can protect them. The best way to do so is probably to go archers, be them composite bowmen or chariot archers. Also swordsmen could be a good choice, but you need to keep them very close to your priests.
One way to go could be to build towers and walls to support your priests.
This is a good strategy to use with Babylonians (priests regain faith 30% faster) and Egyptians (priests +3 range and chariots +33% hitpoints), allowing you to go for either chariot archers or composite bowmen, and with Babylonians you can even make swordsmen as already mentioned, since they also receive the upgrade to Legion.
Go for a fast bronze (12-13 minutes) and build two temples. You can even try building them close to your opponent's base. Send 4-5 villagers to gold per each temple, and start producing priests. In the meantime also research Wheel in the Market if you want to go for chariots, or the Improved bow and Composite bow in the archery range.
Needless to say, but if your opponents is spamming swordsmen or archers, your priests will probably be decimated for nothing.
For this reason, you can also use this strategy as a follow up for a Tool Rush, where you already damaged your opponent.
Also remember that, when playing against Macedonians, their units have a 4x resistance to conversion bonus.
Now that you know some good strategies to use in the Bronze Age, try them out and let me know!
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