Strategies to use at the Tool 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 tool rush strategies to work well, you would click up to Tool Age before 7:30 minutes in-game time.
Table of contents
1) Axemen rush
This is probably the easiest one. You build one or two barracks on the way up to the Tool Age, and start producing clubmen. As soon as you reach Tool Age, you research the upgrade to Axemen from the barracks, and the attack and infantry armor from the storage pit.
The strategy is best performed with Choson, which have +5 HP on axemen in the Tool Age already.
It can be countered by archers, and it can be ineffective if you are too slow to attack your opponent before he walls up.
Of course you will need a lot of food for this to work so be sure to find new sources of food quickly.
You can then place a 3rd or 4th barracks, or go for an Archery Range because your opponents will probably wall up, and you need to snipe villagers with archers.
2) Scout rush
This works better with Yamato since they have cheaper cavalry units, so that means producing scouts much more easily.
When you are going up to Tool Age, build the Barracks and when you are up, place down a Stable to start producing scouts. Research the upgrades in the storage pit: attack and cavalry armor.
It is very effective because you can quickly raid villagers and take down your opponent's economy. Moreover, it is hard to counter, because in order to defend from scouts you can only wall or keep some units, expecially axemen, near your villagers.
Surely now on RoR you can gather villagers inside towers and town centers, but still scouts can be a great menace just by running around and slowing down your opponent.
3) Slinger rush
This is probably more difficult for beginners. It requires you to send some villagers to stone, usually 1-2 villagers per every Barracks you want to produce slingers from.
You can start building barracks while going up to the Tool Age, when you are up you can start producing slingers and rush your opponents.
Slingers are very effective against archers, a bit less against scouts and axemen, you will need to micro them as much as you can.
They are also very good to take down walls and towers, or other buildings.
Remember to research the Stone mining upgrade in the market, because it increases range and attack of slingers. Slingers are also good against chariot archers, but you need to make many of them.
You can also upgrade their infantry armor in the storage pit to make them more resistant against axemen and scouts.
4) Bowmen rush
After making Barracks and reaching the Tool Age, build one or two archery ranges and start producing bowmen. Research the wood upgrade in the market, which will improve the range and attack of your archers.
Of course you can skip the wood upgrade and do it later, depends if you plan to go full bowmen rush or just make a few of them to rush your opponent.
They are best used to snipe villagers on wood or other resources, expecially if a player is walling up and you can't hit them with melee attacks.
You should do this strategy in particular with Hittites (+1 attack on archers) or Assyrians (archers fire 25% faster).
5) Axemen and slingers
It is a deadly combo but of course requires a lot of food to mantain. On the other hand, both units can be made from barracks so you can build barracks soon in the Stone Age while clicking up, and start producing units immediately.
The advantage is that your slingers will defend axemen from archers, and your axemen will defend slingers from scouts and other axemen.
Moreover, you will be able to take down walls and buildings quite fast.
A good way to apply this strategy could be to build barracks early inside your opponent's base: send one or two villagers forward and start building barracks near your opponent, so that he cannot even wall in time.
You should start producing clubmen on the way up to Tool Age, with at least two barracks, and then upgrade them to axemen, research the attack and infantry armor upgrade in the storage pit, then start making slingers. As soon as you have the resources, also research the stone mining upgrade in the market to improve your slingers attack and range.
This is probably an all-in strategy because you will reach Bronze Age very late. If your opponent manages to wall up and hold, he is probably planning for a fast bronze age. He will then start making cavalry to counter your rush, or even swordsmen.
6) Scout ships
On water maps, make scout ships to rush your opponent's fishing economy. This works better on Mediterranean and Islands, because it is easy to reach the fishing spots.
The best civilizations to perform this are Yamato (ships have +20% HP) and Hittites (ships have +2 range), or even Minoans because their ships are 30% cheaper.
Usually you would start making 2-3 docks in the Stone Age, going for some fish boom, then as soon as you are up in the Tool Age you start making as many scout ships as you can. You should have 5-6 villagers on wood per each dock you have.
Also research the wood upgrade in the market as soon as possible in order to improve your war ships.
Focus on eliminating your opponent's fishing boats and make sure to wall up your wood and, eventually, rebuild storage pits to gather wood faster and keep up the production of ships.
Watch out for the chance that your opponent might land some units in your base with transport ships!
Now that you know some good strategies to use in the Tool Age, try them out and let me know!
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