Monday, November 17, 2008

Rise of Nations Military Notes (with some sporadic other notes)

This page is mostly written to talk about how I deal with military in Rise of Nations / Thrones and Patriots. As you'll see, most everything about military stuff in Rise of Nations comes down to paper, rock, scissors for me. Especially ground and sea battles. Since the majority of my military engagements are ground battles, I'm gonna spend the most time talking about those, the units involved, and the groupings.

I should note that I don't play against human opponents. If I did, I'd surely die ;) Besides, I probably won't do it 'till ardent and I can beat six 'toughest' opponents. When we can, I'll know I rock... And I probably won't be using these strategies anymore ;)

I guess I need to first talk a little about where I place military buildings and when... Assuming I haven't been attacked yet (I know -- I'm _so_ due to get killed up front), I generally don't build military buildings 'till around the Medieval Age (III). That's when the Terra Cotta Army (TCA) becomes available anyway ;) At that point, I'll build a barracks, two sets of stables, a siege factory, and TCA if I can afford it. I'll build all of those buildings in my forward most city. I build out there so that reinforcements get to the battle quicker ;) I build 'em all in the same city so I can see the city name in the information panel in case I build more military buildings later.

"Information panel?" The little area in the bottom right that shows a city's economic radius, hit points, etc... You'll note that buildings will say their city name (assuming they're in a city's economic radius) in the title area of that box -- ie "Market -- Korea". With that in mind, if my military city is Korea, I'll assign my first stable there to control group F7. If I want to access the other stable there, I hit "F7, s". That'll select that first stable, then go to my next stable on the map. I should see "Stable -- Korea" in the information panel. If I've built stables in other cities, I'll see their name in the information panel and know it wasn't the stable I was looking for. Maybe I could put my alternate stables (and barracks if I don't get TCA) in a second city, but I'd probably need to rename that 2nd city to remember what the building's role is ;)

Speaking of control groups, if you didn't know, you can assign buildings, units, or even an area on the map to what I call "control groups". Select what you want to assign, and while holding 'Ctrl', press 1-0 or F1-F8. F9-F12 apparently have other functions defined within the game, so they're not used for control groups (I wonder if you can change that...).

Not only are control groups useful for selecting a particular group of units, selecting a building, or going to an area on the map, but they can be used as a destination for rally points or can be 'double-clicked' to center your map on the subject. If you set a building's rally point to be a control group, units built from that building join all the groups that the rally point'd unit is a member of. The produced unit will also walk a straight line to the area of the map that the control group is currently located.

Here's my normal control group layout:
  • 1 - Light Infantry
  • 2 - Heavy Infantry
  • 3 - Ranged Calvary
  • 4 - Heavy Calvary
  • 5 - Support
  • 6 - Main Army
  • 7 - Helicopters
  • 8 - Main Navy
  • 9 - Silo 1
  • 0 - Silo 2
  • F1 - Capitol (default)
  • F2 - First Library
  • F3 - First Market
  • F4 - University
  • F5 - First Dock
  • F6 - Current Main Barracks
  • F7 - Current Main Stable
  • F8 - Current Main Factory

Expanded Notes About My Control Groups

Group 1 - Light Infantry
I'll pop out a couple of these up front and assign them to control group 1. Once I hit the Medieval age and can afford it, I'll build the Terra Cotta Army and assign its rally point to this group. If someone else already grabbed TCA, I'll build a second barracks in my military city and assign that barracks' rally point to the group.

I'll try to keep at least six of these. If my TCA runs out of control, I've ended up with so many of these guys that groupings start not working correctly... If that's the case, I set TCA's rally point to some semi-forward area on the map and kill off a few guys from the group (and re-assign group 6).

6 - 25 (TCA)
6 - 10

Primary Uses (paper, rock, scissors):
- Ranged Calvary

Secondary uses (ie - I use someone else, but if there's more work to go around, I'll use these guys too):
- Ranged Infantry (heavy calvary is the primary killer of ranged infantry)
- Heavy Infantry (ranged calvary is primary)

Note that since light/ranged infantry is good at beating ranged calvary, you shouldn't try to use ranged calvary to beat light/ranged infantry. That's why I call it paper, rock, scissors ;)

Another note here is that according to their description, you should use light infantry to kill ranged infantry. If you click on an enemy unit, it'll tell you what two units should be used to kill the selected unit type. Light calvary's in that list for ranged infantry, and barring a little bit less speed, heavy calvary does the job nicely ;)

Group 2 - Heavy Infantry
6 - 10 (early)
4 - 8 (modern age+)

Primary Uses:
- Heavy Calvary
- Light Calvary

Secondary uses:
- Buildings (artillery is primary)

Group 3 - Ranged Calvary
4 - 8

Primary Uses:
- Heavy Infantry
- Scouts
- Supply Wagons
- Generals

Secondary uses:
- None that I remember ;)

Group 4 - Heavy Calvary
6 - 10

Primary Uses:
- Light Infantry
- Ranged Infantry

Secondary uses:
- Artillery (Spies are primary)

Group 5 - Support
This is the group that has my generals (1 or 2), artillery (3-6), supply wagons (2), spies (3-10), scouts (2-4), and machine guns (2-4).

Group 6 - Main Army
This group is a combination of groups 1-5 (ie - I press 1, shift+2, shift+3, shift+4, shift+5, ctrl+6).

Group 7 - Helicopters
5 - 10

Primary Uses:
- Heavy Calvary

Secondary uses:
- Submarines (Light Ships are primary)

Group 8 - Navy
For the most part, just know this - light ships beat fire ships, fire ships beat heavy ships, and heavy ships beat light ships.

Until fire ships get upgraded to subs, I try to keep twice as many fire ships as either light or heavy's. IE - 5 heavy ships, 5 light ships, and 10 fire ships. Once I get subs, that number goes down to about equal.

Fire ships / subs do good against other fire ships / subs, but it's generally a 1:1 trade. If you shoot first with your sub, you'll win, but that applies in reverse too ;) Fire ships have an explosion radius, so they damage adjacent ships when they blow up, so they _could_ have a better ratio if the enemy's stupid and you're awesome and manuevering ;)

Of course, there's also carriers and bombardment ships... I mostly use those for ground attacks though... A pair of each is generally sufficient.

Group 9 and 0 - Silo's
I like having these assigned to hot keys so I can send a couple missles to a bunker quick. 9, right click target, 0, right click target, 9, hotkey to build new missle (g or v... I don't remember off hand), 0, hotkey for build new missle.
Works even better when you have that "units produced instantly" technology.

Group F1 - Capitol / First City
This key is defaulted to your first city - assuming you didn't start nomad style ;) I use this key early in the game to pop out citizens (hotkey - 'v') as needed.

Group F2 - Library
I'll assing F2 to my first library so I can use hotkeys to research. I've been using the little bar up top lately though...

Group F3 - Market
I guess I don't really need this anymore, as I can just use the 'n' hotkey to cycle between markets.

Group F4 - University
I'll usually assign this to the university that still needs filling up. I fill 'em up one at a time, so this is the 'working' one.

As with F3, I don't _really_ need this, as I can just hit the 'u' hotkey to cycle between 'em 'till I see an empty one and then hit 'v'. In fact, that's probably a better option... If I have three empty universities, it's better to have each producing one scholar than one producing three...

Group F5 - Dock
I build a dock ASAP and use this hotkey to go fishing! F5, left click a flashing spot on the mini-map, right click the fish/whale to set the rally point, 't' (hotkey for building a fisherman).
Later in the game if I need a navy, I'll build a second dock (hopefully in a city's economic radius as to have it named) and do the "F5, d" series of hotkeys to get to it. That dock's rally point will be set on a unit in control group 8.

Group F6 - Current Main Barracks
Rally point set to group 2 (heavy infantry). If I don't have TCA, I'll build a second barracks and have its rally point set to group 1 (light infantry).

Group F7 - Current Main Stable
Rally point set to group 4 (heavy calvary). Alternate stable's rally point set on group 3 (ranged calvary).

Group F8 - Current Main Factory
Rally point set to group 5.

Other Notes:

  • Ranged InfantryYou'll probably note that I don't build ranged infantry. There's two main reasons imho. Their main purpose of killing heavy infantry is filled by ranged calvary, and their advancement tree merges with light infantry in the enlightenment age (V). I have been known to build a couple in a pinch before though... You'll notice that the majority of a computer's rushing army is heavy infantry. If I get rushed and haven't really started on my army yet, I'll rush to get a barracks and stable in a nearby city and pop a few of these guys out parallel to some ranged calvary and heavy calvary. When the battle's over, any remaining ranged calvary become control group 1.

  • Light CalvaryLike ranged infantry, their role is covered by someone else - heavy calvary.

  • BribingSpies are teh bomb! With my control groups though, there's a little extra work involved. For example, if I bribe a knight, the process I go through is -- select it, press shift+4 (to select it plus group 4), press ctrl+4 (to thus assign the new selection including the new knight to group 4), press shift+6 (to expand the selection (including the new knight) to my whole army), and finally press ctrl+6. Sometimes I do that process after my army's moved on and I see some apparently bribed units left behind ;)

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