Defense is an important part of the game. Other players can attack you to plunder (steal) your ready made but not collected gold, supplies and goods. This can mean your many hours of waiting and spent gold/supplies for a good can be wasted. Other reasons players attack is to gain points in each age tournament.
The better you understand how the AI controls units for defence the less you will lose and the better you will be attacking becuase all defence are AI controlled.
At the bottom we discuse specific units defences and which tend to work better/worse and why. Note now that any defense can be beaten by a smart human player with the same age of units. Generally the 1st time or 2nd time if predicting how you will set your defence.
"Invinsibility lies in defense but the possibility of victory in the attack."
Since you dont control the defense units there is actually no invinisibility in defense. The goal of defense is not being unbeatable but when the battle starts them realizing it will cost them many units deaths and more than they will get in plundering you. Then if they beat you and lost 6 units and only plundered a Gold/15min building they will stop realizing they cant get anything out of it.
Terrain: The AI does not seem to purposfully use terrain to its advantage. Whether landings on advantagous terrain or trying to make you land not on your advantagous ones.
Movement: The AI will generally move its full movement.
Targets: Generaly the AI will go out of its way to target your long then short range even if it will spell the doom of the unit attacking it. Then target the Fast, Light Melee and last heavy melee.
Terrain: The AI often ignores unit placements and can put it self in a very bad siuation to kill what it deams as the best target.
Movement: The AI will depending on the psychology of the situation move 1/2 to full move. It will avoid a full move if it can not gain an advanatage of damage delt with that unit.
Targets: The AI targets the unit of which the unit it is controling will do the most damage. This almost always means going out of its way to attack your long range and if that is too far away then your short range instead and so on and so forth. This because they have the lowest armor and even heavy melee which does reduced damage to them does enough to 2 hit kill them as most units.
Terrain: The AI can be tricked to land on terrain that puts it in a very bad situation if it deems it will be most effective in that spot regardless of if it makes your units most effective against it in that spot.
Movement: The AI will NEVER move away from you unless an obsticle is in its way. It will never retreat or surender. It is a math machine. It wont move away from you because it thinks it is better to attack a heavy melee with a light melee than any other move moving it at least 1/2 its move to your units.
Targets: It will target the unit that it can do the most damage to even if it puts it in a bad placement which just happens to be your ranged units first. If the attacker is a heavy melee and AI is light melee it will avoid doing a max move just to take more or equal in realiationg damage as the initial attack. It will instead move 1/2 its move and stop. If 1/2 its move puts it in range of the heavy melee it will attack it if no better target. It deems that it will take massive damage the next turn from the heavy melee so doing some damage is better than possibly doing none or even less. This also means it will charge into a group of heavy melees to attack a short range. The reason is it says doing 7-8 damge to a short range is better than doing 2-4 to a heavy melee and it wont be retaliated.. This is unfortunently despite it probably taking 2-4 from the short range on its turn and 5-6 from the heavy melee. So it does not take into account that on the next turn it did 8 damage but will take 10 from placement.
If the AI has a light melee and an enemy short range and fast are both in range it may look random which it will attack. At no age can a light melee 1 hit kill ither so that is out as a deciding factor. The damge to both will be high so that makes it more complicated. It will see that the short range cant retaliate and the Fast can. Also it will note that the base short range damage is always more than Fast of the same age. There for it will target the one that will do the least retaliation damage and has the most potential for damage. This means once again the short range gets the short end of the stick. This is a smart move and a human should do the same.
AI Controlled will target which: This is generally. Dont put it past the AI long range to kill your light melee next to it instead of killing your short range on the other side of the map if it can preserve its own life.
Long range -> long range, short range, heavy melee, light melee, fast
Short range -> long range, short range, heavy melee, light melee, fast
Heavy melee -> long range, short range, light melee, fast, heavy melee
Light melee -> long range, short range, fast, light melee, heavy melee
Fast -> long range, short range, fast, heavy melee, light melee
Kiting: This strategy is present in many games mostly vs AI but some times vs human players. The work comes from flying a kite in the sky. There is a kite but it is controlled by a small strong string. The kite goes where ever the string directs it. You can kite the AI in this game. This makes having many ranged units for viable. Use a calvery or a light melee as your string to kite the AI. Move it to top or bottom of the map and as forward as possible without getting with in range of their short range or melee units. Then send your long range to the opposite corner of the map. Then send your short range to the opposite site of the map as the light melee but not quite as forward as the light melee. Every turn move the light melee back some but still out of range and keeping it the most forward unit. The AI will try to go for the most forward unit regardless of what it is. Then every turn you can move it back or when you cant do that any more move in the dirrection of your ranged untis but only move it as much as needed to keep out of AI reach. The AI will keep chasing it and all the while your long range is pelting them and your sort range it cutting them down. If any of the AI break off to your ranged untis it should not be a big concern while you have several ranged untis to take them out.
Long range is a special unit as far as the AI controlling them and how it effects the combat.
The AI does a great job controlling them and is hard to mess up. Long range you can get away with having many of them. Some will do up to 8. It can work because long range is the most reliable unit for the AI to control. With the range they are gauenteed to kill at least a few units. Even vs 8 fast they are gaurenteed to kill some of them before they can reach them the 2nd turn and wipe out most of them. Long range is hard to mess up even for the AI. They will not move them forward generally from their starting position. They may the first turn move them to get in range but less as ages proress and they get more range. If the enemy is getting near the AI will move the long range backwards or vertically but never forward. This is the only exception of a unit trying to retreat.
There is much discution and controversy about how the AI controlls long range. It is actually about how it controls the other units. When any long range is used by the AI it will not charge as normal but instead switch to a defensive match. The other units will move generally 1/4-1/2 their move forward. Placing the heavy melee in front, directly behind is the light melee and directly behind that is the short range. This is the only time the AI will activly try to protect units. Fast units will still charge off to seek and destroy ranged units but at a slower move speed.
Controversy is that the AI changes its strategy for long range and no other units. Depending on if you want the AI to control you units this way many people just wont use any long range on defence.
It does an ok job at controlling them but especially early game it can be a problem. Untill the heavy melee have more move than short range your short range will consistently be moved ahead of the heavy melee who are to protect them. This consistently cuases your short range to be plowed down by the first unit to reach them with the heavy melee standing behind them. Avoid this by placeing less short range than you would use if attacking with that group. Because of this you want at least equal amounts of short range to light/heavy melee to protect them. If you opt for more light melee than heavy melee this suicide can be partially negated. Some will opt for many short range over the suggested 4. If done you MUST us light melee as their support unit. You can have to many since they dont retaliate. They do so much damage and are still generaly good that you should always consider using some for defence.
It does a very good job controlling them. They have the highest total attack/defence of any units except rangers. This makes them very hard for the AI to completely mess up. Also their terrain of grasslands is extreamly common and gives a fair chance to randomly land on them to its advantage. You dont want to have too many. They can be easy prey for human controlled ranged units. They are such a high attack/deffence it is hard to go wrong with having 1 heavy melee.
Does ok at controlling them. The reason why not ranked as well as heavy melee is their stats arnt quite as good and the chances of them landing on brush/trees is pretty bad. A human controlled light melee can be nearly as tough as a heavy melee but not with the AI. They are still good for countering Fast and moving ahead of short range indirectly protecting them. Their speed is great at closing the gap to get to ranged units. You can deffinently have to many as the AI is less than awsome with them and since heavy melee is so common. They are still very good units and with their speed it is hard to go wrong with them but you may occasionally not use any infavor of heavy melee or late game fast.
The AI is worst with Fast than all its other unit mistakes combined! The AI as described above can be without much trouble tricked into being close to a non range unit and not being able to reach a ranged unit so it will instead attack a melee unit. This is because it will never retreat a Fast. A human controlled Fast will be retreated and remanouvered possibly several times untill you can get in the possition you want to take out a ranged unit. AI controlling 4 fast with a human controling 4 ranged units is still not a threat to the ranged units. It will mean spending a few turns retreating to a corner and killing the fast when they decide to charge your melee. AI often wastes them and you would be better off just adding more light melee instead. Ranged units are commonly used so it would not be the worste thing to have a few Fast but dont count on them being super effective. Bronze/iron age fast are sub par at best and should not even be considered to use for defence. Early/high middle are are decent and you may decide to use them. Late middle/colien are on par with heavy/light melee and should be considered to be used but sparingly. This will make a differeance on deciding to use them or not.
Wall of Rain:
Units: 3-4 heavy melee, 3-4 short range, 0-1 long range, 0-2 light melee, 0 fast
This is a very strong defence. It as any are beatable by a decent player. Your weaknesses are fast but the heavy will do ok at countering them and ranged but your short range will do ok at countering other ranged units. You can substitute a short range for a long range for the AI to better pick off their ranged units threatening your heavy melee. Light melee is so hard to go wrong with they can again counter fast and close the gap to kill their ranged untis. This does well but can be countered as it is more specialized in mostly 2 units.
Units: 1-3 long range, 1-3 short range, 1-3 heavy melee, 1-3 light melee, 0-2 fast
Having 2 of each non fast unit is not a bad idea. Generally having 4 melee/4 ranged is a pretty balanced force. You can decide to have more or less of other but must have 4:4 ratio. Replacing range with other range is ok but still have at least 1 of each. Same for light/heavy melee. Mid-late game you can use Fast but have it come from the melee pool and change it to 5 melee/ 3 range. This category in general is very strong being so versitile and knowing they cant just break it by picking the counter units to each of yours. Which would be 4 fast, 2 range and 2 heavy melee.
Units: 8 of any 1 unit type
Some swear by this formation and some hate it. The ones sworn by are all long range or all short range.
All long range you are guarneteed to take out a few units before even a fast can reach you, which will dominate you 2nd turn.
All short range not quite as all or nothing but still vulnerable to fast and may not get that automatic kills if they hold off their fast right but should still get many kills as the germans did in D Day with waves of men charging gatling guns.
All Heavy Melee is slow so it could get dominated by ranged units. If they are melee heavy it will do very well.
All Light Melee is fast but not as tough as heavy melee. It will at least do ok. They will quickly hunt down their ranged units and start costing them alot of money to replace them.
All Fast is probably the worst defence of any combination of 8 units you could do. They can be easily tricked to waste attacks on melee unts and be thus dominated by them. All this while their ranged units survived and are pelting them.
All formations used should be based off of 1 of these 3. Ither you have 2 units in large numbers, you have many units in few numbers or all of 1 unit. The few of many is very versitile and will be the most likely not to outright lose as much. The all of 1 type is an all or nothing. Ither is does very well in the match up or its a disaster, its a gamble. Many of a few units is more versitile than 8 of a kind but suffers the same problems of 8 of a kind. Ither it does pretty well or gets countered.
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