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Topic Subject: BWKiC - A British Fast Fortress Strategy
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posted 04-11-06 03:07 AM EDT (US)   
BWKiC - The "Black Watch Kick in the Crotch"

This is an article describing a British Fast Fortress strategy. It includes a build order and 5 4 recorded games. (And yes, it works great in 1.06. Edit: nerfed in 1.08!)

Patch 1.08 \ Warchiefs update Beware the rush! With the FF nerfed and out of favor and the rush much more common, a straight FF is risky and requires careful planning. You may now find the strategy better to pull off in team games or in situations where you must counter an opponent's FF. For the time being, the FF is quite out of fashion, so be careful -- most games you'll get rushed. But hey, who knows? Maybe the FF will be back in business next patch!

Patch 1.06 update (with 1 recording!): Oh, it is on! 1.06 brought several British bonuses \ enemy civ nerfs that should improve this strat even further! I certainly won't start shouting "OP" just yet, but let's just say that this patch fills me with a sense of well-being. My belief is that aggressive BWKiC may now be correct in many situations. I believe Britain can now be played extremely aggressively. I think our patience as British players has at last paid off!

1.06 Single-Player Recording
Here's a recorded game from 1.06! This is against the Sandbox AI to demonstrate BWKiC v2.0. It features:

  • 6:57 Fortress time
  • 8 Black Watch + 2 Falconets at 7:41 (faster than 1.05!!)
  • 17 Black Watch + 2 Falconets at 9:47 (*)
  • Me managing to lose 1 Highlander to the Sandbox AI. It's worth watching just to see this n00bidity in action. It's so bad it almost takes skill.
    (*) - It would have been 17 Black Watch if the AI hadn't killed one. So in reality it was 16. But 1 was with us in spirit.

    I'll try to post the build order for this soon, but I will mention that I went with 1 less villager and used Ossian's enhancement of producing vills during colonial.

    Main Article:
    Having trouble with the British? Eaten alive by that Spanish fast fortress? Wondering what keeps you coming back time and time again to such an underpowered civ as the Brits? Maybe it's time for a little help from the Black Watch!

    I've tried colonial warfare, I've tried to boom... but both approaches seem doomed in the current FF and shipment-dominated gameplay. Playing with Brits was destroying my record and there seemed to be no way to make the wood-heavy, sluggish Brits get off the ground. What was wrong with them? What was wrong with me?

    But giving up is for people who actually care about their record. Not I! To paraphrase Mokon, you get a lot further if you blame yourself than if you blame the civ.

    So I sat down and I studied the Brits, wondering what could make their Fast Fortress competitive. I noticed that they had the following things going for them:

  • The 2 falconet card, an excellent card indeed.
  • The opportunity to create 8 Black Watch highlanders from the church VERY quickly. Highlanders are great anti-cav units and all-around bruisers.
  • The Black Watch will always be delivered, even when you don't have enough houses. (This is critical!)
  • The Black Watch are delivered in seconds, unlike conventional merc shipments, which take 1 full minute.
  • The Thin Red Line is also available from the church.
  • Excellent economic recovery due to the manor boom.

    It is this combination of highlanders and falconets that is the basis of BWKiC. With good luck and a good map, you can get this lethal combination out anywhere from 7:20 (on Carolina), but typically around 7:45-8:15 in the heat of battle.

    To pull this off, you MUST get a trading post ASAP, and you must perform a solid fast fortress. The advanced church must be shipped during the age to fortress, and the falconet card must be shipped as soon as you hit fortress. Even though you will not have sufficient housing, you can still research the Black Watch, and miracle of miracles, they still show up (presumably to sleep in boxes under an overpass.)

    That's it -- the rest is all based off of that. There are 2 styles of BWKiC -- the aggressive style and the defensive style. In the aggressive style, we will sneak a forward tower to the enemy base and attempt to bring this highlander + falc combo right to the enemy's door as close to pre-8:00 as possible.

    First some warnings: this aggressive approach is not always effective against Spain or Germany -- you may sometimes prefer the defensive BWKiC. And above all, never attempt this strat on a map without trading posts (i.e. bayou.)

    Without further ado, here is my typical build order for the aggressive BWKiC: Note: Will be updated for 1.06 as soon as I can.

    1. 3 vills to hunts and 3 to food crates. Note that if animals are close enough, you do not need to herd on your first shot. Queue villagers!
    2. Collect wood crates once food crates exhausted. Once done, move 1 crate collector to hunts. You now have 4 hunters total. (down from the 5 recommended in patch 1.05, due to extra food crate.)
    3. Remaining crate collector must build a house. Set your TC gather point to wood. You will now begin gathering wood for a trading post.
    4. All new vills go to wood until you have the 250 necessary for a trading post. Build the trading post ASAP with your explorer (as he is fastest at this.) EVERYONE now moves to food, including TC gather point.
    5. First card: 3 villagers
    6. Stop producing villagers at 16 (down from 17 in patch 1.05) (including the ones from your card.) Eat, eat, eat. Strongly consider eating some livestock (i.e. sheep and cattle) if you feel it will speed you up here.
    7. Age up as soon as you have 800 food with your chosen politician. For aggressive BWKiC, we will choose The Governor for 1 tower + 200 gold.
    8. Make sure you have 100 gold before reaching colonial. If you do not, task 3-4 villagers to it until you do, then have them go back to food.
    9. Queue 2 more villagers during the transition to colonial (for a total of 18.) Many thanks to Ossian for this great suggestion!
    10. As soon as you hit colonial, play your 2nd card: 700 gold. Gather this gold, along with the 200 gold from aging up ASAP. Place your aggressive tower near the enemy base in a hidden spot.
    11. Go to fortress. I prefer to age up with The Admiral of the Ocean Sea, who gives you 400 wood and a caravel. Queue one and only one villager to the town center. (We don't want to max our pop -- we still need to ship falconets.)
    12. During the transition to fortress, place roughly 10 on food and 8 on wood, depending on your needs. Your goal: 250 wood a bit before fortress, and 1000 food shortly after that.
    13. As soon as you are able, play your 3rd card: The Glorious Revolution (advanced church card.) As soon as you have 250 wood, build a church (before you hit fortress.)
    14. You have now hit fortress age. You should have another shipment ready (thanks to your trading post.) Ship your 4th card: 2 Falconets.
    15. Call the Black Watch from your church. Do NOT do this before you have shipped falconets. You will be over pop limit, but you can still call the Black Watch (it's magic!) Set the shipment arrival point to your aggressive tower. Also, try to get your caravel either fishing, whaling, or perhaps even harrassing for an econ boost.
    16. Attack with 8 highlanders + 2 falconets (if performing aggressive BWKiC.) Optional: Research The Thin Red Line at the church for extra hitpoints at the cost of speed. Great for a defensive BWKiC, a toss-up for an aggressive BWKiC.
    17. Begin pouring on military shipments of your choice while house booming at home. Keep 5 villagers on food to constantly produce from TC and build houses quick as you can! All new vills go to wood until you no longer wish to house boom. Quick production of houses will generate XP and drive your future military shipments. Build those houses! Tune your shipments to your enemy -- 5 hussars, 11 longbowmen, 11 musketeers, and 6 grenadiers are your main choices. Research wood upgrades when you have the time.
    18. From there, it's up to you! You should have a jumping economy at this point.

    When attacking, you must use the highlanders to protect your falconets! They are great anti-cavalry. You will often see me goofing this in the recorded games, but do as I say, not as I do!

    The BWKiC can also be used defensively (the preferred play against Spanish.) This involves choosing the 500 food politican (The Philosopher Prince) instead of the tower politician, shipping everything to your TC, and laying your fort as soon as you can. The 2 falconets and 8 highlanders work to protect your home base until the fort goes up. I especially like to use Thin Red Line here to get uber-Highlanders. From there, shipping 1000 gold for culverins is a good option, but there are many others that will work.

    Thanks to Ender_Ward for (unwittingly) prodding me to release this article. You should also check out his thread Experimenting with British FF, which inspired me to get off my tuckus and finally publish this thing.

    Here are all the recorded games I could gather of this strategy in action. Be forewarned that I am not the world's best player by any stretch. Watching me manage my econ and my explorer may even horrify you. If so, please enjoy a laugh at my expense -- I don't mind! Rejoice in the knowledge that you are better than me!

    (Note: These games are currently from 1.05. I'll try to get some updated ones.)

    Game #1: Aggressive BWKiC vs. French on Texas -- Ownage, but useful to see the build. It also shows the power of placing your highlanders \ falconets between straggler villagers and the town center.

    Game #2: Aggressive BWKiC vs. French on Rockies -- Ownage, good for a clear view of the strat.

    Game #3: Aggressive BWKiC vs. Russians -- Note that I do not do a proper job of protecting my falconets AND forget to send out shipments in a timely fashion. In spite of all this n00bness on my part, it's still a comfortable (if embarrassing) win.

    Game #4: Aggressive BWKiC vs. Germany -- Bad protection of falconets and sub-optimal raid protection, but a win is a win.

    Game #5: (removed) This was the wrong recording... sorry!

    Pretty neat, huh? Now imagine what a good player could do with this. Good luck and have fun! If you have some success with this strat, I'd love to see any feedback or a recorded game.

    Thanks to stalwart British experts like PresSure, eskudero, and gl0rious for sticking with a tough civ and providing great recordings for the rest of us. It is appreciated!

    - BWKiC - A British Fast Fortress strategy
    - The Aztec Scout Slam- An Envoy Rush, Native-Style

    [This message has been edited by Beatnik Joe (edited 11-26-2006 @ 09:16 AM).]

  • Replies:
    posted 04-11-06 10:23 PM EDT (US)     26 / 219  
    timmac, you're right that 8 vills is a great shot in the arm. You'd actually be amazed at what the pure house boom alone can do after the FF. You can literally be at 45-50 villagers in the 14 minute range with no villager cards. If you also played the 8 villager card, it seems that you would easily make 50+ in this same timeframe. This is probably way too much of a boom, but you certainly get the idea of what is possible. It all depends very much on your opponent. What's constant, though, is that being able to raise mercenaries quickly and simultaneously with another powerful shipment gives you some nice attack and defense options.

    Zink, good question about Russian oprichnik raids. I prefer the aggressive version of BWKiC against Russia, but you were wondering about the defensive version. In that case, my personal preference here would be to keep my highlanders very close to my cannons, keep as much of my critical econ under the fort as possible, and above all remember to play off of the mini-map! The big red blob tells you that trouble is on its way well before you can usually spot the Opris coming.

    Opris customarily target villagers, so letting them garrison when the opris close in too tight is a must. The Opris could conceivably attack houses, but wrecking a British house boomer's manors is like putting out fire with gasoline.

    If the Opris charge the falconets, keep the Black Watch in tight and send some into melee as the opris close in. Let the cannons get off one good shot and try to keep the fight under the fortress. Fortunately, Oprichniks are just wimpy bullies and die extraordinarily quickly to Highlanders.

    This is how I would play if I were playing my best game. Since like most of us I usually am not at my best, I would instead flail around in a fashion which imitates what I describe above. But you get the idea.

    posted 04-11-06 10:24 PM EDT (US)     27 / 219  
    Thank you very much for this strat. I will have to try it out (whenever I can get on )

    [][][][][][][][][][] Stonewall J [][][][][][][][][][][]
    posted 04-11-06 10:28 PM EDT (US)     28 / 219  
    Yes, that would work pretty well. However, what if the opris attack a part of your base away from the defense force?

    I won a thread!
    Blood weighs more than tears.
    posted 04-11-06 11:10 PM EDT (US)     29 / 219  
    The only thing I saw wrong in you're strat (and recordings) is in age 2 you didn't make any villagers, you should make 2-3 in that time and it doesn't slow down you're FF* and gives you a better econ.

    *I tested this out myself and it didn't slow the strat

    Product ID: Ossian Discontinued
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    Allthough cetans are darker, did you know that if you read the word 'cetan' as a dutch word, that you get the same sound as when reading 'satan' in english.-Furby Killer
    posted 04-11-06 11:13 PM EDT (US)     30 / 219  
    Very good guide. I am duely impressed.

    Mokon | | | AoE3 Rate 2200~ | | |
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  • posted 04-12-06 00:07 AM EDT (US)     31 / 219  
    Nicely done

    Veni, Vidi, Vici
    Trample the Weak - Hurdle the Dead!
    "It's kind of a...persnickety magic." Atzy
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    posted 04-12-06 01:41 AM EDT (US)     32 / 219  
    I have to say that this doesnt seem all that hot, i used to do this all the time but i used pikes and muskies with my 2 falcs and by tasking vills on gold during the age up i would be able to get at least 2 other falcs out along with say 10 pike and 10 muskets.

    Your whole build order is preety generic for all FF which most people know very well and 8-8:30 to fortress would mean you dead vs spain as by the time your falcs are out the spanish bloke would have 2 falcs plus a number of lancers and/or pikes which will mean your black watch are dead before you falcs arrive i am afraid.

    ALSO if your going to be aggressive and rely on shipments then why use the 3 villy shipment? I dont use any in age 1 recently and allows me to ship 700 gold then 700 wood in colonial so by the time i am in fortress i am housed up and have barracks, stable or foundry depending on my strat. And when i hit fortress i usually have 2 shipments so thats 2 falcs withs 6 lancers maybe or 14 pikes. Either way i couldnt see this strat countering it

    Me Grimlock no kisser, me king!!
    He is right Predacons unite!
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    posted 04-12-06 03:16 AM EDT (US)     33 / 219  
    Hi all, thank you very much for your comments. It really is a fun little strat to do, especially since it's so wildly different from the typical play pattern for the Brits.

    Stonewall, thanks a million for the front-page link! Much appreciated. Mokon and Erik, I'm really happy to hear that you liked the guide.

    Ossian, I very much like your idea about additional villagers during colonial. I've avoided this before now since you can run into food \ wood trouble on certain maps. If you play the tower politician on a resource-tight map, I'm wondering if the extra vills could delay the Black Watch. Either way, I think this is a great idea for many types of maps (possibly all.) The one thing you definitely want to avoid is going over 19 pop, which could freeze out your falconet shipment if you can't make another house by fortress age. Did you happen to try with the tower politician on any resource-tight maps? I'd love to hear your results.

    Sharpe, thanks for your comments. I believe that the prospect of a British player being able to put Highlander mercenaries and artillery on the field at around 8:00 is extremely compelling. Against Spain, I believe this can make for a great defensive play, particularly under the umbrella of your TC. Played aggressively against slower civs, it can often end the game right away.

    [This message has been edited by Beatnik Joe (edited 04-12-2006 @ 03:17 AM).]

    posted 04-12-06 03:37 AM EDT (US)     34 / 219  
    Nice guide, thanks.
    posted 04-12-06 04:27 AM EDT (US)     35 / 219  
    It's a good strat but you'll need to know when to go on defense and when to attack.
    Many say that this sucks against Spanish I would do a defensive FF where you just ship the 2 falcs AND some longbows . By doing this and keep a little manorboom going you can try to get et to Industrial. If He/She didn't hurt you bad enough you have the upperhand now. Just get redcoats and lifeguard with some falcs/rockets and it's GG.

    Someone did this strat against me as british and beated the hell out of me. British with a manor boom + 2 factories and estates is just hard to beat.

    A fan and player of the AoE series since the launch of the original AoE

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    posted 04-12-06 05:13 AM EDT (US)     36 / 219  
    I have no doubt this will own ppl like ports etc but a spanish player with good micro will always winvs i think. It is good and something i never considered while using brits but if you can get the time down to 7:30 then you will be in business, that extra 30seconds will be gold especially vs a german ff with mercs

    Me Grimlock no kisser, me king!!
    He is right Predacons unite!
    Decepticons. Prepare to face, Fortress Maximus
    posted 04-12-06 05:43 AM EDT (US)     37 / 219  
    With this strategy the time is everything too bad mine hits at 8:30 with good crates I think my colonial time is too bad though about what time should I be hitting colonial using this strategy
    posted 04-12-06 08:36 AM EDT (US)     38 / 219  
    I completely enjoyed your writing style ... humorous and precise. Thanks for the article!
    posted 04-12-06 09:28 AM EDT (US)     39 / 219  
    Awesome, thanks very much.

    My patience with Brits has gotten thin having played most of my games and losing to FF as them, but this has kept my interest up.

    [This message has been edited by Luke M (edited 04-12-2006 @ 09:28 AM).]

    posted 04-12-06 09:45 AM EDT (US)     40 / 219  
    Ok heres a rec of me doing this strategy hopefully it will work, see how slow I am at getting to fort, I make alot of mistakes aswell. But even when i make no mistakes I;m still slow anyway hopefully you guys can help me speed up my ff time thanks alot

    posted 04-12-06 11:01 AM EDT (US)     41 / 219  
    Hey sharpe,

    Yea, spain is a problem (but honestly, who doesn't have a problem with spain). Since brits get vills from each manor,going slower doesn't hurt them at all. If you lose several to raiding you can easily get them back, and you should be able to get your highlanders out before the spainish guy has anything to kill them with, even if he does send his 2 falc card, I would and have in the past, sent my highlanders in melee mode after the cannons/lancers/pikes. At most by going defensive your gonna lose map control, which spain would have a hard time hanging on to the longer the game goes on...

    Veni, Vidi, Vici
    Trample the Weak - Hurdle the Dead!
    "It's kind of a...persnickety magic." Atzy
    End of Nations!
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    posted 04-12-06 11:10 AM EDT (US)     42 / 219  
    Nice guide, I must admit I did not read all the answers - but correct me if I am wrong, isn't a church 300 wood instead of 250 as you write ??


    During the Great Nordic War (1700-1720), he was commander of the danish navy, which defeaded the swedish army at Kristiania (modern Oslo). After the war, he was killed in a duel on Nov. 12, 1720 just outside Hamburg, Germany, during a travel to England.

    posted 04-12-06 11:26 AM EDT (US)     43 / 219  
    Thanks for the comments... Luke and Swift, glad that you enjoyed the guide!

    Myll_Erik, what a cool idea... I must admit that I've never had the stones to melee charge some falconets, but this might be extremely fun. I do know that highlanders do an amazing job melee-slaying lancers, especially if they also get some shots off when the lancers charge. Any suggested tactics on melee charging those falconets?

    Hi Tordenskiold, thanks... and a church is definitely 250 wood. You might be thinking of the artillery foundry, which is 300. I have an internal alarm that goes off when I hit 250 wood these days. Sadly manors are still 150 wood.

    Destiny_Devil, I checked out your recording. Congratulations on your win! You did a good job. You'll see faster times on maps with a 300 wood start -- this was a 200 wood start. I do think we can tweak down your fortress time a bit and you should be faster. I'm a very average player myself and I make tons of mistakes... so I can't always execute on these ideas myself, but here they are anyway:

  • At the beginning, if you have close hunts, just fire at them. No herding is needed until 10-15 seconds have passed.
  • Get vills on food crates ASAP. Your vills wandered around a bit at the beginning, which hurt you.
  • If you start with 100 gold, prefer wood treasures to help with your trading post. If not needed, do food treasures. This will help quite a bit. Notice that the gold treasures never really got spent, so they didn't advance your strategy.
  • Try to anticipate when a hunt will run out and get a new one herded back in.
  • Sheep!!! I know they haven't fattened yet, but you know what? They still taste great. Eat 'em. Forget long-term thinking if you are on the attack. This gives you a huge boost in food and gets you to colonial faster.
  • Try to keep your vills really close for when the gold shipment arrives. You did a good job saving this in the game, but just keep it in mind.

    Hope that helps! Congratulations on the win.

    [This message has been edited by Beatnik Joe (edited 04-12-2006 @ 11:27 AM).]

  • posted 04-12-06 11:32 AM EDT (US)     44 / 219  
    @Torden They are 250 wood :P

    @joe, I played on great plains and it was vs a complete noobz, but I was just trying to get the strat down before I played a pro, anyways I made 2 villagers and got up to 19 villagers while aging and it didn't slow my FF or my black watch at all.
    Try it on any map :P

    Product ID: Ossian Discontinued
    Contact your network admin for more details
    about this special edition of player...

    Allthough cetans are darker, did you know that if you read the word 'cetan' as a dutch word, that you get the same sound as when reading 'satan' in english.-Furby Killer
    posted 04-12-06 11:37 AM EDT (US)     45 / 219  
    Oh If you want to melee charge you'll end up being road kill for the stage coach if you don't know how to do it right, ok when you want to change with only 1-2 loss's just put them in stagger until you are on top of them and then put them in melee and watch them have a good time (it should only take 5 hits to take out each) they should be out of danger since at point blank range cannons do very little.

    I see that stagger is WAY too underused (I shouldn't be talking since I almost never think to use it) whenever you see falcs you should have all units in stagger until the cannons are taken care of.

    Product ID: Ossian Discontinued
    Contact your network admin for more details
    about this special edition of player...

    Allthough cetans are darker, did you know that if you read the word 'cetan' as a dutch word, that you get the same sound as when reading 'satan' in english.-Furby Killer

    [This message has been edited by Ossian (edited 04-12-2006 @ 11:39 AM).]

    posted 04-12-06 11:43 AM EDT (US)     46 / 219  
    posted 04-12-06 12:18 PM EDT (US)     47 / 219  
    Just tried this against a spanish ff, opting for the more defensive approach. I tried to record the game but it didn't start recording. Oh well.

    We both hit fortress at the same time pretty much but he had 2 tp's whereas I had the one. I got my highlanders and falcs out in good time before he attacked with 24pikes, 2 falcs and 6 lancers all from cards. I sort of messed up with the falcs and they got killed by lancers. My lb's came just in time to kill one cannon but I lost everything. After the battle he had 8 pikes and a cannon and started attacking my tc.

    I didn't really know what to do so I shipped 8 musketeers but the cannon pwned them before they did any damage and the tc fell shortly after. I saw the swiss pikeman and resigned.

    I had resources but could use them - 1100 food was sitting in my coffers gathering dust while I was getting attacked. I definetley know I improve - whether it will be enough to beat a spanish ff who knows...

    However this might have something to do with it as well.
    RoboJesus - 1651 - me
    Smacker - 1965 - him

    Anyway there's the stats, I'll try and get a record later tonight.

    edit: hooray link works

    [This message has been edited by rodgers24888 (edited 04-12-2006 @ 12:28 PM).]

    posted 04-12-06 12:34 PM EDT (US)     48 / 219  
    I tried this offline a few times and I always seemed to get a 200w starting crates. It must make a big difference because I was struggling to age up by 8:30.

    I also experimented with saving the first shipment so I could ship wood in colonial. It slows you down by about 30 seconds, but man does it allow you to produce a powerful army. If you can ship the 700w card you can have enough houses to use the 2 pikes + 5 lbows politician and you can immediately get 2 fortress shipments (2 falcs + whatever). This is due to the fact that you don't hit pop cap as fast. You also end up with 3-5 more villagers by 9:00 so your economy is cookin. I also like this strat because it gives you the possibility to build a rax and upgrade your lbows if you ship them. Or, you could just ignore the lbows and try to ship some mercs using the wood you save on the rax + upgrade to build 3 more houses.

    Large wood treasures are your friend with this strat. If you find one, use every trick you know to get it ASAP.

    Counter the attack, then Counter Attack!!!
    posted 04-12-06 01:02 PM EDT (US)     49 / 219  
    posted 04-12-06 01:04 PM EDT (US)     50 / 219  
    Wey, just won a game agaisnt the portuguese. Good stuff. No record again. Silly bloody thingy. He wasn't as good as the other guy but still a win is a win.
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