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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 06-08-06 04:34 AM EDT (US)     201 / 219  
    no need to send for the bowmen really...

    my little highlander and 2 falc army gets followed soon by constant longbow spamming.. yeomen card. then the 1000 gold card. Meaning either easy to industrial or some resource for more cannons or mercenaries

    industrial better tho.. then can spam bows, rockets and pikes if needed

    posted 06-12-06 05:59 PM EDT (US)     202 / 219  
    i think Advanced Trading Post completes this strat. It makes wood cost 150 so you can build 2-3 to get more xp and so get the cards faster.
    Also i think 500 food is better anyways than 200 gold plus outpost.
    posted 06-17-06 10:44 AM EDT (US)     203 / 219  
    Thanks, Britnboarder and hoppalotta! It seems like longbowmen spam after the Highlanders + falcs is a pretty popular choice. With so many war wagons taking the field these days, I think a nice transition into longbows should be very solid.

    I hadn't really considered ATP before. I was always kind of under the impression that it wasn't quite cost effective (as it saved only 100 wood per trading post), but I have to confess I really never gave it much of a shot. Did you experiment much with that and find you had more shipments ready for you in fortress age?

    - BWKiC - A British Fast Fortress strategy
    - The Aztec Scout Slam- An Envoy Rush, Native-Style
    posted 06-17-06 11:25 AM EDT (US)     204 / 219  


    Also i think 500 food is better anyways than 200 gold plus outpost.

    I started thinking about that yesterday. If you mine gold while going to colonial and use that 500 food you can leave the 700 gold card out of your deck and kind of make your deck look like a booming or rush deck. Maybe throw off your opponent a bit.

    ESO: Steel_Reign

    *Doles out the harshness*

    posted 07-20-06 00:43 AM EDT (US)     205 / 219  
    Watched your recorded games and used your strategy to some good success, I still have immense problems with the Russians though, their Strelet rush comes quick any help with this?
    posted 07-20-06 06:16 AM EDT (US)     206 / 219  
    If you suspect. a Russian rush, why not take back your forward outpost and wait for the Cannons?

    So you got an outpost + TC fire to help defend, put the outpost behind the TC and set it so the cannons and Black Watch go to there...

    Cannons > Strelets

    "No Rush games are the AoE3 version of the special olympics". ~ Ender_Ward
    There are no stupid questions, only stupid people
    posted 07-20-06 08:24 AM EDT (US)     207 / 219  


    So you got an outpost + TC fire to help defend, put the outpost behind the TC and set it so the cannons and Black Watch go to there...

    I wouldn't expect the Brit player to be able to gather the resources needed for this strat with only a tower for defense against a Russian rush.

    [This message has been edited by Syncope (edited 07-20-2006 @ 08:25 AM).]

    posted 07-20-06 08:34 AM EDT (US)     208 / 219  
    BWKIC is for defend agaisnt ffers. I dont think a good russian strelet rush, ottoman rush will be stopped by bwkic
    or even dutch gren rush.

    For the russian, LB + towers should be good, BUT, a russian rusher will send 9 cosak running around your base in a normal strelets attack, and non massed LB will get owned by those, so have some anti cav, an protect those, you wont be able to build that many

    posted 07-20-06 09:03 AM EDT (US)     209 / 219  
    if its a russian u gotta do a longbow rush style start.. hold them off enuff till u got an opportunity to jump up to the fortress and get those cannons and bw.. then u can waste those pesky strelets and get there forward base
    posted 07-20-06 11:36 AM EDT (US)     210 / 219  
    Hi Regnar, great question! The ideas that others have posted are all good. Let me also give you my own take on it as well.

    The first thing to realize with any rush is that you are at a tremendous advantage if you realize that it's coming before it arrives. If you are surprised, however, you will have a much harder time. The additional preparation time from good scouting gives you a tremendous edge in actually defending against the rush. Once you realize that the rush will occur, you've gained information -- your opponent will be investing in military, thereby slowing their fortress advancement time. They will be making every effort to hurt your econ, house you, and flush you off of your resources.

    Any rusher must always leave evidence of their intentions, and this is what you must look for. For a Russian rusher, this is typically going to be a forward blockhouse. Or heck, just being Russian can sometimes be a pretty good hint. Just keep an extra cautious eye out against those guys.

    A good summary is what I wrote in post #187: "Russian - Watch for rush. If it's a rush, play colonial militia and do a more leisurely FF, or wall off and water boom."

    A good thing to observe is that with colonial militia, your TC will now one-shot all of the Russian player's most common military units. Since the player has dramatically slowed their fortress time, you can now relax and stop worrying about making the fastest possible fortress time. They've signaled to you that they have no intention of going fortress very soon, so you can take advantage of that.

    Try to keep no more than 10 villagers in the TC at any time, and always have some villagers working off site. Keep your houses a bit removed from the rest of your town so that they have to make a greater effort in order to house you.

    The most important piece of advice is to always adjust. Always attempt to spot the rush as early as you can and readjust to it right away. Once a rush situation is on its way, your priority shifts from hitting with the earliest possible FF to instead raising the rush's cost for your opponent. Your FF no longer needs to be blurry fast. It becomes time to led the build order slide -- improvisation time is here!

    Against a Russian player, colonial militia with some judicious use of walling is a great help here. For example, if a Russian builds a block house in a location that can be completely walled out (such as on your "ledge" on Rockies), take advantage of this. This simple act will keep him at bay long enough for you to easily complete your FF. 2 or 3 anti-rush cards in any deck will serve you well in buying the time you need to get to your strongest types of attacks. There's no need to get in a hurry now getting to fortress. Take your time and try to punish him for rushing.

    My final tip is that if you do have enough breathing space to complete going to fortress, try to have a 1-2 punch lined up to trap your opponent. If resources are tight, this could mean timing your minutemen so that they arrive simultaneously with your falconets. If you have some extra food, calling your Black Watch just a bit before your falcs arrive devastates a rush. Colonial militia TC fire + falcs + melee Black Watch should sweep away pretty much anything you've got nearby. If you lead off by concentrating your TC fire on cossacks beforehand, there'll be nothing left that can touch your falcs.

    Good luck and happy gaming!

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

    [This message has been edited by Beatnik Joe (edited 07-20-2006 @ 11:37 AM).]

    posted 07-20-06 11:53 AM EDT (US)     211 / 219  
    wow I got to hand it to you mister BWKIC, really nice piece of explaining. Basically it is, remeber BWKIC is for defending FF attacks, wich will normally destruct a british manor boom, so it gives you an option. But if you get rushed, you need to turtle, wich serves britts well, since they can manor boom and thus getting an economic advantage against the rusher.
    posted 07-21-06 09:16 AM EDT (US)     212 / 219  
    Points well taken, tried some of this last night and still got my butt handed to me, but overall did better than before, I tried walling, but as I said still got it handed to me. I will start using colonial militia and give that a shot, what are some other cards I should use for the Russians? and in what order should I use them, in the game I mentioned I went with the standard BKWIC deck but instead of sending my tower wagon forward I kept it towards my base. any help is greatly appreciated, I said before your recorded games have gone a long way towards improving my game, and thus my gaming experience
    posted 07-21-06 12:36 PM EDT (US)     213 / 219  
    Thanks, lc_noob! That's a good tip.

    Hi regnar, good anti-rush cards to use in your deck are colonial militia, 6 longbows, and 6 muskets. (Keep in mind that against Russia, muskets often don't do real well because of strelets.) But decking these 3 cards will leave you far better prepared for rushes in general. If people view your deck and see that you do not have any of these cards, they almost feel compelled to rush you.

    If you're sure that a Russian rush is on its way, going with the 3 villager card first followed by Colonial Militia is probably a good start. Colonial Militia means that with 10 villagers in your TC, most of a Russian player's units are going to die in one shot. Coupled with good walling, this should give him a very hard time. From there, it will vary situation to situation. If you've managed to really wall him off well, this will slow him down tremendously and you can actually complete your FF. If he's all over you, though, you obviously have to deal with that first.

    Dealing with rushes takes practice, as the adrenaline can really hit. But there's nothing more satisfying than beating back a good rush. Dealing with a rush is a real art form, but preparation (both mental and in-game) is more than half the battle!

    You'll probably find a number of other threads in the forum as well that may have some new ideas that we haven't covered yet. Good luck!

    - BWKiC - A British Fast Fortress strategy
    - The Aztec Scout Slam- An Envoy Rush, Native-Style
    posted 08-15-06 10:11 PM EDT (US)     214 / 219  
    Hello Beatnik Joe,

    I'm from Germany, so please do not care about my bad english...

    I'm very fascinated from your FF guide, since I've been looking for a long time (okay, not soo long - I play this game for about a week) for a strategy, which made a win possible to me.
    Because I love Scotland, especially the highlands, I wanted to get some information about the Black Watch in AoE III. Coincidentally it happened that I found your almost ingenious guide while using Google! I had to level up a bit in order to fulfill your conditions, but already (that's how we would say in Germany) the way was the goal. I was able to attach to the speed of so many rushers! And even if I were a bit slower at my way of leveling up, the falconettes and the Black Watch did their job very well. It's not so amazing since my Elo is about 1550 and so are my enemies...

    Now I fulfill all of the basic requirements like 700 gold, 3 villagers and so on - and it's really impressing how I am able to win!

    I played four or five games, 2 vs. Germans, 1 vs. Portuguese (at Bayou - the missing trading post really is a disadvantage, but it worked!), 1 vs. Dutch - they didn't have any chance. The BW/falc-combo destroyed everything. And the strategy is so much fun, because I'm still able to get a flourish economy. Against nasty rushers like Ottomans or Russians I will try the defensive way.

    Take it as a large praise, Beaktnik Joe!

    Thank you very much, greetings from Hamburg

    Sincerely yours

    von Degendorff

    posted 08-15-06 10:19 PM EDT (US)     215 / 219  
    As if Britain wasn't already OP.

    I won a thread!
    Blood weighs more than tears.
    posted 08-15-06 11:00 PM EDT (US)     216 / 219  
    Hi Degendorff! Thanks very much for the comments. I'm really glad to hear that you've had success with the strategy! I'm especially pleased that it has worked for you in patch 1.08 -- I believe the strategy was weakened a bit in this most recent patch, as the Admiral of the Ocean Sea now takes 20 seconds longer to age you up to Fortress. So believe it or not, most Fast Fortress strategies (including this one) worked even better in the previous patch!

    Fortunately, Brits continue to have many good options, even with the FF weakened just a bit. Manor boom still should work great, and longbows continue to be a popular British powerhouse unit.

    I don't know how much you found out about the Black Watch, but I found it especially interesting that the Black Watch regiment was still in existence all the way up until March of 2006, seeing combat as recently as the war in Iraq.

    Good luck to you, and happy gaming!

    - BWKiC - A British Fast Fortress strategy
    - The Aztec Scout Slam- An Envoy Rush, Native-Style
    posted 08-16-06 07:36 AM EDT (US)     217 / 219  
    Do these 20 more seconds concern the Admiral of the Seas only or every choice?

    If I followed this thread correctly, houses did cost 150 wood in earlier patches?
    What more shall I say? Even if this strategy might have it's limits, your descriptions were a great to "understand" the game. I will post my successes - and defeats.

    Sincerely yours

    von Degendorff

    posted 08-16-06 07:41 AM EDT (US)     218 / 219  
    It effects all politicians (not sure about the exiled prince though) and yes, British houses used to be 150 wood before patch 1.08.


    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 08-16-06 09:08 AM EDT (US)     219 / 219  

    Quoted from Degendorff:

    Do these 20 more seconds concern the Admiral of the Seas only or every choice?

    Right, Tordenskiold is correct -- almost all politicians were affected by this slow-down. The Exiled Prince is the exception! This politician was not affected at all in 1.08 and still takes only 30 seconds. (This may have been an oversight by ES.)

    Because of these changes, the overall direction of the game is a bit more rush-oriented than it was even a couple of weeks ago. Most FF strategies require a little bit more improvisation than they used to, and being "interrupted" is much more common now.

    Quoted from Degendorff:

    If I followed this thread correctly, houses did cost 150 wood in earlier patches?

    Yep, right again. One nice thing to note is that after your shipments begin, your manor boom recovery would be quite a bit faster with the lowered manor cost in 1.08.

    Quoted from Degendorff:

    What more shall I say? Even if this strategy might have it's limits, your descriptions were a great to "understand" the game.

    Thanks, glad to hear it! Welcome to AoE3 by the way.

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

    [This message has been edited by Beatnik Joe (edited 08-16-2006 @ 09:10 AM).]

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