British Black Watch Kick
By Beatnik Joe               4/11/06, AoE3 v1.06, Author's Rating: 1800+
This is an article describing a British Fast Fortress strategy. It includes a build order and 5 recorded games. (And yes, it works great in 1.06.)
Having trouble with the British? Eaten alive by that Spanish fast fortress? Wondering what keeps you coming back time and time again to the British? 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 fast fortress 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 civilization.
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:
An Example Deck.
This combination of highlanders and falconets is the basis of BWK. 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.)
"To pull this off, you MUST get a trading post ASAP..."
That's it -- the rest is all based off of that. There are two styles of BWK -- 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 + falconet 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 BWK. And above all, never attempt this strat on a map without trading posts (i.e. bayou.)
Build Order:Without further ado, here is my typical build order for the aggressive BWK:
- Three villagers to hunts and three to food crates: Note that if animals are close enough, you do not need to herd on your first shot. Queue villagers!
- Collect wood crates once food crates exhausted. Once done, move one crate collector to hunts. You now have four hunters total.
- Remaining crate collector must build a house. Set your TC gather point to wood. You will now begin gathering wood for a trading post.
- All new villagers 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.
- First card: 3 villagers
- Stop producing villagers at 16 (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.
- Age up as soon as you have 800 food with your chosen politician. For aggressive BWK, we will choose The Governor for 1 tower + 200 gold.
- Make sure you have 100 gold before reaching colonial. If you do not, task 3-4 villagers to it until you do, and then have them go back to food.
- Queue two more villagers during the transition to colonial (for a total of 18.) Many thanks to Ossian for this great suggestion!
- As soon as you hit colonial, play your second 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.
- 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.)
- 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.
- As soon as you are able, play your third card: The Glorious Revolution (advanced church card.) As soon as you have 250 wood, build a church (before you hit fortress.)
"As soon as you have 250 wood, build a church (before you hit fortress.)"
- You have now hit fortress age. You should have another shipment ready (thanks to your trading post.) Ship your fourth card: 2 Falconets.
- 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 harassing for an econ boost.
- Attack with eight highlanders + 2 falconets (if performing aggressive BWK.) Optional: Research The Thin Red Line at the church for extra hit points at the cost of speed. Great for a defensive BWK, a toss-up for an aggressive BWK
- Begin pouring on military shipments of your choice while house booming at home. Keep five villagers on food to constantly produce from TC and build houses quick as you can! All new villagers go to wood until you are 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.
- 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!
"When attacking, you must use the highlanders to protect your falconets!"
The BWK can also be used defensively (the preferred play against Spanish.) This involves choosing the 500 food politician (The Philosopher Prince) instead of the tower politician, shipping everything to your TC, and laying your fort as soon as you can. The two falconets and eight 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 other cards 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 finally publish this article.
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 economy 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!
1.05 Recorded Games
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:
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 civilization and providing great recordings for the rest of us. It is appreciated!
By Beatnik Joe               4/11/06, AoE3 v1.06, Author's Rating: 1800+
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