Elephants Followup: Militia, Minuteman, and the Fake Melee Attack of Mahouts

After publishing my article on War Elephants, TripleAAA commented asking about Militia and Minuteman (Minutemen?) against War Elephants. I hadn’t tested that but it seemed like useful information to have, so I put it on the to-do list.

While running these new tests I also ended up with some questions of my own regarding the ranged attack of Mahouts. Was the damage of the melee and ranged attacks identical? Was the damage modifier different for the ranged and melee attacks (i.e. would one attack deal different damage to the other depending on what unit was being hit)?

I set out to answer both sets of questions, and ended up stumbling into a few surprising answers in the course of doing so.

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War Elephant: Most Powerful Unit in the Game?

Regular members of the Rise of Nations Discord server will likely be at least vaguely aware of how much I dislike fighting against War Elephants, and much of this came from my experience while playing the Alexander campaign on Toughest1 (which also provided some useful insights).

However it wasn’t until recently that I actually crunched the numbers on exactly how effective these behemoths really are. It turns out they are somehow even better than I thought they were.

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Building a Strong Economy Part 3: Fish and Rare Resources

Rare resources are a secondary resource available alongside the likes of basic (primary) resources such as Food. They provide a way to supplement other economic production, either by building on existing strengths, or helping to shore up weaknesses. Sometimes they can also create new strengths, allowing you to utilise strategies that might not otherwise have been viable options.

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Building a Strong Economy Part 1: Basic Resources

Economy and military are two pillars of most games within the RTS genre: you gather resources in order to produce an army of some kind, then use that army to win the game. Whether it’s made up of Zerglings, Grizzly Battle Tanks, Footmen, or Fire Lances – the overall concept is basically the same. Units cost resources, so more resources gathered = bigger army.

Rise of Nations in particular seems to especially focus on the importance of a strong economy, so this series will go over how to get one.

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Demystifying Caravans

After looking around online, nobody quite seems to know exactly how Caravans work.1 People agree that Caravans generate Wealth, but even how they do it doesn’t seem to be universally understood, much less how the amount generated is calculated.

Well, since nobody else seems to have tested to figure it out how all of it works, I did. Here’s how Caravans work, in detail.

The appearance of Caravans vary nation-to-nation and also change with Ages. In the late game, Caravans become trucks, although this has no bearing on their durability, speed, or income.

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Patriots and Generals: Everything You Need to Know

Most veteran Rise of Nations players are aware that Patriots / Generals are an essential addition to an army at virtually every stage of the game.

Among less experienced players, it can be common to see these units conspicuously absent within an army, greatly reducing the army’s overall strength. However, even when included in an army, their full potential is often left untapped, and strong tactical maneuvers (..and exceedingly entertaining cheese strategies) are not utilised.

Let’s run through the fundamentals and then move onto some more advanced uses for these powerful units.

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Hidden Power: Attack Animations and Projectile Speed

Unique units are generally intended to be a stronger version of the unit they replace. They typically have superior stats and/or are cheaper or faster to produce. A few (such as American Marines) gain a unique ability.

The Korean-specific Royal Hwarang, which replace Crossbowmen, have +10 hit points and +2 attack strength. Despite these benefits, Royal Hwarang actually lose a fight to an equal number of Crossbowmen.

Fire Lances, a Chinese unique unit, are one of the strongest units in the game on paper. Compared to the Elite Javelineers which they replace, they boast +1 attack strength, +4 attack range, +3 line of sight, and a +33% damage boost against all units because they qualify as being gunpowder infantry. Despite their vastly superior damage, they usually only just outperform Elite Javelineers in non-melee combat when you discount their range and line of sight advantage.

Let’s explore why. Continue reading “Hidden Power: Attack Animations and Projectile Speed”

Everything is Roughly Balanced

This concept is applicable near universally: games, economics, computer parts, whatever. If the category exists, the things within it are almost certain to be roughly balanced.

For “quick and dirty” comparisons between two things, this concept is incredibly valuable to understand. When you just need to know roughly whether something’s worthwhile, you can save a lot of time by keeping the deep analysis for later.

Let’s use some examples to illustrate.

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