Things I’ve learned from playing and watching arena.

Jan 1, 2015
Didn't know where else to post this.

I know most people on this site will already know what they’re doing and won’t need to read this post. I’m just putting it up somewhere. This applies mainly to booming, but is good to know for arena in general and possibly for other closed maps like Black Forest.

Economic Upgrades:

You only need to get Bow Saw and Wheelbarrow before clicking up to Imperial. Everything can be done AFTER the click.

Bow Saw boosts the overall wood income rate in your economy. Wood is needed for TCs, farms, economic buildings, military buildings, siege units and some upgrades like ballistics. If your Fast Castle build order is half decent, Bow Saw should be easily affordable at the very start of Castle Age. By the time the second villager come out of your TC in Castle Age, you should have it. Unless you've gone up to Feudal on less than 26 population and you’re doing an Edie style 1 TC rush, Bow Saw should be clicked as soon as it becomes available. Even if you’re rushing, if you can afford it in and around building monasteries and siege workshops, get it. The cost of 100 wood may slow the rush slightly, but it will make life easier in the long run. It’s a fine balance.

Wheelbarrow theoretically improves your entire economy, but farmers will benefit the most, so overall food income rate improves. If you’re doing 1 monastery and a couple of TCs, or you won’t be producing food heavy units like Conquistadors until the Castle is built, then a good time to get this is at the 2nd TC as soon as it’s built. The cost of 50 wood is almost irrelevant on a wood heavy map like arena where you already have plenty of lumberjacks working hard. The 175 food is what may delay this upgrade. In certain situations 175 food is quite a lot in early Castle Age. The main thing is that you don’t idle your TCs just to get the food for Wheelbarrow. Villager numbers are more important. If you can’t afford to research it early on, don’t wait. Concentrate on building more farms and come back to it a little later.

Why shouldn’t you get Hand Cart, Heavy Plow, Gold Mining or Stone Mining before clicking up to Imp?

Hand Cart – Yes it’s a big boost and a great upgrade to get but it costs more than double the total resources that Wheelbarrow does. It’s enough food for 6 villagers and enough wood for 3 farms. It’s 30% of the food you need to go Imp. Click it shortly after you've clicked to Imp. If you want to improve food income rate without spending the extra food and slowing your Imperial time down, then your aim should be to get 30 farms up and running as quickly as possible. That seems to be the critical mass of farms at which food income starts to increase rapidly.

I’ve watched recs of top players using spectator overlay. One player had 4 TCs and a relatively early hand cart, roughly 3 or 4 minutes earlier than his opponent who just had 3 TCs and wheelbarrow. I paused the game at the point where the 3 TC player finally got hand cart (AFTER he’d clicked to Imp) and looked at the total amount of food gathered. The guy with the 4 TCs who had hand cart for a lot longer only had 274 food extra. The key metric? They both had 37 farms. I've seen this on a number of recs. Total number of farms seems to be the most important thing for rapid food income, not upgrades.

Heavy Plow – This does nothing to improve food gathering rate, and nothing to improve the total amount of food gathered, well it does sort of, but the effect isn’t that great. This upgrade decreases the frequency of having to spend 60 wood on rebuilding farms. It only begins to pay for itself once the first farm that was built with it has 251+ food gathered from it i.e. it passes the point where a farm with Horse Collar would usually expire and need rebuilding. Even then, it’s only given you back 60 wood. For the cost of 125 food and 125 wood, you’d be better off making 2 more villagers and building 2 more farms. A more extreme example of this is Crop Rotation. It’s almost pointless.

Gold Mining and Stone Mining – They provide a 15% boost to gathering rate. Talking purely in percentage terms, that’s like saying that these upgrades will make 20 miners do the work of 23 miners. Not exactly a huge boost. If you’re not making many military units and you don’t have any relics in the monastery then you need about 10-12 gold miners to go Imperial in under 30 minutes. Clearly you have the 2 gold miners from dark age, and when you add the extra miners is up to you, but the point is that the 100 food you spend on this upgrade further delays your Imperial Age time for very little payoff. Ironically if you have actually have 20 gold miners, then you won’t need this upgrade to assist you in getting 800 gold faster. If you want faster gold or stone income without spending the valuable food, then you should simply reassign existing villagers from wood, and possibly get them to build an extra mining camp or two to reduce walking distance.

There’s nothing wrong with clicking these upgrades immediately AFTER you've click to Imp, but doing them beforehand doesn't always make sense.

In the rec I referred to earlier with the 37 farms, the 4 TC player was desperately trying to boom to Imp to get trebs, conscription and military upgrades, but he clicked Hand Cart, Heavy Plow, Gold Mining and Stone Mining before the click to Imperial. He also did Town Watch (which didn’t really make sense). Why, if you’re trying to get to Imp quickly are you spending 700 food less than 2 minutes in the Castle Age? That’s 70% of what you need to go Imp! He lost the game.

It’s not set in stone, but the above is why I tend to only get Bow Saw and Wheelbarrow in Castle Age. They are the two upgrades that actually have an immediate, significant and positive effect on my entire economy once the researches have completed. The others either don’t have any noticeable immediate effect, or, in the case of Hand Cart, simply cost too much.

If you want faster food then you need MORE farms in a tight, efficient layout with a few well-placed extra mills. Food cost = ZERO.

If you want more gold or stone, then you need MORE miners and possibly 1 or 2 more mining camps. Food cost = ZERO.

Food cost is ZERO, because I've assumed that all newly created villagers and going to wood and that these new farmers and miners are just existing villagers being reassigned from wood.

A couple of other learning points.

4 villagers building a TC is only about 12-15 seconds quicker than 3 villagers building a TC. I’d much rather keep that 4th villager on wood. All the extra wood gathered during the build time will be way more valuable in terms of rapidly building farms than getting a TC up half a villager quicker.

2 villagers on a deer under the TC = 106 food gathered out of 140 food on the deer.
3 villagers on a deer under the TC = 116 food gathered out of 140 food on the deer.
4 villagers on a deer under the TC = 122 food gathered out of 140 food on the deer.

More than 2 villagers on a deer doesn't get you much more food. Better off hitting berries, building a farm or doing something else.


Staff member
Bronze Supporter
Dec 12, 2011
I always do the gold mining upgrade at around 24mins. if 100 food is gonna slow ur imp drastically then just dont make 2 vils and up. but it starts to pay off as you reach imp, having a little bit more gold.


Nov 6, 2013
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RM - 1v1
Unless going fast imp for anything or you are playing defensive against a player doing fast imp, handcart is very important to get in castle, only civs that can skip it in castle are aztec and viking and maybe mayans.
Jan 1, 2015
I've found that clicking these upgrades AFTER clicking to Imperial enables me to shave a valuable 2-3 minutes off my Imperial time. Getting these upgrades in the transition from Castle to imperial is still Castle Age. That's all I'm suggesting. There's no way would go without them altogether.

Hand cart, Heavy Plow and Gold Mining all cost a total of 525 food and 400 wood. I firmly believe that turning the 400 wood into 6 or 7 more farms will get you closer to Imp in less time than getting those upgrades will. The food obviously just goes on villager production. This is assuming you already have Bow Saw and Wheelbarrow.


Jun 20, 2011
I can't speak for everyone, but those are the upgrades I'll get when trying to do a quick imp as pkt on arabia (min 27-28). So I imagine that you would be right for arena, assuming your only goal is to get imp asap with a reasonable eco.
But if you are doing any sort of extended castle age war, the other upgrades are a must
Jan 1, 2015
So here's where I prove myself massively wrong. After writing the post above and reading the feedback others have left on this thread I decided to quit theorising and go away and work on my booming.

I managed, with Saracens (so no eco bonus at all, didn't build a market) to achieve an Imperial time of 28:42 whilst getting:

Bow Saw, Wheelbarrow, Heavy Plow, Hand Cart, Gold Mining and even Gold Shaft Mining, BEFORE clicking up.

When I used to do things this way I could rarely get an imp time under 30-32 minutes. Usually around 32 minutes.

I've been thinking about it and I can see the advantages of getting the eco upgrades early, getting them in the bank and out of the way.

Hand Cart means that villagers move faster which could potentially be useful in evading death. The total food gathered by the time I reach Imp will be higher as well.

Heavy Plow is useful because although you may have already built sufficient farms to go Imp with Horse Collar, if you already have it, it means that when the farms need to be rebuilt they will then last 50% longer. The way I used to do it, leaving Heavy Plow until I was in Imperial, I reckon I must have rebuilt all my farms AT LEAST once with Horse Collar, if not twice, which when you think about it costs way more wood (and micro time for rebuilding all the farms) than the cost of the upgrade. With hindsight I can now see that the only time a farm should be built with horse collar when booming like this on Arena, is when it's built for the first time.

I read on this page - that the Gold Mining upgrade is equivalent to adding another miner without using the TC if you have 10 miners.

Another massive difference in improving the boom is not getting housed. Sounds obvious but it means that things flow very nicely.

I was pleased with my feudal time of 12:16. That meant I only had 6 seconds of TC idle time in the dark age. I can deliver this kind of performance very consistently offline against the AI but I am nowhere near it in online play. I just seem to screw up and make mistake for no reason. Nerves I guess.

Things I could have done better economically are getting the 3rd TC up sooner, but I instead added some more farms in between the 2nd and 3rd TC. Again, I know not to do this, but for whatever reason I did it. Doh!

I could have also go Hand Cart and Heavy Plow earlier, but I couldn't because I over-queued villagers in all my TCs for some stupid unknown reason.

I probably could have clicked up even earlier if I had built the university earlier, but I left it to the last minute.

Military-wise I could have patrolled my scouts in no-mans land whilst booming and could have gathered more relics. I could have also built more military production buildings on the way to Imperial and could have been more efficient in my use of the blacksmith and University on the way to Imperial as well.

Generally it's my macro that needs work.

Thanks to all who commented on this thread, your feedback made me think. Thanks also to Miguel whose recs from MOA3 taught me the build order for 28 pop stable/blacksmith.
Jan 1, 2015
Why do people build a market in the feudal age on arena? What’s the original thinking behind it?

I find going barracks/stable infinitely more useful for a number of reasons. Edie and Miguel do it, but why don’t more people do it? Units and technologies available when you want them, and you can build archery ranges immediately as you already have the pre-requisite building. Yes, you’re spending an extra 175 wood on the way to castle age, it’s worth it. With the right build you can rush or boom very effectively.

I've seen countless arena games where people build the market but never use it. I don’t think I've ever used it in castle age in any of my own games. Edie is the only player that I've seen use the with any consistency, which makes me wonder, if you know you probably won’t use it for a while, why build it so early?

In some of my own games I've experienced situations where I wish I’d had a barracks and a stable up instead of a market. Those few occasions were enough for me to decide that I would almost always go stable and a couple of extra scouts regardless.
Jan 23, 2016
Why do people build a market in the feudal age on arena? What’s the original thinking behind it?
Yes, you’re spending an extra 175 wood on the way to castle age, it’s worth it. With the right build you can rush or boom very effectively.

In some of my own games I've experienced situations where I wish I’d had a barracks and a stable up instead of a market. Those few occasions were enough for me to decide that I would almost always go stable and a couple of extra scouts regardless.
If you want to make barakcs+stable/range over market, feel free to do so. But you can't generally say that spending the 175 extra wood + extra building time is worth it. You will have to go up to castle age a few vils later because of it, therefor have your additional tcs later and you can't balance your eco for booming via market (buy stone for 4th tc, buy some food early on if needed).Or if you go monks being 50s (2 vils later) can be deciding as well.
In general, your boom will be much stronger with a market build over a barack build. Also often when you have to defend, you will do it with mangonels and won't need a barack right away.

So there are plenty of reasons to go for the market over the baracks


Well Known Pikeman
Sep 4, 2010
from your logic gary market+stable is the best.. or did you ever use the blacksmith that early? 11
market is always good to have to buy 100 wood/food or sth.
Jan 1, 2015
Good point Skittle. I don't think I've ever used a blacksmith before clicking to Imperial. I should have been more clear, the blacksmith is something I always build. For some reason, it's non-negotiable. I have used the blacksmith on occasion in Castle Age. It's also great to be able to go straight into upgrades as soon as you click to Imperial, rather than having to wait for someone to build it.

To clarify the debate I've been having in my mind is Barracks & Stable vs Market, assuming blacksmith is always built as one of the feudal buildings.

If BZH is right and you need a blacksmith to build a siege workshop, then there's a strong argument for it.

Here's a game where Edie goes Barrack & Stable -

It's a rush from Edie, naturally. If he went with a market, he could have done the monks and siege just fine, but then at some point would have interrupted the flow of his rush by having to spend 175 wood on a barracks rather than a mangonel or a ram, then interrupted the flow again spending another 175 wood on a stable.

The way Edie does things he can add spears and knights without slowing the rush, because the 350 wood for barracks and stable was spent long before the wood is needed for workshop, siege, monastery, spears etc.

I don't play or watch an awful lot of Arabia (and other maps like it) but I understand why, in every game, people want the barracks built before the hit feudal age. It's not that different in this situation.

It's weird because Miguel went with a market in the game I linked to above. In MOA3 it was Miguel who went barracks & stable on many occasions to great effect. I'm not sure if it would have helped him on this occasion, but the questions that pop into my mind are, does he use the market before he could have made use of a barracks or ? Would already having the barracks and stable up have helped him in this situation?

As far as booming when doing a stable, this is probably my favourite game:

Spending the extra 175 wood doesn't seem to slow things down for Miguel.

Going up with 28+2 instead of 26+2 - those 2 extra villagers go to wood in the dark age, they help to compensate for the extra wood spend.
Jan 23, 2016
If BZH is right and you need a blacksmith to build a siege workshop, then there's a strong argument for it.

It's a rush from Edie, naturally. If he went with a market, he could have done the monks and siege just fine, but then at some point would have interrupted the flow of his rush by having to spend 175 wood on a barracks rather than a mangonel or a ram, then interrupted the flow again spending another 175 wood on a stable.

I don't play or watch an awful lot of Arabia (and other maps like it) but I understand why, in every game, people want the barracks built before the hit feudal age. It's not that different in this situation.

Going up with 28+2 instead of 26+2 - those 2 extra villagers go to wood in the dark age, they help to compensate for the extra wood spend.
BZH is right, you need a BS to make a siege workshop.

The investment of 175 wood is much bigger early on than later in the game.

The difference is huge. In Arabia you die if you don't make military before reaching castle age, so you really do need military buildings in feudal. In TG as pocket, you don't need them in feudal, but will have to go kts right away in castle, so you go stable as well. If you are a Mayan and Aztec, you might not want to build the baracks in case of going plumes (Mayan) or boom (Aztec).

Going up 2 vils later just to compensate for the extra wood cost will end you being 6 vils behind, if the other player can afford 2 extra tcs right away. It will also delay your first monks/mangonels by 50s, or if you want to put a castle down, you'll be later for that as well.

Of course there are strategies where it is worth it to go barack+stable or barack+range, normally it will give you some map control. But the market build is way more valid than you seem to think
Jan 1, 2015
Thanks for the response hightower. I appreciate it. Please know that I’m seeing this as healthy debate that’s helping me learn, not an argument.

I had no idea about the blacksmith being the pre-requisite building for the siege workshop. Really interesting to know.

I don’t doubt that the market build is valid. Most people use it and have done since long before I was playing this game and continue to do so.

I don’t understand the point you make about being 6 villagers behind.

Imagine for a second that it’s mirror civs and that everything was near perfect, and two top rated players both had a mere 5 seconds of TC idle time in the dark age.

One does 26+2 with a market and gets a Castle time of 15:00 and the other does 28+2 with a barracks and a stable and gets a Castle time of 15:50.

Surely if everything they do when they both hit the Castle Age is identical, the later player will, at most be 2 villagers behind?


When I do the 28+2 build with barracks & stable I can consistently reach castle age with a minimum of 550 wood in the bank. That gives me the following two options.

Option 1: 550 wood = 2 TCs.

Option 2: 550 wood = 1 TC, monastery, bow saw

Having watched a lot of recs of players that are far better than me, I tend to go with Option 2, because that’s what they do the vast majority of the time.

In this case the 3rd TC follows as soon as you can afford it. To enable this to happen ASAP, there are some simple rules. Until you’ve started building the 3rd TC you simply avoid:

- Building any new farms, only replenish existing ones if needed.
- Building any houses or other buildings.
- Researching any other economic technologies.

This means that you’re not continually spending wood and forever delaying the start of the 3rd TC. This helped by the fact that all newly created villagers are going to wood, bow saw will be done around the time the second new villager is created and that around this time your foragers tend to finish on berries = 4 more lumberjacks.

I've also learned that building a TC with 4 villagers is only about 15 seconds faster than building it with 3 villagers. I prefer to use 3 villagers, the 4th staying as a lumberjack giving me an extra 20-30 wood in the bank which gets me closer to being able to put down one more farm, which important because you need to get to the point where you have enough farms to support continuous production from all 3 TCs as quickly as possible.

I could go for 2 TCs immediately, but then the monastery and relic gathering is delayed and so is bow saw.

If it’s a map where I can only see 3 relics on the map and they are all close to his base, I might be tempted to go for the TCs if it looks like the monastery is going to be a complete waste of time. I’d probably do bow saw because it’s so crucially important.

I guess if I scouted the map early enough, I could decide to go with a market if the scouts aren’t going to be needed for relic control.

This is where civs like the Japanese are amazing. They are 200 wood up just before they click to feudal, so they can do bow saw, monastery and 2 TCs all at the same time. Britons, Celts, Teutons and Huns are also good at this as well.

That said, I managed it with the Turks the other day. They have no wood related bonus at all. In fact their dark age, from a wood and food perspective is completely vanilla. I had 4 deer inside the walls, close to the TC. Nice and easy. I managed to push them all quite early, so I finished them early, along with the sheep and boar, and those villagers then had the time to chop through an entire straggler tree. The extra 100 wood meant that the 3rd TC went up almost immediately. It shows that random things like having deer in a more convenient place than normal can help with wood income beyond simply not having to build as many farms.


I used to worry about falling behind on the relics by going up 2 villagers later with scouts, but it actually works out ok. Most of the time.

A monastery takes 40 seconds to build with 1 villager and a monk take 51 seconds to create. If everything is perfect, following a really good castle time of 15:00, the earliest that the 26+2 build has a monk being created is 16:31. That monk has 1 scout with full health to support him against my 3 scouts with full health, who are roaming the map by about 15:30 ish.

If the I lose my original scout in a fight in dark or feudal age, I can still have 2 newly created full health scouts against his one scout that’s nearly dead from the fight plus a monk.

If 26+2 guy wants to add spears to even the odds, he’s going to have to spend that 175 wood (the cost of 3 farms, or 64% of the wood needed for another TC) and the 50 seconds build time (assuming one villager is building). Maybe the 26+2 guy waits for a second monk to be created before heading out of his base. That’s another 51 seconds delay for him.

I've had games where I've killed 3 monks and stolen relics that should have been his, and I've had games where 2 of my 3 scouts have been converted and I've got no relics, and just had to boom. But in later Castle Age, because I've got the stable up already, I've still been able to get 1 scout out into the middle of the map to check what’s going on so I’m not completely unaware of what my opponent is doing.

I’ll acknowledge that the stable and scouts could be something of a comfort blanket because I’m a noob.
Jan 23, 2016
Thanks for the response hightower. I appreciate it. Please know that I’m seeing this as healthy debate that’s helping me learn, not an argument.

I don’t understand the point you make about being 6 villagers behind.
If I'd think you'd be searching an argument, I wouldn't respond :D

About the 6 vils. I was stupid, it is actually only 4.
Imagine both players once they hit castle age start making 2 extra tcs and never idle tc. Then in the 50s (2vil production time) Player A is earlier in castle age, he will produce 2 vils each on 3 tcs (6 vils) while player B produced only from 1 tc in that time (2 vils).
This leads to a 4 vil difference.

Therefore, if you both go for a boom, you will already be behind. Therefore you will want to take an other advantage, namly map control, which you can take with your stable units. Producing scouts however will delay your boom, as you won't have food for vils or later eco upgrades.
-> If you go barack+stable you have to make scouts or you wasted wood. Then you will be behind even more in boom if other player pure booms. Therefore you then have to play agressive to win, which you can do with your build up. So it is fine, as long you can make early use of your military
Jun 21, 2014
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RM - Team Games
Markets are a huge factor of the game in my opinion.
It depends on what you plan to do.

If you do barracks, blacksmith and stable you invest 500 wood, if you do just the market + blacksmith BO, you invest 325 wood. A huge difference, especially if you want to boom only. A very effective way to use the market is to buy 100 stone, that means when you reach castle age with 4 gold miners, you can buy stone and make 3 extra tcs immediately (4 tcs total), which means you dont need to invest in stone mining camps (100 wood saved) and no vill working time wasted on stone (which applies not only to arena, but also to BF and other boom maps).

In rush scenarios, markets make you more flexible and create the possibility to up faster, especially in monkrushes and castle drops. 1v1 is way more different than TG's, keep that also in mind. In 1v1 the factor "map generation" is more merciless, forward gold, stone, bad relics etc. affect the playstyle heavily, since you want to make the "best" of your own map.
Jan 1, 2015
I am no longer a fan of the 28+2 scouts build that I was using on arena. Why? Largely because going scouts is a waste of time. They do almost nothing against a monk + siege rush, because all the opponent has to do is add some spears (which they always do if they're any good) and your scouts, between the monks and spears, are almost completely nullified. When it comes to getting map control so you can get more relics than your opponent, it comes down to luck as to whether you manage to kill monks with your scouts, or the scout gets converted. I've had no more success in this area with 3+ scouts than I've had with just 1 scout.

The best defence against that kind of rush is Castle with fletching, walling and mangonels. Even that won't necessarily work, but it's a lot better than scouts.

The real issue with the 28+2 scouts build, I've discovered, is that you have to commit to building a barracks at a time when you probably have very little scouting information about the locations of the relics because you haven't yet got out into the middle of the map to see where the relics are. You're basically gambling that the situation will be such that you couldn't possibly secure the relics without the help of your scouts. It's dubious at best.

If you go for a 26+2 market build, you have greater flexibility. If you're scout is still alive by the time you reach Castle Age and you've managed to scout the whole of the middle of the map, if, as described above, you find that the relic situation isn't good for you, you can choose NOT to build a monastery, saving a further 175 wood and have a really good boom as a result. If you did the same thing after going 28+2 scouts, I'd have to ask why you even bothered going with a stable in the first place. Yes you can skip the monastery, but you still wasted 175 wood on barracks, 160 food on scouts and 120 wood on 2 extra farmers - for nothing. All of those resources could have gone into the boom.

I've also seen discussions about 25+2 being better for "pure booming". This is the build where you go with a market but you take 30 gold and sell 100 to go up to Castle Age. The only problem I have with that is that when you hit Castle Age you have zero gold in the bank and none coming in. It forces you to ignore the relics even if they're on your doorstep. It's just as inflexible as the 28+2 scouts build, but at the other end of the spectrum. You'd have the wood to build a monastery, but no gold to make any monks. In the event that you don't build a monastery, 26+2 market build wins because you're already a decent portion of the way to 800 gold for Imperial Age. with 25+2, you have to really think carefully about when you add villagers to gold otherwise, you'll have 1000 food way before you have 800 gold. These potential problems are created simply because you wanted to go to Castle Age 25 seconds earlier.


I've found a recorded game of Lojza's that I really like. It's really instructive and there's a lot I've learned from it.

It's a Byzantines war on Arena between Lojza and Keif -

It shows the flexibility of the 26+2 market build as described above, but also deals with the issue that I raised at the start of the thread. You don't need to get all the economic upgrades before you click Imperial Age in order to have an effective boom, especially Hand Cart and Heavy Plow. Many of them can be clicked AFTER you click up to Imperial Age.

Lojza scouts the map and finds that his deer are bugged. That frees his scout up to explore the map earlier than if he had to spend time pushing 3 or 4 deer. He loses the scout fight to Keif, but by that stage he's scouted all the map and discovered that Keif has one relic inside his base and the other 4 relics very close outside his base. Lojza decides not bother with the relics as there's little chance he'll get one. Instead he mines stone and takes 10 gold in order to sell 100 stone to advance to Castle Age. When he gets there he gets Bow Saw and puts down 2 TCs and completely outbooms Keif. Keif gets a much earlier wheelbarrow and hand cart but needlessly builds 2 monasteries in order to get the relics in quickly.

Meanwhile Lojza is going hell for leather on the farms, and if you watch the rec with spectator overlay, you'll see that total food gathered stays in Lojza's favour for most of the game. By the time Keif's total food catches up, it's too late. Other factors have kicked in.

As an example of the food situation, at 23:28 Lojza has 5502 total food gathered with 35 farmers working, Keif has 4962 total food gathered with 28 farmers working. That's 61 seconds after Keif completes the hand cart research, during which time and Lojza only has wheelbarrow which he clicked exactly 2 minutes later than Keif. Yet Lojza has 540 more food gathered. Why? He had a higher number of farms for a longer period of time. Simply as that.

The double monastery from Keif at the start of Castle was a mistake. 1 would have been enough, with no more than 2 monks gathering the relics. It slowed his boom massively.

At 27:59 Lojza has 9044 food with 38 farmers and Keif has 8600 food with 41 farmers. The gap has narrowed slightly to 444 food, but Lojza is still in the lead despite not having hand cart. Just goes to show, hand cart, whilst it's important, isn't everything.

The thing that impresses me most about Lojza's play in this game is his Blacksmith idle time. Or rather lack of it.

Lojza clicks up to Imperial 4 seconds later than Keif at 24:40. At 24:54 he clicks scale barding armour, finishes 25:39.

The blacksmith is idle for 10 seconds.

At 25:49 he clicks chain barding armour which finishes at 26:49.

Blacksmith is idle for 3 seconds and then at 26:52 clicks fletching, finishes 27:22.

Idle again for 7 seconds and at 27:29 clicks forging, finishes 28:19. It's then idle for 12 seconds and at 28:31 clicks plate barding armour, which finishes 29:46. then there's 4 seconds of idle time before he clicks iron casting at 29:50 which finishes at 31:05.

Total length of time from clicking Imperial at 24:40 until clicking iron casting at 29:50 is 5:10. That's a total of 310 seconds. During that time the blacksmith was idle for a total of just 36 seconds. In terms of production time that's about 1.5 villagers. Basically in that 5:10 period, it was idle for 10% of the time and active for the other 90%. That's really impressive. It's the best example of blacksmith usage in this type arena game that I've ever seen.

More than a minute after the iron casting research completes for Lojza, Keif uses 2 blacksmiths to start researching forging and scale barding armour for his paladins. Up until that point he hasn't researched anything at the blacksmith.

When the first engagement happens Lojza has heavy camels with all available upgrades (+2/+3) and Keif has Paladins with only +1/+1. That's why Lojza wipes the floor with him. Keif never catches up. He then switches from Paladins into heavy camels but Lojza has had them fully upgraded for far longer. Lojza also got Hussar before heavy camel so he can mix them in at any time to save on gold if needs be.

A combination of a better boom, way better transition (blacksmith usage) and using the treb as the ultimate scout (watch the game) was a stroke of genius.

Up until the point where he hit Imperial Age, Lojza was making Hussars as all he could see from Keif were a few monks, so he just had to assume that's what he would be facing. Once the treb scouting reveals he'll be facing Paladins, he immediately clicks Heavy Camel. If I was in this situation I'd almost certainly start building barracks and researching Pikeman etc, but this game shows that, like chess (if you play it) tempo is everything. Rather than lose time having to construct at least 4 more barracks, Lojza took advantage of the fact that he already had all the necessary upgrades on his Hussars and had stables built ready for production and went the camel route instead, which also benefits from the Byzantines 25% discount because it's a counter unit.

From the moment he starts producing camels, Lojza is relentless in attacking Keif and pushing him back.

Keif's 3 big mistakes that cost him the game were:

Killing his boar with the TC - Still had a fantastic Castle time though, but the boar would have save him so much wood.
Double monastery and too many monks in early Castle Age. Again wasting wood and gold.
Only starting to use his blacksmith once he'd been in Imperial Age for 4 and a half minutes.
Mar 13, 2017
Wheelbarrow time is 20-21 min ~ 60 vills. It's Not worth the idle tc (3 vills) and high cost before. Also when you see someone getting wheelbarrow early its always a sign that his boom is very imperfect since you should not be able to have these res without idling as a good boomer. When you get 55 vills minute 20.00 with straight monastery and bowsaw you are good. That is what you should aim for. Wheelbarrow afterwards.
Jan 1, 2015
Hi Haiyti. Thanks for the comment. I guess the rule I've started to follow is to get Wheelbarrow as early as I can without breaking villager production. Also, would it not be better to think of wheelbarrow in terms of the number of farmers that you have? It basically costs food, and farms bring in the food so wouldn't that be better? I could have 60 villagers, but I've only got 20 farmers then it's doubtful that I'm going to be able to afford wheelbarrow without breaking continuous villager production.
Jan 3, 2013
tested just with 3 TC but I am getting better results with handcart asap rather than after clicking imp.

imp time was similar, maybe few seconds sooner with delaying handcart and at 26.15-26.30 with 27+2 FC, no loom no deer.
gathered more total wood and food with early handcart. used magyars and didnt use market at all other than as prereq for upping

what time are you doing wheelbarrow and handcart. I find I can do wheelbarrow around 35-40 pop

and what about 4 or more TC


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