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The purpose of this guide is to get you started onto the ‘standard build order’ most often used in Age of Empires 2.
The most important thing in any Age of Empires game is to try and keep your Town Centre constantly doing something; usually, producing villagers, but could also be researching technologies, or advancing to the next age (often called ‘ageing up’).
This is because having a lot of villagers gets you lots of resources fast! Usually, you’ll want to continue producing villagers until you have at least a hundred.
So, how do we do that? Let’s get started!
The Start of the Game
The game starts, and you’ve got three Villagers, a Scout, and a Town Centre. What to do first?
Before we answer that, let’s briefly talk about what else is around at the start of the game. Nearby your Town Centre will be four Sheep close by, a cluster of Berry Bushes, four Sheep scattered further away, and two Boars somewhere around. These will all be important!
Moving on, as stated in the introduction, we want the Town Centre to be working constantly! So:
1. Queue up some Villagers. Just a couple will do for now.
2. Send your Villagers to build two houses, two on one house and one on the other. You’ll need these quite fast so that you can keep making Villagers.
3. Get your Scout to go and gather up those first four Sheep and order them under your Town Centre.
Now, once your houses are built, order your Villagers all to one Sheep. Make sure the Sheep is standing right inside your Town Centre when you kill it, so your Villagers won’t have to walk anywhere to drop off the Food.
You only want to take one Sheep at a time, because any animal carcasses slowly lose food over time. Then, move all but one Sheep away from your Town Centre, so that when your Villagers finish the Sheep they’re on, they’ll only go to that one, and won’t kill multiple.
During this time, your Scout should be finding your four further Sheep and your two Boars. Send the Sheep near your Town Centre, but not too close.
Those are the first steps! You’re doing great.
The First Ten Villagers
As mentioned, your first 3 Villagers will all go to Sheep. Set your Town Centre rally point onto the Sheep they’re currently taking, by selecting your Town Centre and right-clicking the Sheep (underneath your Town Centre).
The next 3 Villagers will also go to Sheep, so you’ll have 6 total.
The next Villager to come out (Villager 7) will go to your nearest forest (large cluster of trees) and build a Lumber Camp. Place your Town Centre rally point on the forest, so your Villagers will automatically go and chop wood. The next 3 also go there (4 total).
So far, it looks like this:
Villagers 3-6: Sheep
Villagers 7-10: Wood
The Boar Lure
This is going to get a bit tricky, so don’t be discouraged if you can’t get it right away. Luring a Wild Boar is a dangerous business!
Your 11th Villager is going to go and lure the Boar back to your Town Centre, so you can gather it quickly and safely. Your 6 Villagers on Sheep should be almost finished with your 4th Sheep. Don’t put any other Sheep under your Town Centre just yet!
Send your 11th Villager out to attack the Boar. They’ll use their bow. Shoot it twice only, then run run back to your Town Centre! Once the Boar is nice and close, order all of your Villagers gathering Sheep to drop their food at the Town Centre, then attack the Boar.
Do this by dragging a box over those Villagers, right-clicking the Town Centre, then right-clicking the Boar.
Make sure that your Villager luring the Boar doesn’t die! You can garrison them in your Town Centre if you need to keep them safe.
Once you’ve done this successfully, you’ll have a lovely Boar to gather from under your Town Centre.
Don’t forget to keep making Villagers!
Also, during this whole Boar luring process, your 12th Villager will probably have popped out. So, when you can spare a moment of attention, have them build a House and a Mill by your Berry Bushes.
Your next 3 or 4 Villagers should head to Berries.
When you notice the Boar your Villagers are currently gathering from has around 150 Food left, send a new Villager to go and lure the second Boar.
Time to Aim for Feudal
What you do next will depend on what your goal is.
Maybe you want to hit Feudal Age quickly and harass your opponent with Archers.
Maybe you want to quickly go to Castle Age (‘Fast Castle’) and rush with Knights.
Maybe you want to hit Castle, wall up, and build some more Town Centres to really Boom your economy.
There are many choices, and your next steps will depend on that.
Usually, you’ll want to build two Farms with your injured Villagers, then put a few more Villagers on Wood and maybe some on Gold, and research Loom at the Town Centre just before you start to Age Up, with around 22 Villagers.
Most importantly, keep making Villagers until you’re ready to Loom and Age Up, keep that Town Centre working!
Sometimes you’ll need to force your Villagers to drop off Food to afford the next Villager, but hopefully not too often if you get your starting Sheep in quickly.
Go forth, and have an efficient Dark Age to set you up for whatever build you want.
Enjoy your lovely efficient economy!