Screaming into a Pillow – Starlette’s Hammer Guide
Age of Empires is a much better game than Sim City.
If that statement rings true for you, then this guide may be useful.
This guide is going to focus on offensive production, I will draft an attacker guide later that will cover detail I will skip here.
Again, for the purposes of the guide I will ignore Armory/Blacksmith upgrades. Also, I rounded some decimal places so the figures are not exact, but pretty close.
The Hammer is typically created in a single city to store one metric shit-ton of troops. A metric shit-ton is equivalent to around 25,000 for those who lack math skills, or are British.
Building up a large army over a lengthy period of time can be done just about anywhere, but to have a truly good hammer you need to consider a few things.
1) You will need a LOT of wheat to feed a large hammer.
For this reason most people make a 15c their capital and push the fields beyond 10. They take a 15c that has good wheat oases around it to increase wheat production even more. They typically build a hammer village directly next to it if possible. This allows for the fastest transport time for wheat.
The type of village you use for your hammer really does not matter much. If you have a 5 iron available and there are 3 iron oases and no others nearby, then you get more resources out of the iron if you convert with gold. Beyond that… if you do not use gold you might consider a 5 clay, as cats cost more clay than anything else and they are the most expensive of the units. A 4/4/4/6 is fine too. I was fortunate enough to have another 15c by my capital… It forces me to convert with gold but I also wont build a sawmill, etc for 1 field. So it has more room for the buildings your hammer will need.
In your capital you push fields up, take wheat oases, make granaries and a Flour Mill and Bakery obviously. You build your marketplace to 20, make a trade office… and pretty much just ship and store wheat to keep your hammer alive. You very rarely make any military in your capital.
2) A hammer is simply attack power divided into different troop types.
Your hammer needs to have a lot of raw attack power in order to get through the opposing defenses with little loss. You need to figure out what types of troops will make up your hammer.
I will use Teuton for an example, consider the following…
1 Macemen is 40 attack
1 Axeman is 60 attack.
To get 150,000 attack power you need 3750 maces.
To get 150,000 attack power you need 2500 axes.
Macemen cost 250 resources per.
Axemen cost 490 resources per.
Axes are more expensive, at nearly double the cost but with more attack power per axe they use less wheat to hit the same number.
Maces cost an additional 1250 wheat every hour to maintain the same attack power using that example. It will remain 1/3 higher wheat cost for the same attack power.
Something else to be considered is production time.
Assuming a lvl 20 barracks
1 Maceman creates in 2:02 or 122 seconds
1 Axeman creates in 3:23 or 203 seconds
29.5 maces per hour
1180 attack produced hourly
28320 attack produced per 24 hours
17.75 axes per hour
1065 attack produced hourly
25560 attack produced per 24 hours
There is no single correct answer here, there are pros and cons to each. Understanding them should let you make an informed decision.
If you need alot of attack at a low cost and can afford the wheat… maces are they way to go.
If wheat is at a premium and you plan to grow your army for the long term you might go axes.
Or, you could even start out with maces for awhile and as they begin to die out and your resources become more abundant replace them with axes.
Also, I realize in my examples I have ignored cavalry. Its important to make cavalry as they help against troops with low cavalry defense and make your army more well rounded. However for efficiency you need to look at wheat cost. Example a Teutonic Knight is 3 wheat/hr and 150 attack. This is 50 attack power per wheat consumed compared to an axeman who is 60 attack per wheat consumed. This means that if you have to choose.. keep your barracks going over your stables. Yet, if you have the resources for the highest attack per hour all buildings should be producing.
3) You will lose your hammer.
It’s only a matter of time and it happens to the best of us. While it should not be thrown away on a whim, its also a tool of destruction and if sits idle because your scared of it getting broken then its useless anyways.
You need to have your hammer village outfitted to recreate your hammer as fast as possible. You cannot build a Greater Barracks or Greater Stable in your capital which is the primary reason you make your hammer village next to it, and the only reason to make these buildings is to increase production speed.
Hammer village is going to need a Barracks, Greater Barracks, Stable, Greater Stable, Siege Workshop.
You will also make a tourney square to increase speed after 30 squares, and a rally point to 20.
Running production in all of these 24 hours a day can be expensive… this is why most players have a nearby capital, then settle a hammer followed by a few supply villages that ship in resources to keep production going.
So, in summary…
You need lots of wheat to feed it. – Build the village near your capital.
It needs lots of resources to maintain production – Make feeder villages near it.
It needs to be ready to rapidly replace lost troops – Push up the infrastructure to speed up production.
It needs to efficient – You want as much attack power as possible for each wheat consumed.
It needs to be used – Do not be afraid to get it broken, but be smart with it and it wont be often destroyed.
Now that we have covered the basics behind a hammer village you might ask me, “So Starlette, is this how you do it?”
The answer is no, or partly.
My resource production is at this time well over what I need to support a hammer village. When you find yourself in a similar situation this next section is for you.
Looking back at the information above lets look for the bottlenecks and find solutions to fix them.
Your hammer village must create cats, rams, infantry to clear with, escort troops for the cats. (If you read my cat defense guide you will know that a small escort could be an easy way to lose your cats, yet making the escort larger takes units from your clear wave. It’s a catch 22)
This is an awful lot to rely on 1 village for.
Yet, you can’t produce in all villages as an anvil would because the attacks cannot be combined, BUT…
You can create cat waves in other villages and combine them into the primary attacks.
So lets say you have 8 villages all near each other.
Village 1 – Capital
Village 2 – Hammer (1 square from capital)
Village 3 – Feeder
Village 4 – Feeder
Village 5 – Feeder
Village 6 – Feeder
Village 7 – Feeder
Village 8 – Feeder
*NOTE* If you read my anvil guide extra resources should be used in these feeders to increase defensive infrastructure, including barracks/stables to 20 in case you need to revert to defense.
Lets say your hammer hit someone, and you lost everything. Your set back quite a while in cat production alone. 20ish min per cat means around 75 per 24 hours, not to mention recreation of the clear, escort troops etc.
Now, in the above example lets take village 5 as our candidate for a supplementary hammer.
We research cats (no need to bother with RAMs yet)
We research axes (argument could be made to just make maces for now)
We push siege shop and barracks to 20 (no immediate need to bother with Greater Barracks)
We push Rally Point to 20
Push Tourney Square up to match the level of the one in your hammer village (Keep them close to even)
Now, this means Village 1 and Village 5 are operating as hammers. Yet village 1 still bears the burden of the clear wave and rams. Its the priority for production.
Yet, additional cat waves and much larger escorts can come from village 5.
Let me walk you through how I might do an attack.
Lets say village 1 is a bit west of village 5 and the attack target is east of both. This means village 1 needs to launch before 5. If the target was west the reverse would be true.
This tactic is only slightly more advanced than a normal attack because you need to coordinate land times for 2 villages.
Village 1 launches and I see the land times will be as follows for 5 waves.
Wave 1 5:00:00 – Clear 8000 axes | 1500 TKs | 1 Cat | 80 rams
Wave 2 5:00:01 – Cat waves 40 cats, 50 axes
Wave 3 5:00:02 – Cat waves 40 cats, 50 axes
Wave 4 5:00:03 – Cat waves 40 cats, 50 axes
Wave 5 5:00:03 – Cat waves 40 cats, 50 axes
I would then setup the attacks in village 5 with no clear, to land 1 second after the clear from village 1.
Wave 1 5:00:01 – Cat waves 40 cats, 750 axes
Wave 2 5:00:02 – Cat waves 40 cats, 750 axes
Wave 3 5:00:02 – Cat waves 40 cats, 750 axes
Wave 4 5:00:03 – Cat waves 40 cats, 750 axes
Wave 5 5:00:04 – Cat waves 40 cats, 750 axes
Wave 6 5:00:04 – Cat waves 40 cats, 750 axes
The combined landing would look more like this…
Wave 1 5:00:00 – Clear 8000 axes | 1500 TKs | 1 Cat | 80 rams
Wave 2 5:00:01 – Cat waves 40 cats, 50 axes
Wave 3 5:00:01 – Cat waves 40 cats, 750 axes
Wave 4 5:00:02 – Cat waves 40 cats, 50 axes
Wave 5 5:00:02 – Cat waves 40 cats, 750 axes
Wave 6 5:00:02 – Cat waves 40 cats, 750 axes
Wave 7 5:00:03 – Cat waves 40 cats, 50 axes
Wave 8 5:00:03 – Cat waves 40 cats, 750 axes
Wave 9 5:00:03 – Cat waves 40 cats, 50 axes
Wave 10 5:00:04 – Cat waves 40 cats, 750 axes
Wave 11 5:00:04 – Cat waves 40 cats, 750 axes
If the village was west of each, I would need to launch the cat waves from village 5 first, and make damn sure I got my clear wave sent in time to arrive 1 second before the 1st wave lands.
The benefit to the above is that the 1st village can concentrate on the clear wave and not lose so much to the escort, and the 2nd village can push larger escorts which helps defeat someone reining between waves (Read my cat defense guide) Also, we clustered 11 attacks in this example into a 5 second window.
Down the line if you ended up with excess resources you could even outfit a 3rd village, or add a few things such as rams to the 2nd and you could use it as an independent hammer on a smaller target.
The plus side is you can recover much faster from loss and be back before they expect it.
Also, its important to push your rally point to 20. If you send at least 20 cats you can pick 2 targets. The cats split themselves up so its only 10 per target but…
Wave 1 – 20 cats 500 axes is better than Wave 1 – 10 cats, 250 axes, Wave 2 – 10 cats, 250 axes.
Its easier to protect the cats this way.