Mining for castle drops

castle_questionI still don’t feel much like playing. Coughing too much. At least more math stuff. I have seen a topic on aoczone asking about a build order for castle drops. It’s something that I actually wanted to research as well. First though, I wanted to figure out some timing related problems with it. Usually, I can’t really tell how many villagers should I put on stone, and when, so that I can afford castles. It’s quite a long term commitment to mine that much stone. It’s really hard to guess right and I don’t want to follow build orders blindly. Now, to the calculus machine!

Let’s start with some basic info and let’s work backwards in time. The stone gathering rate is 0.359 stone/second. There is always an exception. This time it is the koreans: 0.431 stone/second. If you research stone shaft mining these rates go up to 0.413 stone/s and 0.496 stone/s for koreans. The cost of a castle is 650 stone (exception this time are franks – 488 stone, but usually you won’t drop castles with franks for the unique unit). Mining that much stone would take 1811 villager seconds (1508 with koreans) and with stone shaft mining done 1574 vsec (1311 with koreans). Two more things before we start: the research to castle age takes 2:40 minutes, which is 160 seconds; stone shaft mining research takes 30 seconds to research.

Let’s speculate a bit. For all situations consider a fast castle build, I just want to do a castle drop and didn’t sell the 200 initial stone. That means, I should mine 450 stone (288 with franks). If I start mining stone right after I click to castle, I will need theoretically 8 villagers (6.5 with koreans), with researching stone shaft mining done right after I click 7 villagers ( 6 with koreans). There is always a bit of bumping going on, so I might need some extra villagers. Just for fun, let’s do franks as well – 5.01 vills without researching shaft mining and 4.5 vills if I click shaft mining right after clicking the castle age research.

For the rest of speculations I’m just gonna ignore the stone shaft mining research, since during a fast castle I have just enough resources to click up then do the wood upgrade maybe horse collar. The benefits of the shaft mining research for a relatively short time (<130 seconds) is not that relevant. But if I can afford it, why not. I am also going to ignore walking times, since they would just complicate things. In a real game also that should be considered.


In fast castle build orders (for example mayans, conquistadors) I commonly see people adding the last two villagers in dark age to stone, and reassigning a few more to stone after clicking castle. Let’s look at this situation. The last two villagers in dark age sent to mine stone means will start mining after feudal is clicked (the first one has to build the mining camp, so it’s not gathering yet). I assume loom was done beforehand. Feudal age research takes 130 seconds. After clicking up, by the time I build the buildings I usually make 2 villagers – 50 seconds. So the two villagers will mine during this time 130 stone (=180*0.359) and 155 stone with koreans. That leaves 320 stone and 295 stone with koreans to be mined. Theoretically after clicking up I would need  6 villagers on stone (4.3 with koreans) to afford a castle right away. Franks are the best, though! Theoretically I would only need to add 1 more villager to stone when clicking castle.


What if I added the last 3 villagers in dark age to stone? They would gather around 210 stone until clicking castle. To gather the rest I would need 4 villagers. With koreans I wouldn’t even need to add any villagers to stone. The 3 stone miners would be completely enough.

Let’s do one more what-if. What if I want to have at most 5 villagers on stone after clicking up, and 2 before? When should I start mining stone? 5 villagers during researching castle age would gather around 280 stone. That means I have to mine 170 stone before. With two villagers this can be done in 240 seconds, which roughly corresponds to the time, if I sent the 3rd and 4th to last villager to stone before clicking up to castle age. To make it more clear – if I am doing 28 pop pocket build, after 24 pop I should send next two villagers to stone.

These calculations can obviously be applied to a drush-fast castle build, too. The only difference to a pocket build would be the number of villagers I have in dark age: 28 – 30 based on if I’m walling as well or pushed deer. (with 3 militia and scouts these correspond to 32-34 pops)

To sum it up: with normal civs I should add the last 2 villagers in dark age to stone and then move 4 more to stone or use the last 3 villagers and add one more after clicking up to castle. Alternatively use the 3rd and 4th to last villager in dark age and add 3 more after clicking up. With koreans it’s a bit simpler: last 2 villagers in dark age plus 3 villagers after clicking up, or just the last 3 vills in dark age. With franks it’s the most eco-efficient to drop a castle: last two vills and add one more in feudal. In combination with stables it could have its uses. Now it’s time to test this!