Next up in my barbie beating quest are the britons. It is one of the civilizations that was not covered by cysion on his website. On the aoe strategy center, there is an article about them, which is pretty detailed, but very old. The worst, it lacks images. You got to have some nice pictures. They are pretty and stuff… Anyways, I will try to be more thorough this time.
- Town Centers cost -50% wood in Castle age
- Foot archers (expect skirmishers) have +1 range in Castle Age, +1 in Imperial Age
- Shepherds work 25% faster
- Team bonus: Archery ranges work 20% faster
- Unique unit: Longbowman, Unique tech: Yeomen (+1 foot archer range, +2 tower attack)
First, the town center cost bonus.This bonus allows players to get Town Centers up faster once in castle age and in a usual scenario still save enough wood for military – most notably crossbows for britons. The wood saved is enough for the wood cost of 5 extra crossbows. The reduced wood cost also means, that a british player would more likely put down TCs for far away resources, than mining camps or lumber camps. On closed maps or in pocket position britons also get a very strong boom thanks to this. Not as strong as the persians (thanks to their fast working TC), but they are near the top. A player can put down town centers faster, create more villagers faster. The only downside of this bonus is, that it only kicks in Castle age. Otherwise just try to imagine britons on Land nomad with 20+ sheep. Scary!
In the boom tournament by Bsk_Poisn the britons seem to be the preferred choice. With cheaper TCs combined with getting ultra-fast to Castle Age thanks to the shepherds bonus it’s understandable. Even I was able to get to castle age before minute 14:00 and have 200 pop by 29:30 at normal speed without pauses on green arabia. It’s funny, because half a year ago my feudal times were around that 14 minute mark. So imagine what a pro player could do with britons. I think currently the record is 26:39 by [McL]_Mag_ without any cheats. But that’s with pausing a lot on slow speed. On the live tournament without lag most of the players hit 200 pop around 28:00 time.
The cheaper town centers also allow for very unconventional and a bit trolly tactics as demonstrated by TaToH in this video:
I already mentioned the benefits of the sheperds’ work bonus. With a normal civilization, villagers gather food from sheep at 0.330 food/second rate. With the bonus it is 0.408 food/second. That’s exactly the same as hunting with any other civ but mongols. With britons there is no point to an early boar other than being safe from laming. There is also no point prioritizing deers over sheep. I often see players going for deer and leaving the sheep to rot. Utter nonsense! The sheep with britons is as valuable as deer. Even more valuable, since sheep are pacified and don’t go cuckoo.
With the food gathering bonus from sheep, the britons only need 5 villagers initially with standard RM settings (with 0.408 F/S 5 villagers in 25 seconds gather 51 food). Theoretically 4 is enough if you count in the initial food stock, but practically that’s way too close. Needing only 5 villagers on sheep leads to 1 extra villager bonus for the first 5 minutes of the game compared to most of the civilizationss. This extra villager could mean faster barracks if drushing, faster feudal age, more military initially in feudal, less costly walling with less effect on aging up times etc…
The last bonus and also the team bonus concerns military. The extra added range in Castle Age and Imperial age are very useful. A player with good micro don’t have to wait for bodkin arrow or crossbows to out-range a feudal army. The +1 range in castle age means that british crossbows with bodkin arrow (5+fletching+bodkin+1=8 range) out-range mangonels (7 range). This makes mangonels much less effective against a careful player. In Imperial age arbalest with bracer get the same range as korean siege onagers with siege engineers researched (10). That is until Yeomen unique technology is researched, then the only units outranging them are trebuchets, bombard cannons and longbowmen. This bonus is deadened a bit by the fact that britons don’t get thumb ring (100% precision) leaving their archers with low precision.
The team bonus is 20% faster archery ranges. This means archers are produced in 29.2 seconds. I had to test to be sure, seemed weird to see decimal numbers… What’s more important, crossbows are produced in 22.5 seconds, that’s almost the same speed as producing skirmishers with a civ without bonuses (22 seconds). If we consider team-games, I think there are two very strong allies for britons: aztecs and huns; and maybe a good one: mayans. With aztec military buildings producing 15% faster, the aztec ally would be able to pump out crossbows at 19 seconds/crossbow speed. This combination could be very strong, if the aztec is in flank position. Nobody likes aztec pocket, though… A hun + brit team is more versatile in my opinion. Their bonuses support each other very well. If the brit is pocket, the hun bonus helps brits to get out knights faster and the brit bonus helps huns to produce archers, crossbows and cav archers faster. If the briton player is flank, he has the option to go very fast feudal and faster scout rush thanks to the hun bonus and transition into archers later. A mayan and brit allience could be extremely strong as well until late imperial age, where both civilizations fall off a bit. Until then, they get fast archery ranges and cheap archers for mayans with both standing behind cheap walls ( – the mayan team bonus).
For britons the unique unit is the longbowman. Since it is very similar to crossbows, why exactly would somebody want to mass them from castles? I compared their stats in the table below. I only added the properties that are different. Armor for each unit is 0/0 and the firing rate is the same: 2.07 seconds between consecutive shots. The villager second (vsec) costs presumes double bit axe, gold mining and wheelbarrow researched.
|Unit||Cost||Time to create||HP||Attack||Range/Max|
|Crossbow||25W 45G (154 vsec)||22.5||35||5||5/11|
|Longbowman||35W 40G (163 vsec)||19||35||6||5/11|
|Arbalest||25W 45G (154 vsec)||22.5||40||6||5/11|
|El. Longbowman||35W 40G (163 vsec)||19||40||7||6/12|
Just looking at the table, it doesn’t really makes sense to go for longbowman as the main unit. They cost more and you need castles to create them. True, after you have enough castles, they could be massed faster and they have 1 more attack. The only real advantage in my opinion comes with the elite upgrade in the form of the extra range at the cost of 850F and 850G. If you compare that to 475F and 375G to upgrade from archers to arbalest, again, it doesn’t look very compelling.
Elite longbows already out-range almost every unit (fully upgraded without yeomen – 11 range). With yeomen they out-range even castles, except for teuton ones with crenellations researched. Yeomen costs 750W 450G. That’s equivalent to the cost of 17 arbalest. That’s like a half an onager shot :D. If facing onagers, it could be worthwhile to research it to get a range advantage over them. Not so long ago I faced a briton with mongols on nomad and it took 3 siege onager shots to turn around the game. Range should not be underestimated.
All in all, in my opinion longbows are not worth it most of the time. A briton player could be possibly better off creating trebuchets from the castles he already has, since they lack a punch on the siege front, and use the extra stone to spam cheap town centers.
Economy wise the britons are exceptionally strong. Only missing crop rotation and stone-shaft mining. The latter is no biggie, because the amount of stone on maps is usually much lower than any other resource. Crop rotation starts being effective at the very late stages of the game. Thanks to their early sheep gathering bonus and cheap TC, the britons have one of the strongest economy.
Military and technology
On the military side, in early ages britons are very strong. As the ages advance they only get strong until late imperial, where they tend to fall off. No bloodlines hurts in feudal. No thumb ring hurts in castle age. But the worst hit comes in imperial age as I said before. No paladin, no hussar, no camel. On top of that they lack the last upgrade for all siege: no siege onager, no siege ram, no heavy scorpion. Not even bombard cannon. This leaves britons reliant mostly on trebuchets. Britons also do not get any gunpowder units – hand cannoneer, bombard cannons, cannon gallens or bombard towers.
On the technology side there are two more technologies britons don’t get: parthian tactics and treadmill crane. But… who would want to research parthian tactics with britons? Treadmill crane is not a big loss in my opinion, since britons already fall off in later ages. The protestant britons don’t get some key monk technologies either (redemption – converting enemy buildings, atonement – converting enemy monks, heresy – converted units die), that basically rules out anything monk related. Monks with britons are only good for healing. If facing monks, they have to rely on their superior range of archers as counter.
Apart from these missing technologies, britons get all the blacksmith upgrades, making unit’s they do get, fully upgradeable – champions, halberdiers, crossbows and skirmishers. It’s a pity champions don’t get many chances in pro plays. That leaves britons quite predictable – pikeman, crossbows and trebuchets, with maybe some cavalry on the side to deal with onagers in later ages.
Plans throughout ages?
In dark age britons get one of the strongest early bonuses. They have very wide range of strong choices coming into the game: drush to fast castle to boom, drush to archers, fast feudal with 2 archery ranges, faster feudal with a few scouts in the beginning then transitioning into archers. All this thanks to early fast food. They should open a kebab shop for other civs :).
Feudal age is not the age britons want to spend a lot of time in. Early feudal they have the choice to do a few scouts, but they can’t over-commit due to the lack of bloodlines. The only real choice generally here are archers if britons want to get to castle age any time soon. Without any bonuses in this age and with the open tech tree they can do pretty much anything but full scouts. Because of the bonuses coming in castle age, it’s worthwhile to skip this age.
Now, castle age is where the britons start to really shine. They get everything except bloodlines and thumb ring. They are reconciled with the +1 range making their crossbows with good micro much stronger against any other civ. The thumb ring doesn’t play too much a role when microing against armies, because players tend to overkill units anyway. If the player is able to get out of range the faster firing rate with thumb ring doesn’t have that much of an effect, either. Crossbows in castle age can get 8 range with bodkin arrow, that’s the same range as TCs with bodkin arrow. This helps out very much in castle age pushes with rams, since crossbows can shoot down units attacking the rams without getting hurt from town centers.
Even though britons don’t get bloodlines, initially even knights could be a good choice. Alternatively just mixed in with the army to scare away any skirmishers from the other player. The cheaper TC bonus also very much supports the crossbow line and not the knights or infantry. The saved wood comes in handy for extra military buildings or archers, while booming.
In early imperial age they can still strengthen their momentum with cavaliers, very strong arbalest and a nice boom. As soon as the opponents start getting their strongest units, however – paladins, siege onagers, siege rams, britons start to have problems. Still, if by this time, they could mass up enough archers and support units, that fully upgraded death-ball is very hard to stop. Almost nothing gets near to 40 longbowmen. In the late game britons get fully upgraded trash (again apart from thumb ring). With saved up gold for trebuchets they still can do decent damage, but all this is good for slow pushes. They lack any proper raiding units (hussars, eagles, woad raiders, paladins, etc.)
All in all, britons are a very enjoyable civilization to play. It is hard to get a bad start with them and once castle age they rock and keep rocking until late imperial age. If by that time they are not able to do some damage and mass enough army, they might get into trouble. Hope, this helps somebody. Did I miss or mess up anything? Let me know in the comments.