Fast Castle into CA

As a Steppe civ enthusiast (Tatars/Mongols/Huns etc), my main aim is to start producing Cav Archers when I reach Castle Age… but not without some Feudal scouts for early pressure.

However, sometimes, the wood and food economy is so tight, that I am able to have a Archery Range, but food eco is a tad bit low, making the age up slow, and my CA production is delayed because I have problem balancing eco.

Do you usually transition to CA when you go Castle, or get Knights first?

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If you’re playing the Steppe civs, you could use the power spike off Steppe Lancer to cover your transition.

I think you can transition to CAs directly. You just need to,:

  • have 2 or 3 archer ranges (1 isnt enough)
  • only keep 10 villagers on food and stay on 1 TC until you massed your cav archers (maybe 20?). Put the other farmers on wood/gold.
  • research ######## during age up, then bodkin arrow and husbandry. Then ballistics.

I your economy is tight, it might be because you have too many farmers or are building addotional TCs too early. Or maybe you make too many scouts, 6 should be more than enough if you want a fast age up.

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I have never seen a direct FC → CA BO in my life. I’m not saying just because I didn’t see any means there is none. But the possibility is very low. The reason is unlike other FC into direct Castle Age unit - Knight or SL, CA needs at least 2 blacksmith techs to be viable. Knight or even SL are okay without any upgrade for couple of minutes in early Castle Age.

Could you not do Feudal Archers into CA? It’s less taxing on food eco. If you’re going Scouts, I’d rather stay on Cavalry units like Knights and Steppe Lancers, and if necessary transition a bit later on.

I have two, one for Tatars on Hideout (with bodkin), the other for Tatars on Hill fort (without early bodkin). They do work pretty well, but the outcome depend on the ability to then do damage with the units. And that is a lot dependent on the precise map layout and what strat the opponent initially goes for. A well-placed defensive castle is the easiest counter, so I wouldn’t do this against any civ that has a tempting option towards a UU. Which are, regrettably, quite many civs that are popular on these maps.

Generally, I think Tatars are the only civ a direct transition into CAs can work, no matter whether it’s FC or scouts into CA… For everyone else, Thumb Ring is just impossible to get. And without that, the units are pretty useless.

CA needs so many upgrades to be effective. So it’s typical to start with building up archer numbers on your way up from feudal, then get your standard upgrades of crossbow +bodkin +bowsaw first, then transition into CA once you have husbandry, bloodlines and ballistics. Thumb ring is often worth it for CA by mid to late castle age if you can afford it. You can also go scouts / knights into CA. Completely straight FC into CA with no transitional unit is extremely difficult and I don’t think I’ve ever seen it being effective in a game or in any pro games.


Would love to see this. Mind share them?

Although I think OP asked for meta map Arabia.


I haven’t crunched the numbers so IDK if 10 vills on farms is exactly correct but yeah this is good advice by @Zelley00.

What are you spending food on? you need 120 per minute to sustain vills from one TC. Anything else you could spend on techs, but aside from bow saw, those you can probably hold off on until a little later.

Again I haven’t crunched the numbers, but I’ll give some obvious examples just to demonstrate the point.

If you’re heavy on food in early castle you can afford say 2 CA to start and Bodkin Arrow. Conversely if you have been able to afford 4 CA to start unless the target had 5PA or higher you’d been better off with two more CA.

Basically the thought process should be will my army of CA be stronger if I add 1 or 2 more or if I get this tech. I know it’s not binary later on, you’ll have more vills an can afford upgrades, and if your trading well you might be able to let off the gas on CA production. But that is the very basic concept.

There once was a time when you could go scouts into CA.

But it’s already for a long time this is one of the strats that has been completely abandoned.

There have been a lot of meta but also balance changes that let to this abandonment. One of which wasn’t even mentioned in the pathes which is that early farms now 10 % more efficient. Thus all strats that lead to naturally more farm placements have been secretly buffed - and scotus into CA was always a strat that didn’t required many farms, it was one of the main sellin points of the strat that you didn’t need to invest much into your food eco.

What and How?

20 characters

I still don’t know when it happened.
But arly farming is now about 10 % more efficient than it used to be.
And then there is the bug with Hand Cart where the farms even deploy more food than they should.

I hope the devs fix at least the latter.

So farmers collect around 22 food instead of 20 before Wheelbarrow?

How much they carry? More than 21?

More like 18-19 => 20-21, dependin on how you count.

Vills don’t carry more, farms deploy more than they take from their storage.

For Hill Fort:

  • Everything as usual, 6 on food, four on wood, rest on food. Mill to deer or pushing deer and mill on wall. Vill 18-21 on wood, 22-23 on gold, up with 23+scout. Make two farms+barracks. Feudal buildings are range+blacksmith. This should be exactly enough to click up to castle with 23+2+scout. Food for ########## wood upgrade, and a few vills. Wood for 2nd range, houses, and then some more farms.

For Hideout (with four deer inside):

  • Similar to above, but put mill on berries, push deer. Only five on wood needed prior to castle click (four initial, one added later). Click up with 22+scout to feudal. Make no farms before click to castle. It’s enough food to afford first wood upgrade, ########## bodkin, and the first vills in castle.

Both builds are quite tight, and sometimes a bit idle tc in early castle is the consequence. Also, it initially provides production from two ranges, only, and upgrades from the stable are something to only dream of. And as mentioned above, this can be defended, especially if you see it coming. Preemptively walling the gates is a good option, for example. But then again, the strat is not completely all-in. Due to the fact that we don’t sell stone, and tatars have this bonus of spawning sheep with TCs, it is at least in principle possible to follow this up by switching into eco mode.

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