How do people age so quickly and have an army by 18 mins in?

I just dont get it. I was just in a game and the guy was japan and I was the salvs and he aged up to castle about 2 minutes before me. Next thing I know its been three more minutes and hes attacking me with about 10-12 horse archers. I don’t get what I can do to age faster but still have enough resources to start building an army. Anyone got anything I should practice to age faster?

probably the easiest way to achieve this quickly is learning some build orders. Download Cicero’s build order mod from the mod center and practice until you get high grades


Build orders. Also, if there was fish, japs fishing ships


This looks like a good Fast Castle build into some pressure. If you know the drill, it isnt too hard.
On open maps you can even expect an army in feudal age or even in dark age.

It is all about doing things as efficient as possible. Things like: Dont have an idle TC, but create villagers all the time. So gather the right resources to be able to buy what you need. In Dark age you mainly wants food to create villagers. Also you need the wood for buildings to advance to the next age and build farms for after sheeps / boars runs out. You dont need stone / gold that early. So just dont take stone / gold that early if you dont need it already.

Things like this are optimized into build orders. This game is already out since 1999. So these build orders are highly optimized. So this info is also widely known. I dont really know your level, but i guess it is below 1000. Might even be below 800, since i feel like players around 800 elo even try to use build orders nowadays.

Having said this, i wont suggest to just look for build orders and copy those. You are just copying some one else build order without really knowing why it works (or why it also somethings failed). So in the end you still dont really know why you are doing certain things.

I will suggest the guide of Survivalist for newer players:

It consists of 4 parts and build orders are also discussed. If you finished part 1 and part 2, then you will end up with a discussion about build orders in part 3. This also show the priority to me. Build orders are nice to have, but before you really want to use build orders, it is much better to have a more broad understanding of the game, so you know why you want to do certain things in a build order.

After watching this serie (it is about 1h long in total), you can have a look at specific build orders and try to learn some build orders based on you preferred maps and strategies.


Replay the saved game and switch to his perspective. You can see exactly how he did it. Then, practice the same build order yourself just to learn.

I replay most of my 1v1 ranked games just to see what they did well and what I could do better.


This helped me a lot. Also rewatching in capture age. You can see when your tc is ideal and vills and for how long. You would be surprised how much time you can rack up.

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Have you watched T90? His Low Elo Legend series on youtube have good commentary for beginner players.

I agree with Robot, analysing replays from both sides lets you see what your opponent did in order to beat you, and I think that’s a great start if you want to improve. Build orders are key, but not always is it possible to follow them to perfection.

I would recommend 2 things:

  1. Find a pro/semi-pro player you like and watch him play. Don’t focus on his “insane quickwalls”, but mostly on how he manages his eco (How many lumbercamps does he build? When does he start farming? Does he always mine gold/stone). I think this is important because they often carry out smooth economies in a real game, outside of the “ideal world” some build orders live in.

  2. If you identify as an agressive player, you could practice how to push your oponent and keep the fight on his side of the map. This means his eco is more exposed to damage, while yours is safer. Disrupting your enemy’s economy is another way of making sure you are faster to the next age.

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What ELO are you? 10-12 cav archers by 18 minutes doesn’t seem like beginner level. I just searched on youtube for fast castle into cav archers, and found this video where a player who is just below 1300 ELO took nearly 20 minutes to get to 10 military:

a good app to learn build orders from is aoe 2 companion, try downloading it on ur phone, personnaly this is what helped me in becoming good at aoe

I had a go at this, and after about 10 attempts I managed to have 9 cav archers at 18:00. That was using Huns, and they were un-upgraded at that time. I did it as a fairly standard fast castle type build, but building a barracks while going up to feudal, then blacksmith and range on reaching feudal. I added ranges 2 and 3 while going up to castle, ready to start production as soon as I reached castle. I did quite a lot of big re-assignments of villagers to collect the specific resources needed at each point in time, e.g. after clicking up to castle you don’t need any villagers on gold until close to when you’ll start producing the cav archers, so I used them to collect the wood for the buildings. I also threw a lot of villagers at berries for a short period, to use up all available food and minimise the need to build farms, due to how much wood was needed for the buildings and then the cav archers. I’m sure it can be optimised more than my build was.

Giving this a watch today! Thank you!