This is my very first game, versus 3 AI on continents (won at about an hour). For starters I would say I was fairly late with my military (something that would not fly against real players), and slow to castle age. I also noticed the AI explored most of the map and by the end of the game I had explored less than half - being new I didn’t have any expectations about how big the map would be or what the AI was capable of (not a lot). Definitely a lot of mistakes in terms of managing military but of course against AI they were not exploited. I would appreciate if someone skimmed through it a little and gave me some pointers :^)
Regrettably, your recorded game is no longer valid because of the new game version.
However, here are some tips for a new player seeking improvement:
Let’s see if we can break this down into some helpful questions & tips to follow. I will assume that you are discussing a normal online match with a Random Map type & Conquest victory condition.
- Are you playing a team game or a 1v1?
- Is it an open map (i.e. arabia) or a closed map (i.e. arena)?
These two questions will be your determining factors for when to build an army.
First off let’s address the elephant in the room – are you following a build order? The bottom line is if you are playing online almost anyone who is decent at the game is following some type of build order to maximize efficiency and be able to win as quickly as possible. If you aren’t, then I am afraid it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to be able to get better at the game.
If you want to just play the game for fun and don’t want to worry about build orders, that is totally fine! Enjoy the game and have fun just recognize that you most likely won’t be winning a lot of games online or against harder AI that way.
Now, that being said, let’s address questions 1 & 2 above.
There are two main build order strategies that are used: a FLUSH (Feudal Age Rush Build order) and a Fast-Castle (Fast Castle Build Order). If you are playing a 1v1 - you most often will need to do a Flush (which means building a military in the feudal age). If you are playing a team game, it will depend upon what position you are in correlation to your allies. If you are in the pocket (you are in the middle and your allies are on either side of you) then you should go for a fast-castle build order and build a military in the castle age. If you are on the flank (you are on the right or left side of your ally next to the enemy) then you should most likely go for a Flush. That being said, in light of the second question, if you are playing on a closed map (such as arena) or a map that is easily wallable (such as black forest) going for a fast castle is the preferred strategy regardless of your position on the map.
Now, remember this … this is a starting point for you. There are a lot of different build orders and a myriad of reasons why to use them at a particular time with a specific civ. That is the beauty of the game. What I have given you above is not a silver bullet to always follow and you will magically win your games. These are merely guidelines to get you started, and as you play the game you will get better at executing strategies and learn better when to follow those strategies!
TLDR: I would recommend that you first learn a Fast Castle into knights build order. It is the most versatile strategy and a great launching point for after you have learned it into other feudal & dark age rush strategies that are much more difficult to execute.
Here are some helpful links that very clearly explain and show how to learn and use these Build Orders:
Fast Castle (into Knights)
Flush (pop 22 Scouts)
Archer Flush (pop 23)
See here for a comprehensive list of build orders: buildorderguide.com
As always, if you have specific questions about how to execute a certain strategy or counter a difficult strat - there are a lot of people online here who have played the game a long time and are happy to help