Tips to beat hard AI?

Merry Christmas for you all. :slight_smile:

I am a casual AOEIII player from AOEII, knows very little of civs, balances, units etc. This Winter event needs me to beat a Hard AI. I tried 10 times at least, from random civs to mirror (I choose French), but for some reason AI can always get a massive eco and score lead consistently, and I can barely keep up with the score, let alone military and eco. I checked the graph and AI seems to always have a consistent vil lead (3-4) over me who also produces vils consistently.

If Hard AI is such a dramatic difficulty jump from moderate, thats a whole lot of challenge to me to beat. Moderate AI ages much slower, build far fewer units and overall much more passive. AOEII AI feels more smooth and similar level of difficulty would only be found in harder or extreme.

I am not really asking for any change of AI difficulty, but rather see if there are tips for me to know to beat Hard AI. Tbh I don’t like how AOEIII handles different AI difficulty, but it is what it is.

Thanks all in advance. :slight_smile:


The AI is very bad at finishing you off, so you can exploit that by playing defensively. They’re very afraid of buildings that attack until they have artillery, if you have an outpost or war hut and a few units underneath they usually run off.

As native civs I usually go straight villager boom, put vils on plaza as soon as I can and when AI attacks I just switch it to emergency warriors. This usually deals with the first three or four waves on its own. AI is wasting time and resources on attack waves, and you can use that time to build stuff. Whenever you have extra wood add some war huts. (Or with Inca just build all the Kancha houses, or with Haudenosaunee put plaza on travois and just build all the house+war hut walls.)

As European and Asian civs I use all my buildings to create a wall, it doesn’t have to be perfectly around your entire base, just sort of three sides of a square (the hole facing away from the enemy). Then put ranged units inside (if Dutch, wall completely, build skirmishers). Gives you time to develop your eco and your units can snipe off enemies.

Make sure you always keep building villagers. Raiding doesn’t work for me (AI just rebuilds and micros several places at once and I lose more resources from either losing units or not paying attention to eco), so outbooming is the way to go.

For an easy match I would try going Swedish against Aztecs. Most Aztec units are underpowered and they have a bad economy, while Swedish is very good and easy to play. Just build torps around gold mines, and build Caroleans. Any problem is solved with more Caroleans. Aztecs don’t really have any good counters against Caroleans or against Mercenaries, and that’s what Sweden does best. You could also go Germans or French against Aztecs. Unit compositions are something to practice for later, but Gendarmes (unique French cavalry) and War Wagons (unique German cavalry) spam should take care of Aztecs, and both have really good economies with their super villagers.

I’m nowhere near a good player, but I’ve gotten to the point that I can pretty consistently beat Hardest AI using these tricks.

If nothing works you can always give yourself a handicap :slight_smile:


I’ll do a play by play for you :slight_smile: Seems like fun! :smiley: This is probably a lot more than you need, but I just thought of the idea and got enamored with it, and then all the good players can tell me how bad I am :slight_smile:

French vs Lakota (accidentally, was going to go Aztecs). Nomad (I just prefer this for some reason).
Step 1. French starts with free scout, send this in a circle around the outside of the map to find all the gifts. Send Explorer to scout some, until you find a trading post to run to. Set gather point to nearest huntable animal, all spawning villagers will run there as soon as TC is finished.

Step 2.
TC finishes. Immediately select one villager and gather the crates you got. Send another villager to the middle of the map, there’s a small island with resources there. If you’ve spotted any Gifts nearby, send a villager to them. The rest stay on the hunted animal (gathering crates with multiple villagers will net you less resources in the long run). Start queuing up villagers right away.

Here’s treasure island:

Step 3.
The free resource crates will make you much quicker than normal (Coureur des Bois also gather 25 at a time from a crate instead of 20 like normal villagers, it goes REAL quick). Age up, build Trade Post, House, Market (for multiplayer and real games this would probably be WAY too early). This is my deck, it’s probably bad, but it’s maximized for what it does.

Step 4.
Until opponent ages up you can just focus on economy. Try grabbing both Native Villages, always located in the same place, while aging up. You’ll be able to train villagers from them and Cree Textile Workmanship is amazing. Gather all resources. Send cards that help with gathering or trickle. I’m greedy. A good player would probably rush here and send units and harass the economy. I’m not a good player.

This is what I managed to get done when enemy finalled aged up. Attack incoming in a few minutes.

Church gives extra XP, same as trading posts. Both native villages and Town center are build Coureur des Bois. I don’t care what they’re gathering, just something nearby. As long as they’re gathering something.

Step 5.
Enemy has started running around with cavalry. They usually attack a trading post somewhere first. If they do, awesome! Let them. It’ll mean they’re busy, and you know exactly where they are. I focused on getting Food and Gold so I could age up with the Exiled Prince for speed!

Still no military buildings created at all. While aging, switch villagers to gold. You want equal resources on gold and food because that’s what your cav costs. You might also want to build mercenaries, depending on who’s available (again, native civs suck at dealing with mercenaries).

Step 6.
Remember that trade posts can provide resources, like extra wood or gold. Enemy has wrecked one native village. I already have the upgrades I need, and all vills from it. I’m not going to build Cree Trackers, so I don’t care. Gall can have it. I’ve managed to build like 8 Cuiriassers now, and am aging up. Build houses, build as few troops as possible. You can defend with Militia and Grenadiers (from church, unique french). You want 3 shipments as soon as possible from age 4, factory, factory, cheaper Cuiriasser. My mercenaries were a dud. Swiss Pikemen and Ninjas. Cool, but useless. Gendarmes are better.

Step 7.
Under attack! I’m going to lose a shameful amount of villagers. Good players will have a heart attack. It’s okay, my cavalry is on the way. Even if they have a bad matchup, they’re so good that I don’t care. I’ll run straight into pikemen or chase dragoons if I have to. But this attack isn’t even that bad. Outlaws are worth a ton of xp, and die like flies.

Step 8. As soon as I age up I ship the cheaper Gendarmes card. As soon as it ships (and not a second before, because I’m ultra greed, remember?) I start training full sets of Gendarmes from both stables. I will NEVER stop. Just churn them out until you reach max pop. Upgrade them, get faster training from church. And keep making vills and upgrade harvest rates. I ignore most natural resources and just build Estates and Farms. That way they stay close to my base and I don’t have to keep track.

Step 9.
The way too late actual doing something. Yes. This should be enough. Run my pretties. Charge! Vive le France!

Step 10.
One attack move later. I very overestimated how much resistance Gall was going to put up. There was like nothing there. But I am a coward, and I don’t know how to scout.

If anyone’s made it this far, wow! I hope it helped or provided a laugh! :smiley: <3


build cannons and muskeeters and towers, forts, then attack. Dont let enemy meele attack your cannons

What do you mean by handicap?

Click this button, then drag bar to preferred handicap. This improves your resource yield by the percentage. If you put it to +100% you’ll be able to start aging up from just your starting crates after like 40 seconds.


That’s AWESOME. This is exactly what me casual player would like to play against the AI. It does involve a lot of steps but I can give it a shot.

Thanks a lot for your help. Much much appreciated. :smiley:


Even simpler without 100 steps involved:

Play deathmatch as French. At start, immediately build 4 stables and houses until 200pop. Then just spam cuirassiers.

I’m amazed that AoE 3 has this feature. It help casual players like me to actually beat the Hard AI and complete the event. Thanks!

Just like in aoe2 you need to learn a build order in aoe3.

1 Like

make art of war tutorial on menu

Hard AI is quite easy to beat!! U just need to rush them.
If you play as French here is what you can do
On age 1 you only need 3 vill shipment.
With the 200w start make a market, and chop 50 gold for hunting dogs(market upgrade) and 50 wood for a house, age up with 14 vills using the politician that gives you 400 wood
In transition chop 75 wood for placer mines(gold upgrade on market then put 5 vills on coin and the rest on gold and send 2 vills forward
(You will probably hit age 2 before the AI if its hard mode instead of hardest)
With the 400 wood make 2 barracks and ship 700 wood for houses and a stable and as soon as the barracks are finished start queuing musks and shooting vills and idling his economy
Once u have a big enough mass u can just right click his base

This is easy because you have a build order.

Even easier than giving yourself handicap is to press Enter and type: tuck tuck tuck

Can be funny, and is a fast way to complete the challenges, but technically is “cheating”