Why do pros bunch up their builds next to their TC

Well met,

I’ve started to take the game a bit more seriously recently now that it’s in a better state, and watching streams I’ve noticed that players consistently slam their houses and whatnot right next to their TC. It’s a strange sight coming from an AOE 2 player, where you need that space for farms. I’ve seen the argument that you start farming very late in this game so the space next to the TC is not needed, but at least from how much I’ve played I don’t get the impression that there’s enough food lying via sheep or hunt to last an even moderately long game, or am I not experienced enough to see it yet?

Thank you

I think it’s mostly the Englisch players because they build farms next to the mill because of their civ bonus.

I think it is mostly for efficiency and safety. Less villager walking time, and easier to defend.

Also, yeah you want to transition to farms as late as possible here, later than in AoE2 (maybe not English in certain builds). Also farms are smaller than in AoE2 so they don’t need as much space.

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The more spread out your base is, the more likely your enemy will sneak in and take some critical building out. Defensive structures like keeps and towers can also cover a larger portion of buildings/villagers if they’re close together. Siege in AoE 4 is also pretty bad at damaging several buildings at once, so grouping your buildings together won’t cause them suffer splash damage. There’s the added advantage of buildings naturally creating choke points which you can exploit defensively with archers and siege.

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The choke point bit didn’t occur to me at first but that’s a great insight.

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Is there some ballpark estimate as to when to ready up for a farm transition (like hitting age 3 or something) or is it just by going off what the map is offering?

It probably depends mostly on how much map control you’ve acquired at any given point. I’ve seen pro games where one player is tower rushed and forced to build farms in Age II. With good map control you can probably delay the farm transition until Castle or Imperial.

As a rule of thumb, if you don’t have enough food around to sustain your production and expanding would almost definitely cause you to lose your villagers (because you lack map control), transition to farms. At that point you would have a really hard time bouncing back, though.

Unfortunately there is no one strategy for this. For every civ except for English, you have to constantly be gauging how much food you have left in your berries, sheep, deer, etc. You want to start transitioning before you run out because you don’t want to be left with 20 villagers suddenly idle at once. For English, you can start building farms as early as dark age around the mills because it’s faster than berries and sheep.

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Its probably to minimise walking time from villagers, so they place house as close to where the villager is gathering as possible so they can build the house and quickly return to gathering resources.
They even advise not to build them near tc if possible since you may wanna use that space for farms, but on the rush they just do it cuz its quicker and easier, and saves a few seconds

I normally switch to farms when I’m out of sheep and sometimes berries. I’m not a pro and I am also just started playing again.

They place the landmark near the TC to cover it in case of getting rushed.

The houses are usually built by wood villagers, as wood is the most inefficient resource, so they’re usually built on the side of the TC towards the woodline. But I’ve never seen people build houses on the other sides of the TC, especially the ones opposite to where the opponent is.