Large Islands is a variant of Random Map Games, in which each player starts on its own Island on the edge of the map. between the Islands of the players, several uninhabited islands are scattered with additional sources of Food, Wood, Gold, Iron and Stone. Large Islands are one of the few map types, where AI players can be beaten despite the substantial AI cheating.
Tactics against human opponents Edit
In a multi-player game against human opponents, the goal should be to establish naval superiority as quickly as possible, since the ability to keep an opponent from fishing in the waters around his island will severely restrict his ability to reach the Copper Age, forcing him to do so with minimum military forces due to the shortage of Food. Simultaneously it is imperative to fortify the own island by surrounding it with towers to prevent enemy landings. In a third step it is necessary to occupy and defend most if not all of the resource islands to restrict opponents to the few resources on their own island.
Tactics against the AI Edit
(Note: This does only reliably work in the "Easy" difficulty level, resources set to 'defensive high' and a start with 20 citizen) recommended Civilization bonuses:
- +15% pop cap
- Tower range and attack upgrades and cost reduction
- Stone gathering upgrade
- (optional) Citizen cost reduction. It's an expensive upgrade, but it will greatly speed up the start.
- military upgrades according own preference
Prehistoric Age Edit
Most of the tactics described in the previous section are completely useless against AI opponents, as all measures are countermanded by AI cheating. Each player starts on an Island with 2 pumpkin patches, 4 wild animals, 2 stone mines, 3 iron and 3 gold mines. Wood supply is plenty. Send 6 Citizen each to harvest from the pumpkin patches. Send 5 citizen to the nearest stone mine, build a settlement and immediately populate it. Use the newly created town center to populate stone mine with 6 gatherers. Send the three remaining start citizen to harvest wood. You will usually find a single tree near the Capitol. Chop that first to make room for later military buildings. Populate the second stone mine from the Capitol. As soon as the second stone mine is populated garrison 5 of the gatherers to the settlement to turn it into a Town Center and re-populate the mine. If you have spare food left start sending citizen to chop wood. If you play on a higher difficulty than "easy", the AI players will age up after around 20-30 minutes, so by that time you need as many Clubmen as possible, since first attacks will soon start. If you play on "easy", the AI's won't age up before the human player, so you can ignore the military for the moment as long as you stay in Prehistoric Age, since the AI's cannot build docks. As soon as you have 300 food (or 240 is you chose the citizen cost reduction) Hotkey the two town centers at the stone mines and your Capitol to group 3 and set their rally points to the first gold mine and create two citizen. Since you have three buildings selected, you'll create 6 gatherers for the mine. Wait for the food to trickle in until you have 300 (240) Food and create 6 wood choppers. Now build up your economy using the following schema:
- 6 on gold
- 6 wood
- 6 iron
- lather, rinse repeat until all 3 gold mines and iron mines are populated and you have at least 30 wood choppers.
Simultaneously to the build-up of your economy, take 3 people off the wood and start building towers around your island. Make sure to cover all of them with temples. If you miss just a single one, the AI will make a bee-line for it and flatten it with a prophet. To completely fortify an island (each tower is in shooting range of its neighbouring towers) you'll need about 90 minutes. The AI does the same in about 20 minutes, so rushing them is not the best idea. About 20 minutes into the game you can take another 4 or 5 citizen off wood and start hunting the wild animals, which have reproduced. You should now have about 8 to 14 instead of the initial 4. Once your economy is running (about 40 minutes into the game) you should build 4 Baracks and train 20 Clubmen. Do not bother training Rock throwers as those are obsolete quicker than yesterdays laptop. Now wait for 1122 food units to trickle in. You can safely wait until 60 minutes elapsed before you need to age up. This gives you more time to surround your island with towers.
Stone Age Edit
You should race through Stone Age as quickly as possible as food is on short supply. The pumpkin patches are running out and with the AI's predilection to spam war rafts and later battle ships, fishing boats are vulnerable. Quickly build 3 docks (near clusters of fish) and train 4 finish boats out of each dock. Upgrade their speed twice. Once the pumpkin patches have run out, send the 12 former gatherers on wood. Simultaneously build 4 Archery Ranges and train 20 Slingers. Upgrade them to the maximum. Range, hit point and Attack upgrades make the most sense. Speed upgrades are not useful, we'll not run marathons with them. After about 10-12 minutes you should be able to age up to the Copper Age
Copper Age Edit
The Copper Age is the pivotal age in the Game as it is time to get a veritable Boom going. Immediately start researching all upgrades at the Barracks, Capitol, Archery Range, Dock and Temple. You have a lot of wood choppers around. Send them to build granaries in groups of 8 - 4 or 5 granaries are needed to out-boom the cheating AI. Research the Granary upgrade. Once the Granaries are going, you'll see food coming in by the truck load. Go to each gold and ore mine and convert them to town centers by garrisoning 5 citizen in the settlement and then repopulating the mine from the newly created town center. Within minutes, all mines have now a 25% production bonus. Build 20 spearmen from the Barracks and add them to your army of Macemen and |Bowmen. Wait for 1.600 food and build 4 Stables while waiting. Now research Gilgamesh (Strategist Hero) and build 20 Horsemen. This will be your 'Quick reaction Force', which you send to battle if the enemy makes it through the deadly ring of towers around your island. That's all the army you'll need for a long time, but if you wish you may build a second Infantry brigade (20 Macemen, 20 Spearmen, 20 Bowmen) and station them on the opposite side of the island. (this is advisable if you play against 3 or more AI opponents). Train wood choppers until you have about 30 of them again. Now that food is coming it very quickly, select the town centers of all mines (8 overall) and do the following:
- Rally point of all 8 on a Granary
- Train one citizen
- repeat process with all other Granaries
Within few minutes you'll have all improved granaries and food production will skyrocket. Meanwhile the tower building process should be finished. Send the three builders to chop wood. From now on keep an eye on your stone stockpile. As soon as you have 850 units of stone, grab 10 or more wood choppers and let them build the Ishtar Gate. When that is built your towers will be almost unassailable. Even five Sampsons can't hack them off before the neighboring towers have killed them. Now it is time to get the resource production going. Select and hotkey 5 Town centers/Capitol and do the population dance again:
- rally point on a town center
- train 2 citizen
- repeat for all other town centers.
Within a few minutes all your town centers have become Capitols and resource production has risen another 25%. Meanwhile build two temples in areas, which are not yet covered by temples. Also upgrade all your units to the max. Since you surrounded your island with towers, you also have a nice ring of temples along the shore. Train a prophet from each temple. These can be use to cast Hurricanes at approaching enemy ships or to decimate an invasion force by way of Malaria. As the last step select 7 Capitols, hotkey them (I usually use group 7) and set the rally point to a gold mine Capitol. Train 5 citizen and in a short period of time the Capitol will have 50 citizen garrisoned. This means the gold mine now produces twice as much as a normal gold mine with a settlement. Wait for the food stocks to be replenished and age up to the Bronze Age
Bronze Age to Industrial Age Edit
When you reach the Bronze Age, about 2 hours will have elapsed (less if you used the citizen cost reduction). Now it will be a question of racing through the ages. The following steps prove most effective:
- research all possible upgrades at all buildings
- build a Church, University and Hospital to cover your territory (one of each in each age, 1 additional fortress from Middle Age forward).
- fully populate a mine Capitol as we did at the end of the Copper age (it is advised to populate all Gold mine Capitols first)
By the time you reach Imperial Age all gold and iron mines should be producing at maximum level. In Renaissance the Long Swords become obsolete. Replace them with Arquebusiers and send the obsolete swordsmen to a fortress. In Industrial Age the Long Bows become obsolete. Exchange them for 1 half Hand Cannoniers and 1 half Snipers. You should be able to reach the World War I epoch at about 3 hours.
WWI and beyond Edit
At WWI you must add Flak-cannons (AA guns) to the defensive perimeter of your island and it is advisable to build a substantial fleet of battle ships and submarines. It is also a good start to occupy the 'neutral' Islands.
Conquering the resource Islands Edit
Although the AI cannot be starved off resources, since it gets unlimited free resources, it can be starved off space to hide, when you attack their island. Once you've reached the ending epoch of your game, it will turn into a war of attrition and patience. For each 'neutral island' you'll have to do the following.
- land an invasion force and at least 5 citizen.
- build a settlement and populate it to become a town center. Rebuild at least 5 citizen.
- Let them build a ring of towers around it (AA guns if neccessary, too). Cover them with temples.
The AI will not be fond of your idea and send troops and ships. Guard the tower builders with your invasion force against land troop attacks and against approaching naval forces with a fleet of battle ships and submarines. It is advisable to leave a small defense force on the island, should some enemy units make it past the towers Repeat the process until all 'neutral islands' have been occupied. The process is made easier, if you build a Library of Alexandria back home. This way you can easily see and raze the few AI buildings on the resource islands.
Killing off the AI Edit
The Game will by now be around 15 to 20 hours old and your kill count will be something that makes Idi Amin blush. AI armies tend to be huge and are replenished almost instantly. Most AI's leave one or two gaps in their defensive perimeter, most likely at the outer edges. If not, send a fleet of 20-30 war ships (with submarines as guards) and start razing the towers. Once a tower is razed, leave at least 2 warship while the others continue with the next tower. The AI will stubbornly try to rebuild the towers, so use the left-behind warships to kill the citizen trying to rebuild the towers. If you see a citizen repair a tower under attack, target the citizen with a warship. This is important as the AI repairs them almost a fast as you damage them. While the warships do target practice on the enemy towers, land an invasion force and at least 5 citizen on the Island. Immediately start building a bridgehead
- Setlement->Towncenter->rebuild citizen
- a small defense perimeter with towers (Temple first!)
- military buildings.
- Build up a huge army and charge into the enemy territory
Try to raze all Capitols and town centers ASAP or you'll be chasing an enemy with instant-building powers for ages. If you manage to raze all citizen-generating buildings the enemy will be paralyzed and easier to kill. Start razing and killing everything in sight, but keep an eye on citizen. If just one escapes, it'll rebuild almost as quick as you can raze. To put it in perspective: Once in a while an AI will get stuck and stop to age up. In one game I came across an AI opponent, who strangely had stopped to age up after reaching stone age. I invaded the island with a 100 unit army, consisting of Grenadiers, trench mortars, Grenade launchers, snipers and lots of Machine gunners. It didn't take more than a few minutes to mow down the hapless army of clubmen, Rockthrowers and spearmen, even though there were 200 of them, but it took more than 40 minutes to finally kill of all buildings and units as the AI kept hiding away 2 or three citizen that rebuilt Town Centers (AI doesn't need to populate settlements), military buildings and units quicker than I could kill them. Against an enemy in the same epoch such an invasion can easily take two or more hours. You'll have to 'tower off' the island after defeating the opponent or the other remaining opponents will quickly settle it. Games against a single or two opponents typically last about 30 hours and the kill count is astronomical, but the AI opponents can be beaten.