How to Transition to Hard AI: Re-Entering the Game

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    When I was younger, I used to play this game.

    Nostalgia hit and I recently got its Xbox version.

    However, I’m now addicted to it.

    Back then, I played on easy modes or by myself, but now I’m struggling to win on its hard difficulty level.

    Usually, I choose random maps, random civilizations, and play against the game’s artificial intelligence.

    I can win if I have an “ally,” but it’s challenging to play alone against two or three enemies.

    I already know the trick to quickly advance through the ages, but I keep getting outnumbered in any game.

    Do you have any tips to help me win?


    Fight them in feudal and castle, dont let the ai boom up.


    If you insist on fighting AI in the late game, your best bet is to have a highly cost efficient comp where you’re only really losing trash units, like CA + Light Cav or Mangonel/Archers + Spear.

    By preserving your gold units well you can eventually outlast the AI.

    This ofc doesn’t always work on all maps and with all civ matchups, so the best bet in general is still to kill them early.

    Edit: oh and stone wall your base if you insist on fighting them late.


    Constantly make villagers.

    Your Town Center should always be working, whether creating villagers, researching upgrades (loom, wheelbarrow, handcart), or aging up.

    Don’t stop until you hit 120 or so.


    The simplest non-cheese way is probably Ethiopian 2 range archers, hit them in feudal then pull your archers back, go up to castle and come back when they’re crossbows.

    Drop a castle and/or siege workshop to finish the game.

    Scouts into knights also works, as does any other decent early aggression build.

    Long-term, the hard AI caps out at 80 villagers or something, so if you can get to 120 eco you should be able to outboom them too.

    They might have better micro, but an 80 eco player doesn’t really have an answer to 120-140 eco hussars.

    The one thing that normally does not work is a fast castle build on an open map, unless you’re a titans league player perhaps.

    You tend to die to their first attack that way.


    Ai gets disproportionally better in late game.

    It booms well, spends resources well, open new mining camps while doing a bunch of shit simultaneously.


    Ai will be devastated by early raiding.

    AI really likes unique unit in my experience.

    If you prepare counter unit for their uu you will often have a good time.

    Their micro is shit and will keep sending units to unfavorable situation.

    Two castles in strategical position or its face will draw out all gold units and waste them all.

    Not really a special advice but try to boom harder and spend all resources.

    Spam those production buildings!


    Do the William Wallace and Art of War tutorials, try to get the medals.

    Check out the how to improve YouTube playlist from Survivalist for general game improvement.

    Since you’re playing on Xbox, I’m pretty sure you would now be able to find good guides specifically for that too, in terms of controls, otherwise the core gameplay is the same.

    All this if your question is how to improve enough at the game to beat the hard AI.

    If your objective is only to beat the hard AI, there are plenty of ways to cheese it.


    Have you done the art of war series and gotten gold on all the missions?


    As an fyi, you’re not going crazy they have improved the ai a tonnnn since the original game.

    I believe they brought on a modder who was known for making good aoe2 ai, which is why it’s doing so well.



    Make more vills- alot of new players cap out at 60, double that.

    Make more production buildings.

    Don’t just make 1 or 2.

    Make 10.

    The more production buildings, the faster you can replace your army.

    IMO these are the two of the biggest issues with newer players.


    Appreciate the comments everyone, I will try these out!

    Im sure this isn’t the last time i will call for aid.

    I guess it also never clicked for me how much small early-game skirmishes can affect an opposing civ, I traditionally don’t play aggressively early on so time to mix things up.


    Hard is easy I think.

    As for extreme most people attack early but I suck at the game so I play Amazon Tunnel, let him boom and then beat his ass.

    You can maybe try the same?

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