At The Gates, the new game from the designer of Civilization V, is out today and it’s a great little strategy title. It can also be rather brutal, especially the opening hours, given that there is no real tutorial to speak of outside of a massive help menu or the occasional tip. To help with that onboarding process, here are 10 tips of our own to help you power through the learning curve and begin your quest to take on Rome.
Don’t Focus On Military Might First
If you want to take over Rome eventually with a huge army, great, but you need to focus on survival at first. Create an explorer as well as someone capable of harvesting whatever food source is around you (so a hunter, a reaper, or a gatherer). These roles are critical for surviving your first winter.
Develop An Economy Early On
Surrounded by a bunch of rocks? Train a couple of diggers and miners to identify them and transform them into mines. Use the minerals you to build what you need, sell the surplus off to the caravan that comes around every now and again, and buy weapons and tools to develop your first important units and structures. If you find yourself with plenty of crops nearby like wheat and flax, training a farmer to build a farm or plantation on them is a good idea.
Winter is an even bigger threat than opposing armies or roving bandits. Be sure to stockpile food during the spring, summer, and fall as best as you can. If you can afford to, try and keep a hunter busy during the winter to have at least one source of food to offset the gradual losses you take during these hard 10 turns.
Embrace The Excitement Of Discovery
Invest in the discovery profession early. As boring as that progression tree might seem next to agriculture and hunting, it’s super useful. Explorers not only move fast and can uncover the map, but they can reclaim weapons from battlefields and tools from deserted villages. Train (or respec an explorer) into a surveyor as soon as possible. They have the ability to identify any unknown plant they come across, opening up the amount of resources available to you.
Cloth Rules Everything Around Me
If you have a steady source of food, research the trapper progression and then train one. Send the trapper out to a pack of horses on the map to carve them up for cloth, which is essential in expanding the population limit for your settlement.
Keep On Trucking
Resources are finite in the world. You might be fortunate enough to spawn in a setting rich with all your necessary resources but more than likely you’ll need to move your settlement a few times by packing up and heading for greener pastures once you’ve depleted an area of its food, minerals, and lumber.
Play Nice (For A While)
Try not to get into conflicts early with any armies or other factions you run across. You’re too busy staving off the entropy of nature, after all. Wait until you’re resource-heavy and have a few squadrons of archers and spearman before you go toe-to-toe with others. Making nice with other factions and forming an alliance with them also unlocks the option to play as that faction in future games, so there’s a nice little bonus in being diplomatic.
Get Good At Scouting Talent
Pay attention to your clans’ perks and carefully use them to your advantage. If you need an explorer or harvester quick, some clans train faster at the cost of not being as proficient. For low-level roles that doesn’t matter. At the same time, certain clans will be really good at their roles but take forever to train. So just pay attention to those attributes.
Get Better At Refocusing Said Talent
You can respec clan jobs if you need to, which is useful for upgrading explorers to surveyors or quickly producing a new unit for an emergency task (like trading reapers for hunters when you come to a territory with loads of quarry but no wheat).
Cut Your Losses
It’s resource-heavy and time-consuming to heal clan members when they take damage. Sometimes, unless they’re top-tier units, it’s better to let them die off as they’ll usually be replaced the next turn by a new unit which you can mold.