Battle Realms

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Excellent strategy Choco-Bob I play very
similarly. I also think upgrading your Dojo and
Archery with special abilities also helps a great
deal (Zen Accurary etc). Also round up a few horses
- they provide 2 very useful purposes-:

1. Peasants can use them as pack-horses thus allowing you
to carry more water/rice back to your Huts. The quicker
you have your resources the quicker you get your army.

2. Put your prized units on mounts and their attack rating
goes up. Also you now have the trample ability which I have
found very handy in melee situations.

I also love Archers. As Choco-Bob advises use CTRL-1
(Or whatever) to group your Archers then make them stand
their ground. An enemy no matter what their Unit type quickly
crumbles under a hail of 10 or more arrows. I use CTRL-2 to
also group my Melee units and also use their special powers
in battle (Intimidate, Shield).

And yes - always save before a big battle. I also concentrate
on the towers first, then Enemy Archers, then Enemy Melee then
structures. Weather the initial storm of the Enenmy attacking
you then sit back and build. It sometimes takes finesse but
that's half the fun!

Try the following:
1. Build more peasant huts. The more you have, the faster
they spawn, the faster your army grows, etc. More huts also
increases your resource capacity (as does building a Town Hall)
, so that your gatherers can be constantly building up a fat
rice/water bankroll, so you'll always have resources when you
need them (like when you need heroes, NOW).

2. Use battle gear. Both offensive and defensive. Even on
your geisha. Equip everybody and use it in combat.

3. In single-player, save early and often. Make Ctrl-S
(quick save) and Ctrl-L (quick load) your friends. I always
quicksave before I invade a base. I wasn't in the habit of
doing this in Starcraft or AoE and it cost me a lot of time.

4. When invading, focus on towers first, then peasant huts,
then barracks (training buildings). Rush your melee guys up
to the towers, and keep your ranged guys AWAY from them.
Towers have awesome range, but the unit atop the tower can't
fire at units attacking its base (i.e., there are no
AoEII-style "murder holes"). Tower charges (their battle
gear, of sorts) are a bitch, too. When attacking a tower,
send one or two units in first, in the hopes that your
opponent (or the AI) will trigger the tower charge, then
send the rest of your squad against it.

5. Fire! Fire! Fire! Burn stuff. Dragon Warriors' flaming
sword, Serpent Raiders' torches, Wolf Pitch Slingers' pitch,
and Lotus horse Infernal Breath (among others) all have the
ability to ignite structures. Use it. There's nothing more
confusing to your opponent (or the AI in single-player) than
to have some fire units run around their town igniting every
structure they see.

6. Use hot keys. B to activate batttle gear, S to stop, N
to stand ground, G to guard, O for non-agressive. Go into
Options/Controls and study the whole list. This also includes
creating groups and assigning them hotkeys as well.

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