How not to start -
How to start -
General naval strategies -
What to do if you've lost the sea battle -
How to fight
Basically, there are two ways how to start sea battle and three ways how not. This is about low resources; everything else is for newbies ;-)
How not to start in sea maps
Many newbies act like in land maps: barracks ASAP, then blacksmith, perhaps second barracks and upgrade to keep?
They are lucky if they survive long enough to come to that stage! In water maps, it's crucial to build up your naval forces as fast as you can. Of course, you shouldn't forget about land defense, but ships rule the game. If you're under battleship attack with no shipyard, you've lost the sea battle.
- destroyer first
This is about the worst thing you can do. Destroyers are useless compared to the power of juggs! A destroyer can never destroy your enemy's oil rig fast enough, not to mention a shipyard (an oil rig has 650 hit points, a shipyard 1100 so it's the strongest building after a town hall). As soon as the other player will have his battleship, he'll sink your jugg and will destroy your shipyard, too (if he can find it).
Because you've got no oil then, you've lost.
- subs first
Wake up, newbie ;-) ! Subs are entirely useless.
- They can be sunk with one jugg hit.
- They can be hit with "attack ground" by juggs even if the other player has no flyers.
- They do not inflict much more damage than destroyers.
- They are slower than destroyers or transports and thus cannot persue them.
- They cannot attack buildings at the shore (unlike destroyers and juggs).
- They cannot even be upgraded.
- As soon as the other player has got a flyer nearby, the sub is dead anyway ;-)
- You lose too much time and oil until you can build your first sub (this involves upgrading to keep, building a gnomish inventor and getting 900 oil for the sub).
How to start in sea maps
- battleship first
This is the standard strategy for water maps. Get your lumbermill first, then a shipyard and an oil tanker.
Build an oil rig, then a foundry. Of course you should build an additional tanker or two while the oil rig is finishing.
Get your first jugg as quickly as possible. Then get your barracks to build a few grunts to defend against early invasions. Make sure you keep pumping out those juggs :-)
Why? You start with 1000 oil, using 400 oil for the foundry. Thus you must get another 400 oil ASAP to get back to 1000. With two tankers, it takes two runs, with only one, you're too slow.
While the battleship is being built, use your oil tankers to find out where your target, the enemy's shipyard, is.
Then, take it out with your battleship! Unless your enemy gets a jugg too really soon, he's lost - at least for quite a while.
- transport first
This is an interesting strategy called "the sea grunt rush". The key is to get a transport immediately after the foundry is finished and not to build an oil rig. Instead, build barracks soon (after with the shipyard) and get six grunts during the time in which your foundry and then your transport is being built. You don't need an oil rig since you've got enough oil to build both a blacksmith (enhance the offense of your grunts, not the defense since your enemy should have little or nothing to defend with and you'll want to kill those peons as fast as you can ;-) ). Unless you know where to attack, you should build a tanker to scout the sea.
Then, take your six grunts and attack! This is lethal if you can find your enemy soon enough.
General naval strategies
Just a few tips in random order:
Keep your fleet together.
Leaving one battleship or two near each oil rig to defend it is nonsense. If you scatter your fleet, it can easily be killed even if your enemy has less ships. Instead, keep your fleet at the point of which you think it's the center of your "naval domain".
The foundry is the equivalent to the blacksmith while the shipyard corresponds to the barracks. This means that like in land battle, ships that are two levels above others will win the battle easily.
If you just let your ships stand around, they can easily be destroyed, since their first shot will miss. When patrolling, they are moving and much harder to hit. Just let them go back and forth all the time :-)
Good scouting may uncover weak spots in your enemy's fleet. As soon as you see a few ships separated from the main fleet, attack them! Also attack if your ships have a higher level than the others and numbers are equal or in your favor.
They are what naval maps are all about. If you discover a weakly defended expansion, go for it! Or use a run-and-go strategy with sappers or mages, invisible transports and so on ... their existence makes it almost impossible to defend a coastline with land troops. Only destroyers have a chance to sink transports because juggs are too slow and tend to under- or overshoot.
Cutting the enemy's oil supply
This is very effective if there are not many oil wells. Having more oil means more ships and sooner or later naval superiority.
Build additional tankers instead. If your oil rigs are too far away, build another shipyard. Sooner or later, you'll need it anyway.
The reason why you fight each other at sea is to get the goldmines in the islands, if there are any. Build a second town, and your gold supply will be so rich that you can easily support two or more shipyards.
Lost the sea battle?
First, don't panic! There are three ways to get back to the top, depending on your resources.
Building a new oil rig might become next to impossible if there are no oil wells near the shore :-(
Don't go for dragons or subs or you're lost. You might gain a short-time advantage with dragons, but a few destroyers will wipe them out quickly. Subs suck anyway (see above).
Be aware that your enemy can expand while you're bound to the land during the time while you have no ships, so do everything to recover as quickly as possible.
If you've got any transports left, repair them and use them for sneak attacks! It's not that bad if your juggs are gone because your enemy has to build destroyers against the transports. If you're playing with humans, invisible transports are the way to go!
This is the hard way. Catapults need a long time to be built, can be killed by a single shot, and their range is not high enough to defend a coastline effectively. You need to know the overshooting mechanism well and control the catapults like a pro or you'll lose them quickly. It's a chance, though, if your enemy has not too many juggs yet.
Defend your coastline with two or three catapults while building up a new shipyard. Never use towers! They are far too weak against ships.
Blizzard/death and decay
You can easily sink battleships with that. The humans have the options to slow the target, too, which makes this strategy even better for them. Once you've reached the castle stage, it should be no problem to build a shipyard again.
I'm sure you've already noticed that juggs overshoot if their target is still moving towards them. That's why you should never stop your juggs! Instead, keep on moving toward the target until both ships ram each other or your enemy fires. In that case, hit "Stop" and your ship will automatically engage the nearest enemy. Then, move towards the enemy again until you've rammed the other ship.
If you're lucky, your enemy gets only a partial hit with his first shot which means you have won. The picture shows a battleship that fires on the jugg even though the jugg hasn't stopped yet. This means the jugg gets only some "splash damage" and will survive the duel.
Normally it takes two full hits to sink a jugg. So, if you control an entire fleet, always make groups of two juggs that attack the same target. Make sure no ship stays behind or it will come too late.
Never back off! The overshooting mechanism doesn't work that way; i. e. if a ship flees, it actually will be hit by a shot targeting it even though it's moving. Overshooting also works against catapults; if you want to destroy a catapult, lure it towards the coast end attack it then.
"Attack ground" is a way to prevent overshooting but very tricky. You should use it against transports.
Credits for these combat techniques (particularly overshooting) go to Shlonglor who was the first player who analyzed them.
That's about what you need to know to be successfull in sea battles. Try different strategies and test the overshooting mechanism (also against catapults)! To finish this section, a picture showing something that never happens in real life: An archer that sinks a jugg :-)
By the way, did you know that if an oil patch is empty, the platform is dismantled, but not destroyed? The platform costs 700 gold and 450 lumber, and you get 525 gold and 325 lumber back. That's almost 75 % of the cost of a new platform. It would be cool if you could dismantle the platform at will (while there's still oil in the patch).
Thanks to Chris Vuong for pointing that out. I never noticed that in the heat of a battle - when it comes to that stage, I have peons mining and chopping like crazy so it's hard to tell where the resources come from ;-)