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Age of Empires 4 build order: How to advance ages quickly

A town with an abbey in Age of Empires 4
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Looking for an Age of Empires 4 build order? When it comes to advancing through the ages quickly, there are definitely some things you can do to speed up the process, especially in terms of the Dark Age and the Feudal Age, since these are early game, and you have the relative freedom to do what you want without people attacking you.

In many ways, getting as far ahead as you can before enemies start encroaching is one of the key elements to winning, especially if you're pushing for a Wonder victory. Of course, there's no right answer when it comes to build orders, since every game is different, and you'll be dealing with different pressures that require investment each game. This is especially true for the Castle Age and the Imperial Age.

But in terms of the first two, this basic build order should help you quickly rush through the Dark Age and Feudal Age, and help you establish the resource infrastructue you need to get to the Imperial Age, build your wonder, and establish some strong defences.

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Age of Empires 4: Best build order

With different factions and bonuses, there's no inherently correct answer when it comes to build orders, but here we'll explain our favorite basic build order to help rush each age.

Dark Age

The key to advancing through the Dark Age quickly is prioritising food and gold. Here's what we recommend:

  • Command your six villagers to harvest food from sheep
  • Recruit three more villagers
  • Send your scout to gather more sheep while waiting, and whenever you have a free moment
  • When the first new villager appears, have them build a house, then a mining camp by your nearest gold reserve
  • Set the three new villagers to mine gold
  • Recruit two more villagers and have them build a lumber camp
  • By this time you should be ready to advance to the Feudal Age
  • Use your two lumber villagers to build the landmark. If you're trying to win via wonder, we recommend prioritising landmarks that are either defense, such as The White Tower, or that can also act as recruitment buildings.

Feudal Age

Once your villagers have finished building the landmark, you should already be well on your way to advancing to the Castle Age. If your opponents are starting to encroach and you have no defensive or recruitment-based landmark, it might be worth building a barracks. But if they aren't poking at your borders yet, we recommend these steps:

  • Set the two villagers back on wood until you have enough to build a mill by the nearby berry bushes. This will give you a fall back when you run out of sheep, which you should do shortly.
  • Recruit two more villagers and put them on gold
  • As soon as you can, advance to the Castle Age. If you are building a defensive landmark, make sure it covers your outlying villagers harvesting wood and gold, so they can't be picked off by enemy soldiers.

Castle Age

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Now you're in the Castle Age, your focus should be turtling up if you plan to win by a wonder victory. Recruit some villagers to harvest stone, and use your excess wood and food to get some troops to defend your villagers while they build walls at key points. When building walls, consider resource-deposit locations, so your villagers won't have to leave the boundaries in the near-future to get what you need. 

You'll already have the resource infrastructure to advance to the Imperial Age in place, so it's just a case of waiting until you can, and preparing defences in the meantime. You'll want to build walls, recruit soldiers to defend them, and construct wall towers, and upgrade defences with weapon emplacements. Once in the Imperial Age, it's also a good idea to recruit some kind of deterrent against ranged enemy siege engines such as trebuchets. We found that bombards are perfect for destroying these at range, before retreating back inside the walls.

Other than that, building a market is a good way to quickly exchange the large amounts of food and gold you should have to build a wonder quickly once in the Imperial Age. You can also use this to get the specific resources you need for unit recruitment, or for building keeps to defend your walls.

Wonders

(Image credit: Microsoft)

One sure way to win in Age of Empires 4 without having to crush all other players is by a Wonder victory. This means that you managed to advance to the Imperial Age, build a Wonder, and defend it from being destroyed by other players for 15 minutes. It's dangerous in a lot of ways, because as soon as players get the notification you've built a Wonder, they'll drop everything else and try to stop you.

Wonders come at a high price, too, with a cost of 3,000 of each resource, and they require a lot of work to build. They may win you the game, but if they're destroyed, those resources were entirely wasted. Wonder victories are one of the reasons that build orders can be so strong, since the person who advances the fastest is the person who gets access to their Wonder first.

The first three games Lauren played on PC were Star Wars: X-Wing, Zoo Tycoon and Barbie Fashion Designer, which explains her love of all things space, strategy and aesthetically pleasing. Lauren recently joined PC Gamer as the deputy guides editor after three years of writing many dozens of Destiny 2 guides at VG247, as well as casually trying to shoehorn in The Witcher 3 articles wherever possible. When she's not trying to force everyone to play as a Warlock in Destiny 2, Lauren is either mastering her SEO abilities to help smash the competition, or patting one of her red sons.