Let’s discuss value.
Sometimes it is the small things that reflect a skill difference between two different players. Value can be one of those small things that can add up in the long run. It is a term used both to measure game sense, knowing when it is appropriate to micro and be very active with your military, or when it is appropriate to patrol your units into a fight and focus on your economy. It also reflects on a players ability to get more than was expected or hoped for out of a unit, for example in a drush or a men at arms rush, after the rush and when both players are in Castle Age, using leftover militia/men at arms, which are usually not useful at that time period for army engagements, to simply be annoying in an opponents economy, even without actually getting a villager kills, goes far beyond what the purpose of that rush is, since the game has already developed further to when those units are useful for the rush.
How can you consistently get good value out of your military?
- For scouts, when one or two are weak, you should use these to scout the rest of the map as this will inform you of gold and stone mines you need to be aware of, hills you need to lock down later on with castles, or relics you should try to snag.
- For militia and men at arms, keeping an enemy army at their base while you gain map presence, attacking villagers on a resource and distracting, or denying the placing of important buildings is more value than was ever expected out of these units but if you can pull this off, will assist you in the long run.
- Archers that are being cleaned up by an enemy army may be unlikely to survive the attack, however that does not mean they are dead before they are killed. They still can do some damage – if you are in an opponents economy with your archers and there are more skirmishers than you can fare and you are unable to escape, try picking off opponent villagers to get the most value out of the archers.
- If you are not in an enemy economy, consider hitting-and-running your archers so every time they attack, they create space between a melee opponent to output the most damage. If possible, you can also place them in a tight space where only one or two melee units can attack a group to get the most damage out of the archers.
- In a transitional build, for example in a drush where your opponent is also making militia for men at arms, fighting your opponents militia before upgrades come in will always be net positive value. This goes for any unit before they are upgraded, including jumping under town-centre fire to pick off villagers or taking an occasional spearmen with knights, using crossbows with bodkin arrow against regular skirmishers so that they do not mass and get upgraded, etc.