Critical Play: Is this game balanced?

Ages of Empires is a strategy war game developed by Ensemble Studios and published by Xbox. Age of Empires target audience is designed for players ages 11 and up. There is an appreciation of the game by children and parents who value the ability to create and wage war while teaching history and strategy without excessive visual violence or images that are scary. With that said, Age of Empires IV predominate age, is between 22–35-year-old gamers. It should be noted that many of the gamers could have started playing that game as a child, which was the case for me. I can distinctly remember playing previous version Age of Empires I, Age of Empires II and expansion packs from elementary school past college.  For the majority of the time, I have played Age of Empires it has been a single player game against the machine. As a child, the first two versions, there were hacks you could make to artificially increase your resources without building the necessary infrastructure.

There are difficulty levels that alter the challenge experience while playing. This variation in experience enables the challenge level to appropriately correspond with the audience level. For more advanced players, there is a scenario component which enables a player to create environments that strongly favor the computer or any experience they choose. In these settings, can remember my father creating scenarios where his forces were significantly outnumbered against the computer. If you are wondering, he always won, with few exceptions 😊

When watching players engage with multiplayer games, there can be asymmetry where each player has different skill sets or experience levels that can create a noticeable gab between novice and experienced players on the leaderboard. It seemed that when starting out, both players usually had equal positions relative to resources. When playing another person or computer, strategies can evolve in part depending on what your opponent does.

The dominant strategy centers around constantly building your economy and improving/upgrading all facets of the game. By continually building and improving your people and society it provides the foundation for adequate defense. A strong defensive posture leads to the ability for a strong offensive victory. It is important to note, that once you are in a position to attack and participate in some form of offensive maneuver, you always focus on specific sections. It is a continual process of small offensive engagements that pick off opponents’ units and buildings, slowly weakening their force.  When you have significantly diminished their abilities and created a strong offensive contingent, only then can you consider an all-out assault. The transitive cost is in direct proportion to always building and improving your society. There are relationships that are intransitive, similar to the rock, paper scissors model between different solider groups. These relationships can evolve depending on the upgrades and number of units used in a specific engagement. The fruity comparison are the priests. They can be killed very quickly and easily. But if they are protected, and they are given adequate time, they can heal wounded players and convert opponents to your cause.


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