Age of Empires 4

Farming food in Age of Empires 4

In many ways, food is the most important resource in Age of Empires 4. Even if you need wood or ore to equip your soldiers, you still need to be able to feed your army. So, unlike most strategy games, you don't pay your units with gold, but with food! Learning how to farm food efficiently is therefore essential.

There are many different food sources on each map and you will quickly have to learn to identify them and collect them intelligently. There are 7 different categories, each with its own specificities and uses depending on the situations you will encounter in the game.

The Berries

Farmer Les Baies

You will usually find berry bushes around your forum. Of all the food sources in Age of Empires 4, they are the least efficient in terms of food units per minute. They are, however, the most reliable and sustainable source at the beginning of the game. They will eventually run out if you take too long to develop your own food sources, but their fruits should be more than enough to build up your first group of peasants and recruit some soldiers to defend your positions.

How to collect them effectively :

The best way to get the berries as quickly as possible is to create a mill as close to the bushes as possible. The wood and time that a mill will cost you is negligible compared to the yield it gives you. It takes a farmer almost as long to pick berries as it does to walk back and forth to the forum to deposit them. With a well-placed mill, you can almost double the speed of your harvests, which is crucial, especially at the beginning of the game, if you want to develop your town faster than your opponents.

The Sheep

Farming food in Age of Empires 4 - aoe4 guides farm sheep -

Sheep are an excellent source of food, but much more situational than berries. Unlike berries, which are always found around your starting point, sheep are scattered randomly around the map. To enjoy their meat, you have to find them and bring them back to your camp. Sheep meat yields more food units than berries, regardless of how long it took you to find the animal, bring it back and kill it.

How to collect them effectively :

You can't rely on sheep like you rely on berries. Your peasants should never be in charge of fetching a sheep, that is the job of your scouts. At the very beginning of the game, you should normally enlist at least one scout to scout the area around the map. He is therefore the most likely to spot any stray sheep. Once the scout finds one of these sheep, the animal will follow it, adapting its speed of movement. In other words, the scout is the unit that will bring the sheep back the fastest and cannot unintentionally lose them. Note that the scout can be followed by more than one sheep at a time, so it is not necessary to go back and forth with each animal found.

Once the sheep have been brought back to your camp, it's up to the farmers to work! To get the meat as quickly as possible, position the sheep around the forum. It only takes one attack from a farmer to kill a sheep. In order not to create a traffic jam around the forum and the animals, we advise you to assign the slaughter of the sheep to one peasant before the others can come and collect the meat. Note that meat cannot spoil in Age of Empires 4, so there is no particular advantage to keeping sheep alive in your camp.

The Farms

Farming food in Age of Empires 4 - aoe4 farm guides -

Farms represent in a sense the evolution of berry bushes. They are an equally easy to collect food source and have two big advantages. The first is that you can build your farms just about anywhere, so you are no longer dependent on the natural resources the map offers. The second is that farms are inexhaustible sources of food. Farms offer a higher food yield than berries and sheep, as long as you have a mill close enough. The downside is that they require some upfront investment in wood to set up. They should definitely be favoured, but also protected, as long as you can create them. It is in these farms that the majority of your peasants must be located, and this until the end of the game. Without farms or peasants, you will be defeated.

How to collect them effectively :

Since food is very important and since you can set up farms anywhere you want, you'll want to build them in the back. Draw an imaginary line from the centre of the map to your forum and build your farms behind it if possible. Generally, it is better to build farms around a mill, rather than a mill around your farms. You can imagine a 3×3 grid, with fields around the edges and a mill in the centre. This is the fastest and most efficient way to collect their food.

A little tip: if you place your mouse on a mill and hold the shift button when you click to place a farm, the game will automatically build a farm around the mill. Click several times and the farms will be optimally arranged around the mill.

As you progress through the game, learning horticulture will allow your peasants to harvest food much more quickly from farms near the mills. They may even harvest faster than the time it takes for the crops to grow back. In these cases, feel free to build more farms around your established fields.

Deer and Boars

Farming food in Age of Empires 4 - aoe4 guides farm hunting -

Hunting yields even more food than farming, but you will need to dedicate a small proportion of your units to it. Deer and wild boar are spread over the map, just like sheep. However, they are not as easily tamed as our woolly friends. If you want to enjoy their meat, you'll have to kill them on the spot. Deer will tend to run away, while wild boars will tend to defend themselves. In either case, it is not advisable to send your peasants on a hunt alone. Instead, use your spearmen and archers to bring down your prey and avoid deaths in your ranks.

How to collect them effectively :

Unlike sheep that are killed next to the forum or a mill, it is almost impossible to bring in wild animals. Since you have to kill wild animals in the wild and it is impossible to move the carcasses, you will have to organise yourself. Once the animal has been killed, send one or two farmers to build a makeshift mill around its remains. This way you can save the long journey home and enjoy these very rich food sources.

Coastal fish

Farming food in Age of Empires 4 - aoe4 guides farm fish coast -

On the beaches and banks you can sometimes see the splashing of fish. These coastal fish are one of the best sources of food. They can be caught in the same way as berries, by simply sending your villagers to catch them. Coastal fish are a food source that is generally safe to collect. Where you might run into opponents while chasing animals or simply wandering away from the forum to collect berries or ore, you are unlikely to run into them while collecting fish.

So what's the catch? Well, first of all, these fish are much scarcer than most other resources. You can imagine that if there is no water on your map, you won't find any fish. Secondly, you can't bring the fruit of your catch to a mill. The fish can only be brought to your forum or to a port.

How to collect them effectively :

As we have just seen, coastal fish can only be brought to the forum or to a port. However, ports and fishing ships are extremely expensive in terms of wood at the beginning of the game. Coastal fish only become an interesting source of food if they are close enough to the forum or if your wood reserves allow you to invest in them. Try to create your main port as close as possible to coastal fish if you have spotted a school of them, as creating a secondary port just to harvest these fish is not really profitable.

It should be noted that while fish can be caught by farmers, fishing boats are much more efficient and will fill your food stocks more quickly.

Fish in the open sea

Farming food in Age of Empires 4 - aoe4 guides farm fish sea -

Fish on the high seas are the best food resource in all of Age of Empires 4. Unlike coastal fish, which can be easily spotted from land and retrieved with peasants, schools of fish on the high seas are harder to find and require a port and fishing vessels. You are also less safe from an enemy attack once you are far from the coast.

How to collect them effectively :

The best way to collect fish on the high seas is to have fishing vessels take turns fishing so that there is always at least one vessel fishing while the others are making deliveries to port or returning to the fishing grounds. This means that such an infrastructure is extremely expensive in terms of wood and you have to be careful not to use up your reserves.

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