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There's not much to be said about the standard hut, is there? Well, there are one or two things.
If you build a hut (or any building) on a tree, you lose the timber from that tree. On some levels (such as Craters), that can be critical, so try to avoid doing it, even if it means that you have to disrupt that aesthetically pleasing, regular street plan you were building ;-)
When you're building, leave some hut-sized gaps in the plan. That way, when someone destroys part of the village, you've got plenty of accessible building land to rebuild quickly, without waiting for the burnt out areas to become available again. Also, by spreading your huts out, you minimise the damage done by area spells such as earthquakes and volcanoes. If you've got lots of building land (eg on the uplands in Dead Sea) you can build in just every other space, which makes the village very resilient.
Huts are good places for hiding followers too because (unlike guard towers) your enemy can't see inside them. I've mentioned elsewhere about hiding your shamen, but you can also hide preachers and fire warriors to good effect. This tactic, used together with ghosts, can be very confusing for your opponent!
The guard tower is the most important part of any defence, and you need to start building them early - right after you've got your training huts sorted out. Put them on high ground for maximum range, and concentrate them around likely entry points for aggressive forces. On maps where there are limited paths for entry (eg linked island maps) these would be the causeways leading into your island. If boats and/or balloons are enabled, then you will need some around the perimeter of your village as well (not a bad idea in any case, because of bridge building). Three towers at each entrance is an absolute minimum; five or six would be better. And make sure that you *man* them - empty guard towers give no protection whatsoever and are therefore a waste of building resources.
So what should you put in your shiny new guard towers? Fire warriors are favourite. They not only sound the alarm, but are also able to repel invaders, including the shaman. They are even effective against the angel of death if you have enough of them, because they don't run away. If you don't have enough firewarriors, put ghost fire warriors in some of the towers - the enemy won't be able to tell the difference (at least until they attack!) However, do put real followers in at least some of the towers (even braves), because ghosts won't sound the alarm bell. Consider also putting at least one preacher in each group of towers. When there's a mixed assault, all the warriors, fire warriors and braves will be stopped in their tracks by a preacher in a tower, but the enemy preachers will carry on charging, and be mashed by your mixed defence of warriors and preachers in your village. (You did have some preachers in your village defence force, didn't you? Oh dear.)
If you have some handy hills at the edge of your base, it's very effective to cast 'flatten', perhaps several times, and form a cliff barrier and then line your towers along the top. The cliff is a psychological barrier, as well as a logistical one, and is very difficult to overcome.
Good defence doesn't stop when you've built your towers, however. Unless it's a very one-sided game, they're going to come under attack and take some punishment at some stage. Your braves should automatically repair any damaged towers on their own, but now, of course, they'll be empty - make sure you fill them again!!! It is so easy, in the heat of battle, not to notice how far your defence has been eroded, until you lose your shamen during a daring raid, come back to the CoR to collect her for the next assault, only to find that your village is now a smoking wreck crawling with enemy preachers and warriors. (Been there, done that, got *so* many T shirts!) It's a particular issue in 3 player games, when you're attacking one player and get attacked in the rear by the other. If you're using the same tactics for 3 player games as you do for 2 and 4 player games, it's time for a rethink. Anyway, 'keep your towers repaired and manned' is the take-home message.
Now, let's look at it from the other side. Your opponent has built a massed array of guard towers at the entrance to his village and manned them with fire warriors. He's sitting pretty, safe and smug, and is charging up all his spells ready to wreak havoc. You've already got all your spells charged up, but you can't use them because you can't get past his blankety-blank defence. Recognise the feeling? Yeah, me too. I'll give you the bad news first - I don't have a failsafe method of dismantling a defence like that, but here, at least are some ideas.
Campfires are used to set points between which your followers can patrol. Personally, I prefer to set the points by selecting the followers and then pressing Ctrl-Alt whilst I left click on the waypoints. The effect is the same, but you don't get the campfires. (I find the crackling sound of burning in my village alarming!)
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Last updated: 17 October 2011