Age of Empires 4: 5 Tips for Playing Skirmish Mode

A Wonder - the French Notre Dame - in Age of Empires 4. Defending a Wonder successfully will win a Skirmish game.

In Age of Empires 4, there are multiple modes of gameplay that players can take part in during the real-time strategy title. Skirmish mode in particular is a highly customisable mode in which players can choose their civilisation, the teams they're battling, what resources they begin with, and customise the map that they're playing on.

For those who are trying out the mode for the first time, here are five tips to help with getting started and hopefully, securing the win in Skirmish mode.

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Read More: Age of Empires 4: Beginners Tips and Tricks

Skirmish Win Conditions

There are three ways to successfully secure a win when playing Skirmish mode. That is, unless, a player removes any of the conditions! Players only need to fulfil one win condition to succeed, and the three options are as follows:

  • Destroy All Enemy Landmarks
  • Control All Sacred Sites
  • Build and Defend A Wonder
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Below, we explain some primary tips and pointers for starting out with playing Skirmish and delve into which approach is better for each win condition. Good luck!

Choose Your Civilisation

The menu for Age of Empires 4 Skirmish mode, where players can choose civilisations, map, and adjust settings.
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Before players even begin a game in Skirmish mode, they will need to select the civilisation they're playing as and the civilisation of enemy teams. Some civilisations are more difficult to play out than others, and they all have their own perks specific to them. Skirmish mode can easily be used to play out civilisations players are most confident with, or to try out ones they haven't yet played or fought. We have a useful guide on what each civilisation has to offer here.

Additionally, players can change a range of settings from the above menu too. They can change which map they're playing on; these feature vast deserts, rocky mountain tops and warring islands (as seen above). Players can also select which win conditions can be met, what Age they'll start at, how many resources they begin with, and the difficulty of their A.I. opponent.

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Farm for Resources

Villagers farming for food and wood in Age of Empires 4.
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Once a player is actually in-game, unless they have chosen to start with high amounts of resources already, they will need to recruit Villagers. These Villagers will then need to be assigned to various tasks, such as farming for food and wood, or mining for stone and gold.

These resources are highly necessary to recruit more villagers, build technology buildings, produce infantry, build defence mechanisms, construct landmarks, and make siege weapons. All of which are very important if a player wants to succeed in Skirmish. We personally recommend focusing on farming food and mining stone, as these are what will be needed for a strong infantry and defence.

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Produce A Strong Infantry

Two civilisation's going to battle with each other in Age of Empires 4.
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A strong infantry is required if a player wants to meet any three of the Skirmish win conditions. If destroying all enemy landmarks, the player's infantry will need to be strong and aggressive as they attack the opponent's team and land. Meanwhile, if a player is looking to control all sacred landmarks or defend a Wonder, they will still need a strong infantry, but their soldiers will need to be better at defending.

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For an infantry that is on the attack, make sure to study Siege Engineering at the Blacksmith building and have soldiers construct Battering Rams and Siege Towers to assist them in battle. As players advance through the Ages, buildings such as the University can be built. This, and technology that can be researched directly at infantry producing units - Stables, Archery Range, Barracks - can all improve the strength of a players' army. This technology can take a short while to study, however, so be sure to have plenty of soldiers to hand before researching.

For an infantry that is focused on defending, we still suggest that players take some time to build technology buildings and research ways to improve their battle when they get a chance. Our main tip here for defence is to produce an army of Longbowmen to protect the relevant area from a distance. We talk more about building mechanisms to defend a player's town, constructions, and sacred sites below.

Defend Your Town

A village with defensive stone walls and towers in Age of Empires 4.
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Defending a town may not feel particularly important if aiming to destroy all enemy landmarks or control sacred sites, but defence is important nonetheless. Players will still need to defend their Villagers to be able to keep producing resources, completing research and recruiting more soldiers.

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To defend a player's town, we recommend mining for stone and building stone walls around the area. Add gates and towers to these for entry points and assign Longbowmen along the walls, and defending the area should feel a little easier. If playing as the Rus, remember that Palisade walls will be more effective than stone, as they're resistant to fire damage and their Villagers can farm wood quicker. For the most part, defending using stone, archers and assigning Outposts in the surrounding areas is the way to keep Villagers and buildings safe.

If players are trying to defend a Wonder - an Age 4 building unique to the civilisation they're playing - defence is even more important. So, be sure to have one or two Archery Ranges producing Longbowmen to assign around the area's walls. Additionally, make sure melee infantry is ready to attack any opponents who somehow manage to invade the area.

Playing Skirmish mode can provide an endless amount of fun for real-time strategy fans. This mode in Age of Empires 4 can change so dramatically between each attempt, with different maps and civilisations requiring different gameplay techniques. When playing through The Normans during the Campaign, it can be fun to see the gameplay style and capabilities of the opponent's; Skirmish allows for this.

If Skirmish does somehow become dull for you or you need a change, it's probably time to delve into playing multiplayer!