Micromanagement (known as Micro) is a strategy element that involves selecting specific types of units and using them carefully to execute specific maneuverings. It's a difficult but important skill to master, as it allows a player to greatly reduce their casualties and defeat their opponents with a minimally sized army.

At all games it is an important skill, but particularly to civilizations that handle fast or tricky units (especially if they are fragile or easily countered, e.g. by spear/pike/bayonet units), such as cavalry, and to ones that possess unconventional traits.

Age of Empires II Edit

Cavalry archers

Heavy Cavalry Archers, an example of micro-intensive units

Micro-intensive civilizations in Age of Empires II include, among others, civilizations that frequently use Cavalry Archers or other ranged cavalry, as tactics involving them are both expensive and complicated, whereas many units can beat them, if they manage to close the distance with them. These are usually also the ones that combine these units with Light Cavalry/Hussars and also possess Parthian Tactics.

The following civilizations are such micro-intensive civilizations with cavalry archers:

Other civilizations that may require more micromanagement than average are: 1) ones that use frail, slow, vulnerable to Monks and/or expensive units, 2) ones with broad but loose tech tree/bonuses and 3) ones with unconvential traits. Camel civilizations (Saracens, Berbers, and Indians), when they use their camelry, may also have to be cautious, as many units can counter them (Mamelukes however require much less micro).

  1. Examples: Ethiopians (Shotel Warrior is frail but quickly trained and strong), Persians and Indians (Elephants, lack of Heresy and Faith), Koreans (mainly as far as Turtle Ships are concerned)
  2. Examples: Malians (they can attack and defend equally well with not many significant defensive and offensive bonuses, but they lack Blast Furnace and Bracer, meaning that they will require balanced handling of their forces)
  3. Examples: Chinese (3 more Villagers and 300 less resources at the beginning), Khmer (no requirements to Age or structures means they are more difficult even than the Chinese to properly use)

Age of Empires III Edit


An example of micro-intensive civilization; Sioux warband and Teepees.

  • Ottomans. They are considered by many people the most difficult civilization to properly play, due to their longer, automatic "spawning" of Settlers, their limited if powerful selection of units, their population limits on Settlers and their dependence on artillery (making them highly vulnerable to Culverins). Spahis are sent from their Home City, artillery are available earlier and Mosques are mandatory to exploit their quirks, meaning micro is imperative.
  • Portuguese. A lack of Settler cards plus free Covered Wagons means that while they have a harder start, once they reach the Fortress Age, they can potentially use many tricks up their sleeve, such as placing Town Centers close to waterways (gunning down thus Fishing Boats and other unlucky ships) or strike enemies with Organ Guns and early Dragoon rushes. They also require micromanagement for other reasons: a Portuguese Explorer (mind, 3 can be brought from the Home City) should abuse his Spyglass ability correctly to spy accurately an enemy, whereas Cassadores are really strong offensively (and tough at range), but also frail at melee and easily dispatched by artillery).
  • Sioux. Not needing to build Houses (as they start with 200 population) may make the Sioux seem simple to play, but their lack of Walls, high dependence on natural resources and their cavalry-oriented (if still balanced) forces, as well as the auras their War Chief and Teepees provide, mean they are one of the most difficult to play civilizations in the entire game. On top of that, certain of their units, namely the Tashunke Prowler and Rifle Rider, have certain quirks that require much mirco; Rifle Riders have the best ROF of all ranged units, but struggle against light cavalry, whereas Prowlers need to be in groups and sneaky in order to be effective.