Which allows me to micro-blog on my use of ‘Domna’ here instead of ‘Domina’, which would be the proper Latin word for it.
Have you ever heard of “lexical renewal”? Yeah, that’s a process that involves ALL languages.
Words tend to be spoken. That is a fact.
As they get used, they slowly morph. It can happen in many ways. A word too short will become longer. A word a tad too long will be shortened. Words that totally lost their primary meaning will be utterly replaced.
The Latin word for ‘sun’ was ‘sol’. It was too short and could easily be confused with other words on the long run. Therefore, a diminutive was added to give ‘solellus’ (which basically means ‘little sun’). It later gave ‘soleil’ in French (see, it was shortened here!).
The word ‘caput’, meaning ‘head’, progressively lost its primary meaning and was slowly replaced by ‘testa’ (a kind of jar). It gave ‘tête’ in French.
Fun fact, nowadays we use ‘tête’ in French to describe many things beyond a physical and bodily head. We come up with new words to describe it such as ‘tronche’, ‘trogne’ or ‘gueule’. Those are very familiar words but such was also ‘testa’ in Latin at first!
‘Domina’ belonged to the words that were shortened and gave ‘domna’ (a word already used by native Latin speakers in the 1st century AD). It would later turn into ‘doña’ in Spanish or ‘dame’ in French.
Latin had little use of possessive articles such a ‘my’ or ‘mine’. They became very common though for later European languages since the declinations fell out of use. Therefore ‘domina mea’ gave way to ‘madame’ or… ‘madonna’!
I was on Twitter the other day and shared a meme of mine in which Plato talks with the devil. The person whom I sent the meme then asked me what I first constructed as a troll comment: “Why is the devil black?” We find many things on Twitter and I first thought that my interlocutor was leaning toward a slightly veiled racist comment. He kept asking, however, why was the devil pictured as black? That’s when I remembered that the devil is mostly depicted in red today and it hit me that it could be a legitimate question to understand why the devil was pictured as black in medieval manuscripts.
The Devil’s Color Today Is Red
I mean, I should have connected the dots faster! I’m Belgian and our national football/soccer team is called the ‘Red Devils’. They’re quite famous nowadays: Eden Hazard (Real Madrid C.F.), Romelu Lukaku (F.C. Internationale Milano), Dries Mertens (S.S.C. Napoli), Axel Witsen (Borussia Dortmund), Vincent Company (formerly at R.S.C. Anderlecht) and Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City F.C.). All of them are international superstars! When I went to Naples recently, I discovered that talking about the Red Devils was actually a great way to connect with locals (thank you Dries Mertens!).
When I went to Naples recently, I discovered that talking about the Red Devils was actually a great way to connect with locals (thank you Dries Mertens!).
Also, if you look for devils on Google image search, you’ll only see the color red in the matching results. Red is the color of Hell because it is the color of fire and Hell is constructed in our heads as a place full of fire since it is located at the core of the Earth, deep under the surface (whereas angels have white wings since they live above the clouds).
However, red was not always the Devil’s color. I remember watching an old documentary—that I’m too lazy to track down—which told how he was depicted in green a long time ago. Nevertheless the color red caught on a bad reputation in the 16th century among Protestants because it was the color of the people who supported the pope*. Protestants also focused on a passage of the Apocalypse read that red was the color of the beast that rides the whore of Babylon. The color that she also wore herself:
I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet colored beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.
And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet color.
~ Book of Revelation, 17:3-4.
Nevertheless the color red caught on a bad reputation in the 16th century among Protestants because it was the color of the people who supported the pope.
As the historian Michel Pastoureau reminds us, Martin Luther saw Rome as
the new Babylon. Red was therefore the color to avoid at all cost. It comes as
no surprise then that the color red gradually became more and more associated
with the devil and evil. Even in the Catholic world, only women would later be
allowed to wear red, that’s probably why pink is today seen as a color for
little girls whereas blue is the color of little boys. But more on that later.
Back to red devils, they are so popular now that they dictate the features of fictional characters when they’re supposed to be threatening, dangerous and evil. I’ll take only one example in that regard and that is the case of Darth Maul in Star Wars, Episode I: The Phantom Menace. A most scarlet face hides under his black hood. He even has horns on his head instead of hair to fully assimilate him with a demon from the underworld. As soon as the audience sees his face, they know he’s an evil character and can’t be anything else but evil. It is an easy, clever and straightforward representation. If we were to extrapolate about the color red in the Star Wars universe, unless when Queen Amidala wears it (and maybe in a few other occurrences), it is quite clearly linked with evil whereas the color blue, a celestial color, represents the good. As Anakin Skywalker slowly transforms into Darth Vador, though he still wields a blue lightsaber, his eyes turn red. That aesthetic is carried on in the latest episodes of Star Wars and is fairly obvious to spot when Kylo Ren and Rey are facing each other in Episode VIII: The Last Jedi.
If we were to extrapolate about the color red in the Star Wars universe, unless when Queen Amidala wears it (and maybe in a few other occurrences), it is quite clearly linked with evil whereas the color blue, a celestial color, represents the good.
Michel Pastoureau & Dominique Simonnet, Le
petit livre des couleurs. Paris: Points, 2004.
What the Color Red Meant in the Middle Ages
Before the 16th century and prior to the Reformation, however, the color red was the noblest of all, second only to gold—and white, maybe. Red is the color of blood and the only blood that mattered was the blood of Christ, who died to save us all, according to Christian theology. It reminded its martyr. It was holy and sacred.
Seraphs, which are described as the angels who were the closest to God, were depicted with red wings in medieval manuscripts when they were not exclusively red! Various illuminations depicting the hierarchy of angels in Heaven systematically color the seraphs in red, at the very top of the celestial ladder, right next to God. I’m not making this up, look at the illuminations for yourself.
Similarly the highest ranked clerics of the Church wore red gowns. They
still do. I’m talking about the cardinals of the Catholic Church, of course,
that even have a shade of red, a red bird (the northern cardinal) and fishes
displaying red scales (the cardinal tetra) named after them. According to
Catholic theology, the Church on earth is supposed to reflect the heavenly
Church of God and his angels. The pope equates God in this parallel and the
cardinals equate the seraphs. Anyone who’d consider the Church not worthy of
this holy comparison—because the earthly Church, reportedly founded by Christ
himself, is supposed to be holy by definition—put himself in great danger. Such
was the case of John Wycliffe, an English theologian who was personally
protected by the King and therefore avoided ecclesiastical prosecution.
Wycliffe wrote that the Church on earth couldn’t compare in terms of holiness with
the heavenly Church of God. It gave birth to the long-lasting heresy of the Lollards,
which would be persecuted and repressed violently.
As Michel Pastoureau reminds us, in his short and delightful book I’ve already referenced above, red was also the color worn by women on their wedding day, especially by brides from the lower social class.
The point I’m trying to make is that red was seen as a holy and prestigious color in the Middle Ages. As Michel Pastoureau reminds us, in his short and delightful book I’ve already referenced above, red was also the color worn by women on their wedding day, especially by brides from the lower social class.
I’ve done a quick research on that in digitized manuscripts and sure thing, we don’t see a single bride in white! White—as it is commonly known—became the traditional color of wedding gowns during the 19th century. Women were invited to wear their most expensive and lavish dress on their wedding day during the Middle Ages and red pigments were particularly expensive, beyond the fact that the color red carried a highly spiritual meaning. As for jewels, women often borrowed from their relatives on their big day but mostly they wore crowns. I’ve seen a few examples of golden and blue dresses—in one case I spotted a green dress. However, if the bride is not wearing any red herself, the groom or the witnesses would wear it instead. Red was the color of weddings!
Red was the color of weddings!
Which brings us, naturally, to the infamous “Red Wedding” written by G.R.R. Martin in his novel series A Song of Fire and Ice—adapted for television in Game of Thrones. I will only mention it to stress how that wedding didn’t fit any properly medieval setting. Rarely do we read about weddings ending ugly in medieval chronicles. A wedding was a sacred ceremony, not only a feast but a holy moment well defined and framed by the Church. Any crime committed during a wedding would have resulted in the most pernicious and vicious excommunication. Carrying on sieges and battles on holy days were already the mainsprings of bad reputation to knights and military commanders. Joan of Arc suffered such a fate when she led the siege of Paris on a day devoted to the Virgin Mary. Straight out murders and massacres on wedding days would have caused the utter destruction of anyone’s reputation and it would have cost him all his allies. This was not a smart move. It is funny how sometimes G.R.R. Martin properly draws from medieval history, like when he writes about the death of Robert Baratheon during a wild boar hunting party, yet more often than not he stretches away from historical veracity to come up with his own symbolism. The Red Wedding is red because of all the blood that was shed. Weddings were red in the Middle Ages because most people dressed in red on such occasions and the color red carried a noble spiritual meaning.
The Red Wedding (in A Song of Fire and Ice) is red because of all the blood that was shed. Weddings were red in the Middle Ages because most people dressed in red on such occasions and the color red carried a noble spiritual meaning.
Red Beasts and Black Beasts
Red was the color of the divine, a color that carried prestige and meant
power. If the Good, the Bad and the Ugly were medieval colors, the Good would
be red, the Bad would be black, and the Ugly would be another tale entirely—though
he could also be black. Such a definition helps us understand how animals were
categorized in the Books of King Modus
and Queen Ratio. The author, presumably Henry of Ferrières, divides
commonly hunted forest animals into two sorts: the redbeasts (the noble ones)
and the black beasts (the nasty ones).
The five red beasts are the following: the deer, the doe, the fallow deer, the roe and the hare. The five black beasts are as follows: the boar, the sow, the wolf, the fox and the otter. One could argue that the fox is a red beast but the terminology here carries meaning beyond the sole color of the animal’s fur. The Books of King Modus and Queen Ratio is not only a hunting treatise, it is also an allegorical tale. Every time King Modus explains how animals are to be hunted, Queen Ratio delivers the symbolic and spiritual meaning of those animals according to the Christian faith and the Catholic dogma. That’s why she argues that if the deer has ten pikes on his antlers to defend himself from harm, the Christian has the Ten Commandments at his disposal to shield himself against all evil. The deer not only belongs to the “good beasts”, it is a Christological beast, whereas the boar is an evil animal that guards the satanic tree of the Devil’s Ten Commandments. It all belongs to the rhetoric that our world is merely the projected shadow of a higher one: God’s own realm.
What’s funny though is that in most manuscripts containing the Books of King Modus and Queen Ratio I
found out that the boar was represented upon a red background (see above). So
there may be more to red that I let on is this blog post. Indeed, as you can
also see in the few illuminations depicting St John that I’ve encountered, the
devil taunting him as he writes the Book
of Revelation is not systematically black, he can also be red! Oh, the
flimsiness of cultural and representation studies. What’s funny with the Late
Middle Age allegoric literature is that anything could be seen as godly or devilish
depending on the author’s intent as long as it respected or reminded the
Catholic dogma in any way, shape or form. Even the fornication tales of Jupiter
could carry a divine meaning to the more daring of medieval scholars. They
wrote several books around that theme—but as Maz Kanata puts it in The Force Awakens: “That’s a story of
Going Full Circle: Black Beasts as the Beast
Boars, sows, wolves, foxes and otters were all considered as pests to
get rid of. They were deemed dangerous. It was indeed a risky venture to hunt
the wild boar in the forest, as many romances told and several dead kings provedto
be true.Age of Empires 2 players
must also be very careful when hunting the wild boars in the Dark Age.
Such beasts, the black beasts, were thought to stink, to bite, to destroy
everything in their path. It comes as no surprise then that the Beast, the incarnation of evil,
would adopt their features and characteristic. The Beast had to be black. And
since it was formerly an angel, it had wings! But not any wings: bat wings.
Bats didn’t have the best reputation during the Middle Ages depending on
where they lived. In Northern Spain? They were loved—but more on that in a
minute. In Northern France? Not so much. To begin with, bats hairless, which is
the reason why they’re called “bald mouse” in French (“chauve-souris”), and it
gave way to several interpretations. Not all of them favorable to their kin.
Bats are naked as the alcoholics and the gluttons are naked from selling even
their clothes in order to give way to their addiction. That’s how the Ovide moralisé puts it*.
Moreover, the Latin word for bat is “vespertilio”
(in Old French it was still “vespertille”). It meant “the bird that flies at
night” or the bird of darkness. Bats are pleased to live in the dark and they
wouldn’t have it any other way. They flee the light. Such are the sinners, who
run away from knowledge and the holy beacon of faith and truth that was the
The Beast, who’s dark and black and master of evil, only has bat wings
as a natural conclusion of the medieval symbolism I presented here to you. It
answers the question why the devil was black in medieval manuscripts instead of
red but it does not end this blog post. Here comes the bonus section for those
who stuck until the end!
The Devil may have turned red, sure, yet he still appears in black today
but in disguise, with another name and under another mantle. At night, he roams
the streets of a major city that is infested by criminals. He tracks them down
and give them Hell. You know that new devil yourself. His name is known to you.
Batman, he is called. How did he acquire such a name? The legend says that
Bruce Wayne was pondering at night how to inflict fear to criminals. In his
office, he gathered his thoughts.
“Criminals are a superstitious cowardly lot, so my disguise must be able to strike terror into their hearts. I must be a creature of the night, black terrible… a… a…”
As if in answer, a huge bat flied in the open window.
“A bat! That’s it! It’s an omen..; I shall become a bat!”
And thus is born in this weird figure of the dark… this avenger of evil: the Batman.
~ DC #33, Nov. 1939
However, Bruce Wayne was certainly not the first person to have a bat
fly in and become an omen. Oh, no! Such a fate happened to King James I of
Aragon in the 13th century. Remember when I told you that bats had a
good reputation in Northern Spain? Here is why**.
King James was in his tent, just as Bruce Wayne was in his office. King
James pondered about the upcoming battle, just as Bruce Wayne pondered about
his upcoming crusade against criminals. The word crusade is almost too fitting
here since King James was readying himself against Moorish enemies. As he
spotted the bat, he figured it was a good omen—just as Bruce Wayne did—and he put
the symbol of a bat on the top of his banners the next day. The battle was won
and since then bats have been figures of good luck in the region of Valencia
and Barcelona, even to this day!
I started mentioning a football/soccer team. It is only fitting that I’d end up with another: the Valencia C.F. which celebrated its hundred-year anniversary this very year! If you look at their jersey, you’d see a bat on the top of their flag. As a matter of fact, it clearly reminds Iberian medieval coat of arms, where bats were not uncommon but very much present (I’ll let you look it up for yourselves).
Oh, the flimsiness of cultural and representation studies!
On a final word, I leave you to reconsider the hypothesis advanced by Gabriel Iglesias aka Fluffy. Could Batman be Mexican? King James spoke a kind of Spanish. Therefore Batman might very well be hispanic! Enjoy the video.
* More on that: Angela Calenda, “La métamorphose des Minéides en chauves-souris dans l’Ovide moralisé”, in Reinardus. Yearbook of the International Reynard Society, 28 (2016), p. 23-30.
** More on that: Denise
Tupinier, “Origine et signification de la Chauve-Souris dans les provinces du
Levant espagnol”, in Publications de la
Société Linnéenne de Lyon, 54-2 (1985), p. 52-56.
I’ve been meaning to write this blog-post for a looong time. Actually, it is where it all started for me and my online Asinus persona. However, the more I delved into the topic, the more I discovered that the sum of my knowledge was close to nothing… I had to watch more videos and read more. All in all I spent several hundred hours on that very particular subject. I hope you will appreciate my findings. Please, let me know if I’ve forgotten anything! I will update my post accordingly. Thank you for reading and see you soon on my next blog posts.
This blog post is dedicated to _LilTrouble, the kindest of all Age of Empires 2 streamers, who makes her streams feel like you’re in a lounge having a good time with friends.
The first time I restarted Age of Empires 2 for an online game with my father and his colleagues, I just did nonsense. I sent my scout straight to my allies. I scouted my base with my villagers. I found three turkeys and didn’t look for the fourth one (though you always find cattle in even numbers). I just didn’t what a build order was!
I got my ass served to me a few times by my father’s colleagues and I decided that I couldn’t suck at some twenty years old game anymore. My pride was tickled and it had to be answered. I started to learn what a build order was.Matthieu Macret puts it best:
“A build order defines the sequence in which buildings are constructed, units are produced and technologies are researched. Build orders target a specific strategy, such as rushing or timing attacks.“
Age of Empires 2 is a Real Time Strategy game that works on a very simple principle: the more ressources you have, the more military you can produce.
Once I acquired that little piece of knowledge, I went on to learn that boars, that I had always ignored, were to be hunted and their food collected. Hunting wild boars is however a dangerous activity in Age of Empires 2. That’s why I had always avoided it altogether in the past. Was it really necessary, though, to change my habits to improve my gameplay?
Sorry to be blunt but first I thought I should serve you with a long ass demonstration. Eventually I decided against it. Age of Empires 2 is a Real Time Strategy game that works on a very simple principle: the more ressources you have, the more military you can produce. There is an element of sheer strategy to the game, but on the long run the player that has the best economy usually wins.
You just can’t ignore the free food boars represent. You need it.
How to get it, however, is another matter… for which I’m fully prepared to go on for a bit and boar you with details.
John Talbot was a relentless captain. So relentless in fact that he would find reasons to fight even in times of peace. Once, he came back to England for a few years and he started a judicial quarrel that almost led to an open conflict. The Duke of Bedford was wise enough to summon him in France, on the frontline, where he brought havoc to his enemies. Talbot was very gifted in starting and managing feuds.
The Black Prince achieved great military deeds and dazzled many people with his lavish court in southern France–he was prince of Aquitaine. At age 16 he “won his spurs” leading the English vanguard at the Battle of Crécy (1346). Ten years later he vanquished the French at Poitiers and even managed to capture their king, John the Good! He would still insure a great military victory at Najera (1367) against a Franco-Trastamaran coalition. The man was a military prodigy.
How to Hunt Wild Boars in Age of Empires 2?
Toying with Danger
Hunting a wild boar is a dangerous business! You can help out your villagers by researching loom and grant them extra hit points and armor. However, loom costs 50 gold and researching it could slow your build order down if you aim for very early aggression. Also, sometimes you just don’t have the time to have it researched before you have to lure boars. It can happen on a Nomad map, for example.
Just watch the following clip from T90 Official YouTube channel and witness how Lierrey turns a bad start around with two successful very early boar lures.
Lierrey is a pro-player and he makes it look very easy though he comes close to lose a villager. However, many a player have lost many a villager in unsuccessful boar luring attempts.
A few weeks back, a new meme was born to mock William McNabb who went on Twitter and asked the following in the wake of two more U.S.A. mass shootings and argued in favor of assault weapons: “Legit question for rural Americans – How do I kill the 30-50 feral hogs that run into my yard within 3-5 mins while my small kids play?“
I’m not making this up. I found the original tweet back for you.
It became an instant internet success (click on the link to read Joey Cosco’s very entertaining account of this viral moment). Of course, since Age of Empires 2 players have to face the danger of wild boars every early game, they just had to join in on the fun and they came up with some memes of their own.
Not to hit you too hard and too soon with some concrete historical knowledge, but it was actually well-known in the Middle Ages that wild boar hunting was a dangerous business. The sole encounter of a sus scrofa (to call the wild boar by its latin scientific name) could lead to an ineluctable death. I just happen to know of a few stories about muredrous medieval piggies.
Should I briefly narrate two of those stories to you?
The Pigs that Killed Kings
October 13, 1131. Paris.
The City of Light was still haloed in darkness but the sun was high and bright on that fine and long-forgotten Tuesday. Prince Philip was only fifteen years old but he rode his horse as proud as a peacock.
Soon the name “Philip” was just as common as “Eudes” or “Raoul”.
He had many followers behind him. Not only was he a Prince, you see, he was actually a King. He’d been introduced to the fine art of ruling the realm at the ripe age of three years old. Six years later, he’d been coronated and anointed along his father at Reims. The rolls of chancery called him rex designatus or rex junior. His kingly title was therefore the most official thing.
Prince Philip was born on a windy day. His father was fat and his mother ugly. His Greek name was yet quite uncommon for his time, though he’d been called after his grand-father, Philip I.
Philip I had had a Byzantine princess for mother. Some unverifiable sources state that she descended from Macedonian Kings of old. That’s why, maybe, she gave her son the name of Alexander the Great’s father. It quickly caught up, however, and soon the name “Philip” was just as common as “Eudes” or “Raoul”.
Since he’d been anointed at Reims, Prince Philip was believed to have curing powers that he could channel through his hands. It was a gift that all the Kings of France shared and it made him a holy man despite his youth.
Never a death was deemed more unjust than this one. It was describe with the all the darkest words known to the Latin language: misera, miserabilis, horrenda, horribilis, atrox, turpis, ignominiosa, invidiosa, sordida, infamis, immunda.
Until the age of seven, Prince Philip remained in the company of ladies, that fed and cared for him. From then on he had the task to educate himself and to become a man. Such a noble achievement could only come through the arts of horse riding and weapon-wielding. It comes as no surprise then that Prince Philip, aged fifteen, ventured outside Paris on a hunting party.
Or maybe did he just escaped the city for a ride in the countryside with his friends? We do not know. Meanwhile, his father remains very busy in the capital, mustering his troops to face a few rebellious lords.
As evening lights dawned on Paris and the sun descended below the horizon, Prince Philip came back from his ride in the countryside and passed through a suburb. That is when the accident happened.
It all flashed in a minute and there was nothing anybody could have done.
A pig ran into the legs of Prince Philip’s steed. The horse panicked. The young King lost balance and fell from his horse. His head hurt a rock. The steed then trampled Prince Philip, fell and crushed him.
Philip’s fat father and ugly mother also decided to conceive a new child and to name him after their first born.
The fifteen-years-old King was somehow still alive and was brought to the nearest house but he was certainly doomed. His father was informed of the accident, rushed to his bedside and cursed the devil-sent pig.Prince Philip died overnight. The pope, who was en route to Reims, changed his travel plans to attend Prince Philip’s funerals in Paris.
Never a death was deemed more unjust than this one. It was describe with the all the darkest words known to the Latin language: misera, miserabilis, horrenda, horribilis, atrox, turpis, ignominiosa, invidiosa, sordida, infamis, immunda. It left a stain on the new regal dynasty that was difficult to overcome. However, the Capets managed to get over the dishonor Prince Philip’s death caused. He was buried within the next twelve days and his little brother, Louis, was anointed at Reims by the pope himself, shortly after that.
Philip’s fat father and ugly mother also decided to conceive a new child and to name him after their first born. This second Prince Philip, who never became King, received powerful ecclesiastical charges. Nonetheless he gave up the bishopric of Paris to Pierre Lombard. But that, my friends, is a story for another time.
Do you want to know more about the pig that killed a king? I would advise you to read Michel Pastoureau’s monograph: Le roi tué par un cochon (Paris: Seuil, 2015).
The next story, for now, will tell you how Philip the Fair died, two centuries after Prince Philip, in 1314. It was more epic, however, since this time it happened during an actual hunting party, in a deep dark forest and not in the suburbs or Paris. It also enflammed the rich imagination of several great contemporary novelists of ours, as you shall see.
November 4, 1314. As the cold winds of winter closed in on the kingdom of France, its king chose to lead a hunting party in the cursed forest of Halatte. That is where Louis V met an untimely end in 987. The forest of Halatte had already taken one king. It could take another. Philip the Fair, however, didn’t let it scare him away. He plunged into the forest and hunted a wild boar with the vigor of a young man. He found a beast. He injured it. The beast threw itself under the feet of the king’s steed. Then, just like Prince Philip in 1131, Philip the Fair failed to maintain his balance and fell over. He broke his leg and the wild boar charged him. The beast was slain but King Philip IV proved to be badly injured. He was carried out of the forest and brought to Fontainebleau. He wished to stay alive until the day that a specific holy saint was celebrated. However, he died from his injuries a few days before the date. Many clerics saw that as a form of divine punishment. Philip the Fair hadn’t been very protective of the Church. He’d minted counterfeit money and robbed the Templars of all their belongings after he destroyed their order.
The untimely death of Philip the Fair and his harsh political choices actually gave birth to the legend that he’d been cursed by the Grand Master of the Knights Templar when the latter was burned at the stakes by order of the king. That curse then supposedly ran through many generations and it ultimately led to the Hundred Years’ War.
Well! This is all fine and dandy, but let’s get down to business and talk about wild boar hunting in Age of Empires 2.The best way to collect their food is to lure them.
Legit question for Dark Age villagers: “What’s that all about?”
The Overall Concept
Let’s say you’re new to Age of Empires 2.
How do you hunt a wild boar? Do you send all your villagers right next to it, shoot it down, and transport the food back to your town center like a fresh newbie? Or better yet, do you build a mill next to the boar to facilitate the food gathering?
In AoE2: Definitive Edition; a villager must only shoot a boar once to get it to chase him/her; a military unit, however, attempting to lame a wild boar, must hit it twice “to make it personal”
I know the wild boar is dangerous. I know kings have died because of it. I know very well that a single AoE2 villager stands no chance against such a beast. Yet, it is a villager alone that you have to send towards the wild boarfrom which you wish to collect food in order to create more villagers or early militia units.
goes, your villager. Look at him. Look at her! Your villager walks towards the
wild boar with a bow in its hand. What do you
If you want to lure a wild boar to your town center so that its food can be directly collected there, you villager will have to shoot the beast twice. Not once. Twice. If your villager injures a wild boar with only one arrow, the boar will not follow him or her. You need to tickle the beast for good. However, as soon as the boar has been shot twice, your villager must go back to your town center.
[Edit: This is no longer the case in AoE2: Definitive Edition; a villager must only shoot a boar once to get it to chase him/her; a military unit, however, attempting to lame a wild boar, must hit it twice “to make it personal”]
your villager is stupid because it is, indeed, a fact. Your villager will keep
firing at the wild boar until he or she dies unless instructed otherwise. So
don’t forget your boar hunting villager as you build a lumber camp, send
another sheep to slaughter, or scout the enemy base. It will cost you food and
Assume that your villager is stupid because it is, indeed, a fact. Your villager will keep firing at the wild boar until he or she dies unless instructed otherwise.
Once nearing your town center, your injured
boar hunting villager (for he or she will take a few hits!) can jump into it and your villagers butchering sheep right on that very
same spot can now draw their attention to the beastly wild animal and kill it.
The job, finally, is done. However, so many things can go wrong… So here are a few more tricks to add your skillset if you want to become a top AoE2 player.
As I’ve stated before, boar hunting is some seriously dangerous business in Age of Empires 2. Many things can go wrong and any little mistake can slow you down by messing up your precious build order. You need to be careful, however, you can’t be solely focussed on your boar hunting business as you’re boar hunting.
I know. It can be confusing but pro-players call it APM. Actions per minute. How many actions can you achieve under one single minute? In RTS games, the more, the better.
While you’re boar hunting, you still have to manage the rest of your economy, keep an eye out for your enemy, build, scout, collect other ressources. The Dark Age isn’t as easy-peasy as it seems, nor as quiet. The five first minutes of a game can sometimes definitevely show if you’ll win or lose twenty to forty minutes later!
The Farm Trick
As far as I’m
concerned, Age of Empires 2 is an
exploration game as much as a strategy game. I remember spending hours, as a
kid, exploring every single corner of the map with my scout. I was pretty
devoted to the task. I wouldn’t multitask. I would only scout. I was also super
focused on the technologies that widen your line of sight like town
watch or town patrol.
Because who needs horse collar
and double-bit axe?
If you ever
play against me online, be sure I’ll outpost rush you before I ever tower rush
you. I know. I’m lethal.
The fog of war is really what separates the wannabe pros to the real pros.
rather surprised to meet people online who hated the fog of war with their
guts. They only wanted to play on all-explored or all-visible maps. And it had
to go fast, too.
bully my slow villagers. I don’t even pay them any wages. Fifty food is all they
get to last the thousand-year span from the Dark Age to the Imperial Age…
the fog of war is really what separates the wannabe pros to the real pros. I
mean, look at The Viper. Not only is he, like, super cute—Debbie, beware. He’s so
cool behind his glasses that he’s like a blond Sakamoto.
The Viper, also, is obsessed with his boars. So much, in fact, that he slaughters them all mindlessly and yet still wonders where they all are every once in a while.
also, is obsessed with his boars. So much, in fact, that he slaughters them all
mindlessly and yet still wonders where they all are every once in a while. Location,
location, location. The Viper is always very concerned with finding his wild
boars. Now, if you happen to have
scouted your entire starting base and you can’t find them, maybe that’s
because they’re hidden in a little fog of war pocket. And if that ever happens,
The Viper has a trick up his sleeve that
can be useful to you: just build a farm over the fog of war to spot your
missing wild boar.
This is a
very neat trick and one does not need witchcraft to conjure it. In order to lift the fog of war by placing
a farm foundation, you need to place it on at least one tile of explored map
area. That’s all folks!
wonder. Why put a villager in danger if you can send your scout to lure a wild
boar to your town center? Poke it twice, turn back and gallop towards your town
center: job done! But, is it? The problem with the scout is that he’s too fast
for the boar. Meaning a wild boar pursuing a scout will quickly lose sight of
it and, at that point, drop the chase to return to its starting position.
The problem is, as T-West the Wise teaches us, that a regular AoE2 wild boar has a three tile line of sight. If you venture out of that three tile radius, the boar stops pursuing you.
interesting thing is this.
A wild boar shares the line of sight of every Gaia unit on the map. This includes deer, wolves, birds, and even holy relics! Therefore, once you hit a boar with a scout, as long as that scout remains into the line of sight of any Gaia unit, the boar will continue to chase you.
It can be
quite tricky to master the skill of getting a wild boar to chase you beyond its
own line of sight. The following clip shows the pro-player MbL failing at the
attempt. And yet, MbL is usually so successful in AoE2 boar hunting that he got nicknamed ‘the Boar Whisperer’ and
the ‘Master Boar Lamer’.
wrong for him here is that his scout, which tries to lure a second boar to the
town center, didn’t enter the three tile line of sight of the first boar that
was being lured by a villager. He left the three tile radius of the boar it was
supposed to lure and failed to remain into Gaia’s line of sight. Therefore, the
second boar returned to its starting position.
The scout may be too fast for a boar to pursue, but the boar has no problem to chase down a villager and rip it into pieces. Nevertheless, you feel confident enough to send out a villager to lure a boar. You know you won’t forget that villager and make it turn back on time to save his or her life. But, will you? There are many sounds in Age of Empires 2 that can rattle you and distract you from your wild boar lure. I guess you know them all by now.
sending a villager to lure your second boar, the most probable sound that will
distract you is the population limit alert. You’re being housed. Deal with it
urgently or fear that your town center will remain idle a second to long.
build a house? Nice.
you hear this…
Because of your bad APM, you couldn’t save your villager on time. He or she’s been killed by the boar. What a disaster, loss of time and resource. You should just call the GG right now and forget about this whole mess.
else could have distracted you. If you’ve send a villager to build a forward
barrack, you have a 100% chance that this villager is going to be attacked by a
By the time
you go and deal with it, again, your boar luring villager will be dead.
13. Sure! Blame
it on your ISP.
all. If you’re playing a team game, or a diplomacy game, maybe another player
is trying to show you something on the map, and you hear that sound.
You check it out, you’re APM is still shit because you’re below the 1.5k ELO despite the fact that you’ve played AoE2 non-stop for six months, bim, you’re boar luring villager is… yet again… dead. Do you feel the rage building up?
More seriously, what do you do? Please, follow The Viper’s advice and save your villager’s life with the neat and amazing ‘house trick’. Basically, what you have to do is to place the foundations of a house over a boar to stop it in its course. It is, however, very difficult to achieve properly. Your execution must be on point.
What does a diligent scout do? He scouts, he attac, but most importantly, he circles bac!
task your scout different missions at the beginning of a game. Scouting your
base should be your first priority to find out your starting cattle (sheep, or
turkeys, or cows, or whatever), your main and secondary golds, your main and
secondary stones, several wood lines to chop wood from and, of course, last but
not least, your boars. There should always be two (or more, depending on the
map) not too far away from your town center.
elementary scouting is out of the way, here are a few things your scout can do.
can go on and locate the enemy base. An early scouting of your enemy can also
inform you of his/her strategy depending of his/her build order. Do you see a
barrack already up? Beware of the drush.
You’ll soon have militia units heading your way to disturb your economy. Do you
spot villagers mining stone in Dark Age? Beware of the trush! You’ll soon see enemy villagers going forward to build
towers in order to deny you the access to your own resources. Therefore it is
useful to send your scout towards your enemy and see what’s what.
your scout can do more.
your enemy base, he can hit one of your enemy’s wild boar and try to bring it
back to your own base. It is tricky, though, because you’ll have to cross the
entire map. More on that and the laming of boars in the next section of this
blog post, though.
your scout can also play the good stay-at-home scout and ‘push deer’ towards
your town center. It is very tricky to do. Maybe I’ll develop on it in another
another use of a stay-at-home scout is to save your villagers from boar
attacks. If you manage to place your
scout between your boar luring villager and the wild boar chasing him or her,
you can slow the boar down and save your villager’s life.
point, the boar has been located, successfully lured and brought back to your
town center. There is only one thing
left to master: how to look like a total pro. You can weaken the wild boar you
lure with town center fire to prevent your villagers to loose hit points and
keep a full health. It is especially practical if you expect early
aggression from your opponent and fear that he will ‘snipe’ your weak villagers.
traditional build order will have you to assign your six first villagers on
sheep and the following four on wood. That’s when you’re supposed to go lure
your second boar. I don’t wait that long myself: I send my seventh villager
straight to the nearest boar I found. I don’t know if it really matters, I’m
not a pro-player. However, as you lure your first boar to your town center, you
can garrison your six butcher villagers in your town center and weaken the boar
by firing it twice. Be careful, though,
if you kill the wild boar with the town center its food will be lost! I
leave Spirit of the Law give you the full detail of it.