If you’ve ever watched a competitive game of Age of Empires 2 then you’ve probably seen many boar lures, it’s an important part of any Dark-Age build. This guide will show you how to lure your boar and give you plenty of tips and tricks to make sure you don’t lose any villagers while doing it!
The Basic Boar Lure
To lure a boar you simply need to send a villager to attack it, allow the villager to hit the boar twice and then run the villager back to the Town Center where your remaining villagers can kill it and harvest all of its delicious meat. Only hitting the boar one time can cause the boar to run back mid lure. Watch the video below to see a basic boar lure in action.
In theory it’s very simple, but in practise it’s much harder to pull off a successful lure. Especially when you consider hills, the chaos of trying to manage other things and a myriad of other challenges.
Even the best players in the world get it wrong sometimes, so continue reading to learn all the tips and tricks on how to lure your boar successfully every time.
Why Boar Are Important
You may think it’s not worth it to take the risk of losing a villager, or question why bother luring boar at all if you could just make farms.
The two main reasons to take the boar is because it’s free food and it’s fast food. If you consider your 8 starting sheep, berry bushes and deer, the two boar account for 24% of the food available to you at the start of the game. That’s 680 food which is ready for the taking with just a little bit of work.
If you wanted to get the equivalent amount of food from farms you’d first need to gather wood, build farms and then wait for the much slower trickle of food to come in. Villagers gather food from boar 24% faster than farms.
- Player 1 uses 8 villagers to lure a boar: 0 wood and 92 seconds to gather 300 food from a boar.
- Player 2 uses 8 villagers to farm: 480 wood (208 seconds) and 160 seconds to gather 300 food from 8 farms.
In total it would take you 4 times longer to gather the wood for farms and then wait for your villagers to gather 300 food versus killing and gathering one boar. Or another way to look at it could be: Player 1 could gather 600 food from two boar in the same time that Player 2 takes to chop all the wood needed to build 8 farms.
Understanding Our Enemy
As much as you might want to eat a couple of boar to help your early economy thrive, the boar have the same idea about eating any villagers trying to hunt them. The following stats only apply to engagements on flat ground, more about hills later.
- It takes 4 hits for a boar to kill a villager without loom and 7 hits to kill a villager with loom.
- It takes a villager 25 hits to kill the boar.
With the odds stacked heavily in the boars’ favour it’s a good idea to use plenty of villagers to attack the boar when it arrives at the Town Center. The safest minimum number of villagers to use to kill the boar is 7, since they will kill a single boar faster than it can kill one of them.
Typically it’s a good idea to research loom from the Town Center when your boar is far away. Also get loom if there’s lots of hills or you’re playing online multiplayer and there’s lag in the game. It only costs 50 gold and might save a villager life. As you improve at the game it’s recommended to delay researching loom for as long as possible, but when you’re just starting out don’t hesitate to get it.
Boar Luring Tips
It’s important not to lose any villagers and to try and kill the boar directly underneath the Town Center for maximum efficiency. If you lose a villager or the villagers have to walk a long way to drop food then the advantage of hunting is somewhat reduced.
For particularly long boar lures you can use your scout or a sheep to block the boar so that it doesn’t attack your villager. As your villager runs away the boar will slowly close the gap until it’s within range to attack again. If you put something in the way of the boar it will slow it down and give your villager more time to build the gap between them.
This technique is best shown with a video. Watch how the sheep holds the boar back for just a second to buy the villager more time to escape.
Town Center Garisson
You can save a lot of villager lives by having them jump into the TC when they get low on health after going out to hunt. The default garrison hotkey is “G”.
With your villager selected and an angry boar in tow you can press “G” and left click the TC to bring the villager to safety. Be careful to make sure that the villagers attack the boar under the Town Center before the boar starts to run back to its spawn point.
Once the boar has started to target another villager it’s safe to un-garrison your villager and use it to help kill the boar. To do this quickly you can press the “G” hotkey again with the TC selected.
Town Center Assist
This tip is risky but can be extremely useful in certain situations. You can use the Town Center to attack and damage the boar with all of your villagers garrisoned safely inside. However, if the last hit that kills the boar is from the TC then all of the food will be lost, it’s important to make sure that the last hit is from a villager.
Usually this method is best used on maps such as Nomad where you might only find a boar but have just four or five villagers to kill it.
Losing Boar Aggro
If everything is going horribly wrong then it’s still possible to save your bacon. With a well-timed palisade you can block the boar and either buy your villager more time to run away or entirely wall your villager in until the boar loses aggro or another villager can come and save the day.
This method is harder to pull off in multiplayer games where there can be some lag, but it’s entirely possible if you time it right. In the end, it’s worth trying to save your villager than letting them die without a fight. We can’t let the boars win!
Keeping the Town Center Clear
Another problem that a lot of players have is getting the boar to die underneath the Town Center. This can be helped by making sure to keep the space under the TC as clear as possible. Try to only kill one sheep at a time and make sure that any alive sheep are kept to the side.
It also helps to try and position sheep that your villagers are gathering on the opposite side from the boar. This means that there’s going to be a nice open space for your villager to run into before hopping into the Town Center.
Hotkeys Can Save Lives
We all know the feeling, you’ve sent a hunter out to bring your first boar home and then you get distracted. Maybe you’re too busy scouting or sending your new villagers to work, but suddenly you realise: the hunter! Frantically you try to find them but before you can tell them to run back to safety you hear the sound of death.
The best way to help with this problem is to use control group hotkeys. I won’t go into great detail about control groups here but will tell you how to use them to help save villager lives. Start by selecting your hunter and then press CTRL + NUM, where NUM is any number between 0 and 9. Then, when you need to check on your hunters’ progress you can quickly double tap their assigned number and your screen will center on them and they will be selected. This allows you to quickly task them back to the TC in a pinch or at the very least save you the frantic searching to find them at the last second.
Elephants and Rhinos
With the AoEHD expansions came new huntable animals, the Elephant and the Rhino. If you encounter these animals be sure to play it safe as they kill villagers much faster than the original boar that we’re used to.
When an Elephant or a Rhino attacks, the animation time is much less; meaning that your villager has less time to escape before 6 tons of elephant meat is hot on your heels once again. Compared to a boar an elephant or rhino has 60 additional food, but even though they have the same HP, damage and move speed they still rip your villagers apart. The reason for this is because they attack much faster. When you watch the boar attack it stands still while it completes its attack animation and then continues to chase your villager down. This gives your villager time to put some distance between them.
A villager can run 23 tiles from an elephant before dying to a tusk to back. Meanwhile they will travel a whole 33 tiles before being slain to a boar (without loom). This additional 10 tiles could be the difference between life and death, so it’s extra important to research loom when attempting to lure elephants and rhino. The loom upgrade gives your villagers an additional 15 tiles to escape when hunting elephants.
Not So Boaring After All
Hopefully this guide will give you the confidence and the skillset to start luring your boar and even become a master at it. You’ll certainly improve at the game if you can successfully take your boar ever game and with even more practise it will become easier and easier over time.