Continuing with the “Playbacks” posts series. Here goes the core post of the series.

It’s very important to know what to look for in a playback (Replay). It doesn’t make sense watching a replay like a movie. You’ll end up appreciating a player’s skill and not learn anything.

Your main objective should be to look for new strategies and blend them with your game-play.

Jotting down the things to look for while watching a playback (Replay) :-

  • Start-up & Scouting Style
  • Boom
  • Army (Composition & Battle Micro-Management)
  • Overall Micro-Management
  • Teamwork
  • Strategy

You must be wondering which player should I observe while watching a replay?

Well! At start pick any random player or the best one (If known). Keep observing other players as well and constantly keep switching between players. You might have to watch a replay more than once to see minute details.

Elaborating further on the things to look for:

  • Start-up & Scouting Style:

– Every player has an unique style of start-up and scouting. For a particular player, this style is different with different nations and different positions on different maps.

CLICK – Know more about “Nation Specific Start-ups”

CLICK – Know more about “Nation Specific Game-plays”

– You should identify the best scouting strategy used. Which player scouted the best? How did he/she scout?

– Use this successful scouting strategy when you play. Add it up to your game-play.

– Some players are fast starters. They goto Age 2 with 100 food and 100 wood in 3:30 mins. See how they start! The order of creating farms, woodcutters, villagers and even merchants is very important here. They also manipulate ruins for a faster start. You have to learn this from fast starters.

– You also need to find out at which point of time and why you lagged behind your opponent’s start. How was his scouting style better than mine? Make sure you improvise on your start-up.

  • Boom:

– See how a player booms! Some players are excellent boomers. They hit 200 food and 200 wood so quickly. Age up so quickly and win the game easily.

– Players like Halen, seifer008, |VoG|_Coulty and |IND|_DangerousDave are excellent boomers in standard format. You should learn from them. How to boom quickly?

CLICK – “Booming (Expert Guidelines)” written by |IND|_DangerousDave

– In some games, a player booms and makes a comeback from a dead position. How did he do that? You should watch and learn this skill.

– You should constantly compare your economy with your opponent and find out why he out-boomed you?

  • Army (Composition & Battle Micro-Management):

– Sometimes you lose a battle in spite of having more armies than your opponent. Why? You should find out the reason in the replay.

– Whether his armies had armor? Was his army composition better? Was his army micro-management better than mine? You need to find out why and not repeat this mistake again.

CLICK – Know more about “Army Basics”

CLICK – Know more about “Army Stances”

– Some players have excellent army control. They’ll raid very efficiently. Even their army composition is perfect. You need to watch and learn this.

  • Overall Micro-Management:

– One of the most differentiating factor between a beginner and expert player is Micro-Management.

– When you are observing an expert player, lock the camera and just see how the player manages to control everything.

– When to look at villagers? When to look at armies? When to look at raiding units? How to manage scouting with boom? You should learn this skill from an expert player’s replay. An expert player knows exactly where and when to look.

– When I was a beginner, I never used to look at armies when they were in battle. I used to put them in battle and then look at villagers. I have lost infinite games because of this. Then, one day I realized that its very important to control armies during battle.

  • Teamwork:

– A coordinated play can win you any game. Even if you are against the best players of the game.

– Look for team-plays. Strategies used to win the game. Example: Its a 3v3 game. The center player doubles an opponent on one side and weakens him completely. Then, the center player goes on the other side and again doubles the corner player. He does this before his opponents could react. Eventually they win the game.

Another Example: Again it’s a 3v3 game. 2 players from each team are fighting on one side making it 2v2 on the edge. The third (edge) player goes and attacks the center opponent’s capital in the center and weakens him.

– You have to learn such strategies from team games.

  • Strategy:

– Every player has his/her unique style of play.

– You need to watch how a player plans for an attack. Which age does he attacks? When does he start preparing for it? When does he boom? What does he research in senate?

Example of a Strategy: A player booms till Age 3. Starts preparing armies and sieges at the end of Age 3 and attacks in early Age 4. OR A player counter attacks an opponent’s failed attack. OR A player defends every raid very effectively OR A player uses a lot of spies to spy his opponent’s armies. OR A player pushes his opponent and out-booms him. These are strategies to look for.

I feel I have covered a lot of things to look for while watching a replay. If I have missed anything you are free to comment below.

So, next time you watch a replay make sure you learn something and improve further. Note that you don’t need to imitate any player. You should add up new strategies to your original game-play. Always have an unpredictable game-play with a style of your own.

The next post about “Playbacks – Game Stats” will be posted within a week.