Age of Empires: the RTS that proved strategy could sit alongside simplicity

My villager hacks away at a tree trunk with his axe. Again and again he strikes it, piling up as many logs as his wheelbarrow can carry before carting it off to the lumber camp a short distance away, which I’ve placed on the edge of a dense forest. Then it’s back to his chopping. It’s a hypnotising loop. And an important one, too: that wood is the lifeblood of my Aztec civilisation. It means I can build houses for more villagers, who can then farm crops to feed my army, mine stone and gold to kit out my cavalry, or – in full circle – chop up more wood.

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