The Dark Age is the typical starting age in Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings and its expansion, Age of Empires II: The Conquerors. The player starts out with three Villagers (unless they are playing as the Chinese or Maya), a Town Center, and a Scout Cavalry (unless they are Aztec or Maya, in both cases the scout cavalry is replaced by an Eagle Warrior). The Town Center and Scout Cavalry cannot be replaced until the player reaches the Castle Age and Feudal Age respectively. For information on the other three ages in Age of Empires II, see Feudal Age, Castle Age, and Imperial Age.
Age advancement from Dark Age to Feudal Age requires:
- 500 Food,
- Two Dark Age buildings (Barracks, Mill, Mining Camp, Lumber Camp.)
Age advancement from Feudal Age to Castle Age requires:
Age advancement from Castle Age to Imperial Age requires:
- 1000 Food, and
- 800 Gold
Research Available Edit
Dark Age offers very little in terms of technology and diversity amongst civilizations. Players should generally pursue rapid development of economy since their options for military are extremely limited. Primary resources to gather are wood (for more houses to support more villagers) and food (to create more villagers and advance to the next age). Stone is not a priority since it will only be useful beginning in the Castle Age; however, gold should be set a priority after food and wood is adequate since many units and technologies require gold. Should the map include fishing as a source of food, building a dock and fishing ships is feasible since fishing ships collect food more quickly than villagers and also frees villagers for gathering other resources.
Although the Dark Age leaves all players with little military capability, it is possible to rush players early with militia and villagers. Such a tactic can be risky due to the time and resources needed to commit to an army so early on in the game, but, if successful, is nearly always game-deciding.
The Dark Ages are commonly placed between 476 and 800 AD, from the fall of the last Western Roman Emperor in Rome, to the coronation of Charlemagne as the Holy Roman Emperor (a prestigious Catholic tradition which had its origin in precisely the Emperor of Rome). The Dark Age (ca 500-800 AD), being the first game-age of Age of Empires II, is followed by the Feudal Age (ca 800-1200 AD), the Castle Age (ca 1200-1400 AD) and lastly the Imperial Age (1400-1500 AD). All of these shorter periods make up what is commonly known as the Middle Ages (ca 500-1500 AD]]. Lots of decisive events took place during the Dark Age. The last Emperor of the Western Roman Empire was deposed (and any later emperors were mere puppets of the Germanic warlords who tore the empire apart) at the beginning of the Dark Ages. A little more than a century later most of Europe lost its contact with the ancient Roman, Greek and Christian world, following the Arab-Muslim invasions of occupations of more than half of Christianity during the 600s AD. Additionally, the Frankish tribes of modern France, as well as other Germanic groups would be the new heirs of the Latin tradition. The Romans, who had expanded and upheld their empire for 1,000 years, lost political power to the Germanic invaders, and Roman ways (including Latin and Greek language) were mostly carried on through the institutions of the Catholic Church. For the Eastern Empire, these days were not equally grim, although they lost most of their lands to the Arabs in the 600s AD, as well as being attacked by Persians (prior to the Arab invasions) and Bulgarians.