Learn to understand the structure of a random map and use it to your advantage to locate everything real fast.
You tried to hunt the witch but instead you found her cookbook
During the Master of Huns tournament (held in 2009/2010) Fulgore used this scouting technique to the maximum. Instead of doing the traditional circular scouting around your Town Center, Fulgore immediately sent his scout out to find the enemy. Once he located the enemy, he started to look for his boar, which he then tried to steal. This tactic got him quite far in the tournament. In fact, because he succeeded so many times in stealing boars he was accused of hacking/cheating. The administration even destroyed his rating with -500 points and banned him from Voobly. It was a true witch hunt, mainly fueled by the angry mob putting huge pressure on the organizers of the tournament. However, the real pros found out the logic in Fulgore’s scouting techniques. The point was that Fulgore understands the map structure of a random map. If he sees a tree on a hill for instance, he’ll know that your TC won’t be near, but we’ll explain that later. Anyhow, after Fulgore’s innocence was proven, he was unbanned and restored to his former glory. He dared to think outside the box and understand the game instead of just blindly copying tactics. And sadly, he took a blow for it. But in the end, it was only the ones that accused him of cheating that had to bow their heads in shame.
The basics lay in the fact that you must thoroughly understand how a random map is generated. We’ll use Arabia as an example. You may have noticed that whenever you play Arabia, your TC is never pushed to the border of the map, nor is it anywhere near the center. That already reduces the possible places for a TC by roughly 50%. Next there is terrain to consider. Roughly 9 squares around your TC are always flat. So if you’re scouting 18 squares from the border of the map and you see nothing but hills, then you know you’re not close to his TC. Other things to keep an eye on are gold and stone mines. There are only 2 big gold mines on the map, and each are within a radius of maximum 16 squares from your TC. Relics on the other hand are never in TC range (at least 25 tiles). Another important guide is the placement of wolves. Wolves lure all across the map, but never too close to an enemy’s TC (40 tiles minimum).
In short, if you happen to run into a flat area, not too close to the border and without wolves or relics, you most likely found your enemy. And that probably won’t take long.
Let’s take the following map for example.
Firstly, the enemy can’t obviously be behind you, and he can’t be inside your “personal space” either. So that excludes a first part of the map.
The enemy can’t be too close to the border of the map, nor to the center. If you send your scouts alongside the borders of the red area you’ll most likely find the enemy TC or TC evidence (boar, sheep, gold, stone, flat land, etc…)
If we take away the fog of war, you can see how this practically works. First we send the scout north, along the imaginary red border. We don’t spot any TC evidence and encounter very hilly terrain and wolves in the north. Then we send the scout west, same story, and additionally we find a relic on the hill, too close to the border to have a TC space next to it. Then we send the scout south, and here we run into a small hill ridge which then rolls out into a flat land. A bit further we see a deer herd and a stone mine. And at the end of this imaginary border, we find a boar!
Here’s the full map without scribbles so you can do the reasoning yourself
However, there’s only one way to really control this technique, and it’s practice.
Due to the relatively new insight, there are not many tactics that use this kind of scouting, but allows you to experiment! Boar stealing is the most common reason to do Fulgore scouting, there’s risk involved as a boar can be behind the enemy’s TC, or you can be too slow to find your enemy. But if it works out, you can really mess up your enemy.
Besides that you can also use this scouting technique to quickly locate your enemy if you’re under time pressure. Let’s say you needed a lot of time to locate your sheep and boar, but in the meanwhile you’re already making some militia. And you still have to find the enemy to drush! Well, then you can quickly scout like this.
If you want to steal a boar or other resources then you must send your scout out very early. One round around the TC, finding the most necessary resources and then head out for the enemy.
A recorded game from the Master of the Huns tournament where Fulgore steals a boar from Chris. Chris uses one of his restarts in this game.
Note: you must change the point of view to Fulgore.