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Foot archer civilization.
Architecture: Western European.
Town Centers cost -50% wood starting in Castle Age.
Foot archers (except skirmishers) have +1 range Castle Age, +1 range Imperial Age (for +2 total).
Shepherds work 25% faster.
Team Bonus: Archery Ranges work 20% faster.
Unique Unit: Longbowman (long ranged foot archer).
Imperial Age (Conquerors)/Castle Age (HD/DE) Unique Tech: Yeomen (Foot archer range +1, Tower attack +2).
Imperial Age Unique Tech (HD/DE): Warwolf (Trebuchets do blast damage, 100% accuracy against units).
Wonder: A placeholder cathedral.note  (pre-DE); Chichester Cathedral (DE)
  • A Commander Is You: Ranger. Their Longbowmen and normal archer units have the longest range in game, but they have a limited tech tree and is the only old world civilization without any gunpowder units up until The Forgotten.
  • Archer Archetype: Longbowman and Arbalest boosted by extra range from their civilization bonus and Yeomen unique tech.
  • The Artifact:
    • Their wonder is a leftover from the beta version of the game, when all civilizations sharing a building style also shared a generic wonder (Cathedral for Europeans, Mosque for Muslims, Temple of Heaven for Asians).
    • The use of "Britons" as a name instead of "English." At the time the game was first outlined, the idea was that you would lead a civilization from the literal ruins of Rome to the Renaissance. This concept was less enforced as the game and expansions developed.
  • Balance Buff: To make up for the Britons' unimpressive siege and navy, The Forgotten adds Cannon Galleons to their tech tree and gives them a unique tech that makes their Trebuchets more accurate and deal splash damage.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: They get great foot archers and decent infantry, but are lacking in everywhere else.
  • Does Not Like Guns: Like mentioned above, they are the only old world civilization with no gunpowder units of any kind prior to The Forgotten.
  • Faction Calculus: Cannon. The Britons have incredibly strong archers and have one of the best foot archers in the game as well as having great siege capacity. At the same time, their frontline options are very weak since their cavalry is lackluster, needing to rely on their full upgraded infantry line to protect their archers and trebuchets.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: The Britons were one of the civilizations who best developed horse-breeding, yet they do not get Bloodlines, one of the most important techs for cavalry units. In addition, the Britons later in history utilize gunpowder to expand an empire, yet they do not get Hand Cannoneers and Bombard Cannons. This is mostly justified for gameplay reasons, as their archers are incredibly strong and having one of the strongest Trebuchets in the game. And the Britons lacking good cavalry gives a counterplay against the Briton's archers.
  • Glass Cannon: One of the best civilizations for long range sieging, thanks to their Trebuchet's splash damage and Longbowmen. The frontline is very weak, however, they lack good cavalry units and techs such as the Paladin and Bloodlines, making Champions and Halberdiers their only reliable frontline.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Their foot archers may have the longest range in the game, but the Britons are the only archer civilization which cannot get Thumb Ring, making their arrows less likely to hit their targets as accuracy is inversely proportional to range.
  • No Campaign for the Wicked: Despite appearing several times as villains, they're never playable, in a campaign, except for the Agincourt Scenario in The Conquerors.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Their historical basis is the medieval Kingdom of England, not the Celtic Britons that would eventually become the Welsh.
  • Sacred Language: While their other units speak English, their Monks speak Latin.
  • Skill Gate Character: The Britons have a straightforward tech tree and is considered one of the easiest civilizations for newer players to play as. However, when it comes to foot archers, they are easily outclassed by other civilizations such as the Chinese with their Chu-Ko-Nu, and the Mayans with their Plumed Archers.note 
    • A common newcomer tactic (especially in Black Forest) for newer players is to create a large army of Longbowmen and wither down any enemies that come near you. More experienced players would counter this by building Siege Rams garrisoned with infantry units and slowly move towards the player's base, ignoring the Longbowmen, and destroying any buildings and walls the player has built. This apparently leads the player to actually diversify their army composition and not just create Longbowmen.


Defensive civilization.
Architecture: Middle Eastern (pre-DE), Mediterranean (DE).
Buildings +105 HP Dark, +20% Feudal, +30% Castle, +40% HP Imperial Age.
Camel, Skirmishers, Pikemen cost -25%.
Fire ships attack 20% faster.
Advance to Imperial Age costs -33%.
Town Watch free.
Team Bonus: Monks +50% heal speed.
Unique Unit: Cataphract (anti-infantry cavalry).
Castle Age Unique Tech (HD/DE): Greek Fire (Fire Ships range +1).
Imperial Age Unique Tech: Logistica (Cataphracts cause trample damage, +6 attack vs infantry).
Wonder: Hagia Sophia.

  • Anti-Infantry: Cataphracts have a damage bonus against infantry and can deal trample damage once Logistica is researched, making them excellent against hordes of infantry and less vulnerable to Halberdiers compared to other cavalry.
  • Artistic License – History:
    • For some reason, the Byzantines use the Middle Eastern architecture, so despite being the bastion of Greek Orthodoxy the Byzantine monastery is clearly a mosque with Islamic engravings and minarets. According to screenshots, this is rectified in the Definitive Edition, with Byzantines taking the same architecture as Italians and Portuguese.
    • Byzantines were historically known to use Horse Archers and heavy armored cavalry in battle, yet they are missing two important upgrades for them (Bloodlines and Parthian Tactics, although the Byzantines do have access to the Paladin upgrade). Them lacking Bloodlines is considered a justified trope, as the No-Sell nature of Cataphracts (where they negate all anti-cavalry damage, including damage from camels) makes them relatively difficult to counter properly.
  • A Commander Is You: They have traits of the Balanced faction (no notable strengths and weaknesses in their tech tree), the Spammer faction (their generic counter units are cheaper), and even the Research faction (they have the lowest cost to reach the Imperial Age, which means that they can quickly field very powerful units while their opponents are still in the Castle Age.)
  • Confusion Fu: They have access to most standard technologies. They are lacking in Siege and miss a crucial tech for Cavalry (extra HP from Bloodlines) and a tech for Cavalry AND Infantry (extra attack from Blast Furnace). This makes them capable of a wide range of playstyles, and unpredictable to face in multiplayer.
  • Faction Calculus: Balanced. They have a diverse and versatile tech tree, and have strong civilization bonuses that allow them to fit into any role in any map.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: The Cataphract is not only good against infantry and resists its supposed-to be counters, but also excels at doing things the generic cavalry usually do; raiding and decimating archers and siege (although the Cataphracts have lower than normal pierce armor when compared to a Paladin due to their anti-cavalry resistance to offset their anti-infantry strength). In general, the Byzantine civilization has all of the available units and upgrade, and has good buildings and economic upgrades.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: The Cataphract is one of the best cavalry units in the game. After researching Logistics, they also give trample damage to other units around them, like the Persian War Elephants.
  • Living Relic: By the end of its lifespan, the Byzantine Empire could be regarded as such. It had essentially become a city-state, the inhabitants mostly spoke Greek, and their army was in shambles. A common Western European insult to the Byzantines was to call them the "Greek Empire" rather than their preferred name for themselves, the "Roman Empire."
  • No Campaign for the Wicked: A very common enemy in campaigns (and the Arch-Enemy in the Attila the Hun one) but only playable in standard game and the Bari Campaign in The Forgotten. Fan-made Byzantine campaigns are very common however, and most of them center on Belisarius' invasions of Africa and Italy, since a Belisarius unit is available in the editor.
  • Orchestral Bombing: Their Regional Riff.
  • Scissors Cuts Rock: Cataphracts have a large innate resistance to Spearmen and Camels' Anti-Cavalry bonus and are effective against those two units. On the other hand, they are the weakest non-ranged, non-camel cavalry unit when it comes to pierce armour, and are very vulnerable to massed archers as a result.
  • Skill Gate Character: The Byzantines having no clear strengths and weakness, gets a significant discount for the Imperial Age upgrade as well as having a diverse tech tree, making the Byzantines an easy to learn civilization for newer players.
  • Stone Wall: Have some of the toughest buildings in the game, and they're summed up as a "Defensive Civilization" in the in-game tech tree. The "counter units" of the Skirmisher, Spearmen, and Camel line are 25% cheaper; these units are specifically strong against one unit type (skirmishers beat archers, spearmen beat cavalry, camels beat cavalry) but weak against others making them good for defense. Their Cataphract unique unit is also one of only three units in the game with a specific attack bonus against infantry. Unlike the cheaper "counter units," Cataphracts are very expensive but are also useful in many other situations.


Infantry civilization.
Architecture: Western European.
Infantry move 15% faster.
Lumberjacks work 15% faster.
Siege weapons fire 20% faster.
Sheep not converted if in 1 Celt unit's line of sight.note 
Team Bonus: Siege workshops work 20% faster.
Unique Unit: Woad Raider (fast infantry).
Castle Age Unique Tech (HD/DE): Stronghold (Castles and Towers fire 25% faster).
Imperial Age Unique Tech: Furor Celtica (Siege Workshop units HP +50% (Conquerors)/+40% (HD/DE)).
Wonder: Rock of Cashel.

  • An Axe to Grind: Woad Raiders.
  • A Commander Is You: Balanced. They have a Ranger faction's high speed, a Guerrilla faction's use of element of surprise and a Brute faction's incredible siege weapons. They can brute force easily with their faster moving infantry and siege weapons, but their defensive capacity is one of the weakest, missing a couple of defensive upgrades for their buildings. That being said, the Celts do have access to Paladins without Bloodlines, so their frontline isn't as bad when compared to the Britons.
  • Fragile Speedster: Probably the closest the game has to one. Their infantry are 15% faster, their unique unit takes this Up to Eleven, and their siege weapons fire faster. They're very much focused on offense over defense though.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: While it is true that the Celts were known for their woodwork (as well as their architecture), the Celts weren't known for their siege weaponry as they prefer open combat in open fields or Hit-and-Run Tactics in forests. In fact, many of the Celtic attempts on sieging cities have actually failed before. The Celts were also known for their heavy use of ranged weapons in battle while in this game, they have the worst archers in their tech tree. In addition, they unusually have access to the Paladin (the final upgrade in the Knight line) whereas the Britons do not. Historically the Celtic nations were not able to deploy cavalry that matched those of the English due to their geographic locations, and were forced to rely on infantry forces and guerrilla warfare.
  • Mighty Glacier: There are two halves to the Celts: their speedy Infantry, and their slow but meaty Siege weapons. Their Siege weaponry is overall the strongest in the game, and will overshadow their Infantry as the game goes on.
  • Mighty Lumberjack: They're not necessarily more manly, tough, and impressive than other civilization's Lumberjacks, but they do work 20% faster.
  • Skill Gate Character: Much like Britons, the Celts are a straightforward and easy to play civilization. They are even the playable civilization of the tutorial campaign.
  • Scotireland: The Celts are meant to stand in for all the Celtic peoples in the British isles (plus the Duchy of Brittany in modern France). Woad Raiders are based on the Picts of ancient Scotland and the Celtic wonder is the Rock of Cashel castle in Ireland.


Archer civilization.
Architecture: East Asian.
Start with +3 villagers, -50 wood, -200 food.
Technologies cost -10% Feudal, -15% Castle, -20% Imperial Age.
Town Centers support 10 population and +5 LOS.note 
Demolition ships +50% hit points.
Team Bonus: Farms +45 food.
Unique Unit: Chu Ko Nu (repeat-firing archer).
Castle Age Unique Tech (HD/DE): Great Wall (Walls and Towers HP +30%).
Imperial Age Unique Tech: Rocketry (Chu Ko Nu attack +2, Scorpion attack +4).
Wonder: Temple of Heaven.

  • Automatic Crossbows: The Chu Ko Nu.
  • A Commander Is You: They fit the Balanced Faction type along with the Research Faction. One of their advantages is cheaper research of technology which leads to the Chinese having more advanced troops before everybody else.
  • Confusion Fu: The Chinese has a very versatile tech tree and can easily adopt to any situations. Knight and Cavalry Archer rushes are even viable tactics despite lacking important late game techs for their respective units (Parthian Tactics and Paladins). This makes the Chinese a reasonable competitive civilization pick in professional plays because their diverse tech tree and the cheaper tech costs make the Chinese incredibly unpredictable for many players despite being labeled as an archer civilization.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: While the Byzantines are a Jack-of-All-Stats civilization meant to be straightforward for newer players, the Chinese have a similar functionality, but the direct opposite difficulty. The Chinese do not have their typical start up, since they start with 3 extra villagers, but no food and slightly less wood. This means during the early game, it requires good amount of micromanagement and economic decisions to make use of the extra three villagers. They are also a civilization that focuses on booming, which makes them incredibly vulnerable to early game rushes (especially Dark Age and Feudal Age rush strategies). However, under skillful hands, the player can make the best use of the extra three villagers and take advantage of their wide tech tree.
    • Discussed in this video where Youtube streamer Spirit of the Law discussed the winrates of all civilizations. While several civilizations have consistent winrates through various ELO levels, the Chinese stands out the most with their winrates. With ELO rankings below 2000, the Chinese generally sit around mid to bottom tier (usually around 19-26th of winrates), yet they end up having the 2nd highest winrate with ELO rankings above 2000. According to various pro players, it is mainly because the Chinese have a well-round and diverse tech tree, and their unusual early game start rewards players with having strong micromanagement, which is something that is highly valued in higher ELO games.
  • Faction Calculus: Balanced, much like the Byzantines, they have well-rounded tech tree and have strong offensive and defensive capacity.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: The Chinese don't excel much either economically or militarily. They don't have clear strengths and weaknesses like other civilizations has. However, they strongly excel at long range sieging (thanks to Chu Ko Nus, various archer and siege weapon technologies, the trebuchet, and scorpions) as well as strong defenses.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • The Chinese historically are well-known for their invention of gunpowder and the heavy use of it in warfare (and even the first hand cannon and the cannon were invented in China), yet the Chinese do not have access to the Hand Cannoneer and Bombard Cannon unit outside of campaigns note . This is justified because their gameplay already excels in archery and long range sieging thanks to their unique technologies, their bonuses, and their unique unit; giving them access to gunpowder units would be overkill.
    • They also cannot research Block Printing and Siege Engineers, even though woodblock printing was invented in China (and the official Age of Empires II guide admits that), and the fact that China was historically well-known for their siege weaponry.note 
  • The Great Wall: Referenced (and portrayed) in the Chinese scenario of the Genghis Khan's campaign. It is invoked once again in The Forgotten, where the new Chinese UT "Great Wall" increases their walls' HP.
  • More Dakka: Chu Ko Nus fire 5 arrows at a time, though each arrow is less accurate than the last and makes their ability less pronounced on faster enemies. When you have an army of Chu Ko Nus, the number of arrows flying on the screen can actually cause the game to lag. One of the main upsides of the Chu Ko Nus is that while each arrow may do 1 damage to high pierce armor targets like Rams or Trebuchets, those units are so slow that they will probably be hit by 4 or 5 arrows. The Chu Ko Nus make a great defensive unit.
  • No Campaign for the Wicked: Appear as antagonists in the third scenario of Genghis Khan's campaign (possibly the most popular of the campaign if not the whole game) and the entirety of the Lê Lợi campaign, but didn't get to have their own. Chinese campaigns are rare in the fandom for some reason. The fan site Age of Kings Heaven even tried to correct this by making a contest of historically themed Chinese campaigns. Eventually they get their own scenario in Battles of The Forgotten, Langshan Jiang (changed to Lake Poyang in DE).
  • Rain of Arrows: The Chu Ko Nu, especially when in groups.


Cavalry civilization.
Architecture: Western European.
Castles cost -25%
Knights (AOK/AOC)/Cavalry (HD/DE) +20% hit points.
Farm upgrades free (requires Mill).
Foragers work 25% faster (HD/DE)
Team Bonus: Knights +2 line of sight.
Unique Unit: Throwing Axeman (ranged infantry).
Castle Age Unique Tech (HD/DE): Chivalry (Stables work 40% faster).
Imperial Age Unique Tech: Bearded Axe (Throwing Axemen +1 range).
Wonder: Chartres Cathedral.

  • An Axe to Grind: Frankish Throwing Axemen use these, combined with Throwing Your Sword Always Works. In-game, the axes are pretty huge but real life throwing axes are much smaller and well-balanced.
  • A Commander Is You: Economist/Brute, with their free farm upgrades, cheap castles and bonuses towards cavalry, especially Paladins, but they also have Throwing Axemen as their unique units.
  • Faction Calculus: Powerhouse. Their Paladins are arguably the best in the game, having a total of 192 HP with their civilization bonus. They also have strong eco bonuses that encourage the player to go for the Knight rush strategy.
  • Gratuitous French: Though, like Britons, their monks speak Latin instead.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: Their Paladins are the strongest in the game, but that doesn't prevent their counter units such as Halberdiers or Teutonic Knights from beating them.
  • Skill Gate Character: The Franks possess a rather simple tech tree as well as strong heavy cavalry which a typical unit every player, new or veteran, learns to use well. They also one of the earliest civilizations new players usually play with (campaign-wise).
  • Stone Wall: More accurately, Stone Castle Wall. The Franks have cheaper Castles than any other civilizations, so expect to see lots of them in a French town.
  • This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: Throwing Axemen are really only useful at killing pikemen, whose one job is killing heavy cavalry and will be sent out when the Franks use their buffed Paladins. But if a Frankish player tries any other strategy, or the other player uses other counters (i.e. Camels) there is really no use in producing Throwing Axemen. They are also good against siege units as their damage is reduced by normal armor instead of pierce armor which many siege units boast.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: ...or not. Throwing Axemen are pretty bad at hitting moving targets and don't benefit from Ballistics.


Infantry civilization.
Architecture: Central European.
Infantry cost -35% starting in Feudal Age.
Infantry +1 attack vs. buildings.
Villagers +5 attack vs. wild boar; hunters carry +15 meat.
+10 population in Imperial Age.
Team bonus: Barracks work 20% faster.
Unique Unit: Huskarl (anti-archer infantry).
Castle Age Unique Tech: Anarchy (Huskarls can be trained at Barracks).
Imperial Age Unique Tech: Perfusion (Barracks work 100% faster).
Wonder: Mausoleum of Theodoric.

  • Annoying Arrows: Huskarls have high pierce armor for organic units, which means that arrows from an archer or a tower only do 1 damage to them. With full upgrades, it takes as many arrows as each hit point a Huskarl has to kill them.
  • Artistic License – Linguistics: In the game, the Goths speak Old High German, not their own Gothic language.
  • Barbarian Tribe: For most scenario creators, the "go to" civilization when you want to feature European 'barbarians' that aren't Vikings or Huns.
  • A Commander Is You: The Goths are THE Spammer faction of the game. They're also a Brute faction with preference towards infantry, even more so than the other infantry civs.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: The Goths is considered to a civilization that is "easy to play, yet easy to screw up at the same time". The Goth's tech tree, civilization bonuses, unique units, and unique techs have some reasonable synergy with each other which much like the Britons and Celts, the Goths can easily be picked up for newer players. Unlike the Britons and the Celts, the Goths do not have any significant early game economic bonuses. Not only that, they are the only civilization that does not have any Stone Walls or any upgrades for their towers, making their early game incredibly weak. This makes the Goths incredibly punishing for newer players for early game mistakes. However, under skillful hands, the Goths have the tools to survive early game and then steamroll the enemy lategame.
  • Faction Calculus: Horde. The Goth's gameplan is to spam a ton of cheap infantry and overwhelm their opponent with them, but lack any defensive capacity whatsoever with their infantry lacking the last armor upgrade to reflect on this.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • Historians have described the Goths as more of a cavalry civilization with strong Horse Archers and were the only barbarian tribe to have laid waste and besieged Rome, yet they are portrayed as an infantry civilization with a strong frontline but a weak archery and siege line. And the Huskarls were more related to the Vikings rather than the Goths.
    • The Goths have access to Hand Cannoneers and Bombard Cannons despite both Visigoths and Ostrogoths being long extinct by the time these weapons were invented. Some players joke about how a barbarian tribe is more technologically superior than the Chinese, who do not have access to such units despite inventing them in real life.
  • Glass Cannon: The playstyle for the Goths involve a Zerg Rush into your opponent with swarms of infantry units (and especially Huskarl). In terms of defensive gameplay, however, they end up being vulnerable to early aggression since they lack stone walls or strong defensive buildings. Heck, the Huskarl unit itself is a glass cannon unit. While Huskarls are strong against archers since they can shrug off arrows, they will definitely loose out in a 1v1 fight against most melee units due to their low melee armor, especially against units that deal bonus damage against other infantry units (Jaguar Warriors), unique units (Samurai), or high melee armor (Teutonic Knights)
  • Gratuitous German: Makes sense for the actual German civ, the Teutons, but the Goths use the same exact voice clips as them. Gothic was more similar to Old Norse than Old German so using the Viking voice clips may have been more accurate.
  • Magikarp Power: Do not let a Goth player take a heavy lead. Because if the Goth player does, the player will spam a shitton of cheap infantry units and swarm into your base (especially Huskarls where they can even shrug off arrows from castles and towers).
  • No Campaign for the Wicked: The Goths are a frequent enemy in the Genghis Khan campaign, the Barbarossa campaign, the Attila the Hun campaign, and a scenario in The Battles of the Conquerors (Hastings), but receive no campaign of their own until Alaric in The Forgotten. May be justified due to the Goths having a significantly different gameplay than all the other civs, lacking stone walls, towers, and a strong economic bonus. The campaigns usually feature some form of defend and build up even if the civ used is not quite suited for it, like the Huns or Aztecs, but at least those guys have walls.
  • The Non Descript: The Goths are often used in campaigns for any European culture that is not big on chivalry and fortifications (excluding the Vikings and the Huns). They fill in for the Saxons in the Hastings scenario and for eastern European states like Poland and Russia in the Barbarossa and Genghis Khan campaigns.
  • Scissors Cuts Rock: Normally, melee infantry are vulnerable to hand cannoneers or archers. The Huskarls completely reverses this with their higher than normal movement speed, high pierce armor, and bonus damage against archers.
  • Zerg Rush: Lacking the powerful Paladin and the ranged Arbalest, their Infantry don't even get the final armor upgrade. Instead, their Infantry are 35% (the technology tree says 25%, though) cheaper than everybody else's and their Barracks churn out those Infantry 20% faster. Later on in the game, they are the only civilization who can create their unique unit from the cheap Barracks as opposed to the costly Castle and they can churn out infantry 100% (again, the tech tree claims it to be 50%) faster!


Infantry Civilization.
Architecture: East Asian.
Fishing ships 2X hitpoints; +2 pierce armor; work rate +5% Dark, +10% Feudal, +15% Castle, +20% Imperial Age.
Mill, Lumber/Mining Camps cost -50%
Infantry attack 25% faster starting in Feudal Age.
Team Bonus: Galleys +50% line of sight.
Unique Unit: Samurai (infantry with bonus attack against other UUs).
Castle Age Unique Tech (HD/DE): Yasama (Towers fire 2 extra arrows).
Imperial Age Unique Tech: Kataparuto (Trebuchets pack/unpack 4x faster, fire rate +33%).
Wonder: Todai-ji.

  • Archer Archetype: The Japanese and Saracens are the only civs to receive all technologies in the Archery Range. Historically, the Samurai were expert archers for most of the Middle Ages and the developers originally intended for the Samurai to have two attack modes: melee with swords and range with archery. This was deemed too user unfriendly because a player could order his Samurai to attack a high pierce armor building destroyer like a Ram, switch to a different screen to micro another army, then switch back only to see his buildings gone thanks to the Samurai feebly firing arrows at the Ram.
  • Balance Buff: The Forgotten expansion gives the Japanese Bloodlines, giving them more versatility in their tech tree and strategies, and making Horse Archer rushes viable.
  • A Commander Is You: It's difficult to pinpoint the Japanese, but they are closest to the Brute Force Faction. They tend to have a strong economy and use cheaper foot units such as their Archers or their faster attacking Infantry. Like the Britons, they lack variety in siege weapons and have weak cavalry so their unit roster is limited, though their ship fleet is significantly better. Ironically, The Conquerors makes their Trebuchets very, very powerful giving them a single strong, expensive Siege weapon as an exception to the rest of their playstyle. With the addition of Bloodlines and Yasama in The Forgotten, they now fit more into the Balanced faction instead.
  • Everything's Better with Samurai: Almost literally, Samurai get attack bonuses against all other unique units.
  • Faction Calculus: Prior to the HD expansion, they fit into the Cannon faction due to their lackluster frontline, relying on their foot soldiers as their main army composition. With Bloodlines added into their tech tree and the introduction of the Yasama tech, they now fit into the Balanced faction.
  • Gratuitous English: Their unique technology, which makes Trebuchets fire faster, is called Kataparuto, which is simply 'catapult' spelt out in Katakana.
  • Hero Killer: Samurai are almost average infantry units (one samurai can beat one champion, but barely) but their bonus against UUs means that they can kill any of them in a one-on-one fight, excluding Teutonic Knights, War Elephants and Cataphracts. The former two are too strong for the Samurai even with the bonus, and the latter's bonus damage against infantry counters the Samurai's.
  • Horse Archer: The Japanese are lacking in cavalry units but a unique combination of technologies makes their Cavalry Archers able to compete with Hunnic and Persian horse archers man to man. The Samurai spent a period of time as horse archers who engaged in ritual duels. Prior to The Forgotten expansion, the Japanese were known to be the only civilization that have access to Parthian Tactics (making their Cavalry Archers more durable and more effective against pikemen), but lacked Bloodlines (a tech that gives cavalry units +20 HP, including Cavalry Archers). This apparently lead to a buff in The Forgotten expansion where they were given the Bloodlines tech, as the samurai were known to have one of the most powerful cavalry that rivals even the Mongols.
  • Glass Cannon: Prior to The Forgotten expansion thanks to the lack of Bloodlines, they have to rely on their frail infantry, archers and Trebuchets.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: After the buff with the Japanese getting access to Bloodlines in The Forgotten expansion, they fit more into this.
  • Jidai Geki
  • Katanas Are Just Better: And Naginata, too. Although the Samurai is the only unit that actually wields a Katana, all Japanese infantry attack 25% faster. This means their Infantry defeat the Infantry of all other civs one to one in every age (including Aztecs with the feared +4 Attack), and their Halberdiers slaughter enemy cavalry more effectively if they get close.
  • Out of Focus: They only appear in single scenarios in Conquerors and The Forgotten. Justified, since Japan was pretty isolationist.
  • This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman:
    • How much use the Samurai get depends entirely on the enemy's unique unit, with a more useful one meaning the Samurai will get used to counter it. Otherwise, Champions are more cost effective.
    • This also applies to them literally. While they are a decent land civ, their faster fishing bonus relies on water maps to be effective.
  • You Are the Translated Foreign Word: Their unique technology, "Kataparuto", which makes trebuchets assemble and disassemble faster, is just the Japanese word for "Catapult".


Cavalry Archer civilization
Architecture: East Asian.
Cavalry archers fire 20% faster.
Light Cavalry, Hussar +30% hit points.
Hunters work 50% faster.
Team Bonus: Scout Cavalry, Light Cavalry, Hussar +2 line of sight.
Unique Unit: Mangudai (anti-siege weapons cavalry archer).
Castle Age Unique Tech (HD/DE): Nomads (Houses do not lose population when destroyed).
Imperial Age Unique Tech: Drill (Siege Workshop units movement speed +50%).
Wonder: Great Tent of the Golden Horde.

  • Balance Buff: The Conquerors are very kind to them by giving Bloodlines, Parthian Tactics and Thumb Ring to their cavalry archers as well as the Unique Tech Drills to speed up the naturally slow siege units.
  • Born in the Saddle: Mongolian culture practically revolves around the horse in real life and it led to their military success in history. A cutscene proudly proclaims that a Mongol at war would even sleep in the saddle. In-game, their light cavalry have 33% more Hit Points and their Mangudai Unique Unit is a Cavalry Archer on steroids. Unlike the Huns or the Turks, they still have a lot of strong foot units (they have the Arbalest upgrade that the Huns and Turks don't) but their foot archers in particular miss a key armor technology making them a tad bit weaker than, say, a Saracen or Mayan foot archer.
  • A Commander Is You: Ranger/Technical. Their cavalry archers and siege weapons are defensively weak and require hit and run tactics to be effective.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: The Mongols playstyle involves Hit-and-Run Tactics using Mangudai and Siege Onagers. This involves a lot of micromanagement with the said units, especially in multiplayer games where lag is a huge issue.
  • Faction Calculus: Subversive. Their cavalry units aren't the best defensive wise, as their cavalry units lack the Paladin upgrade and the last Blacksmith armor upgrade. They make up for this with their strong hit-and-run tactics with their cavalry archers and their siege weapons, which requires a lot of micromanagement skill from the player.
  • Fragile Speedster: Mangudai are pretty fast, but their Unique Tech Drills will drastically speed up every siege engine made in the Siege Workshop. Resulting in Mangonels, Rams and Scorpions moving faster than infantry. On the other hand, the Mongols lack the important Imperial Age armor upgrade for their melee cavalry and archer units, but they make up for it with more HP for their Hussars, faster firing cavalry archers and them having Parthian Tactics.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: The Mongols were known to use gunpowder in their expansion campaigns (mostly as a result of conquering China and forcefully conscripting Chinese siege engineers), but they do not have access to such units. The civilization is probably meant to stand for the Mongols before the conquest of China, with the Tatars and Chinese taking over later "Mongol" dynasties like the Timurids and the Yuan. Though the Mongols were historically known for their siege capabilities, their unique tech Drill refers to the superior drill of their cavalry, which was also historically accurate. Essentially, the technology has a mismatch between the historical background and the in game bonus.
  • Hit-and-Run Tactics: The Mongols' gameplay is built around this, as the player needs to micromanage their cavalry archers and Mangudai to wither down their opponents. They can even do this kind of tactics with Siege Onagers, a unit that is traditionally really slow.
  • Horse Archer: Their Cavalry Archers fire 20% faster and the Mangudai is among the strongest, faster moving and attacking than most units.
  • Scissors Cuts Rock: Mangudai arrows are deadly against siege weapons, their only cost-effective counter.


Cavalry civilization.
Architecture: Middle Eastern.
Start with +50 wood, food.
Town Center, Dock 2X hit points; work rate +5% Dark (DE), +10% Feudal, +15 Castle, +20% Imperial Age.
Team Bonus: Knights +2 attack vs. Archers.
Unique Unit: War Elephant (powerful but slow cavalry).
Castle Age Unique Tech (DE): Kamandaran (Archer-line gold cost is replaced by additional wood cost) note .
Imperial Age Unique Tech: Mahouts (War Elephant speed +30%).
Wonder: Khosrau's Palace.

  • Achilles' Heel: The Persians lack Heresy, this combined with the War Elephant's vulnerability to conversion AND the Persian dependence on expensive units such as Paladins and War Elephants makes them perfectly countered by civilizations with good monks (i.e. Aztecs and Spanish).
  • A Commander Is You: Elitist Faction for sure. They do not have access to many strong, cheap units like the Arbalest, the Champion, or even the Two-Handed Swordsmen. They rely almost entirely on their expensive cavalry. They do have a good ship fleet, though.
  • Born in the Saddle: The Persians are this trope made civilization. They have access to all cavalry units and techs that are not unique to other civilization, and their own UU is the only siege cavalry in the original game (the expansions add the Korean War Wagon, the Hunnic Tarkan and the Khmer Ballista Elephant).
  • Discard and Draw: The Persian Castle Age unique tech was changed from Boiling Oil to Kamandaran, which means that instead of castles inflicting a situational bonus damage on rams, Persians can transform their crossbows into effective trash units costing 70 wood instead of 25 wood, 45 gold.
  • Faction Calculus: Powerhouse. The civilization is the only civilization that has all the upgrades to their cavalry units, and the civilization itself relies on a lot of gold efficient units such as gunpowder units, Paladins, and War Elephants.
  • Herd-Hitting Attack: The War Elephants does trample damage, making them very effective against infantry and archers.
  • Mighty Glacier: War Elephants are the biggest example in the game with even the Teutonic Knight being a wimp compared to it in terms of health, resisting high damage and damaging units adjacent to whatever they're attacking. Outside of units they're specially weak to, there's no cost effective way of beating them.
  • No Campaign for the Wicked: They appear as antagonists in many campaigns, but there is only a single mission in the Battles of the Forgotten where they are playable in a campaign.
  • Not the Intended Use: The Persians have a bonus on their Town Centers where they have double the extra HP and work faster. While the extra HP for their Town Center was meant to discourage any early game rushing, some crafty competitive players used the Town Center work rate and the extra HP of their Town Centers to preform a "Persian douche" strategy. This involves deleting your own Town Center in the Dark Age, getting a bunch of Villagers, and rebuilding your own Town Center next to your opponent's Town Center. Under the right conditions, this can be very devastating to your opponent.
  • War Elephants: Their unique unit.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: War Elephants are very easily converted by Monks. And then used against the Persian player!


Camel and naval civilization.
Architecture: Middle Eastern.
Market trade cost only 5%.
Markets cost -100 wood (DEnote ).
Transport Ships 2X hit points, 2X carry capacity.
Galleys attack 20% faster.
Archers (except Skirmishers) +1 attack vs. buildings per age (starting in Feudal Age)note .
Team Bonus: Foot archers +1 attack vs. buildings.
Unique Unit: Mameluke (ranged camel dealing melee damage).
Castle Age Unique Tech (HD/DE): Madrasah (Monks return 33 gold when killed).
Imperial Age Unique Tech: Zealotry (Camels, Mamelukes +30 HP).
Wonder: Great Mosque of Samarra.

  • Archer Archetype: The Saracens and Japanese are the only civs to get every technology from the Archery Range. Their archers (both foot and mounted) even deal more damage to buildings.
  • A Commander Is You: The Saracens seem to fall under the Elitist Faction, the Ranger Faction and the Technical Faction as their strongest and most important units tend to be gold-intensive, appear late-game and ranged. Arbalests, Cavalry Archers, Hand Cannoneers, Mamelukes, Siege Onagers, Bombard Cannons, Monks, Trebuchets, and even Galleons. In the 6th and final Barbarossa scenario, Saladin makes good use of this fact with an army of exclusively ranged units with only a couple of Heavy Camels to start the scenario. This is quite excruciating because the player uses the Teutons who are the slow and methodical civilization.
  • Clown Car: Their Transport Ships can carry 2X more units.
  • Confusion Fu: Despite being labelled as the Camel civilization they have a wide tech tree thus capable of a wide range of playstyles, like the Byzantines. Unlike the Byzantines however they also have full blacksmith techs, giving them even more options on the offensive side.
  • Faceless Goons: Mamelukes wear black turbans that cover their face completely.
  • Faction Calculus: Balanced/Powerhouse. The civilization have a wide tech tree and have some gold efficient lategame units like the Mameluke, gunpowder, and their tankier camels.
  • Horse Archer: The Saracen Horse Archers specifically do more damage to buildings, and the are the only civilization to get every technology to upgrade them along with the Turks. Their Mameluke Unique Unit is sort of like this, playing like a short-ranged Horse Archer except he's a guy on a camel that throws swords and does melee damage instead of ranged damage.
  • Magikarp Power: Due to lacking long-term economic bonuses they are very difficult to start with, but once they reach Imperial Age the Saracens can kill anything at sight with their strong camels and various advanced ranged units. This is obvious in the second Saladin scenario, where the player starts in Feudal Age with little resources, restricted to the Castle Age and many soon-to-be Imperial Age foes trying to kill the player.
  • Our Elves Are Better: Interestingly they have a lot of the usual traits of elves in strategy games. Besides their Ranger Faction tendencies, the Saladin campaign depicts the Saracens as originally peaceful and civilized who become warlike due to events around them. They are men who used to "enter battle as gentlemen" who "discuss mathematics and astronomy" and "seek to dignify their civilization" but the Crusades made them warlike. Their cities such as Cairo and Baghdad are described by the Norman narrator with awe. Their Wonder is even impressive enough to make do as a Mage Tower. In real life, the Arabs had advanced technology compared to the Europeans but they were as warlike as everybody else in the Middle Ages (although perhaps it is true that they weren't quite as divided as the Western Europeans, given that their warring states tended to be rather larger and more coherent, while in Western Europe local lords would gladly fight each other over an orchard if they had an excuse). Later narrations in the campaign mention that they became far more bloodthirsty and violent from all their battles.
  • Sinister Scimitar: Their unique unit's Weapon of Choice.
  • Slave Mooks: Muslim leaders had to get around the soft ban on Muslims fighting each other; slave mooks known as Mamelukes were the answer. Slaves usually came from Turkic sources, which meant the Mamelukes were probably a precursor to the Jannisaries. Eventually the Mamelukes took control from their owners and founded their own empires in India, Egypt, and Central Asia. In fact the first nation to call itself "Turkey" was the Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Mamelukes throw their scimitars at enemies, they usually hit, and pretty hard at that. Of course, the Mameluke has an endless supply of scimitars to throw at people.


Infantry civilization.
Architecture: Central European.
Monks healing range 2X.
Towers garrison 2X units.
Murder Holes, Herbal Medicine (DE) free.
Farms cost -33%.
Town Center garrison +10.
Team Bonus: Units more resistant to conversion.
Unique Unit: Teutonic Knight (powerful but slow infantry).
Castle Age Unique Tech (HD/DE)): Ironclad (Siege weapon melee armor +4).
Imperial Age Unique Tech: Crenellations (Castle range +3, garrisoned infantry fires arrows).
Wonder: Maria Laach Abbey.

  • Black Knight: The appropriately ominous looking Teutonic Knight is the closest equivalent to the first Age of Empires Phalanx: 50% more HPs than a Champion, three times the melee armor, almost twice the cost, half its speed. They easily kill other melee units, even the dreaded Paladin, and unlike the Persian elephants they are resistant to conversion. However their decent pierce armor and HP doesn't make up for their speed and they are beaten by most ranged units. Combine them with rams and most opponents will still shit their pants as they walk to their base... though veeeery slowly.
  • Closest Thing We Got: After researching the unique technology "Crenellations", Teutonic infantry garrisoned in castles and towers will also fire arrows, rather than just archers.
  • A Commander Is You: THE Brute faction. Despite being slow as molasses, their Teutonic Knights do tons of damage. They also have excellent defense bonuses, cheaper farms of an Economist, units that are resistant to conversion, and their monks have doubled healing range. Due to their reliance on expensive late-game units they also count as the Elitist faction.
  • Faction Calculus: Powerhouse. Their defensive capacity and farms are one of the best in the game, and their tech tree puts emphasis on their gold efficient units. In fact, the Teutons are the only civilization in the game that cannot upgrade their scout cavalry line.
  • Germanic Efficiency: Definitely invoked when one looks at their castles or compares the Teutonic Knight to other infantry. Not fast nor cheap, but definitely worth to invest in.
  • Mighty Glacier: A good way to characterize the Teutons' offense. Slow Teutonic Knights and siege weapons, along with encroaching fortifications. They are also one of the few civs to lack the movement speed upgrade for their mounted units.
  • More Dakka: If filled with Hand Cannoneers or Janissaries, their Bombard Towers can fire two and three cannonballs respectively instead of the usual one.
  • Quality over Quantity: The main playstyle of the Teutons, their tech tree does not have access to cheap, cost efficient units such as the Arbalest, and their trash unit line is considered below average (they are the only non-American civilization to not have access to the Light Cavalry upgrade and their Elite Skirmishers are missing Thumb Ring and the last Imperial Age attack upgrade, with fully upgradable Halberdiers as their only trash unit). However, the make up for it by utilizing gold efficient and expensive units such as their siege weapons, Hand Cannoneers, Paladins, and Teutonic Knights. Their strong and durable Teutonic Knights, combined with gold efficient units, makes them a formidable against civilizations that utilize Zerg Rush strategy (such as the Goths).
  • Rain of Arrows: "Crenellations" also increases the range of their castles.


Gunpowder civilization.
Architecture: Middle Eastern.
Gunpowder units +25% hit points; researching gunpowder technologies costs -50%; Chemistry free.
Gold miners work 20% faster.
Light Cavalry and Hussar upgrades free.
Team Bonus: Gunpowder units created 20% faster.
Unique Unit: Janissary (strong hand cannoneer).
Castle Age Unique Tech (HD/DE): Sipahi (Cavalry Archer +20 HP).
Imperial Age Unique Tech: Artillery (Bombard Tower, Bombard Cannon and Cannon Galleon range +2).
Wonder: Suleiman's Mosque.

  • Achilles' Heel: The Turks are considered to be the most gold dependent civilizations due to their army mostly consisting of gunpowder units and the fact that they don't have good upgrades to their spearmen and skirmisher line (they do have access to Hussars for free though). This is compensated by their faster gold mining bonus.
  • Born in the Saddle: Historically, the Turks used to be this type of civilization. When they moved to the Middle East, they quickly took on many Persian and Arab characteristics but still retained strong horsemanship into Ottoman times. In gameplay this is reflected by their free upgrades to the Scout Cavalry line as well as being the only civ besides the Saracens to get every upgrade for their Cavalry Archers (and even an upgrade that boosts the durability of their cavalry archers in the Forgotten expansion). The Ottomans made good use of infantry so the Turks have limited access to foot units but what they have is strong.
  • Crutch Character: Conversely with the Magikarp Power status in team games, the Turks are also this in 1v1 situations. While the Turks get their powerspike in late Castle Age and early Imperial Age, once late Imperial Age comes when running out of gold is an issue, the Turks will fall off drastically due to them having an incredibly weak trash-line unless if the Turks secure several relics during the Castle Age.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: The Turks do not have any upgrades for their spearmen and skirmisher line, this makes them extremely gold dependent. They are also known for their notoriously weak early game AND a notoriously weak lategame in 1v1 matches due to the lack of significant early game economic bonuses and lack of a strong trash unit line (with Hussar as their only trash unit option). Skillful players must make the best use of their gold to play effectively and secure the relics in the map, otherwise, the Turks will not have any trash unit options lategame. On the other hand, the Turks are considered to be a viable civilization in team games since the player can establish a trade line, hence not worrying about running out of gold.
  • A Commander Is You: Definitely an Elitist Faction. They lack the full upgrades for the cheap Spearmen and Skirmishers and must rely on gold intensive units like Janissaries. The only strong, non-gold unit they have are the Hussars which they have a bonus for.
  • Faction Calculus: Powerhouse. The Turks have the worst trash units in the game (lacking upgrades for their Skirmisher and spearman units), but their civilization puts more emphasis on their gold efficient lategame units such as their unique units and beefier cavalry archers.
  • Magikarp Power: The Turks are this in many teamgame situations. They have strong late game bonuses such as increased gold mining does little use early in the game, since they have no Pikeman or Elite Skirmisher upgrades, lousy and their Mangonels have no upgrades. Along with them missing a few important technologies in the earlier ages. However, if Turk players manage to age up to late Castle Age and Imperial is where they get their power. For example, their unique unit, the Janissary is the one of the three Castle Age gunpowder units available (The other being the Spanish Conquistador and the Portuguese Organ Gun). Their gunpowder units are cheaper, have higher hp, and can be created faster. The Janissary is basically a stronger Hand Cannoneer with higher damage, better accuracy, and increased range. They also get free light cavalry upgrades, with expert Turk players advancing with hordes of Hussars, Bombard Cannons, and Janissaries. Finally their unique technology "Artillery" increases the range of their Bombard Cannons, Cannon Galleons, and Bombard Towers. The Turks considered to be one of the most reliable late-game civilizations in teamgames (along with Portuguese, Italians, and Vietnamese) due to the fact that securing gold isn't an issue with an established trade line, and the Turks are one of the most gold efficient civilizations in team games since many of their civilization bonuses have good synergy with each other.
  • More Dakka: They create gunpowder units faster, get Chemistry the instant they reach Imperial Age, get all gunpowder-related technologies for half cost, and their Cannon Galleons, Bombard Tower, and Bombard Cannon all outrange their counterparts in other civs. All of their gunpowder units also have 25% extra Hit Points. It's pretty obvious which units the game wants you to use when you play as the Turks.
  • Quality over Quantity: Even moreso than the Teutons, as the Turks don't get any upgrades to their Spearman and Skirmisher units (their trash unit line), with free upgrades to their light cavalry unit as their only trash unit. To offset their weak trash unit line, they are compensated with various gold efficient units such as Hand Cannoneers, their beefy Cavalry Archers, Jannisarries, and Bombard Cannons.
  • Slave Mooks: The Janissary corps were slaves brought in from the Slavs in the Balkans and then from the Greeks. Young boys were captured and then given an exclusively military education, which for the Turks included warfare, wrestling, swordsmanship, Islam, chess, music, cooking, and engineering.


Infantry and naval civilization.
Architecture: Central European.
Warships cost -15% Feudal/Castle Age, -20% Imperial Age.note 
Infantry +10% Feudal, +15% Castle, +20% Imperial Age.
Wheelbarrow, Hand Cart free.
Team Bonus: Docks cost -15%note 
Unique Units: Berserker (self-healing infantry), Longboat (ship that fires multiple arrows at once).
Castle Age Unique Tech (HD/DE): Chieftains (Infantry +5 attack vs cavalry, +4 vs camels).
Imperial Age Unique Tech: Berserkergang (Berserks regenerate faster).
Wonder: Borgund Stave Church.

  • Acceptable Breaks from Reality: Longboats (like all ships in the game) have no oars, whose animation would probably cause lag on the computers of the time when the game was released.
  • The Berserker: Their unique unit.
  • A Commander Is You: Economist/Specialist (Naval). Due to their limited tech tree, the Vikings are hard to pin down but they have a very strong economy in the middle section of a round such that they can get away with using units that they are weak with such as Knights. A common misconception is that they are poor on land but actually they are strong for most of the game. They are only weak late game due to lacking many of the strongest Imperial Age units such as Siege Onager and Paladins. However, they dominate water maps. When competitive players on teams get to choose their civs but have no idea what map they will be on, each team will almost always have a Viking player on the off chance they get a map with significant water on it as well as the fact that the Vikings are still a good land civ.
  • Cool Ship: Their sleek Longboats with masts shaped like dragonheads, counterparts of the real life Drakkar.
  • Crutch Character: Played straight on land where they are strong middle game but lack many powerful Imperial Age units, averted on water where their performances are consistently good.
  • Faction Calculus: In water maps, they are the Powerhouse faction due to their strong naval bonuses they are one of the most consistent naval civlizations. In land maps, the fit into Subversive faction since they lack any good lategame land units, but make up for it for their strong economic bonuses that allows them to play aggressively and apply early game pressure with their limited tech tree, even allowing them to close out games as early game Feudal Age.
  • Healing Factor: The aforementioned Berserkers can heal themselves. The unique tech Berserkergang makes them regenerate even faster.
  • Horny Vikings: Obviously. Though it's downplayed a bit, only the above mentioned unique unit actually has a horned helmet.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Longboats are very fast and shoot volleys of arrows at once, making them perfect for sea-raids.
  • Not the Intended Use: The Vikings are mostly meant to be played in Water Maps, but they are considered to be a viable competitive civilization in land maps due to their strong early economic bonuses with free Wheelbarrow and Hand Cart. They can also do a viable, although suboptimal, Knight rush thanks to their said free Wheelbarrow and Hand Cart upgrades, hence allowing the Vikings to pump out Knights sooner than other civilizations despite having one of the worst cavalry in the game.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: The Vikings can ironically pull off a reasonable Knight rush, but Huns, Mongols, and Berbers can do this strategy better (not to mention, the said civilizations have access to key important techs that the Vikings don't have access to, Bloodlines and Husbandry in particular).
  • Rain of Arrows: The Longboat's attack, which gives it an edge over the galleys and makes it dangerous to land units.
  • This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: A literal example. Though they are actually stronger on land than most players would make you think, Vikings are usually mostly picked on water maps.

    Civilizations in The Conquerors 


Infantry and Monk civilization.
Architecture: Mesoamerican.
Villagers carry +5.
Military units created 15% faster.
+5 Monk hit points for each Monastery technology.
Start with +50 gold.note .
Team Bonus: Relics generate +33% gold.
Unique Unit: Jaguar Warrior (most powerful infantry in game).
Castle Age Unique Tech (HD/DE): Atatl (Skirmishers attack +1, range +1).
Imperial Age Unique Tech: Garland Wars (Infantry attack +4).
Wonder: Great Temple of Tenochtitlan.

  • Badass Army: The Aztecs have access to all swordsman upgrades and their unique technology "Garland Wars" gives them 4 additional attack points. Then consider that Jaguar Warriors also benefit from these technologies, and that they themselves have a bonus attack against other infantry units.
  • Badass Preacher: Their monks gain HP for each Monastery technology researched.
  • The Brute: The Jaguar Warrior can beat any other infantry unit in one-on-one combat, even the Teutonic Knight if the Jaguar strikes first. And it is armed with a club.
  • Carry a Big Stick sprinkled with Obsidian shards: Jaguar Warriors.
  • City of Gold: Reflected by their team bonus, which generates gold from relics faster. In real life, Tenochtitlan houses many artifacts made from gold.
  • A Commander Is You: Brute/Technical. Their buildings are the weakest in the game and they lack cavalry, but they can create all of their military units faster on a powerful economy to boot, and they have a technology that gives their frail Infantry +4 attack. The are not completely glass cannons because for every Monastery technology they research, their Monks gain +5 HP. This combination of fast Eagles, strong Jaguars and Champions and micro-intensive Monks need to constantly be on offense.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: They are pretty bad at everything other than Eagle Warriors and monks.
  • Enemy Exchange Program: In addition to their beefy Monks, potentially converting units before they have a chance to kill the monks, they can get the unique Xolotl Warrior from converting an enemy stable.
  • Faction Calculus: Subversive: Their defensive capacities are weak, but can easily produce their cheap military units without any problems thanks to their strong early game economic bonuses.
  • Foil: To the Mayans. The Aztecs are the most well-known pre-Columbian civilization, fit "The Conquerors" theme, and were probably developed early on. Gameplay-wise, the Aztecs are very focused on offense, while the Mayans were probably developed later and are clearly much more defensive and have many techs the Aztecs lack.
  • Glass Cannon: Their infantry units have relatively low HP despite their high attack. The Aztecs are also one of the few civilizations to have access to the Siege Onager, a very expensive glass cannon unit.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Garland Wars would ensure that their fully-upgraded Elite Eagle Warriors will become this.
  • Nemean Skinning: They're not called Jaguar Warriors for nothing...
  • Zerg Rush: All military units are created 15% faster. Aztec players will then use this to spam infantry and monks, which is mostly the only things the Aztecs are good at.


Cavalry civilization.
Architecture: Central European.
Do not need houses, but start with -100 wood.
Cavalry archers cost -10% Castle, -20% Imperial Agenote .
Trebuchets +30% accuracy.
Team Bonus: Stables work 20% faster.
Unique Unit: Tarkan (anti-building cavalry).
Castle Age Unique Tech (HD/DE): Marauders (Tarkans can be trained at the Stable).
Imperial Age Unique Tech: Atheism (Wonder and Relic victories take +100 years, -50% Spies/Treason cost).
Wonder: Destroyed Arch of Constantine surrounded by plundered gold.

  • Achilles' Heel: The Huns' military is mostly consist of cavalry and cavalry archers. This can easily be countered with halberdiers, onagers, scorpions, and skirmishers.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: The Huns need to constantly be on the offensive in order to play them effectively.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Mentioned during Attila's campaign that Attila was their king specifically because he was the strongest.
  • Born in the Saddle: Cutscenes in the Attila the Hun campaign state that the Huns even had deformed legs due to being on horseback most of their lives. This was a true trope in real life, the Huns originally being a Central Asian people. Reflected in gameplay, too, since their foot troops are limited in variety and weak.
  • Barbarian Tribe: Out of all the civs, the Huns are viewed as the most barbaric. The contemporary Goths adopted many Roman customs, and the Mongols take a pragmatic approach to conquest sparing anybody who backs down and making examples of those who resist. Romans during the campaign exclaim that the Huns care about nothing but gold and conquest. Hunnic notions of firing and retreating in battle was incomprehensible to the Romans, as was their refusal to eventually settle down in one place like the Germanic tribes. This is depicted in gameplay as the Huns don't need Houses, they lack access to more advanced upgrades to machinery such as Onagers, Bombard Cannons, or Arbalests, and lack many defensive upgrades.
  • A Commander Is You: They are a Ranger faction with a preference towards cavalry, poor defenses but excellent offenses. Their team bonus towards faster cavalry creation also qualifies them as Spammer.
  • Crutch Character: Good for early raids, falls off late game due to their predictable army composition (which is mostly consisting of cavalry) and below-average siege weapons.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: The Huns are considered to be one of the strongest early game civilizations since they do not need to build any houses, meaning more wood saved for unit production for cavalry archers. However, in order to play the Huns effectively, the player needs to play them aggressively with rushes, or they'll fall off lategame. They are also considered to be one of the best civilizations for professional players due to their strong economic bonuses and strong rushing strategies, especially in open maps like Arabia.
  • Faction Calculus: Subversive. Their defensive capacity is lackluster, and their lategame potential is very limited (their only powerful unit in their tech tree are their cheaper Heavy Cavalry Archers and their Paladins), but have one of the best early game offensive capacities in the game to the point that they can constantly keep up with their aggression throughout the game.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Huns build monasteries that look like Christian churches despite not being Christian (they also have Catholic-looking monks, but so do all non-American civs). More bizarrely, they have access to several religious techs (Fervor, Sanctity, Atonement, Heresy, Illumination and Faith), but their unique technology is Atheism. One explanation for this is that their campaign is set in Europe and they use the buildings of those they conquered, as reflected by their Wonder.
  • Glass Cannon: Not as extreme as the Goths (at least they have access to stone walls), but the lack of good defensive upgrades really makes them poor for defensive gameplay.
  • Horse Archer: The Huns get cheaper Cavalry Archers to the point that they are barely more costly than regular Archers but still have twice the durability, more attack, and more speed. In real life of course, the majority of the Hun army was on horseback.
  • Lightning Bruiser: The Huns have access to Heavy Cavalry Archers, Paladins, and Bloodlines, something of an incredibly deadly combo. The other civilizations that have access to such combination is the Magyars, Spanish, and the Persians.
  • Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions: Their UT "Atheism" makes other players need more time to win after building a Wonder or collecting all relics from a map.
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn: This is generally their MO in their campaign. Their Tarkan unique unit is a horse mounted raider armed with a flaming brand, particularly effective against buildings.


Tower and naval civilization.
Architecture: East Asian.
Villagers +3 line of sight.
Stone miners work 20% faster.
Tower upgrades free (Bombard Tower requires Chemistry).
Tower range (except Bombard Tower) +1 Castle, +2 Imperial Age.
Fortifications are built 33% faster (HD only).
Military units (except siege weapons) cost -15% wood (DE)
Team Bonus: Mangonel line minimum range reduced.note 
Unique Units: War Wagon (armored cavalry archer), Turtle Ship (armored cannon ship).
Castle Age Unique Tech (HD/DE): Panokseon (Turtle Ships speed +15%).
Imperial Age Unique Tech: Shinkichon (Mangonel line range +1).
Wonder: Hwangnyong Pagoda.

  • Achilles' Heel: The Koreans gameplay is built around playing defensively and turtling up with their free tower upgrades and stone mining bonus that makes them powerful in Black Forest or Arena. In more open maps like Arabia they are vulnerable in getting raided and attacks at all sides as it's difficult to wall up and play defensively.
  • A Commander Is You: Elitist/Brute/Ranger. Their best units, Siege Onagers and War Wagons, are expensive but very powerful. Their melee units are weak, but it's easy to rely on their powerful ranged units.
  • Cool Ship: Turtle Ships are undeniably cool: big, spiky turtle shells with dragon heads that spit cannonballs.
  • Faction Calculus: Powerhouse. The Koreans put emphasis on their strong defensive capacities alongside with their slow, powerful, and gold efficient units.
  • Far East: The War Wagon's design is based on wagon models from Qin Shi Huang's tomb in China.
  • Magikarp Power: The Koreans do not have any significant early game economic bonus, and their stone gathering bonus isn't that significant in the early stages of the game until the Castle Age. However, once they start building Bombard Towers, Keeps, and Castles and mass up War Wagons, they are incredibly hard to deal with lategame.
    • Zigzaggable as offensive tower rushing turns it on its head, rushing out groups of towers prior to the siege workshops to pressure opponets and delay their ability to obtain sufficent building counters. Such a strategy requires diverting villagers to tower harassment and stone mining. If successful the lead can allow for a strong late game. An insufficent one however effectively leaves them economically crippled.
  • Mighty Glacier: Turtle Ships are colossal, have lots of health points and are terribly slow. However, once a building or ship gets inside their (rather short) range, it's doomed. War Wagons could also be considered slower but stronger Cavalry Archers.
  • Spikes of Doom: Just in case you though those spikes were for show, the Noryang scenario has a drawing of a Japanese boarder Impaled with Extreme Prejudice in one of them. The Turtle Ships' main strength in Real Life came from the fact that they could not be boarded and captured.


Archer civilization.
Architecture: Mesoamerican.
Start with +1 villager, but -50 food.
Resources last 15% longer.note 
Archers cost -10% Feudal, -20% Castle, -30% Imperial Age.
Team Bonus: Walls cost -50%
Unique Unit: Plummed Archer (strong, fast foot archer, equivalent to a cavalry archer).
Castle Age Unique Tech (HD/DE): Obsidian Arrows (Archer line has +6 attack vs buildings/stone defense).
Imperial Age Unique Tech: El Dorado (Eagle Warrior line HP +40).
Wonder: Temple of the Great Jaguar.
  • Achilles' Heel: The Mayans have an incredibly strong archery, yet their infantry line is not as durable since they lack the Champion upgrade and their only reliable infantry units are Halberdiers (which they get), and beefy Elite Eagle Warriors. Combined with the lack of cavalry and Hand Cannoneers (like all Mesoamerican civilizations), the matchup against the Goths is often seen as a lopsided and unfair matchup for the Mayans in the lategame, as explained in this videoExplanation .
  • Annoying Arrows: Eagle Warriors have high pierce armor, and Mayan ones have very high Hit Points.
  • Archer Archetype: Rely mostly on archers and ships.
  • A Commander Is You: Spammer/Ranger. They extract 20% more resources from the same source than the other civilizations, and their archers are dirt cheap. Combine the two, and they definitely have reserves.
  • Faction Calculus: Cannon. Their foot archers are incredibly strong and their unique unit is very mobile and can mass up archers easily. However, their frontline capacity is very weak since they lack the Champion upgrade, meaing they need to rely on their beefy Eagle Warriors and Halberdiers to protect their archers.
  • Foil: To the Aztecs. Their ships, archers, and fortifications are better, while their infantry, siege, and monks are considerably worse. The exception is the Eagle Warrior which is stronger than its Aztec equivalent and together with the also fast Plumed Archers, can effectively be considered a form of light cavalry - something that the Aztecs definitely lack.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: In Real Life, the Mayans weren't actually that big in archery, unlike what is suggested by their AoK UU. In AoE III, for example, the mercenary Mayan unit is a shield-bearing spearman.
  • Mayincatec: Seriously ES? You couldn't think of a better name for a Mayan UT than El Dorado? The mythical City of Gold was supposed to be in South America and had nothing to do with the Maya!


Gunpowder and Monk civilization.
Architecture: Western European (pre-DE), Mediterranean (DE).
Builders work 30% faster.
Blacksmith upgrades don't cost gold.
Cannon Galleons benefit from Ballistics (fire faster, more accurately).
Gunpowder units fire 15% faster.
Team Bonus: Trade units generate +25% goldnote .
Unique Units: Conquistador (hand cannoneer cavalry), Missionary (cavalry monk).
Castle Age Unique Tech (HD/DE): Inquisition (Monks convert faster).
Imperial Age Unique Tech: Supremacy (Villagers HP +40, attack +6, armor +2/2).
Wonder: Torre del Oro.

  • Achilles' Heel: The Spanish are very gold dependent due to Conquistadors being fairly expensive for a unique unit. This is compensated with their blacksmith upgrades not costing any gold.
  • Anachronism Stew: The game's Torre del Oro includes the third stage with a dome, which in the real building wasn't added until the 18th century (out of the game's timeframe). See also Toros y Flamenco below.
  • Badass Bystander: Their unique technology, Supremacy, elevates villagers' combat stats up to the level of most frontline units.
  • A Commander Is You: Elitist/Industrial. They specialise on units with a high gold cost, especially Knights, Conquistadors, Monks, Bombard Cannons, and Bombard Towers. Their villagers create buildings faster, their blacksmith upgrades cost no gold and one can infer that creating gunpowder weapons requires mechanical know-how.
  • Confusion Fu: The Spanish have a diverse tech tree, making them open for different strategies except for archer rush (since the Spanish are known to be only the civilization not to have any upgrades in the foot archer lane). They are also the only civilization in the game to have a fully upgradable trash unit line as well.
  • Faction Calculus: Powerhouse. While they have a reasonable tech tree, their biggest appeal is their gold efficient units. Even their own villagers are much stronger when compared to the other civilizations' villagers and they are the only civilization that have all the upgrades to their trash units.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: The Spanish were known historically for using the crossbow. In game, they cannot upgrade past the base Archer unit.
  • Gratuitous Spanish: They speak in the Old Castilian dialect.
  • Horse Archer: The Spanish Unique Unit, the Conquistador, although he's a dude with a matchlock rifle instead of a bow.
  • Lightning Bruiser: See Religious Bruiser below.
  • Made of Iron: Villagers with the Supremacy unique tech. To give you an example, 10 of them can kill a Paladin with only 1 casualty.
  • More Dakka: All of their gunpowder units fire 15% faster. This means that their Hand Cannoneers and Bombard Cannons even beat Turkish ones in direct combat. Their Cannon Galleons also benefit from the Ballistics technology. Normal Cannon Galleons are only good for anti-building bombardment thanks to their slow moving cannonballs and require an escort from combat ships, Spanish ones can fight ship to ship and win handily.
  • Religious Bruiser: They have access to Heavy Cavalry Archers, Conquistadors, and Paladins. Not only that, they have access to all Monk technologies (and even have the Inquisition unique tech that improves their conversion rate (which highlights the Spanish's missionary work of converting the native population in the New World) as well as the only mounted Monk unit in the game, the Missionary, to reinforce the previous point.
  • Skill Gate Character: The Spanish have a relatively strong lategame and diverse tech tree (barring their foot archer line), and have solid lategame unit options (Hand Cannoneers, Paladin, Conquistadors, Bombard Cannons), and even their Villagers creating buildings faster and Blacksmith techs not costing any gold have some usefulness for newer players.
  • The Theme Park Version: The Conquistador unit is a summation of what advantages the conquistadors had over the American natives (i.e. gunpowder, horses and steel armor; which incidentally are the strengths of the Spanish tech tree), rather than what an actual conquistador would have used in battle all at once. The rifles of the time were too big and slow to charge and fire to use them from horseback, though heavily armored cavalry made use of short-ranged pistols around that time.
  • Toros y Flamenco: The Spanish Regional Riff is a flamenco-ish chant, despite flamenco appearing in the 18th century and thus out of the game's timeframe.

    Civilizations in The Forgotten (HD) 


Infantry civilization.
Architecture: Mesoamerican.
Start with a free llama.
Villagers affected by Blacksmith upgrades.
Houses support 10 population.
Buildings cost -15% stone.
Team Bonus: Farms built +50% faster.
Unique Units: Kamayuk (Spearman with longer range, best used in massed formations), Slinger (ranged infantry with bonus attack against other infantry).
Castle Age Unique Tech: Andean Sling (Skirmishers, Slingers minimum range removed).
Imperial Age Unique Tech: Couriers (Kamayuks, Slingers, and Eagle Scouts +1/+2 armor).note 
Wonder: Machu Picchu's Temple of the Sun.

  • Anti-Infantry: Slingers have an attack bonus of +10 against infantry, allowing them to defeat most infantry that come close enough.
  • Arbitrary Minimum Range: Slingers cannot fire on units that stand next to them before Andean Sling is researched.
  • Badass Bystander: Villagers benefit from blacksmith technologies.
  • Balance Buff: The Courier's unique tech was reworked where their unique units and Eagle Warriors gain extra armor and are given several technologies (such as Keeps, Guilds, Block Printing, and Thumb Ring) to help drastically improve their Castle Age and Imperial Age power.
  • Blade on a Stick: The Kamayuk's Weapon of Choice.
  • BFS: Where the S stands for 'spear'. The Kamayuk's spear is the longest handheld weapon in the game, twice and a half the height of its handler. That means that they can effectively strike their enemies from afar, including through walls and gates.
  • A Commander Is You: Economist/Specialist. They can create farms 50% quicker and need less stone and houses than other civs. Army-wise, they seemed a bit focused on counter-units, making them the Mesoamerican answer to the Byzantine faction.
  • Discard and Draw: In The African Kingdoms the Unique Tech Couriers gives their Eagle Warriors and unique units more armor instead of higher speed.
  • Enemy Exchange Program: They can get the unique Xolotl Warrior from converting an enemy stable.
  • Everything's Better with Llamas: In the HD version, Inca players begin a new game with a free llama (used to be a turkey in the non-HD version).
  • Fragile Speedster: In contrast to the Aztec and Mayan Eagle Warriors, theirs have higher speed.
  • Magikarp Power: On paper, the Kamayuk has mediocre stats, with low armor, average attack and health, and will lose to a lot of units 1vs1. But in larger numbers the Kamayuk will fare a lot better and will come out on the winning side more often.
  • Mayincatec: Downplayed. The Inca use the Mesoamerican architecture set, but speak Quechua and have units wearing traditional Quechua clothing. Their Wonder is also undeniably Inca, based on the Temple of the Sun at Macchu Picchu.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: The Incas get a free turkey (a North American species) instead of a llama prior to the HD version.
  • Suffer the Slings: Only civilization in the game to get them. The stats and bonus against other infantry makes the slinger the Inca equivalent of the Hand Cannoneer, a soldier armed with a firearm. The "Andean Sling" technology eliminates the need of a minimum range to fire.
  • The Unfavorite: If there is a civilization that got the cold shoulder from ES it's this, left out of both The Conquerors and later Age of Empires III: The War Chiefs despite the declared aim being to bring in playable Native American civilizations in both occasions, and the Incas being the obvious choice being the biggest native empire in the Americas, having pack animals, the most Old World-like army organization and fortifications, and keeping resistance against Europeans for 40 years without counting later rebellions. In comparison, the Mayans weren't politically unified, and the Aztecs went down in 3 years. The first HD version was released without an Inca campaign, even though an empty South America map is still there. When it finally came out, this "Inca" campaign actually turned out to be about a Spanish army Going Native... in the Amazon, outside of the (former) Inca Empire's territory. DE rectified this by replacing the El Dorado campaign with a campaign depicting Pachacuti's rise to power.


Camel and Gunpowder Civilization.
Architecture: Middle Eastern (pre-Rise of the Rajas), Indian (Rise of the Rajas onward).
Villagers cost -10% Dark, -15% Feudal, -20% Castle, -25% Imperial Age.
Fishermen work 15% faster and carry +15.
Camels +1 pierce armor.
Team Bonus: Camels +5 attack vs. buildings.
Unique Units: Elephant Archer (tough but slow cavalry archer, comparable to a movable tower), Imperial Camel (actually a unique upgrade to the Heavy Camel).
Castle Age Unique Tech: Sultans (all gold gathering 10% faster).
Imperial Age Unique Tech: Shatagni (Hand Cannoneers range +1).
Wonder: Taj Mahal (non-HD version), Gol Gumbaz (HD version-The African Kingdoms), Brihadeeswarar Temple (Rise of the Rajas).

  • Anachronism Stew: Prior to The African Kingdoms, the Indians used the voice clips of the Indians of Age of Empires III, which depicts the Indians around the time of British colonization. Forgotten Empires thus gives us Indians who speak Urdu long before it existed and also say "Hello."
  • Art Evolution: The Indians used to share the Middle Eastern architecture with the Byzantines, Turks, Persians, Saracens and Berbers before the release of Rise of the Rajas, which changed their architecture to the newly-introduced Indian one.
  • A Commander Is You: Elitist/Economist due to their bonuses with gunpowder units, their cheaper villagers and Unique Technology that gives them gold bonus.
  • Balance Buff: The Indians at the time of the release were considered to be one of the most under-preforming civilizations due to their large amount of weaknesses they have and their economic bonus of cheaper villagers wasn't that significant in the early game. This led to several buffs where the Indians's civilization bonus of cheaper villagers became stronger as well as giving them Guilds and Ring Archer Armor to help improve their lategame. Apparently, this was a buff that went too well that the civilization was nerfed later on by removing the Indian's ability to obtain Arbalests (see Not the Intended Use).
  • Horse of a Different Color: Horses are only present as light cavalry. Camels, Heavy Camels and Imperial Camels serve as a cheap but worthy replacement to Knights, Cavaliers and Paladins.
  • Glass Cannon: Prior to The African Kingdoms, their Camels deal more damage to buildings, but cannot withstand building fire.
  • Not the Intended Use: The Indians are meant to be designed as a Magikarp Power economic/boom civilization where they don't have access to the Knight line and have to rely on powerful expensive lategame units such as Imperial Camels, Hand Cannoneers with extra range, Elephant Archers, and Bombard Cannons for their late game power. However, due to a Balance Buff with the Indian's civilization bonus of cheaper villagers, several crafty competitive players have used the Indians for archer rushes (which is a viable strategy during the Feudal and Castle Age) since the cheaper villagers means the player can easily advance to the next age when only gold and wood are spent on archers (and any archers leftover can be upgraded into Arbalests in the Imperial Age). The Balance Buff was so powerful that the developers decided to remove Arablests from their tech tree, discouraging this kind of strategy while encouraging the player to play to the Indian's lategame strengths.
  • Sim Sim Salabim: The architecture is southern Indian, the camels and gunpowder bonuses are northern Indian.
  • Stone Wall: The Elephant Archer's attack is not as devastating as the War Elephant used by the Persians. They can soak up tons of arrows that are fired back at them, though.
  • We Have Reserves: Villagers get cheaper with each age, making an Indian player far less likely to protect theirs than others.


Archer and Naval civilization.
Architecture: Mediterranean.
Advancing to the next Age costs -15%.
Dock techs cost -50%.
Fishing Ships cost -15%.
Gunpowder units cost -25%.
Team Bonus: Condottiero available in Barracks.
Unique Units: Genoese Crossbowman (anti-cavalry foot archer), Condottiero (anti-gunpowder infantry that can also be trained by other civilizations allied to an Italian player).
Castle Age Unique Tech: Pavise (Foot archers armor +1/1).
Imperial Age Unique Tech: Silk Road (Trade units cost halved).
Wonder: Basilica of San Lorenzo.

  • Anti-Cavalry: The Genoese Crossbowman is one, the only foot archer in game to have this property.
  • A Commander Is You: Ranger. They receive a ranged unit for every situation: Genoese Crossbowmen who shoot cavalry to pieces, cheaper Hand Cannoneers who can decimate infantry, Skirmishers who kill other archers, and cheaper Bombard Cannons that destroy buildings and are effective vs other siege weapons. Most civs tend to have a specialization that keeps them from being pigeonholed in one role, and the Italians receive the melee Condottieri who kill gunpowder units.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: They were prominent in Kings and Conquerors campaigns long before they got a civ. You fight them in the form of the Western Romans in Attila (Byzantines), the Genoese in the 6th Saladin (Byzantines), and the Italian city-states in both Attila and Barbarossa (represented by Byzantines, Britons, Franks, Teutons and Celts). Definitive Edition changes most of the scenarios accordingly, though in some (Barbarossa's fourth and Attila's sixth scenarios) keeps the original different civilizations to add variety to enemy troops.
  • Gratuitous Latin: The Italians speak Latin, not one of the medieval Italian dialects. Given the time period of their campaign, having them speak Italian would have worked better.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: The can attack and defend equally well.
  • Merchant Prince: Referenced by their unique Imperial Age tech, as well as the fact that their Wonder, UU and most bonuses are closely related to Genoa, which was a powerful maritime republic in her prime.
  • Only in It for the Money: The Condottieri's availability to other civilizations is explained by the fact that they are mercenaries. In real life the Condottieri were renown for their fickleness, sometimes changing allegiances mid battle. Historically, Genoa often lend the famous Crossbowmen as mercenaries to other countries, which explains their appearence during the 100 Years War under French command.


Cavalry civilization.
Architecture: Eastern Europeannote .
Villagers kill wolves with 1 strike.
Forging, Iron Casting, Blast Furnace free.
Scout Cavalry, Light Cavalry, Hussar cost -15%.
Team Bonus: Foot archers +2 LOS.
Unique Unit: Magyar Huszar (stronger light cavalry with bonus against siege weapons).
Castle Age Unique Tech: Corvinian Armynote  (eliminates gold cost for Magyar Huszars).
Imperial Age Unique Tech: Recurve Bow (Cavalry Archers attack +1, range +1).
Wonder: Hunyad Castle.

  • Balance Buff: The Magyars were considered to be one of the weakest civilizations due to the Magikarp Power nature of their civilization. As a result, many of their civilization bonuses and unique techs were given significant buffs (such as their unique tech that boost their Horse Archer now give them an additional attack and their Light Cavalry is even cheaper) as well as giving them Siege Engineers to help boost their lategame power.
  • Beast of Battle: In the first part of their Honfoglalás scenario, the Magyars make use of Hunting Wolves.
  • Blade on a Stick: Outside of some knight heroes available only in campaigns and the editor, the Magyar Huszar is the only available cavalry lancer in the game.
  • Born in the Saddle: A strong Magyar army is fully mounted, with Magyar Huszars, Paladins, Hussars, and Cavalry Archers. In real life, the Magyars spent their early history within a confederation of mostly Turkic peoples on the steppes and adopted a horseback lifestyle. They were feared throughout Europe as the most deadly cavalry soldiers.
  • A Commander Is You: Ranger/Spammer. Their Cavalry Archers have longer range and their foot archers extra line of sight. They also have cheaper Light Cavalry and the Corvinian Army UT which turns their Magyar Huszars into trash units.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: They appear in the final Genghis Khan mission, which depicts the Battle of Mohi. They are represented by the Teutons prior to Definitive Edition.
  • Horse Archer: Their Horse Archers have the longest range of any other.
  • Magikarp Power: The Magyars are considered to be one of the best lategame civilizations. The Magyars not only have access to cheaper Hussar units, but their unique unit costs no gold at all. In addition, they have a very versatile tech tree with mostly full archer upgrades (minus the Hand Cannoneer), full infantry upgrades, and full cavalry upgrades. Their only weakness is their mediocre siege weaponry and somewhat weak defense, and they don't have any significant early game economic bonuses across from the free Blacksmith upgrades for melee units. This is also highlighted in Honfoglalás scenario. The player starts out with a few villages where the Pechenegs come and attack the said villages. The Magyars then settled near the Khazars as a refuge from the Pechenegs, but the Pechenegs still continue to swarm the Magyars which forces them to retreat again. The Magyars then settled forward west with a few Pecheneg attacks, but the attacks were stalled when the Byzantine empire request help from the Magyars to defeat the Bulgars. The Magyars defeated the Bulgarians which earns them a Worthy Opponent label from the Bulgars. Then the Magyars are forced to retreat again from the Pechenegs. The scenario ends with the Magyars conquering Moravia, abandoned their nomadic ways, settled in, and adopted a lot of European customs (including Christianity).
  • One-Hit Kill: Magyar villagers kill wild animals with a single hit.
  • You Are the Translated Foreign Word: Magyar Huszár means "Hungarian Hussar". The average Hussar unit is still available to the Magyars a.k.a. Hungarians, however, and cheaper than other civs to boot. The Magyars need the regular Hussar because they are one of the few civs to lack Faith, a late-game technology that makes units very hard to convert by Monks. Regular Hussars slaughter Monks.


Infantry and Siege civilization.
Architecture: Eastern European.
Farmers work +10% faster.note 
Supplies free.note 
Siege Workshop units 15% cheaper.
Team Bonus: Military buildings provide +5 population.
Unique Unit: Boyar (tough cavalry).
Castle Age Unique Tech: Orthrodoxy (Monks armor +3/3).
Imperial Age Unique Tech: Druzhina (infantry deal trample damage).
Wonder: Khizi Church.

  • A Commander Is You: Brute: their unique technology gives their infantry trample damage and their Boyar unique unit is a well armored cavalry unit (essentially a mounted Teutonic Knight). Along with some Spammer elements as their bonus gives their military buildings five population and their siege units are cheaper.
  • Achilles' Heel: Boyars have low pierce armor, making them susceptible to massed archers. Even more so if they went up against Genoese Crossbowmen.
  • An Axe to Grind: The Boyar in the final HD version is armed with a longaxe.
  • Herd-Hitting Attack: The unique technology "Druzhina" gives trample damage to the Slavic infantry. The only other units that have this are the Persian War Elephants and the Byzantine Cataphract (after researching "Logistica").
  • Knight in Shining Armor: The Boyar is comparable to the Byzantine Cataphract. The Cataphract destroys infantry, even Halberdiers, as well as Camels but loses to Paladins and ranged units. The Boyar loses to Halberdiers and Camels but beats Paladins and is a little less weak to archery. Slavs lack Paladins, though, which is good because then they could help account for the Slavs' ranged weakness.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Boyars. Imagine a Teutonic Knight, but on a horse. You may pray for mercy now.

    Civilizations in The African Kingdoms (HD) 


Cavalry and naval civilization.
Architecture: Middle Eastern.
Villagers move +10% faster.
Stable units cost -15% in Castle, -20% in Imperial Age.
Ships move +10% faster.
Team Bonus: Genitour available in Archery Range.
Unique Units: Camel Archer (anti-cavalry archer cavalry archer), Genitour (anti-archer cavalry archer available to other civilizations allied to a Berber player).
Castle Age Unique Tech: Kasbah (Team Castles work +25% faster).
Imperial Age Unique Tech: Maghrabi Camels (Camels, Camel Archers slowly regenerate).
Wonder: Hassan Tower.

  • Born in the Saddle: Medieval Berber armies were well known for their use of lightly armored but lightning-quick cavalry forces. This is also reflected by their unique units and their 20% discount towards the expensive Stable units.
  • A Commander Is You: Ranger/Guerrilla thanks to the Genitour and Camel Archer units. Also mostly Truth in Television, as the Berbers in land were known for their small skirmishes and Hit-and-Run Tactics in battlefield in addition to their naval pirates.
  • Healing Factor: Berber camels can regenerate damage after researching the Maghrabi Camels UT.
  • Hit-and-Run Tactics: Their unique units is built around this.
  • Horse Archer: Both unique units qualify, although the Camel Archer rides a camel rather than a horse, and the Genitour throws javelins rather than shooting arrows. Ironically, the Berbers do not have access to Parthian Tactics (which boosts the defensive and offensive capacity of horse archers).
  • Refitted for Sequel: The Genitour was planned for the original 1999 game already, but was scrapped and left unfinished in the editor. It is unknown if it was originally going to be a general or unique unit.


Archer civilization.
Architecture: African.
Archers fire +15% faster.
Receive +100 gold, +100 food when advancing to the next Age.
Pikeman upgrade free.
Team Bonus: Towers and Outposts +3 LOS.
Unique Unit: Shotel Warrior (fast infantry).
Castle Age Unique Tech: Royal Heirs (Shotel Warriors are created nearly instantly).
Imperial Age Unique Tech: Torsion Engines (Siege Workshop units blast radius increased).
Wonder: Bete Amanuel.

  • Archer Archetype: Their foot archers fire +15% faster, and that's before they get Thumb Ring, which makes the already fast-firing archers the quickest.
  • A Commander Is You: Ranger/Economist/Brute/Spammer, with faster-firing foot archers, additional food and gold for each age advancement from Castle onwards, free Spearman line upgrades, excellent siege and deadly, spammable Shotel Warriors thanks to the Royal Heirs UT.
  • Cool Sword: The Weapon of Choice of the Shotel Warriors is the titular, sickle-like sword, whose attacks are actually difficult to parry properly, which may explain their high attack.
  • Dual Wielding: Shotel Warriors are armed with two Shotel at once.
  • Foil: To the Malians where the Ethiopians have a weaker cavalry and infantry frontline (barring free Spearmen upgrades) in exchange for a strong foot archer and siege weaponry while the Malians have a stronger cavalry/infantry line with access to hand cannoneers in exchange for a weaker archery and average siege line (although the Malian tech tree is very balanced). The Ethiopian have offensive capacity while the Malians have better economic bonuses.
  • Glass Cannon: The civilization has every siege upgrade, their archery options are well-stocked, only missing Hand Cannoneers and Parthian Tactics, and they make for a good all-around offensive civ. However, they lack champions, their navy is lacking, with Galleons being their only elite ship, and their cavalry are the weakest of the expansion's civilizations, lacking Plate Barding and Bloodlines, making for a weak front. Worth mentioning are Shotel Warriors, that run fast and pack a punch (up to 20 damage, or 22 if Elite), but are naturally unarmored and can go down just as easily as a Man-At-Arms.
  • Magikarp Power: Zigzagged. Their early game is very weak given that they lack economic bonuses aside from the resources given at each age advancement. In feudal, they're not helpless given their faster firing foot archers that keep among the best as time goes by, but their strengths really take off around the Castle Age when they get the Spearman upgrade for free to keep Knight rushes at bay, and by Imperial they have all the siege upgrades as well as a greater blast radius from Torsion Engines, making this civilization potentially deadly towards the end. The free resources are also rather useful for Castle Rush minded players. As a crutch however, their frontline is rather weak in the lategame given their lack of Champions or good cavalry.
  • Zerg Rush: Since Shotel Warriors can be massed quickly, even moreso with the Royal Heirs unique technology, one effective strategy is to mass a large number of them then send them to defenseless buildings, especially town centers, and make very short work of them.


Infantry civilization.
Architecture: African.
Buildings cost -15% wood.
Barracks units +1 pierce armor per Age (starting from Feudal Age).
Gold Mining free.
Team Bonus: University researches +80% faster.
Unique Unit: Gbeto (ranged melee infantry).
Castle Age Unique Tech: Tigui (Town Centers fire +5 arrows at all times, even when ungarrisoned).
Imperial Age Unique Tech: Farimba (Stable units +5 attack).
Wonder: Great Mosque of Djenné.

  • Annoying Arrows: One civilization bonus gives their infantry an additional pierce armor per age.
  • A Commander Is You: Generalist/Economist/Research. Their tech tree is well-balanced with no particular strengths or weaknesses, they have cheaper buildings and free gold mining upgrades, and their University works faster.
  • Confusion Fu: The Malians have a versatile technology tree and are open to different strategies such as Knight rush (due to the extra attack from a unique Imperial Age tech), infantry spam (Malian infantry have increased pierce armor), hit-and-run tactics (Gbetos's fast movement speed and ranged attack), anti-infantry capacity (they have Arbalests and Hand Cannoneers despite the lack of Bracer), sieging (they have Siege Onagers and Bombard Cannons despite the lack of Siege Engineers), and naval warfare (they have a reasonable navy and the wood discount on buildings means more wood saved for ships).
  • Foil: To the Ethiopians. The Malians have access to a stronger cavalry/infantry line with stronger economic bonuses in exchange for a weaker archery and average siege line (they have access to Hand Cannoneers to compensate this) while the Ethiopians have a weaker cavalry/infantry frontline in exchange for a better archery/siege line with strong offensive capacity.
  • Glass Cannon: Gbeto pack quite a punch and can slaughter most enemies before they can reach them, but are lacking when it comes to health.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: Of the African civilizations, their tech tree is more balanced.
  • Knife Nut: The Gbeto throw some kind of African throwing knife.
  • Proud Scholar Race Guy: The scientific achievements of Malian universities, notably including Timbuktu, is reflected in the team bonus where research in universities are drastically cut.
  • Rule of Cool: The Gbeto is based on the possible ancestor of the Dahomey Amazons, even though neither was around in the Mali empire or its general area (for that matter, neither are African throwing knives).
  • The Smurfette Principle: The Gbeto is the only female (non heroic) combatant unit in the game. This is more or less truth in television, as many west African societies held women in high regards in society and some women even participated in military combat.


Naval and Gunpowder civilization.
Architecture: Mediterranean.
All units cost -15% gold.
Ships +10% HP.
Team Bonus: Free Cartography from the Dark Age.
Unique Units: Organ Gun (anti-personnel siege unit), Caravel (anti-Galleon ship with Scorpion-like bolts).
Unique Building: Feitoria (Imperial Age economic building generating a slow trickle of resources)
Castle Age Unique Tech: Carrack (Ship armor +1/+1).
Imperial Age Unique Tech: Arquebus (Gunpowder units fire more accurately at moving targets; slightly increases projectile speed of Bombard Cannons and Bombard Towers).
Wonder: Belém Tower.

  • A Commander Is You: Economist/Ranger. Their unique building Feitoria gradually generates all resources at the cost of 20 population, which is more cost efficient than owning 20 villagers. Their units are cheaper in terms of gold and they have access to all archer upgrades and the Organ Gun, not to mention that their gunpowder units are affected by a Ballistics-esque Arquebus.
  • Foil: To their Iberian neighbor, the Spanish, where both civilizations are navy and gunpowder based civilizations with economic bonuses in gold. Whereas the Spanish have a more mobile army with a stronger cavalry and monk line, the Portuguese are more focused with better accuracy with their gunpowder units in exchange for a weaker monk and cavalry line.
  • Glass Cannon: Unlike their Iberian neighbor, the Spanish, the Portuguese have a weaker frontline and weaker cavalry. Their Organ Gun, however, is very devastating if guarded correctly.
  • Magikarp Power: The Portuguese are incredibly weak early game since their gold discount bonus doesn't play into the later stages of the game and don't have any significant early game economic bonuses until they get the Feitoria building.
  • More Dakka: Their Organ Gun is an anti-personnel artillery, having several muzzles. The second unique technology is Arquebus, which makes their gunpowder units save for Cannon Galleons affected by Ballistics and therefore being an accurate force to be reckoned with.

    Civilizations in Rise of the Rajas (HD) 

Common tropes with Rise of the Rajas civilizations

  • Achilles' Heel: Much like the Indians and Persians, Battle Elephants are incredibly vulnerable to conversion since all of the Southeast Asian civilizations except Malay lack Heresy. However, unlike the former two civilizations, no Southeast Asian civilization is exactly dependent on incredibly expensive units (especially the Burmese and Khmers, where they are known for their versatile tech tree).
  • Doesn't Like Guns: Downplayed. All of the new civilizations (except for the Khmers) do not have access to Hand Cannoneers, but they do have access to Bombard Cannons and Cannon Galleons.
  • War Elephants: Each of these civilizations has access to the Battle Elephant. The Khmers have a unique unit cavalry/siege unit called the Ballista Elephant.


Monk and elephant civilization.
Architecture: Southeast Asian
Free Lumber Camp upgrades.
Infantry +1 attack per Age.
Monastery techs 50% cheaper.
Team Bonus: Relics visible on map.
Unique Unit: Arambai (ranged cavalry with low accuracy but high pierce attack).
Castle Age Unique Tech: Howdah (Battle Elephants +1/+1 armor).
Imperial Age Unique Tech: Manipur Cavalry (Cavalry and Arambai +6 attack vs buildingsnote .
Wonder: Shwedagon Pagoda.

  • A Commander Is You: Generalist faction like the Khmers since their tech tree is pretty well-rounded and balanced.
  • Born in the Saddle: The Burmese were historically known for their fierce horseback and cavalry during their time period since many horsemen from Manipur served as mercenaries for many Burmese kingdoms. This is exemplified with their unique unit, the Arambai, which is a ranged cavalry that throws darts. Horseback dart throwing is a tradition within the region.
  • Glass Cannon: Their archery range units are like this, as they not only don't get the Arbalest upgrade, but they also don't get the Castle Age and Imperial Age armor techs for their cavalry archers. The Arambai is a cavalry dart-throwing unit that has incredibly high attack (and low accuracy), but should they get hit by even archer fire, they get shredded into pieces.
  • Humble Hero: Buddhism played an important role for the Burmese and Buddhism teaches the importance of not valuing any wealth and luxuries. This is reflected with their cheaper Monastery upgrades as well as their team bonus where Relics are visible in the map.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: To offset their raw damage, the Arambai's accuracy is abysmal, the worst in the game.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: Of the Southeast Asian civilizations, their tech is known to be well-balanced, having a well-rounded cavalry, infantry, siege weapons, a reasonable navy during the Castle Age, and a strong monk rush. The only weakness they have is that their foot archers are weak, lacking Thumb Ring and even lacking the Castle Age armor upgrade. However, their cavalry archers are reasonable, having Parthian Tactics with them.
  • Powerful, but Inaccurate: The Arambai's sheer attack damage (which outclasses many gunpowder units) is compensated by an abysmal accuracy of 20% (30% when upgraded to elite).


Siege and elephant civilization.
Architecture: Southeast Asian
No buildings required to advance to the next Age or unlock other buildings.
Battle Elephants +15% faster.
Villagers can garrison in Houses.
Team Bonus: Scorpions +1 range.
Unique Unit: Ballista Elephant (heavy cavalry equipped with a Scorpion. Can fell trees.).
Castle Age Unique Tech: Tusk Swords (Battle Elephants +3 attack).
Imperial Age Unique Tech: Double Crossbow (Ballista Elephants and Scorpions fire two projectiles).
Wonder: Angkor Wat

  • A Commander Is You: Generalist/Technical. Their tech tree is well balanced, having decent accesses to everything, though they need careful micromanagement thanks to their building bonus.
  • Balance Buff: The Khmers were later given the Arbalest upgrade to help with their early Imperial Age transition to their lategame units. Their Arbalests are still weaker than normal since the Khmers don't have Thumb Ring, but it allows them to do a "slow push" strategy with Siege Rams, Trebuchets, and Halberdiers.
  • Confusion Fu: The encouraged playstyle as the Khmer. As not needing to build any pre-requisite building means they are incredibly open to different gameplay and strategies.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: The Khmers are considered to be much harder to play when compared to the Chinese since one of their civilization bonuses doesn't require them to build two pre-requisite buildings to advance to the next age or build a specific building to unlock another building. This means that the Khmers can build a Stable and an Archery Range directly in the Feudal Age without the need of Barracks. While this is an incredibly strong economic bonus, it can also be very punishing at the same time. Attempting to go for a massive naked Fast Castle Age rush can be very damaging to the Khmer economy and can easily be punished by early game rushes. Players need to be careful one their build order as the Khmer, since it can be very punishing if played incorrectly.
  • Garrisonable Structures: The Khmer have a very distinctive bonus that enables the player to use the House as a supportive building when defending from a raid, as they can garrison up to five Villagers inside. This helps the Khmer to minimize losses, so in their particular case, is advisable to build Houses next to busy working places.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: Much like the Burmese, the Khmer fit into this. Unlike the Burmese, they have access to key important Blacksmith techs for their archers and cavalry archers. In fact, one of the civilization bonuses does not require pre-requisite buildings to build important key military and economic buildings, making them open to different strategies.
  • Lightning Bruiser: The Khmer Battle Elephants fit into this. Not only the Khmer have access to all the standard cavalry upgrades, but their Battle Elephants move incredibly fast and deal a lot of damage with Tusk Swords. The only big drawback is that they are easily converted by enemy Monks since the Khmers lack Heresy and Faith (Monastery tech that makes your units more resistant to conversion). That being said, the Khmers don't necessarily have to go with Battle Elephants, since they are open to different strategies depending on the situation.
  • Mechanically Unusual Fighter: The Khmers can advance to the next Age or build any building without any pre-requisite.


Naval civilization.
Architecture: Southeast Asian
Advancing to Ages +66% faster.
Fish Traps cost -33%.
Fish Traps provide unlimited food.
Battle Elephants 30% cheaper.
Team Bonus: Docks +100% LOS.
Unique Unit: Karambit Warrior (infantry with very cheap production cost that uses only half a population slot).
Castle Age Unique Tech: Thalassocracy (upgrades Docks into Harbors, which fire arrows at enemy units).
Imperial Age Unique Tech: Forced Levy (Militia-line gold cost is replaced by additional food costnote ).
Wonder: Sewu Temple

  • A Commander Is You: Economist/Spammer/Specialist towards naval units, the Malays are a naval civilization that has an incredibly strong early game in land maps and are strong for most of the game. On water, they have strong economic bonuses and are able to spam towers in the form of Harbors that do not require stone unlike land-based ones. Their unique unit, the Karambit Warrior is cheap, quickly trained, and only takes half a population stat. Their unique tech Forced Levy which makes their Milita-line infantry no longer cost gold, making them into powerful trash units, and they also have the cheapest Battle Elephants of all.
  • Crutch Character: The Malays in land maps are like this in a similar vein like the Vikings, having a strong early game that fall off late game in land maps and being a sold strong civilization in water maps. The Malays puts emphasis on early game dominance thanks to their ability to age up faster and ensuring dominance over the opponent in the Castle Age. However, once other players enter the Castle Age and advance to the Imperial Age, the Malays suffer greatly lategame, having very limited land unit options in the table (even when Forced Levy unique tech is put into consideration, the Two-Handed Swordsman unit upgrade itself is not a cost efficient infantry unit since the Malays lack the Champion upgrade). Unlike the Vikings, the Malays have access to Halberdiers and Bombard Cannons, giving them at least some anti-cavalry and long range siege options respectfully.
  • Fragile Speedster: The Malays land army composition is like this. The Malay army mostly consist of cheap and fast deployed infantry units to overwhelm the opponent. However, the Malays lack the Champion upgrade, and their cavalry is infamously noted to be the worst, as they not only lack Bloodlines, but also lack the Castle Age Blacksmith armor tech for their cavalry units. This is compensated with the civilization bonus of cheaper Battle Elephants which puts emphasis on numerical superiority over quality. It is also worth mentioning that the Karambit Warrior is comparable to Zerglings in the Starcraft games where they are cheap and fast deployed in a similar vein like the Ethiopian's Glass Cannon Shotel Warriors. Unlike the Shotel Warriors, the Karambit Warriors are not meant as raiding units but more used as cannon fodder. Also exemplified with one of their civilization bonuses where they age up faster as well.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: Much like the Viking Knight rush, the Malay have viable Battle Elephant rush thanks to their strong early game bonuses and cheaper Battle Elephants. The Khmer outclass the Malay in this kind of strategy because the Malay's cavalry is considered to be the worst.
  • We Need a Distraction: The role of the Karambit Warrior is to serve as cheap cannon fodder to protect the more stronger units such as Arbalests and Bombard Cannons.
  • We Have Reserves: The Malay unique tech, Forced Levy gives them one of the best non-gold units in the game as the two-handed swordsman no longer costs gold. In a longer drawn out game where both players have mined all available gold on the map, or games where the Malay player has an economy advantage, an unrelenting stream of two-handed swordsman can be used to simply wear an opponent down until they have no resources while the Malay player can save their gold and spend it on units like the Bombard Cannons and Arbalests mentioned above. In early betas, the Malay had access to the Champion unit, but their Forced Levy removing gold costs made the Malay Trash War extremely strong and resulted in the Malay only having access to the two-handed swordsman. DE further dampened it down by converting the gold cost to food.
  • Zerg Rush: The Malay unique unit, Karambit Warriors, are designed for this role. Though barely more powerful than villagers, they are cheap, quickly trained, easily massed, very disposable and only take half a population slot each. One of their unique techs, Forced Levy, also encourage this playstyle with their Militia-line infantry not costing any gold. The Malay Battle Elephants are also cheaper despite having the worst cavalry in the game, putting emphasis on numerical superiority over raw strength.


Archer civilization.
Architecture: Southeast Asian (HD), East Asian (DE)
Reveal enemy positions at game start.
Archery Range units +20% HP.
Free Conscription.
Team Bonus: Have access to Imperial Skirmisher upgrade.
Unique Units: Rattan Archer (heavily-armored archer), Imperial Skirmisher (upgrade for Elite Skirmishers available to other civilizations allied to a Vietnamese player).
Castle Age Unique Tech: Chatras (Battle Elephants +50 HP).
Imperial Age Unique Tech: Paper Money (The player and all allies receive 500 gold).
Wonder: Bút Tháp Temple

  • Anachronism Stew: In the game, the Vietnamese speak the Vietnamese of the 19th-20th centuries, not the Middle Vietnamese attested during the 15th century.
  • Annoying Arrows: The Rattan Archer has great pierce armor, which is comparable to the Huskarl's. They can reliably stave off enemy ranged units, despite lacking attack bonuses against them; even Skirmishers and Genitours may struggle killing them. They can also resist Scorpion bolts and base defense arrows.
  • Archer Archetype:
    • The Vietnamese is a strong archer civilization, having access to every unit and important unit upgrade at the Archery Range, except for the Hand Cannoneer and Parthian Tactics. The most noticeable quirk of the Vietnamese is that they are an archer civilization with strong anti-archer capacity. The Imperial Skirmisher upgrade is a unique unit upgrade for the Elite Skirmisher, and their unique unit, the Rattan Archer, is an archer with high pierce armor and reasonably high attack.
    • Their Archery Range units also get more HP, allowing Vietnamese archers to survive more shots from Onagers.
  • Artistic License – History:
    • The Vietnamese, historically the only Sinicised and Confucian society in Southeast Asia, are depicted as an Indianised cilivisation by the game, sharing the India-influenced Southeast Asian architecture with the Indianised Khmer, Malays and Burmese, and having one of their unique techs called Chatras (a Sanskrit word). According to Word of God, the Vietnamese civilisation is supposed to be an amalgamation of both the medieval Vietnamese kingdom of Đại Việt and the Indianised Champa kingdom located in modern Central Vietnam; all while their units speak Vietnamese, not Cham; their campaign protagonist is the Đại Việt king Lê Lợi; while the Chams are closer to the Khmer or Malays in culture and were only absorbed by Vietnam in 1832, long after the game's timeframe. This was rectified in the Definitive Edition where their architecture style is corrected to East Asian to reflect on the Sinicization of the region.
    • Much like China, they lack access to Hand Cannoneers (although they have access to Bombard Towers and Bombard Cannons). Historically, Đại Việt realized the importance of firearms early on and tried to adopt them even though they didn't have the economy to support it. On at least one occasion, they risked reigniting a war they just won with the Ming dynasty because they kept all the guns they found from a defeated Ming army.
  • A Commander Is You: Ranger/Guerrilla/Gimmick. They receive bonuses towards archers and reveal the enemy's location. They are also a team dependent civilisation, as most of their bonuses are team-oriented. This means that the Vietnamese are weak in 1v1 situations.
  • Balance Buff: The HP bonus their Archery Range units is now a flat +20% bonus note  and their Rattan Archers are given more HP. This is meant to address the weaknesses of the Vietnamese in 1v1 matches rather than their team game potential (since the Vietnamese are one of the few civilizations that are bad in 1v1 matches but great in teamgames).
  • Composite Character: Is actually the amalgamation of Vietnam and Champa. This is rather jarring because Vietnam and Champa were very different culturally. Vietnam was sinofied and greatly resembled South China, to the point that even the modern Vietnamese language has a lot of loan words from Cantonese. Champa, meanwhile, resembled neighboring SEA countries. The Cham people had to be violently integrated into Vietnamese culture after their defeat.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: If you are looking for a civilization that excel in teamgames, the Vietnamese are considered to be one of the best team-oriented civilizations in the game. However, due to their Magikarp Power nature of the civilization, they will struggle in 1v1 matches since any civilization can effectively bully the Vietnamese to prevent them from reaching their lategame strengths.
  • Hit-and-Run Tactics: Historically, the Vietnamese were known to fend off enemy invaders and occupiers with the utilization of such tactics thanks to the Vietnamese terrain of hills, mountains, and forests. This is reflected on their team bonus, the Imperial Skirmisher, and one of their civilization bonuses of revealing the location of the enemy Town Center. The Vietnamese are also one of the few civilizations in the game that can also do a reasonable cavalry archer rush since their cavalry archers are beefier and have access to nearly all the important techs for cavalry archers except Parthian Tactics and Husbandry.
  • Magikarp Power: The Vietnamese are very comparable to the Portuguese in retrospects. Both are team dependent civilizations that don't have any strong economic bonuses early game and many of their civilization bonuses only have a bigger impact in later stages of the game. This means the Vietnamese in 1v1 situations will get destroyed by early game civilizations such as the Malay, Vikings, and the Huns (not to mention, the Paper Money tech, where each Vietnamese ally get 500 gold, is not only incredibly useless in 1v1 games, but also works once). That being said, should the Vietnamese snowball the game, they are a very feared lategame powerhouse with not only tanky archers and Battle Elephants, but also having one of the best trash units with Imperial Skirmishers, meaning they can easily hold off in trash wars.
  • Stone Wall: Their Battle Elephants are more durable thanks to the Chatras unique tech and their access to Bloodlines. However, their Battle Elephants don't have Blast Furnace and Husbandry, meaning their Battle Elephants cannot catch up to even foot archers and serve more as a meat shield to protect your archers. Ironically, the Vietnamese lack any building upgrades (Masonry and Architecture) that would make their defensive buildings more durable, meaning the Vietnamese need to rely on their tanky Battle Elephants and archers for defensive gameplay.
  • Support Party Member: The Vietnamese is the closest civilization of being a true "support" civilization for teamgames since many of their civilization bonuses are more beneficial in teamgames. Other civilizations like Italians and Berbers allow them to function as a "support" civilization, but they have other bonuses that allow them to function outside of teamgames.

    Civilizations in The Last Khans (Definitive Edition) 

Common tropes with The Last Khans civilizations

  • Born in the Saddle: The four civilizations are focused on Cavalry, given their origins in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. They all have mounted unique units and receive Parthian Tactics, while only the Tatars miss Paladins. The Cumans and Tatars also receive a Steppe Lancer, which like a Kamayuk has 1 range, only on horseback.


Infantry and Cavalry civilization.
Architecture: Eastern European
Militia line upgrades free (Champion not available).
Town Centers cost -50% stone.
Team Bonus: Blacksmiths work 50% faster
Unique Unit: Konnik (heavy cavalry that turn into infantry when killed)
Unique Building: Krepost (smaller Castle that can train Konniks but not research technologies)
Castle Age Unique Tech: Stirrups (Light Cavalry and Konniks attack 25% faster)
Imperial Age Unique Tech: Bagains (Militia-line gains +5 armor)
Wonder: Round Church of Preslav

  • Early-Bird Cameo: You fight the Bulgarians in the Honfoglalás scenario as the Magyar in The Forgotten, though in this case they're represented by Huns.
  • Epic Flail: The Konnik is a rider armed with a chain flail.
  • Multiple Life Bars: If a Konnik's HP is depleted, it does not die yet but dismounts, becoming an infantry unit. The dismounted Konnik is weaker but still strong enough to take out any anti-cavalry counters such as the Spearman-line units and Camels that would kill any Konnik.
  • Necessary Drawback: To balance out their Militia line upgrades being free, Champions are not accessible. Their Two Handed Swordsmen can take Champions head on with Bagains however.
  • You Are the Translated Foreign Word: Their unique unit and building, "Konnik" and "Krepost" simply mean "Horseman" and "Fortress" respectively in Bulgarian.


Cavalry civilization
Architecture: Central Asian
Additional Town Center can be built in the Feudal Age.
Siege Workshop and Battering Ram available in the Feudal Age.
Cavalry 5% faster each age (starting in Feudal Age).note 
Team Bonus: Palisade Walls +50% HP
Unique Unit: Kipchak (multi-shot cavalry archer)
Castle Age Unique Tech: Steppe Husbandry (Light Cavalry and Cavalry Archers trained 80% faster)
Imperial Age Unique Tech: Cuman Mercenaries (team members can create 10 free Elite Kipchaks in the Castle)
Wonder: Sarkel

  • Badass Moustache: The Kipchak is completely shaved except for a long moustache and ponytail.
  • Cool Mask: Their in-game coat of arms is represented by a face mask with a long moustache.
  • Does Not Like Guns: They have no gunpowder units at at all according to their tech tree.
  • Fragile Speedster: Their cavalry puts more emphasis on mobility, yet their defenses are lacking. More emphasis with their cavalry archers where they do not have the Bracer upgrade, meaning their cavalry archers needs to attack in a closer range to deal collateral damage.
  • Glass Cannon: They are the 2nd civilization that does not have access to Stone Wall and don't have access to any Tower upgrades (the first being Goths). Instead, they are more focused on being offensive and more reliant on Palisade Walls. Unlike the Goths, however, they have various Feudal Age bonuses that encourage offensive play as well as an early game economic bonus of building an extra Town Center.
  • Mechanically Unusual Fighter: The Cumans can build one additional Town Center and a Siege Workshop in the Feudal Age with the ability to build Battering Rams. This encourages strong rushing and aggressive strategies for the Cumans.
  • Morton's Fork: The Cumans Town Center "douche" strategy puts their opponent into this situation, as it's often followed with a forward Siege Workshop to threaten the opponent's Town Center with a forward second Town Center, putting the opponent this situation: risk having their own Town Center destroyed by the Cuman's Town Center backed with Battering Rams, or ungarrison the villagers to deal with the Battering Rams, only to die by the Cuman's Town Center arrow fire. Regardless of the situation, the opponent will lose their Town Center anyways.
  • Necessary Drawback: To offset the high mobility of the Cuman's cavalry, they do not have access to the Bracer upgrade for their cavalry archers.
    • While they can build an additional Town Center in Feudal Age, its construction time is increased from the usual 225 to 270 seconds (an 80% increase in time).
  • Rain of Arrows: The Kipchak has no frame delay in its arrow fire, leading to this when massed.
  • Zerg Rush: The Cumans are basically a cavalry version of the Goths since their Steppe Husbandry allows their cavalry archers and light cavalry trained significantly faster.


Cavalry and Monk civilization
Architecture: Eastern European
Start with +150 food.
Spearman-line and Skirmishers move 10% faster.
Each garrisoned relic gives +1 attack to Knights and Leitis (max +4)
Team Bonus: Monasteries work 20% faster.
Unique Unit: Leitis (cavalry with an attack that ignores armor)
Castle Age Unique Tech: Hill Forts (Town Centers +3 range)
Imperial Age Unique Tech: Tower Shields (Spearman-line and Skirmishers +1P armor)
Wonder: Trakai Island Castle

  • Armor-Piercing Attack: Leičiai's attacks ignore armor, making them a good counter to heavily armored units such as Boyars and Teutonic Knights.
  • Blade on a Stick: Leičiai are armed with large spears, which is probably meant to explain their armor-piercing attack, as there's little that a charging lancer on a horse cannot run through. Historically, the spear is the most common weapon used by Lithuanian armies, which is also manifested in their Tower Shields unique tech and their civilization bonus of Skirmisher and Spearman-line units moving 10% faster.
  • Jack-of-All-Trades: The main appeal to the Lithuanian is their diverse and versatile tech tree, having nearly all important upgrades in all areas except for their foot archer (missing the Arbalest upgrade), and their below average siege line despite having access to the Bombard Cannon.
  • Religious Bruiser: The civilization have access to all Monk upgrades as well as having access to fully upgradable Paladins and Cavalry Archers. Not only that, their cavalry units also get stronger based on how many relics captured.


Cavalry Archer civilization
Architecture: Central Asian
Sheep contain +50% food.
Units deal +25% hill damage (on top of regular hill bonus).
Free Parthian Tactics.
Team Bonus: Cavalry archers +2 line of sight
Unique Unit: Keshik (cavalry that generates gold while attacking)
Castle Age Unique Tech: Silk Armor (Scout Cavalry line and Cavalry archers receive +1 pierce armor)
Imperial Age Unique Tech: Timurid Siegecraft (Trebuchets +1 range)
Wonder: Ulugh Beg Observatory

  • Blade on a Stick: Keshik are equipped with spears, just like the Steppe Lancers, though not as large.
  • Foil: To the Cumans, who share the same architecture and overall style: while the Cumans have an atrocious defense compensated by features which ease early rush and battering rams as soon as the Feudal Age, Tatars train more resistant units and their UT benefits Trebuchets, meant for late-game sieges.
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn: Invoked by the Keshik, who can generate gold as they attack enemies and buildings. And the Tamerlane campaign makes clear that their reputation was earned.


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