Age of Empires 2 v. 1.1
By Gullibility 92
Copyright 2000 Gullibility 92
(Note: This FAQ is meant for players with some knowledge of the game which
means if you just got the game, play a few random map games before reading
this so you understand some of the terminology)
This FAQ is owned by me, Gullibility 92. Do not reproduce or copy it in
anyway without notifying me.
Version 1.0 – 5/10/00
The first version of this FAQ. This includes the strategies for all
civilizations and units. Version 1.1 will have information on the buildings.
A few corrections to the civilizations and units. Added the buildings
section. Technologies will be in version 1.2
Table of Contents
c. Cavalry Archers
d. Hand Cannoneer
a. Light Cavalry
a. Fishing Ships
b. Trade Cogs
e. Demolition Ships
f. Fire Ships
g. Cannon Galleons
E. Siege Weapons
a. Battering Rams
d. Bombard Cannons
F. Other Units
b. Trade Cart
G. Unique Units
c. Woad Raider
d. Chu Ko Nu
e. Throwing Axeman
i. War Elephant
k. Teutonic Knight
A. Economical Buildings
a. Town Center
e. Mining Camp
f. Lumber Camp
h. Fish Trap
B. Military Buildings
c. Archery Range
d. Siege Workshop
f. Palisade Wall
i. Stone Walls
k. Bombard Tower
The Britons are a good offensive civilization. However they lack the ability
to convert building, siege weapons, and monks because they don't get
Redemption and Atonement. They are not the best at a sea siege since they
don't have any sort of cannon galleon. They have no gunpowder units at all,
which means many of the strongest imperial age weapons are not available. But
other than Redemption and Crop Rotation, they get most of the important
technologies. Most of their civilization bonuses are not very helpful. The
most helpful one though is a great bonus. With a +1 range bonus in both the
castle and Imperial Age, combined with Fletching, Bodkin Arrow, and Bracer,
gives their Elite Longbowmen a total range of 11 which out ranges every
defensive structure, except a fully upgraded Teutonic Town Center. Because
they have both Masonry and Architecture, They are also a good choice for
going for a Wonder or Relic Victory. Those few extra Hit Points may be what
wins you the game.
In my opinion, the Byzantines are the best civilization. They miss only 2
units and 6 technologies. Their civilization bonuses give them a wide range
of available victories. The 40% Building HP bonus opens the possibility of a
wonder or relic victory. The stronger fire ships, cheaper counter units, and
cheaper Imperial Age Advancement means you can dominate the sea easily,
counter most units cheaply, and reach the Imperial Age much faster allowing
access to the most powerful units much earlier giving you the chance to
overwhelm your opponent with more powerful units. Unfortunately they miss 2
important technologies: Blast Furnace and Siege Engineers. Without Blast
Furnace their cavalry and infantry will be much weaker in attack and the same
for Siege Weapons without Siege Engineers. Despite those few drawbacks they
still are a good civilization.
The Celts are a strong offensive civilization but not as strong as defensive
one. Their only gunpowder unit is the cannon galleon, which although is a
good unit, is limited to the sea. They miss about 7 good, uncompensated
technologies which are Redemption, Block Printing, Illumination, Ring Archer
Armor, Bracer, Plate Barding Armor, and Crop Rotation. Their true strength
lies in Siege Weapons, which opens the possibility of being able to attack
with fewer Siege Weapons with equal effectiveness. Their Siege Weapons are
faster to create, fire faster, and mixed with the Siege Engineers Tech, are
more powerful. Their archers however are very weak without Arbalests, Bracer,
and Ring Archer Armor. Their only reasons for going for a wonder victory are
the Treadmill Crane and Masonry making the Celts a better choice to go for a
The Chinese are not particularly good at any type of victory condition but an
early attack stronger than an average rush. Early in the game is where the
Chinese have the biggest advantage. You can hold back on building a house
until a little later since town centers can support a larger population and
you can advance much faster with an extra 3 villagers at the beginning. Farms
also produce +45 food even in the Dark Ages, which means less time and wood
spent on rebuilding them early in the game while gaining more food. With
cheaper technologies you can upgrade your army slightly faster allowing a
faster attack. But late in the game, during the late Castle Age and the
Imperial Age, the Chinese miss many powerful and important upgrades and
units. They lack the Hand Cannoneer, Bombard Cannon, and Fast Fire Ship.
These 3 units are very helpful in attacks because of their power, range, and
quick attacks. As for technologies, the most helpful, uncompromised,
technologies the Chinese miss are Block Printing, Siege Engineers, Hoardings,
and Crop Rotation. On certain cases it may also be disadvantageous to miss
the Treadmill Crane and Guilds Technologies.
The Franks are a good rushing and Wonder/Relic civilization. Stronger Knights
means fewer needed to attempt an extra early rush. Free farm upgrades means
the saved money can bring in an extra Knight or Light Cavalry, while still
gaining extra food from farms. Cheaper Castles means an extra castle or two
adding defense or using the excess stone to research technologies or build
extra towers for supporting the castles. The Franks are also pretty effective
at the end of the game with Siege Engineers and Bombard Cannon. Unfortunately
the Franks are extremely disadvantaged with archers much like the Celts. The
Franks do not get Ring Archer Armor, Bracer, Arbalests, or the Two Man Saw.
The Franks also do not get Redemption and Atonement which means monks are
limited to standard Military Units and Villagers. The Treadmill Crane and
Masonry/Architecture Technologies open the possibility of a Wonder or Relic
The Goths are the worst civilization. They lack Stone Wall and all towers but
the Outpost, Watch Tower, and Castle. This limits them to a conquest victory.
Unfortunately they would this is a big drawback. With the Treadmill Crane,
Masonry, and Architecture the Goths would have made a great civilization for
the Wonder/Relic victory. However the Goths are good at one of the most
difficult strategies in the game: The Feudal Age Rush. Infantry are cheaper,
faster to create, and stronger against buildings than most other
civilizations. This advantage means a quick large force of Men-at-Arms
supported by a small contingent of archers can quickly come in, eliminate as
many villagers as possible, run a short distance back to wait until the
villagers are not garrisoned in the Town Center, and repeat. However this
means you need to mine gold in the Dark Age and attack fast enough that they
won't have reached the Castle Age and defend themselves with stronger units.
If this fails then the Goths are pretty easy to kill off. The one thing that
keeps them alive in the endgame is the +10 population limit, which means a
slightly bigger economy or slightly larger military. But in the endgame you
would expect they at least had Plate Mail Armor since they have an advantage
with infantry. Unfortunately they miss Redemption, Block Printing, Gold Shaft
Mining, Dry Dock, Hoardings, Siege Engineers, Plate Mail Armor, and Plate
Barding Armor. The Goths do not have a very strong endgame army since they
miss the Arbalest, Paladin, Siege Ram, and Siege Onager. Because the Goths
have such a limited amount of strategies, they are one of the most difficult
civilizations to play as.
The Japanese, like the Goths and the Chinese, have an advantage early in the
game. Quicker attacking infantry, cheaper resources deposit buildings, and
efficient fishing ships allow an early rush or quicker advancement through
the ages. Later in the game the Japanese civilization bonuses are not as
helpful except the increased infantry attack speed. The Japanese also are
rather weak against a walled in opponent during the Imperial Age with only
Capped Rams and Trebuchets as their land siege weapons. They are not the best
choice for a Wonder or Relic victory since they don't have Architecture or
the Treadmill Crane. The Japanese, although strong in early development and
attacks, have a harder time in the mid to endgame since they miss many
resource gathering technologies like Crop Rotation. The Japanese's major
uncompensated missing technologies are Gold and Stone Shaft Mining,
Hoardings, Crop Rotation, Plate Barding Armor, and in some cases Guilds. But
they do get most of the important units other than the later powerful siege
The Mongols are a good rushing civilization that does pretty well in the
endgame as well. Fast hunters, better land scouts, and stronger rushing units
make the Mongols one of the best Castle Age rushing civilizations. A mix of
Light Cavalry and Cavalry Archers poses a dangerous threat to enemy villagers
early on especially with the Mongol bonuses. In the late game they have a
good variety of units, which makes a difficult force to counter. However they
are not as effective in a wonder/relic victory since they do not have access
to the Architecture and Treadmill Crane technologies. The Mongols do miss
several important technologies including Dry Dock, Redemption, Sanctity,
Block Printing, Illumination, Ring Archer Armor, Plate Barding Armor,
Architecture, Two Man Saw, Crop Rotation, and in some cases Guilds.
The Persians are good at endgame conquest civilization. The Persians are also
somewhat effective at stopping a rush. They start off with extra resources,
and have boosted hit points and work rates for the Town Center and Dock,
which makes the Persians very good at advancing a bit earlier than other
civilizations and perhaps allowing them to make an army strong enough to
defeat a rush. In addition if you are facing a civilization with a good
chance of making a Feudal Age Rush Persian knights have a small bonus against
the archers, which means it is a bit easier at luring the infantry into the
range of your town center. The Persians are not too good at a Wonder/ Relic
victory because they lack the Fortified Wall. On the Conquest victory, they
have strong siege weapons but don't get the Paladin, Arbalest, Two-Handed
Swordsman, or Champion. As for technologies, the best technologies the
Persians miss are Redemption, Sanctity, Illumination, Bracer, and Siege
The Saracens are a well-rounded civilization. Their bonuses can help with a
rush or siege attack. However 2 of the Saracens bonuses are for ships, and if
water is not extremely abundant on the map, they are almost completely
useless. The Saracens are a good civilization for all victory conditions
although they lack Architecture. The Saracens miss only 4 units: the
Cavalier, Paladin, Fast Fire Ship, and Heavy Scorpion. They are extremely
effective at a siege approach because they only miss one siege weapon. The
only drawback to the siege is they miss the Cavalier and Paladin. However the
purposes of Paladin and Cavalier can easily be replaced with a cheap variety
of counter units like Elite Skirmishers, Pikesmen, and Light Cavalry. This
combination costs no gold at all leaving money for the training of other
units. The only major, uncompensated technologies the Saracens miss are Stone
Shaft Mining and Crop Rotation.
The Teutons are definitely a good choice for a Wonder/Relic victory. They
need less wood for their farms, get Murder Holes for free, have an extremely
effective anti-rush ability with the increased range and power, their Monks
heal from 2x the distance which means they can stay behind walls, and towers
can garrison 2x the units and fire 2x the garrison arrows. All of these
bonuses point at a defensive victory. The Teutons also have the Bombard
Tower, the most effective defensive structure against units attacking at the
base of a wall. Although they are a defensive civilization, the Teutons are
capable of pulling off a siege. They don't however, work with a rush since
they lack Light Cavalry. The Teutons have access to most of the powerful
siege weapons. They miss only the Siege Ram, which although must get close to
attack, is a cheaper anti-building siege weapon than the Bombard Cannon and
Trebuchet. The Teutons are slightly disadvantaged with archers since they
miss the Arbalest, Heavy Cavalry Archer, and Bracer. Other important missed
technologies are Gold Shaft Mining, Dry Dock, and Architecture.
The Turks are definitely a good choice for an offensive civilization, with
all the gunpowder units. They are also good at a rush with Light Cavalry
upgraded instantly once the Castle Age is reached. But all of their
civilization bonuses are useless until the Castle Age so try to reach it as
soon as possible. With Masonry, Architecture, and Treadmill Crane the Turks
are also a good choice for the Wonder/Relic victory. Unfortunately they are
disadvantaged when it comes to a strong, varied, siege army. They miss the
Elite Skirmisher, Pikesmen, Arbalests, Paladin, Fast Fire Ship, Onager, and
Siege Onager. A combination of all these units makes a good army to counter
anything your opponent might send to defend him/her/itself but since the
Turks do not have these units, you might have to settle with the earlier and
weaker units. Yet the Turks have extra strong Gunpowder units that train
faster. Do not be afraid to have a large portion of your army being Gunpowder
units. The Turks do not miss any useless technologies. Instead they miss
several important technologies. These technologies are Block Printing,
Illumination, Stone Shaft Mining, Siege Engineers, and Crop Rotation.
The Vikings are good at a rush approach even in the Feudal Age. They have
cheaper warships to complement your rush, stronger infantry, and Wheelbarrow
and Handcart researched free. With these bonuses, you can gather resources
faster and send an early yet strong rush. In the endgame the Vikings are not
particularly good at any single type of victory but instead are a mediocre
civilization for all of the types of victories. With Masonry and Architecture
the Vikings make a good Wonder/Relic civilization although they lack the
Treadmill Crane. Without the Hand Cannoneer, Heavy Cavalry Archer, Paladin,
Siege Onager, and Bombard Cannon, the Vikings are at a disadvantage in a
siege since they miss these units. However, creating a strong navy is not
hard with the Vikings, despite the fact that they miss the Fire Ship and Fast
Fire Ship, and since they get the Longboat. The Vikings miss several
important technologies, which are Redemption, Sanctity, Illumination, Plate
Barding Armor, Stone Shaft Mining, and in some cases Guilds.
Swordsmen are the basic grunt units, relatively cheap but effective
throughout the beginning, middle, and end of the game. They are not
effectively countered by anything other than the Cataphract. However they are
not specifically good at countering anything themselves. In the Dark Ages you
are limited to the Militia for attacks. Never train Militia, they are too
weak and expensive to use effectively. Once upgraded to Men-at-Arms, the
swordsman becomes a much more useful unit. They gain hit points, attack,
speed, and a bonus vs. buildings. The Long Swordsman is another important
upgrade; it adds more hit points and attack without any drawbacks. Once you
reach the Imperial Age it is more important to think about upgrading to the
Two-Handed Swordsman. Although it adds power and attack, the swordsman
becomes slower. If you do upgrade however, just go the whole nine yards and
upgrade to the Champion. This adds hit points, attack, and armor.
Pikesmen are extremely effective at countering all cavalry except the
Cataphract, which it is less but still effective against. Since many people
use Knights, Cavalry Archers and Light Cavalry as a large part of their
force, the Pikesman becomes a good and cheap counter. They are effective at
guarding siege weapons against cavalry. They are also one of the most
effective counters against War Elephants. They deal out about 50 hit points
of damage as Pikesmen and about 30 as Spearmen. However the Pikesmen do not
work on much else other than cavalry and the War Elephant. They can be used
to stop Battering Rams and Skirmishers if no other units are available
The basic ranged unit is the archer. If you use Archers in large groups,
upgrade to at least the Crossbowman if not Arbalest. They work well against
most infantry and other slow moving units. They are horrible at attacking
building, so if they are used in the Feudal Age rush, they should only attack
villagers and any attacking units. Cavalry, Skirmishers, and Huskarls easily
defeat archers so they need support from other units.
The Skirmisher is the cheapest counter against archers. They can easily crush
a force of Archers with double the amount of units. Unfortunately they are
torn apart by and other units make sure they are properly supported. A force
of Swordsmen and Skirmishers is a good combination for taking out units
One of the best rushing units is the Cavalry Archer. With a ranged attack,
quick speed, and a good amount of hit points, the Cavalry Archer is perfect
for hit and run tactics. Later in the game the Cavalry Archer requires more
support because so many units are capable of countering it. Use the Cavalry
Archers with Light Cavalry or Knights to help defend them from close range
The Hand Cannoneer is incredibly powerful. Unfortunately it can not increase
its attack strength or range any higher. Use at least 5 in a group since they
miss very often at long range. Support with Cavalry or Pikesmen to stop
Archers and Cavalry from closing in on them.
The Light Cavalry is a good unit for rushing. It can run in kill a few
villagers and run out quite fast. It is also a great scout. Once you can,
upgrade to Light Cavalry. It is faster, stronger, has longer sight, and more
hit points. Support them with Pikesmen and Archers.
The Knight is the most overestimated unit in the game. Many players attack
with nothing but siege weapons and Knights. But Pikesmen and Camels easily
counter the Knight. The Pikesmen can tear through Paladins and cost far less.
This does not mean stop using Knights, but simply use other units as well.
The two counter-units are both crushed by Swordsmen. With just these units,
it is difficult to counter and if more types are added, then it becomes
extremely difficult to counter.
The Camel is just a Light Cavalry with a bonus against mounted units and more
hit points. Unfortunately it costs quite a lot of gold for those bonuses.
Pikesmen are much cheaper and more effective. A Heavy Camel loses in a one on
one fight with a Paladin. The Camel is too expensive for its benefits and is
countered by so many units it is pointless to create so many types of units
to support the Camels.
The Fishing Ship is a good way to gain food on island or coastal maps. With
Fishing Ships, you require a few less villagers collecting food and a few
more collecting wood. Make sure you rebuild docks to make the trip back from
the fish shorter. Guard them with at least a few Galleys early on and a few
more in the endgame, especially if you are depending on them for a majority
of your food income.
The Trade Cog is basically a Fishing Ship for gold. You need to be at least
neutral to trade with someone. The farther away the Dock is the more gold you
get but don't go through dangerous territory to gain more gold, a shorter
trip means more loads of gold. Like fishing ships, try to guard them with a
The Transport is important on water maps especially islands. Try to upgrade
at least Careening to make more room on the Transport and make it less
vulnerable. Guard them with a few Galleys and Fire Ships. If a Transport is
converted the units in it are not. If there are a lot of units, press delete
to sink the ship with all the units on board. If a Transport is destroyed
with a Monk holding a Relic, the Relic will appear on the shore closest to
The Galley is the basic warship. It is good for attacking units on land,
Transports, Fishing Ships, Trade Cogs, Demolition Ships, and Cannon Galleons.
Use them to escort Transports and guard Fishing Ships and Trade Cogs. Upgrade
your Galleys to at least War Galleys so even if you don't intend to use them
you can at least get Fast Fire Ships and Heavy Demolition Ships. Watch out
for Fire Ships, Bombard Cannons, and Trebuchets.
Demolition Ships are useful for only one thing: killing Fire Ships. A fleet
of Galleys or Longboats will shoot down Demolition Ships relatively fast.
Cannon Galleons have enough hit points to withstand one blast from Demolition
Ships making it too expensive to use since it kills itself. It is also has a
bonus against building but it takes at least 6 hits to kill a dock with Heavy
Demolition Ship making it incredibly expensive.
Fire Ships are the best counter for every ship other than Demolition Ships.
They do not work well against buildings and land units. Use them in the mid
to endgame to escort your Transports, Fishing Ships, and Trade Cogs. Use
Galleys to defend them against Demolition Ships.
The Cannon Galleon is basically a Bombard Cannon on a ship. They are great at
taking out seaside defenses before you drop off your units for an attack.
They are good at taking out units on the shore except against the computer,
who will always dodge the cannonballs. They will also work against ships that
aren't being watched, two hits will take out just about any ship. Make sure
they are escorted by Fire Ships and/or Galleys.
The Battering Ram is an effective anti-building siege weapon. It is virtually
immune to arrow fire meaning they are good at taking out walls guarded by
Watchtowers, Guard Towers, Keeps, and Castles. But Battering Rams are quickly
killed by hand to hand combat, even villagers. Later in the game Battering
Rams become less effective with Bombard Towers, Bombard Cannons, Mangonels,
and the Hand Cannoneer. All these units and buildings are ranged attackers
without arrows which means they can do loads of damage to incoming Battering
Rams without endangering themselves. Trebuchets are also effective but must
already be deployed. A surprising thing about the Siege Ram is it has a blast
radius. If several houses are bunched together they will all get damaged if a
Siege Ram attacks the center one, unfortunately the blast radius does not
affect units. Battering Rams also get a small bonus against siege weapons, so
if you can sneak one by your enemies Trebuchets while they are marching to
your base, and your enemy doesn't notice you might be able to take out one or
Mangonels are anti-infantry/archer siege weapons. They will also work on
buildings, but do not get a bonus. A cavalry unit can work wonders on an army
with several Mangonels while never having to attack. Simply run the cavalry
through their forces and if there are a lot of low hit point units, the
Mangonels will probably kill or wound some of them while attempting to hit
your unit. To prevent this from happening to you set your Mangonels to no
attack stance. Another nice little feature is Siege Onager can cut through
forests. This is especially helpful in Black Forest maps where one or two
Relics are completely enclosed in forests and to get to them requires cutting
through the woods. You can also launch a sneak attack by going to an
undefended side by cutting through forests. Be sure to move them to the back
of your force otherwise if your enemy sees them, they probably send cavalry
to kill them.
Scorpions are another anti-infantry/archer siege weapon. They fire huge
bolts, which act like arrows. They do not work against buildings and do not
have a blast radius which means it is safer to keep them near your troops for
protection as opposed to farther away for the fear of hitting your own units.
They fire slightly faster than Mangonels making them better for a smaller
more armored group of infantry or archers.
Bombard Cannons are expensive anti-building siege weapons. They also have a
bonus against ships. The Bombard Cannon is extremely overpriced in my
opinion. It cost more than a Trebuchet and all it has over the Trebuchet is
mobility while firing. The Trebuchet has more attack strength, hit points,
armor, and range. But the mobility gives the Bombard Cannon one big
advantage, which is the ability to move forward while attacking, a great
ability if your opponent is using Trebuchets for defense, you fire and due to
the high arc of Trebuchet shots, there is enough time to move out of the way.
Bombard Cannons have range just beyond a fully upgraded tower's, allowing
them to fire undisturbed.
The highest line of siege weapons is the Trebuchet. With massive power, hit
points, pierce armor, and range the Trebuchet is unmatched in sheer power for
destroying buildings. Trebuchets are also effective at destroying ships that
are not being micro-managed. Trebuchets are also useful for cutting through
forests if you are a civilization without the Siege Onager or don't want to
spend the resources upgrading to it. You can also use the Trebuchet to scout
out your enemy's defenses since their long range means long sight too. The
only drawbacks to the Trebuchet are a high arc causing inaccuracy, slow rate
of fire, and the need to unpack. If used in groups of at least 4, they can
take down most buildings in a matter of seconds. Any unit other than archers
can counter the Trebuchet so guard them with a variety of units.
The villager is the most important unit in the game. It is impossible to
advance through the ages and create an army without an economy and it is
impossible to create an economy without villagers. You should have at least
half of your units being villagers or some sort of resource gathering unit.
Usually if you are planning a siege, you will want to bring Monks to heal
your units and the same is for siege weapons and ships; they require repairs
to prevent them from being destroyed. If you don't want your villagers
sitting around doing nothing while waiting for your siege weapons or ships to
be damaged, you can set up some military buildings near the enemy base to
bring units over faster or research Sappers and set them on weak buildings
like Houses, Mills, and Lumber Camps.
The Monk is a fragile, slow, low hit point unit. Yet they are one of the
game's most useful units. There are 3 uses for them: healing units,
converting units, and gathering Relics. Usually when an attack is sent there
are at least 2 Monks with the attack force to heal the units. I recommend
about 5 to 6 Monks varying on the size of the attack force and whether or not
your enemies has garrisoned Relics you want to capture. The second use,
converting units, is a good way to get powerful units for free. Use multiple
Monks to convert more dangerous targets faster. If a transport is converted,
the units on board are not so sink the ship if a large and/or dangerous army
is on board. Research Redemption, Block Printing, and Illumination to improve
your Monk's converting abilities. Atonement is another conversion upgrade but
is way overpriced for the ability to just convert enemy Monks. The third and
final use for Monks is one of the ways to win a standard game. Capturing
relics slowly generates gold for your coffers. Research Fervor and Sanctity
to improve your Monk's chances of getting back alive. Wolves do not attack
Monks so feel free to walk by one to get a Relic or to shake off an attacking
unit for a while. Monks also have long sight because of their long conversion
The Trade Cart is a way to gain gold easily with an allied or neutral player.
Later in the game where the only way to get gold is by selling resources,
garrisoning Relics, and trading, the Trade Cart becomes pretty important.
Build at least 10 of them to get a good constant supply of gold coming in and
make sure they don't need to travel through hostile territory. Build your
market as far away as possible from your trading partner while still being
able to defend it, this will allow you to gain more gold per trip. Make sure
your Trade Carts are defended to prevent your opponent from picking them off.
Likewise, if your opponent is difficult to attack, attack their Trade Carts
to greatly diminish their gold income.
Longbowmen are the Briton special unit. They are slightly more expensive than
the generic foot archer but also stronger and better ranged when upgraded to
the Elite Longbowman. Attack in groups of about 10 for a light skirmish
battle to weaken your enemies forces before they send a siege and are
organizing their troops. With the bonus range the Britons get, you can fire
upon most things without going into the range of their units. A group of 10
can destroy almost any unit before going into range and finally retreating
back into your town without getting injured. When fully upgraded, Elite
Longbowmen can fire at towers without going into range. But because archers
are extremely weak against building, you shouldn't bother using your
Longbowmen for this purpose.
The Cataphract is the Byzantine special unit. The Cataphract is the only unit
with a bonus against infantry. This is especially useful against a
civilization with strong or cheap infantry like the Goths or Japanese. They
are good for the traditional role of cavalry: rushing at archers and siege
weapons. Because they have a bonus against infantry, they do not lose as many
hit points against a Pikesman than a Paladin does. The most dangerous unit to
a Cataphract is probably the Camel. Since there are only 2 counter units, and
the Pikesman is not as effective, the Camel can dish out heavy damage.
Although the Elite Cataphract has 150 hit points and 12 attack, a Paladin
still can counter it. Still, with the only bonus against infantry, they are
very useful. Deploy large contingents specifically against the Goths,
Japanese, and Vikings.
The Woad Raider is the Celt special unit. The Woad Raider is possibly the
most useless special unit. The Elite Woad Raider is a slightly faster
Champion, without the armor, +5 cost in food and gold, and 10 more hit
points. The manual says they are strong vs. archers, but they must get close
first and they are just as fast as archers are so they are going to lose
quite a few hit points getting to them.
Chu Ko Nu
The Chu Ko Nu is the Chinese special unit. The Chu Ko Nu is a fast firing
crossbow with shorter range. They fire about 5 arrows in each volley with 8
damage an arrow. This comes to 40 damage per volley. Unfortunately the Chu Ko
Nu has shorter range than the Arbalest. The Chu Ko Nu cost more wood than the
Arbalest but less gold. They can effectively take the place of the Arbalest.
The Elite Chu Ko Nu only has +5 hit points and therefore it is much better to
research armor, range, and damage increasing technologies. 760 food and gold
is enough to research enough technologies that will allow your Chu Ko Nu to
do more damage and last longer than an extra 5 hit points.
The Throwing Axeman is the Franks special unit. It is not exactly a
replacement for any unit but better as an army supplement. They are good for
anything you would use your swordsmen for. They attack with normal attack so
they work against units with massive amounts of pierce armor. Having a ranged
normal attack is a good ability to have since they can stand behind Battering
Rams while attack the same building. They do not get the upgrades for archers
but they do get the infantry upgrades. Unfortunately this means you cannot
extend their range except for up grading to Elite Throwing Axeman. With short
range, they are still easily countered by Archers, Scorpions, and Mangonels.
The Huskarl is the Goths special unit. It is good for taking down archers
since they have a bonus attack against them and high pierce armor. They are
also good for attacking towers except for the Bombard Tower since they have a
bonus against buildings like most other infantry. Unfortunately Huskarls are
quite expensive so it can be cheaper to use Skirmishers to counter Archers
and more effective to use siege weapons against buildings. However, with the
25% cheaper infantry bonus in the Imperial Age, Huskarls are only slightly
more expensive than swordsmen without the bonus are, making them a bit more
useful for their cost.
The Samurai is the Japanese special unit. The Samurai is very much like a
Champion except for one difference, a bonus vs. other civilizations' unique
units. The Samurai is perfect against a player who thinks they can win using
only special units. The Samurai can win in a one on one battle against any
unique unit that is not micro-managed except the Teutonic Knight, Cataphract,
and War Elephant. They also have the general infantry bonus against
buildings. Like most infantry they are weak against Archers, Scorpions, and
The Mangudai is the Mongol special unit. The Mangudai is a Cavalry Archer
with slightly more attack, an increased cost in wood, a decreased cost in
gold, and a bonus against siege weapons. The Mangudai is not very different
from the Cavalry Archer except for its bonus against siege weapons. This
makes the Mangudai a good replacement for the Cavalry Archer since wood is
generally far more abundant than gold. Mangudai are good at the same tactics
as Cavalry Archers but now can use hit and run tactics during a siege against
Trebuchets and Bombard Cannons. They can also hide behind walls and fire at
Battering Rams. All pierce armor on siege weapons do not affect the damage
the Mangudai inflicts upon them.
The War Elephant is the Persian special unit. The War Elephant is the most
powerful unit available. When upgraded to Elite War Elephant, it gains +5
attack, +1 pierce armor, and +150 hit points. With a bonus against buildings
they can be used as Battering Rams. They have trample damage against all
infantry or foot archers in front or to the side of them. However they are
one of the few units weak against monks due to their incredibly slow speed.
This also makes them weak against any ranged unit when the unit is micro-
managed. Pikesmen, Camels, and Mamelukes are effective counters against the
The Mameluke is the Saracen special unit. It is like the Throwing Axeman in
the fact that it is basically a Camel with ranged attack. It has more attack,
less hit points, more armor, and a higher price in gold. They are so
expensive that it is better to use Camels or Pikesmen to counter cavalry.
Also they count as regular attack meaning they work against siege weapons and
they do not receive range or attack bonuses from Fletching, Bodkin Arrow, and
The Teutonic Knight is the Teutons special unit. These units, although slow
and expensive are very powerful. If you use a lot of them, upgrade them to
Elite Teutonic Knights. They gain +5 armor, +5 attack, and +30 hit points.
They have a bonus against buildings like most infantry and will hack through
most hand to hand units. They are weak against all ranged units except
perhaps Skirmishers, who can still win a battle with hit and run tactics.
They are also weak against monks due to their slow speed. If there are Monks,
just run away unless they are about 4 to 2 tiles away. Teutonic Knights are
good in groups but require support against ranged units.
The Janissary is the Turks special unit. It is a Hand Cannoneer with slightly
higher stats and a slightly higher cost. However, the Janissary doesn't have
the minimum range disability. They are still quite inaccurate at long range
so use several in a group. They cannot upgrade their attack or range like the
Hand Cannoneer. The upgrade to Elite Janissary is not too important but is
still a pretty useful upgrade. They can replace the Hand Cannoneer if you
have a bit more money and you can get them in the Castle Age making them
great for attacks on enemy Villagers early in the game.
The Berserk is the first of the two Vikings special units. The Berserk can
replace the Swordsman since it has more armor and attack than a Champion does
when upgraded to Elite Berserk. It is only 5 gold and food more than
Swordsmen are. Unfortunately the even Elite berserk has fewer hit points than
the Champion does but with the Viking infantry hit point bonus they can
exceed another civilization's Champions' hit points with their Elite Berserk.
The Berserks also slowly heal themselves but it is so slow that this only
makes a difference if you have no Monks, your Berserks are wounded in battle,
and you have units to cover them to let them heal. In the middle of a battle,
the Berserk's self-healing ability will probably not make a difference and it
is much better to use Monks to heal in the middle of a battle.
The Longboat is the second Vikings special unit. It is a great replacement
for Galleys. Although it is significantly more expensive, the benefits are
very high. With the cheaper warship bonus, the Longboat is only slightly more
expensive than the normal Galley. The Longboat, when upgraded to Elite
Longboat, has virtually the same stats as the Galleon except the Elite
Longboat has –5 hit points. However the Longboat has a rapid-fire ability
like the Chu Ko Nu making it far more powerful. The power of one volley of
shots from the Elite Longboat is about as strong as 5 Galleons firing. The
most effective counter to the Longboat is Fire Ship. Bombard Cannons,
Trebuchets, and Mangonels are also quite effective as well. But due to the
rapidness of the Longboat's attack, Demolition Ships are knocked out by 1 to
2 volleys from a Longboat.
The Town Center is the start for every civilization. It is where several
important technologies are researched, any type of resource can be dropped,
Villagers can be garrisoned for protection, and most importantly where
Villagers are created. Town Centers also support 5 population and 10
population for the Chinese. When you start your game, the best defense
against a Feudal Age rush is your Town Center. By ringing the town bell, you
will be able to automatically have 15 Villagers go away from what they were
doing and fire arrows at enemy units that walk into to range. Try to build
your starting structures 3 tiles away from the Town Center so you can defend
them with your Town Center and still build Farms next to them. In the Dark
and Feudal Ages, you can only build Town Centers if you don't already have an
The House is what allows you to increase your population early in the game.
Each House supports 5 population for any unit. They are very cheap but do not
build too many in the Dark Age since you will need the wood for other
buildings, especially Farms and/or Docks and Fishing Ships. Later in the game
you can also use Town Centers and Castles to increase the possible supported
units. Monks can raise you over the population limit by converting units.
The Mill is the best way to increase food gathering production. All sources
of food can be deposited in the Mill. You can also upgrade the food
production of Farms at the Mill. Build your Mills adjacent to Forage Bushes
and near your hunting and shore fishing areas to decrease the distance from
the source of food. Build your Farms next to your Mills and Town Centers as
Farms are a reliable source of food provided you have enough wood. Since it
cost money to build them, work on all other food sources around you first. Be
sure to upgrade your Farms as you advance through the ages to be more wood
conscious. Later in the game Farms will become your major source of food.
Always make sure you have enough Villagers chopping wood so you always have
enough to build your Farms. Also use the hotkey "Home" to zoom in on your
expired Farms and right-click to rebuild them.
The Mining Camp is the Mill for gold and stone. You can drop off both gold
and stone in the Mining Camp. You also research technologies to improve your
mining speed. Build your Mining Camps adjacent to the resource deposits
unless there are two resources relatively close to each other in which case
you should build right in between them. Destroy them after there aren't any
more gold or stone deposits nearby and they are obstructing your base.
Otherwise they can be used like an Outpost to warn you of an oncoming attack.
The Lumber Camp is the place to deposit wood. You can upgrade your wood
cutting speed there too with the technologies. Early in the game, use the
trees near your Town Center for wood before building a Lumber Camp so there
is room next to your Town Center for Farms. Build them adjacent to huge
forests so the trip from the wood to the Lumber Camp is shorter. As the
forests are depleted rebuild the Lumber Camps and re-command your Villagers
to the new forest.
The Dock is a crucial building in water abundant maps. In the Dark Age you
can only build Fishing Ships which are a good supply of food since there is
usually a large amount of fish in the nearby area, and if there isn't then it
generally isn't worth it to build a Dock so early. In the Feudal Age you can
trade, transport, and attack with the new units you can build in the Dock.
Technologies only pertaining to ships are researched in the Dock as well.
Fishing Ships and Trade Cogs also drop off their resources at the Dock.
You can build Fish Traps with Fishing Boats once you reach the Feudal Age. If
the surrounding fish are depleted, you can either build a new Dock in a
better position or build Fish Traps. Fish Traps, like Farms, cost wood and
are eventually depleted. In the Feudal Age the Fish Trap is a better
investment since it can yield more food per wood than a Farm. This is also
true in the Castle Age. However once you reach the Imperial Age, with Crop
Rotation researched, Farms are cheaper for wood per food. Fish Traps should
also be built near or adjacent to your Dock.
The Market is not too important early in the game. You will probably use it
just to get a few resources that are needed or research technologies. Later
in the game, where the gold and stone deposits are depleted, you will need to
use extensive amounts of Trade Carts and buy and sell resources frequently if
you don't have a neutral or allied player.
The Blacksmith is where you research the primary improvements on your
infantry, archers, and cavalry. The first technologies are basically a must
research since they are extremely cheap. Later in the game you will want to
pick which technologies you research since they will become more expensive.
The Monastery is a very helpful building. You can research technologies for
Monks and create Monks. You also can garrison Relics inside the Monastery.
Build your Monastery early and close to as many Relics as possible. But don't
build it where you can't defend it. Build your Monastery early and grab at
least one Relic so someone else can't win by a Relic victory.
The University is where you research important endgame technologies. Most of
the building technologies cost stone so make sure you have already started
mining stone. The University is where you upgrade your towers. They become
extremely deadly if everything available is researched. Try to build your
University later if you aren't using many towers.
The Wonder is useless in a conquest game. In a standard game you can win by
holding a Wonder for a few centuries. The time will vary with the size of the
map. In score games they can be helpful too since they are worth several
hundred points. If you are planning on winning by Wonder, you need at least
10 villagers working on it if not more. Research Masonry and Architecture to
make your Wonder stronger. Research Treadmill Crane so it builds faster and
wall it in. Try to build it with one side to the edge of a map and deep
inland to protect it from Cannon Galleons.
The Barracks is where you create your infantry. It is not very useful until
the Feudal Age since in the Dark Ages you can only build Militia. Late in the
Game in can provide you with some very useful support units but should not
make up a huge amount of your army. Since you build the Barracks early in the
game, if there is room put it in the range of your Town Center while leaving
room for Farms.
The Stable should be the third military building you construct, although it
may vary depending on what approach you choose. The Stable will probably be
where you create most of your army late in the game. If you are going for a
Castle Age rush, Light Cavalry are among the best rushers. In the endgame,
Knights will probably be the mainstay unit in sieges for protection against
archers. Camels are also useful units especially if your opponent is using
archers and cavalry, although they should be much more useful since they cost
so much. Generally by the endgame you should have at least 2 Stables if you
haven't just been attacked and one was destroyed in the attack.
The Archery Range is another important building for attacks. You can train
units for any purpose: Feudal and Castle Age rushes, stopping rushes, and
sieges. You should have at least a couple of Archery Ranges in the late to
endgame. You should build the Archery Range early in the game, preferably
before the Stable, since the Archer and the Skirmisher are more useful than
the Scout is.
The Siege Workshop should be built a bit later in the Castle Age unless your
opponent reached the Castle Age much earlier than you. In general, the Siege
Workshop is not absolutely necessary if your opponent doesn't have defensive
structures like towers or walls. However if you plan to take out an entire
enemy base, you'll almost definitely need a Siege Workshop for the Town
Center. The Siege Workshop is generally built around the same time as a
Castle so try to get them in the defensive range of the Castle.
The ultimate defense structure is the Castle. Place a Castle in a location as
soon as you have researched Murder Holes, and your opponents will attack from
a different side until they can afford several Battering Rams. To increase
the defense even further, you can garrison up to 20 units in side. If these
units are all Archers or Villagers, the amount of arrows flying out are
capable of killing almost any unit with one volley. However the Castle will
require some support against Siege Rams, Bombard Cannons, Trebuchets, and
Cannon Galleons. Luckily, the Castle happens to be the place where each
civilization's unique unit is created and where the powerful Trebuchet is
made. You also research several important technologies at the Castle.
This is one of the most useless military structures available. Palisade Wall
will stop nothing other than Militia and any Foot or Cavalry Archers. If you
think you will need a warning then go ahead and wall yourself in, but the
wood you waste will be enough to bring in an extra Archer, Spearman, or
Skirmisher in the battle.
The Outpost is a semi-useful structure. Place it near areas with resources to
check if your opponent is mining anything there. Place it in front of choke
points to your base to see if your enemy is sending an attack. However, the
Outpost cost stone and although only a little, the stone you spend could go
to a wall or tower.
The Gate is a crucial structure if you have walled yourself in with
Stonewall. Leave holes in the wall so you can build Gates without wasting
stone by building over your walls. If you need to stop enemy units from
entering your base when your own units go through, lock it and kill off the
enemy forces first.
Stonewalls are very important structures especially if you are going for a
defensive victory like the Wonder condition. Stonewalls hold back enemy
forces so you can gather your own troops while the attackers have to deal
with Towers and Castles. Build several Gates so if you are being attacked
from one side you don't need to open the Gate on that side to let your forces
through. If you just need some defense, build Stonewalls, but if you are
going for a Wonder/Relic victory, upgrade to Fortified Wall.
Watchtowers are the first attacking towers you can get. They allow you some
permanent defense while you send a rush or siege. You can garrison up to 5
units inside and if you are the Teutons you can garrison 10 units inside.
Like with the Castle, Archers and Villagers increase the arrows fired.
However they do not work well by themselves in the Feudal Age since you
cannot research Murder Holes. Build them in pairs 1 to 2 tiles away so they
cover each other until you reach the Castle Age when you can research Murder
Holes. Once you reach the Castle Age, you can also upgrade to Guard Tower,
and in the Imperial Age you can upgrade to Keep. These upgrades are somewhat
expensive so don't upgrade if you aren't planning to build a lot.
The Bombard Tower is not an upgrade of the Keep but a separate type of Tower.
The Bombard Tower is great for attacking hand to hand units attacking the
base of a wall. They are also the best counter for Battering Rams since their
shots are not affected by pierce armor. But you must Research Bombard Towers
before you can build them. Although the game and manual say Bombard Towers
are not affected by the Murder Holes technology, Bombard Towers are affected
by it and can attack at units at their base.