Advice on Learning Civs

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    Hey everyone, I’m new to this game and I’m interested in learning about five to six different civilizations: Hindustanis, Poles, Portuguese, Gurjaras, and Japanese.

    I find the unique units of the Japanese and Portuguese pretty cool, and I also like the unique mills of the Gurjaras and Poles.

    I have heard that Hindustanis are a simpler option, but I’m not sure if that’s accurate.

    I was hoping to get some advice or resources on how to learn about these civilizations, and which one I should focus on as a new player.

    Additionally, if anyone has any tips or resources for playing ranked as a beginner, I would greatly appreciate it.

    So far, I’ve gone through the Art of War tutorials and have played nine games, losing eight of them before managing to win one when my opponent had to leave.



    I love Japanese they are somewhat underrated I think.

    Despite being an “infantry” civ they are often played as an archer civ due to having fully upgradable archers.

    Their pikes attack extra fast making them some of the best in the game.

    Between archers, pikes, their faster shooting trebs, fine monks, and strong towers, they have fun options that work well.

    I watch lots of spirit of the law and Hera’s guide to 2k very helpful


    Japanese are underrated imo, but very fun.

    They have a very interesting m@a into archers opening, but you can also go for m@a into Towers (Yasama -Castle Age Crown- Japanese Towers are somthing to fear).

    They can go double gold composition in castle Age (full upgrades on Xbows and Knights with Bloodlines/Husbandry to kill skirmishers or Mangonels), but they also have one of the best trash compositions (Halb + skirm + Siege).

    Their Infantry is fearsome and trades well against Cavalry in Imperial Age.

    enemy melee unique units are not a problem with Samurai and you have Hand Cannoneers for a quick support.

    If you are facing stronger Archers (Britons, Ethiopians, Mayans) you could even transition form Xbows/Arbalesters to fully-upgraded Cavalry Archers.

    Even Monks have all the necessary techs to be valuable.

    Finally, if there’s water on the map, Japanese are top3 on hybrid maps, and even on maps with few water you can build a dock and faster working fishing ships for an extra food income


    I think if you just want to play casually (even casually on ranked if you just don’t care about your elo), then any of those civs are fine.

    I’d probably play Poles, Hindus (cav civs), Port (just the best civ atm).

    However, if you want to be more serious about ranking up, I’d recommend practicing an easier straight cav like Franks or a straight archer civ like Britons.

    Just practice a specific build for either one (like scouts into knights) or (feudal archers in xbows) and play on Arabia.

    These two civs will help you learn the fundamentals of 1v1 before you start exploring other civs.


    I’ll try and give you some very specific ones:

    – Hindustanis have a very strong anti-archer Unique Unit but you need to get a Castle to start producing them and they still need upgrades.

    This means that you shouldn’t automatically assume you’ll be fine against archer civilisations and not bother making skirmishers or siege.

    Be careful about Ghulam tunnel-vision!

    – Poles are excellent on Closed Maps (maps which start already walled, like Arena, or Black Forest, which have a choke point which can be easily closed), the thing you need to be thinking about is early possible is how many Folwarks you can fit into your space.

    A ‘fully loaded’ Folwark needs a lot of space in a square, so consider when placing it if you’ll be able to get all of your farms placed evenly around it.

    This will give you the strongest economy!

    On Open Maps (which you have to wall yourself) they can be risky because while ordinarily you would place farms around your town centre (as they can hide inside it), Folwarks are more exposed, so you have to make a choice between protection and efficiency!

    – Generally speaking you will find that the rule for unit compositions is one gold unit and one “trash” unit, which used wood and food, both of which are more plentiful.

    There are some exceptions to this rule and Portuguese are one of them – all of their units cost less gold so you can make more of them.

    This means that you have easier access to what is theoretically the strongest composition in the game, which is crossbows and knights (maybe with monks and mangonels too).

    Essentially when playing Portuguese, think big and greedy and always try to go for your strongest units if you can.

    – Gurjaras, like the Hindustanis, have an answer for everything *in theory* but in practice one of their strongest counters also needs a castle, which is the Chakram Thrower who will kill the pikes that your opponents makes to stop your camels.

    Lots of Age of Empires is rock-paper-scissor with respect to unit compositions and that’s something you need to think about.

    In the case of Gurjaras, if you are up against spears or pikes and you don’t have a castle yet, consider planning in advance to make archers, skirmishers or scorpions.

    If you are making cavalry units and your opponent understands counters, they will start making spear line units, so you need to plan ahead for that.

    It’s a chess game in the end!

    Oh and get your mill down and your sheep inside it as soon as possible!

    If you need you can release them one at a time to eat, but as an alternative you can take the deer (either by placing a mill on them or by “pushing” them with your scout which is a more advanced tactic) or begin placing farms earlier.

    – Japanese can do everything, they’re listed as an ‘Infantry civilisation’ which is true but they also have a fully upgraded arbalest line and, at least in Castle Age, fully upgraded cavalry units too.

    They’ll be a really good civ to learn the game because you can go for almost any tactic with them.

    Some more specific advice however, consider placing a mill on the deer because for Japanese it is so cheap, ordinarily it would be a bigger investment in wood but the Japanese get them half price.

    Oh and if you make Men-At-Arms as an opening (which Japanese are among the best in the game at), don’t be disheartened if your opponent has built walls.

    Japanese Men-At-Arms go through palisade walls like wet cheese, and one villager repairing won’t be enough.

    Your opponent might not realise that!


    As new player, focus on Franks, Magyars, Ethiopians, Malians, Teutons, Britons etc.

    Simple to play, easier to use/no eco bonuses and receive knights+xbows.

    Poles require defensive skills till they can get the boom rolling for knight spam, Hindustanis don’t get knights, Portuguese need a different start, same goes for Gurjaras too, Japanese ok for you.

    If you specifically want to play 1 out of these 5, I’d suggest Portuguese.

    Flexible civ with great imp options.



    It’s the second civ I started using after Magyars.

    MAA -> archers, MAA -> towers, even knights, their Infantry, very nice civ here on average elo 🙂

    I don’t know their “best” comp, but they are very fun to play in any case

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