The Chinese civilization is one of the three Asian civilizations available in the The Asian Dynasties expansion. They are widely considered to be an offensive civilization due to their strength early in the game, and are a popular faction to utilize. The Chinese are based on army of the Great Qing Empire (大清帝國) during the reign of Kangxi (康熙), in the "Pacification of China" period and prior to the modern era. They are similar to the Russians in that they utilize lots of cheap, weak units.
The Chinese have the largest number of unique units in the game, and have second highest population cap, at 220. (The Iroquois are capable of a cap of 225 through dancing in the Fire Pit). In addition to this, many Chinese wonders spawn free units, allowing for a numerical advantage. The Chinese also train units relatively fast although these units, like the Russians, are slightly weaker than ordinary units. Not all of the Chinese units are weak, however; the Flying Crow, a form of ballistic rocket, can be spawned with the Confucian Academy wonder while the Flamethrower, a devastating anti-melee infantry unit, can be trained from the castle from the Colonial Age. Instead of a separate barracks and stable, the Chinese train their troops in the joint War Academy.
The Chinese army has various units not seen in other civilizations, such as the Chu Ko Nu, a crossbow unit with an enhanced firing rate and easy to mass, but with low hit points, or the Changdao Swordsman, a cheap hand infantry unit, like a weak version of the Halberdier or Samurai, that can serve as an anti-cavalry troop in numbers. The Chinese also have interesting cavalry units such as the Iron Flail, a heavy horseman, the Steppe Rider, a raiding unit, the weakest heavy cavalry yet nevertheless the most useful heavy cavalry of China, the Keshik, a cheap mounted archer, and Meteor Hammer, which specializes in wrecking artillery.
Civilization Bonus: Their explorer is a Shaolin Monk, which trains Disciples, who receives special upgrades in the Monastery and has special abilities.Villages replace houses, admit more habitants, train and fatten livestock, can garrison villagers inside for extra protection and provide special technologies to increase the population cap., but they are expensive and limited to build. The War Academy creates Banner Armies, which consists in a group of two types of military units (infantry, cavalry or artillery)
A unique ability of the Chinese is that it does not train units individually. Instead the civilization recruits Banner Armies, which train a preset combination of different units. It is useful for players that lack the time or skill to micromanage production, or those whose strategies suit the set combination of a banner army. The Banner armies allow specific sets of soldiers to be massed easily, however, it is not without drawbacks. For example, they cannot train any units without having enough for the banner army. Also, cheap units such as Arquebusiers are often mixed with expensive units such as artillery, negating the advantage of low costs.
The Chinese possesses a strong navy to complement its large land forces, although their ships are somewhat costly or wasteful. The following is a list of unique Chinese ships available for recruitment at the dock:
The War Junk - The equivalent of the caravel, it is good at exploring, can attack, and in peace time, it can fish. A weaker version of Caravel.
The Fire Junk - A floating pile of flaming timber; it is used to steer into enemy ships to make both of them explode like the Demolition Ship from Age of Empires II.
The Fuchuan - A cross between a Frigate, an Ironclad and a Galleon. It is able to recruit units like the Atakabune and the Galleon, but it is far more powerful (when sent to a Spanish player by way of the TEAM 1 Fuchuan card it becomes the highest hit point naval vessel (5125 hp) in the game, after a significant card investment by the Spanish player), being able to defeat a frigate in single combat. But unfortunately, it has very limited numbers, as the player can only train two, with the admiralty card adding one.
The Chinese have access to unique Migration cards which replace the Villager shipments. These cards spawn one Villager at every Village and Town Center. It also has cards to spawn a Goat and a Buffalo the same way.
Instead of the House, the Chinese build Villages, which are a combination of an Outpost, a House and a Livestock Pen. Villagers are even able to garrison in it, and with cards, it can even fire upon enemies. Villages provide 20 population slots, but this number can be upgraded to a maximum of 35.
The Chinese are a favorite among many players due to their impressive card deck. There is a card that ships an additional Shaolin master. Another card spawns a fully fattened goat and a villager at every village and town center. One card allows the irregular, the Asian militia, to be trained at all villages. The "Confucius' Gift" card allows technology to be researched very quickly. The Chinese can also send special banner armies from the home city such as Iron Cap Prince's army or Ever Victorious army, but at a slightly high price.
This special wonders have the "Transcendency" active ability, which heals simultaneously all the Chinese units in the map. Enables to the Shaolin Monk to heal units like a Priest. Ships villagers when completed.
The White Pagoda has the "Sacred Vault" passive ability, which increase the hitpoints and the damage of the Shaolin Monks and Disciples and the build limit of Disciples for the Shaolin Monk. Ships Disciples when completed.
Great Wall of China - Unlocked at a Level 10 Chinese Home City and can be sent in the Fortress Age. While not officially a wonder by the games definition, it is considered one in the real world. It changes the appearance of their walls (campaign only) and increases their hitpoints by 100%, but they are 500% slower to build.
("The state of my injuries is grave, it looks like reincarnation [Samsara] is not far from me.")
Wǒ yǐjīng fùyuán, kěyǐ jìxù jiàohuà rénmín.
("I have recovered, and can continue to enlighten the people.")
All the Chinese units speak Mandarin, but some of them have regional or ethnic influences. The Shaolin Monk, his disciples, Qiang pikemen, Rattan Shields, Flying Crow, Flamethrower, Chu Ko Nu, Arquebusier, and Iron Troop speak with the proper pronunciations of modern-day standardized Mandarin. The villagers speak with a "regional" Han Chinese accent which transposes some intonations (Mandarin being a 4-tonal language) but does not otherwise alter syllables. The Steppe Rider, Meteor Hammer, Iron Flail, Changdao Swordsmen, Keshik horse archer, Hand Mortar, speak with Mongol or Manchu accents. The Manchu mercenary horse archer speaks the Manchu language, which differs from the language spoken by Han Chinese.
"The Ming Dynasty, beginning in 1368 and continuing until 1644, was a period of great stability in China, but also of tightening authority under an autocratic leadership. Its founder was a simple peasant, Zhu Yuanzhanga, a man who spent his formative years in a Buddhist monastery only to abandon those views for a form of neo-Confucianism and a growing mistrust of foreign influence. In the waning years of the Mongol Yuan Dynasty, famine, unrest, and bitterness plagued China’s native Han populace, and tempers had reached a breaking point. In the eyes of the people, the once mighty Yuan Dynasty was little more than an illegitimate foreign empire lording over them from afar. Leading a peasant revolt against the Mongols, Zhu Yuanzhanga forced them out of Dadu, present day Beijing, and unified China under him.
Taking the title “Hongwu,” meaning “vast military,” the first emperor of the Ming established his capital in Nanjing and focused his attention on centralizing power, abolishing the office of prime minister and developing a warrior class that ranked higher than any class of civil servant. He also turned his attention to economic recovery and improving peasant life, lowering land taxes, stocking granaries to guard against famine, and maintaining the great rivers of China, the Yellow and the Yangtze. Predictably, his Confucian point of view led him to support the creation of local, agricultural based communities, diminishing the importance of trade with the outside world, and lowering the prestige of merchants as a class.
Although his policies benefited the people, encouraging a sharp jump in population due to agricultural reforms, the Hongwu Emperor was often ruled by his own paranoia and ignorance. He constantly feared rebellions and coups, or an invasion by the former Mongol rulers. These suspicions caused him to declare it a capital offense for any advisors to criticize his ideas. Not understanding inflation, he issued paper currency in such large amounts that by 1425 the money was worth 1/70 of its original value, causing a return to copper coins.
The second ruler of the Ming Dynasty, the Jianwen Emperor, held power for a short four-year reign (1398-1402) before being toppled by his uncle in a coup that ushered in the next great age of China. Zhu Di, the Yongle Emperor, ruled from 1404 to 1424, often called the “Second Founding” of the Ming. “Yongle” means “perpetually jubilant.” During this two-decade period, the capital of China was moved from Nanjing to Beijing, where the newly built Forbidden City became the nucleus of Chinese power and would remain so for the next 500 years. To preserve Chinese culture and literature, the Yongle Emperor commissioned the writing of the "Yongle Encylopedia", one of history’s greatest achievements.
Arguably, the most enduring and influential event of the Yongle period was the emperor’s sponsorship of the fabled treasure fleets, China’s only major attempts at seafaring exploration. Part truth and part legend, the seven treasure expeditions began in 1404 and ended in 1424, the year of the emperor’s death. Commanded by the eunuch admiral, Zheng He, the voyages helped to strengthen trade with China’s diplomatic partners in Southeast Asia, and opened new relationships with lands as far west as the coast of Mozambique and Madagascar; and, if some theories are to be believed, the fleets may have even discovered the New World years before Columbus even set sail in search of his route to the Orient."