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This article is about the civilizations in Age of Empires II. For the civilizations in the other games of the series, see Civilization.

The playable factions in Age of Empires II are based on prominent civilizations or nations that were at the peak of their might between the times of the fall of Rome and the early age of discovery (XVI century).

Each civilization in the game has one or two focused military strengths, meaning units or buildings that fall into those categories are usually given most-to-all of the available upgrades in addition to favorable stat boosts by the game and will likely be part of effective battle strategies during matches. While it is possible to put the focus elsewhere other than their advantageous trait (e.g., a Persian player relying primarily on standard Barracks troops rather than cavalry), it is usually not advisable to do so, because most of the civilization bonuses will not apply to those additional fields. It can still be effective and create a moment of surprise if non-typical units are created.

Listed below are all civilizations and their specialties in Age of Empires II and all its expansions.

The Age of Kings Edit

Britons Edit

Wonderbritons

The British Wonder

The Britons are a Western European civilization in Age of Empires II. They represent the English and the Anglo-Normans during the High Middle Ages and Late Middle Ages. They focus on foot archers. The Britons' unique unit is the Longbowman, from their historical use of the English Longbow in their campaigns. Longbowmen are archers with higher range than every other archer in the game, even outranging Castles and towers in later stages of the game. Their Castle Age unique technology Yeomen refers to the fact that the Britons heavily relied on archery, thus giving their foot archers even more range, as well as increasing their tower damage. The Britons were known for their small villages scattered across England, as well as their tactics of encroaching on enemies with strongholds, and thus get cheaper Town Centers. Known as skilled shepherds and heavily involved in the wool trade, British shepherds work faster. For a time in England, all sports but archery were banned on Sundays, thus the Britons also have faster Archery Ranges.

Byzantines Edit

Wonderbyzantines

The Byzantine Wonder

The Byzantines (or Eastern Roman Empire) are Middle Eastern civilization in Age of Empires II. They are situated in the Balkan peninsula and Asia Minor, along the eastern seaboard of the Mediterranean in the modern countries such as Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, and Romania. In the Attila the Hun campaign, they represent the Western Roman Empire. Only classified as a defensive civilization in-game, they are in practice a very versatile civilization, relying on a wide variety of units of all categories for both offense and defense.

As the medieval stage of the Roman Empire they retain characteristics of their Rise of Rome Roman (Roman and Palmyran) counterparts and Persian neighbors, such as their unique unit, the Cataphract, a type of heavy cavalry that happened to also be present in the original game. Their Imperial Age unique technology is Logistica, referring to the Byzantines' strong military tactics which grants their Cataphracts trample damage to attack multiple enemies at once. The Byzantines had a head start over their European neighbors and arguably reached their zenith while the rest of Europe were in the Dark Age. As a result, they pay less to advance to the Imperial Age.

Constantinople operated as the center of a trading network that extended across nearly all of Eurasia and North Africa, in particular as the primary western terminus of the famous Silk Road. So the Byzantine Empire's economy was among the most advanced in Europe and the Mediterranean for many centuries. Europe, in particular, could not match Byzantines' economic strength until late in the Middle Ages. That is reflected upon in the game with the Byzantines having access to all economic (Lumber Camp, Mill, and Mining Camp) upgrades.

The Byzantines were best known for having deflected many invasions implemented by barbarians, Slavs and Arabs, and the famed doubled walls that surrounded their capital of Constantinople almost stood for over a millennium until overran by Ottoman Turks. To reflect this achievement, the Byzantines attain a theme of a defensive civilization and have tougher buildings as the Age progresses. Due to carrying on many of the traditions of Rome such as their naval prowess and being the inventors of Greek fire, an ancient napalm rumored to be able to ignite even on water, their Fire Ship attack faster and their Castle Age unique technology is Greek Fire, granting Fire Ships +1 range. As a defensive civilization, they also get cheaper counter units and Town Watch for free. Being the bastion of Greek Orthodoxy, their Monks heal faster to keep with their defensive theme.

Celts Edit

Wondercelts

The Celtic Wonder

The Celts are a Western European civilization in Age of Empires II. They focus on infantry and siege weapons.

Historically, they were a Central European civilization who dominated much of Europe, such as Southern Germany, Spain, France, and the British Isles. The Celts in the game are based on the Celts of Scotland, Ireland, and Wales in Western Europe, but they only speak Irish Gaelic. Their unique unit is the Woad Raider, a type of infantry who covers himself in paint made from the woad plant to make himself look more fearsome. Woad Raiders move very fast, allowing them to overcome the normal infantry weaknesses against archers and siege weapons. Their [[Imperial Age (Age of Empires II)]Imperial Age]] unique technology is Furor Celtica, which refers to the Celtic warrior tradition of channeling their emotions and anger and makes their siege weapons harder to kill. Being masters of guerilla warfare, Celtic infantry move faster. Because of their historical wood and metalworking, their Siege Workshops build faster, their Lumberjacks work faster, and their siege weapons fire faster. Like their neighbors the Britons, the Celts were historically skilled shepherds, and it is much easier for them to steal their enemies' Sheep.

Their descendants are the Scottish, Welsh, and Irish nations. These three nations, alongside the English nation (descendants of the Britons), created a united kingdom: the British civilization that is featured in Age of Empires III.

Chinese Edit

Wonderchinese

The Chinese Wonder

The Chinese are an East Asian civilization in Age of Empires II. They are based on the Tang and Song dynasties of medieval China, and they focus on archers.

The aforementioned dynasties were best known for their unprecedented technological innovations and highly populated cities accommodating millions of people by the 1200s. To reflect this achievement and for being one of the civilizations that suffered the least during the Dark Ages, they start with extra Villagers and their Town Centers support a higher population. Although they have fewer resources to compensate, allied Farms produce extra food (which reflects on the importance of rice agriculture in China). The unique unit of the Chinese is the Chu Ko Nu, a foot archer wielding the eponymous semi-automatic crossbow invented by the Chinese that would load a new bolt simultaneously as soon as the last one was fired. Chu Ko Nu fire multiple arrows at once and, if employed en masse, they can wreak havoc on infantry and even cavalry.

Due to game balance reasons, the Chinese lack access to many of the technologies they invented, such as the Hand Cannoneer, Bombard Cannon, and Block Printing (the earliest record of a written formula for gunpowder appears in the 11th century Song dynasty text, Wujing Zongyao, the Heilongjiang Hand Cannon is widely considered the earlier surviving firearm, and the Block Printing technology in Age of Empires II even tributes the Chinese by name). Their unique technology, Rocketry, reflects their advanced gunpowder technology and boosts their Chu Ko Nu and Scorpions (by adding +2 and +4 attack respectively) to offer some limited compensation. The Chinese have a long history of using Demolition Ships in naval battles, and as such their Demolition Ships have 50% more hit points which allows them to reach their targets easier. Finally, the Chinese research all technologies more cheaply than any other civilization due to being one of the most advanced civilizations during the time frame of Age of Empires II.

Franks Edit

Wonderfranks

The Frankish Wonder

The Franks (now known as the French) are a Western European civilization in Age of Empires II. They focus on cavalry.

The Franks conquered and inhabited modern day France, which was previously known as Gaul. They are primarily an offensive civilization, although they possess a few defensive perks as well. Their unique unit is the Throwing Axeman, which deals melee damage at range. Throwing axes were more popular than bows in the densely forested parts of northern Europe where the Franks came from, and they even take their name from their throwing axe, the Francisca. Their Castle Age unique technology, Bearded Axe, reflect this by giving their Throwing Axemen more range. The Frankish King Charlemagne started the tradition of using armored cavalry who became known as knights, and Frankish Knights fight valiantly with more HP and greater Line of Sight. This tradition also spawned the concept of Chivalry (codes of knights), represented by the technology of the same name which boosts their Stables' working speed. Castles dot France, and the Franks get cheaper Castles to better emulate this. Finally, no Castle with a knight as its lord is complete without peasant labor, and thus, Frankish Farms upgrade for free and their Foragers work faster.

Goths Edit

Wondergoths

The Gothic Wonder

The Goths are a Central European civilization in Age of Empires II. They focus on infantry.

The Goths were a collection of Eastern Germanic tribes that constantly warred with the Roman Empire during its later years, known for bringing Rome to its knees and traveling all over Europe, bringing devastation with them. Following the fall of the Empire, the Goths divided into the Ostrogoths (East Goths) who settled in Italy, and the Visigoths (West Goths) who settled in the region that would later become Portugal and Spain. The leaders of the Goths and their Age of Empires II equivalents were the Huskarls, the Gothic unique unit.

As the Goths were known for their raiding prowess, the medium infantry Huskarls have high pierce armor and shrug off damage from fortifications. This also makes them very powerful against archers, and they also move quick enough to chase them down. The Goths were known as flexible nomads with mostly nonexistent formal government, so their first unique technology Anarchy allows their leaders, the Huskarls, to be trained at the Barracks like normal infantry, as early as the Castle Age.

Their second unique technology Perfusion allows them to train infantry extremely fast. As the Goths were known for being able to mass soldiers very quickly, they are able to spam more units already available to all civilizations, thanks to their infantry costing less as they advance to Feudal Age and their Barracks naturally working faster. As raiders, Gothic infantry get extra attack bonus against buildings. Being nomads gave them other distinct advantage: their Villagers can hunt bigger game effectively and carry more meat. Finally, the Goths get a higher population limit to reflect their ability to field armies quickly.

They are one of the ancestors of the Spanish and Portuguese civilizations. Hence, this is most likely why the Goths have access to gunpowder units such as Hand Cannoneers and Bombard Cannons since both the Portuguese and the Spanish used gunpowder in warfare to expand their empires (although this can also be for gameplay balance purposes since the Goths have a lackluster Siege and Archery unit line).

Japanese Edit

Wonderjapanese

The Japanese Wonder

The Japanese are an East Asian civilization in Age of Empires II. They focus on infantry.

The Japanese are an infantry-based civilization, with their infantry possessing the fastest attack speed in the game. They are the descendants of the Yamato civilization, which inhabited the same island. The Japanese civilization is based on Feudal Japan which was dominated by the powerful regional families (daimyō) and the military rule of warlords (shōgun) from 1185 to 1868. The Samurai were the elite warrior class in Japanese society and required dozens of years of training. The Samurai were armed with a Katana, an extra-sharp, thin bladed longsword, a Wakizashi, a shorter version of the Katana, and sometimes a Tantō. These soldiers served the lord and fought for them based on the strict Bushido honor code. To reflect their high rank and prestige of the Japanese warrior class and their association with the ninja, a covert agent, Japanese infantry attack faster.

Japan is an island nation sea-reliant for most of its history, and as a result, the Japanese have extensive knowledge in maritime economy and warfare. To represent this, their Fishing Ships have double hit points and work more efficiently when advancing through the Ages, and the Japanese team's Galley line have a longer Line of Sight. Japan also possesses a number of volcanoes which create fertile lands for cultivation and ores for mining. To reflect this, the Japanese build Mills, Lumber Camps, and Mining Camps at a cheaper cost.

Throughout its medieval history, Japan was in constant conflicts of clan lords who constructed a large number of fortifications; each had many arrowslits (or yasama) to repel attackers. This is represented by the technology, Yasama, which increases the number of arrows shot by towers. Also, during Sengoku Jidai (or the Warring States period), the Japanese came into contact with the Portuguese and the Dutch, with whom the Japanese traded goods for firearms and modern siege technology. This is reflected by Kataparuto ("catapult" written in katakana to represent the European origin) that allows Trebuchets to pack, unpack, and fire faster.

Mongols Edit

Wondermongols

The Mongol Wonder

The Mongols are an East Asian civilization in Age of Empires II. They focus on mounted archers.

The Mongols were a collection of nomadic tribes from the steppes of Central Asia and Siberia. They were fierce warriors who are known for establishing the largest contiguous overland empire in human history. At the beginning of the 13th century, the Mongol clans became united under Temujin who later became known as Genghis Khan following a campaign of foreign conquest of more developed and technologically advanced civilizations across East Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. At its height, their empire stretched from Korea across Asia and into European Russia to the Baltic Sea coast. They held most of Asia Minor, modern Iraq, modern Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tibet, parts of India, parts of Burma, all of China, and parts of Vietnam.

Although greatly outnumbered in many key battles, the Mongols utilized a variety of guerilla warfare tactics involving highly skilled cavalry archers whose long range and accuracy provided by the unprecedented Mongol recurve bow gave them a great advantage on the battlefield. Much of the army consisted of light cavalry which were extremely light troops compared to those of other armies. This allowed them to execute tactics and maneuvers that would otherwise have been impractical. Having this mobility made it possible to send them on successful scouting missions, gathering intelligence about routes and terrain suited to the preferred combat tactics of the Mongols. This is reflected by their civilization bonuses which benefit their cavalry archers and Light Cavalry, team bonus which increases the Line of Sight of Light Cavalry, and their unique technology.

Persians Edit

Wonderpersians

The Persian Wonder

The Persians are a Middle Eastern civilization in Age of Empires II. They focus on cavalry.

The Persians are based on the large number of Persian dynasties that existed throughout the Middle Ages. Although their design and description were largely inspired by the Sasanian Empire, they are supposed to represent all Persian factions that existed during the Middle Ages.

They were best known for their rivalry with the Roman Empire and gradual adoption of Islam following the Arab invasions. They would grow to become a major hub and center of the Islamic world, contributing much to Islamic art and culture. Like their predecessor in the original game, the Persians specialize in cavalry and navy.

Since BC, the region of Persia has been known as the place where various large empires like Parthia and Sassanid once stood. In addition, the region of Persia was also part of international trade routes between India, Far East, and the Middle East. This is reflected by two of their bonuses: They start the game with more food and wood, and their Town Centers possess higher HP and working speed. To ensure the safety of traveling ships in the Persian Gulf, the ruling empires stationed their military (including naval vessels) in the region. Therefore, Persian Docks also possess higher HP and work faster.

The Persians were known to employ powerful armored cavalry on the battlefield. This is reflected by their virtually complete Stable. The borders of the Sassanian Empire were often raided by various nomadic tribesmen; by Arabs to the south and by Central Asians to the north and east. Using neighboring vassal states (e.g. the Lakhmid Kingdom of Arab) as a buffer zone was one of the methods used by the Sassanian to stop these raids. To reflect this, the Persians have a team bonus which increases the attack of their Knights against archers.

During the Sassanian and Timurid era, war elephants were part of the Persian military force. This is reflected by their unique unit, the War Elephant. The riders of elephants were known as Mahouts, and this name is used as one of the Persians unique technologies, which increases the War Elephants' movement speed. The Sassanian Empire was also known to build complex fortification lines along their borders. Thus, their other unique technology, Boiling Oil, provides Castles with additional attack against rams.

Saracens Edit

Wondersaracens

The Saracen Wonder

The Saracens are a Middle Eastern civilization in Age of Empires II. They focus on cavalry and ships.

The term "Saracen" has a disputed etymology, and historically has meant different things; most relevant here is the medieval European exonym for Arabs. The first significant Saracen kingdoms were the Ghassanids and Lakhmids, which were proxy states of the Byzantine and Persian Empires, respectively. In the 7th century, starting with the rise of Islam and the campaigns of the Rashidun Caliphate, the Saracens became a dominant power in Western Asia and North Africa.

Under the Umayyad and Abbasid Caliphates, the Saracens expanded their territory immensely. In that time, they presided over the largest empire ever to exist - larger than Rome, and unmatched until the Mongol invasions. In Saladin's campaign, they represent medieval Egypt, specifically the Ayyubid Sultanate. Their in-game design thus seems like an amalgamation of various Arab groups from different time periods.

Situated in the crossroads of the world, they were most notable for initiating the rise of Islam and starting the Arab conquests. To reflect their achievement as a powerful desert civilization and for founding one of the major religions of the world, their unique technologies benefit their Monks and camel units. They also gave importance to their navy to protect their shores from Byzantine assault, which is reflected with their naval bonus which gives their Galleys a 20% faster attack and also gives them the best Transport Ships with more hit points and a bigger carry capacity.

The Saracens were also active traders being located at the crossroads of the world. As a result, their Markets are cheaper, and their commodity trading fee is only 5% as opposed to 30% (the standard fee for all other civilizations).

Teutons Edit

Wonderteutons

The Teutonic Wonder

The Teutons are a Central European civilization in Age of Empires II. They focus on infantry.

Historically, the Teutons were a Germanic tribe that participated in the Great Migration when the Huns pushed various tribes out of modern-day Germany and into contact with the declining Roman Empire. They eventually settled in modern-day Germany and some in modern-day Italy. In the game, they represent the Holy Roman Empire, Crusader states, and crusading orders such as the Knights Hospitaller and the Knights Templar. They rely on infantry, cavalry, siege units, and fortifications, which is typical for a medieval European army.

Turks Edit

Wonderturks

The Turkish Wonder

The Turks are a Middle Eastern civilization in Age of Empires II. They focus on gunpowder units.

The Turks originated from Central Asia and are based on the Seljuk Empire, the Sultanate of Rum (shown in the Manzikert scenario) and the Ottoman Empire. They were best known for winning many battles in the Crusades as well as successfully besieging Constantinople which ended European foothold of the Silk Road and contact with the Orient. The Turks were also highly involved in the sciences and mathematics especially in the area of alchemy that would later form the backbone of modern chemistry. Being an Islamic civilization, they were notable for transmitting this knowledge to the west. Therefore, Turks mine gold faster and get Chemistry for free.

They also used gunpowder quite effectively, becoming the first "gunpowder empire", having received it from their control of the Silk Road. Therefore, many of their unique traits benefit their gunpowder units which have greater range, are created faster, and cost less. Additionally, their unique unit is also a gunpowder unit.

Vikings Edit

Wondervikings

The Viking Wonder

The Vikings are a Central European civilization in Age of Empires II. They focus on infantry and navy.

The Vikings were best known for being advent sailors and for establishing settlements and colonies in the North Atlantic in Greenland and Newfoundland, hundreds of years before the arrivals of Southern and Western European explorers. They were also known for bringing fear among several European communities since they would raid small villages unexpectedly. As a result, their navy and infantry are among the finest in the game and have a unique unit in both branches.

Contrary to popular belief, spread through 19th and 20th centuries' popular culture, the Vikings did not actually wear spiked or horned helmets, but they refrained from trimming their head and facial hair to give the look of a big, scary, and hairy beast. This is reflected by their unique unit, the Berserk, and their unique technology that benefits them. Furthermore, their infantry, including the Berserk, has more health.

The Vikings also excelled at naval warfare and tactics, and mastered the art of various types of sailing. Therefore, their other unique unit is the Longboat which is a well-constructed slim boat that gracefully shoots through the water and fires volleys of arrows. To further emphasize their ability as fine shipbuilders, all Viking ships cost fewer resources, and their team bonus allows Docks to be built for less wood as well.

The Conquerors Edit

Aztecs Edit

Wonderaztecs

The Aztec Wonder