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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 were a Middle Eastern civilization featured in Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings as a camel and naval civilization, from the area of Arabian Peninsula (predominantly Saudi Arabia and Yemen) and Syria most notable for initiating the rise of Islam and starting the Islamic Caliphate. They occupy one of the largest territories during that time until the Mongol invasions. 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 including the Mameluke. They also have a small bonus when it comes to ships. Their unique unit is the [[Mameluke (Age of Empires II)|]], a type of light camel cavalry with a large attack bonus against cavalry but capable of taking down archers and light infantry as well. The Saracens were also active traders being located at the crossroads of the world which was a prime center for world trade. As a result, they have a bonus when it comes to trading, as their market trading cost is only 5% which is much smaller than other civilizations.

Teutons Edit

Wonderteutons

The Teutonic Wonder

The Teutons were a Central European civilization featured in Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings as an infantry civilization, known for their teamwork and strong infantry. They have many good bonuses such as Monks having longer healing range, towers being able to garrison twice as many units, Murder Holes being free, farms costing less, Town Centers being significantly stronger, and units being more resistant to conversion. Their unique unit is the Teutonic Knight, the strongest infantry unit in the game. The Elite Teutonic Knight can take down almost any unit that gets too close. Their downpoint is their extremely slow movement. They also have strong Paladins, but they are also slow compared to other civilizations as they lack Husbandry.

Turks Edit

Wonderturks

The Turkish Wonder

The Turks were a Middle Eastern civilization featured in Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings as a gunpowder civilization, originated from Central Asia based on the Ottoman Turks. The Turks 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 mine gold faster. They also used gunpowder quite effectively, becoming the first "gunpowder empire," having received it from their control of the Silk Road. To reflect their achievements, they have a free upgrade to use gunpowder units, and stronger yet lower costing gunpowder units. The gunpowder units are also created faster granted by the team bonus. Their unique unit is the Janissary, a type of gunpowder unit. The Janissary is strong against infantry and archers. The Turks also have some free cavalry upgrades and faster gold miners.

Vikings Edit

Wondervikings

The Viking Wonder

The Vikings were a North European civilization featured in Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings as an infantry and naval civilization, best known for being advent sailors and for establishing colonies in the North Atlantic in Greenland and Canada before the 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 are one of the few civilizations to have more than one unique unit. 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 would benefit them. The Berserker is an extra-strong, regenerating and fast infantry unit strong against other infantry and light cavalry, and to an extent against buildings. The Vikings also excel at naval warfare and tactics, and even mastered the art of various types of sailing. To reflect this achievement, their Dock-based unique unit is the Longboat, a type of swift war boat that shoots volleys of arrows at other boats. The Viking Longboat was a well-constructed slim boat that gracefully shot through the water.

The Conquerors Edit

Aztecs Edit

Wonderaztecs

The Aztec Wonder

The Aztecs are a Native American civilization introduced in Age of Empires II: The Conquerors. They focus on infantry and Monks. Their unique unit is the Jaguar Warrior, the highest rank of warrior in the Aztec army, wielding a wooden club studded with obsidian sharp shards. The Jaguar Warrior is thus a heavy infantry unit which is strong against other infantry units. Their Castle Age unique technology, Atlatl, represents a tool employed by hunters and Warriors that was used for throwing spears or javelins. Their Imperial Age unique technology, Garland Wars, references the "flower wars" which the Aztecs organized among their allies in order to provide more sacrifices. The Aztecs were also known as a hard working and innovative civilization, and their Villagers carry more resources. Being a highly military civilization, the Aztecs also have a general creation speed bonus across the board for all their military units. They were famous for their bloody and ardent faith, with their Relics generating extra gold and their Monks receiving extra HP per each Monastery technology researched, allowing their Monks to join other soldiers on the battlefield. The Aztecs did not have horses or gunpowder. Thus, they completely lack Stables (and with it the entire cavalry branch) and cannons. Also, they start random map games with an Eagle Scout as a scouting unit instead of a Scout Cavalry.

Huns Edit

Wonderhuns

The Hunnic Wonder

The Huns are an Eastern European civilization introduced in Age of Empires II: The Conquerors. They are based on the Hunnic Empire controlled by Attila the Hun. They focus on cavalry.

Historically, the Huns were a civilization with no discernible origin besides the steppes of Central Asia that was most active in Eastern Europe during the Middle Ages. They are one of the few civilizations that invaded Eastern Europe and displaced many other "barbarian" tribes which caused the Roman Empire to crumble. As a result, their unique unit is the Tarkan, a medium cavalryman armed with a torch that deals high damage to buildings. The most ferocious and courageous Hun warriors were the Tarkans, and they exemplify the Huns as horse riders who raid and pillage buildings. The Huns were known for their irreverence towards artifacts and works of art as well as architectural wonders were no exception. The destruction of Rome brought by the Goths, Vandals, Huns, and other barbarian tribes would later create the term vandalism to describe any senseless destruction, particularly the barbarian defacing of artwork. Their Imperial Age unique technology, Atheism, is a representation of that concept, forcing Wonder and Relic victories to take longer and reducing the cost of the Spies/Treason technology. Being nomads, the Huns have no need for Houses and are only restricted in building units by their resources. The Huns were among the many horse civilizations of Central Asia, and their primacy in battle was because of their horses so their Stables produce units faster. To emulate the fact that their principal fighting force were horse mounted archers, Huns also get cheaper Cavalry Archers. In spite of being nomads, the Huns were skilled in siege warfare, having laid siege to several cities in France, and thus have more accurate Trebuchets.

Koreans Edit

Wonderkoreans

The Korean Wonder

The Koreans are an East Asian civilization introduced in Age of Empires II: The Conquerors. They focus on towers and navy.

The Korean civilization is based on Korea during the Joseon Dynasty, which was a dynastic kingdom on the Korean Peninsula that lasted for five centuries. Like their predecessors, they are descendants of the Choson civilization, which inhabited the same peninsula. They are a defensive civilization using towers. Also, they utilize a variety of ranged units such as War Wagons, Onagers, and Turtle Ships at sea. One of their most recognized innovations was the Hwacha which fires a series of small bolt like rockets. This is represented by a Mangonel with higher range granted by their unique technology. Being able to successfully defend themselves despite the numerical disadvantages, they are a defensive civilization with a focus on ranged units. As a result of their innovation and knowledge of gunpowder (which originated in China, though the Koreans had to develop it separately since the Chinese kept their technologies a closely guarded secret) the Koreans are one of the few civilizations that have two unique units. The Castle-based unique unit is the War Wagon, a horse-drawn carriage that is essentially a heavily armored cavalry archer. The Dock-based unique unit is the Turtle Ship, an armored and spiked ship which is a heavily armored, short-range artillery ship that is effective against Fire Ships and Demolition Ships. The Koreans were also fine stone workers, especially in crafting sculptures and pottery whose highly prized ceramic coated celadon glaze was the finest in the world. To reflect their stone artisanship and defensive capabilities, their Villagers mine stone faster. Finally, to keep in touch with their defensive theme, their towers are automatically upgraded.

Mayans Edit

Wondermayans

The Mayan Wonder