The Goths are an offensive civilization with the ability to rapidly produce infantry at reduced price in the late game. They have somewhat respectable archers, cavalry, siege and navy as well, despite their absolutely terrible defense.
They are great at rushing since their infantry are cheaper and created faster than those of other civilizations. In addition, their Pikemen or Halberdiers are also cheap and very useful against enemy mounted units, Huskarls are useful against enemy archers, and both Huskarls and Champions are good for destroying buildings due to the attack bonus. Also, they get additional population space in the Imperial Age.
Their unique unit, the Huskarl, is an infantry unit that is almost immune to archer fire. They are powerful units and usually form the core of a Gothic army. The Goths already have a 20% bonus in Barracks production speed and they get another 100% boost with Perfusion (although in The Conquerors it states it's 50%, it's actually 100%), one of their unique technologies. Their other unique technology, Anarchy, allows Barracks to create Huskarls. This allows the Goths to rapidly produce an army of infantry and can swamp an opponent with sheer numbers. The fact that they are able to produce an army much faster than others also means opponents are often unprepared to fight off a massive attack. If an attack fails they can rebound very quickly (especially with the help of Conscription and Perfusion) and have a massive army again before the opponent can recover, assuming they have enough resources. Because of their ability to rapidly train a large amount of soldiers the Goths are quite powerful on Deathmatches, where the large amount of resources gives them a distinct offensive edge. Finally, the Goths also have decent units and upgrades of other categories as well, such as Hand Cannoneers, cavalry with Bloodlines, Bombard Cannons (though without Siege Engineers), and Shipwright, meaning they have a well-rounded offensive capability.
The Goths have some large drawbacks. They have the weakest defense of any civilization in the game as they cannot build stone walls and upgrade their towers. They can only rely on Palisade Walls and basic towers for defense. As such Gothic players must constantly be on the attack since they won't last long if put on the defensive. While the Goths have strong anti-archer capabilities their own archers are somewhat lacking. They cannot research Thumb Ring or Parthian Tactics and lack the Arbalest upgrade. However, the Goths are given Hand Cannoneers as an anti-infantry ranged support should the enemy tries to counter their Huskarls with Champions. Their siege line is also lackluster, lacking the Siege Onager and Siege Ram upgrades in addition to lacking Siege Engineers. However, the Goths do have Bombard Cannons as a compensation to clear out enemy siege weapons and buildings. Additionally, Goths have severe issues with fighting units with anti-infantry bonuses and very strong melee armor. Cataphracts, Jaguar Warriors, Teutonic Knights, Samurai, and Boyars are devastating to the Goth's infantry armies (though by mixing cheap Halberdiers and Champions with Hand Cannoneers, they can hold their own).
Goths have only one effective strategy, but it is among the most feared and dangerous in the game. Their Dark Age is fairly normal; so the player must age up on 22 population (21 Villagers) for a Feudal Rush (flush). The flush itself is a relatively standard infantry flush, although they can field far more troops for a comparable price, and they have an attack bonus against Buildings. The idea is to keep the foe off balance so they can't build up, since Goths are severely lacking in any form of conventional defense.
Upon reaching the Castle Age, Goths must upgrade their Men-at-Arms to Long Swordsmen, get any relevant Blacksmith technologies, and start mixing in Huskarls. Upon reaching ten to twenty Huskarls, a direct assault on a Town Center is possible, unless the foe has large reserves of melee troops. A good Goth player must use their Militia line for dealing with Infantry, the Spear line for dealing with Cavalry, and Huskarls for Archers and defensive structures.
Goths have a reasonably good Navy, only missing Dry Dock and Elite Cannon Galleons. However, they should generally keep their feet dry unless there is a good reason to take over the water, since their resources are far better spent on troops.
Goths lack Stone Walls and almost all fortifications; however,they can still defend with units and other buildings. A Goth player must use Barracks and Houses as walls, and in case of a rush, troops can be created at an incredibly rapid pace. The Goths though have access to Masonry and Architecture, providing at least some defense for them, especially for their Barracks. As long as they have the resources, simple infantry floods can be a surprisingly effective defense. It's often better trying to defeat a Goth player before they hit Imperial Age and are able to flood with infantry.
Most of the Goths' lategame power comes in Imperial Age, where they are able to spam a large number of infantry units thanks to their team bonus and Perfusion and completely overwhelm the enemy, making them an ideal civilization in King of the Hill land maps. The Goths' lategame Huskarls are easily counterable with fully upgraded Champions in terms of cost efficiency since Huskarls will lose 1v1 against a fully upgraded Champion, and the Goths lack Plate Mail Armor. However, if the Goth player uses Champions, even though they lose 1v1 against other Champions, their cheaper price and faster production rate will make them win in the long run and, in terms of gold efficiency, even against Japanese or Aztec Champions. Civilizations that have inherent infantry bonuses or having superior infantry quality such as the Japanese, Teutons, Slavs, and Aztecs will have no hard time dealing with the Goths' Huskarls in the late game. Byzantine Cataphracts are incredibly devastating against the Goths due to the anti-infantry nature of the unit. Conversely, the Goths are good at punishing archer and cavalry archer civilizations such as the Britons, Mongols, Chinese, and Italians due to the Huskarl's high pierce armor and anti-archer nature of the unit and can hold off reasonably well against cavalry civilizations such as the Huns, Berbers, Persians, Franks, and Mongols lategame due to their fast producing and cheap Halberdiers. Civilizations that lack the Champion upgrade (such as the Mayans, Ethiopians, Huns, Persians, Malay, and Khmer) or civilizations lacking key important infantry techs (such as Koreans, Malians and Vietnamese lacking Blast Furnace for their Champions and Indians and Magyars lacking Plate Mail Armor) will struggle hard against the Goths lategame.
Strategy changes in The Forgotten Edit
Strategy Changes in The African KingdomsEdit
Goths along with all other civilizations receives the new Arson technology that gives infantry units attack bonus vs Buildings, and this also furthers up the infantry's attack bonus against buildings making them even more effective.
In team games, the ideal mates for the Goths are the Aztecs, Slavs, Italians, Malay, or Burmese. However their team bonus is highly valuable for infantry based civilizations such as the Malians as it aids spamming infantry.