The basic strategy of the Indians focuses on the economy, and in a powerful cavalry and gunpowder units.
Indians are one of the best civilizations in the late game, and excel at booming due to their cheaper villagers. Their first unique technology, Sultans, boosts gold income by 10%, which is especially useful when in possession of Relics and/or trading with allies. In maps with water and lots of nearby shore fish, Indians can boost their economy with their shorefishing bonus instead of making fishing ships in early game, as their civilization bonus allows their fishermen to fish +15% faster and carry +15 more food. They also have almost every economic upgrade, lacking only Crop Rotation.
The Indians possess the strongest camels in the game as their civilization bonuses provide extra armor and extra damage against buildings. In addition, they are the only civilization able to research the Imperial Camel upgrade, which can fulfil the role of the Paladin, making Indian camels useful for raids or frontal battles, instead of just for countering cavalry. The Indians can also field an army of archers in support, since they only lack Ring Archer Armor. Their unique unit, the Elephant Archer, is a powerful and durable ranged unit, which is good against other archers. Their second unique technology is Shatagni, which improves the range of Hand Cannoneer, allowing them to shoot first and ask questions never.
The Indians lack Knights, but they compensate with their powerful camels. They also have weak siege weapons as they do not have the Siege Onager, Siege Ram, or Heavy Scorpion, relying mainly on the Trebuchet and Bombard Cannon.
Much like the Persians, the Indians also lack Heresy, meaning their more expensive units, the Elephant Archers and Imperial Camels, are very vulnerable to conversion.
Indians should always focus on getting to the Imperial Age and booming as fast as possible. Almost all of their strengths are Post-Imperial Age bonuses. As such, they fare poorly in 1v1s or free for all games, where they will often die before they can really get going unless they defend themselves by walling their town and trying to perform a fast castle.
An Indian player must stay continuing creating Villagers into the Imperial Age. On 200 population games, about 100 should be sufficient, unless the player starts trading, in which case only 80 or so. On anything above 200, an optimal number of villagers is about around 150 Villagers on resource abundant maps. With cheaper Villagers, it lessens the spent on the food supply. Lacking Crop Rotation, Indians fare best on maps with high wood content.
Indian armies should primarily consist of Imperial Camels and Hand Cannoneers, which are an incredibly effective combination with all applicable technologies researched. Imperial Camels practically eat through Cavalry, while Hand Cannoneers can easily deal with infantry that would otherwise trouble Camels in large quantities. Elephant Archers can be occasionally mixed in to help soak up arrow fire and deal with enemy Archers. Is not advisable to go overboard on Elephants though, as they have relatively low damage output and are too costly and large to mass effectively (in addition, the Elephant Archer as suspectible to being converted by enemy Monks), so the Elephants Archers role is for support the troops and must be treated as a movable tower that can be healed. Bombard Cannons should be the Siege Engine of choice, except in cases where Trebuchets are preferred.
When forced to go defensive, Imperial Camels are excellent for dealing with Paladins, which are one of the more common attacking units. Again, Hand Cannoneers easily deal with enemy infantry, so the player must use them.
On the water, Indians miss out on Shipwright and Fast Fire Ship, so the player must try to avoid mass Galleon wars.
Lategame, the Indians are a strong foe against civilizations that heavily depend on cavalry, such as the Persians , Huns, Mongols, Berbers and Franks, thanks to their powerful anti-cavalry Imperial Camels. They can also hold off pretty well against archer civilizations like the Mayans or the Chinese due to the natural tankiness of Elephant Archers and their high pierce armor. On the other hand, civilizations with strong monks such as the Spanish and Aztecs can punish the Indians hard due to the Indians lacking Heresy and their dependence on expensive units such as the Imperial Camel, Elephant Archer, and Hand Cannoneer.
Strategy changes in The African KingdomsEdit
Their Villager cost bonus is now increased by 5% and they now receive Guilds making the Indian economy more solid and enabling for them to better perform their boom.
the Elephant Archer and it's Elite counterpart received a tweak in their stats for balancing purposes but still have their tactical place as a tanking unit and archer good against other archers due to their hitpoints and armor, also their cost is reduced to 100 food 80 gold, making them slightly easier to amass. Also they receive Ring Archer Armor so their archers are more valuable including the Hand Cannoneer.
Camels are no longer considered ships by the game and it also applies to the Imperial Camel making them a formidable raiding unit and a more practical replacement for the knight for the Indians as they will have less to worry about enemy towers and Castles.
As a booming civilization that is weak in early game they should take shelter in the pocket position (between two allies) and boom to their hearts content.
In team games, a standard Fast Castle often isn't the wisest idea, as it leaves the economy short of where it could be by staying in the Feudal Age a little bit longer. The players must get the resources and spare Villagers to quickly build the required structures to advance to the Imperial Age while waiting for the Castle Age, and enough spare resources before advancing to the Castle Age that the Imperial Age is affordable immediately after Castle Age research is complete and the required buildings built. It's important to not try to age up too fast, otherwise the player may find them self economically deficient. Indians are perfect as both Springs and Springboards in Springboard tactics as they have a solid economy and great castle and imperial age units and tech tree.
As a teammate, Indians provide allied camels with +6 attack bonus to buildings. this bonus is helpful for civilizations that have access to camels but more specially for civilizations that have specific Camel bonuses and unique upgrades for this kind of units as the Berbers, the Malians, the Saracens and the Byzantines. This team bonus makes no synergy with civilizations that don't have camels
Indians benefit greatly from Turkish team bonus that boost the production of gunpowder units, the Spanish team bonus that Furthers the gold production from trade units, the Aztec team bonus for the relics ( that in these two last cases adds more gold when researching Sultans) and bonuses that improve or are supportive to their Elephant archer such as the Teutonic team bonus making this unit less vulnerable to conversion and Byzantine team bonus that allows to monks to heal faster furthering the lifespan of a unit like the Elephant Archer even more. Also the Britons team bonus, the Hun team bonus and the Celt team bonus helps the Indians to spawn their Hand Cannoneers, Imperial Camels and Bombard Cannons respectively faster.
Southeast Asian civs also get on quite well with the Indians, for each of them deliver useful boosts: