The Indians are a versatile civilization with some of the strongest cavalry units in the game. They possess a unique economy with villagers costing wood instead of food. In addition herdable animals cannot be used for food, instead they are used to gather experience.
They need wood instead of food to train Villagers, which will have a very deep impact on an Indian economy. So in the beginning of the game Villagers should focus on gathering wood to build more Villagers and Houses, rather than distributing them to gather both wood and food. If used correctly the wood cost of the Villagers can have a very nice effect on the economy. The Villagers' cost can be changed from Wood to Food by "The Raj" shipment card, which alleviates the weakness of wood being a limited resource. The Indian Home City lack any villagers cards but they nullify this by getting a free villager with each shipment arrives. They also get XP with herdables and the herdables provide more XP when task on a Sacred Field. They also have some of the best Wonders in the game.
The Indians have one of the most well-balanced armies in the game with units for almost every role but the biggest advantage of the Indian armies are the Elephants.
There are four types of elephants available to Indian excluding their monks. They are the Flail Elephant, Howdah, Mahout Lancer and Siege Elephant. All of them have huge amounts of hit points and can tear down any buildings in their way. The Mahout Lancer and Howdah are the most powerful melee cavalry and most powerful ranged cavalry in the game respectively and can tear down any unit in their way.
Unlike in Age of Empires II, the elephants are not slow; they are faster than infantry, with some exceptions, and the same speed as some other heavy cavalry. An army made of fully upgraded elephants can almost be invincible. The only problems of the elephants are their high cost, population slots and their weakness to most counter-cavalry units.
The other Indian units are good at doing their jobs. They have some of the fastest cavalry units in the game. The Sowar and Zamburak, the Indian Hussar and Dragoon respectively, are both equally exceptionally quick-footed, but a little bit fragile. The Indians also have Mansabdar units that can be trained at the wonder Charminar Gate but only one Mansabdar unit of each kind can be trained at a time. Mansabdar units exude an aura which boosts regular units of the same type (Mansabdar Mahout boosts Mahout Lancer, etc.), increasing hitpoints and damage by 10%. The Indian army should consist of a line of Mahout Lancers and Rajputs in the front, Sepoys and Gurkhas with Howdahs in the middle, and some Siege and Flail elephants to destroy buildings with optionally some Mansabdars to increase the amount of hit points and attack of units.