Like their Persian and Carthaginian counterparts, the Phoenicians are strictly an Iron Age civilization. Although their faster woodcutting bonus can allow them to compete with quicker civilizations such as the Yamato or Assyrians early in the game, they are best if played defensively until they reach the Iron Age.
Although their military bonuses does not apply until the Iron Age, they do have access to all Bronze Age units with their ability to train Chariots, Chariot Archers, Cavalry, Camel Riders, and Composite Bowmen. Once Iron Age is reached, the Phoenicians can train amixed army of Legions, Centurions, Elephant Archers, Scythe Chariots, Armored Elephants, and Priests. Since elephant units will likely form the backbone for the Phoenician army, they may not be as effective against civilizations that specialize in training Priests. However, like their Persian counterparts, the Phoenicians does have access to all technologies from the Temple which allows them to counterattack other Priests and regain control over their elephant based army. Defensively, they are slightly above average due to having Ballista Tower and Fortification.
Their biggest drawback is the lack of well developed siege weapons, with Stone Throwers being the only siege weapon available for them. The lack of Chain Mail armor can also hurt them defensively in the Iron Age, especially for their elephant units which makes them slightly less effective in melee combat. Although this makes the Phoenicians having one of the weakest elephants on the map in terms of equal numbers, when weighed with equal amounts of resources spent against other elephant civilizations, the Phoenicians will easily win in that scenario. This is the result of their ability to train cheaper elephant units which normally have high costs for other civilizations. This makes the Phoenicians a very resourceful civilization in Deathmatches unlike most civilizations that specialize in this type of game setting which allows them to achieve economic supremacy in prolonged post Iron Age warfare on land. This also makes it easier to mass elephant units and outnumber other elephant based civilizations more effectively. If the computer controls this civilization in Iron Age with sufficient amount of surplus resources on land as in Deathmatches, their entire army will consist of Armored Elephants, Elephant Archers and Priests.
Although they excel on land, they are best used on water maps due to their faster firing rate for Catapult Triremes and Juggernauts. However, depending on the map topography and the length of the game, this bonus may not always be that useful considering the high cost of Juggernauts and their rather late post-Iron Age deployment. Even in the early Iron Age, the Phoenicians may be overpowered by the Yamato navy which have increased Hit Points for all of their ships, including Transports. However, the Phoenician ability to gather wood faster may be able to offset this obstacle since it can be used to hasten shipbuilding.
The increased woodworking bonus also makes the them more resourceful compared to other Iron Age civilizations on both land and water. With this ability, the Phoenicians may not need as many Villagers to gather wood for building Farms and can thus task more Villagers gathering food. When working together with a Minoan ally that can build ships using less wood, this woodcutting bonus can be used to mass produce a large navy to a great effect. An equivalent, but more economic method can be used with a Sumerian ally where the civilization bonuses for both civilizations generates a positive feedback loop that can greatly enhance the economy for both players. For example, the increased Sumerian farm production can benefit greatly from the faster Phoenician woodcutting which in turn magnifies the Phoenician ability to mass produce elephant units more effectively.
Strengths and WeaknessesEdit