The Portuguese are a booming naval civilization. They have - like the Japanese - a quite rare duo of strengths, because they excel offensively on both land and water, and also possess two great economic advantages that assume a critical role in late-game, where resources become scarce and gold is more and more important.
The biggest advantage the Portuguese have over any civilization is accuracy of gunpowder units. Thanks to Arquebus, ballistics will give gunpowder units incredible accuracy and speed. Bombard Towers will be able to hit targets faster while Hand Cannoneers and Bombard Cannons will be more precise against enemies moving towards them. The Organ Gun has a spray damage effect at range, so injuring infantry lines or rows of archers will be more effective.
The second strength of the Portuguese is their navy. Excluding their increased accuracy Cannon Galleons, they have ships that are more durable overall. The Caravel brings the raw damaging advantage of Scorpions on land to the water so now there is an efficient way to handle mass Galleons. When depletable resources such as forests, Stone Mines, and Gold Mines are scarce, the Feitoria will compensate for the lack of resources by auto producing them. They have a good infantry and cavalry arsenal to protect their gunpowder units.
The Portuguese are pretty strong at the Archery Range: they only miss out on the Heavy Cavalry Archer and Partheian Tactics upgrades. They are formidable since they get all the blacksmith technologies available plus Thumb Ring. For the Barracks they get Halberdiers and Champions with all the Blacksmith technologies available, they do, however, lack Squires. It's worth pointing out as well a complete university which is really helpful. Finally they have a pretty good economy only with the lack of Gold Shaft Mining.
The Portuguese navy lack the Fast Fire Ship and Shipwright upgrades, and the Caravels/Elite Caravals have less bonus attack against ships compared to their Galley-line counterparts, making them vulnerable against enemy Fire Ships/Fast Fire Ships even when massed. The Portuguese will likely need to boom in order to pay for the gunpowder units even though the gold discount helps. A civilization such as the Berbers and Britons who can handle them at range will need to be countered with a good amount of Cavalry, Skirmishers, and/or Infantry.
Early game they are comparatively very weak, since its reduction cost bonus at Feudal and Dark Age has very little effect, as the only units that costs gold at that ages are Archers and Militia-line infantry.
At the Stables, they lack Hussars, Paladins and Camels. At the Siege Workshop they lack Heavy Scorpions, Siege Onagers and Siege Rams, but their formidable bombard cannons and organ guns make up for this.
Portuguese as a booming civilization specialized in Gunpowder shares several tactical similarities with other civilizations like the Spanish or the Turks. They will be very weak early on the game while in the late game they could become a fearsome thus unstoppable force. Having this in mind when playing in free for all games or in 1 vs 1 games, the Portuguese player should avoid at all costs early enemy raiding parties on their town and focus on their economy and aging up so performing a fast castle is mostly their only hope at that point of the game. Their gold discount on units will help them to some extent to train several Militias in the dark age for defend themselves or Archers in Feudal age for the same purpose but this discount at that point will have very low impact in the gold savings.
Once they reach Castle Age is when the Portuguese starts to really thrive, as their discount bonus will apply to critical important units like the monks, Knights, Crossbowmen, Cavalry archers and siege units, enabling to them to perform tactics such as a Monk Rush, Knight Rush or cavalry Archer Rush. They will also get access to their unique unit the Organ Gun that it is actually the third land gunpowder unit available during Castle Age ( the other two being the Turkish Jannisary and the Spanish Conquistador). The Organ Gun is a Siege unit that has a large attack bonus against infantry, it acts like it were a small group of Hand Canoneers firing several bullets to its targets at once.
In water maps Portuguese are one of a kind since their ships have more hit points than normal and they also have their gold discount making them a powerful naval civilization since early game. Unlike the Vikings who are an excellent naval civilization in early game but in later game they become average or civilizations like Turks or Spanish that have a weak early navy but a powerful one in later game, Portuguese can maintain their place on the water as they have almost full dock technologies (only missing Fast Fire Ship and Shipwright). Their first unique technology Carrack furthers the lifespan of the navy giving to all Portuguese ships more armor, making the Portuguese navy the most resilient navy of the game, their second unique technology is also valuable for water maps as it will apply to their cannon galleon making their cannon galleon even better than the Spanish one as they will have the same accuracy but with more hit points and armor. They also have the Caravel as a naval unique unit, this unit has a kind of splash damage that effects nearby enemy ships so they are excellent against groups of ships, this unit is also an excellent escort to transport ships and make a good duo with regular Galleons. Also in maps like islands or archipelago in which the wood run the risk to be depleted, Feitorias will provide the Wood and Gold required for their ships in the late game.
At late game the Portuguese should focus on creating gunpowder units as required. Unlike Turks or Spanish which have to obtain their gold from relics, trade, or mining, a Portuguese player have not to bother about scarcity of gold, stone or even wood and food in the long term as their Feitorias can produce those resources slowly but constantly, enabling to them to continuing producing gunpowder units even when the game enters to the "Trash Wars". Normally gunpowder units have a lot of problems with moving targets due to their inaccuracy at long range, with Portuguese that isn't the case as their unique technology Arquebus enables Ballistics technology to have an effect in those units including Bombard Towers.
As a Booming civilization and a weak one in early game, Portuguese should play in the pocket position as their allies can defend them until they reach Castle, and Imperial Age. Also they are excellent Springs in Springboard tactics.
Portuguese team bonus gives cartography for free since the beginning of the game without the needing of a Market. This bonus is kind of a situational one and basically helps to the team to coordinate scouting, find faster the resources and the enemy team. This bonus synergize with the Burmese team bonus as players will know the exact locations of the relics so they can focus on finding the opponents and particular features of the map. Having a Vietnamese ally also makes a great synergy since the Vietnamese starts the game knowing the locations of the opponent Town Centers, and allied with Portuguese this will makes all the team having this information since the start of the game. The Mongol team bonus also makes great synergy, as all Scout Cavalry on the team will have more line of sight, so they can explore the map faster.
Portuguese makes good synergy with civilizations like the Turks as they will give to their gunpowder units including the Organ Gun creation speed. Having a team which include Portuguese Turks and Berbers will farther even more the creation speed of the organ Gun thanks to the Kasbah technology. Having a team which includes Britons and Turks will further the creation speed of the Hand Canoneer that is also valuable for the Portuguese, also having a team Including Celts and Turks will further the creation speed of the Bombard Cannons.
Considering the Feitoria bonus, Portuguese also makes good synergy with Aztecs as this team will have very little to worry about gold in the late game thanks to the Aztec Relic gold bonus, also as Aztecs are a good early game Civilization but lose this status later in the game and Portuguese are exactly the opposite both can protect the other in different moments of the game. Spanish is also a good Portuguese ally thanks to the trading bonus. The access to the Feitoria also makes the Portuguese a highly valuable ally in the late game as they can provide the team through tribute with rare or scarce resources when those are depleted.
In Water Maps Vikings and Koreans are probably their best allies and having these three civilizations on the same team will make the most varied naval army on the game, Japanese and Malay are also good allies since they will give extra line-of-sight to the already powerful Portuguese Galleys and their Docks respectively.
Market Trade Assistance Edit
The Feitoria will generate resources automatically without affecting market cost so if an allied player would like to purchase a resource from the market, the Portuguese can artificially lower the price of the resource by selling it at the market and lowering the price as market cost is the same for all players and any trading at the market affects all players. This is particularly useful for stone purchasing as usually the price of stone is very high from the beginning of the Feudal Age. However, this technique can backfire, as it will also make the market cheaper for your opponent, allowing them to purchase resources at cheaper prices too.