The Spanish are primarily an offensive civilization featuring a strong Imperial Age army and navy. Most of their military bonuses can only be used in late games and are most powerful after reaching the Imperial Age. Despite their emphasis of gunpowder units like the Turks, the Spanish have access to a wide range of technologies and are able to field a varied army.
StrengthsEditThe Spanish can research all naval technologies, which makes them formidable on the water. Their greatest naval advantage is that their Cannon Galleons benefit from Ballistics. This allows them to fire much faster and more accurately. In addition to performing their regular duties more efficiently, this allows Spanish Cannon Galleons to effectively engage enemy warships, reducing their need to be escorted by Galleons or Fast Fire Ships.
The Spanish unique unit is the Conquistador, a mounted Hand Cannoneer. Like the regular Hand Cannoneer, they have a large attack, but are inaccurate. They have the advantage of being mounted which gives them an edge in speed, allowing them to use guerilla tactics. They are somewhat fragile so are best used as support units in formations with Knights or Paladins, whose higher hit points can absorb damage that would easily kill a Conquistador.
The Spanish Conquistador is arguably the most powerful unit in the Castle Age, but less dominant in the Imperial Age, as Kamayuks, Halberdiers, Samurai, Berserkers, Genoese Crossbowmen, Skirmishers, Camels, Mamelukes, and Huskarls do bonus damage to them. Janissaries, War Wagons, Longbowmen, Onagers and Eagle Warriors, among other units, also perform well against Conquistadors. However, Conquistadors can counter most of these if microed properly.
The Spanish also have the Missionary, which is a mounted monk with greater speed, but lower range and without the ability to pick up relics. Since Missionaries move much faster than normal monks and a Spanish army will be mostly composed of cavalry, this is a big advantage. The Spanish unique technology, Supremacy, gives Villagers a large increase in attack, hit points, and armor. This allows them to go in the front lines and build military buildings to reinforce and support a Spanish army without getting killed as easily. While their Villagers are capable of defending themselves against certain units, they should not be strictly used for combat.
Despite their large number of advantages in the Imperial Age, the Spanish have some drawbacks in the early stages of the game. They have poor foot archers, being the only civilization in the game unable to improve their Archers to the Crossbowman upgrade. This puts their infantry units at a disadvantage until heavy cavalry can be trained. Their siege weapons are average, missing the Siege Onager and Heavy Scorpion.
The Spanish can be used in several ways. They can be used for turtling and rushing strategies, but they are mainly considered a Boom civilization due to the fact that most of their bonuses are Castle and Imperial age bonuses. Normally a Spanish player should try to go for a Fast Castle, but alternatively they can try a Feudal Age rush by taking advantage of their bonus that allows villagers to build 30% faster and scout rush or a tower rush. The building bonus can also be used in order to wall off and turtle early in the game.
Typically, Spanish should go for a Fast Castle and boom their economy. Once in the Castle age, a Spanish player must create some Monasteries and one or two Castles. Conquistadors as a gunpowder unit are formidable against infantry and Missionaries excel in supporting mounted units so a combined force of heavy cavalry, Conquistadors and a few Missionaries must be the main offensive force. The player must not forget the Spanish Blacksmith bonus, which removes the gold cost from all Blacksmith technologies, allowing the player can research all of these technologies at a bargain price of only food.
The Imperial Age is when The Spanish really start to show their strengths. The Spanish are one of the few civilizations that have full gunpowder improvements, so at this point the formidable Hand Cannoneers and Bombard Cannons can be trained. Conquistadors must remain the main mounted unit along with the Paladin during the Imperial Age; the player must upgrade these as soon as possible.
Researching Supremacy in Imperial Age allows the Spanish to improve their town defense by boosting all the Villager attack and defensive stats, but also in many cases the player can abuse their villagers for frontline support and create forward Castles, towers and other military buildings just for their defensive stats and building speed. Spanish Villagers can help heavily in a siege by attacking buildings and enemy villagers since a Spanish Villager is almost as strong as a standard infantry unit.
On maps with water, Spanish must try to take naval superiority early on in order to make room for their formidable Cannon Galleons in later ages. Because Ballistics benefit Spanish Cannon Galleons, a siege from the sea can become devastating in the Imperial Age.
Long story short, as long as the player can survive until the Imperial Age, the Spanish arguably become a "master-of-all" civilization.
Strategy changes in The ForgottenEdit
Spanish Monks are greatly improved, as they already have many advantages that increase further because of their Castle Age unique tech, Inquisition, which makes the conversion rate of Monk and Missionaries more efficient. Missionaries are also now affected by Bloodlines, making them more resistant to attacks and enabling them to make a better frontline support.
Strategy Changes in The African KingdomsEdit
Missionaries no longer require a Castle to be created. The Inquisition technology cost is reduced from 400 food and 400 gold to 100 food and 300 gold, so in the African Kingdoms expansion, performing a "Missionary Rush" is technically possible.
When playing in team battles is preferred that the Spanish take the pocket position in order to boom. They also are excellent Springs when performing a Springboard tactic.
As an ally, the Spanish boost gold production from trade for the team, which make them an excellent ally for all civilizations, but the Italians, Saracens, and Indians in particular, since these three have distinctive bonuses for trading units and the market. This team bonus is considered to be one of the best team bonuses in the game.
Having a Turk ally for the Spanish boosts production for gunpowder units, including Conquistadors, so the team must defend well in order to reach the Imperial Age quickly, boom, and make use of their gunpowder units.
The Byzantine team bonus is also especially useful, as the Missionary is counted as a monk, enabling them to heal faster and better support the army. Being a civilization with complete improvements for heavy cavalry, the Frankish team bonus, Hun team bonus and Persian team bonus are also very useful.
Southeast Asian allies from Rise of the Rajas provide Battle Elephants as meatshields against missile fire, albeit weaker than their Persian and Indian counterparts. Apart from that, a Burmese ally reveals and shares exact locations of all relics at the beginning, allowing Spanish players to dispatch military troops or Missionaries early, then their own monks, to make nearby relics, and hence their future gold supply, theirs for the taking. Furthermore, Manipur Cavalry turns Burmese Battle Elephants, Arambai and other cavalry into superb town-demolishers that allow their Monks, Paladins, gunpowder contigents and missionaries from their Spanish allies to deliver effective follow-up assaults.
To avoid friendly fire during battles, a Khmer ally offer another choices: their Heavy Scorpions, Ballista Elephants, both with Double Crossbow upgrade, Siege Towers and Battle Elephants with Tusk Swords upgrade. In return Spanish players grant them extra trade income, while supporting them with Missionaries, superior monks, paladins and, last but not least, fast-firing gunpowder legions.
As a highly-adaptive team member, Spanish players also get on well with both Malay and Vietnamese allies: the former grant them far-sighted docks, making them nigh-invincible in water maps, plus cheap, Heresy-enhanced Battle Elephants and dirt-cheap infantry swarms with Forced Levy upgrade, while the latter provide exact locations of the enemy bases at the beginning which allows surgical counter-rushes against any opponent begins to rush their Spanish teammates, then gradually bring in hardy archer units, especially Rattan Archers, plus Battle Elephants with Chatras upgrade to screen their monks and Conquistadors, and, finally, gift Imperial Skirmishers for their feeble archer contigents, plus decent bankroll from Paper Money, in exchange of fruity trade income and combined-arms support from their unrivalled navy, Missionaries, paladins and fast firing gunpowder legions, as lucrative rewards.