A closer look at the different tribes

Assyrian - Babylonian - Choson - Egyptian - Greek - Hittite - Minoan - Persian - Phoenician - Shang - Sumerian - Yamato

Assyrian

Missing technologies (19):

InfantryArchersCavalrySiege WeaponsBoatsBuildingsUpgrades
Phalanx, Centurion Improved and Composite Bowman, Elephant and Heavy Horse Archer War Elephants - Heavy Transport, Catapult Trirereme and Juggernaught - Architecture, Bronze Shield, Nobility, Alchemy, Aristocracy, Chain Mail, Engineering, Iron Shield

An awesome tribe on land maps. An archer rush with this tribe is deadly at any time; the faster villagers will help you to reach the Tool Age sooner, and the increased fire rate makes up the missing upgrades. They will nail any heavy infantry or War Elephants before they can get close. If you want to play offensively, this tribe is a good choice.
At sea, you cannot get Siege Ships and Heavy Transports, so you should not choose this tribe without a strong ally.

Babylonian

Missing technologies (16):

InfantryArchersCavalrySiege WeaponsBoatsBuildingsUpgrades
Phalanx, CenturionElephant and Heavy Horse Archer Heavy Cavalry, Cataphract, War Elephant Ballista, Helepolis Heavy Transport, Trireme, Catapult Trireme, Juggernaught - Chain Mail, Iron Shield, Metallurgy

This is a very strong tribe on land maps and it has perfect defenses. The increased stone mining fits perfectly into that. Being probably the best tribe if you want to build a wonder or capture all artifacts, it has also Heavy Catapults for attacks and almost any upgrade that is available. The problem with building a wonder is that if you choose this tribe, the other ones are already prepared for fighting against this strategy ;)
I would stay away from this tribe at sea maps, it will have no chance there at the Iron Age.

Choson

Missing technologies (19):

InfantryArchersCavalrySiege WeaponsBoatsBuildingsUpgrades
Phalanx, CenturionChariot Archer, Composite Bowman, Elephant Archer, Heavy Horse Archer Chariot, War Elephant Catapult, Heavy Catapult Heavy Transport, Catapult Trireme, Juggernaught - Nobility, Alchemy, Aristocracy, Chain Mail, Engineering, Iron Shield

This tribe is often underestimated. These +80 HP Long Swordsmen and Legions are a force to be reckoned with, since their worst foe, Hoplites, will be easily converted by the cheap and fully upgradable Priests. Cheaper Priests will be a great plus from the Bronze Age on. They cost only 85 gold; this will help you to get the upgrades sooner.

Against faster units, you will have Cataphracts, and Choson towers are really scary. Their ballista towers can have a range of 12 when fully upgraded, having the same range as a Catapult Trireme! Because you can have all production bonuses, you will be able to get the expensive super unit upgrades when you have enough time.

At sea, this tribe does not have Catapult Triremes, so you should choose a different one. It is still a pretty good tribe for coastal maps.

Egyptian

Missing technologies (18):

InfantryArchersCavalrySiege WeaponsBoatsBuildingsUpgrades
Broad and Long Swordsman, Legion, Phalanx, CenturionHorse and Heavy Horse Archer Cavalry, Heavy Cavalry, Cataphract Ballista, Helepolis, Catapult, Heavy Catapult - - Bronze Shield, Coinage, Iron Shield, Siegecraft

Gold mining is good to pay for those great Priests!

Chariot HPs are up to 133 from 100, and Chariot archers are up to 93. These are not as great as regular Cavavalry that have 150HP and better attack (+1 but with +5 against Infantry). The Horse and Heavy Horse archers have better attacks but require Gold. The Chariots only food and wood... use that gold for Priests!

Priests have the greatest range of any weapon in the game ... 13. Add afterlife and that goes to 16 - awesome! Add Temple attributes to make them faster etc.!

The best way to attack Priest are Chariots and Chariot Archers. They are resistant to conversion and have double/triple attacks. This however plays into the Egyptian hands as their Chariot forces have 33% more HP!

Caesar910

This tribe lacks any good Siege Weapons, though; because they have all ships, this tribe is great at sea maps. The Priests can even convert Juggernaughts with their long range!

Greek

Missing technologies (15):

InfantryArchersCavalrySiege WeaponsBoatsBuildingsUpgrades
Broad and Long Swordsman, LegionChariot Archer, Improved and Composite Bowman, Elephant, Horse and Heavy Horse Archer Chariot, Cataphract, War Elephant - - - Jihad, Metallurgy, Monotheism

Massed Ships on Sea and Heavy Infantry on land are a tough combo. Use the Siege engines to make up for the lack of heavy archer units. The enemy priest must be attacked quickly in mass as Greeks lack the effective Chariot attacks. Without Elephants, Greek must use the close order Phalanx and strong Centurions to lay waste to faster, more mobile forces and large Elephant groups.

Siege Weapons can be used to effectively repel enemy forces...

Caesar910

The Greek are very good overall tribe; the only technologies they are lacking are Archers and Chariots. Otherwise, they have nearly everything. The increased War ship speed is hard to use effectively, though. Having all Siege engines and War ships makes this tribe the best deathmatch tribe.

Hittite

Missing technologies (19):

InfantryArchersCavalrySiege WeaponsBoatsBuildingsUpgrades
Long Swordsman, LegionImproved and Composite Bowman Heavy Cavalry, Cataphract Ballista, Helepolis Fishing Ship, Trireme, Heavy Transport, Catapult Trireme, Juggernaught - Mysticism, Polytheism, Afterlife, Fanaticism, Jihad, Monotheism

Hittite ships are awesome with their +4 range bonus. When fully upgraded, their War Galleys will have a range of 13 (!), more than any other ship or any tower. This will allow you to attack enemy troops from the coast. On a map with small islands, their ships can decide the game very early. The poor villagers cannot hide from your ships :)
You are forced to attack soon, though, because you will not have Triremes at the Iron Age and probably lose the game if you allow your opponents to get Triremes. However, against these ships, they will hardly ever get that far ;)

Choose this tribe on small maps with islands. Keep in mind that the land troops are nothing to be sneezed at either, and the increased Archery Range unit attack makes quite a difference early on (after attacking with the first Scout Ships, get a couple of Bowmen into a Transport soon). At the Bronze Age, go for Siege Weapons. A Hittite Heavy Catapult with 300 HP and a Priest behind it (who heals it) is nearly invincible.

Minoan

Missing technologies (16):

InfantryArchersCavalrySiege WeaponsBoatsBuildingsUpgrades
Legion Chariot Archer, Elephant Archer, Horse and Heavy Horse Archer Heavy Cavalry, Cataphract - - Fortification, Guard and Ballista Tower Astrology, Mysticism, Afterlife, Fanaticism, Jihad, Monotheism

The kings of efficiency. They get 25% more farm yield, the great Coinage bonus (which if you are not familiar with is MUCH more than a reduction in the tribute cost - it makes gold mining 25% more efficient. This means your peon will carry 13 gold home but take only 10 from the mine - this is the only resource upgrade that increases efficiency; the others only increase the amount a worker can carry.) ... as I was saying, they get the coinage and farm bonuses, and of course the WHOPPING 33% off ship cost.

Minoans are best in low resource maps. The farm and gold bonuses stretch out limited natural sources longer than with any other civilization, and of course they RULE the seas. Remember to use composite bowmen in great numbers - especially before the iron age if possible. My testing shows that in large numbers composite bowmen are one of the best units, in any age, and the minoan bonus helps considerably.

Vostok

Persian

Missing technologies (19):

InfantryArchersCavalrySiege WeaponsBoatsBuildingsUpgrades
Hoplite, Phalanx, Centurion Chariot Archer Chariot Ballista, Helepolis, Heavy Catapult - Academy, Ballista Tower Artisanship, Plow, Wheel, Aristocracy, Ballistics, Coinage, Craftsmanship, Irrigation, Siegecraft

Do not care for them. Simply put, the 33% reduction in farm production cannot keep up with the demand these elephant heavy fighters demand. I have simply worn out persian empires though attrition. The great elephant bonus cannot be utilized without a huge infrastructure for food production. But their hunting skills are great... who cares?
Vostok

They also lack any better production upgrade: the do not even have the wheel, not to mention Artisanship and Coinage. However, they have strong bonuses at the Iron Age, so you might try them at sea maps.

Phoenician

Missing technologies (12):

InfantryArchersCavalrySiege WeaponsBoatsBuildingsUpgrades
-Horse and Heavy Horse Archer Heavy Cavalry, Cataphract Ballista, Helepolis, Catapult, Heavy Catapult - - Architecture, Chain Mail, Metallurgy, Siegecraft

With both chariots/Calvary/elephants and Swordsmen/ Phalanx/Legion/centurion the Phoenicians are a good bet for land/sea and combined arms forces. Lacking Heavy siege weapons use the low elephant cost to trample adjacent units/walls for 45 attack points.

Ship fire rate is a plus against other tribes like Persian Yamato and Greek/Minoan. Fire rate seems better agains the AI as with movement Speed (Greek) you must micro manage to use the advantange of this ability wisely.

Caesar910

This tribe has far less gaps in the technology tree than any other one. However, you cannot afford to get both the Basic and Heavy Infantry upgrades of the Iron Age, and the lack of Catapults weighs heavily. Sea domination is the key when playing with this tribe, for you have the strongest ships and no Catapults that could help you to kill enemy ships after a lost sea battle.

Shang

Missing technologies (17):

InfantryArchersCavalrySiege WeaponsBoatsBuildingsUpgrades
Long Swordsman, Legion, Phalanx, Centurion Elephant Archer War Elephant Heavy Catapult Heavy Transport, Trireme, Catapult Trireme, Juggernaught Ballista Tower Alchemy, Aristocracy, Ballistics, Coinage, Engineering, Siegecraft

These guys are great as ecenomic powerhouses. The only way to win is to pump out so many villagers (like 30) that you gather TONS of money to build wave after wave of attackers. The cheap labor and good walls makes winning though construction of a wonder much more attractive and viable. And they get ALL the priest upgrades, including monotheism (capture buildings). USE THEM! Priests can turn an army against its owner than capture the town the army defended. Lacking the elite troops of other races, I prefer lots of composite bowmen and liberal wall placements. Remember that Shang means coolie, shanghi, chinese army-rush, ect...
Vostok

This tribe rocks until the Bronze Age - it gets there faster due to cheaper villagers and has all available upgrades. If you cannot win the game before the late Iron Age, though, you will probably lose it because the Shang have no good Iron Age units except Heavy Horse Archers and Helepolis. On land maps, the enemy should never get that far because your production will be much higher with the "3 for 2" villager cost. The food bonus is a huge advantage from the beginning on, making this tribe awesome on land maps.

Sumerian

Missing technologies (22):

InfantryArchersCavalrySiege WeaponsBoatsBuildingsUpgrades
Legion Improved and Composite Bowman, Elephant Archer Cavalry and Heavy Cavalry, Cataphract Ballista, Helepolis Merchant Ship, Heavy Transport, Catapult Trireme, Juggernaught - Astrology, Afterlife, Coinage, Craftsmanship, Fanaticism, Iron Shield, Jihad, Metallurgy, Monotheism

One of the best all round empires I have found. They get elephants AND most importantly and ENORMOUS 100% increase in farm production. Elephants are really only viable in large numbers with the sumerians. They can upgrade to Triremes for continued naval combat and have upgrades for the hoplite as well. Combined with fortifications, ballista towers and the +15 hp villager bonus, they are tough cookies. The best use of Sumerians is either in an all-land map, where you can put great numbers of elephants on the field, or on a map of unknown geography (usually a custom map).
Vostok

This is also the best deathmatch tribe for land maps. Their Heavy Catapults are really scary with their faster fire rate.

Yamato

Missing technologies (19):

InfantryArchersCavalrySiege WeaponsBoatsBuildingsUpgrades
Broad Swordsman, Long Swordsman, Legion Chariot Archer, Elephant Archer Chariot, War Elephant Ballista, Helepolis, Catapult, Heavy Catapult - Fortification, Guard Tower, Ballista Tower Astrology, Mysticism, Fanaticism, Jihad, Monotheism

This tribe is perfect for hit and run strikes at sea. With the faster villagers, you will get sooner to the Bronze Age, and then you can pump out Cavalry units and attack. The increased ship HP make a huge difference if there are several ships involved in a naval battle, and the speed bonus of the villagers helps you to get enough wood.

The weaknesses are Priests and Siege Weapons, so you should not choose this tribe for inland maps. The other attributes make it a very strong combination for sea maps, both for beginners and advanced players.

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