Here is a guide to the Japanese civilisation.
First, lets examine the Japanese Tech-Tree and civilisation
Galleys + 50% LOS
Many people ignore and forget this team bonus, but as a team
player, the Japanese really benefit their team with a larger
LOS for their galleys. This bonus is arguably just as good, if
not, better than the Mongol scout bonus. On maps like Islands,
Migration or Team Islands, the Japanese team bonus is far more
useful than the Mongol comparison. In my opinion, this is one
of the most over looked bonuses and more players should
consider this bonus as effective as the Mongol scout bonus. As
everyone is aware of, the more LOS you have, the higher the
advantage you have against the opponent. With +50% LOS,
grushes will be easier because you will be able to scout for
the enemy's docks quicker and you can also see if the enemy is
trying to put up a tower or not so that you can prevent him
from doing so. The Japanese team bonus should not be forgotten
and should encourage more players to play as Japanese on water
maps, just like players use the Vikings.
Civilisation Bonuses, in order of significance:
*Mill, Lumber Camp, Mining Camp cost -50%
*Infantry attack 10% faster Feudal Age, 15% Castle Age, 25%
*Fishing Ships 2X Hit Points; +2P armour; work rate +5% Dark
Age, +10% Feudal Age, +15% Castle Age, +20% Imperial Age
I know what some of you are thinking, you are thinking what
does that last one mean, right? It doesnt mean
that fishing ships are produced x% faster in x Age as
many people thought it meant, it actually means the fishing
ships gather faster. So Japanese is a good choice if
you were going to boat boom.
Test: Gather rate of Japanese fishing Ships in each age
compared to all other civilisations
Dark Age: 30 seconds to gather 15 food.
Feudal Age: 28 seconds to gather 15 food.
Castle Age: 26 seconds to gather 15 food.
Imperial Age: 24 seconds to gather 15 food.
All other civilisations:
All ages: 32 seconds to gather 15 food.
This test shows that Japanese boat boom is much more quicker
to do than other civilisations. All other
civilisations will take 32 seconds to gather 15 food in dark
age, lets say that they had 10 fishing ships, it will
take 32 seconds + distance needed to travel to get 150 food;
but the Japanese fishing ships take 2 seconds
per ship less which might seem insignificant, but this bonus
is one of the most useful bonuses to boat boom.
Most people start to boat boom in feudal, with a +4 second
gathering rate for Japanese fishing ships, the
Japanese player will have a lot less trouble worrying about
their constant villager production from their town centre.
Moving onto their strengths and weaknesses;
Civilisation Strengths, in order of significance:
*Full Infantry upgrades
*Full Archer upgrades
*Full Navy (excluding heavy demo ships)
*Full Monastery upgrades (excluding Heresy)
Civilisation Weaknesses, in order of significance:
*Lack of final economy upgrades
*Lack of cavalry upgrades
Couple of positives for the Japanese:
1) Because of the cheaper buildings, they are one of the best
civilisations to rush with behind Chinese,
Mayans and Mongols. And with their fully upgradeable archers,
this means that the archers they used to
rush can be upgraded in the future.
2) They are most certainly the best civilisations to boat boom
with Persians second and maybe Vikings and
3) They have the best infantry. Their champions can beat all
other champions and they have the best
4) In imperial age, their fully upgradeable Trebuchets are the
best, while leaving Celts second.
5) One of the best civilisations for naval warfare due to
their fully upgradeable ships (except heavy demo
Unique Technology: Kataparuto
At the price of 750 wood and 400 gold, this technology is
certainly worth its price. The Trebuchets pack
and unpack at treble the speed of a normal trebuchet and fires
even faster. The Japanese Unique Technology
Kataparuto really makes Trebuchets rock. It improves their
pack/unpack time from 11 seconds to just under
3 seconds and gives them a Rate of Fire of 8! (instead of 10)
With this great Unique Technology, Japanese
Trebuchets fire 5 shots in the time all non Celt Trebuchets
fire 4 shots. Trebuchets are excellent weapons of
destruction as we all know, but Japanese Trebuchets are master
Unique Unit: Samurai
The Rate of Fire of Samurai has been improved to be about 5%
faster than other infantry. The baseline Rate
of Fire for Samurai is now 1.94 which with the Japanese bonus
measures at 1.63 for Castle Age Samurai
and a speedy 1.46 for Imperial Age Samurai or elite.
Considering that normal Samurai have a +10 AT
bonus Vs Unique Units and elite have +12, these look to be
rather fearsome in the right circumstances. And
their build time is only 16 seconds! While champions are 21.
The samurai upgrade to Elite is also cheaper
than the champion upgrades and is researched faster too at
only 1 minute while the Champion and the Two-
Handed Swordsmen upgrades take a slow 2:45 so you can launch a
fully upgraded attack 1:45 minutes
earlier with samurai than you would of with champions.
How the samurai stack up versus the other unique units:
All tests were done with 3 (7 for archers and 12 for
longbowmen) tiles in between the units and in post-
I repeated the test 5 times and displayed them like; 1/2/1/2/1
to show how many were left each time.
All tests were in 10s... e.g.: 10 samurais Vs 10 jaguar
Samurai Vs Jaguar Warrior = 3/7/3/4/7 samurai win
Samurai Vs Longbowmen = 8/7/7/7/7 samurai win
Samurai Vs Cataphract = 6/7/6/7/7 Cataphract win
Samurai Vs Woad Raider = 9/9/9/8/9 samurai win
Samurai Vs Cho Ko Nu = 6/6/6/6/6 samurai win
Samurai Vs Throwing Axemen = 7/9/7/7/8 samurai win
Samurai Vs Huskarl = 9/9/9/9/8 samurai win
Samurai Vs Tarkan = 7/6/5/7/5 samurai win
Samurai Vs Samurai = 4 loss/ 3 loss/ 2 win/ 1 win/ 2 loss
Samurai Vs War Wagon = 1/2/1/3/2 samurai win
Samurai Vs Plumed Archer = 7/8/7/6/7 samurai win
Samurai Vs Mangudai = 3/2/3 Mangudai win/ 4/4 samurai win
(What happened here?! Very interesting)
Samurai Vs War Elephant = 10/10/10/10/10 war elephant win
Samurai Vs Mameluke = 5/5/5/5/5 Mameluke win
Samurai Vs Conquistador = 6/7/6/6/6 samurai win
Samurai Vs Teutonic knight = 3/5/6/5/4 samurai win
Samurai Vs Jannisary = 4/5/4/6/4 samurai win
Samurai Vs Berserk = 9/8/9/9/9 samurai win
The only Unique Units the can beat the samurai 10 on 10 were:
Cataphracts, Samurai(even), War Elephant
And surprisingly, sometimes the Mangudai!
*And for anyone wondering, yes I did use the appropriate
civilisations for the
appropriate Unique Unit e.g.:
Turks + Jannisarys not Turks + Conquistador
The Japanese Infantry Line is arguably one of the best
Infantry in Age of Empires. They have all the
technologies for infantry and in imperial, their main army
will contain infantry.
Japanese players can choose archers too. The only archer they
dont have full upgrades for is the Cavalry
Archer. The Japanese cant research Bloodlines so their
Cavalry Archer is not top. But they have hand
cannoneers, thumb ring and all armour and attack upgrades so
the Japanese archers is another path to
choose as well.
The Japanese Cavalry is their main weak point. Unable to make
Hussar or Paladin/Camels, and no plate
barding armour and bloodlines, they are the weakest point of
the Japanese army. In Castle Age, knights are
still a viable option but no further upgrades except cavalier,
you wont be seeing much cavalry from a
The Siege Workshop:
Their Siege is a good back up choice. Even though they lack
siege ram/onager upgrades and Bombard
cannons, they still have a fully upgradeable scorpion.
Choosing scorpions and infantry is a good choice.
They have all monastery technologies except Heresy which is
not a great loss, since it costs 1000 gold! and
its not all too useful anyway.
With all upgrades except heavy demo ships, the Japanese navy
is one of the strongest naval civilisations in
the game, not to mention that they also have their fishing
This is where the Japanese are very poor at. They lack ALL
imperial economic upgrades except Two-Man
Saw. The only economic bonus that the Japanese have is -50%
lumber camps/mining camps/mills. Though I
say they are really strong in imperial, I obviously mean their
military is strong, not economically. This is
major downside to the civilisation.
They have all blacksmith upgrades except plate barding armour.
All other military upgrades they have, apart
from cavalry ones.
In dark age, Japan has a excellent start with their better
gathering rates for fishing ships and cheaper
economic buildings. In the dark age, the Japanese player has a
excellent start and are a very suitable
civilisation to perform the Dark-Age rush. The Dark-Age rush
is a strategy that involves militia and walling
the opponent's mines.
As they progress to the feudal age, their archers are fully
upgradeable for the future
and so are their infantry. Even their fishing ships have more
armour so that galley rushers will have more
difficulty in destroying Japanese fishing ships. A flush is a
quite nice strategy that the Japanese can pull due
to their cheaper lumber/mining camp and mill early on. The
Japanese can pull extremely fast feudal times
due to their cheaper lumber camps, mining camps and mills.
Also the Boat boom too since their fishing ships gather faster
than any other civilisations. Into the castle
age, Japanese can nearly hold off any castle age
assault, whether its knights to archers. With their 15% faster
attacking Pikemen, they can ward off any
cavalry. And with their scorpions, any archers will also die
miserably. A nice strategy to use in the castle
age for the Japanese player is to use the cavalry archer rush,
even though they lack bloodlines, they are still
useful in castle age and are very effective raiders,
considering that the Japanese lack at raiding.
Going into the imperial age, this is where the Japanese are at
their strongest. With the best champions and
exceptional arbalests + the best Trebuchets, they can beat
anyone if used properly. In a trebuchet war,
surely the Japanese will win with
ease, a champion war, again, easy win... Overall, a very
strong civilisation in imperial. But due to their lack
of cavalry upgrades, raiding, is not much used and when it is
used, not nearly as effective as other civilisations.
This strategy uses every bonus that the Japanese have...
I have been working on a 29 + 1 scout dark age till I start to
feudal... I have got to feudal with this in 10
minutes before including fishing ships. My strategy is this;
While in dark, you need to make lumber camp,
dock, mining camp and barracks (don't really need mill yet).
During the dark - feudal age transition, I need
to pump as much militia out as I can. If I have extra wood, I
make a mill, if I have lots of wood I make
second barracks too. Once I am in feudal, upgrade to men at
arms and build blacksmith and research scale mail armor and
forging. You need about 20 men at arms and charge into his
town centre and destroy it. He rings his bell, and I have
tested that 20 m@a can destroy a fully garrisoned town centre
with 8 men at arms left (with upgrades) or you can have 25
Japanese men at arms, which can destroy a fully garrisoned
town centre with 17 left.
The whole point of this, is to cancel his castle age
research... because if he was researching to castle age,
and you destroy his town centre, it would be cancelled. This
delays his time to castle and will most probably
destroy him. He can make archers, but so can you make more men
at arms to kill them and his houses so he cant
make more archers until building more houses.
I have achieved 20 men at arms + upgrades in 15 minutes and
launched the attack at probably 16 minutes but this was quite
hard to accomplish. I also used the market to accompany my
strategy by selling my initial stone for food.
They can destroy the town centre in about 1 minute. I know I
can do better, I can probably cut one minute off making
it a 15 minute attack if I really tried hard. This strategy
can put a stop to all those 18 minute castlers but I hope to
advance it further and make it stop the 16 minute castlers.