Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition - Dynasties of India.
The Bengalis are an Elephant and Naval civilization. As such, they not only have the most formidable Elephant units, but great buffs as well. Despite having access to a mechanically complex unique unit, they have very straightforward economic and naval bonuses. This makes them a good civilization for booming strategies and water maps for newer and experienced players alike.
The Bengalis have probably the most powerful Elephant units, as they not only have fully upgraded Battle Elephants and Siege Elephants, but Parthian Tactics is also available for their Elephant Archers. Despite lacking Thumb Ring, the Bengalis can use Paiks to strengthen the attack rate for their elephants and Rathas. In addition, all Bengali Elephants take less bonus damage and have more resistance to conversion. The Bengalis also have a near-complete Monastery tech tree, only lacking Heresy.
Their economy is also relatively strong, as every age they advance will spawn two Villagers near every Town Center. With the Mahayana technology, Villagers also take up 10% less population space, meaning that each Villager will count as 0.9 of a unit space instead of 1. For example, the Mahayana tech would make having 10 villagers only count as having 9 population wise; having 20 villagers will only count as having 18, and so on. This makes the Bengalis a well-suited civilization for booming strategies. The only economic upgrade they lack is Stone Shaft Mining.
They also perform well on water maps, as they have nearly every upgrade and technology in their Dock, except for Heavy Demolition Ships. The Ratha is a unit that can switch their attack into either melee or ranged mode, making them a very versatile unit in skilled hands. The Imperial unique technology, Mahayana, makes their Villagers take less population, allowing more population space for military units.
While the Bengalis have access to Arbalesters, Champions, Halberdiers, and Elite Skirmishers, these unit options are average at best, as the Bengalis lack Thumb Ring, Supplies, and Plate Mail Armor. The lack of Thumb Ring hurts their Elephant Archers significantly. The Bengalis also lack the Bombard Cannon and Siege Onager, leaving their Siege Elephants and Trebuchets their only reliable late-game siege options. Their Stable is very lackluster, as they do not have the Knight line, which leaves their Light Cavalry their only mobile unit on open maps.
The Ratha is a very mechanically complex and difficult unit to use. It requires proper micromanagement to maximize its use when switching between melee and ranged modes, and using the wrong mode can backfire on the player (i.e. switching to melee mode can help deal with enemy archers, but can leave them vulnerable to other melee units such as Spearmen and camels). Also, regardless of which mode they are in, they are always vulnerable to bonus damage from Elite Skirmishers and Camel Archers, as they always count as a Cavalry Archer.
The Bengalis' health regeneration bonus for ships is only useful on maps with reasonable amounts of water. On dry maps like Arabia, the bonus is useless. Even with the health regeneration, the Bengalis cannot simply slug it out with civilizations that have powerful navy bonuses, such as Saracens, Vikings, and Portuguese. The health regeneration is useful between fights, not during fights.
Finally, despite their strong economic bonuses, the Bengalis do not have any significant military bonuses until the Castle Age. This makes the Bengalis extremely vulnerable to early game rush strategies in open maps that will make it difficult to boom properly.
The Bengalis have a distinct strategy of booming, thanks to their Town Centers spawning two Villagers whenever they reach to the next age. This gives the Bengalis a significant economic advantage over the opponent. For example, the player can easily reach Castle Age within 15 minutes by tasking the extra two villagers spawned in the Feudal Age to immediately collect gold, while the other Villagers produced at the Town Center can be tasked to gather food and wood. Despite their economic boom potential, the Bengalis are relatively vulnerable to early-game rushes, so it is important to build up any defensive structures necessary to help boom.
As noted, the biggest strength to the Bengalis is their elephant units, thanks to their civilization bonus of extra conversion resistance and reduced bonus damage. This covers the main weaknesses to elephant units, such as Pikemen, Camel Riders, and Monks. This make Bengalis a solid civilization for a Battle Elephant and Elephant Archer rush (they have the economy to back this strategy). Despite their higher resistances to their usual counters, their low mobility still makes them vulnerable to their usual unit counters, so it is recommended to diversify their army (since the other units they have available are reasonable options despite missing a few key upgrades and technologies). Their Castle Age unique technology, Paiks, will make their elephant units more threatening.
The Ratha is a unique unit that can switch between melee and ranged modes. While they are not as strong when compared to other cavalry units like Knights, they make up for it for their versatility. For example, the Ratha can switch to their ranged mode when facing infantry units, then switch to melee mode when facing enemy archers. With proper micromanagement, the Ratha can easily win trades with even the most mobile melee units in the Castle Age.
The Bengalis are at their strongest in the Imperial Age, with highly resistant Elite Battle Elephant, combined with their Siege Elephant that can tear down buildings relatively fast (thanks to their faster attack rate from Paiks), and having solid Monks; the Bengalis are one of the most rewarding civilizations for a boom strategy (which is made even more rewarding with the Mahayana upgrade that allow the Bengalis to free up more population space for their elephant units).
In water maps, the Bengalis are a good civilization, thanks to their ships regenerating hit points. This gives their Fishing Ships and Transport Ships an extra layer of protection (the latter can help with their surprise landings), while it helps players to micromanage their ships in water battles. This allows the Bengalis to save up wood and gold for more warships.
Overall, the Bengalis are a solid civilization for both beginners and experts alike. The Ratha is a very mechanically complex unit that can only be mastered by more experienced players. Newer players can instead primarily focus on a booming strategy with focus on elephants as their main army composition (as the extra Villagers spawning from their Town Center upon advancing to the next age can teach players how to balance their economy while booming). The ship-regenerating hit points can help players how to properly micromanage their ships in intensive water battles.
In team games, the Bengalis are best suited for the pocket position. This is both because of their powerful booming capabilities and the fact that they can not take advantage of their powerful elephant units until the Castle Age.
The Bengalis benefit from team bonuses that either benefit their elephant units, assist in booming, or help them play defensively until they can build a powerful elephant-based army. Civilizations with such team bonuses include the Cumans, Gurjaras, Huns, Mayans, and Teutons.
The Bengali team bonus grants extra Food from trading, making them a good partner for civilizations that are already exceptional traders. These include the Bohemians, Hindustanis, Italians, Portuguese, and Spanish. The best possible synergy in this regard is with the Spanish, Bohemians, and Hindustanis on the same team as the Bengalis, since each of these civilizations have a team bonus that furthers improves trading units (Bohemians make Markets work faster, Spanish improve gold generation, Hindustanis can create Caravanserais that heal and increase the speed of allied Trade Carts).
The Bengalis' reliance on elephant units makes them vulnerable to Halberdiers, Camel Riders, and Cavalry Archers. Thus, a Bengali player would disproportionately benefit from an ally that can easily counter at least two of these units. For example, civilizations with strong infantry and either foot archers, Hand Cannoneers, or siege units backing them up can easily use their infantry to destroy Halberdiers and Camel Riders and their ranged units to drive away Cavalry Archers. Meanwhile, these civs can benefit from the sheer power of elephant units in contrast to the relatively fragile nature of their own units. Examples of strong infantry civilizations with solid supporting ranged support options include the Celts, Malay, Japanese, Slavs, and Vikings.
Compared advantages and disadvantages
Advantages against civilizations
Disadvantages vs civilizations