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Chukonu prev aoe2de

The Chinese are a civilization that focuses more on economy than military. As such, they have many economic bonuses, and are a "jack-of-all-trades" civilization that can specialize well in both defense and offense. Due to the civilization's unusual startup, the civilization is designed more for experienced players rather than beginners. Played properly however, the Chinese are one of the most powerful civilizations.


They start out with extra Villagers and their Town Centers support extra population. This gives them a slow and volatile start (as they also have -200 food, -50 wood), but afterward gives them a powerful economic edge, especially in the mid-game where they also have access to fully upgraded Crossbowmen and Knights. They can also research technologies at cheaper prices, giving them access to technologies faster and granting extra resources to use. In terms of military, they have many options. They have diverse archer, infantry, cavalry, naval, and monk technology trees, allowing them to exploit any civilization's weakness. Their unique unit, the Chu Ko Nu, is a crossbowman with short range but shoots multiple arrows at a time. In groups these can provide powerful close-range support thanks to their extreme damage output. Their unique technology, Rocketry, makes their Chu Ko Nu and Heavy Scorpion potentially deadly and allow them to excel in long range sieging. Lastly, they possess a strong defense, thanks to a solid technology tree and Great Wall.


They notably do not have either Redemption or Bombard Cannon, limiting their options against siege to their solid but not spectacular cavalry.

The Chinese are also known to be incredibly difficult to play properly because of their unusual startup of having three extra Villagers, but -200 food, -50 wood. This requires a lot more micromanagement in the early game for the tradeoff to pay off. Inappropriate Dark Age micromanagement of the extra Villagers will cause the Chinese to fall behind in the early game. Even when played optimally, they can still struggle if they are unable to defend themselves or have a resource lamed.


Chinese have a much different start-up than other Civilizations. Starting with extra Villagers but no food and less wood means that they cannot immediately make any Villagers. The Chinese should start by researching Loom since the Town Center will be idle otherwise. The Chinese must set all their Villagers to start harvesting a fast source of food (normally a herdable, though fish are even better) as soon as possible. Before the player finds their food, their Villagers can chop some of the wood near the Town Center or search. It is recommended to task a seventh Villager on food before making a Lumber Camp to create a food buffer (as six Villagers are unable to collect food faster than is expended with constant Villager production). Extra Lumberjacks are important, since the Chinese start with less wood. Chinese farms also have extra food, making Dark Age farming a more viable tactic.

Chinese are a versatile civilization, being a jack-of-all-trades civilization that is capable of using many different strategies. Crossbowman and Knight rushes are viable tactics due to the cheaper costs of the related upgrade technologies and a solid economy. Cavalry Archers are also possible, though the high investment means that other options are usually preferred. Camel Riders are another great option the Chinese have and pair well with their archers. The Chinese have a reasonable Monk rush strategy thanks to cheaper Monastery technologies and having nearly every Monastery tech except for Heresy and Redemption. In a team game, Chinese players should typically try to be in the pocket position (between two allies) and have a large economic boom.

In the Imperial Age, the Chu Ko Nu is extremely deadly when massed, even cutting through foes with high pierce armor such as Skirmishers and Eagle Warriors. Even Rams fall to Chu Ko Nu in mere seconds, thanks to each arrow dealing 0 melee attack, resulting in 3 total damage. The Chinese also have great options apart from their Chu Ko Nus, with fully upgraded Arbalesters and Heavy Scorpions acting as alternatives, the former being easier to invest in and train up, and the latter are very powerful and have decent synergy with Heavy Scorpions, but are expensive. For games where gold is limited, the Light Cavalry is the best unit to pair with their ranged units for their speed and ability to counter enemy Skirmishers and siege. Halberdiers are also a solid pick when the opponent is going for mass cavalry, though Chu Ko Nu and Rocketry Heavy Scorpions will be able to handle themselves against cavalry. Cavaliers are strong when the extra power is necessary, and Heavy Camel Riders, Elite Skirmishers, Champions, and Siege Rams are all viable and have their situational uses, but do not fit well within a standard Chinese unit composition.

Chinese have a solid navy on water maps. Fish provide a potent supplement to their already great economy and should be taken advantage of. Chinese Demolition Ships are also a good unconventional surprise for careless opponents. By the time the horn sounds they have already lost a large portion of their navy, assuming that it wasn't spread out. Using multiple Demolition Ships from different angles at the same time is especially powerful. Apart from this, they also have all upgrades on their Galleons.

Strategy changes in The Forgotten[]

Chinese new Tech Great Wall allows them to make good and strong defenses, the Chinese already have Architecture and other building technologies. Their new bonus of +5 line of sight for their town centers makes them even better.

Strategy changes in The African Kingdoms[]

The introduction of the Demolition Raft in the Feudal Age gives the Chinese navy an early naval advantage as this vessel benefits from the Chinese hit point bonus for demolition ships.

Strategy changes in Definitive Edition[]

The Chinese received a significant amount of nerfs in the Definitive Edition.

In update 34699, the Chinese three extra Villager bonus is tied to their initial Town Center, meaning the Villager bonus only applies after a Town Center is built, which significantly weakens the Chinese in Nomad maps. The Chinese are also given Block Printing, although it is mostly trivial to historical accuracy, since it is a Chinese invention. Because the introduction of Block Printing in the Chinese tech tree allowed the Chinese to have a concrete answer to the Siege Onager (one of the main counter-units to Chu Ko Nu), the Redemption technology was removed from their tech tree in update 36202. The Chinese lose the Supplies tech in update 37650, which makes it harder for the Chinese to amass their Militia line.

With update 51737, their team bonus was changed to 10% rather than +45. This is a significant nerf, especially in the early game when a Dark Age Farm now only provides + 17.5 food. However, in team games for civilizations which have access to Crop Rotation, their team bonus was minorly improved. Sicilians are the biggest winners of this change.


The Chinese works well with different civilizations and can fit into different variety of playstyles, though they prefer to use their Chu Ko Nu. Their team bonus is very useful for a variety of civilizations, and their flexibility allows them to work well in any position. Note that their lack of good anti-siege options means they usually want to be paired with a civilization that has Bombard Cannons, particularly cavalry civilizations like the Franks or Lithuanians.

  • Berbers AoE2 Berbers: Genitours fit well in the already-good Archery range options the Chinese get. The Kasbah technology also helps them spam Chu Ko Nu. The Berbers, in return, get better Farms. Their Villagers move faster, which also impacts Farming rates. They are a good cavalry civilization that may help the Chinese counter enemy siege units.
  • Britons AoE2 Britons: They allow archery units like the Elite Skirmisher and Heavy Cavalry Archer be trained faster and add more variety in their long-range sieging, although Chu Ko Nu can only be built in the Castle.
  • Burgundians AoE2 Burgundians: With their own economic advantage (earlier economical upgrades), Burgundian players can also utilize this Farm bonus to build up their economy even quicker. They also have great cavalry, which pairs well with Chinese archers.
  • Celts AoE2 Celts: The Chinese will be able to create their Scorpions faster with the Celt team bonus. The Chinese team bonus fits well with the Celt economic bonuses, helping them to accumulate more wood, as the extra food on Farms reduces the need to reseed.
  • Cumans AoE2 Cumans: The stronger Palisade Walls provided by the Cuman team bonus can be improved with the Chinese Great Wall unique technology.
  • Franks AoE2 Franks: They are the archetypical cavalry civilization, and also have gunpowder units, both of which can help the Chinese. Frankish farming technologies are also researched for free and instantly, making a direct synergy with the Chinese team bonus.
  • Georgians AoE2 Georgians: Their repair team bonus makes a good combination with the Chinese strong walls and towers from the Great Wall technology. The Georgians may also have better farming gathering rates in the Castle and Imperial Ages, thanks to their Fortified Churches, and the Chinese team bonus is quite helpful. Being a cavalry civilization, they can help the Chinese to counter enemy siege units.
  • Gurjaras AoE2 Gurjaras: The Chinese have access to Camel Riders, which they may need at the ready in many circumstances, and the Gurjaras help to train them faster. The Gurjaras on their side has several bonuses that address food, and the Chinese team bonus adds something extra to them. The Gurjaras is also a good cavalry civilization with access to unorthodox cavalry options.
  • Hindustanis AoE2 Hindustanis: Like the Gurjaras, their team bonus improves Camel Riders, making them better against buildings, which may help the Chinese Camel Riders in many circumstances. The Hindustanis have access to the Caravanserai, helping trade for both parties.
  • Incas AoE2 Incas: The Incan team bonus gives the Chinese an important boost to their early food economy, and the Incan infantry pair well with the Chinese archers and Knights.
  • Khmer AoE2 Khmer: They grant Chinese Scorpions +1 range, which works well with Rocketry. The Khmer also have a Farm boost to appreciate the Chinese team bonus and have Battle Elephants which work best with ranged support.
  • Malians AoE2 Malians: The Chinese have a good repertory of University technologies that also cost less. The Malian team bonus helps to research them faster. In return, the Malians will better Farms that fits nicely in their already-strong economy. The Malians also have strong cavalry, covering that weakness of the Chinese.
  • Mayans AoE2 Mayans: Their team bonus synergizes with the Great Wall technology. The Mayans may also use the farming team bonus of the Chinese, making up for the indirect farming penalty of their longer-lasting resources . Their Eagle Warriors may also help the Chinese to cover up their weakness against siege units to some degree.
  • Poles AoE2 Poles: The Folwark helps the Poles to gather faster from Farms. Because of this, the Chinese team bonus is useful for a Polish-Chinese alliance, though the Chinese do not gain much from the Polish team bonus. The Poles are also a good cavalry civilization.
  • Portuguese AoE2 Portuguese: Chinese technologies are already cheaper. With the Portuguese team bonus, they will be researched faster. Having access to Bombard Cannons, they may help the Chinese deal with enemy siege units.
  • Romans AoE2 Romans: Chinese Ballistas with Rocketry have a good attack. With the Roman team bonus, these will also have a reduced minimum range. In return, the Romans get better Farms, and their farmers can already gather 5% faster. The Romans also have good cavalry with their Centurions and Comitatenses-improved Cavaliers that may deal with siege units.
  • Saracens AoE2 Saracens: The Chu Ko Nu can benefit from the bonus damage against buildings, hence allowing them to destroy towns more quickly. The Saracens also appreciate the archer support, as they prefer going into Camel Riders and Mamelukes.
  • Sicilians AoE2 Sicilians: Farming technologies for the Sicilians provide +125% more food. This means that if allied with the Chinese and after researching Crop Rotation, they will get the Farms that holddthe most food in the game. in naval maps, the Chinese have better Transport Ships they can defend with their Demolitions ships if needed.
  • Slavs AoE2 Slavs: The Slav team bonus helps allies save wood from Houses, as military buildings such as Archery Ranges and Barracks provide +5 population space. The Slavs also make great use of the Chinese team bonus, as their farmers work 15% faster.
  • Spanish AoE2 Spanish: The Spanish provide more gold through Trade Carts, and have Paladins and Bombard Cannons, which pair well with the Chinese.
  • Teutons AoE2 Teutons: They benefit from the Farm bonus due to their already-cheaper Farms, and the Teutons' conversion resistance is beneficial, since the Chinese lack Heresy.
  • Vietnamese AoE2 Vietnamese:The Imperial Skirmisher fits well in the already-good Archery Range roster of the Chinese. The Vietnamese in return benefit from the better Farms provided by the Chinese team bonus. Since their economic technologies do not cost wood and are researched faster, they can then stack Horse Collar, Heavy Plow ,and Crop Rotation. The Vietnamese have Battle Elephants with better hit points as an alternative to regular cavalry.
  • Vikings AoE2 Vikings: The Vikings have Wheelbarrow and Hand Cart for free, two technologies that are highly impactful in farming gathering rates, and benefit from the Chinese team bonus. When playing on naval maps, both players get cheaper Docks, which allow the Chinese to save some wood for their better Demolition Ships.

Compared advantages and disadvantages[]

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Advantages vs other civilizations[]

  • The Chu Ko Nu, being a ranged unit that fires multiple arrows, counters almost all types of infantry and cavalry. They are also able to fare significantly better against Rams and Skirmishers, the common counters to archers.
  • Being a civilization with good mid and late game and able to boom their economy, they can defeat civilizations that fare who normally end games fast, especially if starting at Castle Age onwards.
  • As they have an open tech tree and cheaper technologies and improvements, they can effectively counter civilizations more limited in that regard.
  • Regarding naval warfare they are in advantage against civilizations that rely on close range ships or masses of ships and docks as their Demolition Ships have more hit points.

Disadvantages vs other civilizations[]

  • Civilizations with good Onagers are a counter to Chinese archers and Scorpions if they decide to go for masses of Chu Ko Nu backed by Scorpions.
  • Despite having good start up bonuses and good economic bonuses, they have a disadvantage in open maps like Arabia against civilizations with early aggression such as Huns, Aztecs, Magyars, Mongols, and Goths since most of the Chinese bonuses start to kick out in the Castle Age onwards.
  • Despite their Demolition Ships, the Chinese navy is only moderately above average, and should not be thought of as a top tier.

Situational advantages[]

  • Before update 34699 in the Definitive Edition, as they started with three additional Villagers, the Chinese had a very distinct advantage in Nomad maps, as they were technically ahead of their rivals (despite starting with less resources). If they encountered an enemy Villager, they were able to kill them with their numeric superiority.
  • In Budapest map as every player has double startup (2 Town Centers, double starting Villagers, and 2 Scout Cavalry) they also get an advantage as they start with 12 Villagers (while other civilizations in that map starts with 6) and still getting the penalty of starting with -200 food, -50 wood (but not -400 food and -100 wood). Also, as they get double Town Centers, they make their way faster to increase their population without needing to build houses too soon (this cause their Town Centers hold more population space).
  • In amphibious maps (especially in the maps included in the "Rise of the Rajas" expansion) their tankier Demolition Ships have a nice advantage against masses of land units or clusters of buildings.
  • In closed maps like Black Forest, Chinese have an advantage on those kinds of maps thanks to their bulkier Towers and walls, so they can make their way to Imperial Age and boom.
  • In enclosed maps like Fortress, Arena, and Hill Fort, their unique technology "Chinese Wall" also gives them an advantage as walls and in Fortress case towers are already placed. Also, in Fortress, players start with farms instead of sheep and boars so their team bonus also gives them another advantage there. Their bulkier Towers and Walls can give the Chinese an edge in "King of the Hill" and "Defend the Wonder" game modes.
  • In the game mode "Sudden Death", the increased Line of Sight and population space of their Town Center can give them an advantage, as in this game mode players are limited to just 1 Town Center.
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