Placed on the "Roof of Africa", Ethiopia was able to assert its influence over the surrounding lowlands, thriving in the safety of its mountains. A high ground badly needed against hostile attempts to take the empire down. Ethiopia and its King of kings defied not just its African neighbors but also European imperialism attempts rendering it as one of the few African regions that eluded the talons of European imperialism.
They are an infantry-focused civilization that can access the powerful Sebastapol Mortar, a unique artillery piece that annihilates most land units. However, Sebastapol Mortars struggle against enemy artillery pieces.
The Ethiopians generate influence through Mountain Monasteries, unique buildings that are placed on top of coin mines. They can also generate influence through livestock, mainly through Zebu cattle, which generate 0.15 influence per second while semi-fattened and 0.65 influence per second when fully fattened. Zebu cattle can be trained at the Livestock Market. Players can also research the 250 gold Royal Feast technology at the Livestock Market that will trade in all the player's livestock for a large lump sum of influence.
Most of an Ethiopian player's military units are trained at the War Camp. At the War Camp they can train: the Dragoon-like Javelin Rider, the Musketeer-esque Gascenya, the Coyote-Runner-esque Shotel Warrior, their Skirmisher unit the Neftenya, and their ranged heavy cavalry unit the Oromo Warrior.
At the Watch Tower, Ethiopian players can train special outlaw units: The Desert Warrior, a Javelin-throwing unit whose armor type changes with their stance; the Desert Archer, who acts like a Longbowman at long range and a fast-firing Yumi Archer up close; and the Desert Raider, an Oprichnik-like camel-riding cavalry unit that excels against buildings and villagers. These special outlaw units have a higher population cost than the units trained at the War Camp.
The third military building used by the Ethiopians is the Palace. At the Palace, special units earned through age-up options and expensive mercenaries can be trained. The player can also train Falconets, Culverins, and Mortars after the technology Imported Cannons is researched. All units trained at the Palace cost influence, and many of them have a high population cost. Special units trained at the Palace are not upgraded the same way that War Camp units are upgraded. Instead, they shadow technologies like units trained from the Asian Consulate, becoming stronger with each age-up. The Sebastopol Mortar is trained at the Palace.
Ethiopian players have the Arabs as an Imperial Age option. This age-up option will let Ethiopian players train Gatling Camels and Mamelukes from their Palace.
Receives a Monastery Builder with every Age advance
Ethiopian units speak Amharic, a South Semitic language (related to the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Arabic languages) written with the Geʽez script descended from Egyptian hieroglyphs and ancient South Arabian script. The only exception is the Oromo Warrior, who speaks the Oromo language.
The Ethiopian flag shown in the game is the Tricolor of Pennants that was used between 1881–1889 by the Ethiopian Empire.
However – as this design is non-rectangular, the Home City shipment icon, civilization selection screen, and post-game leaderboards all use a rectangular flag similar to the flag of Ethiopia used between 1897–1914, without the "ም" on the central stripe.
While the recorded history of Ethiopia goes back several millennia, the region's early modern history opens with a tumultuous conflict known to posterity as the Ethiopian-Adal War (1529-1543). The ruling Solomonic dynasty of Ethiopia struggled initially against the Adal forces of the intrepid Ahmad Gragn, whose deft use of Ottoman artillery gained him the upper hand in several battles. The Adal occupation lasted over a decade, but the Solomonic dynasty, led by the tenacious Queen Sabla Wengel and the formerly exiled Emperor Gelawdewos, eventually threw off the foreign yoke and defeated Gragn. Instrumental in this victory were the tattered remnants of a Portuguese expeditionary force led by Cristovao da Gama, who perished in the process. Gelawdewos then sought to turn the tables and invade Adal, but suffered the same fate as the overconfident Gragn and was slain in turn in 1559.
Next to attempt to subjugate the resurgent Ethiopian state was the Ottoman Empire, which seized several key locations on the coast but was unable to push further inland. Further threats ensued from a new power: the Harar Sultanate, which had assumed control of the lands ruled by the crumbling Adal Sultanate. Although these were parried successfully, constant conflict and climatic conditions culminated in unstable conditions that caused a series of mass migrations of East African people-groups into the Ethiopian sphere of influence. Most notable among these were the Oromo, hardy pastoralists and fierce warriors who would attain immense power within the fragmenting Ethiopian state and retain it for centuries.
By the late 17th century, Ethiopia had devolved into a patchwork of loosely knit localist entities that could only barely be said to answer to the imperial mantle. This all changed during the reign of Iyasu the Great (r. 1682-1706), who inaugurated a long programme of reforms across various spheres from political centralization to infrastructure, cultural growth, and foreign diplomacy. His untimely death, however, sent the recovering state into a tailspin. The resulting power vacuum was filled by a series of competing clans and princes, who by five decades later had reduced a once-powerful state into little more than an anarchical patchwork of feudal demesnes where ruthless warlords ruled by force. This so-called Era of the Princes lasted nearly a century.
In 1855, Kassa Hailu, a shifta (brigand) turned magnate, triumphed over his rival warlords and was crowned Emperor Tewodros II. Desperate to modernize his fledgling nation, Tewodros resorted to the shocking decision to kidnap European officials and missionaries and barter them for help from European powers in industrializing Ethiopia. This scheme backfired violently, as the British responded with a full-scale invasion, annihilated Tewodros' armies with ease, and rescued the hostages, leaving Ethiopia once more in a volatile situation. Despite this setback, the Ethiopian state recovered quickly. After the so-called Scramble for Africa commenced during the following decades, Ethiopia was notable as one of the few regions on the African continent that eluded the talons of European imperial colonialism.