The Gurjaras are a camel and cavalry civilization introduced in Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition - Dynasties of India. They borrow several gameplay mechanics seen in other real-time strategy games such as Starcraft and Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds, making Gurjaras a good civilization for players who are familiar with mechanics seen in both real-time strategy games.
The Gurjaras' biggest strength is their food economy, as two of their civilization bonuses and their Castle Age unique technology focuses on food efficiency. First, the Gurjaras have the ability to garrison herdables in Mills for a slow trickle of food, which is similar to the Animal Nursery building seen in Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds. In addition, the Gurjaras also start with two Berry Bushes at their Town Center, giving them an immediate free source of food in the early game. Their food efficiency is further improved with their Castle Age unique technology, Kshatriyas, which reduces the food cost of their military units.
Their food economy synergizes well with their main strength: camels and cavalry units. Their cavalry units deal 50% more bonus damage, which makes their Heavy Camel Rider, Hussar, and Siege Elephant more threatening to cavalry, Monks, and buildings, respectively. To further highlight their strength in camels, they start out with a Camel Scout instead of a Scout Cavalry, which they can train more of them in the Stable in the Feudal Age, and automatically upgrade into the Camel Rider upon reaching the Castle Age. This makes Gurjaras a formidable foe against cavalry civilizations who would attempt a Scout rush in the Feudal Age and transition into Knights, as the Gurjaras' Scout Camels will be an immediate threat to enemy Knights once they reach the Castle Age. Their Elephant Archers are relatively cheap due to Kshatriyas, and are more durable against melee units thanks to their Imperial Age technology, Frontier Guards (which also benefits their camels as well).
Their first unique unit, the Chakram Thrower, is a ranged melee infantry that can throw discs to hit multiple enemies in a line similar to a Scorpion, allowing them to deal with infantry who are clumped together (especially Pikemen). The Gurjaras also have access to the Shrivamsha Rider in their Stables in the Castle Age, which is a light cavalry unit that can "dodge" projectile attacks, which is represented with a second, regenerating health bar which has to be depleted before the unit itself takes damage in a similar vein to the "shield" mechanic seen in Protoss units in Starcraft and shielded units in Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds.
While the Gurjaras have a formidable cavalry and camels, their foot soldiers are borderline unusable, as they lack the Arbalester and Ring Archer Armor for their foot archers and Skirmishers. The latter hurts their Elephant Archer's ranged durability, as they also lack Parthian Tactics. While the Gurjaras have the cheapest Militia-line units (even cheaper than the Goths' Militia line in terms of total resources), thanks to their access to both Supplies and Kshatriyas, their Militia-line units shouldn't even be considered in their army composition in the late-game, as they lack the Champion, Squires, and Blast Furnace (which also hurts their offensive power for their camels and Hussars when fighting other units), as the Gurjaras' Two-Handed Swordsman will lose in a lot of cost-efficiency trades with other civilizations' Militia-line units (even against the Goths' Champions). Adding insult to injury, the Gurjaras are also the second civilization in the game that cannot upgrade their Spearman unit, putting Gurjaras in a significant disadvantage in trash wars despite the food discount affecting their trash units. This leaves their Chakram Throwers and Hand Cannoneers as their only reliable late-game foot soldiers.
Despite their formidable cavalry, they also lack the Battle Elephant and Knight units, meaning the Gurjaras will have to rely on Shrivamsha Riders and Hussars as their main raiding unit and Heavy Camel Riders with Frontier Guards as their main frontline cavalry.
While their Siege Elephants are the best in tearing down buildings, their other siege options are mediocre, with Bombard Cannons without Siege Engineers as their only other siege option to tear down enemy Castles and towers.
Their Monastery tech tree is average, as they do not have Faith and Block Printing. They do at least get Heresy, giving their Elephant Archers the best conversion resistance of all South Asian civilizations.
The ability to garrison herdables in Mills for a trickle of food requires high-level decision making and adopting to build orders with alternate sources of food. Gathering food from herdables directly can help with their early-game Villager production, but the player will miss out in the long-term value of their civilization bonus if they opt for a boom strategy. Not only that, the civilization bonus can be seen as a "high-risk, high-reward" bonus, as their Mills will be perfect targets for enemy raids who can easily take the herdables for themselves, thus putting the player at a significant disadvantage.
Gurjaras are an interesting civilization to play. As previously mentioned, they borrowed some mechanics that are familiar in games like "Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds". The Gurjaras' start is different from other civilizations. They get 2 Berry Bushes under their Town Center that they can gather first instead of taking Sheep. Unlike other civilizations, they should start the game by creating two Houses and a Mill as soon as they find their other Berry Bushes, and use the straggler trees around the Town center to replenish their wood for making their first Lumber Camp; they need their Sheep to be inside the Mill for generating their food trickle. Alternatively, they can gather their Sheep normally, but in most cases, the food trickle is preferable, despite the slowness. It may be a risky strategy, as they may lose their Camel scout in this process, but it can be a good idea for a Gurjara player to try to steal the herdable animals from an opponent in order to have a better food trickle.
Gurjaras also start the game with a Camel Scout instead of a normal Scout Cavalry. Camel Scouts are as good as a Scout Cavalry in the Dark Age for scouting, but if they encounter an enemy Scout Cavalry in the Dark Age, the Camel Scout can marginally win against it. Camel Scouts also automatically improve when advancing to Feudal Age, becoming a useful defensive unit against early cavalry raids; they become Camel Riders at no cost when reaching the Castle Age. Gurjaras can perform a Camel Scout rush, but it is costly, since Camel Scouts are not particularly cheap and train slower in the Feudal Age. The main two advantages this unit offers are early protection against cavalry and the possibility to perform an early Camel Rider rush in the early Castle Age. If the Gurjara player decides not going with camels, they also have the option of a regular Scout Cavalry rush in the Feudal Age, which in their case is favored by their early extra Berry Bushes and the Sheep food trickle.
Once in the Castle Age, Gurjaras may take these routes:
Researching Kshatriyas at the Castle is the key to success for the Gurjaras, since all their core units cost food, and this technology decreases the food cost of all military units by 25%.
The Shrivamsha Rider is a very special unit, as it has the ability to dodge ranged attacks. Their "dodging arrow" ability consist of a shield gauge that recharges fast; each ranged attack damages the shield gauge, protecting the unit's hit points. Once the gauge reaches zero, the ranged unit can actually damage the Shrivamsha Rider. Shrivamsha Riders fill an important role in the army composition of the Gurjaras, being the anti-archer unit they need for supporting their elephant units, Camel Riders, and Scout Cavalry. However, they deal poorly against hand-to-hand units, so they may need support from Camels Riders and the second Gurjara unique unit: the Chakram Thrower. Chakram Throwers are a ranged infantry in a similar vein to the Frankish Throwing Axeman and Malian Gbeto, but their projectile acts in a similar manner to Scorpion projectiles, dealing damage to every unit between the Chakram Thrower and its target. This quirk makes Chakram Throwers excellent against masses of units. Also, the unit has some attack bonus vs infantry. A typical Gurjara army composition should have Camel Riders for dealing with cavalry, Chakram Throwers for countering infantry, Shrivamsha Riders and/or Elephant Archers for dealing with archers, and Siege Elephants for taking down buildings. In this case, the player must remember that each mounted unit of the Gurjaras has increased attack bonuses.
If the player decides to go into Elephant Archers, their Kshatriyas technology, along with their team bonus, enables them to perform a Elephant Archer rush if they previously managed to do a Fast Castle technique. Gurjara Elephant Archers are the cheapest and easiest to deploy in the game, and they retain good value in the Imperial Age, as the Frontier Guards technology improves them against melee units, making anti-melee support less necessary for them.
In the Imperial Age, Gurjaras are probably at their strongest, as their Heavy Camel Riders get more melee armor, due to the Frontier Guards technology, along with Siege Elephants that deal +50% more damage against buildings, and cheap and hardy Elite Elephant Archers.
The Gurjaras should finish the game before the Gold Mines run out, as their trash units are among the worst. They have no Pikemen or Blast Furnace, fragile Skirmishers, and Hussars even have less efficiency at raiding due to lacking Blast Furnace as well. However, in team games, they can get gold by trading.
In water maps, Gurjaras may play defensively, as they can garrison Fishing Ships inside their Docks; but other than that, they lack several late Dock improvements, so they should finish the game fast in those circumstances.
Compared to the team bonus from other civilizations, the Gurjaras' are more restrictive, for only civilizations that can access camelry or elephant units can enjoy it.
Several allies with camelry can make good synergy with the Gurjaras: as another civilization unable to receive the Pikeman upgrade, the Turk ally can spam their camels in exchange for allowing their Gurjara team-mate to mass both Hand Cannoneers and Bombard Cannons quickly, while Hindustani allies grant Gurjara players an anti-building bonus for their camelry, in return for making their Imperial Camel Riders train quicker. By granting Gurjara team-mates Genitours and the Kasbah technology, Berber allies can enjoy "economies of scale" from dirt-cheap, more spammable camel units, while Chinese allies can also receive a production boost for their camelry as a reward of providing extra food from Farms for their teammates (with Gurjara Farms also having all upgrades available).
Most civilizations that have access to elephant units can also get on well with the Gurjaras. By revealing the beginning locations of enemy Town Centers and granting the Imperial Skirmisher technology, Vietnamese allies can amass their own Battle Elephants (with Chatras technology) in a shorter period. Similar mutual relationships also occur with Burmese allies (they reveal the beginning locations of all Relics in the map, for quicker production of their own Battle Elephants with extra armor and the Manipur Cavalry technology), Khmer allies (they grant Gurjaras' Heavy Scorpions a range boost, for quicker production of their own Battle Elephants with extra speed and the Tusk Swords technology) and Bengali allies (they grant Gurjara trade units extra food income for quicker production of their own beefy Battle Elephants, Elephant Archers, and Siege Elephants).
Compared advantages and disadvantages
Advantages vs other civilizations
Disadvantages vs. other civilizations