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The basic strategy of the Hindustanis focuses on the economy, and in a powerful cavalry and gunpowder units.


Hindustanis are one of the best civilizations in the late game, and excel at booming due to their cheaper villagers. Their first unique technology, Grand Trunk Road, boosts gold income by 10%, which is especially useful when in possession of Relics and/or trading with allies. They also have almost every economic upgrade, lacking only Crop Rotation.

The Hindustanis possess the strongest camels in the game as their civilization bonuses provide extra attack speed and extra damage against buildings. In addition, they are the only civilization able to research the Imperial Camel Rider upgrade, which can fulfill the role of the Paladin, making Hindustanis camels useful for raids or frontal battles, instead of just for countering cavalry. The Hindustanis can also field a strong army of archers in support, since they have all archer upgrades available (except the Arbalester upgrade). Their unique unit, the Ghulam, is a fast and durable infantry unit, which is good against archers, especially when they are packed in a tight formation, because of the Ghulam's ability to hit multiple targets. They also receive +1/+1 melee and pierce armor on their gunpowder units, and their second unique technology is Shatagni, which improves the range of Hand Cannoneers, countering Infantry from afar. Therefore, in the Imperial Age, they have a strong unit to counter each of the three basic military unit types: the Imperial Camel for cavalry, the Ghulam for archers, and the Hand Cannoneer for infantry.


The Hindustanis lack Knights; their powerful Camels can somewhat compensate for this, but Camels are not a perfect substitute for the Knight line, as Camels lack the damage potential that knights possess, which in turn makes them more susceptible to counters for the knight-line like monks and Pikemen. The difference of two less pierce armor also tends to make the Hindustani Camel worse against mass crossbows.

They also have weak siege weapons as they do not have the Siege Onager or Heavy Scorpion, relying mainly on the Trebuchet, Bombard Cannon, and Siege Elephant.

Their defense is also somewhat lacking as they can not research Architecture. In addition they lack the Keep upgrade and cannot build Bombard Towers.

Much like the Persians, the Hindustanis also lack Heresy, meaning their more expensive units, Imperial Camels, are very vulnerable to conversion.


Hindustanis should always focus on getting to the Imperial Age and booming as fast as possible. Almost all of their strengths are Post-Imperial Age bonuses. To do this, a Hindustani player should consider a Scout rush in the Feudal Age. The cheaper villagers allow for scout production while maintaining steady villager production. Camels can be considered in the Castle Age, but archers are a safer option, as they do not suffer from more damage from defensive buildings like camels do.

A Hindustani player must continuously create Villagers into the Imperial Age to make the most use from their civilization bonus. The optimal amount of Villagers for late-game is one half of the total population. In a 200 population game, this means by late-game, the player should have 100 Villagers, in a 300 population game 150 villagers, and so on. Lacking Crop Rotation, Hindustanis fare best on maps with high wood content.

Hindustani armies should primarily consist of Imperial Camels and Hand Cannoneers, which are an incredibly effective combination with all applicable technologies researched. Imperial Camels practically eat through cavalry, while Hand Cannoneers can easily deal with infantry that would otherwise trouble Camels in large quantities. Ghulams should be mixed in to help soak up arrow fire and counter enemy Archers, given that they perform a similar role to the Huskarl. Bombard Cannons should be the Siege Engine of choice, except in cases where Trebuchets are preferred.

When forced to go defensive, Imperial Camels are excellent for dealing with Paladins, which are one of the more common attacking units. Again, Hand Cannoneers easily deal with enemy infantry, so the player must use them.

On the water, Hindustanis miss out on Shipwright and Fast Fire Ship, so the player must try to avoid mass Galleon wars.

Strategy changes in The African Kingdoms[]

Their Villager cost bonus is now increased by 5% and they now receive Guilds, making the Indian economy more solid and enabling for them to better perform their boom.

The Elephant Archer and its Elite counterpart received a tweak in their stats for balancing purposes, but still have their tactical place as a tanking unit and archer good against other archers, due to their hit points and armor. In addition, their cost is reduced to 100 food 80 gold, making them slightly easier to amass. Also, they receive Ring Archer Armor, so their archers are more valuable, including the Hand Cannoneer.

Camels are no longer considered ships by the game, which also applies to the Imperial Camel, making them a formidable raiding unit and a more practical replacement for the Knight for the Indians, as they will have less to worry about enemy towers and Castles. However, they still suffer from small bonus damage, so while stronger than before, they still are not as resilient under building fire as their Knight-line counterparts.

Strategy changes in Rise of the Rajas[]

In patch 5.5, the Arbalester tech was removed from the Indians. This is meant to balance out their Villager discount economic bonus and to discourage players from going for an archer rush (since the Indians don't have access to Knights, an archer rush allowed them to easily transition into the early Imperial Age, where the player can upgrade any archers from the Feudal and Castle Age into Arbalests, and the archer line itself is more cost effective than Hand Cannoneers in most situations). This discourages the Indians from going for an archer rush and instead put more focus on their late-game units, such as Elephant Archers, Imperial Camels, and Hand Cannoneers.

In addition, patch 5.7 lets the Spearman line deal more damage against Camels. This puts the Indians at a significant disadvantage against civilizations with strong infantry lines, such as Goths, Japanese, Slavs, and Burmese, as the Indians are heavily dependent on their Imperial Camels in the late-game, due to the lack of access to the Knight line as their main front-line cavalry unit.

Strategy changes in the Definitive Edition[]

Indians received, like all civilizations, the new technology Supplies, which synergizes very well with their cheaper Villagers and gives them a good choice to use swordsmen to protect their strong Camel Riders against Halberdiers.

In update 36906, Indians got their fishermen bonus reduced to 10%, and their extra food carried was removed. This was intended to prevent abuse of the new mechanic of Docks as dropsite for fishermen, as well as wanting more diversity of civilizations in maps where shore fish are abundant (Because Indians were always picked in that maps).

Update 37650 reduced the gold cost of the Elephant Archer to 70 and their reload time of attacks to 2,0. This made them more efficient with the Sultans technology and even firing as fast as Arbalesters or Cavalry Archers, and thus being able to defend themselves better against Halberdiers and other ranged units. Their team bonus was also improved to properly deal damage against all buildings and no longer being blocked by Masonry or Architecture upgrades, making their camels even more effective against buildings.

In update 42848, several changes were made for their main bonuses of camel units; the extra pierce armor granted to only Camel Riders now includes Light Cavalry and is extended to +2 in the Imperial Age, but at the cost of losing Plate Barding Armor. This makes their Light Cavalry a strong unit to raid in the Castle Age and to fight off archers backed by their cheaper Villagers and their Camel Riders like always, but in the Imperial Age, the pierce armor of both Hussars and Imperial Camels is the same as other civilizations with Plate Barding Armor, while their melee armor is lower, meaning that both are more prone to units with high melee attack (For example, a Lithuanian Paladin with all 4 Relics collected can deal 20 damage to the Imperial Camel). However, this has little impact to the Imperial Camel, as they are already a deadly unit to any cavalry unit, but also more prone to infantry. The team bonus was reduced to 4, which makes them less effective against buildings. All of these changes had the purpose to balance team games, because the Imperial Camel can completely destroy the enemy Paladins from the pocket positions and being able to survive a long time against arrows and even kill archers due to their speed, giving to their team a huge advantage and viewed as a totally unbalanced unit.

Strategy changes in Dynasties of India []

Hindustanis (formerly Indians) were almost completely overhauled. They still retain advantages for Camel Riders and gunpowder, while still being able to boom, as they kept their Villager discount bonus, despite the fact they lost their fishing bonus.

The Elephant Archer was replaced with the Ghulam as their Castle unique unit. The Ghulam is an infantry with good pierce armor and movement speed with attack bonus against archers, and its attack can damage the unit behind its main target, which makes them an excellent response against masses of archers. This attack mechanic can be compared to the Incan Kamayuk, but in the Ghulam's case, they lack range, and for the attack effect to take place, they need to have two units aligned one behind the other.

They lost their free armor bonus for the Camel Riders, but it was replaced with a faster attack bonus and access to Plate Barding Armor. This makes Hindustanis' Imperial Camel Riders more effective when raiding, but their upgraded pierce armor is now slightly delayed, requiring it to be researched first. Their team bonus now only gives +2 attack vs building to the Camel Riders, but it also applies to their Light Cavalry line. This change is very significant, especially for the early game, since Hindustanis are better able to do a Feudal Age Scout Cavalry rush, in which they can now tear down some early buildings; this change also enables Hindustanis to have more and better team synergies (see Alliances).

They also gained access to the new regional unit, the Siege Elephant, in replacement for rams. Siege Elephants are treated by the game as a cavalry unit rather than a siege weapon, with all that implies, except that for converting, an enemy Monk has to be next to it (just like rams). Siege Elephants move faster than rams, and they have a better attack against units than the rams.

In regards to their gunpowder units, now they have +1/+1 armor and Shatagni gives +2 more range to Hand Cannoneers. Their ranged siege weapon of choice should be now the Bombard Cannon, as they are slightly more resilient than others, and their Hand Cannoneers are more resilient while having more range.

They also have a unique building, the Caravanserai which heals, and increases the movement speed of allied Trade Carts (see alliances).

However, the Hindustanis navy power have been greatly nerfed, as they removed the Heavy Demolition Ships, Dry Dock. and Heated Shot. This cannot be compensated by the more armored Cannon Galleons.


Largely considered a booming civilization, Hindustanis excel in pocket position and as the spring in a Springboard strategy. This does NOT mean that they function poorly in a 1v1 situation. Cheaper Villagers mean more food in the bank to spend on scouts in the Feudal Age and their powerful camels in the Castle Age.

In team games, a standard Fast Castle often isn't the wisest idea, as it leaves the economy short of where it could be by staying in the Feudal Age a little bit longer. The players must get the resources and spare Villagers to quickly build the required structures to advance to the Imperial Age while waiting for the Castle Age, and enough spare resources before advancing to the Castle Age that the Imperial Age is affordable immediately after Castle Age research is complete and the required buildings built. It's important to not try to age up too fast, otherwise the player may end up economically deficient. Hindustanis are perfect as both Springs and Springboards in Springboard tactics, as they have a solid economy and great Castle and Imperial Age units and tech tree.

As a teammate, Hindustanis provide allied Camels and Light Cavalry +2 attack bonus to buildings. This bonus is helpful for civilizations that have access to Camels, but more especially for civilizations that have specific Camel and or Light Cavalry bonuses and unique upgrades, like the Berbers, Malians, Saracens, Gurjaras, and Byzantines for the former and Poles, Mongols, Huns, Burmese, and Tatars for the latter; Poles and Mongols also provide team bonuses for light Cavalry (+1 attack vs archers and +2 LOS respectively) so is a good idea to make a team including these three civilizations. The same logic applies to the Gurjaras (team bonus: faster training speed for elephant and camel units) and Huns (Stables work faster). The Hindustani team bonus is useless to Native American civilizations.

Hindustanis technically have a secondary team bonus in the form of their unique building, the Caravanserai. The Caravanserai is a building that improves the movement speed of allied Trade Carts while also heals them within a ten tile range from the building. This can boost gold generation for all the team, not just the Hindustanis; and this bonus can stack up with the Spanish team bonus that improves the gold production from trade units, the Bohemian team bonus that improves the work rate of the Market, so Trade Carts are created faster, and the Bengali team bonus which enables trade units to generate food alongside gold. Indeed, a team that contains all of these four civilizations may arguably have the best trade of all the game. Hindustani Caravanserais may also prove valuable for other civilizations with their own trade bonuses, such as Saracens and Italians. Caravanserais are an investment, so the team should protect those buildings.

Being a gold-hungry faction; Hindustanis benefit greatly from team bonuses regarding Relics, especially since their unique technology Grand Trunk Road increases all gold collection by 10%. In this regard, the Aztec team bonus (more Relic gold), the Burgundian team bonus (Relics generate food alongside gold) and the Burmese team bonus (they reveal the locations of Relics for their allies) have to be considered when forming the team.

Being a civilization with bonuses for gunpowder, Hindustanis benefit greatly from the Turkish team bonus that boosts the production of gunpowder units. Also the Britons' team bonus, and the Celt team bonus help the Hindustanis to faster spawn their Hand Cannoneers and Bombard Cannons, respectively.

Compared advantages and disadvantages[]

Advantages vs other civilizations[]

  • As Hindustanis have several bonuses for Camels (+2 attack vs buildings and faster attack) and can upgrade them to the Imperial Camel Riders, they can effectively counter any cavalry based army, so civilizations that may rely on cavalry, Elephants or Cavalry archers (like Franks, Magyars, Burmese, Khmer, Persians, Mongols and Huns) will have a hard time against Hindustanis, especially in the early Imperial Age. The Lithuanian Leitis, however, may be in part an exception, as they ignore the armor the Imperial Camel Riders have. Hindustanis also have complete upgrades for Cavalry Archers, so they can raid effectively in the mid-game with armies composed of Camel Riders and Cavalry Archers. Civilizations with regular mid-game (such as Spanish) may have a hard time against them.
  • As they have a great late-game economy, thanks to Grand Trunk Road and their cheaper villagers, while also having good Hand Cannoneers, they can effectively counter almost any kind of infantry (except Italian Condottieri; see in disadvantages), particularly in the late-game, so civilizations like Aztecs, Goths, Celts, and Vikings may struggle against a late-game Hindustanis Army composed of Hand Cannoneers.
  • As they have almost all Infantry upgrades (only lacking the last armor upgrade at Blacksmith) they have good Champions that may aid against trashing civilizations such as Magyars, Berbers, Vietnamese, Malay, and Byzantines. Also, their Halberdiers add more anti-cavalry capacity to their army, considering they also have great camelry.
  • Hindustanis have all upgrades for Hussars and Skirmishers and only lack the last armory upgrade for infantry, so they have a fairly good trash army late-game. Civilizations with bad trash units or that lack champions will have a harder time in the super-late-game against Hindustanis.

Disadvantages vs other civilizations[]

  • Since they completely lack the Knight line, and despite the fact that their camels may fill to some extent that role, Towers and castles still deal bonus damage against them, so civilizations with good Towers and/ or castles (like Koreans, Chinese, Japanese, Incas and Teutons) can counter a Hindustani raid effectively.
  • They have lackluster defenses and poor early-game, so civilizations with either early aggression (such as Huns and Aztecs) or civilizations with good siege units (such as Ethiopians or Celts) may destroy a Hindustani town with ease, especially in open maps like Arabia and if starting from Dark Age.
  • Italians can be a very unpleasant rival for Hindustanis. First of all, they have Condottieri that can counter both Hand Cannoneers and Bombard Cannons. Secondly, their Genoese Crossbowmen can counter Camel Riderss.
  • Mayans, Incas and Aztecs have Eagle Warriors that can effectively counter Camel Riders, Bombard Cannons, Cavalry Archers, thanks to their speed and pierce armor, as well as having bonus damage against cavalry, siege and camels.
  • Regarding naval, they lack the Shipwright and the Fast Fire Ship upgrades, so they may lose at late-game against civilizations with either access to those technologies or that have cheaper boats (like the Vikings), or civilizations with late game sustainable economy (like the Malay and Portuguese). Since they don't get any naval bonus, aside of their fishermen working faster, they can be easily defeated by civilizations such as Berbers, Malay, Portuguese, Italians and Vikings in water maps.

Situational advantages[]

  • As they have bonuses for gunpowder and camels, a tanky unique unit, and a strong Imperial Age economy, Hindustanis are well suited for Post-Imperial Matches.
  • In Death Matches, as Gold scarcity is not an issue, they can more freely spam their Camel Riders and Gunpowder units.
  • In the Budapest map, as every player starts with 2 Town Centers, Hindustanis may get an edge, since their villagers are cheaper, so they can boom their economy much faster in that map. Their villager discount bonus may also aid in low-resource settings, as they aren't as constricted on food for producing villagers as other civilizations may be. As the villager discount bonus is stacked, if Hindustanis start on Feudal Age onwards they can get more out of this particular bonus.
  • Similarly to Turks, if playing in maps with rich gold deposits (such as Golden Pit or Gold Rush) Hindustanis should go and take over the mines, as thanks to Grand Trunk Road, they can gather that gold 10% faster so they may neglect to their opponents getting that gold.
  • As any other late-game civilization, Hindustanis may take an advantage in densely forested maps such as Black Forest, as they can wall up early, then develop their economy and then attack. The same logic applies to maps like Arena and Fortress, in which players starts already walled.