Deep in the rainforests of the Yucatan, an intriguing civilization subsisted within the humid climate for centuries before mysteriously vanishing. Establish city-states and crown them with awe-inspiring pyramids, a testament to your rich mythology and the splendor of your rulers. Conquer the jungles with powerful infantry and swift Plumed Archers, deadly marksmen who can elude all but the most mobile enemy troops. Can you build a legacy worthy of your temperamental gods?
The Mayans specialize in foot archers and have a robust economy. Situated in Central America, they were best known for their mysterious disappearance around 900 and their ability to build a great civilization in a tropical rainforest climate. The Mayans were resourceful and were able to utilize a variety of natural resources. Examples include limestone for construction, the obsidian for tools and weapons, jade and quetzal feathers used in the elaborate costumes of Maya nobility as well as marine shells, which were used as trumpets. To reflect this achievement, their resources last longer while their unique technologies El Dorado and Hul'che Javelineers boost their Eagle Warriors and Skirmisher line. The main force of the Mayan army was archers, and they used them extensively. As a result, their unique unit is the Plumed Archer, a fast archer with a small attack bonus against infantry as well as featuring superior armor and hit points.
Due to the way this bonus works (lowered work rates are multiplied by higher resource gains), farming is ~2.5% / 5.5% / 2.5% slower with no upgrades / Wheelbarrow / Hand Cart, respectively (slightly lower difference with Heavy Plow researched).
The Mayans occupied the Yucatan peninsula, modern Honduras, and modern Guatemala. They date back perhaps to the second millennium BC, but peaked between 600 and 900 AD. Though they lived on lands of marginal agricultural value, they created monuments and ceremonial centers nearly as impressive as those in Egypt. The extent of the ceremonial building is surprising because their religion was relatively simple. Their architecture was also less developed, though undeniably impressive, compared to contemporary advances made elsewhere in the world. They invented a unique written language that is only being deciphered today. Three Mayan books survive to the present, the remnants of a much larger number destroyed by Europeans who feared they contained heresy.
The Mayans were very proficient in mathematics and astronomy. The understanding and predictability of star and planet movements was critical to the calculation of their calendar and the dating of important ceremonies. They lived in small hamlets that have not survived but congregated at their centers for important events. Noble warriors and priests controlled their society.
The Mayans went into decline in the tenth century, perhaps due to earthquake or volcanic eruption. Many of their important ceremonial sites were thereafter abandoned. Warriors from central Mexico then invaded their territory and they broke into small town groupings in the rain forest. The last Mayan center was captured by the Spanish in the 17th century, but as many as two million people of Mayan descent reside in the Yucatan today.
The civilization bonus of the Mayans starting with more Villagers is completely negated in maps or gamemodes that only allow a specific number of villagers to exist at the start of a map, though the Mayans still retain the trade-off of starting off with less resources, presenting a disadvantage.
The Mayans are one of the strongest civilizations for open maps in both 1 vs 1 and team games as the flank, due to their solid economic bonus and their military units, which are durable for long battles (their Plumed Archers and Eagle Warriors with the El Dorado technology), but their archer line has the reputation of "New Siege Onagers" because once Obsidian Arrows is researched, their archers become extremely powerful at taking down buildings and defensive structures, which also led to the removal of the double damage against defensive structures in update 42848. Obsidian Arrows ended up being replaced by Hul'che Javelineers with update 44725.
In addition, the Mayans are one of the easiest archer civilizations for beginners. Their good economy and cheaper archers are a great tool. The Plumed Archer is also an easy archer to micromanage thanks to their speed, which also gives them an option to use against archery units.
The Mayans have the least chance to have mounted units. Since their Monks cannot convert Stables, they can't train Xoltol Warriors commonly like the Aztecs and Incas. In most cases,the only mounted units for Mayans are Genitours via a Berber ally or Elite Kipchaks via a Cuman ally when they have Cuman Mercenaries researched.