|“||No combat; the first player to build a Wonder wins||”|
|—Age of Empires II description|
Wonder Race is a game mode introduced in Age of Empires II: The Conquerors. The first player to build a Wonder wins. All players are allies and cannot change the diplomatic stance, so they cannot attack each other. They are also barred from creating any units that may cause indirect damage, including Petards and Mangonels. Walls and Gates cannot be built in this mode, to prevent players from walling off resources from other players.
Military units are essentially not needed to operate in this game mode, with the players rather having to invest into a powerful economy, accumulate great amounts of resources, and advance through the Ages as fast as possible. When they reach the Imperial Age, they will use all available resources (which includes exchanging resources at the Market) to build a Wonder; and the first one to complete the Wonder instantly wins the game. There is no countdown.
Some civilizations have distinct advantages, allowing them to operate better at Wonder Races than others, either due to economic bonuses, or others. Preferably, a good Wonder Race civilization should have the Treadmill Crane available, and/or some other advantage. These civilizations include:
- Burmese - Lumber Camp upgrades are free.
- Byzantines - Advancing to the Imperial Age is 33% cheaper.
- Celts - Lumberjacks work 15% faster.
- Ethiopians - Receive 100 food and gold for every Age advance.
- Incas - Buildings (including the Wonder) cost -15% stone.
- Indians - Villagers get progressively cheaper throughout the ages. This allows more villagers to be produced, less focus on food, more focus on all other resources, and more villagers to build a wonder.
- Italians - Advancing in Age is 15% cheaper.
- Khmer - No buildings needed for Age advance.
- Koreans - Stone Miners work 20% faster.
- Malay - Advancing in Age is 80% faster.
- Malians - Buildings cost -15% wood. Gold Mining is free.
- Persians - Start with +50 food and +50 wood. Town Centers work 10%/15%/20% faster in the Feudal/Castle/Imperial Age.
- Saracens - Market trade fee set to 5%.
- Spanish - Builders work +30% faster. However this effect is reduced on Wonders, becoming only 20%.
- Turks - Gold Miners work 15% faster.
- Vikings - Wheelbarrow and Hand Cart are free.