Age of Empires 2 DE has over 30 different civilisations to choose from, each with unique and special units and techs. So, which civs are best for beginners? Well, that depends greatly on your play style and preferred unit. Whereas some players prefer tanky units such as Knights with a higher HP, some of you may prefer to micro archers with range and safety. Its always a great start to try out a few different civilizations before you get your heart set on one, but for now, let’s cover some of the most recommended beginner civs –
Byzantines are a defensive civilization which is great as a beginner civ as buildings have HP bonuses meaning they can withstand higher damage than other civ buildings. They also have access to the largest amount of the tech tree meaning you have an almost full range of different unit counters and strategies.
Byzantines also get the tech ‘Town Watch’ for free which can be acquired in the town centre. This allows the player to get extra line of sight which is super important in the earlier stages of a match as you can see enemy units at a larger distance.
And finally, units such as Skirmishers, Pikeman, and Camels are cheaper than other civs meaning you can produce these units without needing to mass resources.
Read more about this civilization at – https://ageofempires.fandom.com/wiki/Byzantines
Lithuanians are another great beginner civ, Focusing on Cavalry and Monk production, it holds many benefits to a beginner player. One of the best benefits of playing Lithuanians is the 150 food bonus at the start of the game. This is great for a beginner as it allows a little wriggle room for mistakes and extra food means extra villager production!
Another useful perk of playing Lithuanians is the relic bonus. For each relic captured and placed into your monastery, you gain 1+ attack to knights and Leitis (Castle special cav unit) while also getting a slow but important stream of gold from those captured relics at a rate of 30 gold per minute.
And finally, Lithuanians can produce the Winged Hussar which is a fully upgraded scout at a reasonably cheap cost requiring only food to produce and are a great meat shield when attacking or raiding the enemy.
Read more about this civilization at – https://ageofempires.fandom.com/wiki/Lithuanians
Franks are considered one of the best cavalry civilisations in the game. This is because Castles are 25% cheaper, Cavalry have +20% hit points in Feudal age and knights have +2 line of sight. These are all incredibly useful as a beginner as you can create a defensive and secure base with cheaper castles and cavalry units have a higher HP and can withstand higher attacks.
Another useful thing to know when playing franks is their food eco bonuses. Mill techs are free which means farms last much longer and produce much more food. It is also cost-effective and reduces the amount of re-seeding the farms costing less wood.
Read more about this civilization at – https://ageofempires.fandom.com/wiki/Franks
Britons are an Archer civilisation and have many advantages when learning to play an archer civ as a beginner.
Briton bonuses include a 20% faster work rate in archery ranges, which means you can produce archers at a much faster rate. Britons also have +1 range in the castle age and +2 range in the Imperial age. This is so important when playing an archer civ because your units can reach and kill other archers/skirmishers before they are able to attack you. Britons also have one other super useful tech for archers. Found in the castle, Yeomen tech gives an extra +1 range. This means the Briton archer has the furthest range distance in the whole game.
Another useful bonus to playing Britons is the creation of town centres. At a cost of 50% cheaper wood, this means you can produce more town centres at a less costly rate which means you can produce more villagers faster and more effectively.
Read more about this civilization at – https://ageofempires.fandom.com/wiki/Britons
Mayans are an archer civilisation, starting with 1 extra villager in the dark age meaning more resources at a faster rate which is important at the beginning of the game.
Archers cost -10% in Feudal Age, -20% in Castle Age and -30% in Imperial Age meaning with each Age, you can create more archers at a cheaper price allowing for mass production while keeping a good balance of eco and resources.
As a beginner, you will probably want a good wall around your base for protection. Playing as Mayans allows you to build walls at a 50% cheaper cost which can be incredibly useful when saving stone to build a castle to protect your base!
Read more about this civilization at – https://ageofempires.fandom.com/wiki/Mayans
Ethiopians are an archer civilisation that has a bonus of 18% faster fire rate for archers. This is especially important for early game aggression when facing enemy units such as other archers or knights.
Another bonus to this civ is the extra resources awarded after advancing to each age. Each time you advance, you gain +100 gold and +100 food for free this means you can upgrade the fletching tech in the blacksmith which adds +1 attack and +1 range.
Finally, another important benefit to playing Ethiopians is free upgrades for pikeman. These units are great for countering cavalry which is the most common unit made to counter archers. So, including a couple of Pikeman in your army is really useful!
Read more about this civilization at – https://ageofempires.fandom.com/wiki/Ethiopians
Overall, I recommend trying out a few different kinds of Civilizations. Depending on your playstyle, you may prefer a Calvary civ or an archer Civ. Or even branching out to Gunpower and Siege heavy civs. Whatever your playstyle, there is a civ that will work for you. Trial and error is the best way to find your preferred playstyle and what feels comfortable to you!