Age of Empires 3 is the sequel to the incredibly popular and timeless Age of Empires 2. Although the game originally released soon after the turn of the century, a recent remastering of the game has brought it back to the spotlight.
One of the strengths of the game is that it is very well balanced. There are not really any overpowered or trash civilizations to play. While this is great for gameplay, especially competitive gameplay, it does make choosing the absolute best civilization quite difficult.
Therefore, I have decided on a compromise approach. I will choose what I think are the top 3 civilizations to play in Age of Empires 3. Without further ado, let’s begin!
1. The Dutch
The Dutch are a great civilization in AOE3. They can get off to an incredibly fast start thanks to their 400 starting coin as well as the fact that they don’t train villagers with food but rather with coin. This means that they can save all of their food income to move up to the next age very quickly.
In addition to their fast start, the Dutch have a great unique building: the bank. The Dutch bank generates 2.75 coin per second. For comparison, it would take almost 5 non-Dutch villagers to produce coin at the same rate. With a building limit of 5 banks, the Dutch civilization can passively generate 13.75 coin per second which is the equivalent of nearly 23 non-Dutch villagers!
To further increase coin production Dutch villagers get a +15% mining rate. This is not as useful as it would seem, however, because most players just use the banks to generate their coin so that their villagers can stick to food production which they are most efficient at.
However, keep in mind that passive resource gain is superior to villager generated resource gain because there is no idle time. There is no waiting on a villager to find a resource node, harvest it, and deposit it into a storage facility. Just automatic continuous resource flow!
Economy aside, The Dutch military is no joke either. Starting in age 2, they can recruit skirmishers which can be upgraded three times while some other civs cannot upgrade them at all. In age 3, they can recruit their unique unit the Ruyter. This is a ranged light cavalry unit that costs more coin than food which has nice synergy with the other Dutch bonuses.
In summary, the Dutch are all about economy and speed. They can get off to a lightning start economically and, as with most other RTS titles, an early economic lead can often snowball into victory.
2. The British
The British are another civilization that can get off to a booming start. They begin the game with 300 food and 300 wood. Their early economy is very strong because of their unique building the manor house. The manor house functions as a house but with an important difference. Upon construction, it spawns a villager. This can lead to some serious snowballing or booming. A card that the British can play, the Virginia Company card, further adds to this boom by reducing the wood cost of manor houses by 35%.
After getting to age 2 and with a booming economy thanks to their villager production, the British can focus on their military. And they have some great units. The longbow’s high range makes it especially useful. Their musketeers can also be upgraded several times which makes them superior to other civs’. These in tandem can make an aggressive British player very dangerous in age 2.
In summary, the British economy can really take off right from the start of the game with their villager count. Additionally, age 2 military units like the longbow and upgraded musketeer mean that they can dominate the early game when opponents are still not ready.
3. The Inca
The Inca begin the game with 400 food and 400 wood. Right away Inca players should build their unique building the Kancha House. This is a house replacement that passively produces .6 food per second. With the Chicha Brewing upgrade card this can be improved to .96 food per second. If built up to the limit of 12, Incan Kancha Houses can generate 7.2 food per second. This is the equivalent of what 8.5 villagers can produce. With the Chincha Brewing card 12 Kancha Houses will produce 11.5 food per second. It would take nearly 14 villagers to match that production. And as I mentioned earlier, passive resource income beats villager generated income.
Where the Inca really shine, however, is their military. To begin with, all of their military units can be garrisoned in Kallankas and strongholds. The stronghold is a defensive structure that increases its ranged attack the more units you have garrisoned. This means that Incan strongholds can deal quite a bit of ranged damage to opposing units. The stronghold also has the benefit of giving your units a place of refuge. This means the Incan player doesn’t have to get very intricate with their army design. They don’t need anti-cav units etc. because they will always have the safety of the stronghold should they need it.
That allows them to spam one of their great units the Huaraca. The Huaraca is an Incan unique siege unit. It does ranged and siege damage which makes it very lethal. Enemy units that have a lot of ranged defense will still be vulnerable because of the two damage types it deals. Their ability to garrison in and out of strongholds allows a competent player to dodge enemy attacks with micro. This combined with their hybrid damage dealing makes them one of the most effective units in the game.
In summary, the Inca will generate food in a hurry. This allows them to faster reach age 3 where they can train a world-beating military and conquer at will.
So there it is. My list of the top 3 civilizations in Age of Empires 3. This is not a definitive list. I’m sure some will disagree with my choices. That is fine. There are many outstanding civs in this game. The game balance is one of the things that makes the game great! Until next time!