This strategy uses China’s advantages to build a quick mass – 20 Cho Ko Nu and 12 Qing Pikemen around 6:20 – and contain your opponent, keeping them off of resources and stopping them from building a large military.
In order to use this strategy effectively, you must perfect the steps below because if you attack your enemy a little too late, you will have squandered your advantage. This strategy is all about sacrificing your economy early in order to put military pressure on your opponent as fast as possible. I suggest trying this against the computer in short, 7~ minute games, several times before you try it online so you can make it run smoothly.
Important note: if you find yourself having to choose between building military and a villager, either because they are competing resources or for pop space when you don’t have many houses, always build military.
Getting Started: As always, gather your food and wood crates and task your villagers to hunting. Do not send out villagers to herd groups of hunt towards your town unless you do not have starting hunt right in your base (like on New England) until you have started advancing to the second age, you must focus all of your villagers seconds on gathering hunt.
Only build one Village! This is vital – you will need to save all the wood you can get for later. Place your Village such that it will protect either villagers chopping wood or gathering food. Don’t forget to send your goat to fatten at your village as soon as it is built.
Gather only relevant treasures. Focus your monk and disciple on gathering wood, food, and xp treasures. Only bother with gold and upgrade treasures if they are very lightly guarded. Do not make any extra disciples until later in the game, unless you are absolutely sure you can get an automatic return on the investment (if there is a 195 food treasure that can only be gotten if you have two disciples).
Eat your herdables! Bring all herdables you can find to fatten at your village, and start gathering food from them when you have around 10 villagers. You shouldn’t need to use up more than 5 herdables this early in the game. Save some for later if you have more than 5.
1st card is 300 food. As you gather this shipment, depending on starting crates and food treasures, you should be pretty close to advancing to the Colonial age. Do not build any villagers in the Discovery age past your 12th villager. You should not have enough food to be queuing a villager and starting to build your wonder.
Advance with the Porcelain Tower. Make sure to have four villagers ready to build as soon as you reach 800 food and start construction on the wonder. Any time in it is not being built when you have 800+ food is time your opponent can build up his defenses.
Organize your villagers for a quick attack.
· As you start advancing, distribute your villagers accordingly:
4 villagers on Porcelain tower
3-5 villagers on food – enough to maintain constant villager production
The rest of your villagers on wood (including all additional villagers from your TC)
You should have three villagers ready to build a War Academy as close to your opponent’s town as possible at the second you advance to the Colonial age. You should also aim to have constant villager production, while having at least 200 wood available once you reach Colonial.
As soon as you advance, gather your food crates with a couple villagers and put everyone else on wood. Set your wonder to generate wood as well (you can do this easily by clicking the wondering and pressing “e”).
2nd card is 700 wood. You should be able to send this at about the time you advance to the Colonial age.
Reorganize your economy and start military production Once you have 185 wood gathered (past the 200 you needed for your War Academy), take all of your villagers (and wonder) and put them back onto food. Build an Old Han Army. Note: do not task your forward villagers to hunting, as this can tip off your opponent that you are in the neighborhood of his base (if he hasn’t scouted you). Gather either berries (if available) or wood with your building villagers.
Begin the attack. As your army is produced, immediately go to harass your opponent. Avoid TC fire and circle his town, knocking him off outside hunts and attack shrines/docks/villages/etc. as it is safe to do so. You’ll have a military advantage over most civs at this point, so you should use it.
Manage your forward base. When your 700 wood shipment arrives, gather it with at least 3 villagers: you want that wood quickly. Train another Old Han Army and build a Village next to your forward War Academy with the villagers you used to build the War Academy. Set your Home City shipment point to this Village.
You should be able to choose your 3rd card after your second Old Han Army arrives, but before your 3rd Old Han Army arrives. There are several options here, depending on what your opponent is doing. The default option is to send the 8 Cho Ko Nu card. However, depending on what your opponent is doing, send either the 7 Steppe Rider or 9 Qing Pikeman card.
Re-reorganize your economy. Around this time your 700 wood shipment will have been mostly used up, so you’ll have to adapt your eco to accommodate for this. If you need to gather wood (and you will), be sure to set your Porcelain Tower to wood before you task any villagers to trees.
Time to push hard. As your 8 Cho Ko Nu shipment arrives (or which ever you’ve sent), you’ll definitely have enough mass to attack your enemy. As stated before, depending on treasures, this should be around 6:20 and you should have 20 Cho Ko Nu and 12 Qing Pikeman. Focus your archers on enemy villagers and any infantry that he might have. Focus Pikeman on houses and protecting your Cho Ko Nu’s from cavalry attack.
Adapt to your opponent. At this point, there are many different things you can do, depending on your opponent’s play. Both the 7 Steppe Rider and 9 Qing Pikemen cards are good options for your 4th shipment. Sometimes an immediate attack won’t be appropriate, so send 600 wood, allowing your villagers to gather hunt instead of slowly chopping trees. I would generally suggest continuing to pump out Old Han Armies, but you might need some Steppe Riders mixed in. Keep in mind that military production takes priority over economic production as you’re trying to maintain your military advantage, pushing his base and keeping him off of resources. In a sense, it doesn’t matter how many more villagers he has than you if they aren’t gathering.
In order that you would send your first three:
8 Cho Ko Nu
Other important cards for your deck. You won’t necessarily be able to fit all of the following. I suggest trying different combinations out to see what works best for you:
Northern Refugees (ships vils – 1st age)
East Indianmen (ships dock rickshaw + fishing boasts cost 70 wood)
7 Steppe Riders
9 Qing Pikemen
Standard Army Hitpoints
Mandarin Duck Squad + 500 food (8 Cho Ko Nu + 1 Flamethrower)
Mongolian Scourge (various boost to cavalry units)
Western Refugees (ships vils)
Repelling Volley (increases Cho Ko Nu and Arquebusier bonuses)