Chinese Potential Arsenal and Manchu Training

So I am a China main, actually went to school for Chinese history, speak Mandarin, yadda yadda, thus, I play China a lot. I recognize that they’re mid-tier at best and have some super weaknesses. In my opinion, the largest problem they face is the lack of anything close to an arsenal. Some of the Native American civs get arsenals, the Japanese get one, why do the Chinese and Indians not have one? Especially when the Chinese constructed massive, western-style arsenals during the Self-Strengthening Movement. Here are my suggestions, let me know what you guys think. I don’t want to create an overpowered scenario, just one more historically accurate and one that is more playable.

1, China cannot have ALL the same tech as the Advanced Arsenal. This is because Counter Infantry Rifling and Repelling Volley would give the Chinese skirmisher a x4 multiplier against infantry. That would be too much.

2, the Chinese need Military Drummers and Trunion. Their artillery, their native artillery like the Flying Crow, are too slow and too frail to be used with versatility. If they were only a little faster, 10, 15% faster, they’d be more viable. Their slow speed makes their TEAM Engineering School almost pointless for them. I find myself sending 20 Steppe Riders in to destroy buildings and using Flying Crows only for defense, like protecting my fort.

3, the Chinese arsenal could either be a new building, named after the historic Fuzhou Arsenal, or it could be available at the Confucian Academy wonder, which is a university, where tech research could take place.

Oh and the Chinese should be able to train Manchus natively, even if it requires a card. The flag the Chinese use is the Qing dynasty flag, the Qing was founded by Manchus. Their exclusion as a default unit is historically inaccurate. If the Swedes can get Jaegers and Black Riders with an age-up, and the Dutch get the godlike Fusilier and Elmeti, the English get Jaegers and Harquebusiers, why can’t the Chinese get Manchus and Iron Troops? The Japanese get their shinobi, ronin, yojimbo, etc, etc, and they barely need to spend resources.

Oh and, obligatory remark about the Iron Flail, I hate that unit lol. Cuirassier + Lancer + low stats = Iron Flail. I find they’re only good against some Native American civs, like the Inca especially.


I am not sure about Military Drummers, because Old Han and Territorial army, with all upgrades, are already super strong.
They definitely need Trunion, and Cavalry Cuirass, though. Chinese Cav is just bad, and I have tried many times to make it work.
Mongolian Armies are only decent after the Veteran upgrades, and even then only against small groups of enemy Cavalry or Artillery.

If it was up to me, I woulld give them an Weaponmaker building, that would have:
-Cavalry Cuirass
-Ranged Cavalry Caracole
-Heated Shot

Nah, they already have Keshiks for that.


I agree with what are you are saying. It is rather odd that the Manchus are not enabled for the Chinese Civ and enabling arsenal upgrades is not a bad idea to make China a little more viable past FF.

But I think the main problem with China, especially in the late game, is the Banner Army system. The intention of the system is to allow China access to hard to counter unit compositions at a reduced cost. But the reality is that BA leaves China extremely vulnerable to unit spams. It takes too long and cost too much counter spams when half the units you make are useless for the purpose and also takes up valuable resources and population space. This serious flaw is exacerbated by the low hps of chinese units meaning that what little counter units you manage to train are very quickly deleted by your opponent’s mass. This is the real reason China is weak against massed cavalry. To make china viable in the late game the banner system must be fixed.

I think best way to resolve the BA problem is to bypass it via a card in the industrial age. And we have the perfect card for it too - Western Reforms. Instead of increasing the attack + hp of all units by 8 percent this card should be change to “enables the construction of barracks and stables where units can be trained individually

Some of you might think that change would make China too powerful in the industrial age when combined with the Old Dynasty Reform and you would be right. Right now that the biggest thing holding back the ODR from being too OP is the inability for China to spam single units. My solution is to simply change the ODR to “enables arsenal+advanced arsenal and the training of manchus”. The ODR was introduced to compensate chinese military weakness in the late game but it does not do a very good job except for giving china a brief power spike in industrial and we all know the real cause of the chinese military weakness is the banner armry system. So without the banner army system the ODR is not really necessary.


You have mentioned that the counterifle infantry would give arqubuses 4X but this is not true as arqubuses are not included in the list of units the tech affects. However, CIR does affect the Germans Needle Gunners and the British Rogers Rangers which Chinese can get from the consulte and current those units are underpowered in the late game as they only do 2x vs heavy infantry. So I think Chinese could use CIR and it would not make the Arqubus OP.

Also I agree that the Iron Fails are the too underpowered. Their small 1 area damage does not justify their measly 19 base damage. They are murdered by other hand cavlary in addition to heavy infantry and ranged cavalry. They are also bad against artillery and buildings. They are only good against light infantry. That is too much for too little for a unit that cost 240 food to make. Iron flails would be a much better unit if can stand up to other heavy cavalry. And I think the best way to do this is by giving this unit a 1.5 vs heavy cavalry modifier. So instead of doing 19 damage and getting hit 30 by a hussar the improved IL will be doing 28.5 damage against 30 instead.


The Banner Army system hurts them more in the early and midgame stages. By the lategame, it is actually a better way to spamm units (which is what youreally do at that stage, anyway), specially after sending in Banner School and Acupuncture, because not only do they train fast, but they are also cheaper than than normal 5 unit batches.

This is impossible, as a lot of cards heavily depend on Banner Armies, and there is not enough space in teh War Academy fot all those units and their upgrades.
It would really break how Chinese work.


yeah. I really agree with you. I think some wonders of china do not work at all, like white pagoda. Maybe these wonders can bring some arsenal techs or special techs even better.


China has good Wonders, and even though White Pagoda is the weakest, it is not a bad one.
I think they should get some Armoury upgrades, but not on the Wonder.

I love all of your proposals! I specially agree with the Manchu one. Can’t believe they are using the Manchu flag and you cannot even unlock them in the monastery or have them by default in that one building lol. It also helps a lot with their cav weakness, while still making them vulnerable to it since it’s locked to the Monastery.

If this happens, they should be able to shadow tech or something to stay relevant in the late game, just like most of the Japanese unique units you mentioned. It also helps to round their army compositions in the mists of their banner armies.

As for Iron Flails, I think they should be redesigned to have multipliers against other cav, just like Cheyenne riders, the only cav with this multiplier. Their Mongolian Scourge card should be adjusted accordingly.

Finally, to help them round up their composition vs infantry, I think that flamethrower’s values should be adjusted (maybe in speed and range, but definitively lower their cost/pop). Even Gatling Guns cost 100 wood and 250 gold, (compared to 170 wood and gold) and are waaay more effective.


I would have to disagree on this one. Banner Army is a huge liability in spam wars since you cannot choose which specific unit you can make. For example in post-imperial if I spam dopples you counter with territorial army the result would be you lossing ground. As the changdaos cost you pop space and resources and do nothing against the dopples. And the arques you manage to get out are too few in number to efficently repel the dopples.

I should have worded my proposal a little better. All I am suggesting is that we introduced a card that enable china to train units individually in european style barracks and stables which are enabled to be built by Chinese villagers by the same card. The war academy would still exist and you can still train banner army out of them.

No, the Chinese must have Manchus. The ruling family of the Qing dynasty, were Manchus. Manchu identity was a major debate throughout the Qing dynasty. To not have them is as stupid as the Germans not having musketeers, despite Frederick the Great being famous for drilling his musketeers to fire and reload faster than anyone else. It is a massive historical inaccuracy. It would be like the Ottomans NOT having Janissaries.

Though, the Manchu unit should be more accurate. It should be a heavy cavalry archer, with like a ranged attack of 27 times 3 against cavalry, times 2 against artillery, and then a melee attack of like 50 or something. More like a Hackapell, since the Manchu cavalry of the early Qing wore heavy coats of brigandine armor and were noted for their use of the saber and for using a large, unusually heavy steel arrow, rather than the normal ones that the Mongols used. The Keshik can stay as it is.

And the ranged Cavalry Caracole and Cuirass, I can agree with those but the issue there is, the risk of making the Meteor Hammer too strong. With French allies, with all upgrades, you can get a unit with 500HP, 64 attack times 2 against artillery. Some hussars can’t even break 60 damage. The Meteor Hammer threatens musketeers, skirmishers, villagers, and deletes artillery. It could easily become an overpowered unit. The Iron Flail, on the other hand, could use either another 100HP or a higher attack. Fully leveled, I can’t manage to get my Iron Flails beyond 39 damage. Furthermore, what is their attack bonus? It says times 2 against infantry, but then says times .50 against heavy infantry. So what does that mean? They do 78 to skirmishers and…do like nothing extra to musketeers because, while the double damage to all infantry takes affect, it is then halved by the .50 against heavy infantry, meaning the Iron Flail does 39ish damage to a musketeer. That’s an Imperial age, Exalted, fully leveled up Iron Fail.

I actually really like the Banners, as they are somewhat historical and super effective if managed correctly. What I do is build 8 war academies, highlight them all, hit the Territorial Army army and suddenly I have 24 Arquebusiers and 24 Changdao infantry. The only problem with that is 1, it sucks to have to spend that much on building the actual war academies, and 2 (the more serious problem) is space/room. In a map like the Rockies, that strategy doesn’t work well at all. It would require me to send like 10 villagers up and have them build in a random, wild ring around the enemy camp and swarm in like we’re a single Russian blockhouse lol.

And as for Old Dynasty Reforms, I don’t think they’re that good since the cost of wood is a limiting factor, and it is an intentional nerf (despite the Aztecs now having a card that removes the wood cost on most of their units and replaces it with gold, and they have no means of generating infinite wood like the Chinese do with their factory and Porcelain Tower).

What WOULD be cool is if you could get a card that lets you reassign banners at the fort. You could make 3 Arquebusiers and 3 Chuko nu (Zhuge nu in actual Mandarin). Or 3 Qiang and 3 Changdao or 2 Meteor Hammers and 2 Steppe Riders. To change the composition. But you can’t change it back, you get to choose 2 and it’s only from the fort. Otherwise it would be too power.

The Chinese also should be able to rebuild their fort…everyone else can…especially the Incans.

So in Vanilla AOE3, the Flamethrower was insanely fast but had no durability. Now they’re durable and slow, so they’re the same thing in a different, same situation lol.

And yes, the Iron Flails, I think they should have their damage reduction taken off heavy infantry. They should JUST be Spanish Lancers with less-HP, less attack, but baby splash damage. Fully leveled up, they have about 650HP, 39 attack, times 2 against infantry, times .50 against heavy infantry (Mongolian Scourge Card required). If they had a higher base attack of like 45 when fully upgraded, or NO .50 against heavy infantry, they’d be better. I only use them against the Inca and keep a small unit of them to harass the Aztecs a bit, specifically if I see them using Slingers.

And yeah, almost all of China’s units are glass cannons, really strong at one specific thing and they die nearly instantly. Granted, the Arquebusier is my favorite Chinese unit. I’ll get like 50 of them, and that’s it. Loose formation, no infantry or ranged cavalry can threaten that many. Even the almighty Dutch carabineer can and they’re the best ranged cavalry in the game! 50 Arquebusiers, with about 190HP, 30 attack, times 3 against ranged cavalry, versus 50 carabineers, who only have like 300HP, 30 attack, no bonus against infantry, the Chinese will just delete those annoying Dutch units!

IF the Chinese had access to Military Drummers, that would improve things a lot. The 4.0 movement speed of Arquebusier is a thing that holds it back. I always use Advanced Arsenal and get Strelets with 4.4 movement speed, or the amazing 6.6 movement speed for Espadachin but the Chinese get NOTHING, while the Native Americans get bonuses and the Swedes for NO REASON get the advanced arsenal for free. If everyone needs a card for it, why don’t they?

Well, I’m just saying, for saving space. Since the wonders take up so much physical space. You could make it a separate card, like name it…“Fuzhou Arsenal Works” and it can say “Provides unique arsenal upgrades at the Chinese Confucian Academy.” And make it a age 2 card, that way you can work it in and, it would make the Confucian Academy a bigger target, which I like. We all target factories and economic buildings, but when attacking China, ALL their wonders are good, each one has a threat. Unlike India where I go strait for the Karni Mata, I target that like it’s their only weak spot. The Japanese, I tend to target the Golden Pavilion or the Shogunate.

The White Pagoda, I never use it, ever. It’s a massive waste. If it made it so you could train Manchus and Iron Troops from your War Academies…

They don’t have Musketeers.
Germans and Dutch are the only Euro civs to not have Musketeers or equivalent units.

I really don’t want the Chinese army to improve its quality, because let us remember that its special characteristic is quantity over quality!
If I agree to add some kind of mechanics in the late game that allows the units to be produced individually, but only and as long as they have an adjusted cost and not with a cost as if it were trained as a flag.

Yeah, I know, and that’s historically inaccurate. King Frederick the Great of Prussia was famous, historically, factually, for the skill of his musketeers. He is the AI personality to present the German people. I get that they don’t have them in the game for balance reasons but then they gave the Dutch the Fusilier, who with all their upgrades, can get like 450HP, 110 ranged attack, times like 1.5 against cavalry, and a movement speed of like 6.05.

I get that it’s a game but it also should have SOME historical accuracy.

My biggest complaint is the their movement speed. Particularly the infantry but then again, I favor the Advanced Arsenal because I favor speed. With Military Drummers, the slow, frail, high damage Chinese infantry would have at least some defense.

This is especially jarring since the Indians camel cavalry is somehow faster. Camels are NOT as fast as horses. Average horse runs around 20-30mph, average camel struggles to break 25mph.

Though the best secret to the Chinese, is the card Good Faith Agreements. With that, plus the 2 banner training time reduction cards, plus Immigrants, all consulate units train instantly, so long as you have the export and the space. Sometimes I will wait, let my entire native army get annihilated and then spend 7,000 export, do 3 mouse clicks, and I get like over 20 Gendarmes and 6 horse cannons SUDDENLY, that is a massive benefit. The Indians have that too but the Japanese really don’t need it since their units are overpowered. Well, even their economy is. Somehow they have Terraced Rice paddies, and the Chinese don’t…even though they had them since the Tang dynasty, by like 590AD.

I disagree with your Iron Flail proposal. China is known for being unique and to give them spanish lancer stats with aoe is neither viable nor very unique. A cav multiplier instead would give them a useful role within the Chinese roster. There are plenty of anti-infantry options for China already.

Regarding flamethrowers, that doesn’t sound like much of a solution lol.

I still agree with you about the arsenal.

Yeah, especially considering the Japanese get that very thing with the Golden Pavilion and then they got a Dutch arsenal! Why do they get it and the Chinese and Indians can’t? They complained about vanilla’s lack of balance, how the Spanish, Ottomans, and Russians only had 1 factory, so what did they do, gave them 2 factories like the English and whatnot.

I don’t think China needs two factories, since they didn’t start to industrialize till the 1860s, AND having 1 factory plus the Porcelain Tower, they make up for it. The irony is, the Japanese should have one too, since they started to industrialize around then too but they need more reasons to be top tier. In a treaty game, 60 minutes, Japanese are top dogs. In a team game where they turtle and hold onto their resources till they can afford 50 Ashigaru, that’s it. It might as well be 50 Cuirassier.

Yeah China should be able to rebuild its fort. The current mechanic lets euro explorers rebuild lost forts and its not too OP since the building time is very slow. So I think this could be implemented for the Chinese after getting the fort consulate upgrade. I think it would be nice if we can train units individually in the fort and in the blockhouse since it would bring more variety to china and also make the blockhouse worth getting.

Like I said before the Old Dynasty Reforms is bad and I agree with you that the cost increase (espically wood) is the limiting factor causing this card to be bad. Its only good for buffing you pre-existing army. Although I think a sudden 50 percent increase in early industrial to both attack and damage is rather unbalanced if you had time to mass. I still think this should be the card used to enables arsenal upgrades or even church upgrades in the temple. Perhaps it could be renamed Self-Strengthening Movement to make it more historially relevent.

As for the banner army its a nice idea but the way its implemented causes a serious deadweight loss to the Chinese military so I think a workaround is needed in the late game once all the military shipments dry up.

I also think the changdao have a bit of an identity crisis. Their 5 movement speed is too low for the to function like the rodeleros and their low 120 hp and 15 attack make them too frail and low damaging to protect units like a halberdier. I think it would be better if the changdaos are transformed into a scaled down halberdier unit with 135 hp, 20 attack and 4.5 speed. This would help create different roles for the pikes and changdaos in the chinese army.