Civilization Craft: Tibetans

Remind me to avoid China after this is posted.

The Tibetans represent the Tibetan Empire, as well as the various religious groups based in Tibet. The empire itself only lasted from 618-842, but it remained a military power in the region, albeit fractured and divided.

In terms of actual combat strength, the real Tibetan Empire had a big focus on heavy cavalry. This is reflected in the game, with the Tibetans having strong cavalry. Another notable feature of Tibet was its heavy monastery presence, which is also reflected in-game.

I went back and forth a while about whether to give the Tibetans the East Asian architecture or Southeast Asian architecture, but decided that the East Asian architecture would fit a lot more.

The Wonder for the Tibetans would be Samye, the first Tibetan Buddhist monastery.

Civilization Bonuses:

  • Can train Yaks from the Town Center
  • Elite Steppe Lancer upgrade free
  • Monks and Monasteries available in Feudal Age [Note: Monks cannot pick up relics until the Castle Age, and convert much more slowly in the Feudal Age]
  • Monks cost -10% in Feudal, -20% in Castle, and -25% in Imperial Age

Team bonus: Start with a Yak

Unique Units: Depon (cavalry with extremely high pierce armor), Yak (herdable)

Unique Technologies: Lamellar Armor (Knights +4, Steppe Lancers +8 anti-cavalry armor), Golden Arrow Warriors (infantry +5 attack vs other infantry)

Tech Tree Notes:

Tibetan infantry is pretty good, actually. Although they lack the Champion, their Two-Handed Swordsmen are fully upgraded, and they have access to the Halberdier. Their infantry gain anti-infantry bonus damage after Golden Arrow Warriors, making their Two-Handed Swordsmen almost on par with Champions. Overall, their infantry is quite good.

The archers, though, are quite abysmal. They’re the third civ to completely lack Crossbowmen, they don’t have Heavy Cavalry Archers, Hand Cannoneers, Parthian Tactics, or Ring Archer Armor. Avoid their archers.

Their cavalry is quite stellar. Although they are missing Paladins, camels, elephants, and Plate Barding Armor, they are otherwise fully upgraded and their Knight line and Steppe Lancers even gain a bit of anti-cavalry bonus resistance. Their unique unit is also cavalry, and has high pierce armor similar to the Huskarl. The free Elite Steppe Lancer upgrade will give them a bit of a power spike as soon as they hit Imperial. In addition, their Knights are created faster due to Golden Arrow Warriors.

Tibetan siege is nothing particularly of note, only missing the Siege Onager. They do get Siege Engineers, though.

Tibetan Monks are fantastic. They have access to every upgrade, and Monasteries and Monks can be built/trained in the Feudal Age, which makes massing them a lot easier, especially since they get cheaper as the game goes on.

Tibetan defenses are average. They’re missing Keeps and Bombard Towers, but at least have Fortified Walls, Heated Shot, and Arrowslits.

The Tibetan economy is quite good. As a team bonus, they and all their allies start with a Yak, and the Tibetans can train additional Yaks from the Town Center, allowing for potentially infinite and mobile food sources. As a consequence, they lack Crop Rotation, but have all the other economy techs.

Tibetan ships are, unsurprisingly, quite awful. They don’t have Fast Fire Ships, Heavy Demo Ships, Elite Cannon Galleons, or Shipwright.

In conclusion, the Tibetans have a potentially very strong early game, with the capability of training Yaks to augment food production when wood is low and other sources of food are hard to find. They can also build Monasteries in the Feudal Age and train cheaper Monks that only get cheaper as the ages go on. In the late game, they get fully upgraded Cavaliers with some anti-cavalry resistance and faster creation time, extremely arrow-resistant Elite Depons, and swordsmen that are trained really quickly.

Stats and Costs:

Depon Stats:

HP: 100, 115 (Elite)
Attack: 8, 10 (Elite)
Attack Bonuses: +5 vs Archers
Rate of Fire: 1.8
Armor: 0/6, 0/8 (Elite)
Speed: 1.33
LOS: 3

Cost: 85 food, 75 gold
Training Time: 10 seconds
Elite Upgrade Cost: 1250 food, 1000 gold

Yak Stats:

HP: 14
LOS: 2
Maximum Food: 150

Cost: 30 food
Training Time: 6 seconds

Lamellar Armor Cost: 500 food, 230 gold
Lamellar Armor Research Time: 45 seconds

Golden Arrow Warriors Cost: 1000 food, 850 gold
Golden Arrow Warriors Research Time: 60 seconds

Historical Explanations:

The Yak team bonus and civ bonus represent how the domestic yak is a herd animal very common to see in Tibet.

While the Tibetans having Steppe Lancers may seem odd, the Steppe Lancers’ extremely long spears represent how Tibetan cavalry would fight using very long lances, and the free Elite upgrade reinforces that.

Monks and Monasteries are available in the Feudal Age as a reference to how Tibet very early on converted to Buddhism and started building monasteries. They’re also cheaper as a further nod to this fact.

The Depon is named after nobility that were descended from the ancient royal families, but the unit itself represents heavy Tibetan cavalry, which was heavily armored with lamellar that could not be harmed by either swords or bows. This is represented by the unit’s extremely high pierce armor.

Speaking of lamellar, it was worn by regular cavalry as well, so Knights and Steppe Lancers receive some of the Depon’s anti-cavalry bonus resistance, but not any extra pierce or melee armor.

Golden Arrow Warriors is a reference to the part-time officers in the Tibetan military who were signified by golden arrow insignias. They were, naturally, quite good at what they did, and Tibetan infantry gain anti-infantry bonus damage as a reference to this.


Only going to talk about 1 thing here. The Imp UT is the most broken thing ever. Castles can be converted??? That’s so unbalanced. And monks not needing a cooldown? Also really broken.


Well, it is really expensive, so I felt it should be strong, but you might have a point.

I think what we could really use is a different type of monk on top of a regular one. A more powerful, more range, more HP monk called a Lama which would be a second UU for the Tibetans, similar to the Imperial Camel for Hindustanis. And we should really get a different building set - Tibetan which could apply to the Mongols and Tibetans. That is the only way to do the Tibetans justice. Their architecture is rather unique - plaster white walls with red and gold roofs. Their monasteries should also be called Gompas. Having unique versions of the basic buildings is now an established train in AOE2DE. Folwark being one example.

The lama UU could look something like this.

As for the Depon, how do you propose it looks sufficiently different from the Keshik, or Steppe Lancers? Maybe with some feathers and a big scimitar like blade and heavy stiff armour? Like the third one below.

Other sources

One more thing, besides representing the Tibetan Empire proper, this Tibetan civ could also represent Ladakh, Guge, Bhutan, Zhangzhung, the Tanguts and other polities of the Silk Road which the Empire dominated for several centuries.

I had thought of that but thought it might be too awkward. Maybe we could go the current DLC route and just have a unique Castle design.

Well, for one thing, I thought maybe it could wield a sword instead of a lance. And based on the firsthand descriptions of Tibetan armored cavalry, it could be fully covered in armor, with only the eyes visible. Not sure what to do in terms of flair, though. Edit: I just thought of including the peacock feather at the top like in your examples.

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Not too awkward. There is a Mongol building set made for AOKHD on Steam which captures something similar to the Tibetan architecture.

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Hmmm, good to know about that!

Would anyone train a monk if it cant take relics?

Make a monastery in feudal → Train monks while going up → get most relics instantly when reaching castle, it’s extremely OP on Arena


I absolutely love this bonus, one of the greatest powerspikes this game hasn’t still introduced us to yet.
It’s totally balanced and highly doable.

I really dont understand this one, it barely makes any sense considering its current stats, most importantly the training time, 12 is way too much, it’s half a villager for a food source of income that’s so annoying to micro.
If you wish it to be utilizable, make it 6 seconds training time, or else being half villager behind for something like 100 food that you need to gather, hmmm, not sure how worth it is.

Monks must have 3 range though, or else it’d be abusable. No matter how slow the conversion rate is, the healing itself makes monks worth training. With ALT+RightClick you can idle so much vills from 9 range, it’d make Trushing so cancerous.
In a tournament earlier this year they had this feature, Monks had 3 range if I’m not mistaken.

That’s very nice, I’d even go further and make it 15% 25% 35%. So it’d feel a little different from Portuguese in Castle Age.

So basically Castles only? since TCs have Murder Holes for free.
I dont like this one to be honest. It’s a gimmick, you need your enemy to not pay attention, you rely on mistakes rather your own sheer strength?
I think they have enough Monk bonuses to be justified as the most unique Monk civ in the game. (cheapest monks, Feudal Monks), It’s like giving Camel Scout in Feudal Age to a civ that already has an Imperial Camel. Kinda on the over-doing side of things. I think this civ deserve an UT that’s not related to Monks.

Just +2? To make Steppe-Lancers stronger vs Camels and Genoese? It feels like a passive civ bonus. Steppe Lancers with Anti-Cav armor sounds great to me. They’re already weak vs. Archers, so it’s fully balanced, you can go further with the numbers, I’d make it +4. Camel does 15 damage to Steppe, that’s tons.

Hauberk Cavalier practically? which is a bad design as itself, Hauberk gives us the Tarkaphract, which is an unit that cant really be countered. (Resistant to everything [Camels, Pikes, Archers, Generic Cavalier, Hussars, Most UU and even Monks] but Paladin)
I think we yet to have a mounted-Huskarl kind of an unit, the closest we’ve got is Tarkan, by giving it these extreme amounts of pierce armor you basically almost justifies it place. You needed something more to make it a complete design, however you chose the wrong feature in my opinion, with Anti-Cavalry resistance he’s way too much of a Hauberk.
I’d even do the opposite. Give him an hidden Armor-Type nerf, just like Elephant Archers have. Like Cavalry Armor (-5). To proffesionalize its role against ranged units/buildings.
I’d also have him have 0 melee armor.

Cataphract is a good example of a well rounded design, unlike Haurberk, its counterable, almost imposible to beat in a melee fight, however melts to ranged units. I wish there was a cavalry unit that serves the opposite purpose.

Instead of Attack Bonus Resistance, I’d give him just another trait. I know you got there a nerative with the UT, quite a synergy, but doesnt quite fit this unit.

This is cute. That’s also a nice tech tree that might be able to posses the “Free Elite Skirmisher” bonus. Since this civ has absolutely no Castle Age presence, just like Japanese, feels generic. Similarly to Mongols, however, Mongols at least have Mangudai at this stage which is extremely playable and user-friendly.

This civ lacks at least one bonus, I wish to see something that’s neither Monk nor Cav. For the sake of spiciness, artistic randomness.

That’s great, we need a Steppe Lancer civ that has a BBC, unlike the other 3. I’d even take away their Siege Ram (1. Since all other Steppe Civs have Siege Ram, for the sake of diversity, 2. Many civs that have BBC dont have access to Siege Ram) Perhaps their Imperial Unique Tech can have some bonus to BBC(?) it’d be a nice moment historically, Tibetians vs. Chinese, who lack access to BBC ironically. (though dont take this suggestion too seriously)

Overall I like this design, I’d love to play them, I personally love Monks, massing them on the way to Castle Age is such a nice of a decision to be made since they’re getting cheaper once you advance, I love strategic price for bold decisions. The Yak one is potentially the perfect eco bonus, a versatile one and short-term one, with a price, basically idling the TC for “free” food source. The question here is how much seconds of “idle” TC, that’s the key here.
I love the emphasis over Steppe Lancers, they need this Anti-Cav armor bonus so badly, I can easily see a nice Skirm+Steppe composition, overall the emphasis on military (including monks) is so nice, just like Magyars, no fancy eco bonus.
With some adjustments this civ can be a bomb.

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You mean 8+4 pierce armor in imp? This is too strong. Even FU mangudai deal 1 damage to them. But good civ craft overall.

It can still heal and convert, albeit at a slower rate.

@AllergicTable49, first of all, thank you for your kind feedback. This is my most recent civ brainstorm, and I think it really shows in how polished it is from the start.

All right, I’ll half the training time, and I can also reduce the cost by 5 or even 10.

Ah, yes. Good point.

I hadn’t thought of that. I figured brute forcing a conversion with tons of cheaper Monks would be a great option, but I guess they’re still too expensive to justify that.

I wanted to have Dalai Lama as a tech since it’s an iconic part of Tibetan culture, but I can alter or overhaul it if I think of something better.

Good point. I will increase it to +4.

I wanted to emphasize how lamellar armor was strong against both swords and bows, but I see now having resistances to both is just way too strong. I’ll remove the secondary gimmick, which will make Lamellar Armor more unique anyway.

I don’t like that idea. I think even Elephant Archers shouldn’t have negative armor, because it makes them too weak. The only unit IMO that should have negative armor is the ram.

I see. I will make the appropriate adjustments when I get the chance.

It’s meant to be a mounted Huskarl, so having such extreme pierce armor is intentional.

But goths don’t have last infantry armor, so huskarls have 8+2 max pierce armor. Mangudais, magyars CA, plumed archers, can deal 2 damage per shot to husks. That’s a big deal. In addition of anti-cavalry armor, it will really hard to kill this unit.

Yeah but huskarls trade off is they arent that great in melee.

Meanwhile your uu has 12 attack in castle, 13 base attack in imp, 1.8 attack speed, resistance to anti cav damage, and costs less then a knight.

Is it going to beat paladins, boyar, or leitis? No.
But itll be a cost effective trade against most cavalier, beats most knights in castle age, and is just all around strong for s unit so cheap on gold and its LOW training time.

For a unit that is supposed to be a mounted huskarl id expect lower base attack with bonus vs archers.

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Not to mention the fact that the castle age version will beat Knights, the imp will trade cost effectively with most cavaliers and the low gold cost and training time means you can flood these hard and not worry about throwing them away.

For a huskarl type unit it seems more well rounded then it should be

I think in Feudal age there’s less of a reason to try to convert any unit, since most units you want to convert are only available after you reach Castle Age.

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Good points. I actually took away the last cavalry armor upgrade initially, so I can do it again.

I see. I will reduce the attack for sure and increase the cost. I’ll also remove the anti-cavalry bonus resistance.