Top 10 Must-Have Civs with Ranking Justification (please change the incomplete, meaningless future civs poll)

Let’s get on with it (from #1 most must-have to #10 least must-have, with Wiki and forum sources):

1. Ottoman Empire / Turks

World’s most powerful Empire lategame (Turks have several large empires in AoE4, Ottomans are the successor of Seljuk Empire), very long-lasting in history, extrmely unique, deep, asymmetric, game-changing as an AoE civ. The Turkish concepts of hybrid nomad-to-settled civ, mathematical asymmetry of weak economy but stronger military units in same proportion, trade interference, battle veterancy, boost troops with a different army band song for each situation could transform Age of Empires. The Ottoman Empire defeated the most major world civs among all civs, fought major powers on 3 continents simultaneously, destroyed the Byzantine Empire and ended the Middle Ages, had 80-90% historical win record against French, English and HRE, besieged HRE capital Vienna twice, defeated many European countries together in Manzikert, Nicopolis, Varna, Preveze etc, destroyed the Bulgarian Empire, the Mamluk Sultanate (which had defeated Mongols 4 out of 5 battles), the Ethiopian Empire, the last Timurids (which disappeared Mongols from history) and the “Fortress of Europe” Hungary. The Ottoman Empire was first and only to use Great Bombards extensively in siege. Matchlock musket is the most important military innovation that ushered in the modern world. Colossal architecture and wonders. The Ottoman Empire was the Earth’s 3rd most populous empire in 1600 after Ming and Mughal India (HRE not a single state), and number 1 in military power. Amazingly, the Ottoman Empire remained a world power until World War I in the 20th century.

2. Persia

The most ancient large, unified Empire in the history of the world, centuries before Han China; Persia is a millenia-old giant of human civilization and an extremely unique, asymmetrical candidate to AoE4 faction. Colossal literary achievements like the Shahnameh (The Book of Kings) tower over much of the world. Absolute supreme architectural sophistication unmatched anywhere deeply, pervasively influenced all of Central Asia, Indian subcontinent, the Middle East, Southeast Asia; the “soft power” of Persia spread further than any other civ on Earth, and this could be game-revolutionary for AoE. In the early centuries of the Middle Ages, dominant Persia had several classical superpower wars against the Byzantine Empire. At the end of AoE4 time, Safavid Persia was again a true world power with massive population, formidable advanced military, and proved the Ottoman Empire’s most challenging foe in many massive wars. Habsburgs/ HRE seriously depended on ally Persia to slow down the Ottoman Empire’s advance into the heart of Europe. The mechanism of “appeal”, probabilistic conversion power by “Masterpieces” (architectural landmarks, literary works) of increasing conversion radius based on “Soft Power Level” (similar to Rus bounty level), could really revolutionize Age of Empires.

3. Byzantine Empire

Longest continuous Empire in history, the cosmopolitan and sophisticated Byzantines are the one and only genuine heir to the Roman Empire. A beacon of light and hope of civilization among the brutal Dark Ages, advanced Byzantine armies criss-crossed Europe and Asia defeating numerous barbarian nations for centuries. Classical superpower rival to Persia and later, more importantly, to the Turks / Ottoman Empire. The titanic, iconic clashes between Byzantines and Ottomans held the attention of the world and defined an era.

4. Mali Empire

By far the largest African empire with hyper-cool and unique architecture of colossal mud palaces and wonders, “Sahara Empire” Mali was the world’s 3rd most populous empire in 1500 (almost 20 million inhabitants) and kings of long-distance trade. Emperor Mansa Musa was the richest man who ever lived.

5. Inca

With 12 million inhabitants in 1500, the super unique, faraway Inca Empire was actually twice as large as the Aztecs then, by far the largest empire in the New World. Fascinating Macchu Picchu is a universal wonder of humankind.

6. Indians / Vijayanagara

India is a timeless civilization; it accounts for 1/5 of humankind nowadays and had many important states in history. Vijayanagara Empire was the most important winner state in South India lategame in AoE4, as well as 4th most populous empire in the world in 1500.

7. Japan

Semi-isolated Japan was basically never an empire during AoE4 time and was often not even a unified country. But the archipelago did hold a large population for centuries and is very hyped and popular in Western mainstream media and entertainment, earning a spot as a marketable civ that could perhaps boost AoE sales. Joseon / Korea is relatively less unique than Japan, therefore less valuable as a candidate civ.

8. Spain / Iberian Union

Spain became a colonial superpower in the New World lategame, interacting much with Inca and Aztecs; perhaps significant naval power Portugal could join an “Iberian Union” civ with Spain. Not highly unique compared to other Western Europe civs though.

9. Ethiopia

I feel Africa deserves two civilizations and Ethiopia is a deep, proud, fascinating ancient civilization and multiethnic empire with unique writing system, government and traditions.

10. Hungary / Italian States (equal-rank alternatives)

Sturdy, legendary strong-army Hungary defeated the Mongols alone and was the medieval “Fortress of Europe” for centuries until its total destruction by the Ottoman Empire in 1526. Wealthy Italian states Naples, Venice, Florence and Genoa could combine together to form a rich and interesting civilization (HRE was not a single country either).


Please no. Just choose one and add that one.

I explained it here, near the end of the OP.

Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t have to be Venice (although it’s my favorite one) it can be any other Italian state. Just don’t make an umbrella civ like aoe2.

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I see. I’ll read your civ suggestion and consider to heed your advice.

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Portugal is unique enough to stand on its own.

Its same thing as you having the Turks and Persians on a Middle East civ.

This is another bias poll asking for the Ottomans.


I think Persians won’t be added, as they are already represented as delhi sultanate.


No it is not the same thing and you know it. The Iberian Union did exist in History. I didn’t know it was controversial?
Plus, the Ottoman Empire was a tricontinental superpower that ruled 15 European nations, not a kingdom in the “Middle East”…
The reason I mentioned it is because I like Portugal, I wanted it represented in the top 10 some way. The other guys didn’t even mention it in their rankings.
Which civ above do you suggest I replace with Portugal? Name it and I’ll consider the change.

This is not a poll. This is a ranking. With data justification. The Ottoman Empire doesn’t need asking for in Age of “Empires”, ranking is fact-based only.

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Delhi Sultanate is Indian people, Indian buildings, Indian elephants, Turkic sultans and rulers.

Nothing Persian. Nothing. Zero, zilch, null.

Except cultural influence of course! Half the world copied Persia, read OP. AoE4 even made them speak Persian for a bizarre reason?

That’s why Persia needs to be on Age of Empires. It is the #2 must-have among all civs. Absolute must-have.


Indians are in my opinion a priority above Persia, persia is sort of already in the game via Abbasids. Sure they can also be added, but I dont think Indians are less priority than a nation of which parts are already in the game.

Also, Hungary doesn’t defeat Mongols, actually, that was one of the darkest periods of Hungary, 40-50 % of the population were killed. Almost everything was destroyed and looted. And I think they don’t fit that well into aoe4.

I know, I know, the Kalmar Union or Norse faction has been asked to death. But I mean if Japan gets to be featured, why not them. Besides the Kalmar Union was large enough, and had plenty of unique culture to differentiate themselves, while also being as culturally advanced as the other European civs; aka not polytheistic raiders and splintered tribes at this point in history.

Another faction could be Lithuania or Poland or Poland-Lithuania. Even though I love the Teutonic Order, I do understand they are attached to the HRE, and people feel like that is justification enough to dismiss them which is fine. However Lithuania and Poland are both important cards in the history of the Baltic, and should be represented. It would be cool to choose to remain as a Pagan country, or become apart of Poland using landmarks and various game mechanics. Perhaps unique units which can only be unlocked if you go one or the other.

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Was that in the 1200s? I think those wars where also a combination of more than just Hungary alone as well. Most of those battles where indeed losses.

Well, it was between 1241-42, and actually, all of them were losses. And I think there is nothing unique in Hungary in that timeline. 14xx would better mb, but i think that’s also not fit to the game. Black army was famous but nothing unique. And we have HRE as a infantry civ, we don’t need one more.

Native american civs would be better, or africans.

For sure. In practice, Mongols only existed in history roughly in the 1200s, by far the most short-lived of all civs. And the only one to disappear completely after this short time.

Only thing I can think of are pavise crossbows, but the french already have them. Damn french, they cover literally almost everything besides melee infantry.

The Iberian Union is not controversial. What is is throwing the Portuguese and Spanish in the same pot when they are different kingdoms, and their Empires were nothing alike.

And the Portuguese was a Global Empire on their own right, not an add up to the Spanish.

This is what bothered me.

As I see it on the other poll the Japanese and Byzantium are top choices.

And it is your ranking, so I expect bias.
I also would like to see Turks added, as they were fierce enemies of Portugal in Asia and by the end of the game timeline, they were indeed a powerfull Empire.

That’s the thing. There are many civs that could be added. It’s unfair to replace one with the other, as it its lumping them together.

This is your ranking.

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A little bit hard to decide if it was short-lived or not. Actually, the khanates what are originated (or direct descendants) from that empire were there until 1847.

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Reality is much more nuanced.

The first time they were utterly unprepared yes, and Mongols happily massacred the Hungarian civilian population after victory, but couldn’t destroy Hungary. At the second Mongol invasion, the Magyars did defeat the Mongols. Hungary was Europe’s strongest army. The legendary country only ceased to exist in 1526 when it became a province of the Ottoman Empire.

Of course it was nothing like the powerful Mamluk Sultanate of Cairo… They won 4 out of 5 battles against the Mongols in open field, at once killing every single Mongolian soldier and dismembering the Mongol chief.

Mongols were totally short-lived. The Golden Horde was Tatar/Turkic, Mongols had zero authority. Also Mogolistan and Ilkhanate was quickly destroyed by Turkic Timurids.

Mongols as a force in history lasted 100 years, all other civs 600-1000+ years.

There is no bizarre reason, the official language was Persian. And they also spoke hindavi, and i think there was a lot more, but these 2 were common.

That’s upside down bud. India is already in the game as DELHI, Persia not at all. But I included a second Indian civ in the ranking, Vijayanagara or “Indians”.

The most illiterate and hilarious notion in this forum ever, is the idea Delhi is Persia. Heaven have mercy… :sweat_smile:

Actually, pavise is not unique to Hungary at all:(

To be honest from gameplay point of view, We have, infantry civ (HRE), Nomads (Mongols), bombard civ (like Chinese), Research-based, (Delhi sultante), city builder ( Abbasid with golden era bonus) , cavalry based (french) , archer based (English), And a little bit “balanced” all arounder (Rus). I think rus has a good economy, knight, siege upgrades, and gunpowder units (streltsy).

What kind of gameplay should be added? I think ottomans are nothing unique compared to the civs that are already here. Persians, byzantine empire, Indians, Hungary, and Ethiopia, same, they are nothing unique.

I think Mali would be good, as a fast expansionist with cheap buildings, with lower hp. With a quite aggressive unit lineup.

I would like to see a native American civ, with tents, and totem poles as landmarks, and they would provide a different kinds of bonuses for the civ. In each era, one of the totems would be an economy bonus-based or military-based with a unique unit. with 4 unique military units that can be “unlocked” via landmarks only.

I don’t have any other idea for unique gameplay mechanics that should be there. The best would be to balance and fix the current ones, and we are fine with this 8.