Age of Empires 4 The Chinese: An overview of the dynastic superpower

 China is not only a superpower in modern times, even in the Middle Ages the Chinese people were leaders in many areas, be it technology or the military, and were superior to most other peoples on the planet. In this guide we explain how you lead the Chinese to true greatness in Age of Empires 4.


General information about the Chinese

The culture of the Chinese is not least characterized by their age and longevity. For more than two millennia, there has consistently been something that can be described as "Chinese identity". This persisted even if the great empire saw many different dynasties rise and fall in its history.


In keeping with this historical background, Age of Empires 4 has particularly focused on one aspect of the history of China - on its various dynasties. In the game it is up to you which dynasty rules and which cultural focuses are associated with it. This detail sets the Chinese apart from all other factions.


Like every people in the game, the Chinese are also characterized by clear peculiarities. While the Mongols, for example, live nomadically and are therefore flexible but also very vulnerable, the Chinese rely on clear structures and order. It is not for nothing that the bureaucracy played a major role in Chinese history.


The Chinese stand for structure and order.
The Chinese stand for structure and order.

Overall, the Chinese are a rather complex people due to their abundance of technologies, units and mechanics, which only unfolded its true potential in the imperial period. To play the Chinese properly, you need a good overview and a broad understanding of the game. Therefore, we would not recommend the Chinese to beginners or newcomers .


The Chinese civilization bonuses

The Chinese, like every other people in Age of Empires 4, have certain bonuses and peculiarities right from the start of a game, which influence their tactics and general style of play. These make the Chinese playfully unique:


  • Villagers build defenses 50 percent faster and all other buildings 100 percent faster.
  • You begin a dynasty by building both landmarks of an age to gain access to special bonuses. The respective dynasties bring you powerful and very own bonuses. This also means that both landmarks of an age and not just one, as with the other peoples, can be erected.
  • Gunpowder units are unlocked for free when the Imperial Age (Age IV) has been reached.
  • Ports work 20 percent faster.
  • The Reich officials go to your buildings early in the game and collect taxes from them in the form of gold.
  • The Chinese village centers have had cannon guns as positions from the very beginning. The outposts get them from the feudal period (Age II) and keep them from the Knighthood (Age III).

The special forces of the Chinese

The history of China has been shaped by countless bloody conflicts as well as by an unprecedented thirst for research and the flow of innovation. Accordingly, it is not surprising that the Chinese in Age of Empires 4 have 4 different special units:

  1. Zhugenu: A ranged fighter armed with a repeating crossbow, which is particularly effective against light units. However, it does little against armored targets. This unit already existed in the popular Age of Empires 2 , but there it was called "Cho Ku Nu". The Zhugenu is available as part of the Song Dynasty (Age II) or by building the Spirit Trail, which costs 60 food, 30 wood and 30 gold.
  2. Fire Lancers: A light cavalry unit which, thanks to its fiery weapon, is particularly effective against enemy buildings and siege engines. In close combat, however, he is quite weak. The Fire Lancer requires the previously unlocked Yuan Dynasty or the Spirit Path in the Age of Knights (Age III). Its cost is 80 food, 20 wood, and 20 gold.
  3. Grenadier: This is a treacherous ranged fighter who throws grenades and can use them to cause area damage. However, it only has a short range and moves very slowly. You can recruit this unit in the Imperial Era (Age IV) as soon as you have reached the Ming Dynasty or established the Spirit Path. Its cost is 120 food, 60 wood, and 60 gold.
  4. Bee's nest: This is not the insect that is so important for the environment, but a siege machine, which defensive positions and closely-knit troop units can fire under the buttocks with fast-firing rocket volleys. Your area damage is effective against practically all enemy types. However, the bee's nest has only a slow movement speed and is very vulnerable when surrounded. It is available from the age of knights (Age III) and costs you 300 wood and 300 gold. The "reusable barrels" technology available from the Imperial Era (IV) can reduce the production costs for the bee nests by 25 percent.

Port special forces of the Chinese

In addition to the simple special units on land, the Chinese in Age of Empires 4 - at least in name - also have some special units that they can train in the port. After all, the Chinese were great seafarers who are said to have sailed even as far as Madagascar, Papua New Guinea and allegedly as far as America:

  • Junk: This is a very agile rowing warship that is manned by archers. It is available from feudal times and costs 120 wood and 90 gold.
  • Extra hammocks: From the age of knights you can develop this special technology. This increases the crew of your junks, so that the 2 extra arrows shoot per volley. The cost is 100 food and 250 gold.
  • War Junk: This is a ship that is manned on both sides with ballistae. This makes it a good counterattack against other archery ships, but unfortunately it is less agile. It is available from the age of knights and costs you 300 wood and 210 gold.
  • Explosives Junk: This is a ship loaded with explosives, which explodes when touched, causing area damage and setting nearby ships and buildings on fire. The damage decreases the further you stand from the center of the explosion. Due to its self-destruction, however, the ship cannot fight and must therefore be used carefully. The explosives junk is also available from the age of knights and costs you 160 wood and 80 food.
  • Baochuán: This is a very large warship equipped with cannons on both sides, which is particularly effective against buildings. However, it is very slow, so you have to be careful not to surround it. It is available from Imperial times and costs 480 wood and 480 gold.

The Reich official as a collector of tax gold

Reich officials automatically collect gold from taxable buildings.
Reich officials automatically collect gold from taxable buildings.

The Reichsbeamte is an additional special unit of the Chinese. Although it has no military use, it is nevertheless very powerful in its own way. You can train the imperial civil servant in the village center, the cost of which is 150 food. However, you can only train a maximum of 4 of them at the same time.

As mentioned before, the Reichsbeamten are not fighters, but they automatically collect the taxes levied on your economic, military and technology buildings. If you click on a corresponding building, you can see the amount of tax gold generated there by means of a small gold symbol in its building menu.

How high the tax is and how much gold you earn depends primarily on how productive and active the buildings are. For farm buildings, the tax depends on how many resource loads the villagers and fishing boats deliver. It does not matter whether they deliver their entire carrying capacity or only one unit of stone, wood, etc.

In the case of military buildings, the amount of tax gold generated depends on the amount of units trained. 4 gold are charged per soldier regardless of their rank or category (melee, ranged, rider, etc.). Accordingly, it is worthwhile for the Chinese to train units early on.

Researching any technology - regardless of the type of building - earns you 32 tax gold each. So you will be motivated to develop technologies earlier than other races. The tax refunds make technologies cheaper.

  • A little tip : In the dark times you can actually do without building a miners' camp at a gold mine and leave it aside for the time being. The remaining resources delivered provide enough gold that you can advance early into the second age.

How many Reich officials should I recruit and when?

At this point it is important to ask yourself how many Reich officials are actually worth it. Of course, there is no clear answer to this, as it depends very much on your style of play. In principle, however, one can say that one Reichsbeamter is sufficient for the time being.

In itself it is important for the effective use of the tax officials how much tax gold is produced in the respective buildings. You should always check this by looking at the respective building menu. Overall, it is important that your Reichsbeamter never stands idle as possible.

If I have too many Reich officials and see that this is listed at the bottom left under the button for inactive population (your population should never be inactive!), You know that you have at least one Reich official too many or at least produce too little.

However, your Reich officials run wildly from building to building and don't seem to be able to keep up with their collections, then this is an indicator that you should recruit another Reich official so as not to miss any tax revenue. So you are allowed to play father-state and squeeze out your population. MUHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA !!!

Also make sure that the Reichsbeamte does not automatically travel long distances to collect taxes from farm buildings. Therefore, when you expand, you should also set up village centers in different places that contain raw materials, where the tax gold accrues. Then distribute your Reich officials to these village centers.

  • Supervision: If one of your Reichsverwalter is increasingly inactive, you can still use it sensibly by using his special ability "Supervision": You can use this ability on an economic or military building in order to reduce the production in the respective building by 200 Percent and resource productivity by 20 percent. For example, you can produce soldiers very quickly or counteract a scarcity of resources. As a result of the increased productivity, tax revenues also rise accordingly.

The Chinese Ages, Dynasties, and Landmarks

What is interesting about the Chinese in Age of Empires 4 is that over the ages, depending on the ruling dynasties, certain playful focuses shift and other special game elements take hold.

The Tang Dynasty in the Dark Age (I)

Unlike the Mongols, who can use their offensive potential at an early stage, the Chinese, as their worst rival, appropriately rely on a strong defensive at the beginning. The meaning behind it is that you can build up a flourishing economy so quickly in order to be able to use the corresponding strengths of the Chinese effectively early on.

To do this safely, you have to advance into the feudal period (Age II) as quickly as possible. For this it is an advantage that you have a clear build order, i.e. the correct construction sequence, in mind. We explain the best standard build order in the dark time in our corresponding guide.

Thanks to the increased construction speed of the Chinese, the feudal period can usually be reached faster than with any other people in the game. Since the ports of the Chinese also work 20 percent faster, you should use this - if water is available - from the dark period. The fishing boats can also collect food for you.

In the upper middle of the screen you can already see the words "Tang Dynasty" paws. Each dynasty brings its own bonuses and is closely linked to the respective age. You do not have to advance directly parallel to the ages in the dynasties, but we recommend that you tackle this quickly as well.

The respective bonuses of the respective dynasties are of different use depending on the age. The bonus of the Tang Dynasty that your own scouts have 30 percent more range of vision is ideal for the Dark Ages, as you can explore the map and collect sheep so quickly. For the feudal period, however, different priorities apply.

Chinese landmarks for the feudal period (II)

In order to advance into the feudal period (II), you have to erect a first landmark, whereby you have to choose between two. Both bring different advantages that may fit more or less depending on the style of play.

However, the Chinese have the bonus that after the first they can also build the second landmark to unlock the next dynasty, so that you can finally use both buildings. Nevertheless, it usually makes more sense to first erect one and then the other landmark. We introduce you to both landmarks for the feudal era:

  1. The Imperial Academy: This landmark has an area of ​​influence within which the tax gold generated is doubled. In addition, the "Official Exam" technology can be researched in the Imperial Academy. This doubles the amount of tax gold that a Reichsbeamter can carry from 20 to 40 gold.
  2. Barbican of the Sun: This is a defensive structure, which is manned by a gunner. This has a long range and shoots at enemy units. Furthermore, this building also reveals enemies in the area who are veiled by forest camouflage. The Barbican of the Sun can be manned by up to 10 units. Each ranged combat unit can fire at opponents through loopholes.
  • Cost: The cost of both landmarks is 400 food and 200 gold.
If you are as calm as possible and want to ensure that your economy grows quickly by noticeably increasing your tax income, you should definitely build the Imperial Academy first. You should build military and recruiting buildings around it, if possible, in order to benefit permanently from the unit production and to make yourself very rich.

The Barbican of the Sun is particularly useful if the opponent puts you under pressure early on and attacks with soldiers or other units. Here it makes sense to set up this landmark near the cer forests in the direction of the enemy camp in order to quickly uncover and repel enemy ambushes.

The Song Dynasty in the Feudal Period (II)

In most cases it is worthwhile to move into the Song Dynasty and leave the Tang Dynasty as early as possible. The reason for this lies in the bonuses of the Song Dynasty, which increases the production speed of villagers by 35 percent. You reach the Song Dynasty by building both landmarks (Imperial Academy and Barbican of the Sun).

Another advantage is that under the rule of the Song Dynasty you can build a special population building - the village. Villages cost you 100 wood each and offer living space for 40 units. As a result, it has a clear advantage over simple houses and the problem of the population limit reached is less urgent. You can build a total of 3 villages at the same time.

Even if the Chinese were able to train their iconic special unit, the Zhugenu, in the Song Dynasty, they remained a rather defensive people even in the feudal period. The main focus here is on the villagers' production, which should now also begin to quarry stone. If the tax situation is good, you can ignore the gold mines for the time being.

Once you have mined stone, you can start investing it in defensive structures such as stone walls, which the Chinese build 50 percent faster in the game. Hmmm ... Chinese and walls ... there was something ... So you can secure your economy and you don't have to worry about enemy attacks until the age of knights, when siege weapons become relevant.

Chinese landmarks for the age of knights (III)

If you want to advance into the age of knights (III), then you have to think again about which landmark you want to build. The choice is less difficult than with other peoples, since the Chinese can erect both landmarks in order to reach the next dynasty. In the age of knights you can choose between the following two landmarks:

  1. Astronomical clock tower: This building serves as an improved manufacture for siege weapons. The artillery units erected in this building have +50 percent more life points, which makes them very well suited for advancement on your part.
  2. Imperial Palace: This is an extremely interesting building that is suitable for espionage. At the push of a button you can make all enemy villagers visible for 10 seconds. The cooldown is 1 minute.

  • Cost: The cost of both landmarks is 1200 food and 600 gold.
You can already see that the Chinese are gradually abandoning their defensive course and taking a more offensive course from the age of knights. If you are planning a devastating attack on the base of your enemy and want to destroy as many buildings as possible, the siege weapons in the Astronomical Clock Tower are ideal for you.

If, on the other hand, you want to be more targeted and set pinpricks by first taking the enemy's economy under fire, then you should rely on the spy network of the imperial palace. This allows you to see the enemy villagers for a moment and plan targeted attacks to put your opponent under increasing pressure.

The Yuan Dynasty in the Age of Knights (III)

As mentioned above, as Chinese you can also build both landmarks (Astronomical Clock Tower and Imperial Palace) to transition from the Song Dynasty to the Yuan Dynasty. This in turn brings its own bonuses, which affect your style of play and tactics.

One advantage of the Yuan Dynasty is that villagers and imperial officials move 15 percent faster, which of course makes your economy even more efficient. In addition, you can now erect a special building with the granary.

The granary has basically the same function as the mill, but it has no technology. For this he has an area of ​​influence in which the harvesting speed of your villagers is increased by 10 percent. You can build up to three granaries in total.

A nice perk of the Kornsperichers is that the bonus from their area of ​​influence is cumulative. This means that with clever placement of your granaries, a 20 or 30 percent harvest speed can be generated in places.

From the age of knights, the "additional materials" technology can be developed in the keep. Thanks to this, outposts and towers are allowed to automatically repair near damaged wall sections. The pace of 20 life points per second is so high that enemy siege weapons will have problems breaking through.

Chinese landmarks for the Imperial Era (IV)

On the way to the Imperial Era, you once again have the choice between two landmarks. For the jump in time you only have to build one of the two, if you then plan to move on to the next dynasty, you have to build both landmarks. The two Chinese landmarks of the Imperial Age are the following:

  1. Gatehouse of the Great Wall: A defensive structure that must be built on stone walls. In return, the gatehouse increases the HP of your stone walls and gates by +100 percent. In addition, troops stationed nearby on the walls cause +50 percent damage.
  2. Ghost Path: This is an important military building, as thanks to it all buildings can create dynasty units that have already been reached. In addition, buildings close to the Ghost Path produce dynasty units 30 percent cheaper.
  • Cost: The cost of both landmarks is 2,400 food and 1,200 gold.
The decisive question here is whether you prefer to protect yourself defensively or go on the offensive. Seen in this way, this decision depends not only on your own style of play, but also on that of your opponents.

The Ming Dynasty in the Imperial Period (IV)

However, if you also advance to the Ming Dynasty, your military focus is automatically increased: This dynasty grants your military units a bonus of +10 percent on their life points, which of course makes them stronger and also better suited for offensive action. The special unit of the "Grenadier" is also available in the Ming Dynasty and the "Chemistry" technology is researched automatically.

The Ming dynasty also unlocks another type of building - the pagoda: This produces 10 gold per minute as tax gold and can also hold a relic. A pagoda with a relic in it then also produces 50 food, wood, stone and gold every 30 seconds. You can build a total of three pagodas.

The advancement into the individual dynasties up to the Ming dynasty pays off again in the imperial period through a special technology in your university - ancient techniques. This technology enables your villagers to collect resources more quickly for each unlocked dynasty. Especially in combination with other technologies, this means that you can manage and produce incredibly quickly.

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