Age of Civilizations II is a relatively simple game, but getting into it for the first ten minutes can seem a little daunting. Yet the game’s core mechanics themselves are relatively simple. This guide has been split up into four sections. It is recommended to read the guide that fits you. This guide will also assume that you are computer-literate.
- Completely Fresh: For players who have never played a 4X, strategy or grand-strategy game.
- Strategy Players: For players who have played 4X, strategy, or grand-strategy games, but never a Paradox game.
- Paradox Players: For players who have played Paradox grand strategy games.
- Age of Civilizations Players: For players who have played Age of Civilizations I, but not Age of Civilizations II.
Starting a new Game
Upon entering Age of Civilizations II, many players have found the tutorial to be heavily daunting and unintuitive, so it is recommended for beginning players to start off in the default scenario. This guide hopes to lead the player through consolidating The Ottomans in the 1440 start date. 1440 is the default start date when loading a game, and there are many others to chose from.
Selecting a Nation
Once you press New Game, it should pan the map to a random country. This is likely not the country that you’d want, however. Recommended starting countries would be either France or the Ottoman Empire, which are both relatively easy countries that have been handpicked here to start you off. France for instance, is a good nation to start off as in 1440. In order to select France, you must pan the map, much like you would on Google Maps, over to France. Then, left click on it. Over to the right, you can see various information about it, including its’ name, flag, number of provinces, leader, and its’ ranking in the world. At the bottom of the right-hand box, it should read: “Players: 1”. Note: This is where a lot of new players get confused, so follow along. Now, make sure France is selected. Once you have done that, press on the random country’s name and flag beneath “Add Player”. The flag left of “Add Player” should immediately switch to a white questionmark on a black background. Once you have done this, press PLAY in the bottom-right hand corner.
Managing your Country
Once the map has loaded, you can take a look around. The GUI is relatively clunky, but you’ll get the hang of it. First, you must deal with your Finance problems. In order to head into your Budget screen, you have to click the flag at the top-left corner of the screen. When hovering over it, it’ll read “Open Civilization View”. Now click on it. Here, you can see almost all statistics about your civilization, and other civilizations on the world stage. Disregard the right hand side of the window for now. On the left hand side, underneath Income and Expenses, are your Finances. Underneath Income, you can see how your income is being earned, split up into three categories: Taxation, Production (which refers to the income produced by all of your provinces), and a vague “Others”, which includes things like gifts and events. On the right hand side is Expenses, labeled in red. It is likewise split up into three categories: Administration (includes things like Assimilation, Military and Spendings). Now, at the bottom you can see total revenue and total expense, with the Balance beneath both of them. It should appear as 2,161. This is how much money you will recieve each turn. Let’s work on getting that figure up.
Beneath Income and Expenses, there will be a slider labeled “Taxes”. This is how you can control how much revenue you recieve each turn. Raising the taxes too high, however, generates 12pxUnhappiness throughout your general population. Lower taxes encourage Happiness through your population. The line through the slider shows how far you can raise your taxes before people start to become unhappy. Now slide the slider up until it reaches the line. You should now be earning 2,417 money per turn, with your population becoming 0.0549% happier per turn.
Budget Spendings are also important. They dictate how much money is being spent on Goods (which sustains your population), Technology (which is necessary to gain technological advancements), and Investments (necessary for your economy). Adjust the Goods and Investments to the line, as you did with Taxes. You should now be earning 2,810 Gold each turn. Of course, every good nation needs technological advancements, and you can only do that through Research. Adjust the slider to the 10% mark. You can see the percentage rate to the right of Research. Now, you should be earning the same as before, 2,417 Gold per turn.
In order to exit the menu, simply press the flag again. Now, pan and zoom around the map as you would with Google Maps. Take a look around Europe. This is your local situation. Even though areas outside of Europe may appear uninhabited, this is simply because they are Undiscovered. Terra incognita, if you will.
Dealing with Alerts
Now take a look at the top left. Beneath the Gold icon, there should be two small boxes, each with a flag of France. Hover over the first one. The first one, we’ve already dealt with. In order to dismiss alert, simply right click when hovering over it, then click “X” on the top right of the dialog as soon as it pops up. Now, click on the Technology icon, which should look like this: . Here, you can invest in Technology categories. Notice, how up at the top right it reads 42. This is how many technology points you have. They dictate how much you can spend in tehcnology categories. Remember that once you invest a Technology point into a technology category, you cannot “un-invest” or “refund” it. What’s invested is invested. Let’s go with a good starter one. Go down to Economy Growth. To the right of 0/25, there is a + button. When clicked on, you permanently invest one Technology Point into the category. “Spam click” the plus button until it reads 25/25 to the left.
It is advised that the player should not invest technology points in random areas, however, and should instead strategize. Up at the top right, notice how your Technology Points has decreased from 42 to 17, or by 25 Technology Points. Invest 5 of these remaining Technology Points into Population Growth, 5 into Research, 3 into Income Taxation, 2 into Income Production, and 2 into Administration. Once you are done with this, close the menu by clicking the “X” at the top right of the dialog.
Preparation for War
Zoom back into France. It’s almost time for war! A good starter war is always healthy! Aren’t you excited for your first taste of “Diplomacy”? For this exercise, we’ll be targeting Nevers, a two province nation on our northern and eastern borders. Click on the province of Auxerre. On the bottom left, you can see four buttons above the minimap, namely Move, Recruit, More, and Move To. In order to enlarge our army, which only begins with 425 units in Paris, press on Recruit. The menu will now morph into a slider where you can decide how many troops to Conscript. Drag the slider all the way towards the right. Above the checkmark, you can view how much this will cost you, and how much your nation’s remaining balance per turn will be. Press the checkmark in the bottom right. This is how you recruit troops. Once you’ve pressed on it, notice how your Money is now at 0. Recruiting this large army has taken a hit on your treasury. Now, take a look on the map. Left of the city label Auxerre, it should read 1550 . In order to proceed, press next turn in the bottom-right hand corner. Back at Auxerre, there should be an army of 1550. Now, move the army in Paris to Troyes. In order to do this, press on Paris. Notice how a yellow boundary and moving dotted lines spread out towards the yellow boundary. The yellow boundary demarcates how far your troops can move, and the dotted lines show where your troops can move. In order to move your troops to Troyes, click on Troyes. Here, there will be a Move dialog, similar to the Recruitment dialog, towards the bottom of the screen. Towards the bottom right, instead of how much these troops will cost you, it’ll display how many Movement Points it’ll cost you. Slide it all the way over, and press on the big checkmark. Now your troops will take one turn to move to Troyes. Recruit a second army in Compiegne with all your money. This should total to 387 men. You always want all of your opponent’s fronts to be covered just in case.
Press Spacebar. Spacebar is the hotkey for Next Turn. If you’ve hovered over “Next Turn”, it’ll say “Shortcut: Space”, meaning that the shortcut key for Next Turn is the Spacebar. There are now two turns left before we are able to Declare War. Your situation should now look something like this:
Now, in Bourges, the province south of Auxerre, press on Recruit, and recruit as many as you can, 362 men in my case. In order to gain the advantage, however, 362 men won’t be enough, we need more! Press on the Diplomacy tab at the top left of your screen. To the left, you can see which nation we have selected, which in this case is ourselves, France, and what options we can take. Scroll down all the way until you view Take loans. Trust me, it’s a great idea. Now, click on Take Loan and slide the Duration and all the way up to the maximum, 30 turns and 5119 Gold, respectively. Now press “Confirm”. Ta-da! More money. Keep doing this until you’ve taken out five loans. Now, you should have 25597 Gold. Press Spacebar in order to gain more Movement Points, since we’re a little short. Both Movement Points and Diplomacy Points appear next to the we talked about earlier. Next turn!
It’s time for the War of Consolidation Against Nevers! Click on Nevers’ capital province and click “Diplomacy”. Underneath Actions, you should see that the options we have with them are different from ours. That’s because they’re a foreign nation. Now, press on Declare War. Press Declare War again to confirm. Now, up at the top, there’ll be a neat little dialog saying War!. We’re going for a pre-emptive strike. Move all the troops surrounding Nevers on the southern front into Nevers. Then, move the troops in Compiegne and Troyes into Reims. Press Next Turn and hope for the best! Now, you can see the battle overview. Ooh, that looks pretty nasty for Nevers.
Press Spacebar again to see the results of that battle. A Glorious French Victory. Ahh, now that’s the stuff!
Press Spacebar again to exit the summary of the “Attack on Nevers”. Now, it’s focusing on the Battle in Reims. And another glorious French Victory! Since this was the final battle, clicking next will immediately mean that it is our turn. Press Spacebar again.
It is now our turn, and what’s that? Diplomatic Relations are suspended!? Calm down, it won’t be too bad. That’s a regular occurrence here. To the top-right of the screen, underneath Turn: 6, you can see your Research Progress as well as any wars you may be currently involved in. A higher positive percentage means you’re winning that war, lower: Well, let’s say you’re losing. Press on the flame in order to open Peace Negotiations with Nevers. Here, you can also view your Warscore, and how many Provinces are occupied. Press on Peace Negotiations. Here, you can negotiate a totally fair peace for yourself. Press on both Reims and Nevers. Ta-da, they’ve turned French blue! Send your demands in the bottom right. Since they’re 100% occupied, they have no choice but to accept. Hurrah! However, they’ll need at least one turn to accept, so hit that spacebar!
Now, your country is back at peace, and you’ve gained two new provinces: Reims and Nevers. Up at the top left, you’ll see that you get a new alert, encouraging you to Stabilize your provinces so you don’t get those oh, so scary rebellions. Click on it. Now, you can view the Province Stability mapmode. Press on Reims on the left-hand side. Press the middle button, where it reads Confirm >>. Do the same for Nevers. Press Diplomacy twice to return to the normal map view. That’s essentially the gist of this game!