Description: This desert map consists of large stretches of sandy flatland with very little water. Resources are plentiful, although wood is not too abundant.

Stake your claim to nearby resources as soon as you can. The lack of natural barriers makes defense a high priority.

Civilizations at an Advantage: Those with access to building technology such as the Britons, Byzantines, or Turks will do well in Arabia. Civilizations lacking in siege technology may find it difficult to wear-down entrenched opponents. The Goths, Japanese, and Vikings are at a decided disadvantage on this map.


(also Islands, Team Islands)

Description: Usually consists of numerous islands and plenty of ocean. Sometimes it can be a single big island onto which all the civilizations are crowded.

Naval power is key to winning on these maps. Make sure you keep a few warships at home to protect your docks -- watchtowers do not have the necessary range to be effective coast defenders. Also keep some infantry in your village to protect against invasions by other civilizations. You will also find that resources will be scattered across the islands, it will be necessary to build a good transport fleet to move your villagers to where the resources can be found.

Civilizations at an Advantage:
Civilizations with strong naval units and bonuses are at a definite advantage. Play as the Japanese or Vikings to give yourself an edge against the competition.



Description: A balance of land and water with a large lake set in the middle of the map. Forests dot the landscape.

Strategy: This is a good map on which to try to win by developing a strong economy. There are enough resources to fuel your growth and enough natural barriers to keep the enemy out of your hair for a while.

Civilizations at an Advantage: The Persians work rate will give them an edge here. The Chinese technology bonuses will help them build a thriving economy faster than their rivals.


Black Forest

Description: A heavily wooded map sprinkled with lakes. A large number of wolves usually roam the landscape

Strategy: Use the forests as natural barriers and defenses. Place watchtowers and archer units at key passes through the trees. Be careful to not let your woodcutters run amuck and destroy your natural barriers.

Civilizations at an Advantage: Civilizations with strong archers will have an edge here. Try playing as the Britons or Mongols.



Description: Not too surprisingly, a large coastline dominates this map.

Strategy: Naval units will be a big factor, both to bombard the enemy from sea and to land troops behind enemy lines.

Civilizations at an Advantage: Saracens are a good choice on this map with their naval transport advantage. Vikings are also a good choice with their naval and infantry advantages.


Description: Usually a single very large island, but can occasionally contain a couple of islands.

Strategy: Navies do not play as large a role here as they do on other coastal maps. Instead, look to fight more of a land based battle with an advantage to mounted and infantry units. This is a good map to go on the offensive, harassing your opponents before they can build a strong economy or significant fortifications.

Civilizations at an Advantage: Goths and Franks are good choices here. Use the Frank's superior knights or the Goth's infantry to quickly crush your opponents.



Description: All civilizations begin the game within stone fortresses. Between the fortresses, the land consists of scattered forests and lakes.

Strategy: You will need to balance strengthening your defenses with the production of siege units. Build a university as soon as possible as this will give you access to some critical defensive technologies.

Civilizations at an Advantage: The Byzantines and Teutons are good choices because of the quality of their fortifications. The Celts siege bonuses are useful here, but their shortcomings in defensive technology will force them to stay on the offensive.


Gold Rush

Description: A resource rich map with an abundance of gold at the center. However, the gold is usually protected by bands of roving wolves.

Strategy: A strong economy is key. Since resources are abundant, the civilization that can process them the most efficiently will have an edge. Avoid the gold in the center of the map until you have sufficient infantry troops to protect your villagers from the wolves (and other civilizations).

Civilizations at an Advantage: The Chinese research bonuses will help them to get an economic jump on the other civilizations. The Turks have a natural gold mining advantage which could serve them well here.



Description: A mountainous map divided in two by a river. Shallows provide crossings at several points.

Strategy: Place archers and towers along ridges to protect passages to your villages. Attack other civilizations with swift-moving mounted troops -- the less time spent under a barrage of arrows, the better! Also, the long and limited paths to reach the enemy necessitate a mobile army.

Civilizations at an Advantage: The Mongols double punch of strong cavalry and archer units make them a good choice here. The Britons are also at an advantage with their superior archer troops.



Description: A large lake divides the map in two.

Strategy: Naval units will eventually win the day. You need to control the lake in order get your troops across and keep the enemy from doing so themselves. Concentrate on your navy -- once your side of the lake is secure, you can concentrate on developing your economy.

Civilizations at an Advantage: Try the Saracens. Their increased transport capability can help them ferry troops across the lake more quickly and efficiently. The Japanese naval and fishing bonuses will also be useful here.



Description: A large, winding river divides the map. There are usually no shallows, so naval units are required to cross to the other side.

Strategy: Naval battle will be fierce, as the river does not provide the room to maneuver afforded by oceans. Strategy is otherwise similar to that for the Mediterranean map.

Civilizations at an Advantage: The Persians can build stronger docks than any other civilization. This is a big advantage here since you can expect your docks to come under heavy fire quite often.



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