Age of Civilizations II – Beginner’s Guide

This guide will tell you basic and advanced things about the game to get you started. Soon you’ll be destroying the AI and truly enjoying the game.


I have been playing this game since launch for hours straight (15 hours total as of now), and I seem to be the only one that is making headway in understanding the game or actually playing the game because it is crashing for some people. So, I’m going to safely same I’m a pro at the game.

Anyway, enough chitchat. If you want to play this game well with any nation on any difficulty you must understand three aspects of the game. I’m not going to bother telling you how to navigate the game because the ingame turtorial deals with that. What I’m going to tell you is how to make the most of what you are given with any nation.

The three things you have to focus on are population, research, and money. Going from level of importance, we’re going to start with Population.


When you recruit units, they take people out of the province they are recruited from. What are the negatives of this? Well, the economy of the province is propotional to the amount of people in the province. Depending on how much economy is in a province, recruiting in that province will either turn a profit or destroy the stability of the province. This is because not only does the population work as potential soldiers, they work every piece of economy in the province. So, if you recruit people, you’ll either be taking people off the streets or out of jobs.

The goal is to balance this. You need soldiers but you don’t want to have empty jobs. Every job should be filled, and your unemployment should be as low as possible (Yes, there is unemployment in the game; click your banner and hover the cursor over the economy button to see unemployment). In theory, you could check province by province how many people are working and either build up economy for them to work in or recrruit the unemployed. This isn’t necessary, but that’s the point I’m making: Everyone needs to be contributing to the nation.

How I usually do this is focus first on military. You’ll get more jobs in the most efficient way by taking more land. While it will take several turns and a lot of gold to build economy, your neighbor has thousands ready for the taking. Just take it and reap the benefits. If you can’t do this for any reason, then you should try to build economy using money. Either way, when you do start creating your armies, try not to recruit more than 10000 people from the starting amount of pop in a province. Keeping that limit will keep the province stable while still allowing you to make large armies. The only exception to this rule is if a province has 30000> pop. They should be left to grow.


Everything in this game is connected to money. There is no greater strategy than numbers, and who uses what money they have the best will win. One of the best ways to gain money, besides conquering, is to spam the end turn button and keep your armies small. You want to expand as quickly as possible, but if you go to war with an army that is not over the size of 2000, then you will likely lose. Having the money for that, especially if you are a one province nation, is an impossibility, except if you press end turn a few times. The second part to that trick is to have little to no units deployed. The army upkeep will lessen how much income you get, and it is best to try and get as much money as possible as quickly as possible.

Besides buying units, money goes to development and economy. I already talked about economy, but development is a bit different. Development increases the effectiveness of the economy within a province as a percentage. So, using money to build development to further strengthen the economies of your best provinces is a good idea. This should not be your main focus, though. Focus on expansion and the military.

Money is not that hard of a topic, but it is important that you know to manage your money as beset as possible.


Diverting your income into goods and investments is foolish. Set them to a little bit above the minimum for your goverment and leave it there. Put the rest of your income into research. For the entirety of the game, 25% of the income should go into research. Here’s why:

  • Research will lessen your administrative and military expensives, giving more money.
  • At .75 research, you can colonize. Get to this quickly enough and you can colonize many years ahead of everyone else.
  • Using research to improve development and population growth will be more efficiently than spending money on individual provinces.

Those three things will give you advantages over the AI where you really need it or keep you neck and neck with the AI at higher difficulties. Keep pumping money into research, and you’ll get these great benefits.

Misc Topics

These are the main things you should know, but here are some misc. Tips for you.

Winning Wars:

  • 1. Surround the enemy and let them attack first. Since you are defending, they will take more casualities than you.
  • 2. Attack them the next turn and prevent them from having and opening to attack your land.
  • 3. If they get to your land or there is an opening, recruit in the province. Though the recruits won’t be usable until the next turn, they will be there to defend the province if attacked.
  • 4. Rinse and repeat. Having allies also helps, but don’t let them take any land you want because you will not get it back.

How to take a loan:

  • 1. Select a province.
  • 2. Click the name of your nation above the map.
  • 3. Scroll down on the list of things you can do for your nation until you see “Take Loan.”

How to buy provinces:

  • 1. Make a trade under Diplomacy
  • 2. You have to offer 40,000 gold times the star value of the province(s) (Average star value is 3 is 120,000 gold.

How to annex vassals:

  • Send an Ultimatum and demand Annexation ( vassal must have -10 opinion of you). Or…
  • Form Union with Vassal (Vassal must have +100 opinion of you, and you must be stronger than your vassal by a large margin).

Purpose of Unions:

Unions allow you to instantly gain land from other nations by combining your governments. To make this work you require at least +50 opinion with them and a military stronger than theirs so they will feel as though you can handle their land when they give it to you.


  • The flag of your nation will be combined with the flag of the other nation (exceptions are historical unions which will be replaced with the historical flag of the union; can be glitchy).


  • Free Land.
  • Free Units.
  • Didn’t have to go to war.
Volodymyr Azimoff
About Volodymyr Azimoff 13558 Articles
I love games and I live games. Video games are my passion, my hobby and my job. My experience with games started back in 1994 with the Metal Mutant game on ZX Spectrum computer. And since then, I’ve been playing on anything from consoles, to mobile devices. My first official job in the game industry started back in 2005, and I'm still doing what I love to do.


  1. Just thought I’d let you know that you don’t need +100 relations for a union; i have had unions work at below +50 relations.
    Generally just being allied and a bit stronger is good enough according

  2. Hi
    I was just notified that the reason I couldn’t buy the particular provinces I was interested in is not difficulty related at all, apparently Lukasz himself said that nations do not like selling their core provinces, and the province I’m after is indeed a core of Byzantium.
    I’m not sure if that means it’s impossible to acquire, but I’ve offered 500K and three 3-star provinces for a 2-star with no results, so it feels damn near impossible.

  3. It seems the only way I get unions is by releasing a one province minor and asking a union the same day.

  4. I tried to form a union with my vassal. I am number 1 and they are around the 80s, I have a larger economy, population, and significantly larger military. I have them at +100 relations.

    I own all of the Balkans and Italy, they own only Anatolia.

    • It sounds like it should work. Unless you’re on a high difficulty, the ai should form a union with you. Possibly it’s just random chance, or the ai thinks its size is too close to yours so that it can handle itself. Either way, You may just have to go to war with them and take their land.

  5. I noticed you can also increase stability by building a farm, it increases the population grow if your population is a minority in a province you own.

    • The method you mentioned should decrease revolutionary risk. The risk also stacks with the amount of provinces that aren’t assimilated. If you’re conquering a lot of land and leaving some not assimilated, the risk will stagnate like you said. Just keep building the provinces and keeping 95% of your provinces assimilated.

  6. bruh this games harder than hoi4, cant even find the controls to move and got beaten by the netherlands as germany

    • offer 40,000 gold multiplied by the value of the province you wanna buy.

      Example: The province’s value is 2. In that case we offer 40,000*2=80,000

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