Choosing which nation to play is the first step to victory over your rivals in Old World.
This tier list ranks all playable nations in Old World from best to worst based on their strengths and weaknesses while prioritizing bonuses that are not only good in very specific situations.
Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a newcomer to Old World, this tier list is the perfect tool to help you make informed decisions when starting your next game. So, without further ado, let’s jump right into the rankings!
- Unlocks Olympiad
- All Cities: +2 Culture/Turn
- All Cities: -25% Cost for Settlers
- Leader: Philip (Bold Commander; +2 Courage)
- Families: Champions, Artisans, Patrons, Sages
- Starting Techs: Ironworking, Stonecutting, Drama
- Unique Units: Hoplite, Phalangite
In contrast to Rome, Greece is a much more balanced nation allowing for playstyles favoring culture, warfare, or science. The families available to Greece are arguably the best combination in the entire game. While Philip is an ok leader, he’s definitely capable as a general, the star of the show is his son and heir Alexander. You know, the potentially great one. However, that will depend entirely on you. The fantastic Hoplites as a unique unit will definitely make it easier for you to earn that title though.
- All Cities: +2 Training/Turn
- All Units: +1 Fatigue Limit
- Leader: Romulus (Ruthless Tactician; +2 Courage, -1 Discipline)
- Families: Champions, Landowners, Patrons, Statesmen
- Starting Techs: Ironworking, Stonecutting, Polis
- Unique Units: Hastatus, Legionary
With its bonuses, the Romulus being a Tactician, Champions as a family, and early access to Ironworking, Rome is a nation that leans heavily towards warfare and an aggressive approach. Use your early Warriors to clear out barbarian camps to rapidly expand and snowball from there. However, Rome is also more than capable of having impressive cities with 2 families potentially providing Civics and the ability to build hamlets from turn 1.
- All Cities: +1 Science/Turn
- All Cities: +20% Growth
- All Cities: +2 Culture/Turn
- Leader: Nebuchadnezzar (Prosperous Scholar; as Governor: +10 Gold/Turn per Culture level; As Leader: +5 Gold/Turn per Culture level in all cities)
- Families: Hunters, Artisans, Traders, Sages
- Starting Techs: Trapping, Administration, Rhetoric
- Unique Units: Akkadian Archer, Cimmerian Archer
As you would expect when looking at the bonuses and Nebuchadnezzar as a leader, Babylonia is the science powerhouse of the game. Science ambitions are easy to achieve with Babylonia and playing tall, even with just one city is a possibility. The lineup of families is very economically focused and overall Babylonia works best when it is left alone. Keep to yourself, grow your cities to enormous metropolises, science away and even redraw techs, if the deck didn’t shuffle to your liking. Nebuchadnezzar is a Scholar after all.
- On Start: +400 Stone
- All Cities: +40% from Farm on River
- All Cities: -25% Cost for adjacent Improvement Classes
- Leader: Hatshepsut (Inspiring Builder; As Governor: +2 Culture/Turn per Culture level; as Leader: +1 Culture/Turn per Culture level in all cities)
- Families: Riders, Landowners, Clerics, Sages
- Starting Techs: Ironworking, Stonecutting, Labor Force
- Unique Units: Light Chariot, Kushite Cavalry
Egypt is another strong choice for playing tall and growing your cities to massive sizes. This is mainly due to the bonus on Farm yields combined with the lineup of families available to Egypt. The bonus Stone gives you a headstart toward early wonders, reinforced by having Stonecutting as one of your starting techs. Together with Labor Force, this even allows you to build roads between your cities right away. Egypt is a powerful nation for more peaceful gameplay.
- New Cities: +200 Civics
- Can hire Mercenaries from Tribes
- All Cities: +10 Gold/Turn when connected to the capital
- Leader: Dido (Cunning, Engineer/Diplomat; As Governor: Unlocks Caravan Access; As Leader: +20 Foreign/Tribal leader opinions; As General: +25% Attack & Defense Strength vs. Siege and Ship units; As Leader: +10% Attack & Defense Strength vs. Siege and Ship units for all units)
- Families: Riders, Artisans, Traders, Statesmen
- Starting Techs: Trapping, Divination, Aristocracy
- Unique Units: African Elephant, Turreted Elephant
Carthage starts with the ability to build shrines right away and gives you the best starting diplomat of the game with Dido. This makes it easy to be liked by your neighbors. The two unique units are both strong and allow for a more militaristic game together with the option to hire mercenaries from tribes. The bonus gold per turn for all cities coupled with the lineup of available families ensures that you won’t run into a deficit paying for your army.
Note: If you’re able to get an alliance with a tribe within Dido’s lifetime, you gain visibility of all their tribal sites and the ability to settle them without fighting the tribe. This can potentially push Carthage into S Tier.
- +50% Harvest Production
- All Cities: -25% Cost for ranged Units
- All Cities: Pasture +0.5 Orders
- Leader: Cyrus (Tough Hero; As General: +10% Attack & Defense Strength if damaged; As Leader: +5% Attack and Defense Strength for all units if damaged)
- Families: Riders, Hunters, Clerics, Statesmen
- Starting Techs: Ironworking, Trapping, Husbandry
- Unique Units: Palton Cavalry, Cataphract Archer
Persia is kind of a mixed bag. While Cyrus, as a Hero, is a more than capable general, and the starting techs and the available families make cities with good hunting and fishing real powerhouses, Persia’s bonuses are ok at best. Harvesting in general runs into the problem of being constrained by a lack of orders fairly quickly but Pastures giving one full order instead of the usual 0.5 is nice. Persia is the only Nation able to build both Warriors and Slingers right from the start, making it an option to wage successful wars early. This advantage can then snowball with Persia’s unique units.
- All Cities: +2 Civics/Turn
- All Units: Can remove vegetation
- All Units: Ignore hill movement costs
- Leader: Hattusili (Warlike Judge; As Governor: +2 Training/Turn per Culture level; As Leader: +1 Training/Turn per Culture level in all cities)
- Families: Riders, Landowners, Patrons, Traders
- Starting Techs: Ironworking, Husbandry, Administration
- Unique Units: Heavy Chariot, Three Man Chariot
The Hatti are geared toward economical advantages with Hattusili and having access to a Trader family. However, their bonuses are just way too situational and weak to put them any higher on this tier list. Being able to remove vegetation with all units can be nice, but is not that big of a tactical advantage. The same goes for ignoring the additional movement costs on hills. Nice to have but not game-changing.
- All Cities: New Units start with Focus I promotion
- All Units: +100% pillage yield
- All Units: +2 Orders per military unit killed
- Leader: Ashurbanipal (Educated Zealot; +2 Wisdom)
- Families: Champions, Hunters, Patrons, Clerics
- Starting Techs: Trapping, Administration, Military Drill
- Unique Units: Battering Ram, Siege Tower
Assyria want to be a nation focused on early conflict and warfare but is just worse at it all around than Rome or Greece. Having immediate access to Slingers is nice but I would almost always rather have Warriors. As Assyria you basically need early conquest to be able to stay competitive for the rest of the game. A position I wouldn’t want to be forced into.