Codex Gamicus

Age of Empires III: The WarChiefs is the first official expansion pack for the real-time strategy game Age of Empires III. It was announced by Ensemble Studios and Microsoft Game Studios on March 7, 2006. The demo version was released October 4, 2006. The full game for PC was released on October 17, 2006 in the United States.[2] The expansion pack was then bundled with the full game of Age of Empires III, being called Age of Empires III: Gold Edition on September 19, 2006. The Mac OS X version was ported over, developed, and published by Destineer's MacSoft Games. The full game for Mac OS X was released on June 12, 2007 in the United States. It was followed by a second expansion pack to the original game called Age of Empires III: The Asian Dynasties.

Gameplay changes[]

There are no major changes to the mechanics to Age of Empires III - players are still expected to gather resources, build armies and send them to attack opponents. Instead, there are a number of new concepts introduced, whilst existing concepts have been expanded. On some maps, Copper and tin mines have been added, but these generally do not produce as much coin as the gold and silver mines. Sometimes the copper mines can produce 2000 coin, the same as silver, whereas gold mines produce 5000 coin.

Home City shipments have been slightly reworked. Decks can now go over 20 cards by allowing one extra card for every ten levels of the Home City currently in use, up to a maximum of 25. There are new cards and a new Level 40 Home City tier of cards are available for all civilizations.

While the Aztecs have a home city, the Iroquois and Sioux have five members of the Tribal Council: the Chief, the War Leader, the Shaman, the Wise Woman, and the Messenger. They all offer different units, supports, and improvements. The tribal council is present in the game when a native civilization advances in age (replacing the politician system of the European civilizations), the player can select to promote a candidate to the Tribal Council and this confers a bonus on the player. Typically the type of bonus remains the same (extra units, bonus resources) and new candinates become available at higher home city levels.

New content[]

Players must have the original Age of Empires III installed to make use of this expansion pack. Age of Empires III: The WarChiefs offers several enhancements on Age of Empires III'. The enhancements include three new playable Native civilizations, new Home City cards, new buildings, a new single player campaign, additional units, additional minor civilizations and additional game concepts.

European civilizations can construct a new building called a Saloon to hire randomly available mercenaries as well as map specific human treasure guardian units. These units have a high price and a higher population count but are typically stronger than existing available units. The Saloon can be upgraded to a Dance Hall where Ronin Samurai can be recruited. All civilizations can build a Native Embassy. This building allows the training of allied minor civilization units at the embassy rather than at the trading post. Some tribes have the ability to allow Medicine Men to be trained from the Embassy which heal wounded units.

A new victory condition has been added - the economic victory known as a monopoly. If a player or team controls the (majority) of trading posts on the map, whether on trade routes or at minor tribes, they have the option to purchase a monopoly. This begins a five-minute countdown that must be stopped by the opposing player or team by reducing the number of trade posts owned to below half. If the countdown completes, the player or team that purchased the monopoly wins the game. New trading posts cannot be constructed by the player/team attempting economic victory but damaged ones can be repaired. This option can be enabled or disabled before a game begins.

New European units[]

Three new generic units have been made available to all eight European civilizations: cavalry artillery, petards, and spies. The cavalry artillery is a more expensive alternative to the field gun of Age of Empires III (it should be noted that all original units remain available), utilizing a faster speed as well as a greater attack.

The petard is built at the artillery foundry and is effectively a suicide-bomber unit. If it reaches its building target, it will detonate, causing massive damage. The Germans can ship Nitro Petards, who can destroy a building in a single blast.

The third unit is the spy, is a fast-moving infantry unit that is available from the Colonial Age and is trained at the Church or Mosque. Spies are weak infantry but have bonus damage against Explorers, War Chiefs, and Mercenaries. They also have increased line of sight and can make use of stealth mode, making them undetectable except by enemy town centers. The spy can be upgraded into assassins or agents depending on civilization, through Home City cards.

Native civilizations[]

The Iroquois, the Sioux, and the Aztec are included as three playable native civilizations. The three new civilizations have their own unique set of units, as well as unique sets of in-game bonuses.

Civilization Unique Civilization Bonus


War Chief boosts hitpoints of nearby units, have Travois, which can build most buildings for free. They start with one Travois. They also have a unique Founder Dance in the fire pit which spawns Travois. They also receive a Travois or two on each age advancement.

Chief Gall

War Chief boosts speed of nearby units, starts with 200 population slots automatically, but cannot build walls. Have unique Teepees, which you can only build up to 10 (exception when card sent) to provide a little health bonus (and if card sent, damage bonus) to nearby, friendly units. This bonus is stackable.


War Chief bonus doubles experience gained in combat by nearby units, have warrior priests that can heal or count as 2 people at the firepit. They start with one Warrior Priest. With the exception of an ordinary War Hut, Noble's Hut also acts as a blockhouse, but with a longer range.

Other additions to the game include new minor native tribes. The Huron replaced the Iroquois, the Cheyenne replaced the Lakota (Sioux) and the Zapotec replaced the Aztec. Other new tribes include the Klamath, the Apache, the Navajo and the Mapuche. The expansion includes 16 minor tribes, compared to the original 12.

A Fire Pit is available to all Native civilizations. By tasking villagers dance at the Pit, a range of up to ten dances per civilization are available. The more dancers, the more powerful the effect up to a maximum of 25. The Aztecs can task their warrior-priests to the pit which act like two villagers, effectively increasing their maximum to 35.

Generic Dances include: the Fertility Dance (which speeds up unit creation, including ships and herded animals), the Gift Dance (which increases Experience point gathering), the Alarm Dance (which spawns free Natives, broadly equal to a minuteman), the Holy Dance (which spawns Medicine Men except for the Aztecs, who get Warrior Priests), the Warchief Dance (which either increases the health of the Warchief or resurrects him at the pit if fallen). The two dances which can be learned through Home City shipments are The Town Dance which improves building HP and attack, and the Water Dance which improves naval combat.

The Iroquois have the unique Founder Dance, which spawns new Travois, and the Earth Mother Dance, which increases maximum population. The Sioux have the Fire Dance, which increases unit damage to buildings and ships to mitigate their lack of siege weapons, and the War Song Dance, which produces free Dog Soldier cavalry. The Aztecs have the Healing Dance (all idle units automatically regenerate health) to compensate for the limit on Warrior Priests, and the Garland War Dance to spawn the free Skull Knights.

Additionally, each Native Civilization has its share of unique technologies. There is one unique technology per building except for the Sioux teepee, and the Aztec and Iroquois Town Centers have 3 stages of Big Button, and the technologies do everything from delivering shipments of resources or units to upgrading unit capabilities.


One more new feature of the WarChiefs expansion is the implementation of the War Chief unit. Rather than the European explorer, each of the native tribes begins a game with a War Chief unit who acts as the tribal leader and his presence in combat can provide an advantage to nearby units. Furthermore, the number of advantages and bonuses can be increased through researching technologies, specific dances at the Fire Pit or with Home City shipments. A War Chief can convert treasure guardians rather than needing to eliminate them in order to scoop up the treasure. A converted guardian will not count towards the unit cap and theoretically huge armies of bears, pirates and wolves can be formed.

The Aztec War Chief possesses an ability that increases the amount of experience points which allied units receive for kills when they are within a certain proximity. The mounted Sioux War Chief's ability is an increase in speed for nearby units. The Iroquois War Chief adds hitpoints to nearby units.


A sample revolution screen where the player decides whether to pick Bolívar (Peru) or San Martín (Argentina), and their respective bonuses.

European colonies have a new option open to them in the Industrial age; instead of advancing to the Imperial age, they can revolt from the home nation and found their own country. The initial cost of revolting is cheaper than advancing to the Imperial age but the nation's economy will stagnate because all settlers will turn into militia and no new ones can be built (except Coreur de Bois from a Cree Village). Resources can continue to be delivered from pre-constructed ships, tributed resources, trading posts, factories and for the Dutch, banks.

The chief advantage of a revolution is one-time military boost when all settlers turn into militia suddenly giving the player a large army. When a revolution is initiated, a choice is presented between two historical revolutionary leaders, each with a unit specific bonus. The player can no longer receive home city shipments but instead can draw from a "Revolutionary Deck" of four cards, three which may be re-played an infinite number of times providing unit caps are not exceeded. Three new units are available only through a revolution; the Ironclad, the Gatling Gun, and Colonial Militia. If the map has water, the new nation can receive two Ironclads which are hybrid Frigate/Monitors. Four Gatling Guns can be delivered which are similar to the Portuguese Organ Gun but fire much faster and do more damage. Sixteen Colonial Militia can be delivered in a shipment which are hybrid Musketeer/Skirmish units. Finally a Fort Wagon can be sent which will unpack into a fort. A new nation may not upgrade units to Imperial Age.

The revolutionaries and their nations are:

Nation Revolutionary Advantages Available to
Argentina San Martín Grants 6 Imperial Howitzers (mortar is upgraded). Germans
Brazil Bonifácio 20 Fierce Legendary Tupi warriors come to your aid. All natives are set to Legendary level. Portuguese and Dutch
Chile O'Higgins Grants 10 Imperial Hussars (Hussars are upgraded). Ottomans and Spanish
Colombia Santander Grants 3 ironclads Ottomans, French, and Russians
Haiti L'Ouverture Colonial militia have more hitpoints. French and British
Mexico Hidalgo A group of outlaws rally to your cause. Spanish and Portuguese
Peru Bolívar All units gain 5% more hitpoints. Russians and Germans
United States Washington Gatling guns have more hitpoints. British and Dutch


Another new feature is the use of stealth. All native civilizations have a unit that can use stealth (this cannot be activated when enemy units are nearby). For the Europeans, there is a Home City card that ships five spies (available even to early Home Cities) or they can be trained at the Church. They share the stealth ability, as do other miscellaneous units (ninja, native scouts, etc.). When certain enemy soldiers are near the invisible unit, it becomes revealed and vulnerable to attack. Furthermore, stealth units become visible when they attack.


There are 8 new maps: Northwest Territory (representing Oregon, Washington and British Columbia), California, the Painted Desert, Araucanía (which have three varieties: Northern, Southern, and Middle), Orinoco, Ozarks, Plymouth, and the Andes.


The campaign, which is 15 missions long, includes the Black family in a more historical setting. The first act, Fire, follows Nathaniel Black (John Black's son and Amelia's father) as he spends the family's entire fortune supporting the American Revolution. The second act, Shadow, follows Amelia Black's son, Chayton Black, and opens during Red Cloud's War. The home city for both acts is Black Family Estate.

The Fire campaign begins with Nathaniel and Kanyenke trying to discourage the Mohawk and the Seneca from fighting in the war. However, they are ambushed, and head to an Oneida village nearby. They attack one Town Center, and destroy it, thus causing the Seneca (or Mohawk)to flee. When Nathaniel returns, he finds that the Mohawk and some white men captured his mother. They find that Nonahkee has been captured by Sven Kuechler, a Hessian general. They rescue Nonahkee, but Kuechler and his main army escape. After this, the Iroquois Confederacy shatters. Nathaniel's village supports the colonists, and Nathaniel heads to Boston where his men help defend a redoubt on Breed's Hill from the British. Following that, Washington takes command and leads a small force across the Delaware where they attack a Hessian encampment and later win victories at Trenton and Princeton. This is followed by a victory at Saratoga. However, the army is forced to camp at Valley Forge where they are forced to take shelter from the winter. Morristown is Nathaniel's chance for revenge, as Kuechler leads the attack. He receives artillery shipments from Washington, and sneaks around the Hessian flank. Kuechler attempts to destroy the Capitol of Morristown, but is foiled by Nathaniel. Refusing to accept defeat, Kuechler leads a suicidal attack on Nathaniel. After that, the French join the war and help the revolution gain a victory at Yorktown. With the revolution won, Nathaniel returns home a poor man having spent his fortune on the army. During the introductory video of the campaign (where Nathaniel is at Yorktown), the "Old Coot" from Act 3 (Morgan Black) in the previous game, can be seen watching his great-grandson's victory.

Chayton Black is Amelia Black's half-Lakota son. In 1866 he is expanding the Falcon Railroad Company westward along the Bozeman Trail, but winds up in the middle of Red Cloud's War, in which he helps defend the wood trail from the Sioux. It is here he becomes friends with Fort Laramie's quartermaster, William "Billy" Holme, a civil war veteran. Ten years later, in 1876 Chayton returns to the west and again meets up with Holme, now a sheriff, who informs him of a huge amount of gold in the Black Hills of Dakota. After defending many mining camps from Sioux attacks, Chayton goes to see Crazy Horse and establish a peace treaty. However, Holme and some of the miners arrive and ambush the Sioux before Chayton can begin negotiations, wrecking any chance of peace. Chayton still sides with Holme, and defends his workers as they gather wood for a fort. Yet, when he receives the order to destroy a Sioux village without provocation, he turns against Holme and, allying with the Sioux, destroys the fort. Chayton convinces General Custer, who recently arrived in the area, to give him one day to find Holme. Chayton chases Holme down and confronts him in a mine. Chayton tries to resolve the situation peacefully, but in the end Holme pulls a gun on Chayton. However Chayton is faster and shoots Holme, who falls down a mine shaft. Chayton then tries to convince General Custer not to attack the Sioux at Little Bighorn but Custer refuses. Custer then tells Chayton that he can no longer sit on the fence, demanding that Chayton decide whether he is White or Indian. Chayton agrees that he must choose, then says good-bye to Custer and wheels his horse and rides off to join the Sioux. Chayton puts on Sioux clothing and puts on war paint of a blood-red hand over his mouth. He then helps gather the Sioux and fights with them at Little Bighorn. After the battle Amelia Black narrates that she never saw her son again, but that she had heard that Chayton was either killed at Wounded Knee in 1890, taking a dozen cavalrymen with him, or lived out his days in the Black Hills with his wife and children.

Online play[]

Few changes have been made to Ensemble Studios online. Existing accounts have gained a Warchiefs stats section. A new account is not necessary or even allowed. This is probably to prevent internet sockpuppetry. However, to bypass this rule a second game can be purchased, for a new CD, which enables a new account. Players' home cities and levels will carry over with the ability to reselect cards, although all rankings and other stats will be reset.

Also the new game type Treaty is enabled. Playing this, all players won't be able to attack or build far from their starting town center, although towers may still shoot. Available Treaty times are 10, 20, 30 or 40 minutes. Before this new game type, players used "no rush for 30 min" servers for this, though a lot of players cheated and ended up rushing while still within the time limit.

Other versions of the Expansion[]

The Warchiefs expansion now has a trial version for PC only, which can be downloaded from the official site of Age of Empires 3: The Warchiefs website. It features two playable civilizations (Germans and Iroquois) in Skirmish Mode, one random map (California) as well as the two first scenarios in the single-player campaign about the continuing story of the Black Family, from Age of Empires III.

The Warchiefs expansion pack was also bundled with the full game of Age of Empires III, being called Age of Empires III: Gold Edition on September 19, 2006. It is currently discontinued and is replaced by the new bundle, called Age of Empires III: Complete Collection, featuring the full game of Age of Empires III, the Warchiefs Expansion, and the second released expansion, called Age of Empires III: The Asian Dynasties, released on September 15, 2009, in the United States.

As well, this expansion, including the full game of Age of Empires III and the Asian Dynasties expansion, has been ported over to the Mac by MacSoft Games, being able to play on Mac OS X.

There is also a downloadable custom map from Ensemble Studios' website, called Plymouth. It is only available for PC users of this expansion pack, requiring version 1.0.1 or later to run. As quoted from there website: "Plymouth is a festive new custom map from Ensemble Studios. It is a veritable cornucopia of Pilgrims, pumpkins, and envoys." Installation instructions are available on there site, for any help on getting it installed properly.

Overall, this expansion pack, has gone thorough four patches, that have been released to fix bugs and restore game balance, which has been slightly altered by the appearance of the new civilizations.

Minimum & Recommended Specifications[]

Microsoft WindowsMicrosoft Windows Minimum Specifications
Minimum Specifications
Operating System Windows XP
CPU 1.40 GHz Intel / AMD
RAM 256 MB
Graphics RAM 64 MB
Connectivity Internet access for online multi-player.
macOSmacOS Minimum Specifications
Minimum Specifications
Operating System Mac OS X 10.3.9
CPU 1.40 GHz G5 / Intel
RAM 512 MB


  1. Game Updates. Retrieved on 2010-07-03
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Game Details, IGN

External Links[]