Faction Overview Strategic Overview CtW Information Tech Tree


  • Cheap and fast-producing early-game navy
  • Extensive selection of cheap and fast-producing infantry and cavalry capable of marine raiding


  • High dependence on unique units results in lack of flexible gameplay
  • Mediocre modern navy and army (although Ironclad still can be built)

Of all factions, the Malay kingdoms represent one of the hardest to master and most highly specialised of all factions — they are skilled at fighting in pelagic environments, but nothing else.

Among all factions, the Malays are one of the two factions capable of amphibious warfare. The Malay army is typified by four unique units: Bajau medium cavalry, Bugis spearmen, Bugis gunners and Dayak skirmishers, reflecting the cosmopolitanism of ancient Malay society and the historic influence of Bugis warlords.

The Malay navy is fairly mediocre as many jungle nations, and specialises in mobility over firepower, with one exception - the Xebec. Xebecs replace the frigates and outriggers for most Muslim factions, and also bring more meat on the table - they have the same population cost as an outrigger, but are best described as a mating between a cutter and a war galley: it continues to be as weak but economical as the war galley, possesses the cutter's poor armament but is also cheaper and faster. The xebec is thus the undisputed king of the seas in the early game, being cheap enough, yet being endowed with sufficient firepower. A fleet of xebecs can be created fairly quickly and cheaply, granting naval mastery in no time although easily outranged by heavier warships.

So for the Malay faction, sea power is key to remain a going concern. The Malay faction is unique in that it marries both tribal ships with western-style pike and shot. An added bonus is that docks will spawn war canoes and frigates so long as that kind of craft remains buildable - which for the most part remains so until the Industrial Era when western-style ironclad warships begin coming into vogue (the Malays can still get dreadnoughts provided they are lucky enough to conquer a Western faction). Apart from its unique units, the Malay faction also has better explorers which elicit more resources from ruins, and are also more efficient at their abilities, but beyond that, it still remains weak. The fate of the Malays thus rests on the gallant crews of its war canoes and its xebecs - take those away, and it will be down to specialised byt weak land units and not-so-mobile elephants.

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