Age of Empires III: The WarChiefs

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Age of Empires III: The WarChiefs
Developer(s) Ensemble Studios (original)
MacSoft (port and updates)
Robot Entertainment (updates)
Publisher(s) Microsoft Game Studios (PC)
Macsoft (Mac)
Series Age of Empires
Platform(s) Windows, Mac OS X
Release date(s) PC:
  • NA June 12, 2007
  • EU June 25, 2007
Genre(s) Real-time strategy
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer

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.[1] 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 version was ported over, developed and published by Destineer's MacSoft Games. The full game for Mac 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[edit]

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.

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. The candidates offer higher bonuses at later ages. Typically the type of bonus remains the same (extra units, bonus resources) and new candidates become available at higher home city levels.

Native civilizations[edit]

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 on each age advancement (with the exception of an age advancement choice in which the player receives multiple Travois). This civilization is the only native nation to train artillery.

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. This civilization does not train cavalry, but can train stronger infantry at the Noble's Hut, which also acts as an outpost.

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. 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 that 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 technologies' effects range 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.

The Aztec War Chief possesses an ability that increases the amount of experience points 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 hit points to nearby units.


A sample revolution screen where the player (German civilization) decides whether to pick Bolívar (Venezuela) 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 Coureur des 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. A new nation may not upgrade units to the Imperial Age.

The revolutionaries and their nations are:

Nation Revolutionary Advantages Available to
Flag of Argentina.svg United Provinces of the Río de la Plata San Martín Grants 6 Imperial Howitzers. (Mortars are upgraded). Germans
Flag of Empire of Brazil (1870-1889).svg Empire of Brazil Bonifácio 20 Fierce Legendary Tupi warriors come to your aid. All natives are set to Legendary level. Portuguese and Dutch
Flag of Chile.svg Republic of Chile O'Higgins Grants 10 Imperial Hussars. (Hussars are upgraded). Ottomans and Spanish
Bandera de la Guerra a Muerte.svg Second Republic of Venezuela Santander Grants 3 ironclads. Ottomans, French, and Russians
Civil Flag of Haiti 1964.png Empire of Haiti L'Ouverture Colonial militia have more hitpoints. French and British
Flag of Mexico (1821-1823).svg Mexican Empire Hidalgo A group of outlaws rally to your cause. Spanish and Portuguese
Flag of Venezuela (state).svg Venezuelan Republic Bolívar All units gain 5% more hitpoints. Russians and Germans
US flag 13 stars – Betsy Ross.svg United States Washington Gatling guns have more hitpoints. British and Dutch


Another new feature is the use of stealth. This enables certain units to remain undetected by most enemy units and buildings. All native civilizations have a unit that can use stealth (this cannot be activated when enemy units are nearby). For the Europeans, there are spies that can be sent from the home city or recruited from the church. Spies are particularly effective against explorers and war chiefs due to their bonus attack. They all share the stealth ability, as do other miscellaneous units (ninja, native scouts, etc.). When certain enemy soldiers are near the invisible unit, the unit will be revealed and vulnerable to attack. Stealth units also 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 Black'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 his actions in the Black Hills during Red Cloud's War and Great Sioux War. The home city for both acts is the Black Family Estate.

Act 1: Fire[edit]

Nathaniel Black (loosely based on Joseph Louis Cook) is the half-Iroquois son of the late John Black from Act 2 in the previous game, raised by his mother Nonahkee and his uncle Kanyenke. The campaign opens as Nathaniel and Kanyenke are trying to discourage the Mohawk and the Seneca from fighting in the American Revolutionary War. However, they are ambushed by a group of Mohawks and head to an Oneida village nearby. From there they counter-attack and destroy an enemy Town Center, thus causing their enemies to flee. When Nathaniel and Kanyenke return to their village, they find that the Mohawk and a group of Hessian mercenaries led by Colonel Sven Kuechler, have raided the village and captured Nonahkee. They rescue Nonahkee, but Kuechler and his main army escape, leaving the Iroquois Confederacy to dissolve. 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. After George Washington takes command, a series of defeats drives the colonials back across the Delaware, where they are joined by Nathaniel. Here, Washington leads a small force, including Nathaniel, across the Delaware where they attack a Hessian encampment at Trenton and defeat the rearguard of the army at Princeton. This is followed by another victory at the Battles of Saratoga. However, the army is once again defeated at Brandywine and Germantown and is forced to camp for the winter at Valley Forge, where they suffer greatly from the cold. This leads Nathaniel to use most of his family's fortune to supply the army throughout the winter. The next scenario is the fictional battle of Morristown, where Nathaniel has his chance for revenge on Kuechler, who leads an attempt to destroy the capitol building of Morristown. Using artillery shipments he receives from Washington, Nathaniel sneaks around the Hessian flank and relieves Morristown. Refusing to accept defeat, Kuechler joins the fight with Nathaniel and is killed. After Kuechler's death, Nathaniel is said to have fought at Charleston, Camden, and King's Mountain. As the tide begins to turn, the French join the war and help the revolutionaries gain a victory at Yorktown, where Nathaniel is instrumental in capturing several redoubts. With the Revolution won, Nathaniel returns home a poor man having spent his family fortune on outfitting his volunteers and supplying the troops at Valley Forge. During the epilogue video of the campaign (where Nathaniel is at Yorktown), the "Old Coot" (secretly Morgan Black) from Acts 1 and 3 in the previous game can be seen watching his great-grandson's victory.

Act 2: Shadow[edit]

In 1866, Chayton Black, Amelia Black's half-Lakota son whose father died when he was too young to remember, is expanding the Falcon Railroad Company westward along the Bozeman Trail but winds up in the middle of Red Cloud's War. He helps defend the wood trail from the Sioux and becomes friends with Fort Laramie's quartermaster, William "Billy" Holme, an aged 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 the Sioux chief Crazy Horse and establish a peace treaty. However, Holme and some of the miners ambush the Sioux before Chayton can begin negotiations, wrecking any chance of peace. Despite the sheriff's warmongering, Chayton still sides with Holme and defends his workers as they gather wood for a new fort. However, once the fort is complete, Holme orders Chayton to destroy a Sioux village without provocation. Chayton refuses and, turning against Holme, allies with the Sioux to destroy the fort, forcing Holme to flee into the hills. Chayton then convinces the newly arrived General Custer to give him one day to find Holme, who is the real cause of the unrest. Chayton puts on Sioux clothing and blood-red war paint and, joining with Crazy Horse, chases down Holme and confronts him in a mine. Chayton hopes to resolve the situation peacefully, but Holme pulls a gun on Chayton. However, Chayton draws his gun more quickly and shoots Holme, who falls down a mineshaft to his explosive death. Chayton then tries to convince General Custer not to attack the Sioux, but Custer refuses and demands that Chayton choose sides: the United States or the Natives, saying that he can no longer sit on the fence. Chayton agrees, bidding Custer goodbye and siding with the Sioux. He helps gather the Sioux and Cheyenne nations and fights with them at the Little Bighorn. After the battle, Amelia Black narrates that she never saw her son again, but she has 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.

Other versions[edit]

The WarChiefs expansion pack was bundled with Age of Empires III Complete Collection, featuring the full game of Age of Empires III, The WarChiefs, and the second released expansion The Asian Dynasties, released on September 15, 2009, in the United States.

Age of Empires III, The WarChiefs and The Asian Dynasties have been ported to Mac OS X by MacSoft Games.


Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
Metacritic 80/100[2]
Review scores
Publication Score A [3]
Eurogamer 6/10 [7]
GameSpot 7.8/10 [5]
GameSpy 4.5/5 [6]
IGN 8.2/10 [4]


  1. ^ a b c Game Details, IGN
  2. ^ Age of Empires III: The WarChiefs Critic Reviews for PC - Metacritic
  3. ^ AoE III: Warchiefs Review for PC from
  4. ^ Age of Empires III: The WarChiefs Review - IGN
  5. ^ Age of Empires III Review - GameSpot
  6. ^ GameSpy: Age of Empires III: The WarChiefs - Page 1
  7. ^ Age of Empires III: The Warchiefs Review • Reviews • PC •

External links[edit]