Another day — another guide! This time let's have a look at the Ottomans. All praise dat man GoodSpeed!
Otto, being by far the easiest and also the second strongest civ, are about as lame as you can get. Their eco takes minimal management, their builds are straightforward and aggressive and their army is overpowered. What's not to like?
Not counting units you can only get from shipments, the abus gun is the strongest unit in the game. They are mobile, accessible age2 artillery which even stands up to cav when massed. You could argue that they were designed to be this strong as a civ bonus for Otto and you'd probaby be right, but they definitely overdid it in this case. Properly massed abus with cards on them are in no way balanced, and with jans to back them up there are very few civs who have the slightest chance of breaking this composition in colonial. Even Iro has trouble.
The negative side though is that Otto will generally focus on jan+abus and will lack cavalry. This means that raiding, and this is very important against jan+abus, becomes your only hope as their mass grows and you can't seem to get a single cost effective engagement. As an Otto's opponent builds up their cav mass, the threat against Otto's vills also grows and as soon as the Otto needs to gather outside of their base, they need jans (a lot of them if you have 10+ cav) to protect their vills. At this point it becomes hard for the Otto to push because his jans can't be with his army as well as protecting his vills, and ageing up against them becomes viable. When trying to age up against jan+abus, it also helps that TCs 2-shot abus, which is a big deal since they're expensive. For this reason Otto will generally shy away from your TC in the early game, giving you chances to age up.
However, it doesn't stop at abus. Otto's FF builds are quite strong as well. Fast, relentless early fortress jan+falc pressure can be hard to deal with already if your start was just a little greedy, and the follow up mameluke push is even scarier. And Otto's 700g 600g semi-FF is scarier still.
Mamelukes. 5 of them tank about as much as 20 fortress age hussars, and while their damage is much lower than that of 20 huss this is not their purpose anyway. Mams are mostly for tanking while your abus do the damage behind them, and tanking just so happens to be their specialty. This makes them fit perfectly into Otto's mid fortress army, and even if they didn't: 12000 ranged HP for 2000 res? I'll take that deal any day of the week.
All in all, Otto has many options for timing pushes as well as strong colonial constant pressure with their amazingly cost effective abus. Their only real weakness, and it's a minor one, is that they can't hard counter ranged cavalry. Abus beat RC cost effectively but it's a close call, and jans barely win too. Considering Otto's bad economy they tend to rely on their extremely cost effective army, and full goon can prevent their army from being that cost effective.
As it turns out though, Otto's eco isn't all that bad. They have a free TP eco from very early on which gives them many resource shipments (think 700w 700g 600g (age) 1000w 1000g), greatly improving their eco which if it was based on their vill count alone would indeed be weak. Their vills are also free, which is a bigger deal than it seems. This means that, even at 12 minutes time, your average civ will not even have a more valuable army than Otto will, and Otto's units are quite simply better. Their mid fortress army with CA+abus+mams cannot be matched except by boom civs who started greedily, and even then it's close.
Speaking of fortress age abus compositions, they are inexplicably never used. Jans are strong, sure, but they really are nothing special and even though Otto can mass a lot of them while sending mams for the winning push and this may seem like a good way to play the civ, it's completely neglecting their best unit. Abus aren't any worse in fortress than they are in colonial, they can even help win falc wars. CA+abus or fortress jan+abus also works extremely well with mams, because a tank is exactly what the composition needs. This is underused, probably because massing jans and sending shipments is about the extent of your average Otto player's ability. After all, making 2 different units from a whopping 2 different military buildings is extremely difficult for someone who is used to their rax being the only building he or she ever selects.
Otto with their early TP eco basically guaranteeing them 3 shipments in a row in colonial, also have the option to upgrade the TPs early. This doesn't actually affect their shipment income until later in the game, at which point their crate shipments have already been sent, and it gives them a decent eco boost. Not worth it if you have 1 TP or if you will likely lose a TP and questionable if your opponent also has a TP, but even so it's generally a worthwhile investment. Unless you're planning to age up, in which case XP becomes more valuable.
The Ottoman build
With 400w start, build 2 TPs and chop for a house. With 300w, simply build a TP and a house.
Age up with 400w.
During transition, if there is still a TP to take, chop for it.
In all of the next builds if you find yourself in fortress, there are multiple ways to play it. A quick 2 falc shipment + jans from rax to push early, 8 jan 2 falc for a slower but stronger timing, 1000w 1000g for a long term plan, or early spahi for a quick cav push. Generally the artillery push is scarier, but sometimes you're looking to catch their army before they age up, in which case spahi can be a decent choice. Keep in mind that your early fortress timings are not all in, your game winning push comes with the mamelukes which you will send later. So don't overextend.
The early colonial plan 5%
Otto's rush isn't great, but it can punish certain civs for being greedy. This build also works as a solid defense against very fast rushes like the Iro one. If you're rushing with it though, consider going jan huss and not abus. A TC can 2-hit an abus and you don't want that, you'd generally want to stay away from their TC early on which obviously doesn't fit into a rush build very well.
Chop wood during age up. You're starting 700g and building 2 military buildings right away, so you're going to need at least 100 extra wood for housing, usually 200.
(3) 700w or (3) 600g (age up optional).
(4) 600g (age up optional) or (4) 700w.
(5) 600w or (5) Unit shipment for a timing.
From 700w build a market, houses and consider upgrading the trade route. Only do this if you intend to stay colonial. If you're planning on going fortress soon, XP is going to be more valuable than the TP resource income for another while.
The best shipment order if you want to turn it into a quick semi-FF is 700g 600g and age up, gathering only food with vills, then 700w during transition. This allows for a quick early game push and a decent fortress age follow up. Slower but more eco-heavy and less lacking in unit count in colonial is the 700g 700w 600g semi-FF, which is a better long term colonial build if you end up choosing to stay colonial instead of going fortress with the 600g.
The fortress plan 40%
As Otto you have a number of ways to get to fortress. In the end though, it's either FF or semiFF like most civs. But because Otto are so fast and get so many shipments in early colonial, they have a lot of choices when it comes to how they want to (semi-)FF.
Note that the fast age to fortress is usually stronger than the slow age, but in Otto's case vill production continues anyway and it's not like you're in a hurry to get cav archers or anything. The 4 huss or 4 abus age ups are often better for that reason.
For the straight FF, simply gather 1200-300. Make sure you have enough for minutemen too, if necessary. Still age with 400w, and use this for a military building and houses.
(2) 700g (age up)
For a quick semi-FF with 1 military building, gather only food and enough gold to start your cav or jan batch. Getting a market up during transition to colonial is viable, hunting dogs early is extra valuable since you'll be gathering mostly food for a while. From the 400w, build a rax or a stable and 2 houses.
(3) 600g (age up)
(4) 700w. Don't forget market.
Alternatively you can semi-FF more slowly but get more units out in colonial. This build is mentioned in the next part because the start is identical to the long term colonial start, except you're deciding to age up from 600g instead of staying colonial.
The long term plan 55%
This is an extremely scary build to face due to its flexibility, its strong early to mid colonial mass and the fact that its composition often contains abus guns. The key to beating it is to use its weaknesses, which are abus getting 2 hit by TCs and the weakness of jan+abus to big raids.
If you know you're staying colonial, you can choose to upgrade the trade route from 400w as well as building a rax or stable from it, then waiting for 700w for houses and market. If you're not upgrading the route because you're either semi-FFing or are not sure yet, build a market from the remaining 200w.
Compositions to choose from in colonial: jan+abus, jan+huss or huss+abus.
(2) 700w (second military building, houses, market, upgrade route optional)
(4) 600g (age up optional)
(5) 600w (consider mixing third military building). If you're still colonial and didn't upgrade the route yet, do it now.
Or (5) Unit shipment for a timing.
Going up from the 600g is often a solid choice because Otto can have trouble breaking an opponent in colonial. However, you could be missing a game winning timing. After all, 8 minute Otto timings can be very devastating if they decided to try and age up, depending on the civ of course.