For england/china, I think you can just do similar before Xbows - your upgrades will be slower but you have critical upgrade within your UU so no problem. Compared to Zulu, you do not have impi so you might need more meat shield or units. But general gameplay won't change much. If you allow 10 CB/spears to attack you, while you only have 4 CBs, something is wrong. Point of early war is to cut off enemy units one by one. AI will "deliver" units to you, so all you need to do is kill them. When needed, place a good front city.