2+4 is an amazing format

When designing a civilisation there are a lot of cool ideas that don’t make it to the final civilisation.
Unique units, unique technologies, unique mechanics, landmarks, civilisation bonuses, etc.

Adding variant civilisations later is an opportunity to use some of those old ideas and remix them into a new and interesting civilisation both from a gameplay but also from a historical point of view.

Arabs were famous for their horse archers but you want to give them camels?
Just about make a variant civilisation that has horse archers while the main one has camel archers.

The combination of 2 full civilisations plus 4 variants is also nice.
The fact that it’s more variants then new civilisations means all existing civilisations have a good chance of getting at last one variant in the future.

2+4 is also the perfect number of new civilisations to learn at once.
If the DLC had 6 completely new civilisations it would be a little overwhelming for people to learn all of them at once.
The fact that 2/3 of the civilisations are based on old ones means you don’t have to learn all the landmarks, unique units, unique technologies and unique mechanics, some of them will be familiar.

But I think there are still some issues with the execution of this concept.
I don’t have to tell you that there are a lot of people that are upset that a whole civilisation is designed around a single person.

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The idea is good, you well explained why. It all comes down to what those variants are, because not everything can fit. In fact Jeanne d’Arc has troubles fitting in.

Making variants isn’t as taxing as designing a whole new civ. I estimate that instead of 2+4 we could have gotten 3 civs. That wouldn’t be a lot to learn. And anyway, learning how to play a new civ takes more time but isn’t mandatory. Learning how to play against it is easier.

There’s the real potential. If you learn a civ, then you can play all the variants with ease. It keeps things more fresh.

That they come out with 2 or 3 other original civs is an interesting proposal, especially for civs in which there are several different concepts when it comes to planning what they would be like.

In fact, the concept of civ variants, which share architecture, could allow civs that would previously have the problem of leaving because they would overshadow another similar one in units or architecture, to exist.

This would happen in the case of the Vikings, technically it is unlikely that they will appear because they are outside the age range of the game (they did not even reach the year 1000 AD), but it is possible that they will appear as Danes, Swedes or Norwegians. The problem is that the three civilizations would share some unique unit and feudal age (Danish axe), so many concepts preferred to draw them as Danish, or mixing lanmarks from the 3 countries. If the 3 are civ variants of each other, then the mess could be solved:

If there was a Baltic Crusades expansion I would put:

  • Poland: Attacked by the Teutons
  • Lithuania: Attacked by the Teutons
  • Teutonic Order: Variant of HRE
  • Norwegians: Viking and medieval civilization until its end in the Kalmor Union
  • Danes: Nordic civilization, variant of Norwegians.
  • Swedes: Nordic civilization, variant of Norwegians.

I agree that the Scandinavians are a very good example for variant civilisations but I think the variants should not be added in the same DLC as the base civilisation.
I think it’s better to give the community and the developers time to develop a meta for those civilisations before trying to mix things up.

Also considering that AoE4 seems like it doesn’t really make themed expansions means that variants from all over the worlds can be added in a DLC, which I think is a good think.
In AoE2/3 it feels like certain parts of the world have been neglected for a long time (like East Asia in both games) while AoE4 can just add a Chinese variant in the mix. Well in this case even a full East Asian civilisation.