A case for European Arquebusiers

Arquebusiers were a major part of European pike and shot formations of the early modern period, yet their inclusion in the game is limited to only the Chinese Arquebusier and the poorly themed Royal Arquebusier.

In the European unit rosters Arquebusiers would have to vie for a place between Crossbowmen and Skirmishers but I think there are several places where its inclusion makes sense. The Swedes, Dutch, and Spanish were masters of pike and shot warfare and could all fit Arquebusiers into their armies.


Arquebusiers should be an attractive unit in ages 2 and 3, but they should lag behind Skirmishers after age 4. This could be achieved by making them cost 2 population, but have stats that aren’t quite as good as 2 Skirmishers. Arquebusiers were also relatively easy to train and equip, and making them a more powerful 2 population unit would mean you get more power out of each batch compared to Crossbowmen and Skirmishers.

They use primitive guns so they should also lack the rifle infantry tag and not benefit from Counter Infantry Rifling to further incentivize transitioning to Skirmishers. To compensate for this, they could have a slightly higher multiplier against light cavalry like the Chinese Arquebusier. To further differentiate them from Skirmishers, they should have lower range and could have an animation of priming their guns to slightly slow down their attack rate.

Arquebusiers were most effectively used in pike and shot warfare so they should be weak to heavy cavalry to incentivize pairing them with Pikemen. They should also cost gold to help them be produced in conjunction with Pikemen and allow them to be added to the Dutch unit roster with minimal impact.

The stats and cost of Arquebusiers could be something like what’s depicted below:


If your only issue is nitpicking these specific numbers, please feel free to suggest what you think are balanced numbers instead.


Fitting Arquebusiers into Sweden’s roster would be very easy. Sweden was intended to not have a standard light infantry unit and they were only begrudgingly given access to Crossbowmen. Arquebusiers could simply replace Crossbowmen in their roster to act as the light infantry that’s still not quite as good as Skirmishers. It would also thematically make sense as the period when Sweden started to come to prominence was the 30 years war when arquebusiers were common.


The early Skirmishers of the Dutch could be replaced by Arquebusiers as this is essentially what these early Skirmishers are supposed to represent. The Dutch were prolific users of the arquebus; so much so that the term originates from the Dutch word haakbus.


Arquebusiers could be given to Spain via the famed pike and shot formations of the Tercios. This could exist as a Tercio Army trained as a group like the Chinese banner armies. The army composition should consist of 4 Pikemen and 2 Arquebusiers. With Arquebusiers being a 2 population unit, they would represent half the power of the army while maintaining the ⅓ ratio. Being accessible only through a Tercio army would also lessen the competition with Spanish Crossbows.


To accommodate a new European Arquebusier, the Chinese Arquebusier could be renamed something like Jingal, Jiaozhi Arquebus, or Shenjiying.


There’s a case to be made for Portugal having Arquebusiers since they introduced them to many places such as Japan. However, they already have strong Crossbowmen and Cassadors so their unit roster would be very crowded with them. The Cannoneer mercenary also already represents the Portuguese gunners employed across Africa and Asia.

There is also a strong tradition of arquebus use in Southeast Asia that predates the arrival of Europeans in the area. Weapons like the Java Arquebus deserve to be their own unique units if we ever get civilizations like the Javanese.

Other civilizations could obtain Arquebusiers through shipments and age ups. Spain could get them from the Adventurer politician, and Sweden could get them from the Marksman politician.


Arquebusiers should be depicted with a bandolier of powder charges as seen below:

Arquebusiers could look similar to this mod’s Musketeers reskin, but without the bayonet and a different hat and pose.


You know you are like 80% way to an abus right? It also negates the role of xbow kinda completely

There is also no reason to use these with pikes if you also have muskets.

It would basically be like giving jan abus to all the civs listed(besides dutch)

It’s nowhere near 80% the same. Abus guns are high base damage with low multipliers and siege damage. These are lower base damage with higher multipliers and ranged damage. If anything it could be closer to Abus in regards to heavy cavalry. Maybe x0.67 vs cav and x2.5 vs light cav.

Somewhat, but that’s why I’m suggesting it go mainly to civs that don’t have crossbowmen. And in Spain’s case, it would need to be built along with Pikemen.

Dutch don’t have Musketeers and Spain would only be able to train them along with Pikemen. Sweden and Spain also have imperial Pikemen to pair with them. Costing a different resource mix also pushes the pairing.

yeah but they will effectively play the same role with the current stats they are trading the siege damage away for cheaper cost and better range tankiness (it has higher HP and higher armour), the lower gold cost means they are much more massable and the fact they outrange even xbow means that they can kite away for days like abus.

it doesnt, thats not how eco works in this game, you want to be gathering 2 resources at best to maximises production of your units especially since resources gather at different rates.

Like there is a reason why musk hus and xbow pike are the 2 prefered composition in age 2, why have a few vils on wood to make pikes when you can have more on food to make more caros and more vils.

and now you create the same problem as chinese banner armies where 4 units are made with only 3 units you want for your optimal comp.

Now you really want only 2 units in the comp but you have to get some useless pikes along with them, its not desirable

edit: like the only civ this works for is dutch, and then you have to remove their only age 2 bonus for it

The balance is a mess.
Having no crossbowmen is aim to be a weakness, and you’re going to make them without that weakness.

Imho, your fanaticism for reflecting history often overlooks some of the essence of game design. Sometimes even historical source is strange too. If Shenjiying is introduced into the game, it could be a card, a new home city banner army, a tech, but definitely not a kind of unit. The Jingal is a specially designed defensive long-barreled arquebus that requires more than two people to operate, not a simple arquebusier. Besides, do you know where Jiaozhi is? Do you think that the military culture that belongs to Vietnam is suitable as a substitute for the Chinese’s core unit?

1 Like

This is just a rough suggestion when it comes to stats, I’m not claiming it’s the perfect balance. Increasing the gold cost to make it less massable would be reasonable. What I’m trying to achieve is a unit that’s distinct from Crossbowmen and Skirmishers, is vulnerable to heavy cavalry, and is outclassed by Skirmishers by age 4.

Ideally yes, but if you’re forced to make a unit that you didn’t macro for, or need to balance out your resource mix then this can be an incentive.

Having Arquebusiers doesn’t really change anything about this. Players are almost always going to make Caroleans over Pikes either way.

Group training is generally discounted to offset the upfront cost. For Spanish, you wouldn’t make this to get Arquebusiers, you’d make it for Pikemen and get bonus Arquebusiers.

to what end? it doesnt have any role more distinct then an xbow with different multipliers

If you want to balance ur resource mix there is already a tool for that, its the market. And yes you lose some but making some units that you didnt design your build around is much worse

and again, for civs that have both musket and this unit, why would you ever make pikes unless you are forced to.

case and point

my point is that there is no reason for a swede player to make any pikes because it cost wood and that would make their eco inefficient

with this unit you have essentially allow swedes to have a comp that only cost food and gold in age 2, that is essentially jan abus

there is a reason their leather cannons cost wood, it was to prevent them from just massing caro cannon age 2

why bother then if you can just make muskets, if the arquebusier isnt the important unit?

Obviously that’s open for adjustment. The suggested stats were to give an idea of uniqueness. Nitpicking specific numbers doesn’t invalidate the general idea.

All of these civs have Crossbowmen or better. What weakness are you talking about?

It’s a unit famous for its firearm use, I don’t see why it wouldn’t fit. Ultimately, Arquebusiers are a generic unit most notable for their role in pike and shot warfare. There isn’t really a reason to make them a Chinese unique unit. If you have better name suggestions I’d love to hear them.

Ideally it would function like that, but that would be a much more impactful change than giving the Dutch a different unit instead of early Skirmishers which is why I suggested just a rename. Jingals could be a good Skirmisher that is generic enough to be shared by other Asian nations like India and Burma too, but that’s quite a substantial change.

If you’re going to replace the crossbowman with this unit, they should have the weakness they get from losing the crossbowman, and the strength they get from getting the unit. However, their positioning is still essentially the crossbowman, which is really meaningless.

It is a common practice in the AoE series to make something that is actually universal to be something unique to one or some civilizations. There is no need to argue against this.

I think the Chinese arquebusier and Royal Arquebusier are not bad. If you say the former should get a new name and the latter is not decent, then you can suggest to them specifically, rather than just trying to change a bunch of civilizations.

Divine Machine Battalion is actually a special division established by the dynasty to learn to use various gunpowder weapons (not just arquebus). Other troops almost only use traditional cold weapons, and this unit is responsible for ALL kinds of firearms.

In the thread of my suggestion for Asian civilizations, I made it a new special banner army card, consisting of the flame thrower and the three-eyed gunner (kind of musketeer-type consulate unit).

Google it yourself.

The rich Indian culture has more features that other cultures in the world have not. The Indian do not need this.

If Jingals were going to be introduced into the game, I would first make it a Chinese unit, as a kind of consulate unit from Chinese Isolationism or home city. Otherwise, let it become a mercenary. Comparing to your suggestion, no so-called “a substantial change” here.

Burmese, like Koreans and Vietnamese, can use units from their culture to make mercenaries, or make special native units for landmarks of King of the Hill mode. They definitely have more suitable units than Jingals.

1 Like

I suppose having a 1st age with no conflict unlike other AOE games affect this as the Exploration Age was (with the Euros in mind) originally the 1500s, where Aquebusiers would be one of the prime units, however as they were always the lighter, more skirmish’y units alongside the heavier musketeers, it would make sense for them to be available in Commerce as an archaic gunpowder unit.

Everyone could have access to them, but the Dutch could have a special called Calivermen - it was a a more standardized later arquebus.

I would have loved to have the Exploration age having some combat aside from Explorer action - there was a whole wealth of 1500-1600s stuff (all considered Early Modern and in the timeframe) - Arquebusiers, Petronels, Demi-lancers and Gendarmes (the original, fully-plated men-at-arms), but hey-ho!

1 Like

There’s only so much you can change and still fill a role. They outrage Crossbows, are more upgradable, cost gold instead of wood, and are a 2 pop unit so there are some substantial differences. Their multipliers could be further differentiated from Crossbows by making their heavy cav multiplier x0.67 and their light cav multiplier x2.5 which would put them in a more specialized niche.

That’s exactly what I did. There’s a separate post on the Royal Arquebusier, and the only reason I even mentioned China in the post is they happened to have a unit that shares a name. I’m not trying to suggest any substantial changes to China in this post.

Arquebusiers are basically the only unit China has that uses firearms so I don’t think it’s wrong to name them after an elite unit that specializes in firearms. It was just one option I suggested to reconcile another Arquebusier unit.

Ideally there should be multiple Indian factions, and I’d probably only give one of them a Jingal.

Having an excessive number of unique units to learn makes the game excessively hard to learn. When it’s possible to have some regional units, I think that option should be explored.

Greatly change the meta, civilization charactristics and mechanics, especially the Spanish, just to introduce a small historical symbol. What I see you are going to do is change just for the sake of change.

You think the arquebus is a common thing. Sure. You can just simply change the name of the Chinese and European Royal ones so it would not be unique to any single faction. Definitely better tham changing a lots.

Basically not. To take the most obvious example, you ignore the artillery. For the Qing Dynasty, it was the main firearm, but not the only one. The earlier the age, the more diverse the types, such as the three-eyed gun. Not to mention, the Divine Machine Battalion of the Qing Dynasty was no longer a military organization specialized in firearms, but a royal guard corps. Its connection with the image of gunpowder was mainly in the Ming Dynasty

Anyway, the Divine Machine Battalion (Ming) was a privileged military organization that produced and used all kind of gunpowder weapon for the dynasty. Organization shouldn’t be the name of a unit, as I explained to you when discussing Asian Outlaws. Do you remember? To use a few perhaps inappropriate but expressive examples, a unit should be called jihadists or terrorists instead of Taliban or ISIS, and a unit should be called Republicans or Democrats instead of Republican Party or Democratic Party.

Divine Machine Battalion can be a technology or card related to gunpowder units, or a banner army dominated by gunpowder units, but should not be the name of a unit. If you want a name for the unit, the word “鳥銃”(literally “Bird Gun”) is a very suitable and common Chinese term to generalized refer the arquebuses and muskets used in Chinese history, which is why I suggest it so.

Ideally, AoE3 can maintain its peak, 20k active players.
Ideally, wars should only happen in games and no longer in the real world.

This is the opposite of what you’ve been doing all along.
You always want AoE3 to have new civs and factions to those small kimdoms, but here you even said that by introducing just one or two representatives of their culture to make a minor civ or mercenary units representing them is “having an excessive number of unique unit”. :joy:

Since they’re not European, of course they don’t share the same units, and that’s one of the big draws of AoE3, the richness of culture. If any civs, minor civs or mercenaries other than Chinese have Jingals, the units will have different appearances, names, and stats even if they have similar positioning. For example, the Chinese one would have the Qing sodier’s suit in the appearance and be named “Taiqiang” or “Nine-headed Bird Gun”, respectively the pinyin of its Chinese name “抬槍” and the literal translation of its another name “九頭鳥銃”. And the other one may be named Jingal, Gingall, Wall Gun or any suitable term in their language.

1 Like

Make a card to upgrade xbows to arquebusiers.
Historically Portugal mantained the “Besteiros do Conto” that were replaced by “Arcabuzeiros do Conto” in 1498.

1 Like

I generally like your idea I just don’t like that they are 2 pop.
I think an infantry unit needs a good reason to have to be 2 pop and this unit doesn’t.

I would balance them though the fact that they don’t benefit from rifling and maybe make them generally weaker and cheaper then a skirmisher. This way they would still be worse per pop.

They should replace the Crossbow for all civilisations that have access to it not just for the Swedes.

My proposal:

40 Food 40 Coin (Like Crossbow but coin instead of wood)
1 pop
100 HP (like Crossbow)
30% Range Resist (like Skirmisher)

16 ranged damage
3.5 Rate of Fire instead of 3.0 (Like Abus)
1.5x against Heavy Infantry (Worse then Skirmisher but better then Crossbow)
2.0x against Light Cavalry but 0.75x against cavalry (Like Crossbow)


  • Replaces Crossbow
  • Unique Tercio army that is a little cheaper then 4 Pikeman and 2 Arquebus (and only 2 different resources instead of 4)
  • No Guard and Imperial upgrades (Only though The Papal Guard)


  • Replaces Crossbow
  • Crossbow is still available through Church card (Consulate units anyway)
  • Has Royal Guard and Imperial upgrades
  • And please rework that civilisation overall


  • Replaces early Skirmisher
  • No Guard and Imperial Upgrade
  • HC card to turn all Arquebus into Skirmishers


  • Replaces Crossbow
  • No Guard and Imperial upgrades

Fancy idea

  • Arquebus get +1HP for every Pikeman close (up to 20) and the other way round
  • Alternatively Arquebus get +1% melee resistance (up to 20%) and Pikeman get +1% range resistance

Pikeman are available too all those civilisations so it would make sense.

Civilisations that shouldn’t get them

  • Ottomans and Russians don’t have Pikeman and they have unique Commerce Age Skirmisher Replacements
  • The British have Longbows and the Italians have Pavisier
  • Germans and French have good Skirmishers so they should focus on those
  • Malta has extra strong Crossbows so they should keep them

I just noticed how close my idea is to the State Militia.
But the State Militia is stronger because:

  • Faster
  • Gets more HP from other State Militia and not Pikeman
  • Benefits from Counter Infantry Rifling

Alternative Idea

Make them like Papal Zouave with no attack modifiers, no Light nor Heavy Infantry tag and no rifling.
Therefor they get a relatively hight base attack.

1 Like

I’m not suggesting this is an urgent or necessary change. This is just an idea of how Arquebusiers could fit into the game without a complete overhaul of all the units. Pike and shot tactics were also a huge deal in the timeframe the game takes place in so it would be nice to have it represented.

Exactly, this post is about European Arquebusiers not China. I thew in a few possible options for renaming the Chinese ones since they have a unit that bears the same name. Thanks for contributing some other options. “鳥銃”(literally “Bird Gun”) would probably be a good enough rename.

Obviously the actual dynasty had more than arquebusiers. I’m referring to what’s in the game currently.

That could also work, but giving the name to a unit has the benefit of portraying China as a bit less of an underdeveloped civ that only has primitive guns. And it could be called something like “Shenjiying Gunner” if the name is so offensive to you.

There’s a difference between overly complicated standard unit rosters and some new natives. The standard units are something you need to play with and against all the time so they should be as common as is reasonable. It really helps transitioning from one civ to another if they already have some familiar units. With the natives, their availability should be as widespread as possible so that players get familiar with them. For outlaws I did suggest a few new ones but still mainly just renamed. But overall, outlaws are in a pretty bad state so that doesn’t impact the game greatly.

Sounds like you just have a problem with Pikemen. Currently there isn’t much of a reason to make them other than to react to cavalry or to provide some siege attack.

One way they could be improved is through some of the new abilities. For example, if Spain’s Tercio Tactics card gave Pikemen the deflection ability, they might be effective at protecting other units.

Altering the unit itself could also be an option. I think it would be reasonable to increase the reach of their melee attack. That would give them first strike advantage in melee and let them fight more effectively when bunches up.

Valid point, one would have to be careful giving this to Swedes. However, I don’t see it as impossible to balance in other ways.

Pikemen are cheap and do their jobs well. But in the mid point in games they usually disapear but some civs they have a resurgence.

For Spain, Sweden, Malta, actually those civs are the ones that have a good use for them throughout the game

For spain it’s because their musketeers don’t get cards for them so rodeleros get the treatment and they share benefits also the training time card is a huge boon.

For sweden it’s because caroleans with all their perks are actually surprisingly weak when ambushed. Also they get shared card benefits.

And Maltese Pikemen are surprisingly tough buggers

I play china, I know how good pikes are, but the game works in compositions, not individual units.

if the pike doesnt fit in the composition that the civs can build to win, then it becomes a redundant thing that just drags the civ down.

There is a reason that most civ in age 2 that has musks dont have pikes and of the ones that do its never a thing that is used in the same composition, making them competition to each other in your own resources.

and your suggestion of abilities is just a cascade of ideas and solutions for problems that you have ended up introducing with this unit and wanting it to have to be used with pikes ( and not musks). At what point is it more about seeing the unit in the game rather then the game itself?

edit: like there is one civ that has a very powerful pike unit as well as muskets and skirms in age 2. and guess what, the pike is basically a deadweight unit despite it being arguably the most powerful pike in the game. Take a guess which civ that is

Even if it might be balanced, you actually change more than you think.
Just for such a historical symbol that doesn’t matter for the game, almost changes their meta.

I do not care.
What I know is that the only units in the game that are clearly named after the arquebus are this Chinese unit and that European Royal native unit. Again, if the starting point of this thread is that arquebuses shouldn’t be something of some specific faction (even I don’t mind at all because it’s a classic AoE practice), then I’d rather rename the above two units so that they would no longer be named under the arquebus, which is simple and serves the purpose. In games, we couldn’t have to mention arquebuses, just like we don’t mention many things and details, even those that are historically important.

Obviously I was also referring to what’s in the game as well.
The Chinese have 2 types of artillery units, or 3 if the Flamethrower is included.

As someone who can speak Chinese, I can tell you directly that your idea here is wrong at all.
The Divine Machine Battalion of the Ming Dynasty was a professional gunpowder elite force. There is no such impression of backwardness, especially for Chinese speakers. Not to mention, would you use “54th Massachusetts Volunteer”, “1st Michigan Volunteer” or “Lee’s Legion” as unit names?
Looking at the whole thread, at present, only the Bird Gunner (“鳥銃手”) is suitable for the new name of the Chinese Arquebusier. This word is a historical, generic, and appropriate term in Chinese. It’s not “probably be a good enough”, but very good.

  1. There were never any of these standards you stated of here. We have recently had soldiers who can be promoted, ranged heavy cavalry who can dismount, rifle infantry who can hunt, Klamath warriors who can lumber, and so on. More and more fresh mechanics. To me, these are interesting, but also not too complicated to learn, as they are still essentially those common unit types.

  2. I have never stated what type or mechanic of units would be if Korean, Vietnamese, Burmese units were introduced into the game. Maybe very classic, maybe very unique.

  3. If you care about simplicity and wideness, you can look at Fusilier. Like the arquebus, the flintlock is a common European military culture too. Make Arquebusier become a new outlaw or mercenary unit too, and make it the default at European Tavern. This is another way that is simple and serves the purpose. Anyway, no need to change a bunch of things like you do.


This is not a problem I’m introducing, it’s a problem of Pikemen being outclassed by Musketeers. Currently as Sweden there’s almost no reason to make Pikemen over Caroleans. Whether or not Sweden had Arquebusiers doesn’t change the fact that Pikemen aren’t used. The devs did seem to try to incentivize Sweden to use them. They are their only unit with a melee multiplier against cav and they get an imperial upgrade.

Arquebusiers would pair well with Pikemen for Dutch and Spanish, but for civs like Sweden with better options you can’t force people to use a worse option so it would probably end up being a Carolean/Arquebusier composition. Whether or not Arquebusiers are a thing, Pikemen could use some features that would actually incentivise people to make them. Otherwise they’re just dead weight like Rajputs.