Alternate idea for lategame water: Flagships

Especially in the lategame, it feels like water gets REALLY snowbally. You lose the advantage, and you can almost never take it back, because your enemy’s got 50 galleons sitting there, and even if you do manage to get a dock up, there’s no way you’ll get enough ships built fast enough to beat them.

That alone annoys me, but it also bugs me how water feels so bland. There’s a brief window early on where you have that rock/paper/scissors effect, but for the most part, it’s galleons galleons galleons, and after a point it’s just…bleh. But this gave me an idea! What if, instead of adding new ships and trying to copy land combat, it went an entirely different way? What if you could build a Flagship?

The idea would be a culture-defined, special ship with absolutely ridiculous stats, but an equivalently ridiculous price. This ship would be singlehandedly capable of taking on an entire fleet of galleons and winning. For example, the western european nations might have a Ship of the Line:

  • Ship of the Line
  • Cost: 900W, 450G
  • 1800HP
  • Range: 9
  • Damage: 10x15(+50 vs ships)
  • It would fire a spray of small cannonballs, and would be capable of sinking 5 galleons in a single shot.

By contrast, the Mediterranean civs might have a Classis:

  • Classis
  • Cost: 750W, 600G
  • 800HP(very high armor and ship armor)
  • Range: 1
  • Damage: Converts multiple enemy ships at once.
  • Rather than a single massive ship, a fleet of smaller ships, which board and take control of enemy vessels. Strong vs Galleons and Flagships; Weak vs Fire Ships and Stone Defenses

And the Asian civs might have the Bao Shan:

  • Bao Shan
  • Cost: 500W, 1000G
  • 2500HP
  • Damage: 150
  • Range: 11
  • This massive treasure ship can move and fire at the same time, which is a good thing, because it moves very slowly. It fires extremely damaging cannonballs at a high rate of fire. It also can serve as a massive Trade Cog, carrying 10x the gold of a normal cog.

Basically, fighting a Flagship with normal ships would be suicidal, so your enemy would need a flagship of their own!

At this point, what was a spammy, samey water battle becomes an intense 1v1 for water domination! The loser loses everything, while the winner returns home for repairs, while their galleons and cannon galleons control the sea. But the great thing is, because their enemy only needs to make one ship to be back in the action, water will never be totally won! All it takes is one dock and a little time, and you can be back in the action again, and if your micro is on point, water could flipflop entirely!

It would basically be like Siege on land, which can turn an entire fight if used right, but taken to its logical extreme.

Plus, it saves most of your population space for the more complex and interesting land battles!

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Wouldnt just buffing cannon galleons (and maybe even Dromons) do the same-ish

I completely disagree with the assessment of the situation. Water fights are usually snowbally early on in the game. However, in Imperial it’s quite the opposite: It’s very hard to finally win on water if the opponent knows what he’s doing, this is exactly why many water games are often decided by which party runs out of wood first.

Further, if I understand it correctly, the attempt is to turn a macro-heavy stage of the game suddenly into a micro battle, with the final goal of getting rid of water fights altogether, because it doesn’t make sense to heavily invest into a navy that the opponent can easily counter with much less investment. Not sure that’s a great idea to improve water gameplay…

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It would end up more a balance IMO. Because while a Flagship could win any direct fight against smaller ships, they can’t be in more than one place at a time, so you’d still need a navy - just a smaller one.

Players would need to look ahead towards this problem and plan accordingly. If you over-invest in a unit that peters out in imperial, you’re always going to be in trouble, no matter if that’s knights or longswords or crossbows.