My goals and aspirations
I am currently writing an persuasive essay on why Poles (possibly wends to include Slovaks and Czechs) should be added as a playable civ.
With the introduction of Burgundians and Sicilians as sub civilizations (of franks and Italians) there is a positive possibility of other “sub” civilizations being added. There is an argument that Tatars and Cumans are a “sub” civ of Mongols even.
My hope and dream is adding the Poles as a playable civ. This isn’t just wishful thinking but I believe I can make a convincing argument for why the Poles not only make sense, but are also marketable to players and work competitively against other civilizations. As I write my essay and flesh out my argument I want to look at all angles regarding this. I’ve read previous threads and this has been talked about since Slavs first came out as a playable civ.
My end result will be a essay that looks at reasonable and entertaining reasons for adding the civ into the game, understands opposing arguments, and gives definitive details for the civ’s bonuses, UU, UT, and overall uniqueness for them as a civilization. With this professional essay I will present it to the Developers in hopes it can give them ideas.
This discussion is to act as a public focus group to gain data and feedback to this idea. Nothing discussed here is final.
First I will list a couple of opposing arguments I have already heard from past threads and my own research. These are arguments that go against the idea of a playable polish civilization in the game.
There are already too many Eastern European Civilizations - Slavs, Magyars, Lithuanians, Bulgarians, and maybe even Tatars and Cumans (but those are considered “Steppe Asiatic”)
Age of Empires uses timelines of compelling story telling to tell tales of “conquerors and heroes” and usually these are people or storylines of [b] expansion [b/]. The poles greatest historical accomplishments throughout the 10th-14th century revolve around defeating invading forces and restoring their lands, but usually never in expansion.
The Polish nation really do not start playing a huge role historically until the Polish-Lithuanian union in 1385, which became stronger in 1569 as the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Then they became a unitary state In 1791. Since they become powerful at the end of the Age of Empires 2 medieval timeline (410 Alaric campaign -1598 Noryang mission) It’s hard to fit them in with the game historically.
There are already too many cavalry based civilizations in the game, and everything that makes Poles unique are already encompassed by other civs (Lithuanians heavy cavalry/monastery focus, Magyars UU, Slavs infantry/farming bonus). Basically, the Poles are overlapped with everyone else.
The most historically notable polish unique military is already in the game- the Hussar(with even the wings attached on the back, which is a clear contribute to the Poles’ Winged Hussar) and is available to most civilizations as the final upgrade of the light cavalry line. This makes sense historically even as poles fought as mercenaries in many different factions throughout history.
There are too many civilizations already. Not every single single kingdom and ethnicity can be added otherwise there would be hundreds of civilization with little to no difference (game mechanically) between them.
People have seen some suggestions for adding the Bohemians as a civilization as they represent Czechs/Germans more in a central/eastern European setting and if Poles and Bohemians were added together with a Lithuanian campaign (much like how Sicilians and Burgundians included a Briton campaign) then a ironic [b]“Lords of the East”[b/] campaign could be released. However, much of Bohemia’s history involves it being a state of the Holy Roman Empire, and beyond minor differences it’s culture and military is very similar to it’s Germanic Empire. Google a map of 11th century Europe and you see the issue.
These I believe to be the main opposing arguments. If you can think of any other reason, write them in the comments.
Here I will list a couple of supportive arguments that I have gathered from previous threads and my own research. These are arguments that are for having a playable polish civ in the game.
The Poles are already in two different campaign missions. The fifth Mongol mission has the Poles (first represented by Goths in the original campaign, and by Slavs in Definitive) the second Barbarossa mission (first represented by Goths in the original campaign, and by Slavs in Definitive). Not only that, but they are featured and talked about extensively in the Lithuanian history section.
Many civilizations that are in the game already surround Medieval Poland extensively, if you were to look at a map you would find Lithuanians in the North East, Slavs in the East, Mongols/then Tatars/ then Cumans in the East (south of the Slavs), Magyars in the south, Teutons in the West and North. In the bubble in-between these great civilizations, empires and kingdoms is Poland aka Polanie aka Polan aka Poles aka Polska.
Poland, historically, not only fits into Age of Empires Timeline but also the theme of expansion and conquerors.
Mieszko I (960AD - 992AD) started the kingdom of Poland. He was a talented military leader, a wise politician, and a charasmatic ruler. He brought Catholicism to Poland. He conquered Pomerania which was a vassal of the Holy Roman Empire. He defeated the Saxon Oto I of Ostmark who tried to invade right after. He conquered the Sandomierz region in the east. He sided with Sweden to defeat Harald Bluetooth of Denmark. He fought and defeated Bohemia, conquering Silesia. After his death he left a unified polanie kingdom that was twice the size he founded it, erected dozens of cathedrals, and defeated every major power he came in contact with. At the same time he became close allies with the Catholic Pope throughout all of this.
His son, Boleslaw I (992AD - 1025AD) continued this expansion. Boleslaw the Brave was a remarkable politician, strategist and statesman. He not only turned Poland into a country comparable to older western monarchies, but he raised it to the front rank of European states. Bolesław conducted successful military campaigns in the west, south and east. He consolidated Polish lands and conquered territories outside the borders of modern-day Poland, including Slovakia, Moravia, Red Ruthenia, Meissen, Lusatia, and Bohemia.
I know this is a lot of history, but my point is this history of the start of the kingdom of Poland serves as a perfect setting for a campaign in Age of Empires 2. The history, the herocism, the story telling fits in with other stories that Age of Empires tells.
The story could go towards the battles with the Mongols in the 12th century, the reformation of the kingdom in the 13th century with Casimir the Great. The Polish-Lithuanian union in the 14th century and how they conquered the Teutonic order (iconic !). The Jagellions were the most powerful dynasty of central and eastern Europe for three centuries (14th-16th). etc etc etc.
Criteria for being in Age of Empires 2. In this game, every civilization meets certain criteria that makes it possible to be a “playable and credible civilization”. The basic criteria that seems the most logical are these-
a) Having been at its peak during the historical period of AoE 2: from the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century to the beginning of the Renaissance era during the 15th century
b) Having been a Regional Power
c) Having been a kingdom or an empire.
d) Having had a unique language.
e) Have wonder.
f) Have had a known capital.
g) Meet at least 8 Kings / Emperors for AI names.
In the opinion of many, the Poles meet all of these criteria. The polish state has many peaks throughout its period, especially in the 10th, 13th, and 14th/15th century. It was indeed a regional power. It was a recognized kingdom. It has its own unique language and culture. It has many significant castles and cathedrals in the country that can be used as in game wonders. An example could be Wawel Castle and Wawel Cathedral in Poland. (It’s a cathedral build next to a castle). Even though the capital changed multiple times (like medieval state in history) its most notable capital is Warsaw. However, in terms of historical significance, Krakow was primarily used as the capital of government throughout most of Poland’s history. And lastly, as someone who studies polish history profusely, it has many many Kings and Queens to choose from.
Credits to Josh1Axel for the idea of “criteria”
- Marketability. A new DLC would have to add at least two to at most four civilizations. This estimate is based off how many civilizations were added in DLCs in the past. A “Lords of the East” DLC is an idea, an “abandoned empires/kingdoms” DLC is an idea that could include Tibetans, Armenians, Austrians, etc that could include Poles.
Credits to StereoQuasar163 for some ideas regarding this topic.
Uniqueness and Integretion.
The following will mostly be a random assortment of ideas I have for what the Poles would look like and work in game.
As more and more civilizations are added to the game, (and especially with the interesting bonuses, unique technologies and unique units that were given to the Sicilians and Burgundians) finding new and unique technologies and bonuses for newer civs can be challenging. These UT, UU, and bonuses have to be logical, competitive with existing civs, not too broken in terms of balance, and most importantly - unique.
The idea is to make this civilization special and different from the Slavs, Magyars, and Lithuanians. Historically the poles used light cavalry and a series of Castles to defend its borders as the countryside is made up of flatlands and fields. Also historically was how much the catholic religion and influence was important in medieval Polish foreign policy. Another characteristic is the lands that Poland occupies. Not only were these very fertile and high crop yielding areas, but the location of Poland put it as a crossroads for northern, western, eastern and southern Europe.
The Poles as a civ could look to be a civ similar to the Burgundians, Spanish and Italians where the focus is on their economy. Their focus in the Age of Empires Meta would surround a food gather bonus OR a late game food/gold UT/bonus, a monastery focus similar to the Slavs and Lithuanians, a focus on light and heavy cavalry and a final focus towards fortifications, specifically castles.
A fun team bonus could include 50% faster moving monks. This would be historically accurate as Poland is mainly responsible for helping the Church push Catholicism throughout Central/Eastern Europe and the Baltic states. This would also be fun trivia as the Lithuania team bonus and potential Poles team bonus would compliment each other, hinting at how both factions join in a union in 1385 and a commonwealth in 1569.
Ideas for the Unique Unit could include the “Pancerny” which could be a cavalry unit from the castle. An idea for this unit being different from a knight or a boyar or a leitis could be its speed as these ancient noble class knights on horseback were adept at riding dozens of miles in a single day to defend different towns and cities when called upon. This unit can be similar to the woad raider for the celts, essentially just a faster knight with good better los then the knight line.
“”“During the Middle Ages, under the rule of Mieszko I and Bolesław I the Brave, the name pancerni applied to the members of the duke’s retinue. They were the wealthiest warriors in the Polish army, and as such they could afford to wear sophisticated armour, most commonly chainmail. Their weapons included arming swords, axes, spears, shields, strait bows, and nasal helmets.”""
Notably in the battle of Grunwald Polish Heavy Cavalry were able to break through the Teutonic lines. The poles should be given all the blacksmith melee attack and cavalry defense upgrades and the complete knight and light cavalry line. The Winged Hussar cannot be used for this time period as the timeline for this unit starts in the 16th century. However, the formation of the Hussar was adopted in Poland by 1503, and with how vital the Hussar was in winning battles for the Poles in the 15th century, a special focus should be put on them. The imperial unique technology at the castle could give Hussars +1 range, or +2 melee/pierce defense and +3 attack, or trample damage similar to the Slavs infantry UT Druzinha UT. You could even call the tech "
Similarly, since in the 13th century Poland focused on reforming it’s state and reforming the economy (and subsequently saw a huge boom whereas other states at the time in western Europe saw an economic decrease) the castle age UT could be an economic upgrade similar to the Burgundian upgrade Burgundian Vineyards. An example of a passive economic upgrade could be Trade Carts also produce wood and food along with gold at a percentage discount on return. Say if two players were trading with each other and they were receiving 100 gold for each trip, then 20 food and 20 wood could also be produced. So it’s 20% wood/food added to trade(20% of the gold thats returned). This is just a random idea. There needs to be a UT or a bonus that involves trade or food gather bonus. Historically Poland as a medieval kingdom was always immensely wealthy due to its geopolitical realm and laissez faire attitude regarding its landowners. This however was a weakness since the landowning class (the Szlachta) sometimes held more power, autonomy, and wealth then the king, leading to a more unstable central government.
“”“Traditionally, its members were landowners, often in the form of “manorial estates” or so-called folwarks. The nobility won substantial and increasing political and legal privileges for itself throughout its entire history until the decline and end of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth”""
The szlachta gained considerable institutional privileges between 1333 and 1370 in the “”“Kingdom of Poland during the reign of King Casimir III the Great. In 1413, following a series of tentative personal unions between the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland, the existing Lithuanian-Ruthenian nobility formally joined this class.”""
An idea as well is that castles could produce food as a lot of castles were created in Poland to defend areas of farmland and trade routes, or that a Castle can give an area of effect bonus on farms and/or units. (maybe give farms/vilagers defense?) Another idea is that built castles can produce gold at a slow pace. This can reference the importance that Poles put on castles and also reference how much power and control the Szlachta (the land owning class) had. In game this would put an importance on protecting castles and would be more devastating to lose a castle.
“”“Fortified Grodys (a fortified Slavic town or castle) were built in Poland along the borders, near the crossings of main trade routes, in naturally defensive locations (hills, river curves), as centers of administration, and defensive strongholds in case of enemy invasion.”""
“”“Grody, castles, and fortified towns were built in Poland from prehistoric times, but the true blossoming of modern castle construction can be observed from the archeological record in the 13th and 14th centuries after the Mongolian invasion. During this time many cities (like Kraków) and towns had to be rebuilt from ashes, and as a result acquired solid, brick walls.”""
However there are currently no standard area of effect modifiers with buildings or units in Age of Empires 2 so I don’t expect this to be a legitimate idea. However we now have swordman(sergeant) who can create towers and knights(Coustillier) with a charge up attack so barriers are being broken.
My idea of the siege workshop is limited for the poles but should receive the bombard cannon, similar to Lithuanians. Poles used bombards extensively in the 14th and 15th century.
Poles never tried to compete for naval supremacy. They kept trade routes open and traded extensively through the main rivers that run through Poland and through the Baltic, but the Swedes and Danes mainly controlled the Baltic militarily. Because of this reason the poles should have a relatively weak naval side. No elite cannon galleon, no galleon, no dry dock, but shipwright should still be available. This is because the city ports that Poland controlled along the Baltic were very prosperous throughout the medieval century.
Summarization of ideas.
Defensive and Cavalry Civilization
a civ bonus for food (maybe a constructed mill spawns 1 cow)
handcart and wheelbarrow half off (wheelbarrow is 88 food and 25 wood) (handcart is 150 food and 100 wood)
constructed Town Centers give 2 free farms (starting in feudal/castle age)(basically you can build two farms that cost 0 wood)
cavalry move 10% faster (starting dark age)
A civ bonus for castles (maybe cavalry garrisoned in castle gives arrows)(castles +5 LOS)
Castle UU - [i]Pancerny[i/] - A fast medium cavalry unit (80 food, 60 gold) (basically a woad raider on a horse)
Castle Age UT - [i]Szlachta[i/] A bonus for trade or food production or gold production. (similar to Burgundian Vineyards)(maybe castles produce resources slowly)
Imperial Age UT - [i]Towarzysz husarski[i/] A strong expensive bonus for Hussars. (Similar to Druzhina tech)(or gives hussar +1 range or +3 attack and/or +2 melee/pierce armor)
Team Bonus - A bonus for monks or monasteries (EX. Monks 50% faster movement)
-no heavy cavalry archer
-has access to full archer line and full skirmisher line
-no ring arch armor
-no hand cannoneer
-has access to thumb ring and parthian tactics
**-**has access to full swordman and spear line
-no plate mail armor
-has access to squires and supplies
-has access to bombard cannons
-no siege ram, no siege onager, no heavy scorpion
-has access to siege engineers technology
-has access to full light cav and knight line
-has access to bloodlines and husbandry
-no steppe lancer
-no battle elephant
-no camel rider
-no elite cannon galleon
-no dry dock
-has access to full demo line
-has access to full fire ship line
-yes to shipwright
-full upgrades except for fervor
-has access to all university techs except for bombard tower and keep
Thank you for reading fully if you have.
Add any comments to any idea/argument I’ve made here. This isn’t final and everything is subject to change in light of better ideas.