Still with the possibility of a new expansion in mind, here’s another idea for AoE III, this time a new civilization.
Notably missing from AoE III are the Italians, which are only indirectly mentioned as mercenaries or in flavor text in cards and technologies. Despite the nation we know today as Italy only being unified on 1870, the Italians and their ancestors were always a major figure in European and International politics since the days of the Roman Empire. Between the 16th and late 19th centuries, this was no different.
While the Italian Kingdom was unified too late for taking direct part in the colonization of the Americas and only had a secondary role during the scramble for Africa, its influence on the colonies was present in other ways. Many of the great explorers of the era were Italians(Columbus and Américo Vespucci, for example), Italy was the birthplace of the renaissance and of many important philosophers and politicians, it’s cities were great centers of culture and commerce and of course, we can’t ignore the power of the Pope and the catholic church.
With all that in mind, I think Italy could easily join the roster of civilizations in AoE III and offer a plethora of unique bonuses and strategies to the players.
A 4-in-1 Civilization: As most you are aware, Italy was divided during the time period that the game takes place. While it had literally dozens of different kingdoms and duchys between the 16th and 19th centuries, I think it’s safe to say that: The Venetian Republic, The Papal States, The Kingdom of Sicily(later the Kingdom of Two Sicilies) and The Duchy of Savoy(later the Kingdom of Sardinia) were the four most influent entities in Italy.
I think that each of these four nations could represent a different play-style for the Italian player with a special mechanic I would like to call “Exploration Sponsors” for now. When creating their deck, the Italians get one extra slot for a “Sponsor”, this sponsor slot allows the player to choose their nation’s bonuses and playstyle. The four sponsor choices are of course: Venice, Sicily, Savoy/Sardinia and the Papal States. Each offer the following:
- Venice: Focus on the economy, the navy and mercenaries. Their main bonus is that every trading post built by them, or under their control, generates a constant trickle of coin. Side bonus: Galleons train mercenaries and native allies instead of the regular barrack and stable units.
- Sicily: Focus on food production. Their main bonus is that they receive a free homestead wagon and 2 settlers with every 3 shipments. Side bonus: Infantry and cavalry units cost less -25% food, but have -10% HP.
- Savoy/Sardinia: … I’ll be honest, I have no idea what would make a good main bonus for them. I’ll accept suggestions. For side bonus: Their imperial age advance is 35% cheaper than usual.(More on that later)
Papal States: Their main bonus revolves around their unique unit and its abilities. Their unique unit is the Jesuit Missionary which is a cross between an Explorer and a Spanish Missionary with some added perks. Each Papal colony begins with two of the missionaries instead of an explorer. They are worse in combat and move slightly slower, but can gather treasures, heal friendly units, convert human treasure guardians, SLOWLY convert enemy units(only after the commerce age), build trading posts and reductions.
Reductions are a special trading posts that can be built only on native settlements. Besides the usual benefits you get from a regular trading post, the reductions will constantly spawn free settlers(like an Ottoman TC) for free and military native allies trained there are trained much faster and all native techs from that settlement are earned for free. However, their settlers take much longer to train than usual in the Town Center, so you will be dependent on the reductions for a faster expansion.
Their side bonus is: They receive 10 Swiss Pikemen when they reach the Fortress Age, regardless of politician choice.
The Risorgimento: Another unique feature of the Italians is their Imperial Age. Up to the Industrial Age your town will use the flags and adjectives of their sponsor. When you get to the industrial, you have the option to revolt, which works like every other european civ, or to hit the "Risorgimento Age". The Risorgimento Age grants all the usual benefits that the Imperial Age does, but with a few changes. First, you will begin to use the Kingdom of Italy flag and being referred to as “Italy”, but will keep the bonuses from your sponsor. Second, instead of earning a second use for certain shipments, you will get 3 special shipments options added to your deck, each offering SOME of the bonuses and units from the other Italian States that you didn’t pick.
Other Considerations: Besides the two previously mentioned unique mechanics, Italy should play like any other European civ. Generally, their strengths should be the Navy and the Economy, which each sponsor adding a new element into the mix. I’m pretty sure that the balance for some of the bonuses I proposed is going to be off, but I want to hear what you guys think an Italian civ could be like. Finally, some cards and units ideas for Italy as a whole:
Garibaldi: A Fortress Age Card that ships a Hero unit, Giuseppi Garibaldi to your colony. He doesn’t use population space, is unkillable and gives a damage boost to nearby units.
Da Vinci’s Invention: A Commerce Age Card that ships a Carro Coperto for 300 Coins. This is an unique… tank(?) to catch your opponents by surprise in the early game. It’s terribly slow and has a very short range, but has high HP and armor. Once destroyed can’t be replaced, only one per game allowed. Great against melee units, terrible against cannons. Also great for meme strategies.
"The Prince": A Commerce Age Card that "Unlocks Unique Italian Upgrades at the Church.
The Alpini: A Industrial Age Card that ships 13 skirmishers and gives skirmishers +2 range.
Revolution Options: USA, Argentina and Brazil(all 3 major parts of the Italian Diaspora) and the Barbary States(it’s the closest thing we have to Libia…)
LT;DR: Here is my proposal for a new Italian Civ.