An Idea for a future expansion or mod: An Italian Civilization

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.

Other Ideas:
Specialized Estates


Would love to see Italians added to the game as they were planned to be included when the game first game came out.


We need Africans as well!


A lot of the bonusses of the civs are plainly buffs, but the thing with AoE III civs is that bonusses are supposed to be unique and have different mechanics. The buffs are gained through unique cards via homecity

Example: Dutch settlers having coin cost and banks. British gaining settler via house, Russia training in batches etc.

The option to unify is way too strong, if you have exactly the same imperial age bonusses. Thats the whole reason why Revolution doesnt have the Imperial bonusses, because you have to choose.

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Should be Asian civilization
Obviously they are too late to make

I agree that some of the bonuses proposals are overpowered, I was just throwing early ideas. My main point is how we can use Italy’s historical situation to create a fun civilization that can specialize in many different areas each game, but not all at once.

Again, I agree that as it is, the Risorgimento Age is a bit OP, we would need to find something to counter-balance it. The idea here is to create an unique historical flair to the Imperial Age for this civ. I think it’s really interesting that you get to start off as a smaller entity that by the end of the game becomes this much more powerful nation.

You know Italy has a colonial history in Greece although it wasn’t until the late 1800s.

Maybe we could add a Greek Revolution option to Italians and Ottomans civs. The Greeks did get their independence around the 1820s which is the about the same era as the American Independence movements. That could be cool.


Greece would definitely be a great addition as a minor/revolutionary civ.


we have too many european civs, the next step should be african civs like in AOE2.


Dodocanees (I dont know how to spell it) if it is even considered to be a colony its very insicnificant, or is there more?

I instead would suggest that trading posts are cheaper (100/150w), and then that docks and arsenal works faster. Also, they should have the galley and galleass to substitute the caravel and galleon.

There isn’t actually a lot of food production in South Italy, most of time the peninsula wasn’t able to self sustain for food. Maybe a bonus is that they can have shipments of lemon groves, that can either be used to collect food, wood or gold, making it versitile.

For them I would focus on their military, units like the “bersagliere” (cheaper musketeer) or the “alpino” (faster skirmisher), the guard units should be the dragoons and crossbows.
Another bonus is that they can get shipments of various others civs military units, to represent the vast amount of allies that the state had.

I would focus less on that, since during that time period the papal states matter less that during the middle ages, so maybe simply having unique technologies on the church without the need for a shipment could work.

However, I would simply create a civ that incorporate these 4 different bonus (not necessarily all of these bonuses/UU) of these 4 states, and call it Sardinia, that eventually can revolt into Italy.

Other revolution may be Greece and Libya.

As for politicians they should have an array of general politician (among papal guards, inventor, logistician, philosopher, admiral, quartermaster, bishop, marksman, mercenary contractor, cavalry marshall and inventor) then 2 unique ones, for example it could be the alpine and the red shirt.


Wars of Liberty already has Italians :wink:


I still prefer the gold trickle for the trading posts, but the discount is also a good idea. Faster docks and arsenal also make sense. Yes, they should the galley and galleass.

I did consider having some sort of Special Estate as a unique shipment. I was going with olives, but the lemons are a much better fit.

Thanks for the idea, I was really stumped with Savoy/Sardinia. I guess this also makes sense gameplay -wise as it adds a option that focus on the land military.

My interpretation of the Papal States was heavily inspired by the Jesuits work in the new world and Asia. I kinda of imagine them as a “conversion civ” that has to rely a lot on strong native allies and missionary units. But I also liked your idea of unique techs as a less “gimmicky” version of the PS.

I wanted to give Italy an unique mechanic, I figured that having the “4-in-1 civ” system was a nice way to add gameplay variety while also remaining authentic to Italian history in that time period. I envisioned the Italians as a civ with a lot of different bonuses, reflecting their rich culture and history, but that needs to specialize in one area, reflecting their fractured state at the time.

Yes to both of these. I would also make their inventor a bit more unique, maybe having a different bonus than the generic inventor that every other european civ has.

Yeah but there already are a lot of shipmets/buildings that give a gold trickle (like banks), so it’s not that original. Having cheaper trading post instead would represent the ability of the maritime republics to create a lot of trading post and having good relationships with the locals.

Actually olives could works too, they cold be a similar shipment for a different age. However I meat a building like the Japanese cherries orchards or the Indians mango Grove.

Well, consider that in the end they are the state that conquered the rest of italy, and they had good relationships with other European states, they even participated the Crimea war.

Yeah but I struggle to see a new European civ, let alone a 4 into 1 civ.

I honestly don’t think the Italians deserve a spot here. They weren’t that important in this timeframe realistically speaking. Venice was on a slow decline, Sicily was basically ruled by Spain with an Austria interlude, both of which are already in the game. Similar with Sardinia, it only became part of Savoy towards the end of the timeframe in the early 18th century.

Papal states are also a non factor in the games main timeframe.

There was no such thing as Italians at this point, when it was divided with like 20 kingdoms and city states. There are definitely others that would deserve a faction slot more


So was Germany but it would be included as a people group rather than a single country, hence in-game they are called Germans and not Germany, the same could be done for Italy.


In contrast to Germans wich now don’t have the Prussian flag anymore, but the flag of the Holy Roman Empire, Italy didn’t have a form of political entity until Risorgimento, but was mainly under foreign rule.

I think it would be more sensible to include Italy therefore as an “Revolutionary Nation”, like they did with Hungary (whereas the Risorgimento was actually more like an Revolution than the Hungarian Revolt 1848 against Austrian supremacy).

Following this, it is also quite easy to choose the country in which Italy shows up as an option for Revolution:

  1. Germans (Wars against Habsburg Empire; currently only 3 instead of 4 options)
  2. French (French annexation und puppet states under Napoleon; currently only 3 instead of 4 options)

Additionally, one could add some others with more distant historical relations (at least more than Russian and Hungary), but these already have 4 options to choose from):
3) Spanish (Kingdoms of Naples, Sicily and Sardinia in the Renaissance era)
4) Ottoman (Wars with Venice during the reign of Süleyman I.)


Italy as a revolutionary nation is fine, it works with the points you made. But I would still argue that it appearing as a Primary Civ is more fitting for a couple of reasons.

  1. AoE games often include civs that don’t represent an actual national-state, but rather a cultural group. AoE II has The Italians as a Civ, even though it’s actually an amalgamation of medieval Italian city-states. There is no reason for to not happen in AoE III.
  2. Even if we were only adding proper national states, my proposal does addresses that. You would start the game playing as one of the minor states and then would turn into Italy proper.
  3. Despite being fractured, the Italians did have a major cultural and political presence in Europe during the 400ish years that the game is set in.
  4. Finally, if the rumors about an Africa Themed Expansion Pack are real… Italy would be a perfect enemy for an Ethiopian Campaign.

Sure I would love to have Italy as a stand-alone Civ, but I think it is more likely that they add it as a Revolution option, if they don’t make a Europe expansion (Italy, Switzerland, Austria).

But due to the historical setting (emergence centralized states instead of feudalism) AOE III is more focused on formal states unlike the earlier titles. If it was for cultural groups, they could have merged Dutch and Germans at that time.

I guess this would work if they introduce a European expansion (comparable to the Napoleonic Era mod), because there was not a single colony before Risorgimento and it makes little sense to unite Italy in an Venetian settlement Africa.

Absolutely, but they also missed out the Austrian/Habsburg Empire with Charles V. (“the empire where the sun never sets”), despite being a major powerhouse in Europe and being the largest enemey of the Ottomans (maybe because it seemed redundant next to Spain and Germany (i.e. Prussia)). So I guess they have a different criterion than historical importance.

Of course this would be great, but considering the late timing of Italian colonialism in the last half of the 19th century, I think it is more likely that they add Belgium (if they add a European player to the African Expansion). Besides I think an African Expansion sadly seems quite unlikely due to the new politically correctness approach (e.g. replacement of “Colonial Age”).

Austria is also on my wishlist for new civs. A german rework where they split “The Germans” into more distinct Prussians and Austrians would be very nice.

I think Belgium is even less likely to be a civ. It was only created in 1830 basically as a buffer state between the French, the Dutch and the Germans, with little to no prior national identity. Besides Kongo, which technically was a possession of the Belgium King, not Belgium itself, they didn’t colonize anything else.

I don’t want to get into the whole “PC Culture” argument… I don’t think that will be an issue. If the Definitive Edition sells enough copies and they see that there is enough of a market for a new expansion pack, I think they’ll do it.