Asian warship concept

Japanese ships

There are some issues with the design of Japanese naval units.

  • “Fune” literally means “ship”. It’s as if Japanese navies during the Sengoku period was lackluster, so an extremely general term was used as a unit name.

  • The Fune seems to be based on the Bezaisen-class ships, which are large merchant ships used for cargo transportation rather than military purposes and better to be the vessels on the water trade route of Japan.

  • The spelling “atakabune” is incorrect. The correct spelling would be atakebune.

  • The current skin of the Atakabune seems to be based on a specific atakabune named Atakemaru, which was the flagship and pleasure boat of the third shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu. It seems to be the largest atakebune in history, but it is not a typical one as it adopted some European shipbuilding designs. Some also classify Atakemaru as kind of tekkousen due to its use of bronze plates for reinforcement.

  • The tekkousen is actually just one type of atakebune, the type reinforced with iron plates. Therefore, the current skin of the Tekkousen is actually also atakebune-class, and may even be more standard and typical than the in-game Atakabune, because it seems that only the flagship might be decorated with dragon heads on the bow to highlight the status.

  • Still were cannons on the ships, but not many. The Japanese at the time didn’t seem to be very fond of mounting cannons on their ships. Firstly, cannons were expensive and heavy, not popular, and secondly, they were used to boarding fights after a few waves of volley. So switching broadside bombardment to arquebus firing, bow firing or bo-hiya (the Flaming Arrow in the game) firing might have been more accurate, but that might have been too much.

I have read the Japanese sources on the Internet that naval ships during the Sengoku period were usually classified into three classes, from small to large: the Kobayabune, the Sekibune, and the Atakebune. These three types can fit the roles of the Caravels, the Galleons, and the Frigates in the game.

※From top to bottom they are: Atakebune, Sekibune, Kobaya(bune).

Kobayabune (小早船)

  • Or simply Kobaya (小早).
  • Small warship. Replaces the Fune, up to 6.
  • Its name literally means ‘small hayafune’, and hayafune (or hayabune) is another name for the Sekibune, literally meaning ‘fast ship’.
  • They were often used by pirates due to their cheapness and high maneuverability. They were also used extensively by navies for scouting and raiding, for example by having soldiers aboard it and quickly approaching enemy ships to fire bo-hiya.
  • There is hardly a defensive structure on the deck, at most some sheilds or mantlets, so it’s weak and the number of people it can carry is lower.

Sekibune (関船)

  • Medium warship. Replaces the current Atakabune, up to 4.
  • The sekibune-class warships and atakebune-class warships were the main force of Japanese navies at the time. If the atakebune is compared to the battleship, then the sekibune may be compared to the cruiser.
  • Compared with atakebune-class ships, there are structures on the deck too but not as large, and the relatively slender hull and pointed bow help to be propelled faster.
  • In some parts of the structure, such as the stem, it is similar to the bezaisen-ship. The size also seems to be simiar to the bezaisen-ship.
  • In the Edo period, the shogunate prohibited people other than shoguns from owning giant ships, so the sekibune became the de facto largest class in the naval vessels.

Atakebune (安宅船)

  • Large warship. Replaces the current Tekkousen, up to 2.
  • There are huge defensive structures on the deck that can carry a large number of sailors and soldiers. Like a castle floating on the water.
  • It moves slowly, so it is often used as a fortress on the coast or rivers. When a long voyage was required, such as an expedition to Korea, both oars and sails were used.
  • Atakebune ships that use metal plates for armor plating are called tekkousen.

※The naval formation in the Sengoku period. The atakebune in the middle is the flagship, and is protected on the sides and rear by a dozen sekibune and 4 atakebune. Three sekibune as the vanguard. The entire formation is filled with kobaya.

By the way, I’ve read that in the early 19th century, in order to defend against the Russians, some of the large bezaisen-class ships in Hokaido were armed and equipped with defensive structures like the sekibune. This kind of ship is called Nitaribune, which literally means ‘similar to sekibune’. It is used as a merchant ship to transport goods in peacetime, and as a sekibune-class warship in wartime.

If we must keep the status quo of training bezaisen-class ships in Docks, we can refer to the Nitaribune and abandon Kobayabune, but this will be very strange because the era of the Nitaribune is too far to the other Japanese ships, especially the Atakebune, and as its name it is equivalent to the Sekibune. Besides, all the Nitaribune never really went into actual battle. Maybe it would be better as an upgrade to bezaisen on the water trade route.

Chinese ships

They’re not really bad at the moment, but why not?
Although the F-ship (why does it get censored?) is very powerful, it is too expensive and the quantity limit is low. So if you want to change them back into three types…

Light Junk

  • The smaller, lighter junk that has only 1 or 2 masts.
  • Obviously, it plays the role of the Caravel, and the War Junk, which is doing this now, could play the role of the Galleon instead.
  • Up to 5.

I have never heard of anything like fire junks or fire ships being used for demolition in Ming or Qing naval battles, but Europeans, especially the British, have records of their use many times between the 16th and 19th centuries.

If possible, I would like to remove the Fire Junk as a unit, but make it an ability for the Light Junk and the War Junk so that they can burn in visual and irreversibly turn into demolition ships named Light Fire Junk and Fire Junk. This can be a fun thing to try if your junks too close to an enemy ship and have low health.

Indian ships

Mostly quoted from a topic I’ve created before.


  • Replaces the Caravel.
  • Weaker than the Caravel, but cheaper, up to 6.

Armed Patamar

  • Replaces the Galleon.
  • Weaker than the Galleon, but cheaper, up to 4.


  • Replaces the Frigate.
  • Weaker than the Frigate, but cheaper, up to 4.


  • Replaces the Frigate if we don’t adopt the Armed Patamar and make the Grab replace the Galleon. If we do let the Grab replace the Frigate, then the Ghanjah could be the reference of the Man-of-war (will be mentioned later).
  • Ganj-i-Sawai, an armed Ghanjah dhow belonging to the Mughals, was said to be the largest ship in the Muslim fleet.


  • Renamed from Marathan Catamaran and Bandit Catamaran. Merges the two units into one.
  • Like the Canoes, can no longer train units.

※A lovely model set of a pack of Gallivats closing in on an East Indiaman.

Monitor equivalents

Let the Japanese, Chinese and Indians have a local giant ship to replace the European style Monitors if needed. That will play a role similar to Ironclads + Battleships, up to 1, expensive, slow, good at close range, but its long-ranged bombardment might have lower range and power than the Monitors.

Tekkousen (鉄甲船) (Japanese)

  • Continues to use the current skin of the Tekkousen.
  • If eventually it cannot be a unit, we still can have a card namd ‘Tekkousen’ to improve ships’ HP.

Louchuan (樓船) (Chinese)

  • Typical Chinese giant naval vessels. Sometimes translated as Tower Ship.
  • Similar to akakebune/tekkousen, they are both tower ships, with multi-storey superstructure, primarily a floating fortress and a flagship.
  • There are records of use since the Han Dynasty, and it was not eliminated until the end of the Ming Dynasty. In ancient times, trebuchets were mounted on the deck.

Man-of-war (Indians)

It is not unreasonable for Indians to have European-style warships, which reflects the fact that the navy during the British Raj and the Indian navy before that also used captured European ships, such as the biritish and Portuguese ships captured by the Marathas.

But more importantly, the term is also used to refer to large local vessels. Although not European-style, these large ships are also often called frigates or men-of-war in European descriptions, such like the Mughal Navy under Emperor Aurangzeb, owning the Ganj-i-Sawai, and the Maratha Navy under Admiral Kanhoji Angre, using the Pal, regarded as the Maratha man-of-war in Wikipedia.

※ The tekkousen of Oda navy is fighting against the approaching atakebune and sekibune of Mori navy.

After I finished writing this article, I saw a topic on the forum discussing the Battleship counterpart of the Asian civs. I have to admit that my ideas are partially similar to his, but my starting point is different. As one of the bonuses of semi civs, the Asian equivalents of The Battleships are already Wokou Junks and Catamarans. My idea is to be used as a replacement for Monitors to become a regular unit in Asian Docks.

I’m also not a fan of having Chinese treasure ships trainable. Although the treasure ships were armed to some degree, they were not for war, but for self-defense and appearance. They are merchant ships, not warships. They are also already in the game as a captureable object that spawns crates, and as the home city in the campaign. Maybe make them also the vessels on the water trade routes of Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean, that’s it.


Great topic - they are seem sensible suggestions.

I also agree about the whole Treasure Ship thing - it’s outdated (let’s ignore the campaign) and they certainly were not common.


Zhu Yuanzhang used fire ships to defeat Chen Youliang in Battle of Poyang Lake.
Inflammables also used several times to destroy British navy by Qing Dynasty between 1840-1842.


Fire ships in one form or another were used by almost every nation that could access/product small boats to huge ships.

(always my arguement that all civs should have access to fire canoes/boats/ships as a proper unit type).

  1. Too early, isn’t it?

For example?
No matter what, I keep the Fire Junk as an ability of the Light Junks and the War Junks, so it’s still in the game.

“All civs” is too much, but the British absolutely deserve it.

I like the home city composed by treasure ships however.
I wish we can get such a home city set in the normal game, and allow it can be customized.

Yes, it would be better for AoE 4… in AoE 3 they would have to be ships after the Treasure Fleet…