Australia

Before Mexico was announced my prediction was for an Australian civilisation, and though we didn’t get it I’m still quietly confident it’s being worked on in the background at (Australian studio) Tantalus… It matches the bill for a US/Mexico style post colonial nation, there’s been a bunch of Australian flora present in the scenario editor from DE day one, and in my proposal I show how the Australian theme could leverage underused game mechanics that already exist (like other DLC nations have done in the past). The elephant in the room is that Australia never actually revolted or fully split from the UK, so it’s a little grey whether it would be acceptable as an ‘Empire’ for an Age of Empires game, but, whatever. Also the time period issue, but again, the US and Mexico set the precedent.

Anyway for fun here’s my proposal for how the Australian team could work:

Australia

Australia as a nation will focus on economy more than anything else. It will be a powerful boom civilisation with a strong midgame that falls off militarily in the lategame - rather like the dutch. Australia, like the US and Mexico, will field powerful and unique outlaws in its army, but its main army will be cavalry focused, like the Lakota. Also like the Lakota and other Native Civilisations, the Australians will be able to choose one of five options per age, that become more powerful the later they are chosen, but these will be named as States (like the US) rather than leaders.

General nation bonus and mechanics

Personally as a Europe main I’m not super interested in adding more extremely complex and varied game mechanics for new unique civs, so my proposal is pretty simple. Australia would use European mechanics in general, with an explorer instead of a US style general or African/Native/Asian hero.

  • Unique building: Station - a unique livestock pen (build limit 4) that trickles food or gold (toggleable), more the more animals are present, and trains cows. Can support up to 20 animals roaming around in the fenced area, but the station requires a large amount of space. Fully stocked with animals I guess it would contribute about as much gold as two dutch banks, or as much food as a fully upgraded and staffed mill. The idea would be to enable an extremely powerful mid/late game economy in the Dutch model.

  • Australia starts every game with a unique Station wagon that can build a station.

  • Tavern replaced with unique Pub, which trains unique outlaws

  • Settler limit: 50 - this is to make sending convicts a requirement

  • Settlers (not convicts) have reduced HP and speed compared to other nations

  • Unique building parliament house replaces capital building, has unique research End Transportation that turns all convicts into settlers, disables all convict cards, increases Australian settler HP and speed to base settler levels, and increases settler limit to 99. (Note that you can overpop your settlers by having 70 settlers + 99 convicts when doing this research).

Units

Home city only

  • Convict → very cheap settlers that can be sent from the home city in great numbers, but become Bushrangers on the side of whoever kills them when defeated. Build limit of 99.

Barracks

  • Trooper → General musketeer unit. Weaker than base musketeer, but cheaper too. Costs food and gold.

  • Tracker → Skirmisher unit with long LOS. Weaker than generic skirmishers but cheaper. Costs food and wood.

Stable

  • Light Horse → Very fast dragoon/hussar unit, like a hakkapeliitta, but faster and with less HP (like uhlans are to hussars). Strong anti artillery resistance and attack.

  • Mounted Rifle → Mounted skirmisher, effective against infantry but weak to cavalry.

Artillery Foundry

  • Falconet

  • Culverin

  • Horse Artillery

Pub

  • Bushranger → Expensive & high pop heavy infantry with stealth, and with a bonus multiplier against settlers. Very effective at disrupting enemy gathering.

  • Miner → Good at mining, good at melee attacking cavalry, and functions as a grenadier against buildings.

  • Stockman → just like the US cowboy but without the special attack and instead just a higher base damage.

States

Like the Native American nations from AOE3 TWC the Australian states are available in each age, but their bonuses become more powerful the later they are chosen.

  • New South Wales → focus: base building. Grants empire wars style wagons that can build anything on age up (2 for commerce, 2 for fortress + 1 fort wagon, 3 for industrial + 1 fort wagon + 1 factory wagon, and 5 for imperial + 1 fort wagon + 2 factory wagons). Also increases all building hitpoints (+15%, +20%, +60%, +100%) and gives settlers on age up (3, 5, 10, 20)

  • Queensland → focus: artillery and food. Grants artillery units on age up (commerce age: 1 factonet, fortress age: 3 falconets, industrial age: 1 heavy cannon and 3 falconets, imperial age: 5 heavy cannons). Increases all food gather rates (+10%, +25%, +40%, +80%) and gives crates of food (300, 500, 800, 1300).

  • Victoria → focus: gold mining. Grants miners and gold mine wagons on age up (commerce age: 3 miners and 1 wagon, fortress: 7 miners and 1 wagon, industrial: 12 miners and 2 wagons, imperial: 20 miners and 4 wagons), increases all gold gather rates (+10%, +25%, +40%, +70%), and sends Troopers (4, 9, 15, 30)

  • Van Dieman’s Land → focus: lumber and convicts. Grants increased lumber gather rate per age (+15%, +25%, +50%, +90%), sends convicts (5, 8, 15, 30), and gives a wood trickle based on age (small, medium, large, huge).

  • Western Australia → focus: exploration and stations. Sends explorers and increases their HP/attack per age (+1 & +25%, +2 & +60%, +3 & +100%, +4 & + 150%), sends station wagons and increases build limits (+1, +1, +2, +3), and increases all station gather rates (+10%, +15%, +25%, +50%).

Cards

I’m not going to invent an entire card deck but here are some ideas:

  • No factory cards to reflect Australia’s lack of industrialisation. The only factories you can get are through aging up with New South Wales.

  • Discovery age cards to do with the Dutch and French; e.g. like the US’s immigration cards, to reflect early Dutch and French interest in Australia. e.g. “New Holland exploration” could send a bunch of settlers and an outpost wagon, maybe couriers or a bank.

  • Convict cards should be very numerous and infinite, e.g. 7x convicts age 1, 13x convicts age 2, 18x convicts age 3, 23x convicts age 4. They could cost some amount of food for fine balancing.

  • Territories and minor states could have their own cards like the “x tribe support” cards for the Native civs. E.g. “South Australian support” provides a station wagon and crates of food and gold, or “Norfolk Island support” sends crates of wood and boats.

  • British units could be sent as mercenaries and unit shipments. E.g. in age IV you could send a division of redcoats, or highlanders.

  • Eureka stockade card that increases miners attack/hitpoints, changes their melee attack into a ranged attack, and lets them build outposts and walls.

  • Swagmen card that allows bushrangers to heal automatically out of combat

  • Welcome stranger card that sends 5 miners, increases miner gather rates, and sends crates of 1000 gold (industrial age)

  • Cards to send cattle for stations should be available

  • Merino wool allows stations to train sheep instead of cows (which are cheaper and provide more gold)

  • Hard labour makes all convicts work 20% faster, but have 50% less hitpoints

  • Bush Tucker faster gather rates from berry bushes and causes woodcutters to gather a small amount of food

Final notes

The focus of my Australian civ is economy and their army is not meant to be extremely powerful, but I think the team I’ve designed here would be very good as an ally in treaty late game, as they could ship a lot of resources to their allies.

Going for an early or mid game artillery rush would be possible by taking Queensland State early, and hopefully that would be a viable way to play as this team.

Going for a convict boom would be an extremely fast way to build an economy at the start of the game, but doing this leaves you at tremendous risk of a snowballing raid where your convicts turn against you to fight with the invaders!

Stations are like factories or banks but require a lot of space to build and a lot of investment to start up, in the form of livestock. Defending them will be important but also tricky.

I haven’t included any Indigenous tech/units/states because I don’t really have any authority to comment or contribute to that, and I assume Tantalus and Forgotten Empires would do like they did with the DE and contact people who would be able to provide guidance on what would be culturally sensitive to include or not. At a guess I suppose you could do as in the original AOE3 and just include various native settlements on Australian themed maps. Otherwise “x tribe support” cards might make sense, and might provide unique units that would be thereafter trainable at barracks/stables.

Hopefully overall it’s balanced and would be fun to play as and against. The nation is not as flexible as the US or Mexico, but the order of state research hopefully injects enough interest to keep it fresh.

I know that Australia is very late in the timeline to be considered for AoE3’s world, but I think it could fit in; If the focus remains firmly on very early Australian colonial history and doesn’t go past the 1850s. As an anecdote, some of the best fun I had in o.g. AoE3 when I was young was building custom scenarios that were huge desert maps of gold fields with tents and mines scattered about, inspired by what I learnt at school about the Victorian gold rush. I visited a colonial reenactment museum around the same time and was so amazed to see the units and architecture from AoE in real life! And while the game had nothing to do with Australia,
definitely inspired me to learn more about my country’s history.

Anyway, it’s my hunch that the devs are secretly working on something like this and have been since the DE was first started… If I have to guess why it’s taking so long I’d say they needed to lay the base groundwork and expectations with the US and Mexico, and the cultural sensitivity stuff might also take a long time to sort out.

Let me know what you think!

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(Alternatively a possibly better idea would be to replace the US revolution options for the Brits, French, and Dutch into Australia. That way we remove the weird US civ vs British US revolution civ matchups and also keep the “AOE3 is colonial age ONLY” people happy :grinning: - though obviously Australia never revolted from Britain neither did Canada)

Just for fun a quick set of ideas for a revolution version of Australia instead: it would be a Canadian/South African style (non)revolution where settlers become better at gathering instead of becoming revolutionaries.

Cards

  • Ballarat Gold Fields: ships 10 miners, a gold mine wagon, and increases mining speed by 100% (for miners and settlers)
  • Welcome Stranger: ships a one time crate of 3000 gold
  • Eureka Stockade: 10x miners, allows miners to quickly build walls, and allows miners to be trained from tavern
  • Convicts: 10x convicts (infinite) - same as in my proposal, settlers that don’t count towards the limit but turn into enemy bandit units when killed. Perhaps also can’t be garrisoned because at revolution stage you’d be putting them in farms and that’s too easy to keep them safe
  • First Fleet: ships a galleon with 25x convicts and a town center wagon inside
  • Bushrangers: (infinite, 800 gold) ships 12 outlaw riflemen or reskinned US owlhoots
  • Queensland Volunteer Artillery Company: ships 2 falconets and gives and enables 10 volunteer artillerymen (reskinned guard greandiers with +15% attack/HP)
  • Pastoralism: 1x homestead wagon and 5 sheep (infinite)
  • Light Horse Brigade: ships 11 powerful light horse units (reskinned harquebusiers) and allows them to be trained from stables
  • Broken Hill Company: 1x silver mine (infinite)

Interesting concept.
But honestly, I don’t know how I would feel about it as a playable civ in AoE III, from a historical standpoint.
Yes, US and Mexico are opening new doors, but colonization of these lands took place much earlier. Additionally and with all respect for Australia’s natives- there was much more historical and cultural background since day0 (especially when we’re talking about warfare and general focus of AoE series), even before the symbolic date of 1492.

I’ve never studied very early days of Australia’s history, but when it comes to strategy games in my mind I don’t take it into account in anything before WW1. Mayflower reached America 168 years before Brit colonial ships did that in Australia.
1788 is veeery close to the edge of AoE III’s timeframe (1800, 1850-ish?), and we already have Brits in game :slight_smile:
Commonwealth of Australia didn’t exist before 1900 and that’s imho WW1-period territory already.

Not saying it shouldn’t be included or it wouldn’t be fun, but I don’t feel as strongly about it as I do about some other potential candidates that existed (under different names) often many centuries before 1492.
Not that historical importance or lifespan should be a deciding factor, but something should.

Names of civs are a bit of a mess in AoE games in general, in AoE3 they are names of ethnic groups, and as I’ve mentioned already in this context it’s hard to justify ‘Australians’ in anything before 1901. Just my two cents.

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WW1 was the first war of independent Australia. so yeah i agree, i dont think the faction makes a lot of sense.

its a lot of effort put into this idea, but by the end of the day at some point you have to put the foot down and being a dominion even by the end of the games timeframe (1876) makes it a pretty big no in my opinion.

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I would not put Australia as a civ (it became independent only in 1901), but I do not rule out that it could appear as a revolution of the British and the Dutch…the civs that I would put would be the Maori (1500-1872) who settled in New Zealand between 1460 and 1500 and the kingdom of Hawaii (1810-1894),who was created in 1810 (would be as old as Mexico more or less)…

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I have to say to be completely honest as well I’m more of a fan of O.G AoE3’s aesthetic and was a litle annoyed with the Asian, US, and the African civs as each was added with how they sort of bend and maybe break the original tone and time period of the game. These thoughts are just my ideas of what I think will happen, but my ideal situation would probably be more like the addition of a few Australian themed maps and an Australian revolution option for the Brits, Dutch, and maybe French - with my ideas for that outlined in my reply above. Adding Australia as a revolution I think fits nicely with the revolution civs being basically on the tail end of the time period.

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I have one final revision I wanted to post just because I’ve been thinking about this a lot and have been really enjoying playing Mexico:

Australia as a revolution option for the French, Dutch, and British, to replace the US. We already have a US civ so it’s a bit weird having the US as a revolutionary option still, and Australia fits into the timeline as a revolution civ (late 1700s) very well, alongside South Africa (mid-late 1700s) and Canada (late 1700s). Australia as a revolutionary option would work like those two nations too, with an emphasis on economic viability after revolution, but differs a little in that villagers do transform into revolutionary units. Australia’s niche would be in a normal style revolutionary rush, but with the ability to quickly rebuild their economy by shipping mass convicts to replace missing settlers.

They would not be as powerful as South Africa in a long game due to their lack of military upgrades, but would have a little more staying power than the Canadians due to their focus on economic upgrades.

I stuck to the OG DE style 9 card revolution deck, which after playing a lot of Mexico seems fairly limited, but at least makes it balanced when compared to the Canadian and South African 9 card decks.

Settlers become ‘Stockmen’ on revolution, which would be pretty much the same as the Bear Flag/California Californios but without the lasso.

Cards:

  1. Pastoralism → 7 Sheep + 1 Homestead wagon (infinite)
  2. Eureka Stockade → fortifications build much faster, allows miners to build military buildings, and ships 10 miners
  3. Bushrangers → Ships an assortment of outlaws (infinite)
  4. 25 Convicts → Free, numerous settlers that become enemy minutemen when defeated (infinite)
  5. Ballarat Gold Fields → ships 1x gold prospector wagon and 10 miners. Allows miners to be trained at the town center and increases their gather rate
  6. Broken Hill Company → ships 2x silver prospector wagons (infinite)
  7. Stockyards → livestock fatten 30% faster
  8. Outback stations → allows livestock pens to automatically harvest fully fattened animals and removes the livestock cap
  9. TEAM Burke and Willis expedition → reveals the entire map and provides books worth 800xp

I think that’s pretty much the best version I can come up with. There’s a dozen other things you could emphasise with early Australian colonial history to change the civ’s niche, but I think the most important things are convicts as cheap settlers and a lackluster military. The number of convicts you get and what they cost (if anything) would be where you’d have to focus any balancing. I er on the side of letting them be very numerous and free, considering that revolutions are a pretty late game function and a player who revolts needs to be able to be able to get on and remain on the attack asap if they want to win.

Anyway that’s all I wanted to put down. I can finally let it go…

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I posted a reply to someone else here → Australians civ and Oceanian maps - #3 by TheSquidEmpire

where I brainstormed some ideas for an Australian architecture set and I decided to do a concept illustration of how it might look like for the discovery/commerce/industrial house:

I get the feeling that a custom architecture set is just too much work for the DE devs to do considering they’ve avoided it for pretty much every new civ (except the incans) but it’s fun to speculate and imagine : )

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I really like this idea :smiley: its a good way to represent that they are convicts

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