Bohemians mid game and transitions


I’ve been playing a lot of new civs lately at around 1400 elo. I think Poles of the 2 civs is the easier to use, and until Castle Age, they are very straightforward to play, with lots of options and good units. Bohemians, now I think this civ, which is claimed to be the better one of the 2 by people like Hera, I am personally starting to believe they are overrated. The main challenge I find with them is getting past the mid-game without falling behind in Imp.

The core issue with Bohemians is that they don’t have good cavalry AND Crossbowman/Arbalest is not a great option long-term. Furthermore, you have a below average Crossbowman in Castle age, because if you want to go full Archer, you can go Ethiopians (free resources), Japanese (the savings on Mills/eco buildings are better than what Bohemians get because until early Castle age you just save 100w on the Blacksmith which is much less than what Japanese get), Britons etc. Yes you get Chemistry, so you get 5+3 Crossbows, but in my view that’s still at best even with a FU Crossbow as you fire 11% slower due to lack of Thumb Ring AND you don’t get bonuses for your archers (cheaper for Mayans, +1 range per age for Britons, 18% faster firerate for Ethiopians). In short, even with Chemistry, your Crossbows are at best even with a generic FU Crossbow from a civ with no bonuses (let’s say it’s like a Cumans Crossbow), and inferior to those from an Archer civ (say Britons) who get bonuses/eco bonuses also.

The other “good” option for Castle Age is Hand Cannoneer. Now I admit, after the +5 HP AND faster projectile buffs, Hand Cannoneers are not a bad unit, hit far more than before and are now acceptable. They are still situational. If your goal is to engage into Archer vs Archer trades, the fact that they fire a non-ballistics projectile with 50% accuracy, or you go vs full Knights, there are better options.

I noticed that smart players go full Skirm/mix of Skirm/Crossbow/Skirm/Knight/ mix vs me. I would say, if you see 2+ Archery Ranges from the Bohemians player, this is always the right call and I think it makes it incredibly hard to gain an edge in Castle age as the Bohemians, because you are pigeonholed into 1 strategy (archery ranges) and this is countered by Skirmishers (even Hand Cannoneer in Castle Age can’t trade well vs Skirms). The best comp I’ve found to play in Castle age is Skirm/Handcannon/Pikeman mix, notice how all 3 are vulnerable to Skirmisher.

Which brings me to the core issue: cavalry. Now, many other archer civs have at least acceptable cavalry in Castle/Imperial age, maybe subpar but not to the point that it’s unplayable. 2 examples:

  1. Britons: Britons lack Bloodlines and that’s bad, but in contrast they get full upgrades for their cav. Using Knights in Castle Age, assuming the situation calls for it (e.g. opponent goes full Skirm) is justified because if you get to early Imperial Age with 20+ Knights, you have +4 armor upgrade and Cavalier. Sure it’s only 120 HP Cavaliers, but for early Imp this is only slightly below average and you can take a decent fight with them.

  2. Japanese: they get no bonuses for their archers, but better eco bonus than Bohemians and most importantly they have FU Knights in Castle Age. Japanese is quite a versatile civ with smooth transitions because in Castle age you are unpredictable. A Japanese player is as likely to do a small Knights/Skirm mix while booming, as going for their long-term unit (Crossbow). Both stand up to what most civs can throw against them fairly well (e.g. going full Knights vs Franks leaves you only at a slight disadvantage since Franks get free Bloodlines)

  3. Ethiopians: they get cavalry that is as bad as Bohemians (no last armor, no Bloodlines), BUT their Crossbow line is far better and their eco bonus is also arguably better.

All these “archer civs” have it better than Bohemians it seems. In some cases, like Britons, the civ also has a strong late-game and doesn’t fall off. Don’t even get me started on the unique unit, I can elaborate on this if needed (post brevity), but in short I think it’s a very overrated unit and a meme.

tl;dr: Bohemians have an awkward Castle age with average (at best) Crossbows, unplayable cavalry, gimmicky unique unit. The Hand Cannoneer is a good unit but rly shines only vs infantry and, to a degree, cavalry and dies hard to full Skirmishers, which most smart opponents will mix at some point vs a Bohemians player. The civ lacks options in Castle age and ways to make smooth transitions and their strategy is very predictable AND also very static (they have only 1 unit composition they can go for in Castle age that makes sense, essentially, AND they don’t have any way to contest mobility/map control unlike even other archer civs like Ethiopians who can to a degree walk with their Crossbows around the map and abuse the fact that they fire faster to win unfavorable fights.

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I think chemistry xbows are much better against cavs than 7 atk xbows. For skrims maybe you can get a mangonel of your own (Not to mention that archers does one more damage to skrims so it is not that bad)


they aren’t, Chemistry gives you 8 attack Crossbows vs 7, 8/7 = 1.14 or a +14% increase in DPS.

Chemistry also takes nearly 2 ingame minutes to research and costs 500 resources.

In contrast, you are not getting Thumb Ring (+11% firerate), not getting any bonuses (say Ethiopians one, +18% firerate), and having 90% accuracy (which becomes more the closer a unit comes to you, but still.

In short, Bohemian Crossbow:

  • 90% hitrate (which I will normalize at 100)
  • +14% DPS (from Chemistry)

= 114% of a generic, Bodkin only Crossbow

Ethiopians Crossbow:

  • 100% hitrate (it is 90% but I calculate the additional +10% from Thumb Ring simply as a DPS increase)
  • +11% faster firerate from Thumb Ring (I am not 100% sure on this number because it is not on the wiki but I know for a fact that Thumb Ring DOES increase firerate also)
  • +11% (increase in DPS due to 100% accuracy, 100/90 gives you this number)
  • +18% civ bonus
    = 140%

Ethiopians are far better.
Britons, now those can just outrange you and poke your Handcannons or Crossbows and you will get nearly 0 shots back.

I know the unit counters. The problem I’m making is that if I have to play vs full Skirms + Knights, I would rather be another civ. When I see this mix of Knight/Skirm/Mango, which is a popular mix vs archer civs, I’m wondering why I didn’t pick Ethiopians, all that Bohemians can do, Ethiopians can do better. Which would you rather have after all, Chemistry Crossbows or an actual FU Crossbow, perhaps with a bonus on top?

My math suggests that even Japanese Crossbow is probably better.

Your 8/7 is based on units with 0 armor.

For castle cav (4 pierce armor) it is 4/3 = 33% increase
For skirms and scrops (6 pierce armor) it is 2/1 = 100% increase

You can imagine that the cav player loses the 2nd armor and its terrible when you face a deathball of archers.


Except your math doesn’t factor in armor.

why do you think Burmese Champs are better then Japanese Champs head to head despite Japanese Champs attacking faster? because + attack isn’t mitigated by armor, but + attack rate is.

against a knight a Bohemian Crossbow is going to do 4 damage an attack, an increase of 33% damage. (from 3 to 4). meaning they only need 30 shots to 1 shot a knight. couple this with their pikes doing extra bonus damage means bohemians are just going to wreck knight comps.
meanwhile Ethiopians are only attacking faster, but their damage is still mitigated by armor.

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I don’t think Bohemians have potential on arabia and open maps in general. Your ideal composition is hand cannon halb houfnice in imp but getting there from castle age is extremely tough. I haven’t played them on open maps, but I can see a lot of issues indeed. Thumb ring is better than chemistry so you can’t compete vs archer civs and against cav civs (that usually mix in skirms) its extremely tough as well, chemistry is so slow to research and even then you don’t get arbalest.

I would maybe try to make use of the high gold gathering rate to go monk pike/knight/xbow siege, kind of like Aztecs (or hoang if you will) hyper aggressive.

But yes transitions without a proper mainline unit are tough, just look at celts, and even they have it better because their imp options aren’t countered by the same stuff as their castle age options.

meanwhile aztecs are one of the best civs in the game on arabia and they don’t have thumb ring…

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I would say your game plan is to destroy opponent using castle xbows instead. Seems like their imp is pretty medicore.

(Which means they are pretty bad in closed maps as opposed to open maps imo)

Sure if maybe bohemians had eagles, an insane economy, faster unit production rate and the best monks in the game they could compete with aztecs on that front.

i don’t know about that. solid siege, arbs missing thumb ring only, hand cannons are starting to look really good, and of course halbs that do extra bonus damage.

Bohemian imp is insane on closed maps. Houfnice is no joke, trash monks heal your gold unit (HC) and the halbs are very strong as well.

It’s one of the best compositions on arena/black forest in my opinion.

For close maps I am thinking about Cuman/Brition levels where you can happily farm and enjoy eco bonus, while have a much better imp plan

I think the lack of good eco bonus in arena is just gonna hurt. I will stop commenting on it tho, I am very bad at closed map tbh.

still it’s 114% from Bohemian Crossbows vs say 140% from Ethiopians Crossbow. Yes you get a +33% increase for shooting vs cav, but it’s not like Ethiopians fall behind, they also get a 22% increase due to faster firerate, so vs cav they are not far behind Bohemians and overall they are better and more versatile (can kite better due to faster fire rate, it is a long-term unit etc.)

yeah vs Siege play, Chemistry is nice. Siege is hard to use vs Bohemians range. Handcannon is generally the unit that kills Siege well for Bohemians in Castle. Still I might add, Chemistry is NOT cheap for early Castle age AND takes almost 2 minutes to research. Think of, how often do you get Thumb Ring in early Castle age? Not very often right? Chemistry not only is as expensive, it’s also food + gold, 300f in particular for early/early-to-mid Castle age is NOT easy to find as you need to find food for 2-3 TC booming, upgrades etc. In early Castle, generally all the food you stored while aging up goes to Bodkin + Crossbow upgrade + some eco upgrades.

sure I admit vs cavalry, Bohemians Crossbows seem slightly better than Crossbows of other civs. It’s also something that works only:
a) for high armor values (4+)
b) washes away in Imp when other civs get Chemistry also

they are attacking MUCH faster. If you do the math, the difference isn’t huge.

which is why you open Skirms in Castle age vs Bohemians and mix Knights only to kill Mangonels etc. or raid.

yep this is what I noticed also after playing ~10 games with them.

yep Celts have an extremely awkward Castle age also but in Imp they shine at least. Bohemians, to shine in Imp you need Houfnice upgrade, dropping Castles like crazy and praying your UU is good…

I find myself opening Skirms as Bohemians cuz I’m scared of losing Archer wars and I just die to counter skirms + knights generally.

Eagle Warriors are just broken that’s why, and their realistic counter, Knights, in early to mid Castle dies to Monks (the complement unit to Eagles). Or you can go for Memeswords of course and hope that the Eagle Warrior player doesn’t micro and just suicides into your memeswords, I mean then you might as well ask Franks “can you suicide your Paladins into my Halberd spam please?”, most of the times I’ve seen memeswords used vs Aztec, the Aztec player transitioned out of Eagles, kept those for raiding/harass, went into Crossbows or Scorpions and the 30+ Longswords just died without doing much damage.

I am glad though many people agree that Gold/Stone mining bonuses are not as good as they sound because you gather these resources in inferior numbers compared to wood/food (also you can see this by end screen in “resources gathered”) and generally task far fewer villagers to these resources, so having free 2nd gold mining upgrade is equivalent to say, having 2-3 extra vills working on that mine, which is not a big deal when you have 50+ vills.

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I would say it depends; if you go hyper aggressive 1TC play you usually research ballistics and thumb ring right away anyway, the cheaper university and blacksmith helps a lot. If the game lasts long enough in castle age, +3 xbow is almost as deadly as arbalests in castle age.

For archer vs archers you switch to skirm yourself, which also enjoys the chemistry bonus. In particular, it is really difficult to counter chemistry xbows with cavs

there simply aren’t enough resources in early Castle age for both Ballistics and Thumb Ring, you generally have to choose which one you want and 90% of the times people pick Ballistics. I see pros pick up Thumb Ring in ultra late Castle/Imp all the time, it’s a nice tech but having 5-10 Crossbows is generally seen as more valuable.

Errr check the hera vs yo Portuguese game yesterday? Hera just went thumbring then ballistics at start of castle age, then went 6 range archers.

So two stone and gold mining upgrades for free aren’t enough? 11

When it comes to making gold units they are comparable to portuguese and turks in terms of what they can afford, which is insane enough. Sprinkle it with better Korean stone bonus for castle drops and I can assure you that on arena especially they have potential.

Still, they suffer on open maps a lot. And I don’t even think there is much that can be done, they won’t get bloodlines, they won’t get thumb ring or arbalest I assume.

It’s just their whole concept that’s incomplete in castle age.

Sure you get HC to counter infantry and deal damage (after 100 seconds chemistry research and super long production time), an UU that takes 1 damage from archers (and, let’s be honest, deals 1 damage in return) and good pikes to deal with cav (which would be nice if they had what to support them), but all those 3 are very weird to play around and mass in castle age.

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I would still prefer Brition bonus tho tbh, or Malay. Gold is not the best resource when you boom.

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Empire Wars is a different format, in most cases you don’t go to Castle age with 44 vills, that number is generally 33-37 or so.

Of course if you stay 1-2 minutes longer in Feudal/play Empire wars (Hera had a late Castle uptime for Empire Wars standards also), then you will have more resources…