This game mode is currently in development.
The official board to discuss the Castle Kings game mode and tuning packs for Age of Empires IV. Do you have any suggestions or questions about the mod? Please leave a comment below if you would like to help the mod grow.
This game mode blends together quite a few familiar concepts: Regicide and kings from AoE II, explorers from AoE III, and the Crusader Kings franchise. It’s good for players of all kinds looking for something exciting, and it’s based on how the AI already treats their king.
Here’s the in-game description:
"Long live the King!
Play as the King, and depose the enemy rulers. Should a king fall, and his Castle be left standing, an heir may come of age. When a player loses both their King and their Castle, that player concedes in defeat. And to the victor go the spoils. Kings also provide a substantial bonus to nearby villagers, and will bolster allied forces in battle.
All the while, their Castles raise the local levy, to fight, in the name of their King!"
MAKE SURE TO USE THE TUNING PACK
I’ll break it down even further…
When a King is killed, they can respawn at their Castle if it’s alive, but only once per age. So each King can have up to 3 extra lives. These are the heirs who take the place of their fallen King, like in Crusader Kings.
Whichever player lands the killing blow on a King will become the new claimant of that King’s kingdom. You can gain and lose claims on other kingdoms this way.
When the Castle is destroyed, as long as the King is safe, it can be rebuilt, and the AI is already designed to help with rebuilding their allies Castle, should it fall. When the King is dead, destroying the Castle will cause defeat, and the buildings, units, and resources will transfer to the claimant of that kingdom, as well as the current population cap of that player.
So you don’t simply conquer these kingdoms, you claim them, and then grow in military strength as you develop your very own multicultural empire within a match.
Kings themselves have been designed in consideration of their unique and racial identities. Providing a King unit based on each faction’s style of play:
English and Abbasid - MaA
Rus and French - Knight
HRE - Landsknecht
Delhi - Tower Elephant
China - Firelancer
Mongol - Khan
MaA kings and the HRE are hardiest. Tower Elephant kings get wrecked by levy mobs but otherwise are even more of a tank. Knights are the weakest but are also much more mobile and great raiders. But the Great Khan is the hardest to kill, because it’s the fastest unit in the game and also the best at raiding.
The superior power of the Great Khan is offset by not starting with a Castle at all. Instead the Great Khan must survive until strong enough to siege and capture a Castle, so they can finally produce their own mongol levies and heirs at their new Castle.
Each King unit provides equal auras and benefits to their allied forces. Based on the idea of royal supervision. These are beneficial auras for other units, like passive out-of-combat healing, combat efficiency, and increased gathering speed. So the King in this mod is much more useful anywhere on the battlefield, and should only be garrisoned for protection.
Kings (but not Great Khans) also have a new ability to go with Treason, based on AoE III, known as Ransom. The Ransom ability costs gold but will instantly move the King back to the Castle.
Levies are a unique thing to this game mode as well, and the concept is one of Crusader Kings. In real life, levies we’re the farmers and hunters who were conscripted and simply given or brought spears to use in the wartime efforts as demanded of them. So in this game mode, they are included.
Each faction can receive their own levies periodically. All levies are created equal and cost nothing to you. Weak cannon fodder with reduced siege damage that can hold the line against horseman. They are visually based on their faction’s tier 1 spearman unit. (Norman for English which is the same model used as French)
Because there is no way to spawn levies, but they are free, it’s best to place them in defensive towers and positions to keep as many of them alive as possible. That way you can maintain a superior amount of levies into the late game where they’re mobbing presence is game changing.
The scripted game mode also offers advanced AI decision-making. In Castle Kings, the AI is currently capable of retreating, garrisoning, and ransoming their king unit, based on the health ratio of their unit. New AI decision-making and play styles are still in development. So let me know if you have any thoughts about it.
That about covers it. Work continues on this ambitious mod project, so bug reports are much appreciated. Especially when running the game with the -dev launch option, so error codes actually tell you what went wrong. But steps to reproduce a bug are most important.
Once again, feel free to share your ideas for the mod.
Long live the King!