China and Mongols should get early handcannons, with the Ottomans

Hi all!

Like many of you, I was really excited about yesterday’s annoucement of the Ottomans and Malians. Both civs look super interesting, and those Ottoman bombards just look chef’s kiss. My one concern, as a China main, is that the Ottomans will be the only civ with age 3 handcannoners (their unique Janissaries), and thus they will have them earlier than China.

This is historically inaccurate. The Chinese, being the inventors of gunpowder, also were the first to invent handcannons. I’ve heard multiple times now this myth that “China invented gunpowder, but they didn’t weaponize it”, which is blatantly false. Some excerpts from the Wikipedia page for handcannons ( Hand cannon - Wikipedia ):

" Hand cannons first saw widespread usage in China sometime during the 13th century and spread from there to the rest of the world. "

" The earliest surviving documentary evidence for the use of the hand cannon in the Islamic world are from several Arabic manuscripts dated to the 14th century"

" Iqtidar Alam Khan argues that it was the Mongols who introduced gunpowder to the Islamic world,[47] and believes cannons only reached Mamluk Egypt in the 1370s.[48]"

General academic consensus is that handcannons were invented in late Song Dynasty China and spread by the Mongol conquest. Thus, in the name of historic accuracy, I propose that along with the Ottomans, the Chinese and Mongols get castle-age handcannons.

In terms of gameplay, neither Mongols nor Chinese are particularly strong right now, so there is room for them to receive this buff. Furthermore, these early handcannons can be reduced in stats, and the devs can even make them weaker than the Ottoman Jannisary. And this change would also require that Chinese and Mongols spend 1000 resources to upgrade their handcannons to Imperial. So I feel this is a reasonable buff/change. I am not asking for Chinese/Mongol castle age handcannons to be viable, just that they be available. I feel that this would be best for historical accuracy.


Tbh, I wouldn’t mind Handcannoneers available for all civs in Age III.
And move the Xbowman down to Age II.

And add Acqeubus in Age IV. Thus giving Ottomans early access to Arquebus in age III.

Right now in the game, there is no difference between Arquebuses and Handcannons, and potentials Early Muskets in the future.

Do you think China is not unique?
Do you think Mongols not unique enough?

let’s take all “uniqueness” from Ottomans and move to existed civs.
10/10 idea (no)

How even said, that imperial age starts at same time for China and Ottomans…

China imepial can start at 1299, and ottoman castle age start at 1450. (how even knows what “imperial age is”)
Or if you trully want real years in the game, Let them “start at the same time” - let’s ask devs to start Imperial age at 20 minute mark.
And we would know, that they start “at same time”.

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the best way to design a game is to figure out how many civs will definitely be designed and then sketch them all out in broad strokes to be sure that the entire roster of civs combines to have a full variety of strengths, weakness, gameplay mechanics, playstyles, and focuses on different aspects of the game.

then sketch out a list of all the civs that deserve a seat at the table based on history, etc.

then shake those lists together to artfully assign the civs the best assortment to feel appropriately based on history.

not everyone can have everything, of course. maybe give the chinese a bunch of gunpowder stuff for theming, but they don’t necessarily have to be the best gunpowder civ or the civ with the earliest gunpowder unit.

but building civs on the fly can end up being a nightmare


Chinese invented the hand cannons. However in 16. century Ottoman hand cannons were superior to all. China imported Ottoman hand cannons against Japanese (which had Portuguese ones). This is a drawing of Ottoman hand cannon and how Turks use the rifles.


Yes, it’s almost certain Turkish muskets arrived in China before Portuguese sold them. Because Turks invented the musket around 1465-70 (Spanish and Portuguese only had the older arquebus earlier, 1411).

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Yeah at this point it kind of just makes sense to move Hand Cannons to age 3 and Xbows to age 2 for China, and give all European civs arquebus instead of Hand cannon.

Ultimately, it’s about real warfare breakthroughs and designing computer game civilization personality & uniqueness. As @AndyPXIII said, game design can be nightmarishly complex if you lack foresight / wisdom and need to reconcile unforeseen new elements with old.

The discussion is somewhat academic. Because primitive Chinese handcannons were anything but a breakthrough in the battlefield. They were almost experimental, a curiosity, sometimes used to scare off horses.

Hand cannons were later much improved in Cairo (Mamluk Sultanate - Egypt), Bursa & Edirne (Ottoman Empire) and elsewhere in Europe, before the gun that really changed warfare in the world, the Janissary’s MUSKET, was invented in Edirne (Ottomans) in 1465-70.

You can see buffed-up Turkish handcannons and early muskets today in the Museum of Arms in Kirikkale (“Destroyed Castle”), Turkiye.
Earlier, the Spanish arquebus had already made a big difference in 1411, but it was a bit impractical (needed a stick support to the ground) and became obsolete with Ottoman musket.

Musket-armed Janissaries and heavy bombards changed the world in 1473 in the mega battle of Otlukbeli (Ottoman Empire versus Timurid Aq Qoyunlu). That marked the end of steppe cavalry battlefield domination forever.

Huge Turkish bombards utterly crushed Timurid-style cav archer formations from afar, and new muskets beat their fearsome composite bows. The world was never the same after 1473.

On a side note, musket-armed Russian Streltsy only became an official army regiment in the 16th century, almost a century after the Ottoman Janissary.

So in this sense, the Janissary is the true father of the Streltsy (yea son move aside, your mom was good :sunglasses:), and all other modern infantry units in the world.

Considering the magnitude of actual world warfare revolution and battlefield breakthrough, is totally possible and RTS civ design-wise interesting, for the Janissary to come early.

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As I said in my post, I have no issue with Ottoman guns being stronger than Chinese ones. That is plenty historically accurate. Nerf the early handcannons that China and the Mongols would have, to be much worse than Jannisaries. No problem. But they should still get the early handcannons.

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I don’t think historical accuracy is enough of an argument to trump gameplay considerations. Mali are about to get a skirmisher (without a shield) that supposedly outranges(!) and counters archers.

I wouldn’t mind more handcanonners in castle age, but imo the unit needs to be less generalist in general. For the most part they get used in exactly the same way as crossbows which, to me, is an issue.

Archers could have bonus damage vs hc, hc could get bonus damage vs melee, but reduced base damage. Just two quick ideas. I’m sure there are more thought through ones out there.

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Gameplay must always come first. This is a video game, not a documentary. Age of Empires has always, always, always been a fun, sunny video game and not a gritty war simulator.

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Tbh I kinda find this entire topic a bit Moot.

Consider Mali is a Civ being released now.

The Mali Empire never use Guns, yet they get a unique gunpowder unit?
one of the main reason Mali Empire fell to begin with was due to lack of Gunpowder, They did however attempt to aquire guns both from the ottoman and portuguese, while they got shown how to use said weapons, said weapons was never delivered to the Malian empire.

So in a sence, historical argument sake becomes kinda meaningless in the game’s context.

They need to revert the supervision nerf back to 200% and revert the landmark supervision nerf too so age 3 CN will be fine

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First of all no offense here

Well i think the game is fine as it is now i think ottomans seems a bit busted but you can’t always run for historical accuracies they don’t work. Like nest of bees was used by norther india as well so they now should give nest of bees to delhi sultanate? i don’t think so, re arranging stuffs like this will hamper balancing as well. PUP is coming next month so we all should see how it actually works for the ottomans to have hand cannons at age 3. if its too op i’m sure the dev will move it to age 4 or will do other balances for this.