Civ Concept - Bantu

The Bantu were known for expanding throughout southern Africa, introducing new technologies, farming methods, and language. They were skilled hunters as well as warriors, and the Assegai was heavily used by them.

Here goes!

Infantry and Archer Civilization

  • Receive a 50% refund when civilians or foot soldiers are killed.
  • Militiaman-line upgrades cost no gold.
  • The Impi replaces Elite Skirmisher line.
  • Arbalester available in the Castle Age.

Unique Units

  • Zulu Warrior (25f, 25g) - Bantu Unique unit that can toggle between melee and range.
  • Impi (25f, 35w) - replaces the Skirmisher line. (+5 extra HP, +1 melee armor, and +3 extra damage against archers).

Unique Techs

  • Assegai (500w, 500g): Zulu Warriors and Impi have 25% more attack.
  • Chieftainship (860f, 880g): Foot archers and skirmishers regenerate 30HP per minute.

Team Bonus:

  • Town Center stone cost replaced by additional wood cost.


  • Infantry: Champion
  • Archers: Heavy Cavalry Archer
  • Cavalry: Hussar, Paladin, Bloodlines, Plate Barding Armor
  • Siege: Heavy Scorpion
  • Navy: Dry Dock, Shipwright, Elite Cannon Galleon, Fast Fire Ship, Heavy Demo Ship
  • Defense: Architecture, Arrowslits
  • Economy: Stone Shaft Mining

Zulu, Impi? Thats like 1800+

Also Bantu was like 1000+ bc?

I’ve always got some reservations when either the developers themselves or we on the forum start handing out the hottest new mechanic to everybody, but unlike say the idea of overhauling the samurai to be both melee and ranged I feel like here it fits, it’s not fixing something that isn’t broken and it works thematically.

It’s this one I have a bit of a problem with. I feel like its unintended effects will be bigger than its intended ones. Not having to pay stone in castle age after all is not that great a bonus, but having wood-only fortifications ones a game goes post-gold, that’s huge. Malay only get these things on shorelines, and even that can be a very strong defensive option at a time when from a development standpoint you want people to have offensive options so that one way or another the game will end, not stall out to a standstill.

(I was going to add on that making it a team bonus is extra strong and it could maybe just be a unique tech or something, but as proper team games never go post-gold that objection is kind of invalid. If anything team games are probably where the mechanic works best, diplomacy and free for all games are where the bad side would come out the most.)

Bantu is better separate into Congolese and Mutapa (Zimbabwean) civs. Add for these two civs a Swahili civ and have you Southern African DLC.

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I feel this is not a good civ design for three reasons.

FIrstly, Impi are a thing of the 19th century AD, hundreds of years beyond the aoe2 timeline. This civ design you’ve made bears little connection to the reality of any medieval Bantu group.

Secondly, the Bantu are an absolutely massive ethnic group with a huge amount of diversity, so they cannot all be distilled accurately into one civ. The three main Bantu groups in the aoe2 time period were the Kongolese, Shona and Swahili. Each of these civs would have widely different specialities if represented accurately in the game. The Kongolese fielded huge armies for example, but the Swahili didn’t. In turn, the Swahili had amazing ships, but the Kongolese didn’t. Both Bantu peoples. Both very different. Much as the medieval English and the medieval Poles were both European but both very different. By putting all these disparate groups together, you’re unable to design a civ which can accurately represent them.

There is a great deal of information out there regarding the empires and cities of the medieval Kongolese, Shona and Swahili. You could make a civ out of any of these but you should do more research, so that the civ design can accurately reflect history, if you want to be well received. For example, why would these civs have horses? Do they get camels? They certainly shouldn’t. Civs as unique as these should get unique regional units to replace such things which they did not have. Also, why do they have terrible navy? The Swahili (a Bantu ethnic group) were some of the greatest medieval shipmakers in the world.

Thirdly, the civ design is not balanced. The Team Bonus is way too powerful for other civs (or any civ) to have access too, but there’s no early economy bonus so the civ would actually be pretty weak. No aspects of the civ design really reflect aspects of history in a new and exciting way.

I’m not trying to be rude with my comments, and I do hope you find them constructive. What I’d advise is:

  • Design this as three Bantu civs, not one: Shona, Swahili and Kongolese
  • Look at what these medieval peoples specialised in and try to reflect it in civ design

For example, the Kongolese had huge armies of archers and infantry and used poison weapons but their buildings were on the weaker side. So a highly aggresive civ with poor defences.

The Shona built massive, monumental buildings and fortresses and speciailised in farming and mining but weren’t as militaristic. So a defensive, economic civ.

The Swahili traded with Somalia, India and China across the Indian Ocean. They were amazing shipbuilders and built wealthy, dense cities. So a naval and economic civ.

These three civs could share unique units to replace their lack of cavalry (like how American civs have Eagle Warriors) (as well as sharing an architecture set):

  • Assegai Warriors as a Cavalry Archer replacement available from the Feudal Age
  • Mpombo Scouts as a weak, light cavalry replacement

Same could be said about dravidians yet we have them already ingame.

Three things:

  • I don’t agree that the Dravidians should be a civ, they should’ve just been called Tamils
  • Every aspect of the Dravidian civ design is based on the Tamils, so they may as well be called Tamils
  • The “Dravidians” civ we have does not accurately represent any other people apart from the Tamils, if they’re meant to also represent Kannadigas, why the hell do they have poor cavalry?

It’s like designing a civ called the Bantu which is clearly, in every aspect of its design, based on the Kongolese. May as well call it the Kongolese then. Bizarrely, this civ design is based on the Zulu, yet called Bantu, so it may as well have been called Zulu.

So, yes, exactly, the same thing could be said about the Dravidians. I hope the devs don’t make such an ignorant error again.


This doesn’t feel like a coherent civ design. Have you thought about how it would play?

Refund for civilians and foot soldiers killed sounds fun, as does the combination with cheaper militia upgrades, but champ spam might become rather OP.
Also militia upgrades cost no gold is a worse version of the Bulgarian bonus, which isn’t very nice.

Impi replacing ESkirms and just being better in every way and having access to all skirm upgrades sounds bad. With the Hussar replacement the devs specifically made sure that all civs that got it were missing some blacksmith upgrades, which had a good reason.

Arbalester in Castle age sound like a fun idea, but how does it fit in with the rest of the civ?

The Zulu Warrior sound unnecessarily complicated, unless you have a good reason for making them togglealbe.

The UTs are a bit generic, but they’re fine.

The team bonus would give massive problems.

Yeah, to be honest DoI kind of broke an umbrella to replace it with several new ones. Dravidians are the most frustrating exemple as Kannadigas were a major power in their own right with military traditions quite different from those of the Tamils (and I guess Telugu may be their own civ too, though I don’t know much about them), but you could certainly also split Deccani from the Hindustani and to a lesser extent Assamese and Odia from the Bengali (both already appear in the campaigns after all). Gurjara could technically be broken into countless smaller entities such as Sindhi or Gujarati, but I guess I have less problem with those as they seem to have been more homogenous than the other civs from this dlc and most of them were relatively irrelevant on their own.

Anyway, I guess I’m going quite off-topic. All of this to say I agree we shouldn’t encourage an umbrella civ as big as the Bantu in the game, they cover more than a third of an entire continent and are quite diverse.

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I’m less knowledgeable about histories and such, so I’ll give my thoughts on the design itself:

What exactly is counted as foot soldiers? Just units from Barracks, or Archery Range as well? I can accept it as a bonus for just Barracks units, but I’m hesitant about Archery Range units. It sounds pretty powerful, as you can simply start to spam units. Maybe the % can be reduced instead.

How would Impi work with Imperial Skirmisher if they are teamed with Vietnamese? Will they not get the Imperial Skirmisher unit? Will it be combined, and they’ll become Imperial Impi?

I’m not sure how I feel about Arbalesters being available in the Castle Age as well. It sounds powerful, but then Arbalester upgrade costs so much and does not give that much (+5 hp, +1 dmg, lower frame delay?), so it’s like Bohemian’s Chemistry earlier, just more expensive. Though if you get so much resources refunded from losing your armies, perhaps you can afford it. Suggesting that on top the upgrade to cost less would probably give some people heart attacks anyway.

For the unique units, Impi is fine as a Skirmisher replacement, however I’m not sure what Zulu warriors are meant to do? For that cost, are they like… Karambit version of Rathas? Would like to know the suggested stats as well. For Unique Techs, Assegai sounds fine depending on what the stats are like, though it may be too expensive if the Zulu Warriors indeed are Karambit-weak.

Chieftainship however sounds very OP. Archer-line and Skirmishers have low HP pool, you’re essentially having a full HP army after a minute. It might be fine on some other civ, but in addition to existing bonuses, this feels like too much. On top of being able to simply spam more units due to refunds on death, you’re also ‘saving’ by regenerating an entire army in a minute. It is also counter-intuitive with the refund bonus, as now you’re not getting refunds by having your units regenerate. Both double-synergistic and anti-synergistic. At least it’s expensive.

Considering your Siege is also very good (you get Siege Engineers, Siege Onager, Bombard Cannons?), and a relatively weak Stable, this sounds like Ethiopians, if less aggressive and more economic-focused?

I don’t need to add further shame as everyone else is already telling you rightly how wrong you are but… change the name at least for your own sake!

Consider yourself fortunate that people are coming to give you lots of attention. Not always easy for us civ crafters