This is my newest brainstorm, having completed it just yesterday, so I have no feedback on it whatsoever and it may be rather rough as a result. Keep that in mind when giving feedback.
The Shona represent the Shona people, but more specifically the empire of Zimbabwe, which built many defenses and stone buildings.
They are a defensive civilization, reflecting the defensive walls and towers built by the people living near the Zambezi River. Naturally, they have the African architecture set shared with the Ethiopians and Malians, and their Wonder would be the Conical Tower of Great Zimbabwe.
- Villagers automatically drop off their resources after being tasked to another resource
- Granary replaces Mill
- Receive +50 stone after advancing to the next age
- Defensive buildings take 50% less bonus damage
Team bonus: Market technologies and trade units cost -15%
Unique Unit: Svimbo Warrior (high attack infantry with trample damage)
Unique Building: Granary (Mill that slowly generates food)
Unique Technologies: Nguni Shields (Mpombo Scouts +2 melee armor), Great Zimbabwe (Granaries generate gold in addition to food)
Tech Tree Notes:
Shona infantry is above average, since the only technology they miss is Blast Furnace, and their Mpombo Scouts have extra armor thanks to Nguni Shields. Their unique unit is also infantry, and it’s quite good in massed-up battles. So the infantry is good.
Shona archers are quite good. They have access to Arbalesters and Elite Skirmishers with all the upgrades. They also have access to a fast regional unit called the Assegai, replacing the Cavalry Archer. So, their archers are quite serviceable.
Their cavalry is inapplicable, as they do not have any.
In terms of siege, they are missing the Siege Onager and the Bombard Cannon, as well as Siege Engineers. So, it’s average at best.
Shona Monks are quite bad, since they lack Atonement, Illumination, and Block Printing, and the lack of Heresy makes Shona units especially vulnerable to enemy Monks. Use them to heal and pick up relics, as they aren’t good for conversions.
The defenses are really good, as they have all relevant upgrades except for Treadmill Crane and Bombard Tower. They even gain a bit of stone after reaching the next age, making it easier for them to construct fortifications. They also take only half the bonus damage that other civilizations do.
The Shona economy is strong. Their hunters and shepherds carry more, making them more efficient if they can’t be close to drop-off buildings. In addition, they have access to Granaries, buildings which constantly generate a trickle of food. Finally, they and their allies have cheaper Market technologies and trade units, making trading much more efficient and easier to start.
Shona ships are below average, lacking Heavy Demo Ships, Cannon Galleons, Dry Dock, and Shipwright. They are passable, but not great.
In conclusion, the Shona have a strong early game, with hunting, herding, and Mill bonuses, giving them easy access to resources at the start. In the midgame, they have access to Assegai, making enemy archers less effective, and in the late game, they can build fortifications that take only half as much bonus damage. Thus, they have quite a bit of power in each age, making them difficult to play against. However, enemy skirmishers, knights, and anti-infantry units will give the Shona a lot of trouble, since their own cavalry is quite lacking.
Stats and Costs:
Svimbo Warrior Stats:
HP: 60, 75 (Elite)
Attack: 14, 16 (Elite)
Attack Bonuses: +3 vs Standard building
Armor: 2/0, 3/0 (Elite)
Attack Speed: 3
Cost: 70 food, 45 gold
Training Time: 13 seconds
Elite Upgrade Cost: 800 wood, 900 gold
HP: 600 (Dark Age), 800 (Feudal Age), 1000 (Castle and Imperial Ages)
Armor: 0/7, 1/8, 2/9, 3/10 (Dark, Feudal, Castle, and Imperial Ages, respectively)
Cost: 100 wood, 75 stone
Construction Time: 35 seconds
Nguni Shields Cost: 550 wood, 450 gold
Nguni Shields Research Time: 50 seconds
Great Zimbabwe Cost: 900 wood, 300 gold
Great Zimbabwe Research Time: 70 seconds
The Shona were hunters and gatherers and frequently had to collect different resources, so their villagers automatically drop off resources when they switch.
Great Zimbabwe is believed to be a ceremonial granary complex, so the Shona have a Granary building and a unique tech improving it.
The Shona were fine stoneworkers, which is why they gain a bit of stone after reaching the next age. This is also why their defensive buildings take less bonus damage.
The Shona had a large trade network, which is why their team bonus provides a discount on Market technologies and trade units.
The Svimbo was a club used by the Shona people. Clubs tend to be very effective at dealing high amounts of damage, which is why the Svimbo Warrior has such a high attack.
Nguni shields were special shields created by the Nguni people of South Africa, who probably lived around or with the Shona people. They were carried by warriors of that region, and could be used to deflect spears, assegais, or arrows. Thus, Nguni Shields gives Mpombo Scouts extra melee armor.