Civilization Craft: Swahili

This is Part 2 of my Bantu split mini-series after I erroneously made an Indians-level umbrella civ for all the Bantu cultures. Today, the Swahili will be covered. Next time, the final part of the “trilogy” will be the Kongolese, so look forward to that.

The Swahili represent the peoples living on the Swahili coast, a region of East Africa heavily influenced by the Arabs. As a result, the Swahili have the Middle Eastern architecture. Their focus is on infantry and navy, but gunpowder is powerful as well due to this Arab influence. Their Wonder is the Great Mosque of Kilwa.

Civilization Bonuses:

  • Fish last 50% longer
  • Barracks units recover 25 hit points per minute (starting in Feudal Age)
  • Hand Cannoneers 15% more accurate
  • Fishing Ships take up half a population slot

Team bonus: Fishing Ships regenerate

Unique Unit: Rungu Thrower (ranged infantry that ignores armor)

Unique Technologies: Dhow (Galley-line gold cost replaced with wood), Imported Silk (Mpombo Scouts, Assegai, Rungu Throwers, and Hand Cannoneers +2/+2 armor)

Tech Tree Notes:

Swahili infantry is quite good. They have Champions and Halberdiers, and their Mpombo Scouts get extra armor after Imported Silk. All of the Barracks units regenerate over time, and they are fully upgraded. The Rungu Thrower is also an infantry unit, and it’s quite strong. Although it doesn’t regenerate, it does get extra armor.

The archers are all right. Although Arbalesters are missing, Assegai gain extra armor, and there are even Hand Cannoneers with extra accuracy and armor. However, all the units are lacking Thumb Ring and Bracer.

They have no cavalry, although Mpombo Scouts and Assegai can be pretty good substitutes.

The siege is somewhat noteworthy. Both Siege Rams and Siege Onagers are missing, but the Bombard Cannon is there, and it even has Siege Engineers. Overall, it’s passable.

The Monastery isn’t all that good. It’s missing Redemption, Herbal Medicine, and Theocracy, and there are no bonuses to speak of. Let’s move on.

The defenses are awful. Fortified Walls are good, but there are no Guard Towers, Keeps, Bombard Towers, or Arrowslits. Be very aggressive.

The economy is pretty good. The only technologies that are missing are Gold Shaft Mining and Guilds, and fish last longer too, which can help on even mostly land maps that still have shore fish. Team trade units also heal, which can help if they are getting raided.

Swahili ships are situational. Having trash Galleons is very helpful in the late game, but they suffer from a lack of Shipwright, and Fire Galleys cannot advance past that stage in return. Heavy Demo Ships are also unavailable, but regular and Elite Cannon Galleons are enabled. Since fish last longer, and Fishing Ships take up only half a population slot, you can get more Fishing Ships out, and they are much more efficient. In addition, they also heal for you and your allies.

In conclusion, the Swahili are a strong aggressive land and water civ, but have little in the way of defenses. Take advantage of the trash Galleons, accurate Hand Cannoneers, and healing infantry.

Stats and Costs:

Rungu Thrower Stats:

HP: 60, 65 (Elite)
Attack: 8, 9 (Elite)
Attack Bonuses: +1 vs Standard building, +2 vs Cavalry
Range: 4, 5 (Elite)
Number of Projectiles: 1
Rate of Fire: 2.0, 1.8 (Elite)
Frame Delay: 25
Attack Delay: 1.2
Armor: 0/2, 0/3 (Elite)
Speed: 1.2
LOS: 5

Cost: 70 food, 45 gold
Training Time: 23 seconds
Elite Upgrade Cost: 750 food, 750 gold

Dhow Cost: 800 wood, 500 gold
Dhow Research Time: 30 seconds

Imported Silk Cost: 1000 food, 350 gold
Imported Silk Training Time: 45 seconds

Historical Explanations:

Fish last longer because the people on the Swahili Coast commonly caught fish.

Many African tribes contained medicine men or shamans, spiritual men who healed the sick and injured through spiritual or medical means. Thus, Barracks units heal over time.

The Swahili people gained access to gunpowder through trade, and the Ottomans specifically gave it to them to help fight their enemies. So, Hand Cannoneers have better accuracy, as the Swahili Coast commonly gained advanced guns through trade.

Since the Swahili Coast was largely naval, there were no doubt many people who boarded fishing ships and went on extended fishing expedition. During this time, the fishing ship would’ve been the only place for them to stay, their home away from home in a way. So, Fishing Ships only take up half a population slot. In addition, they probably would’ve been repaired out at sea, so they regenerate over time.

The rungu is a throwing club used in certain African cultures. Clubs tend to be good against armored opponents; thus, the Rungu Thrower is a ranged infantry unit that ignores melee armor.

The dhow is a ship that became widespread to the Swahili Coast through the Arab traders, and is now used as the main type of trade ship. While the tech doesn’t affect Trade Cogs, it does have an effect on another commonly-used ship: the Galley line.

One of the items frequently imported to the Swahili coast from places in Asia like India and China was silk. Silk can often make for good armor, so certain units gain extra armor from the tech.

Looks very weak to be honest

Can you explain in further detail?

That’s nice.

I’d say it’s too low, considering the current melee pathing which can easily be RNG these days, 5 HP per minute is nothing at Dark Age, barely microable, I’d change the scaling.
Besides that, I love it.

from 75% to 90%? then it’s suppose to be 20%.
from 75% to 100%? then 33%.

15% is either too low or doesnt fit the math language of AOE :slight_smile:

Love it, period.
Excellent eco bonus and quality of life at the early game.
No idea how none thought of it before.

  1. You assume that it’s a TG (unlike other bonuses that help 1v1s as well)
  2. You assume they got to the point where they have trade units (which makes it very niche)

Until this point, it’s fine, there are plenty of civs that have team bonuses that apply these 2 principles.

  1. You assume these trade units received damage.

Now that’s one extra condition, too far, too niche. All other trade bonuses are so much better.
I’d make it apply to Fishing Ships as well, it’s too weak.

At this point, the civ barely has any eco bonus, however some Water bonuses that make it solid on water maps, Imp bonus that’s rarely relevant, and Infantry bonus- that… you know… Infantry…
I’m not convinced how playable this civ is on Arabia or any other Open Land Map

Interesting. Need to think more about this one.

I dont understand, it has no range indication in the stats?

Also, I cant find the info/stats of the other UUs.

Do you have any idea how broken 100% accurate Hand Cannoneers would be? There’s a reason the effect for Shatagni was changed before The Forgotten’s release.

The accuracy is supposed to be 85%.

Hmmm, I see the problem. And maybe if I made it apply ONLY to Fishing Ships, it would be a much better team bonus, and would synergize well with the bonuses already present.

Oops :sweat_smile: I’ll fix that.

They aren’t unique units; they are regional units. However, you are right that they should have stats. I’ll add them to this one and then retroactively to the Shona one.

The civ only has one bonus on land which is not even that great. No economy, no strong military bonus for land.


It won’t be broken since they lack ballistics, and also since the over-kill potential of this unit is ridiculous (due to slow attack speed, high damage and poor animation) They’ll always be infirior to plain Arbalesters. Unlike Shatagni, they have just 7 range.
However, now that I see your UT of +2/+2, it makes sense that it’s kinda low.

I like.

Oh yeah, I remember now, I think I’ve seen them before.

It’s a Gbeto with 1/2 (Elite) less damage. and much more HP. Range lowered by 1.
It’s somewhere between a Throwing Axemen and a Gbeto. That’s interesting, let’s see if you can pull it off uniquely.

I HATE the fact the frame delay drops only on Elite, similarly to Mamelukes and Throwing Axeman which makes them unplayable or rather unmicroable on Castle Age which is sad, especially considering how expensive Rungu and Mameluke are.
An exception will be Jannisaries, which are brilliantly designed, no idea who thought of giving them a 0 frame delay at Elite, it makes sense, it’s great…

Once calculating the +2 bonus damage, we’re left with a Gbeto, Practically, they still lose to Archers and micro down every Cavalry.

Im still missing a sense of purpose, it’s too much of a moderated Gbeto, try to add a dimension to it.
Though I like the overall direction.

Maybe I can make the frame delay 25 for both.

Did you miss the armor-ignoring effect? I feel like that gives it some kind of purpose.

Looks decent, but on the weaker side given that they don’t have any eco bonus without fish.

Hard to say exactly how this plays out, but it looks too strong. All other gold-to-trash units miss out on stat upgrades, and even without Shipwright I could see Island games vs. this civ become essentially unwinnable once Swahili’s opponent gets low on gold. I might suggest giving them Shipwright, but at either the cost of the Galleon upgrade, or Bracer. I do think the idea of some kind of trash line ships is viable though, and it’s likely to make an appearance in a future Expansion.

Pretty sure it (and most bonuses people suggest) have been thought of, and even posted somewhere, before. Decent bonus though, especially if you still have fishing ships in Imp.

Probably not very broken at all, considering that AFAIK Arquebus gives them predictive firing, which is better than just 100% accuracy vs. a static unit. There are a lot of things that would have been considered “OP” before The Forgotten but are now considered fine, or even mediocre. Without some kind of test to go on, I’d have no reason to think this is stronger than the Burgundian or Spanish HC bonuses, much less the Portuguese UT.

They’re already missing Bracer.

It doesn’t take effect in the Dark Age. Anyway, how about I change it to 15/20/25 HP per minute for the Feudal/Castle/Imperial Ages?

My bad, likely viable then.

Don’t worry about it. I should’ve been more clear in my tech tree description, but I keep forgetting that the archer upgrades also matter for ships.

Sorry I didnt read that one.
I think it’s too much Leitis, in fact the only feature Leitis has - is this one, besides that we’re talking about on of the worst Cavalry designs in the game. I wish there was something else, even like extra pierce armor, at the cost of something else.

With high Pierce Armor they’ll be quite a well rounded ranged-melee unit, unlike Gbeto, Axeman and Chakram who tend to lose to early Imp Arbalester. However, it’s going to be not so easy to balance, since ranged-melee units are naturally good vs. Cavalry to begin with, due to micro and armor mechanism.
We dont want to end up with an unit that’s good agaisnt them all.

I like the fact this unit is expensive, and that’s why I think you have more room to adjust it, it deserves more than just that Leitis stolen gimmick. :slight_smile:

How about, just like Celts and Japanese, a flat increase from Feudal Age, I’d make it 25HP from Feudal. Infantry aren’t too good to begin with. Berserk has 20HP before the UT that doubles it. And unlike Berserk, these guys are slower and has worse stats.

That’s a good idea. I can give it high natural pierce armor and no melee armor, making its range and armor ignoring gimmick even more critical.

I wouldn’t say it’s stolen, more like borrowed. A lot of unique units are just other units, or even unique units, fit into another unit class.

That’s a good idea. I can do that.

1 Like


  • Slightly modified the infantry heal bonus to be constant once the Feudal Age is reached instead of staggered.
  • Gave the Rungu Thrower higher pierce armor and took away base melee armor.
  • The team bonus now affects Fishing Ships instead of trade units.

Im SICK of mechanics that involve ignoring armor. Getting old pretty fast, and serves nothing but to hard counter certain civs while doing absolutely nothing to others. Mechanics that absolutely negate a whole line of expensive blacksmith upgrades are pooryl thoughtout/designed.