Civilization Idea: Albanians

The Albanians represent, of course, the people of modern-day Albania during the Middle Ages, including the Principality of Arbanon, the Kingdom of Albania, the various cities in Albania, and the League of Lezhe, the first unified Albania. They use a Balkan architecture also shared with the Byzantines and Bulgarians, but have a unique castle based on Prezë Castle. Their Wonder is Ardenica Monastery.

The Albanians have a very wide tech tree with only a few notable absences, similar to the Byzantines, who subjugated them for a time. However, they are officially a cavalry civilization, with good archers and defenses as well.

Talking about their civ bonuses now:

Civilization Bonuses

  • Sheep captured from twice as far away

Sheep herding is apparently a long tradition in Albania, though I am having difficulty finding information on the subject. Regardless, a specific type of sheep dog was bred in the Balkan region from probably at least the medieval period.

  • Stone mines last 25% longer

Albania is very mountainous and has access to many types of minerals.

  • All Blacksmith and University technologies (except Chemistry) researched instantly

Many Albanian cities had a large iron output, with access to craftsmen like forgers and gunsmiths, producing goods like nails, furnishings, and weapons. Albanian cities also had access to plentiful education, with a sophisticated culture of speaking Greek and Latin in educational and religious institutions.

  • Scout Cavalry can be directly upgraded to Hussars in Castle Age (for half cost); Hussars upgraded to Koursores in Imperial Age

Albania was rather famous for using light cavalry in battle, at least in the highlands. Due to the terrain, the cavalry’s hit-and-run tactics was rather difficult for enemy armies to deal with.

  • Team bonus: Archery Range units move 5% faster

In the flatter parts of Albania, more conventional army compositions were used, like heavy infantry, crossbowmen, and mercenary knights. Albanian stradioti also used bows while mounted on horseback.

Unique Unit 1: Stradiot

  • This is essentially a mounted crossbowman. It doesn’t have as much agility as a Cavalry Archer, but has higher base attack, at 8 (9). Its real claim to fame, though, is the fact that it fires a projectile that deals 33% of the base damage in a half-tile radius. This means that multiple Stradioti can quite easily take out clumped-up units. As an aesthetic choice, the projectiles fired by the Stradiot do not disappear when they hit a unit, but pass through and hit the ground, with a dust cloud appearing on contact with a unit, like a Scorpion. This allows the player to distinguish between a hit and a miss, while preventing the splash damage from appearing random or strange.

Unique Unit 2: Koursor

  • This is a stronger version of the Hussar, for a higher upgrade price than usual, at 700 food and 500 gold. However, what you get is quite significant, with 1 base melee armor, 3 pierce armor, 85 HP, and 9 attack. This makes it really good against archers, especially since it has a +5 attack bonus against them. Keep in mind that the Albanians do not get Elite Skirmishers, so until they can reach the Imperial Age and upgrade to Koursores, they will struggle quite a bit against archers. They will also struggle greatly against pikes with no access to HCs, though the Imperial Age UT will help with that somewhat.

  • The Koursor was a type of light cavalry in the Byzantine army. It was essentially a raider, which is actually what its name means. Some have speculated that the term was the ancestor of hussar. In any case, they had a separate role from cataphracts, being primarily used for pursuit against routed troops and combat against other cavalry.

Unique Techs
Blood Feuds: Hussars and Stradioti deal double damage to converted units; towers +3 attack vs unique units

  • Cost: 600 food, 300 gold

  • This technology’s primary effect makes conversions less impactful for the enemy, because the converted units will not last long against the Albanians’ specialty units. For example, a converted Knight fighting a Hussar will take double the damage than it would if it were a normal Knight. The Stradiot will especially impact from this tech, because it has a ranged attack and already has a decent attack on its own; without armor, a normal Stradiot would deal 16 attack against a converted unit. This means that converting individual units when there is a large army of Hussars and Stradioti around is unwise.

  • The tech’s second effect is of a more defensive nature. Normally-powerful unique units like the Leitis, Ballista Elephant, and Huskarl become much less effective because towers deal a minimum of 4 damage against them. It even makes late-game tower rushes much better if the opponent chooses to go with primarily unique units.

  • This technology references the culture of blood feuding in Albania. If an individual gravely offended the honor of another individual, the offended party had the obligation to kill the offender. This was true even if the offender was a family member. To help protect targets of blood feuds, fortified towers were used as safe havens, similar to Old Testament Israel and pagan Georgia.

League of Lezhe: Mounted units take -10 damage from infantry

  • Cost: 1000 food, 400 gold

  • This technology makes mounted units a bit more resilient against infantry, especially pikes, where the biggest impact will be present. Although it applies to all damage and not just bonus damage, it still makes cavalry, especially light cavalry, perform better against their most cost-effective counter. Elite Eagle Warriors, though a niche matchup, will do next to no damage against cavalry. Although Pikemen will be much less effective, Halberdiers will still do a lot of damage, so they will need to be mostly avoided.

  • The League of Lezhe was the first unified Albanian country, centered around the city of Lezhe. It was formed in part by Skanderbeg and a coalition of other nobles. It was able to organize a large, free-standing army that could resist Ottoman invasion year after year.

Tech Tree

Missing Units: Eagle line, Elite Skirmisher, Elephant Archer line, Hand Cannoneer, Camel line, Battle Elephant line, Steppe Lancer line, Siege Onager.

Missing Techs: Heresy, Theocracy, Treadmill Crane, Bombard Tower, Stone Shaft Mining, Guilds, Shipwright.


I dont think the game can identify if a unit is converted or not it will just see a unit belonging to the enemy civi.Even if its possible wont this be a very rare thing?

The engine is flexible and there can probably be a special tag added to converted units specifically for this purpose.

The Albanians don’t have Heresy, and they have good knights, so they will probably be up against a lot of monks, and there will be lots of conversions.

@TommoChocolate, what are your thoughts on this civ? Trying to get more feedback going, since this one seems to gone more under the radar.

I like the idea here, but I think the actual impact it would have is quite minimal – it basically just makes your early scouting feel a bit smoother. I don’t think it would be overpowered to reveal all your starting herdables (e.g. the 4+2+2 nearby on most maps) or all herdables within a certain distance of the Town Centre.

My guess is the mountainous terrain doesn’t lend itself to other types of standard domestic animals.

Seems good to me, not much to say here.

This initially sounded like a lot, but the more I think about it, the more I like it. Higher level players will be able to get some timing advantages from the blacksmith just a little bit earlier. Meanwhile, lower level players will benefit more from the university techs, since it gives emergency access to things like murder holes and fortified wall.

I find it hard to gauge the balance here. It feels a bit odd upgrading hussars to something that historically came before hussars. I’m also not really sure why this warrants a unique unit rather than just a bonus for light cavalry and hussars. Presumably when Byzantines train hussars, they already represent koursores?

Not sure about this as a team bonus. I think I’d prefer to see it as a civ bonus, probably with a staggered effect that only applies to foot archers.

Mounted crossbowman seems a sensible concept, and I’m kind of surprised we don’t have one already. I don’t really get the area of effect thing though. Are they firing explosives?

See above; I’m unclear why it’s not just a bonus for hussars. I also don’t know why they have a Byzantine unit (but I don’t know the history of Albania at all).

I like the justification and the effects fit that, but I think it’s too niche and will rarely be useful. Even extending the effect from hussars and stradioti to all units doesn’t seem too powerful to me.

This, on the other hand, feels very powerful. It will probably make their paladins annoying to deal with in some situations, especially for certain civs – and paladins can already be pretty annoying to deal with!

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This seems like several bonuses in one. Hussar available Castle Age. Hussar upgrade 50% off. 4th tier upgrade for scout cavalry line. It also seems unnecessarily complicated - it would have been simpler to give them an additional upgrade in Imperial Age (similar to two-handed swordsman/champion and cavalier/paladin).

While this is a fine economic bonus and I understand the historical reasoning, this doesn’t seem to really synergize with anything else in the civ.

I might be wrong, but I feel like this is really powerful. It saves you a ton of time. I also feel like it should either apply to the Blacksmith OR the University, not both.

I like this bonus and the sheep one. I could even see making this bonus a little stronger.

I really like the concept for this unique unit - I’m actually surprised there hasn’t been a mounted crossbowman in the game yet! The splash damage also gives it a unique function.

Besides the issues I outlined above, I feel like the Koursor steps on the toes of the Winged Hussar too much. It’s essentially the same unit except with +5 hp, +1 PA, and an attack bonus against archers instead of gunpowder. If you’re really set on the Koursor, maybe it should be an Imperial Age unique unit trained at the stable separately from the scout cav line (like the Shrivamsha Rider)?

Is it necessary to have it be a unit for the Albanians then?

This is hardly a cultural phenomenon unique to the Albanians (there was plenty of this in Medieval Italy, pre-Islamic Arabia, etc). However, this wouldn’t be the first time that a “unique” tech is something generic (Atheism, Stirrups, Howdah, Logistica, Stronghold, Drill), so I can let it slide.

I like this unique tech, but I don’t feel like AoE2 needs to make infantry worse.

Why not take away Faith, too? It would synergize with their Blood Feuds UT more.

Yeah, I implemented a weaker version of this bonus as a Georgian team bonus a while ago, and it was way too weak. I figured a stronger version would be better, but it’s still incredibly niche.

This is actually very similar to a bonus I came up with for the Alans. I don’t know if you saw that or not, but it reveals starting boar locations. So yes, this is a good idea.

Maybe this can be a Winged Hussar situation, where the Koursor replaces the Hussar.

There’s a reason the arrow doesn’t disappear when it hits a unit. Just imagine it going straight through multiple units. The area of effect is so small that it doesn’t really affect anything that’s more clumped up than archers. At that scale, one crossbow bolt hitting multiple targets is more plausible.

Albania used to be subjugated by the Byzantines; that’s why I decided to give the Albanians a Byzantine unit (aside from giving them more unique gameplay).

They don’t have Heresy, so this is an alternate way for their units to gain some resistance to Monks; units that join the enemy side are not going to fight as well. That said, I do think extending it to all units is a good idea.

Personally, I like the tower secondary effect. It can really be useful in certain matchups, like against the Goths, Magyars, or Portuguese. Basically any civ with a unique unit that can flood the map, has high pierce armor, or destroys buildings is going to struggle big time against Albanian towers.

Again, the Albanians don’t have Heresy, so conversion is always an option. Pikemen are basically neutered with this tech, but Halberdiers aren’t, and camels are unaffected. There aren’t too many civs out there that lack both Halberdiers and camels.

Yeah, I’ll probably either replace the Hussar with the Koursor or add it on like you said. Then I can maybe make it so that Scout-line upgrades cost less gold or something, or are researched very quickly. Or both.

Wrongo. The Albanians have good defenses, only missing Bombard Tower and Treadmill Crane. Access to more stone makes spamming castles or towers much easier.

It’s unique and powerful, but isn’t too overbearing. It’s on the same level as free armor and attack upgrades, except you have to pay for everything still, so the only resource you’re saving is time. University upgrades aren’t game-changers most of the time, except for Chemistry, which is why I excluded it. Spirit of the Law’s latest video actually showed that most Uni techs are situational at best.

No can do. It’s a team bonus, and archers already dominate the meta, so I don’t feel comfortable making the bonus any stronger than 5%.

Well, the Albanians don’t have Elite Skirmishers, so the Koursor is pretty much the only trash option for the Albanians when it comes to dealing with archers.

No, but it represents the period in Albania’s history where it was part of the Byzantine Empire.

I was thinking of giving it the proper name for Albanian-specific blood feuds, but it’s too hard to pronounce or remember, so I declined.

This is a good idea.

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Wont it make sense historically to give the full skirmisher line to them as they claim to be descendants of thracians?Also the lc upgrade seems too close to the poles/liths.