Civilization Idea: Vandals

The Vandals represent the Germanic Vandal people as well as the Kingdom of the Vandals and Alans in Carthage. They have the Middle Eastern architecture set, which is meant to represent their presence in North Africa and the architecture there. Their unique Castle is Byrsa, a walled citadel on a hill overlooking the port of Carthage, from where the Vandal kings ruled. Their Wonder is the Temple of Jupiter in Rome, with loot surrounding it, referencing how the Vandals stripped gold from its walls during their sack of the city.

The Vandals are an infantry and naval civilization, but any classification can really be applied to them, including cavalry, siege, and even defenses. They are very different from the Goths, having strong defensive capabilities and a nearly full University, but also have the ability to swarm just like the Goths. They are strong through most stages of the game except for the Dark Age, due to having a totally generic economy until Feudal.

Enough of that, though. Let’s get into the concept.

Civilization Bonuses

  • Land military units (except siege and Monks) take up -10% population space in Feudal, -15% in Castle, -25% in Imperial Age

This doesn’t have a particular historical origin, but is meant to have a similar flavor to the Goths, allowing for late-game swarms of units, who are all full price, but don’t take up nearly as much space, allowing for more of them.

  • Receive +100 food every two minutes after building a Market

After the Vandals took Carthage and the rest of North Africa, Rome’s food supplies were greatly hampered, due to receiving a significant grain trade from North Africa. However, the Vandals soon agreed to a treaty with Rome allowing the grain trade to pass untouched, causing the Roman economy to be undisrupted once again.

  • Universities and University technologies (except Ballistics and Chemistry) are available one age earlier

Contrary to their reputation for wanton destruction, the Vandals were notable patrons of the arts and sciences, opening many learning institutions in North Africa and undertaking large building projects. Many of the most notable academics in Europe at the time hailed from the Vandal Kingdom.

  • Dromons cost -33% and are trained 50% faster

This references the large Vandal navy, and the Dromon was a Byzantine ship contemporary to the Vandals.

  • Team bonus: Trade units +2/+2 armor

This is a further reference to the treaty with Rome allowing the grain trade to pass through unharmed.

Unique Unit: Hasding

  • The Hasding is a light cavalry unit with 75 HP instead of 60, 1 more attack, and 1 more pierce armor, but less speed and no bonus against Monks. Its main gimmick is that it has the ability to instantly kidnap enemy villagers without harming them, trapping them in a sack on the horse’s back. It can then deposit the villagers at the nearest Town Center to convert them. Gender, job, and resources carried are all retained from the kidnapped villager, but any stat changes are not. It still has the option to kill units like normal, which may be preferable, because any kidnapped villagers are instantly freed if the Hasding that captured them is killed.

  • The Hasdingi were one of the two main Vandal tribes, the other being the Silingi. They were the leaders of the Vandals, and orchestrated the conquest of Carthage. Gunderic was a Hasding. During the sack of Rome, his brother Geiseric captured inhabitants of the city and brought them back as slaves, accurately reflecting the Hasding’s gimmick.

Unique Technologies
Vandalism: Infantry and cavalry units generate gold while destroying buildings

  • Cost: 500 food, 500 wood

  • This technology grants Vandal units a similar gold trickle to the Keshik while attacking buildings. It’s a bit lower, at 0.09 gold per second per unit, but since buildings are larger, take longer to destroy, and can have many units attacking them at once, the effect should be fairly comparable.

  • Since the tech applies to all infantry and cavalry, including Pikes and Light Cavalry, it should be a useful tech in trash fights, especially since it doesn’t cost any gold to research. The gold trickle for attacking key targets with trash units will allow the occasional gold unit to be added, strengthening the trash war greatly.

  • Vandalism is the term that English speakers use to refer to any pointless destruction of other people’s property. It gets its name from the Vandals’ sack of Rome in 455, which lasted for 14 days and caused countless destruction to Roman buildings and artwork. However, loss of life and arson were kept to a minimum, if not eliminated entirely, due to Geiseric heeding the residents’ plea for mercy.

Carthaginian Legacy: Dromons have no minimum range; Galley line +3 ship armor

  • Cost: 800 food, 600 gold

  • This tech makes Vandal naval units stronger by making the Galleon more robust and making Dromons hold up much better against Fire Ships, their main counter. Demolition Ships are still a major concern for them due to their close range one-time attack, so nearby Galleons to take them out will be necessary. Dromons have a large minimum range, so this tech eliminates their main weakness, and combined with the discount and creation speed boost, they will likely form a major component of the Vandal navy.

  • While the extra Galleon armor negates the bonus damage for Fire Galleys and Fire Ships, the units’ fast attack will still make them good against Galleons, and Fast Fire Ships still get some bonus damage.

  • When the Vandals took over Carthage, they inherited a long and storied naval tradition from the people living there. Carthage had one of the largest and most powerful navies in the ancient world, and the Vandals followed in its footsteps with a similarly large and powerful navy that posed a serious threat to Rome. It took several tries for the Roman attempts to expel the Vandals from their territory to succeed for good.

Tech Tree

Missing Units: Eagle line, Arbalester, Elephant Archer line, Heavy Cavalry Archer, Hand Cannoneer, Paladin, Battle Elephant line, Steppe Lancer line, Siege Onager, Bombard Cannon, Fire Ship, Cannon Galleon line.

Missing Techs: Arson, Thumb Ring, Parthian Tactics, Redemption, Atonement, Heresy, Sanctity, Hoardings, Plate Mail Armor, Plate Barding Armor, Heated Shot, Bombard Tower, Arrowslits, Crop Rotation, Stone Shaft Mining, Guilds.

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Interesting concept.

Maybe villagers that are fighting back should be immune from the capture mechanism. I also assume killing the Hasding holding a captive villager would free that villager.

Perhaps so. Maybe that would make it more balanced.

Yes, that’s stated in the post, and makes the unit have a large downside.

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I have an even better idea : a new Roman architecture set shared with the Goths and the Romans, that looks more typical of late antiquity.

I thought of that, and that was what I had in mind before, but I decided that a Roman set might look too similar to other sets, and isn’t terribly necessary, since the other architecture sets represent it well enough. The Romans having the Mediterranean set works just fine because the Watch Tower and Guard Tower are based on real Roman towers. I don’t think it’s a real priority, unlike adding a new Caucasian architecture set to give the Georgians, Armenians, Byzantines, and Bulgarians, helping to split the Mediterranean set.

In general, I’d also say the Middle Eastern set represents the North African buildings better. A Roman set would probably be too pasty-white.

Where I see the set going differently is that the feudal roman architecture would look in an awful state of disrepair, renovated in castle and brought back to its full glory in imperial (for buildings that change there). It’s strange for a civ knocked out in the Dark Ages, to have buildings that scream “italian renaissance”. Sure, you’d also need avoiding picking a style straight out of Ancient Greece (especially with the inaccuracy now debunked of stone-white statues, they were richly painted), it would need being based on what the Romans built in the 4th and 5th centuries.

Yes, a Byzantine style is also needed. As well as splitting the Eastern European style, maybe making one for Poles + Magyars while switching the Bohemians to Central European to reflect Bohemia being an important part of the HRE, and a Nomadic style for Mongols Huns & Cumans.

Now, your idea for a Roman set sounds like it could really work! I’d have to do more research on late Roman architecture to really nail down an aesthetic.

About a nomadic set, I don’t think one can really work without looking terribly awkward and ham-fisted.

For a start, a roman basilica as the monastery. A great example in Trier, Germany

Can’t be worse than the Mongols somehow having a typically Japanese castle and the Cumans building turquoise domes everywhere :upside_down_face: Make buildings based mainly on tents which would make the dark-feudal upgrade feel smoother than most civs, with tents becoming much more ornate in castle/imperial, maybe built on top of ruined stone buildings with charred wood parts to indicate pillaging. Overall it would fit nicely with the different wonders (ruined Cuman fortress, Genghis Khan’s tent, pillaged Arch of Constantine).

Perhaps the thatch yurts in the Scenario Editor can be the basis.

The classic cloth yurts can be Castle Age, while the Cuman cloth yurts can be Imperial Age. Maybe this can work after all; it would just be unconventional.

I’m guessing the Castles and towers will be ruined buildings from past civilizations.

Mongols : ruined Chinese castle (who could also get the proper version, the current East Asian one should be exclusive to the Japanese)
Huns : ruined Roman castle
Cumans : right now a ruined Eastern European castle would be the choice but if we redraw which civ has which style (Magyars => “Visegrad”, Bulgarians => Byzantine) then the choice would be more open.

Not a bad outline. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get a bit more on topic.

Is it impossible to let the wonder be a building located within their kingdom?

Gurjaras: Costs 100 wood, 24 food per minute (by 8 sheep), can be interrupted.
This one: Costs 175 wood, 50 food per minute, cannot be interrupted.

By comparison, this seems like a powerful bonus. It might even be risky.
Since the cost is so low at only 175 wood, I would suggest to make it interruptible. The food trickle should be disabled once no market is held, until you build or convert a Market again.

40 food per minute should also be better.

Pretty useless. With the exception of Ballistics and Chemistry, almost none of the techs would be actively being accessed early, either because the cost is too high or there is no demand.

The only thing I can think of is that some players might try to go Feudal Fortified Walls for turtling.
Feudal Guard Tower and Castle Siege Engineers are too expensive to access, but might be overpowered if they could be accessed cheaply.

If you want to highlight the fact that they had many academic institutions, maybe it should be to encourage players to build more than an University instead of building an University early.

It would be nice to also have it give infantry +2 against buildings and cavalry +1 against buildings.

Even though it is helpful to gain extra gold by sieging, the real purpose of siege is to break down the opponent’s defense rather than to earn resources. If infantry and cavalry are not made better at sieges, then using siege weapons is still the better choice for the purpose.

Perhaps even better would be to allow land melee unit to generate gold when attacking buildings.

Don’t like an UT which is only good for water.

When your definition of this civ is an infantry civ, I don’t know why you don’t give their infantry Arson and the armor. Their infantry doesn’t have many bonuses. The mere advantage of population space does not mean that they have strong competitiveness. Even if you give them Arson and the armor, I still think their infantry is not enough to become the main force.

If you also agree that this civ represents the Vandals and Alans, then having fully upgraded or with-bonuses HCAs and Hussars should be neeeded. This would show that the Alans provided important military services to their kingdom, and also give the civ more dimensionality in gameplay than the Goths.

It might be fun in scenarios, but in competitive games it’s just broken.

It would be a matter of balancing if they capture villagers in the Castle Age, like dropping a frontline Castle in the early Castle Age and raiding with this UU.

On the other hand, once you get to the late game, this effect would be meaningless. Players may prefer to kill the opponent’s villagers directly rather than need to run back to their base for the gimmick effect, because in most cases the light cavalry are destined to die in the opponent’s base and will not have a chance to leave, so their purpose should be to create as much damage as possible before before they die.

Overall, I don’t like this gimmick as part of the tech tree. It may be fun in scenarios, but it’s not what a civ should be designed.


A random idea is to have their UU be a light cavalry or horse archer named under the Alans. When you don’t want the civ to have one of the fully upgraded Hussars or HCAs, let UUs fill that gap.

If you really want the capture effect, maybe the UUs named Alani Raider can be light cavalry, with a 10% chance to directly convert non-military units it hitting per melee attack. Or, maybe the UUs named Alani Guard can be horse archers, with a charge bar that can be used to dodge projectiles, which helps the civ against archers that counter the infantry. I personally like the latter, and then the capture effect of the former could become the imperial UT to allow infantry and cavary to convert with a lower chance.

Alaunt would be a very interesting reference too. They can be a reference for a bonus or an UT, or even for a unit as working dogs and war dogs. For example, they are war dogs that can be trained quickly in TCs, cost only a small amount of food (e.g. about 40), and although individually fragile can be strengthened if there are other units of yours in its light of sight, as if it has a master commanding it. .

If you can find one that looks important enough to be a Wonder, let me know. Even just finding a Castle took a ton of effort.

Oh, it’s not a trickle. 100 food just suddenly appears in your stockpile all at once every two minutes. But sure, it can be interruptible. It’s kind of what I was going for anyway.

I suppose the gimmick of getting a University and most techs early is cool in theory, but impractical in practice, and probably only useful on closed maps. I’ll keep it for now, but I’ll think of alternatives.

What do you suggest?

That’s actually what the tech does. Either I changed my mind without altering the wording of the description, or I simply used the wrong word, but either way, the tech works like the Keshik, only it’s against buildings.

Well, a lot of UTs are only good on specific maps or in specific situations. I don’t think there’s anything fundamentally wrong with that.

I took away Arson because historically, the Vandals didn’t really burn any buildings during the Sack of Rome, but it’s a pretty big tech tree hole, and unlike the Goths, they don’t have any bonuses to compensate. I can give it to them.

The last armor can be given too, because I honestly thought that having more units on the field than your opponent would be a big enough advantage, but that’s not likely to happen in practice, since the units are still full price.

No, the Alans would be a separate civ, one I already came up with an idea for three years ago. That one was designed to represent the Caucasian kingdom of Alania, as well as the Sarmatians and, more broadly, both Western and Eastern Alans. It’s basically a Lithuanians and Poles situation.

I could easily see a future DLC introducing both the Vandals and Alans simultaneously (if a Byzantine architecture set was created by that time, the Alans could have it, freeing up the Vandals to have the now-much-thinner Mediterranean set).

It’s rather sad that you didn’t like the UU. I thought it was an interesting idea myself, one that I got from a scrapped mechanic by the original devs. I guess there was a reason it was scrapped.

I mean, there’s no need to insist on an actual building.
A fictional wonder is tolerated to a great extent.
Want to see that the wonder located in the own capital is not an architecture of enemy.

For example, Universities have an aura making TCs within 10 tiles can generate 0.2 gold per second.
Assumed that there is three TCs, then you may want to build the second or third Unversity when the TCs are far apart.
This may not be the best idea though.

only being particularly beneficial in certain situations is okay, but not water. UTs that only benefit water are the most rarely researched UTs.

You may need to note that this civ doesn’t have any other bonuses or improvements that make infantry stronger than or make good trades with opponent’s units.

At least I have seen some people think that if it was certain that Poles would be introduced at that time, the devs would simply let the Poles come and cover Lithuanians without introducing Lithuanians.
The Vandals and Alans are more niche. Since I even think it is possible that none of them could have a chance to be introduced, I would definitely assume an umbrella covered both of them.
Sorry I can’t see the DLC you see.

Glad it was scrapped because it would easily be problematic in actual competitive games.

I think the tech tree you designed is underpowered, lacking units with combat advantages.
I can probably imagine that the extra food income would encourage players to use Knights, but that’s all. The gold generated by attacking buildings would not be significantly large to maintain balance and a castle still woudl be required before that. The civ would most likely be weak against archers, which is why I’d like to make the horse archer UU able to dodge projectiles to bring helps even if they don’t have to be named under Alans.

It would be great to see the Vandals civ in AoE 2 - along with the Goths civ, they would be representatives of the extinct East Germanic peoples.

Additionally, Vandals civ could be the perfect bonus for AoE 2 in the Germanic DLC for RoR.

Makes me think it would be a good occasion to have the Goths finally speak gothic instead of medieval german.

Not really. The only “fictional” one that I can think about in the bunch are the Franks who have a generic “gothic” cathedral, some say it’s the Chartres cathedral or the St Vitus cathedral in Prague (that one would be a weird choice)… but it’s still based on averaging a large sum of existing buildings. It’s not making things up.

However, even the Goths have a building that they did build, Theodoric’s mausoleum in Ravenna. Did the Vandals build noteworthy structures in Carthage or somewhere else, instead of making their wonder feel like a repeat of the Huns ?

The Mongol Great Khan’s Yurt is obviously fictional.
The Cuman wonder is based on the Khazar fortress of Sarkel, but its appearance is also completely fictional and the result of speculation.
The Huns never occupied the city of Rome, so their wonder basing on the sacked Arch of Constantine is also somewhat fictional.
Other wonders are also fictitious and hypothetical in their details, such as the rows of lanterns along the eaves of the Japanese wonder Todaiji Temple.

There’s no real need to stick to actual buildings when people didn’t leave iconic landmarks behind.

My point is that I hope to see that the Vandal wonder located in the center of Carthage (the capital of their own kingdom) is a building of their own, even if it is a fictional Arian church or castle, rather than an enemy’s temple that is supposed to be located in the enemy’s capital.

To a certain extent, I also hope that the Huns can have a wonder of their own after they have a nomadic architectural style set, even the fictional Attila’s yurt.

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What about the Cothon of Carthage? It’s anachronistic, but iconic.

The cool thing about Vandals civ (and also Goths civ) would be that they could be perfect for representing the Germanic peoples of the Dark Ages in multiple scenarios (both old and potential future ones) but also somewhat for casual skirmish (your imagination could run wild).

When I think Vandals I think if the battle of Cap Bon where Demo ships or ghost crew ships set ablaze were the name of the game and were the key to Vandal victories. I don’t understand why they don’t get fire ships though since they clearly used fire at sea. After all most sources call the equivalent of demo ships as fire ships and this should be a big naval power.

This is definitely one of those civs that, if Genitors were made more available instead of a silly team bonus, would be available here.

Roman cavalry were also at a struggle against the Berber hired camelry that were part of the Vandal forces

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