Discussion Raider civilization (strategy concept from AoE2 Alpha)

Because of another thread focused on AoE2 alpha screenshots i found an old interview with Bruce Shelly the writer/designer of the game who used to philosophise with Sid Meier about the game while they were designing and building F19 fighter jets lmao.

Source is this link and the interview starts at page 52.

Originally in the game several civilizations were supposed to be Raider Civilizations:
The Celts, The Goths, The Vikings and The Mongols.

The plan was for them to focus on military force early on and raid, instead of focusing on aging up thus they were supposed to age up slower. There were also several other extra mechanics at work like stealing resources from buildings and thiefing villagers from the enemy that would convert.

They had villagers that were stronger and they could field military units more easily (think of the Spanish Supremacy technology which probably originates from this strategy concept).
As a result in the current game The Goths still have cheap infantry, loom can be researched instantly and more population during imperial age. Barracks work faster, and infantry have bonus attack against buildings. This gives them a lot of momentum in the dark age and feudal age.
The Celts their infantry move faster, faster working lumberjacks, can steal sheep (the last stealing ability left in the game). These give the celts a lot of focus and opportunities in the early ages.
The Vikings are known to have more hitpoints for their infantry and that is the only offensive bonus in the darkage, besides the cheaper docks. The free wheelbarrow and free handcart make the Vikings very strong because their villagers will automatically work harder meanwhile you can focus more on military as supposed to but even in castle age. That is very intense.
The Mongols don’t really have a dark age military bonus. They do have their strong hunting bonus and can easily age up to the feudal age where they can access bonusses. With the current mechanics Mongols would be a very offensive civilization in the feudal age.

With the current game we have gained other civilizations, i think we actually have more raiding civilizations than we might think:
The Aztecs were added in The Conquerors the original game, their bonus on gold already tells you they were supposed to have an easy access to loom and thus stronger villagers. The military production bonus is a second part. In combination with the eco bonusses this gives the Aztec a very strong opportunity in the early ages compared to other civilizations.
The Berbers have faster moving villagers immediately from the start, and their cheaper stable units makes them an excellent feudal age raiding civilization.
The Bulgarians are another possibility, but they lack an economic bonus.
Burmese could situationally also be a possibility for having free woodcutting technologies and an extra attack for their infantry, a very similar fashion to the celts.
Ethiopians could be considered as a raiding archer civilization. Faster firing archers and the resource bonusses from aging up are nice.
The Huns but they are rather feudal age or castle age raiders. I’m more focussing on a strong transition from an offensive dark age into a militarian feudal age.
Japanese for their cheaper eco buildings in combination with their infantry attack bonus, it will be easier to build a barrack and go immediately for military.
Malians for cheaper buildings and infantry armor upgrade although its less strong. It’s still a good possibility for early agression.
The Mayans are also an early archer agressive civilization.
Poles purely for their healing villagers, thats the ideal raiding civ for having such though villagers.
Portuguese maybe for their reduced gold costs, and their new wood bonus? But idk their new playstyle very well. This does feels a bit like the gothic cheap infantry. It only lacks an offensive bonus besides quantity.
The Vietnamese maybe, they have enemy locations revealed from the start, archers with a lot more extra hitpoints. And eco upgrades cost no wood. That also sounds like something with possibilities in the feudal age.

Personally i’m a big fan of early agression in dark age and feudal age. I would love to inspire people or see some discussion regarding this. I’m curious about your ideas.

Goths kind of suck in the early game, they get stronger the later the game goes. They definitely don’t usually have momentum early game, unless you either lame, or do some stuff with early infantry.

Not really, the Celts are best in Castle Age, or maybe Imp with their Halb SO.

The infantry bonus is kind of bad in the early game, because infantry is bad. Sure, it’s good if you’re going for infantry, but if you’re going for infantry, that’s not great. Vikings are just an archer civ with good eco, and the option to go infantry.

Mongols are aggressive in Feudal, yes, but it’s the lategame where they really hit their stride.

I’m thinking you don’t really necessarily understand how certain bonuses actually impact the game. Yes, Feudal age aggression is certainly good, but a lot of the bonuses you’ve listed are not at all linked to it (like healing vils for Poles).

I mean to say that the originally were going to design them to be super lame. With stealing, early supermacy villagers, converting enemy villagers. And that we can still see some remnants of this in the game.
So i was imaginging like, look maybe these things are shallowly still possible with what we have now. As to inspire maybe an early playstyle where people go full militia in darkage or full feudal age military, as how the developpers originally thought about it for them to age up way later.
I ust find it fascating to see the remnants of these mechanics, and i’m thinking out loud of how these things might still be possible with civs that have good possibilities in dark age. For example the Goth infantry is ridiculous cheap. You only need about 12 to 16 villagers to keep producing militia in dark age and still go age up. (I’m more from an older time where we aged up with less villagers).