DLC concept 1: 'Return to Africa'

I’m planning on posting a series of ideas for DLC. I thought I’d start off with a region a lot of AoE II players want to see a lot more from: Africa. Now, there is a case to be made that there are plenty of African civs that could be added, so because there is plenty of ground to cover in this continent, for this one I thought I would buck the trend of just two new civs and instead add three much like Dynasties of India did. Plenty of choice but I have gone with the Kanembu, Somalis and Zimbabweans, plus a campaign for the Turks. One major change to this DLC is that units for African civs, are actually black! I’m not one of these so-called “woke lib” types and I don’t want to sound like I’m going into identity politics, but seeing Malians and Ethiopians with villagers and soldiers who have white skin has always felt very awkward to me. The title may be a little dull, but I thought I’d go for something nice, simple and self-explanatory.

TURKS (Campaign)

“But this is a DLC about Africa! Turkey isn’t in Africa!” Yes, I hear you. But, listen. Following the pattern of each DLC including a campaign for pre-existing civs that haven’t yet had campaigns, the Turks would really be the civ closest to most suitable for this. I know Mehmed II and his conquest of Constantinople would be something everyone wants to see (and it is part of a trinity of key Medieval events, the other two being the Crusades and Mongol invasions which are well covered). But, Suleiman the Magnificent actually led campaigns in Africa against the Ethiopians and annexed territory. And away from subsaharan Africa he also fought and conquered in Greece, the Balkans, Middle East, Arabia and North Africa, so the campaign would be an epic with a wide and diverse array of enemies.


Dominate north and central Africa with both the sheer power of your cavalry and the strength of your economy. Exhibit your superiority over neighbouring tribes on your way to building your mighty empire

Aside from the number one reason for the Kanembu’s addition being that it would lend itself to Chad jokes, their Kanem-Bornu empire was one of the most powerful and important empires in Medieval Africa and so they deserve their place in ‘Mansas and Sultans’. They are a cavalry civ, and their campaign’s protagonist is Idris Alooma, who ruled the Kanem-Bornu empire at its absolute peak and crushed rival tribes in the region.

Architecture: African

Language: Kanembu

Tech Tree: Eagle Scout, Halberdier, Battle Elephant, Arbalest, Heavy Cavalry Archer, Paladin, Steppe Lancer, Demolition Raft, Elite Cannon Galleon, Fast Fire Ship, Sappers, Illumination, Fervor, Faith, Heated Shot, Treadmill Crane

UT: 1. Lifdi: All light cavalary unit have reduced anti-cavalary damage. 2. Zaghawa Trade Route: Trade carts have more hp and now carry more gold

UU: Hausa Rider: Light cavalry that gain bonus damage when trade cart is near

Wonder: Shehu of Borno Palace


  • Advancing to Castle Age costs 33% less
  • Stable units cost -10 food
  • All non-military units and monks regenerate HP (10 HP/min)
  • Repairers work 25% faster
  • Team bonus: Trade units move 10% faster


Use your recent discovery of gunpowder to lead you to dominance over the Horn of Africa, and unleash your experienced navy upon the Indian Ocean. Crush any rival empires that stand in your way

The Somalls are a logical choice because they too were a dominant power in the region during this period, especially the Adal Sultanate who they very largely represent. They are a gunpowder and naval civ, and the campaign is on Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi’s wars against the Ethiopian Empire. No Black Hawk Down scenario I’m afraid to say though, folks!

Architecture: African

Language: Somali

Tech Tree: Barracks: Halberdier, Eagle Scout, Arbalest, Paladin, Steppe Lancer, Battle Elephant, Heavy Demolition Ship, Siege Workshop: Siege Onager, Heavy Scorpion, Hoardings, Sappers, Redemption, Theocracy, Herbal Medicine, Plate Mail Armor, Plate Barding Armor, Architecture, Siege Engineers

UT: 1. ##### of Africa*: Dock LOS increased and if any ship is detected by dock the location of the ship is always visible. 2. Ottoman Support: All gunpowder units get faster reload

UU: Adali Cannoneer. Somali hand cannoneers that are faster and cheaper but weaker than hand cannoneer

Wonder: Arba’a Rukun

  • Hunted animals last 25% longer.
  • Galleon range +1 attack in Castle Age and +1 in Imperial (total of +2).
  • Military production buildings built 100% faster.
  • Dock upgrades do not cost Gold.
  • Team Bonus: Markets work 20% faster.


In the savannahs of central Africa, the tribes that surround your great kingdom are no match for your skilled clubmen and infantry. Rule over the land as far as the eye can see from Great Zimbabwe.

Like I said, there are so many options for African civs for AoE II but I thought for the third ‘Return to Africa’ civ I’d opt for the Zimbabweans as they’d give a little diversity, a non-Muslim civ that is from neither East nor West Africa. Plus Great Zimbabwe was an almighty city. Nyanhewe Matope would be a good choice as he expanded the Zimbabwean Kingdom of Mutapa to great heights. The Zimbabweans are an infantry civ, and much like the American civs, they have no cavalry, and therefore no stables.

Architecture: African

Language: Shona

Tech Tree: Cavalry Archers, Parthian Tactics, Eagle Scout, Scout Cavalry, Knight, Steppe Lancer, Capped Ram, Onager, Heavy Scorpion, Galleon, Heavy Demolition Ship, Cannon Galleon, Shipwright, Scale Barding Armor, Architecture, Bombard Tower, Guilds, Hoardings

UT: 1. Ivory Weaponry: Goromondo and Militia lines cost less. 2. N’aga: Units engaged in combat get healed faster

UU: 1. Goromondo: Heavy club infantry. Slower and stronger verions of Long Swordsman. 2. Savannah Scout/Warrior: Zimbabwean equivalent of Eagle Scout line that is created at the barracks.

Wonder: Great Zimbabwe


  • Advance to castle age cost 33% less
  • Infantry armor upgrades cost 50% less
  • Fortified walls free
  • Towers attack 15% faster
  • Team Bonus: Militia line +2 vs spearmen While aging up, can research technologies from the next age (so for example, when you click up to Feudal Age you can research Double Bit Axe, Horse Collar and so on, but you cannot build the new age buildings or train units)
  • Foragers gather food in quantities of 2 (instead of food ticking up like 1, 2, 3… it ticks like 2, 4, 6… obviously, the time between ticks is a bit slower for balance purposes).

An interesting idea with the damage bonus from trade carts, but i’m not sure how functional it’ll be. In TGs if your trade is getting raided you’re already in a really bad spot, and if you’re in a 1v1 I feel like the bonus would either be OP or not worth making trade carts just for the bonus. I’m not sure there’s a happy medium with it.

I don’t like always visible here, but maybe visible for like a minute or something. Always visible seems broken; like your enemy doing your scouting for you.

Very interesting concept. In order for it to work I do think you’d need some kind of unit similar to the Eagle Warrior that can scout, raid speedily, and kill monks for balance purposes.

…aight you already got that covered lol

I get this a team bonus but it should be useful to you as well, and if you have no cav then a bonus against spears is kinda useless.

This is an interesting idea; kinda like Burgundians but only while you’re going up, and its for all techs. Only issue is what if a future tech is researched and then the age up TC is destroyed after, thus cancelling the tech? Do they lose the research and the res? Do they keep it even though they aren’t aging up anymore?

Overall I like a lot of what I see here, Only other civ i’d like to see is Kongo, but aside from that I think this is solid with touching on a good number of regions of Africa without overloading one, and all the civs listed seem unique from the Ethiopians and Malians we already have.

For this civ, who are relatively close to the Malians, I would take the existing African architectural set but rename it to “Sahelian architecture”.

I would give the Somalis a new East african or Ethiopian architectural set.

I would give the Zimbaweans a new Bantu architectural set.

Having only one architectural set in the game for an entire continent of Africa is completely inappropriate. We should get at least 3 sentences here. That means we need 2 new sets for Ethiopian and Bantu.


Yeah, it’d be ideal to get a number of new sets, but realistically I don’t think the Devs are going to make that many new ones, and I personally can live with it if new civs keep the old African pack.

One other thing, I would try to think of some way to differentiate the Savannah Scout a bit from the Eagle Scout.

Thank you.

We must never give up the hope. So I think, we could still experience a few surprises. Because the developers themselves know, that if they leave the game as it looks today, it will never be largely “complete”. They still have to do work here. And if the desire of the fans is so much, that the developers should work out more on this, they might even do it.

Yeah, I guess there are just a few other architecture sets i’d rather see first: Barbarian, Nomad, and a new E. Asian, then from there if they’ve got more in them can go to African. Maybe as a happy medium do a Bantu set for Zimbabwe and a Kongo civ, and then later on if they’ve got more in them they can do an E. African set for Ethiopians and Somalis. Maybe split into two DLCs and add a Swahili civ as well for that E. African set?

The devs should finally make the urgently needed architecture sets for the Eurasians in one of the next DLCs. A Barbaric set for Goths with a possible later add of the Vandals civ. A Nomadic set for Huns and Mongols and a new East Asian or Chinese set for Chinese and Taiwanese.

Continuing in this order would make sense.

A new East african set should be designed for the Ethiopians, where one can add a new civ like the Somalis.

I tend for the Swahilis to favor a new independent architectural set outside from the Ethiopians and Somalis, because the cultural differences become apparent again.

Yeah I had an idea for a Barbarian Invasion DLC adding Vandals and Langobards/Lombards, with a Rome campaign for Aeitus or Majorian campaign of them fighting the various barbarian invasions. I think that would be a perfect spot for the Barbarian architecture set to be slotted in

I know on my thread someone had proposed a DLC for civs around China, one of the ideas was Gokturks and the nomadic set could fit with them, and be added to Mongols and Huns

What are you meaning by Eurasians here? Like Byz/Georgians/Armenians? Also why is this one urgent in your mind? Because if it is those three in my opinion there are multiple higher priorities than that.

Definitely a good idea to pursue.

By Eurasians I mean European and Asian civilizations included, which should receive a new architectural set. So it covers a large area of the game.

So…are you saying Eurasian as a catch-all for multiple different architectures you want for multiple civs? It almost sounds like you want one “Eurasian” architecture for all Euro and Asian civs, but contextually I know that isn’t what you mean.

I do not understand, where your issue is now. I wrote it like I said, it is quite easy to understand.

The existing civs in the Eurasian area should receive new architectural sets. I mean a new Barbarian set, a new Nomadic set and a new Chinese set at least. I would be in favor of designing a new set for the Burmese and Malays.

I’m curious about the Zimbabweans historical background. Does it make them a good candidate?

Your Kanembu civ has Hausa Rider and Hausa Lifidi armor which is not Kanembu. As if Poles had Teutonic Knights as UU.

The Kingdom of Mutapa formed in the early 15th century, lasting for a few centuries, and had an active standing army which allowed its second king to control a majority of south-central Africa up through to the end of AoE2’s timeline (~1600).

It started as a northern offshoot of the original Kingdom of Zimbabwe (the one with the famous brick city), but soon eclipsed its predecessor in local and inter-regional control. The Swahili sultanates regularly traded inland with Mutapa and the Shona, which continued during Portuguese control of the east coast. Most social, cultural, and economic aspects developed at Great Zimbabwe carried over to Mutapa, though we have sparing historic records from the area vs. its Islamic neighbors.

Nyanhewe Matope, the second and most ambitious king of Mutapa prior to the 17th century, would indeed make sense for a campaign. Here’s a counter-offer: structure the Mutapa/Shona story around its three significant medieval rulers, a la the Hautevilles campaign. Missions as follow:

  1. Nyatsimba Mutota must defend Great Zimbabwe from competing Shona rulers before marching north to claim his own territory, free from the influence of entrenched nobles/gentry. This soon becomes Mutapa, and it eclipses and effectively depopulates the original Zimbabwe region within a generation. [Defense+A-to-B mission, maybe add some side-quests if there’s strict Age/unit/eco restrictions]

  2. Mutota’s son, Nyanhewe Matope, seeks to control inland trade with Kilwa, Mombasa, and Sofala among other Swahili ports. Some of the sultanates are agreeable, ready to trade after Matope proves his worth; others are hostile and need persuasion. He must drive off a competing Shona kingdom, Butua from the southwest, and ally with Bantu villages on the coast to also establish links with Madagascar. [RPG mission for sure, half of which is fixed force]

  3. With his kingdom firmly established, Matope’s ambitions shift to conquering the lands of Manyika, Kiteve, and Madanda while routing a Butuan march pushing into Mutapa’s southern reaches. These conquests mark the zenith of Mutapan hegemony. [Classic build/destroy, and players will have Imperial Age by now to really use the whole civ]

  4. Switching to our final protagonist, the later king Negomo Chirisamhuru, Mutapa finds itself in a tenuous, lucrative peace with Portuguese colonists who have supplanted the Kilwa Sultanate. This changes soon after the execution of a Jesuit missionary in his capital, leading to Portuguese retaliation. The player must deal with conquistador raiding parties and escort a diplomatic force to Kilwa so they can negotiate a new treaty. [Defense/RPG]

  5. Finally, the Portuguese make a decisive push inland via Francisco Barreto’s expedition for the legendary gold mines of the Ophir, exacting tribute from local Bantus and other subjects of Mutapa. Chirisamhuru’s forces must intercept Barreto’s supply lines, uniting local tribes and Mutapan leaders to stave off factionalism/defection, and then sieging the expedition’s trading post in Manyikaland to prevent them from reaching the mines. [Mix of RPG/Destroy]

I’m open to suggestions for this, but it’s already a solid campaign progression that doesn’t overly rely on mirror matches (though it does reach into the colonial renaissance period to do so).


Plus, doesn’t the last mission technically intersect with the Portuguese campaign? I’m fairly certain you search for the gold mines of Ophir in one of the Portuguese scenarios. I think we might be able to work with this, and replace the lions you face there with actual Shona units.


If a shona civi gets added perhaps the bantu faction could be replaced with them too.


Yup, I was thinking the same thing.

I wouldn’t mind that, honestly. It’d fit much better than the Malians or Ethiopians, that’s for sure.

Now that I’m thinking about it, adding civs like the Shona and the Swahili would radically change the Portuguese campaign, wouldn’t it? You’d have a whole new experience, basically, for those scenarios.

Basically the same way the experience changed when the Indians were split.

Unfortunately, I can’t seem to get past the African levels…

Ah, that’s unfortunate. It took me a while to get past them myself honestly.

I literally had to deathball gunpowder units (Organ guns, HCs, BBCs) and slow pushed as much as I could whenever I could. Somehow, it worked pretty well in most of their scenarios in general…