Fan Design of a Potential New Italian civ

Hi everyone and welcome. Let me do a small introduction before we go to the heart of the matter.

So this is the fan design that I made of an eventual Italian Kingdom civ for AoE3.

I’ll start saying that I’m not that expert on aoe3 balance and mechanics as much as I’m of aoe2. So what to me may have appeared as a good idea, it may seems orribile to an more expert eye.

So for that reason nothing that you’ll read here is written on stone, but it’s subject to potential change, especially on the balance side. For that, I encourage everyone to give me feedbacks and criticism, both positive and negative (but always respectful). I’m sure that together we can we can make a fantastic work.

Lastly, I know that some people don’t think that the Italians should be added to the game, or that other cultures should take priority, but this isn’t the argument of this topic.

This post is to discuss my specific design of the civ, to see if it’s balanced and historically accurate. For all other arguments, there already are more appropriate topics, or you can create new ones. I also ask to people to limit the discussion to this fan design, if you have another one, please post it in its own topic, as I did to avoid spam on other discussions.

So here are my (broad and not that defined) design of an potential Italian civ. I borrowed features from the USA, african civs and swedes, so it may appear not too much original, but still I made as much unique as I can.

Italian Kingdom

Home City:
Rome (or Turin, which would be more accurate, but less iconic)


Age Up Mechanic:
A bit of a mix of the USA and african civs, with 5 main smaller states, and 4 that add up as soon as you age up:

First 5 cities:

  • Venice
  • Milan
  • Florence
  • Naples
  • Genoa

And then 3 more, in order:

  • Palermo
  • Modena
  • Turin (or Rome if Turin is the HC)

Like similar civs, each age up gives you 2 unique technologies for their unique building, the University. On top of the classic age up resources/units.

Unique Building:

  • The University
    A building of the first age that slowly generates experience (it increases with age ups, specific HC shipments) and research the age ups unique techs (those too give a bit of a boost to the exp generated). The techs have a gradually higher cost depending on the age that are unlocked.
    The University of Bologna, the most ancient university of the world

Unique Bonuses:

  • Docks and markets cost -50%.
  • They don’t need a HC shipment to have Unique Technologies at the Church.
  • They don’t have Revolutions, instead they have the option of Diplomatic Table. This option allows them to choose an ally among other European powers (France or Prussia, but it’s possible to add Britain and Spain too). When they do that, they get some soldiers and 4 unique shipments of the civ choosen, that adds up with deck. You don’t loose the vills or your deck, but you can’t advance to the Imperial age or re-ships cards.
    Those shipments are of course in general less powerful than the shipments of the revolutions (and one is always the 2 ironclads).

Unique Technologies at the Church:

  • Lateran council of 1139
    It exchange the food cost of the xbow with gold, but add a +1.5 damage multiplier on the range attack against cavalry (age 2 - free).
  • Golden Bill of 1265:
    Market fee reduced to 5%, but all natural resources are gathered 15% slower (age 2 - free).
  • Swiss Papal guard
    It ships 6 papal guards (swiss pikes) and allow to train papal guards at the church (age 3 - 500 gold).
  • Carabineers
    Ships 7 carabineers (guard carabiner cavalry) and transform all cranequins presents at the moment in carabineers (age 4 - 1500 food).

Tech Tree:

Buildings: Standard european buildings plus their unique building, the university.

Age 2

  • Crossbowman - upgradable up to Imperial level (pavisan crossbowmen).
  • Pikemen - standard (capped at veteran)

Age 3

  • Bersagliere - unique musketeers that have ranged resistance when locked in melee (with the possibility to increase its speed with HC shipments) but have less standard melee resistance.

Age 2
Mounted crossbowman - mounted unit that cost only food and wood (capped at veteran) with 2 stances:

  • Mounted: mobile unit with low RoF and range. It can be manually dismount. It can attract in melee (like a dragoon).
  • Dismounted: static units, have an higher RoF and range, but it needs to re-mount (so going through an animation) to move. It can’t attack in melee while in this stance.
    No standard melee cavalry, so they either rely on mercenaries or send them from HC. They can train stradiots or elemti through age ups.

Foundry and Factory:
Standard with falconets, culverins, mortars and HC.

Galleys instead of caravels, then galleons, frigates and monitors as standard.

Town Center:
Standard villagers and volunteers.

Some images of the Italian army:

Crossbowman with pavise
Mounted crossbowman

download (2)
Swiss Pope guards

Venetian galley

Italian Kingdom Age Ups Effects:


2°A - 1 galley and 4 xbows
3°A - 2 galleys and 7 xbows
4°A - 1 galleon and 15 veteran xbows
5°A - 2 Ironclad and 20 guard xbows
Italian explorers - it gives +50% LoS to the explorer.
Pavise - it gives ranged resistance to crossbowmen and cranequins (when dismounted).

2°A - 400 wood
3°A - 700 wood
4°A - 1000 wood and 2 stradiots
5°A - 2000 wood and 4 stradiots
Arsenale - doubles the work rate of the docks. Ships are also repaired at twice the speed.
Balkan mercenaries - it delivers 5 stradiots and stradiots can be trained at the stables at the cost of 150f and 150g.


2°A - a church wagon and 2 vills
3°A - a church wagon and 5 vills
4°A - a church wagon and 1000 gold
5°A - a church wagon and 2000 gold
You can build a second church.
Condottieri - mercenaries can be trained in bigger groups of 6 and HC shipments gives 25% more units (with 1 unit more for minimum).
De Medici’s bank - it ship a bank wagon.

2°A - an outpost wagon and the ability to call 4 extra volunteers armed with crossbows.
3°A - an outpost wagon and an early arsenal wagon.
4°A - 2 military wagons and an arsenal wagon.
5°A - a factory wagon.
Comuni - All buildings have 40% more HP.
Permanent garrison - TCs can shoot even if empty (with the attack of just 1/2/3/4/5 vills depending on the age) if it’s garrisoned it’s like having extra vills.


2°A - age up 2.75 faster.
3°A - age up 2.75 faster.
4°A - age up 2.75 faster.
5°A - age up 2.75 faster.
Textiles expertise - gives a trickle of gold for the game.
Scutage - it delivers 400 gold for each TC and it allows to train elmeti at the stables.

3°A - 2 monks and 3 mounted xbow. Guard and imp (cranequins) unlocked.
4°A - 3 monks and 5 (guard) cranequins. Upgrades all cranequins to guard and unlock the imp upgrade.
5°A - 4 monks and 7 imp cranequins. Upgrades all cranequins to imp.
Lemon orchards - transform all estates into lemon orchards, which gather coins faster, but only 7 vills can work on it.
Trade egemony - TPs gives back 15% more resources (not exp).

download (1)
4°A - 1 TC wagon and 2 falconet.
5°A - 1 TC wagon, 2 falconets and 2 culverins.
Students traditions - it gives you a university wagon, and allows you to build a second university.
Alpines troops - it allows to train Alpines (jagers with +5% speed) at the barracks.


5°A - 2 heavy cannons
Modern army - all gunpowder units are trained 15% faster (including HC at the factories).
Foreign instructors - it allows you to train guard hussars at stables 30% faster.

I hope you enjoy it, remember that those are just random ideas, and I’m more interested on the concept and history, than in the specific effects and numbers. For that reason, this first post will probably change multiple times.

Let me know what you think. I’ll post more info and concepts in the future, in particular I have one with some suggestions for shipments cards, and I’ll also try to go in detail on some units.


A bit of me:

In the case you don’t know me (I’m more active on the aoe2 section of the forum) I’ll do a small presentation here.

I’m a long time italian (as you probably already guessed :sweat_smile:) fan of the aoe series.

I played through literally all games and expansion of the franchise (yes all, including Online and Castle Siege…). Now I’m more focused on aoe2 and aoe3, with a bit of aom.

I just recently got my master degree in HR psychology, which prevented me from really dedicate much time to my favorite game in the past year (especially online). Still, I try to be as most active here and follow the age community on every platform that I can.

I like in particular balance discussions, and fan made civilizations. Here you can see a similar topic in the aoe2 section of the forum, so go there if you want to see how I “work”:


Well, I will be honest, I don’t know much about history, and I not gonna pretend like I do.
But I think the Italian kingdom comes after the timeline of Age of Empires 3. Which goes from 1500-1800 more or less. And Italy was a bunch of independent states back them.

I think this civilization like you are proposing could be done. But probably would need to be the Papal States (Or something along this lines. Maybe Republic of Venice or Sardinia? I don’t know…) instead of Italian kingdom to better fit the time frame of the game.

But I will give my takes on the balance of the civilization itself.

That’s is kind of broken, as ATP (Advanced trade post) and the water are the two parts of the game that needs better balance. And Italians having a bonus on those specific two parts of the game can potentially break the game balance.

I also must say that I really like the idea of having a civilization with some sort of a super crossbowman, because crossbowman’s flicking sucks in this game (Like, they were buffed, and they still suck.)
So it would be quite interesting to see how a civilization with no skirmishers but a super crossbowman unit would be inserted into the game.


i really like the age up ideas, very unique and most of them are interesting.

biggest issue i could see is that unless you choose the correct age ups then you might be quiet screwed in the lategame. but i guess that would require playtesting to figure out

ehm, does this also unlock the unit? otherwise it seems a little pointless no?

i think the faction probably would need some heavy HC cards in regards to crossbows to give them something workable in the lategame, here are just some suggestions:

Professional soldier: crossbows and mounted crossbow now cost gold, improves their multipliers.

crossbow warfare: crossbowmen +30/30% HP and attack.

1 Like

I agree with you, Italy was not Italy back then but sardina could be a civ, I think it would be a good feature for the game to have the age up system and in age 5 your flag changes to the Italian flag.

33% cheaper trade post is OP, but I don’t think the dock bonus is, so maybe it could just be 33% cheaper docks.


Great topic, I would love to see Italians civ along with Moroccans civ in the Mediterranean DLC.

It would be great for Germans civ too.


Not going to lie, making the Italians be a cheap copy of the United States is an extremely weird flex.

They’d look much more natural as a civilization with regular age up.
And yeah, the “such and such is cheaper” is more of an Age of Empires II design than something you really see in Age of Empires 3. Here to tell something is cheaper you either make it a good card or… just, like, straight up make it an unique building.


Not every mechanic has to be an Age up Mechanic.

Alternative Concept: Consulate

The Italians get a building that works like the Asian Consulate but with Coin.
You can choose between about 5 different patrons like Venice, Milan, Naples, Genoa, Rome (Papal State) or Florence.
Each for them unlock at last one Unit and multiple technologies as well as a permanent bonus for being allied.
Maybe they could also unlock a unique building each.

To balance that this system costs coin instead of a new resource, changing your patron is more expensive and maybe there is a relatively long cooldown (like 5 minute) or the cost for changing the patron goes down over time starting at a relative high price of like 2000 coin and than going down to 200 over 5 minutes.

This “Consulate” Building could be a combined Market plus Consulate because Italy was heavy into trade.



  • Pikeman
  • Heavy Crossbow (Musketeer like unit with ranged bonus against all Cavalry) Age 2 (Has Guard upgrades)
  • Swordman (Melee “Skirmisher” unit that is good against heavy Infantry) Age 2 (No Guard upgrade)
  • Bersagliere (Skirmisher) Age 3


  • Elemti (Like the Mercenary but weaker) Age 2
  • Carabinieri (Dragoon) Age 3


  • Mounted Crossbow (Dragoon)
  • Swiss Guard (Helbardier)
  • Small Bombard (Heavy Cannon)

Those are not mercenaries, they are like Consulate units and automatically upgrade on Age up.

Other possible Bonuses

  • Some Mercenary related bonuses because Condottieri (Could be a Age 2 HC card) but pleas don’t make Germany look even worse
  • Can build Banks like the Dutch because they invented Banking but not as many (maybe 1 per Age)
  • Some religion related bonuses like the Spanish Unction.
  • Architect unit that can construct (special) buildings

Ok sorry but I have been busy this week, I’ll try to answer to all of you.

The main idea was to use the kingdom of piedmont-sardinia as a base (bersaglieri are their soldiers) which then becomes the kingdom of Italy. So I would bend the rules a bit and call them directly kingdom of Italy.

But as I already said (but maybe it’s my fault since I wasn’t clear) we could call it kingdom of Savoy (or piedmont-sardinia) and switch Rome and Turin (the first becomes the age 5 age up and the second the HC).

That way it would be like the kingdom of Savoy conquering the other Italian state aging up.

I wanted to give them just the docks at first, but I didn’t want to give them a bonus for just water, so I added the TP.

We could tune down the percentage a bit, or we could tune it up a bit and substitute the TP with the market (but I was thinking of giving them a 2 vills shipment with a market wagon, so I don’t know…).

Yeah for the first 3 ages, xbows will be the focus of this civ, with multiple options (spammable, that cost gold, mounted).

They can get skirms or jagers, but aren’t the focus of the civ.

Of course things would require to be tested and changed or adjusted. Anyway, you’ll need a clear build order from the start.

Yes of course.

The problem of the Italians, is that they have very few base units, especially in cav. The mounted xbows can be a polivalent (ranged, melee, stationary almost as an early “gating”) but you lack hussars, dragons and skirms.

So with age ups or techs you can get the ability to train hussars, elmeti, stradiots, jagers and cavalry carbines, some with some special properties.

You need to choose well…

They have that and special upgrades on the university and church (to have special tech at the church Italians don’t need a HC shipment).

It kinda goes against the free upgrade that gives them a gold cost, in exchange of a power boost, but it could be an age 4 card.

I had thought of “mandatory use of the xbow” to make so that xbows are trained super fast.

Pavise at the uni gives them more ranged resistance (and to dismounted MC too). I also thought of a card that give you xbows militias in age 1.

It could work, but I would stick the standard states. They could though automatically change the flag in the 3/4 age (the kingdom of Italy was actually founded way before they conquered all territories of the peninsula).

They have something unique, like the uni, but yes I heavily took inspiration from the USA. Since they are the only ones to have such mechanics.

Also, USA and the African civs, get shipments and units, while Italians get special techs at their special building that they need to pay for.

Yes, but not everything needs to be that outside the box. Spanish for example have faster shipments, which in the end is a number like a discount.

No, but it emphasize the different states of the peninsula, similar to the US. Aging up is like conquering a state (a bit like the unification of Italy).

But are they the kingdom of Italy, one of the city states? A mix? It’s a bit messy in my opinion, and less unique.

Also, can you change the patronage? I don’t know…

I don’t get why they need to have a swordman unit. They haven’t particularly good swordsmen.

They can have landsknechts or rodleros, through HC, but I wouldn’t give them a default option.

Better musketeers, they were fast shock troops.

I gave them special upgrades at the church without the need of a HC card, and they also have one more than other European powers.

In my design, they can get elmeti, stradiots and jagers, all with some special property. That way, they have a more focused bonus for some units, without outshine the germans on the mercenaries wide picture.

I gave the the university.

They can get one through an upgrade in the uni if you choose Florence.

This one should be a default option.

I gave them an unique tech at the church that give them swiss pikes (papal guard) and let them train them a the church (and they can have 2 churches).

I gave then elmeti through the Florence age up, or they can have stradiots through the Venice age up. The first can be trained and shipped in bigger groups, the seconds have half of its gold cost substituted with food.

I gave them through an unique tech at the church in age 4, but mine upgrades the mounted xbows and are more similar to the US mounted carbines.

I gave them instead a substitute to the revolution, where instead of revolting they can choose an European power to ally with, and get some unique soldiers and HC cards. I called it Diplomatic Table.

I really hope Italy will be one of the next civs to come. Kudos to OP for the detailed suggestion!

1 Like

The Bersaglieri, singular Bersagliere, (Italian pronunciation: [bersaʎˈʎɛːri]), “sharpshooter”) are a speciality of the Italian Army’s infantry corps.

In the nineteenth century, Bersaglieri acted as skirmishers or shock troops, moving from place to place by running.


They are definitely Skirmishers and not Line infantry aka Musketeers.

I think Dragoon like units should be Age 3 units.
Mounted Crossbows are cool though but I don’t think they should be standard.

My idea for Italy was:
Age 2: Renaissance units
Age 3: Napoleonic and 19th century units

This way Italy is less one dimensional.

I generally think it’s better to not copy the USA and Africans but to make a new unique system.
Only having one patron at once seems a more fitting system for the Italians.
It would be strange to have a colony that is supported by Venice and Genoa at the same time.

The Hausa already have that. I’d think a trade focused building would be more fitting for the Italians.
Both would be cool but that might get to complicated.

The “consulate” is for choosing your Italian patron not a foreign ally. That’s why it’s in “quotes”, it’s not an consulate but functions like one.

The Ally thing might be a nice idea.

1 Like

Yes, but if you keep reading they were also described as an highly mobile unit that were to close the distance fast or used to screen other units.

The main problem is that the distinction between skirmishers and line units isn’t that well represented in the game.

As a compromise, I made them as musketeers, but faster and available only in the third age (not in the second like musketeers) so they are a bit of both. Also, they didn’t use long distance rifles.

Another option is to made them as skirms, but with less range and ranged damage, but more resistance, speed and melee attack… I’m not sure of it though, it needs more thinking…

Yeah but they could be an exception, like the Russian or ottomans. Also, I gave them a standard dragon type of unit in the age 4 through an upgrade at the church, which replace the mounted xbows, so they have one.

And I thought it that way too, so I designed a way to have some archaic unit transformed or replaced with age ups.

Well, I had a different idea, one that you are a state that conquer or are conquered by another city state, either through military or diplomatic means.

Also, the Italians city and colonies often switched alliances or patronages, it’s kinda of how the wars were fought in the renaissance (and later on too…).

By my design, the Italians start as an archaic civ (like many see them) and then get modern units through age ups and focusing on certain build orders.

I don’t remember very well now the hausa, but I’ll look into it.

I gave the university to the Italians because they had founded the first university of the world and literally have a ton of them with a centuries of history.

Also, it’s not completely like the USA, the Italians would have tech and have to pay to get them.

Yeah I got it now. Still, I don’t like it too much, it limits the potential of the Italians.

The way I picture it, is a state that slow but steady conquer, ally, inglobate other states, until Italy is united.

Ok so after a lot of people pointed out that having discouted TP is OP, I changed it into having 50% discounted docks and markets.

This isn’t the definitive version anyway, and both the percentage and the buildings can still be changed.

There is another problem though…

I just saw the full release of the African civ and I noted (someone also pointed it out before) that the housa have a university building.

Now onestly I don’t know a lot about their history and culture, and I don’t want to talk it about it here. I still feel like the uni should be also an Italian building, since they founded the first university, and have lot of them with centuries of culture.

I also don’t know precisely how the housa uni works. From what I understood, it’s different a bit from what I suggested here.

So for now, I think that it could 2 “not completely shared but similar” buildings for both civs, but onestly, it’s a bit of bummer. The uniqueness of my design (which is old of months, and if I waited some days more I wouldn’t have posted it after seeing the DLC) revoved around the university.

Now they have still something unique, but not enough in my opinion…

I’ll continue the discussion since this design have some potential in my opinion, but I’ll need to think about this…

1 Like

What if rather than techs the benefit from your age up would be a passive bonus? For example

Italian explorers would. Get the 50% Los for free and pavise would be a stance for your xbows but they walk significantly slower while in the stance, like 30% slower but you gain an extra 15% range resist.

1 Like

It may work, but the problem stay in my opinion.

The Italians would loose their uniqueness that the uni would give them.

As I said a the start, my focus is yes on the balance and the mechanics, but it’s even more on the historical value that the those mechanics have.

Losing the uni, or having it shared with another civ, makes them a civ with a bit of everything from various other already existing civs. In my eyes that was fine before, since the uni justified it. Now I don’t know…

It could also work to rename one of the 2 buildings with a similar name, like academy (either the housa or the Italian uni, though on the latter it wouldn’t be really correct, and I’m not qualified to say if it would be appropriate for the former).

Yeah or it could affect one of their already existing stances. It could work too.

But I thought of those effects as tech so that even if some are powerful, they also are balanced by the cost.

Sorry for the delay between the last post and this one, but it takes time to think of these things, and I have few of it.

Those of course are all raw ideas, so are subjected to change.

But I listen to the general feedback, and I make their roster more based on the renaissance, with only 1 moder standard unit which is upgraded in age 4 from a renaissance unit. All other more modern units are either shipped or have need some sort of special upgrade.

AoE3 Italian Civilization Military Units


II Age:
Crossbowman - Guard and Imperial upgrades unit. The guard upgrade can be researched an age earlier with a HC shipment. It also have a special tech at the church that replace the wood cost with a gold cost, but gives more a ranged multiplier against cav.
Pikeman - upgradable to veteran. Can get the guard upgrade too from an HC shipment.
Schiopettiere - unique musketeer, cheaper and with more speed and RoF, than the standard musketeer, but with worse stats overall, especially cavalry resistance and melee bonus. It’s upgraded into bersagliere. The unit model, should be like the carolean (not the stats), that when in melee, it draws a schiavona sword.

III Age:
Halbardier - standard guard upgrade.

IV Age:
Bersagliere - Guard and imp upgrade of the schiopettiere. It gains more melee and ranged attack, but it still have a low multiplier vs cav.


II Age:
Mounted Crossbowman - Unique dragoon-like unit (ranged heavy cav). It have a slower RoF than a dragoon, but it have a good melee damage. If it’s put in “stand ground”, it trigger an animation where the crossbowman dismount, and fight on foot, until a command move. In this position, it’s RoF and range resistance greatly increase. Limited to the veteran upgrade, but an age up unlock the guard and imp upgrade.

III Age:
Condottieri - A tanky cavalry which is heavy on gold, armed with an hammer. Have a melee resistance and have a bonus damage in melee against other heavy cav. An HC shipment can unlock them in the second age.


III Age:
Petards - Standard
Falconets - Standard
Culverins - Standard

IV Age:
Mortars - Standard
Horse Artillery - Standard


IV Age:
Heavy Cannon - Standard


II Age:
Galley instead of the caravel.
III Age:
Galeass instead of galleon - a stronger version of the galeon, but it takes more to be trained.

Other units that can be trained/shipped:
Swiss guard (swiss pikeman) - Trainable at the church and saloon after a tech.
Alpini (skirmishers) - Can be shipped from HC in age 4. They are skirmishers with a small resistance against artillery when put in stand ground.
Stradiot - The standard mercenary. Can be unlocked after an age up and trained at the stable for food and gold.
Hussar - Can be unlocked with an age up and shipped from HC.
Carabin Cavalry - A church upgrade transform all mounted crossbowmen into carabin cavalry.
Elmeti - with a HC shipment they can be trained at the stable.
Fusilier, jagers and Mamelukes are other mercenaries than can be shipped, with some kind of bonus, from the HC.

The DLC should also introduce a new mercenary, not unique to the Italians, but available to them, the Man at Arms a heavy infantry unit armed with a pavise and a hammer. It based on the maceman.

For the other civs, they should also get access to to a new mercenary, the Genoese Crossbowman, a xbow with more range resistance.

Tell me what do you think of it.


The mounted crossbowman is a really cool idea! Unique unit that can be both Cav and on foot would be neat! And a Galeass in AOE3 would be very cool! We need some new ships :smile:


maybe crossbows should be a guard unit? makes a lot of sense for italy i feel.


It is a guard and imp unit.

Did I forgot to write it?

I slightly changed the condottieri. I didn’t liked the previous design much.

This way instead they are an anti heavy cavalry melee unit, with high HP. It can be decent against skirms and muskets too (with a HC card), but dies to dragoons and of course pikes.

The name condottieri too isn’t that accurate, but hey, it’s a fan favorite name, so it’s ok.

The xbows instead are generally called guard xbow and imp xbow. Probably some might want to call them genoese crossbowmen. I wanted to keep that name for a HC card, since it derived from a misconception that all mercenaries xbows from northern Italy were called genoese.

Still, once again, if it’s a fan favorite name, it may be used for the guard upgrade name. I for sure can call the HC card pisan or venetians xbows, or both, since all maritime republics used the weapons, with different methods and specialties.

The appearance if the guard upgrade should also bring a pavise to the xbow, though the upgrade can be researched apart, and it give a ranged resistance.