[For fun] What if the Original Civs had gimmicks?

A while back, I was thinking about how some of the more recent civs have a strong gimmick that changes up (or even defines) how they play the game. And that led me to think, what if the original civs were all given a gimmick? So I thought it’d be fun to come up with some gimmicks for the base game civs. These aren’t serious suggestions per se. They’re more of a fun thought experiment, but maybe they’ll inspire some civ bonus ideas, who knows? With that said, take a look.

> Britons: [Kingswood Hunting Grounds] Deer that are lured into the range of the Britons’ TC remain within the TC’s range. The deer cannot be targeted by the Briton player, but they provide a constant trickle of food. The Yeomen technology adds an additional gold trickle to the deer.

I really wanted to give the Britons some bonus other than a direct archery range bonus. This bonus is a lot of fun for two reasons: 1) Britons are often a go-to civ for newer players, and this bonus would give a fun motivation for them to learn how to push deer. 2) I like the idea of opening up a strategic choice between getting the food now vs. getting a long-term food and gold bonus.

> Byzantines: [Varangian Guard] After researching Redemption, the starting TC will automatically spawn a Varangian Guard (essentially a renamed Berserker) every third minute for each relic that you currently have collected.

The Varangian Guard are one of the coolest medieval units, and I really want them to be represented in the civ in some way. This gives them a fun unique unit that’s free, but only strong if you collect a bunch of relics.

> Celts: [Hobelar] In the feudal age, when a certain number of enemy units dies within 2 tiles of a Celt scout, that individual unit upgrades into light cavalry. Celtic light cavalry slowly regenerate health.

Turns out that the Celts were instrumental in the earliest development of medieval light cavalry. I though I’d give them a nod to this historical fact by giving them the opportunity to upgrade their light cavalry, on a unit by unit basis, into the light cavalry line early. The health regen is added to encourage the player to pull back their castle-age light cav and heal up, perhaps eventually building a solid raiding force of light cav.

> Chinese: [Bounty of the Yangtze valley] A herdable can be tasked to a farm alongside a villager. On reseeding the farm, gain a small amount of gold (or alternatively, gain a production bonus per herdable farm).

It was hard to come up with an idea for China. They already have a strong economy with a solid military. I think the idea of tasking sheep alongside a villager at the farm has some fun potential, which (like the Britons example) might come at a cost. IDK if the tasked sheep would actually help the villager collect the food for you, just “be there” as the necessary requirement for the bonus, or perhaps even use up some of the food from the farm in exchange for the bonus.

> Franks: [Carolingian Legacy] Frankish infantry gain a brief movement speed bonus with every 10th unit killed by the Frank player. This bonus is also triggered every time a monastery tech is researched.

Like with the Britons, I wanted to give the Franks something other than a Cavalry bonus. With Charles Martel, Charlemagne, and Joan of Arc in the background, I wanted to lean into their defense of Christendom and the holy warriors theme.

Goths: [Sack of Rome] For the Dark and Feudal ages only, the Goth player gains resources as his units are attacking buildings, or upon killing an enemy villager.

Historically speaking, Goths are perhaps -the- raider civilization in the game. I think it’d be fun and unique to lean into that. It also encourages early fights from the Goths, whose strength right now is in the late game.

Japanese: [Sohei traditions] Monastaries fire arrows. +1 additional arrow for each garrisoned relic.

I think the mountain warrior monks of Japan are really flavorful and there’s some fun potential here. If this is considered too strong, or butting into Yasama’s territory, we could also try things like “relics can be garrisoned within towers. The usual gold trickle occurs, and +1 arrow for each relic within the tower” or “monasteries with relics can train militia-line units and scouts” or something like that.

Mongols: [Nomadic Heritage] Hunters do not need a drop-off point to collect food.

This is a bonus we haven’t seen yet, and it plays well to the nomadic culture of the Mongols.

Persians: The Persians are limited to one marketplace and one university. The two buildings can serve as drop-off points for Persian villagers, and they generate a tiny amount of gold when working near them.

This one was another hard one. My first thought was to think of Persian tapestry and calligraphy, but I wasn’t sure how to represent that in game. (Researching Loom has some secondary benefit?) I decided to lean into the importance of the market and the university within the medieval Persian societies, and this could be a fun little bonus. My only concern is that this is an eco bonus on a civilization that is already largely defined by its economy. Perhaps a military bonus would be better suited for them. For now though, I’m leaving it.

Saracens: [The Legend of Al Khamsa / Arabian Husbandry] The Bloodlines technology also affects trade carts. Saracen scouts and knights gain +1 attack and regenerate health when near a relic or a monastery containing a relic.

Arabian horses were some of the best in the world, but this doesn’t seem to be reflected in the Saracen’s design. I think this bonus would create fun situations where even in the feudal age, parts of the map would become favored by Saracen cavalry because of the unclaimed relic. The bonus doesn’t specify that the monastery has to be yours, so it could be useful either on defense or offense in the castle and imperial ages.

Teutons: [Crusader Zeal] Units gain a brief movement and/or attack speed boost upon being healed by a monk.

This bonus would be both thematic and provide great synergy with their double-healing-range monks. Alternate proposal, or an additional bonus: “monasteries containing relics can train Teutonic Knights.”

Turks: [Devshirme] A militia-line unit is spawned at the player’s starting TC for every 5/10/15/20 enemy units killed by the Turk player. Upon reaching the castle age, a Janissary is spawned instead.

The Turkish system of conscripting captured peoples into their army (the Janissaries, most famously) is a theme that I think could be the source for some interesting ideas. Like with the Goth bonus, this would be most impactful in the early game, yet because the Turks are a late-game civ, I don’t think it would be overwhelming.

Vikings: [Coastal Raids] Berserks can pick up and garrison relics. Relics can be garrisoned inside docks, providing the usual gold trickle.

The bonus that started this train of thought for me, and the one I think I’d most like to see. Vikings evoke images of raids off the coast of England, burning monasteries and looting the relics inside. If the Vikings were a civ being made today, I’d think it absolutely essential that this be referenced in some way. Berserks being able to pick up relics and carry them back to their own lands would be very thematic indeed.

Originally, Longboats were planned to fulfill a dual function of a warship and a transport ship. That would have been a gimmick for the Vikings.

Depending on your definitions, you could argue that some original civilizations already had gimmicks.