Thinking about it carefully, it doest make a lot of sense why the french have a unique version of the crossbow as part of thier unit roster. They were among the people that made use of the windlass, but not any more or less than the likes of Spain, Italy, or Germany (whatever they were called back then) and no one really knows who was the first adopt it.
What I do know is that the venetians and genoese were known for pavisiers and heavily armored crossbowmen respectively and the fact that this unit is sitting around with the cav spam civ looks like an unneeded hurdle to getting Venice released as a civ.
Thus, a rework;
Arbalester is just a normal crossbow - no deploy pavise or base melee armor.
Crossbow stirrups becomes a regional tech shared by the french, hre and (if they appear) spanish and itallian civs.
Gambesons reworked to a less OP but more practical tech - all non-heavy units (including vils) gain 2 melee and 1 ranged armor. Avaible in age 3 at a blacksmith.
Instead of a unique xbow, the french can have a unique heavy infantry in age 3 - knights fought off horseback too so it makes more sense to focus a heavy melee style for the French.
Replaces maa for the French.
Same attack rate as spearmen
Base attack of 15/19 in age 3/4.
Has all the same stats and cost as maa
Can brace and has + 7/10 vs cavalry.
Beyond the unit itself, reapply the civ perks around it:
Keep influence and enlistment incentive now benefits stable and barrack as opposed to archery range.
New tech - Royal Guards: halberdiers regenerate hp out of combat.
I think it would be better if the French gets a unique infantry unit armed with a Voulge polearm instead of one armed with a Halberd. This voulge wielding unit could have the name [Voulgier]. It seems that this type of polearm existed primarily in 15th century France during the medieval ages.
And the voulge was used by the Franc-Archers who were France first attempt to make regular infantry. These infantrymen were initially not the most reliable soldiers but they became better later on after being professionally trained.
I found some more information concerning the voulge on this website called malevus for anyone who is interested.
Maybe. I just found out that the “Voulge” could have possibly been a French name for the early form of the Swiss/ German Halberd or another name for the Glaive according to a user called TheGhostHero who created a post on Reddit for the sake of clearing up some misconceptions for the terms of some polearms.
That sounds like a good idea for implementing them to the game. The Franc-Archer could start of as a weak but cheap infantry unit that becomes a more powerful unit later on after getting upgraded.
I haven’t found any information so far of other notable infantrymen serving in the French army, aside from the Grande Compagnie (Free Company) which is a term that is often applied to the mercenary companies that were mainly active in medieval France and who were called Routiers or Écorcheurs by them. Though they made a living through plundering when not employed and it seems that they had a worse reputation than the Franc-Archer.
Écorcheur means “Flayer” or “Skinner” and the reason as for why these Free Company men were called that was because they robbed their victims of everything, often to their very clothes.
if there is any civ that would need to be buff first its the french, its the worst civ, lowest winrate, every civ can counter them extremely easily, the only civ that french have a 50/50 chance to match up against is hre and english, they keep wanting to make french trade but it doesn’t work, they would need better economy to be able to follow their knight production and not just a small imperial trade buff,
totally agree it need more unique unit and tech