The way gunpowder currently works is kinda off. It’s supposed to be an early imp thing, yet it needs chemistry, which takes almost 2 minutes to research. Also HC train super slow.
And with gunpowder UU civs I don’t think anyone can deny it’s ridiculous as they have way too few counters in the castle age, especially on closed maps where they can go under/in a castle.
The fact they deal 10+ damage to mangonels with high bullet speed and it’s basically free damage due to how slow mangos are means the only real way to engage them is either with monks or mass knights, and both of those are mostly for scaring away, as you can’t dive the castle anyway.
Extremely one dimensional and unbalanced design.
So, what if gunpowder units had much lower base damage stats, but got extra damage based on a new mechanic, such as, the civbuilder one, every university tech granting +1 damage.
Due to the short range and lack of ballistics gunpowder units have, I don’t think they would be unbalanced in late imp even if they dealt 24, 25 damage, there would still be much more powerful UUs such as mangudai, magyar CA, 11/12 range arbs/lbows, or siege onagers.
So what if conqs had 12 base damage, instead of 16, but their damage in post imp was… say, 25. Same with Hussite Wagons who won’t be as dominant against archer civs in the castle age, or organs, who trade cost effectively against their supposed counter, mangonels.
Alternatively this can be done with their elite upgrades, but I looked for a solution that also works for Hand Cannons, as their stats in late imp aren’t too great either.
Also I envision that really scales with game time, if you have to get all university techs, that is a lot more expensive than just the elite upgrade, and actually can rival full blacksmith + thumb ring + parthian + recurve bow + bloodlines + husbandry + chemistry + ballistics in terms of cost.
Hence the imp scaling won’t be relevant except in super long games, where gunpowder greatly suffers.