Hisatsinom (Ancestral Puebloans): In Concept and Practice


Here’s my idea for an Hisatsinom Civ, representing the Cliff Dwellers of the Four Corners Area:

Defensive and Siege Civilization:

-Farms provide 15 stone when built.
-Farms can be worked by multiple villagers.
-All Buildings* can garrison all non-siege units.
-Wood cost of Buildings* halved, replaced with Stone.

*Not farms, fish traps, or walls.

This ideation presents the Thunderbird Warrior, a Northern variation of the Eagle Warrior that is slightly slower, but has more Attack, Hit points, and Line of sight, and altered cost.

Thunderbird Warrior Stats

Cost: 35 F 40 G. Upgrade Costs same as Eagle Line.
Thunderbird Scout:
Hit Points: 50 Attack: 4 Speed 1.05 Line of Sight 6 Armor: 0/2 Train Time 40

Thunderbird Warrior
Hit Points: 60 Attack: 8 Speed 1.1 Line of Sight 7 Armor: 0/3 Train Time 35

Elite Thunderbird Warrior:
Hit Points: 70 Attack: 10 Speed 1.25 Line of Sight 7 Armor: 0/4 Train Time 24
Attributes not mentioned here are the same as the Eagle Line

Unique Technologies:

Tsin Atsiitsʼiin: Siege Workshop units’ gold cost replaced with wood.
500 F 500 G

Great House: Buildings +5/5 Armor, Garrison +5.
750 W 400 S

Unique Unit:
Puma Bowman: Fast archer that can dodge 1 melee or ranged attack (every 16s)

Puma Bowman Stats

Hit Points: 40 Speed: 1.25 Range: 4 Attack: 5 Armor: 1/1 Reload Time 2.0 Train Time: 15s
Cost: 40 W 40 G
Elite: Upgrade Cost 700W 500G
Hit Points: 50 Speed: 1.25 Range: 4 Attack: 6 Armor: 1/2 Reload Time 2.0 Train Time: 12s

Hisatsinom Description

The Hisatsinom (Hopi for “Ancient Ones”), or Ancestral Puebloans, were an American civilization centered in what is now the Southwestern U.S. They were known for their pottery, vast road networks and large settlements, and especially for their interconnected stone and adobe buildings built or cut into or along cliff walls or in canyons, such as their famous sites at Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde. Many of these cliff buildings were only accessible via ropes, ladders, or rock climbing, and thus provided excellent defenses against attackers. Evidence of exotic items, such as macaws and seashells, also imply a robust trade with distant regions. The Hisatsinom civilization is thought to have peaked between the 10th and 13th centuries, whereafter a long, widespread drought (which also led to the decline of the Mississippians and the Tiwanaku culture) and increased warfare gradually dimished their power.

The Hisatsinom civilization has a strong but unusual early game due to its cheaper buildings, although this is complicated by their stone cost. Their farm gathering bonus is also useful early game as it allows quick food generation with limited wood investment. After this initial boost however, their midgame is lackluster with fully generic units, although the garrison bonus can be useful to save villagers and military or execute an ambush. By lategame they have access to a variety of useful units, including goldless Siege, although this is constrained by a lower wood-gathering rate, being the only civilization to lack Bow Saw.

Missing Techs: Gunpowder and Cavalry related units/techs, Champion, Siege Ram, Siege Onager, Fast Fire Ship, Heavy Demo Ship, Galleon, Dry Dock, Shipwright, Heated Shot, Treadmill Crane, Heresy, Bow Saw, Two Man Saw, Coinage, Banking.

Eventually I hope to include a scenario or mod (required for the second farm bonus) for this, because while I think the principle of stone buildings and trash siege is viable, the numbers probably will have to be tweaked so that it’s not OP/UP. It is also possible that the farm work rate may need to be altered somewhat.

It might sound like a weird thing to ask about first, but why do they lack coinage and banking? You even mention they were good traders in the description.


call them Puebloans.

Good question. First is, I think Coinage and Banking are techs that people take for granted, but don’t really consider whether a civ actually needs them. Considering how often slinging is restricted or banned in pro games, or how rarely I research them in team games (even when sending res to an ally, where getting 30% less now is often more important than getting more, but in 3 minutes after both techs are researched), I don’t think they’re essential techs in general. Regarding this civ not having these techs (which I would associate more with being a vassal state/tributary than with fair trade), I mainly did it to pre-empt the potential for abuse with their stone bonus (e.g. getting slung wood to make a bunch of farms for the stone, then sending that stone to a super-tower civ like Koreans or Japanese). Not sure this is needed, but until I get a firm handle on how good the stone bonus is, it seems reasonable.

No. But I’m familiar with this controversy and I did consider it in the naming. On the one hand, I understand how people might find “Anasazi” objectionable. On the other hand, I find “Pueblo” no less so. Pueblo is a European word that was imposed upon natives of the Southwest by Spanish conquistadors and colonists, and is no more appropriate in that sense than calling natives of the Americas “Indians”. The fact that a native word is considered taboo while a name given by foreign conquerors doesn’t raise an eyebrow is a textbook example of internalized colonialism. “Puebloans” is also problematic in referring mainly to the present-day peoples (like if the Inca civ was named “Peruvians”), and “Ancestral Puebloans” is long and clunky.

However, I respect the decision of the IPCC to discourage use of the term Anasazi, so I will opt for another native designation that is not considered offensive, the Hopi “Hisatsinom.”


This is, f.e barracks cost 87 Stone? or 87W 87S?

They’re both what’s called an exonym and there is literally nothing wrong with that.


88 Stone (rounded). So the only buildings that have a wood cost are farms, fish traps, and palisade walls. Buildings that only cost stone are unchanged.

In principle I agree; both terms have their uses. In general I’ll always choose the more recognized name over the “politically/historically correct,” as is AoE2 tradition. But in this case where ancestors of that people have specifically requested that a term not be used, I think that should be honored. And since I’m going to bother with changing the name, I may as well follow a consistent principle. Hisatsinom is a good compromise, because, although less well known (not that the “Anasazi/Puebloans” are super well known anyway), it is as precise a term as “Anasazi”, but without the offensive aspect, and is not as clunky as “Ancestral Puebloans.” It is also not an exonym, as the Hopi are at least partially descended from the Hisatsinom.

So all you need is like 43 farms for a free castle? Hmm. Interesting.

If you ever get there sure. The fact you split your building costs between wood and stone means you are SoL on water maps where you aren’t likely farming or gathering stone. Drushing with and 88s barracks? Good luck following up with a trush. Nevermind if you get to imperial age on water this civ has NO IMPERIAL SHIPS.

This civ is dead on arrival on Nomad maps. Heaven help you if you don’t have a mill yet by the time you run out of stone or you are TC walking stone all the way to your TC to get things going.

To the author I get the idea I really do but it’s just too wonky and way too build order changing to be sensible.


In the current meta though, most people would follow a drush with either an FC or archers, not towers, they just aren’t good enough now.

Theoretically. In practice you’ll end up needing a lot of that stone for other buildings. I suspect that the stone bonus is a little weak, but I need to gather a lot of info before I settle on a final number.

AFAIK civ picking is the norm on water maps, since the disadvantages of landing a bad water civ are more severe than landing a weaker civ on a land map. I would expect this civ (along with all the other American civs, and weak naval civs) to simply not be picked for water maps. Regarding the bad navy, they’re in the same boat (pun intended) as Aztecs or Malians. If, for whatever reason you’re playing as Aztecs on a water map, 95% of the time you’re going to auto-lose in Imp, because lacking Galleon puts you at a huge power disadvantage even vs. an average naval civ that you can’t compensate for in any other way. None of the other naval upgrades Aztecs get will save them from that. So Hisatsinom takes this principle to its logical conclusion and makes no pretense of being a civ that people should choose for water maps.

Nomad is a bad metric of how a civ is balanced overall, given that several civ bonuses are changed (removed or delayed mostly) specifically for that map. Following that principle, this civ could be buffed with an appropriate starting amount of stone for Nomad only. Again I would expect this civ not to be picked on Nomad. Or, if I wanted an easy fix, I would just extend the farm stone bonus to fish traps, which is a little silly, but would do the job.

Don’t see the difficulty trushing since buildings are cheaper (including towers being 25 res cheaper), and you’ll go to stone first with this civ instead of wood.

I see it as a more intense version of the Chinese start: non-intuitive to new players, but powerful in the right hands, and ultimately not that complicated. Go to stone first instead of wood, add wood as needed for farms, archers and siege. Maybe it is too radical, but like most new things, I would expect people to be biased against it until it becomes normalized.

I know this is kind of going into “unnecessary subjective polemic” territory, but I honestly think it doesn’t matter. It’s an old term and I don’t think people still use it to marginalize said people (it’s not like the n-word where you could make a case about not using it in a non-offensive way because a lot of people still use it offensively). Not like using it is bad per se, but AoE2 has always chosen the most “marketable” name, and if we’re not bothered by the usage of “Berbers” instead of “Amazigh” or “Saracens” instead of “Arabs”, it feels very weird to go out of your way to use a “more accurate”/“less offensive” term in this particular case.

I mean, is “Indo-European” an endonym or an exonym? Also, if that’s the case, shouldn’t it be okay to use?

Again, I agree with the principle. But would you make an Inuit civ and call them Eskimos? Or, if prominent Arab or Muslim organizations, or even governments came out with official statements asking you not to refer to them or their ancestors in a particular way that they found offensive, would you not respect that? Upon some investigation, several of the Southwestern tribes have made statements to that effect. People may not “mean” to do harm with insensitive wording, but generally, people have a right to be addressed in the way that they consider to be appropriate. I don’t think I would be hurting anyone per se by keeping the term Anasazi, but I’m also not going to be stubborn when there may be a good reason to change it. The term is also becoming outdated, which is another reason to leave it behind. Also, all of the existing American civs in game currently have names derived from their own languages, so the conflict between “most marketable and most accurate” is more apparent than real in some cases.

More the former than the latter if you’re an English speaker of mainly Indo-European descent, but also hopelessly broad and much further removed and/or dispersed in time and space than the Hopi from the Hisatsinom. Anyway, feel free to respond to any of this you need to, but beyond that I don’t think it’s productive to keep on with this discussion; enough threads get bogged down with all kinds of pedantry. I’ve made the decision as to what to call this civ.

What does this mean? All buildings can garrison or current garrisonable buildings? This is a meso civi so what real use does it have to garrison cavalry?

So for four Houses, one mill, two lumbercamps and a barracks you need 288 Stone?
If yes you have to Mine Stone in dark age or plant atleast six farms?

It means all buildings can garrison all units (that the civ can make), except siege, so not cavalry.
I try to keep the civ bonuses as simply written as possible. Wordy civ bonuses will inevitably lead to people fixating on how the civ is “overloaded,” even if something is just an explanation of how a feature works, or an exception to which units it applies to. Also, I get why people call all American civs “Meso,” but this is strictly a (North) American civ. “Meso” only really refers to civs in Mexico or Central America.

290 (houses round up to 13), but,

This civ will go to stone at the time that other civs go to wood, and there is no reason to make 2 lumbercamps in Dark, since wood is only needed for farms and (some) military units.

Yeah that makes sense, hard to say how good that Stone cost for buildings/ Stone generation for farms is without testing it.
Edit: but it is an interesting concept for sure, and i like it

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The problem is the civ depends off on a resource that is not abundant on the map, when the stone that you have gets over, you must to struggle for the stone in the rest of the map, and that is hard to do on TG. The farm bonus is maybe sufficent to hold this, but then is exposed to rush because is hard to wall your base, and becomes a cycle of depending resources. I would had to watch it on practice and see how deploy the economy.

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On top of that if your stones are exposed or in a forward location you can easily be towered or archered off of it. Wood if you lose you more than likely have another wood line somewhere else. You have normally 2 stone spots and those tend to run out fast. You can’t explore for more stone the way you can for more wood.

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Yeah, it has some weaknesses. I think the concept is viable, but it’s definitely “edgy” enough that people will want to see/play it before they’re fully comfortable with it. In theory, you should be able to lock down your stone even if it’s forward since you’ll go for it first, and cheaper buildings give you an early edge. You should also have a decent eco by the time you’re anywhere near burning through your main stone (1750), and since you’re always on stone a defensive tower should always be within reach. Soon I’ll start working on a mod/scenario so people can try this out and see what they think.