How to use Genoese Crossbows

How do you use GC?
I see only 3 options:

  • go straight GC
  • mix GC in with archers right from the start
  • make whatever (probably archers), then make GC in reaction when you see your opponent has made cav

Maybe I’m missing an options?

The first of these dies to skirms or magonels (or just plain crossbowmen), because GC just aren’t better than crossbows. -1 range hurts worse than the bit of hp you get, and that’s before factoring in the numbers disadvantage. Even when my opponent went mostly cav, he could just use a couple of magonels to keep my GC away. Ideally you’d want to get to GC+Hussar or GC+Bombard Cannon to take care of those weaknesses, but it’s really tough to get there.

With the second option when you get to Imp it’s awkward getting the EGC upgrade. 900 food 750 gold is a lot, especially when compared with the Arbalest upgrade (350 food 300 gold), and you have to get them both. Or am I supposed to delay getting the EGC upgrade?
Also the composition will be weaker against anything which isn’t cav, but I’d consider that only a minor point.

Mixing in GC in reaction to cav seems impossible, because of the long TT.


in imp you go hussar +gc.

Because of the gc your opponent can’t go any cav. Your hussar can kill siege and archers and are a great and cheap meatshield. Gc is the best tanged cavalry counter in the game.

GC can also kill most infantry just right, and you still got cheap hc in case of eagles or huskarls.

Add some cheap BBC behind for enemy siege and to damage enemy archers and you got an almost unbeatable combo.

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Unfortunately the answer is… none of the ones above, you can’t use GC unless you already are in the late game and you have a lot of resources.

The problem is getting there, and with a lot of castle, since you’ll need them to train them.
And again, you would still probably be better off with standard arbs.

Their counter cavalry pretty hard for what it’s worth, but they are also countered easy by skirms and manganels (thanks to -1 range) and with their TT they struggle to counter civs that are able to train mass cavalry.

I onestly tried them all… FC into defensive castles to train GC, but then I find myself forced to put down ranges and supplementvwith xbow, since I have too few archers with only GC.

Then I tried to go archers rush into xbows, and then build castles and train xbow, but even then the GC took so much tima that in the mean time I was better off by keep training xbows.

The GC are a units that takes so much time to train that in the meantime you are forced to spend into xbows, and then you don’t even have enough resources to keep training GC, so usually training both isn’t easy.

And unfortunately, they still need a good amount of them even versus cavalry (less than the xbow, but more than what can train right now).

The training time of the GC was always the biggest flaw of the Italians since from the beginning, that why I strongly push for a reduction that brings it from 22s to 18-16s.

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Yeah get to imp first.

And onestly, unless you are vs paladins, arbs right now are a better choice, since they are better vs infantry, and even cavalry, since you would probably have more arbs than you can even have GC.

I mostly play DM so getting to imp is no problem :wink:

On DM yes, are viable, but only there, and you still struggle if you compare the GC with other archer UU, like LB, rattan, plums, and especially chukos, that train in 8s.

OK, so was the option I missed

  • switch into GC in Imp

It’s still a slow, switch, and it require a lot of castles.

After playing with them a little, I no longer think that would truly work. I mean, you switching into GE in Imp would be smoother with faster production, but none of the 3 options I listed in my first post would be helped much.

Chu-Ko-Nu works because it’s better than Crossbow against almost all units.

The fundamental problem is that if you make GC before seeing a lot of cav you can still get countered HARD, and if you only start making them after seeing cav you’re way too slow.

To make them viable panic-counter the TT would have to be more like 9s than 16s. (Compare with 2/3 barracks halb production.) To make them less counter-able you’d have to improve their stats.

That’s why the TT should be lowered, so that you can train them as a fast response.
Remember that you still need less GC than standard xbows vs cavalry.

A lot smoother…

You could, if you could train a decent number of them from 1 or a few castle, then if you don’t have the need anymore of standard xbow, you can train other support units like knights, siege or monks.

Yes. I said somewhere else that they should be a shotel-like archer. So with a very small TT. Very very small. Tbh, a civ whose only cavalry counter is locked behind a castle has 2 options:

  • it is very original if the counter unit (the GC) is spammable
  • it is a very bad desig otherwise.

We are in the second case in this moment, let us hope for a fix.

Maybe GCs are usable in DM…


How to use Gxbow?

Select all, shift+delete.


Go archers, enemy goes cav, go GC and bbc

Gotta say the upgrade really isn’t that great for the cost so i always delay it. I go xbow + just keep a trickle of GC constantly, shield with pikes or hussars. Lately I’ve rather gone pikes due to the tech that’s shared with the condos… As opposed to double teching if you go hussars. And i always rush chemistry asap for bbc.

Compared to say Ethiopians Italy can get bbc much faster to counter siege. And compared to saracens (another archer civ) italians have better counters to siege in both the cavalier and bbc… Unfortunately Italy is just a slower civ so imo has to play more defensively than these other until it reaches imperial.

Yes GC die to mango’s but they survive better than crossbows. They can actually take a mango shot to the face.

Imo elite upgrade cost , and TT need to be reduced.


But the time you have switched to GC and have enaugh units you enemy trained so many cavalry units that they could simply overwhelm any anti cavalry units that you have.

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The first two options don’t cut it, imo. The mixing option can work but you would only do so if you have already a castle up for another reason which is rare enough in castle age. Also as a reaction they might take too much time. Imo the best use for them is to start producing when you go up to imp or if you expect a longer castle age you can do so in late castle. The most important thing is that in castle age they are pretty much a defensive-only unit (unless you go for light cav with them).

If you went xbows before and have a critical mass remaining you can still upgrade to arb in early imp. I think it’s indeed best to delay the elite upgrade. Before DE the main reason to get it was the faster rate of fire but now it’s just more bonus attack and a bit more hp. That’s still good but in early imp that doesn’t get you anywhere. Prioritize other upgrades and production of GC and other units.

The strat that seems to work best based on my experience playing Italians is make GC in anticipation of your opponent’s imp composition. Castle age GC is oftentimes too early and as a reaction they might come too late. If you play against a heavy cavalry or cav archers civ they usually make sense to produce unit composition-wise (although not necessary position-wise, e.g. when the game is messy and raiding is more important than pushing the center).

EGC are good counter even vs paladins.

Just this.
They are a counter unit and not supposed to be good against everything. Against cav they are very good at their job though.

Like halbs are, when you have enough of them. Their problem is that you can’t have enaugh of them.

Are they? Because often cavalry simply outnumber them.