I request assistance in my upcoming New World Pre-Colombian Civ Concepts!

You may know me as that guy who keeps spamming forums with Civilization designs.
My recent one being the Dutch, marking my kinda thematical transition over to Mesoamerican Civs.

Now I am working on the Meso American civs, but unlike any of the other Civs. It requires a whole different approach.

What I am asking is simply for knowledge.

When I started off on my Mesoamerican Civs, I had the approach like I usually did.
But the more I started reading into it, and the more I started drafting the design.
The more I realised, in order to try make them “balanced” in the game. the 3 Mesoamerican Civs are to be as assymetrical as the Mongols are in comparison with other Civs.
If not even more.
But the deeper I go into this, the more Plausible it is to actually make them work in the game!
And I do think their Assymetry from the other Civs will make them very fun addition.
With Obvious weaknesses, they do have some strenght they can capitalize on! Some might even suprise you!

but the 3 Mesoamerican civs will share some symmetry.

This results in my current work is trying to map out and design the Meso-american symmetry.
(Shared units, mechanics, buildings etc.)
Before I can start, or continue working on the my next upcoming Civ concept.

This results though, that instead of putting focus on 1 civ. I need to focus on all 3 of them.

So what I am asking is that for this thread. I wish people just to dump their knowledge of Mesoamerican civs here.

Such as details of various types of weapons, arms armament, culture, technology. The stuff needed for making a AoE4 Civ.

This will help me save some time, and allow me to keep tabs / bring attention to something that I may overlook / forget.

Now for those curious:

So far in my research, I’ve come across a lot, quite a lot of interesting quirks of the Mesoamericans.
That can actually help balance them out against Old World civs.
They will definitely be played very differently.

But we will see some interesting things, special units and traits that might help them match up against otherwise more advanced militaries of the Old World.
While it is no secret that their weapons were far behind the Old World weapons and armor.
They did manage to keep up a resistance, and some developted interesting approaches dealing with the newcomers.

So if you have any Info.
please just dump it here! Feel free to open discussions aswell.
I’ll be reading through it all.



Maybe a unit flood mechanic like Russians get in AoE3 and Goths get in AoE2 would be most ideal imo

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I am not really a fan of including mesoamerican civs as playable civs in AoE, but since it’ll probably happen no matter what, here are my thoughts:

  • Given that AoE 4 has stealth forest mechanics and they are rather underutilized by most civs (you just add an outpost and the mechanic is gone), then perhaps meso civs could also exploit this better. Say, units standing still (not attacking or moving) could be hidden even from outposts. You’d need a special tech to research or a special unit to uncover them (think commandos or snipers in C&C).
  • Meso civs attacked a lot using guerilla tactics: ambushes, targeting high value enemies, speed, stealth were the order of the day. Rarely they went face-to-face in an open field against better armed colonial forces.
  • Units should be cheap, light, fast, with fast but weak attack and maybe a one-time bonus damage mechanic, like the fire lancers. Say, a high dmg poisonous dart before going on full melee attack. Again, this goes well with the ambush part. The more the surprise, the higher the initial damage.
  • Flanking mechanics should be added to AoE 4 for a lot of this to work better.
  • Meso civs didn’t really have military castles and the pyramids seen in previous AoE titles were religious temples (like the Gyza Pyramids). I would hate seeing an “Aztec Keep” or “Aztec bombard outpost” in AoE 4.
  • Similar problem with siege. There was none. This will prove difficult to balance as meso civs didn’t really destroy buildings (unless they could be set on fire), but more like they killed everyone inside. There was no way for them to bring down a keep or an outpost for example.
  • Besides ladders and torches, I would have meso civs “hijack” the enemies defensive structures instead of destroying them, especially those made of stone/bricks.
  • Scouting and LOS should be one of the main mechanics. Gather as much intel as frequently as possible from a more advanced enemy and anticipate their actions.
  • A mechanic for setting traps, maybe inside stealth forests. Kill or severely damage a battalion instantly.

That’s from the top of my head. Again, I would hate seeing Mayans or so with elite crossbows, elite man-at-arms, elite pikeman like all other AoE 4 civs and what was also commonplace in AoE 2.

I recommend you go and play or watch C&C Generals matches and see how they made GLA a realistic, guerrilla warfare faction with a lot less tech than the other 2. Many good ideas to get from that game.


I would recommend /r/askhistorians as a great source of mesoamerican history – there are lots of questions and answers that are directly relevant to their military and other Age of Empires topics.

Specifically, read this guy https://www.reddit.com/user/400-rabbits/comments/?sort=top

Civ design in Age of Empires is my favorite nerd topic of all time. I am impressed at your enthusiasm. I have had a hard time getting excited for AoE4 civ theorycrafting because I havent yet seen reason to believe the new civs will be all that different from the old civs. Certainly a Mesoamerican civ would be a great time to break the mold.


Thanks! I will definitely take a look into it.
Been a bit hesitant to ask historians. I don’t know why. Maybe some post some time back discouraged me with something xD

But I’ll give it a shot!

I’m atm digging through information about siege warfare, and i’m discovering some very intersting things that could work descently for them in the game.

It definitely be strange, but i think it’ll work. definitely give a very unique siege flavor.

Yeah, I’ve researched them a bit in the context of making an AoEO civ. They had some very cool siege weapons, as well as tons of other stuff.

mind linking me what you found on their siege weapons?


  • Spearmen and archers were obviously available to all natives

  • Atlatls could cover the crossbowman role of ranged anti-armour

  • Slingers could possibly fill a role like handcannoneers
  • Some type of “eagle warrior” shock infantry could fill the cavalry role

  • Men-at-arms could be armed with a macuahuitl for Aztec and Mayans, maces for Inca, and tomahawk for other natives (or these could be unique units)


  • Canoes, large dugout canoes, and balsa rafts could make up the navies

  • If naval combat ever got reworked to allow for melee boarding and capturing then that could be the primary method of how canoes fight


Several ideas have been discussed in previous threads. I think the lack of a siege crew really hampers the Native Americans since their siege methods would likely be more crew than equipment.


Out of curiosity, what do you mean with “3 Mesoamericans”? If you’re including Incas, they’re not Mesoamerican.


I wholeheartedly support this research, can’t wait to find out about its discoveries. I’m a supporter of the representation of the New World in AoE4, especially the Inca Empire (even though it’s South American, not a Meso civ). I hope to make time to contribute too.

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This should be a feature for every civ. It’s sad relic didn’t add this. In company of heroes it’s everywhere

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I think for the most part it can be done, and an Aztec or Inca civ would be welcome.

Of course they will have a lousy navy and devs should design a few units to balance their lack of cavalry, xbows and gundpowder (maybe eagles to replace knights, slingers to replace xbow, etc)

But I really don’t know what can be done about siege, because an aztec trebuchet it’s a no no for me

It could be as in AOE3, natives can “hire” siege from european civs. Simple and effective, they dont need to cost the same amount of resources and pop they do for OG civs


AoEO deals with this by giving the Celts and Norse the two siege units that are necessary for gameplay balancing purposes, rams and trebs, that are human powered (dudes carrying giant logs, stone thrower guys, etc.). That works just fine and dandy without anyone really ever complaining.


AOM also gave Norse siege in this “two bulkies with a log” model :smiley:


When it comes to siege. Based on History. I think I have laid them out, giving them a unique siege play that might be quite interesting.

The first thing that is a rather simple one, (and tbh shud be available for all civs) are Ladders.

Ladders to be constructed next to wall that allows you to “jump” over walls from the side the ladder is built. This includes jumping over palisade walls. Allowing the pre-colombian civs to be able to do some good mobile aggression.

Now for bigger siege:
The Pre-Colombian americans won’t have access to Siege Workshop.
However they will have access to Siege Engineering.

With this they can make a “Siege Platform”

The Siege Platform is something akin mongol Building that can unpack into different type of buildings, or something like a Rus Lodya ship. A universal platform that can “transform” to different type of Siege.

The Siege Platform is the default platform. It can garrison units like a ram, and protects them from range damage.
When next to a structure, it can be transformed into 1 of several siege options.

1: Stationary Siege Tower (Function as a siege tower, ungarrisoning units onto stone walls).
2: Siege Tunneler (Function as a battering ram, breaking thru buildings and walls)
3: Ranged Platform (Acts like a defensive Tower, allowing garrisoned units to shoot with increased range, ignored wall defensive bonus on units ontop of walls)
4: Smoke Pyre (Creates a Area around it that gives the same effect as a Stealth Forest. The Smoke Pyre takes damage over time as it counts as being on fire)

Each of these options can be packed back into the default “Siege-Platform” option, and thus be moved.
Units who are garrisoned will stay garrisoned in them unless you turn it into a Smoke Pyre which then will automatically ungarrison the units.

The advantage this has over conventional siege for old world civs is increased mobility (about he same speed as a Villager without wheelbarrow)
Low Cost (Only cost wood)

Smoke Pyre’s will become essential to protect them from Anti-Siege weapons such as Springalds and Culverins, as it will block the Line of sight and give cover to your units.

The Siege Tunneler will do more damage to buildings than a ram.

Garrisoned Units will increase the movement speed of the siege platform and damage of the Siege Tunneler. (kinda the same as they do for Battering Rams in AoE2).

This should help them to offset lack of ranged siege weapons.

The Incas have an slight exception to this. In Imperial Age, they can through a Landmark building gain access to Bombards, Culverins and Handcannoners.

When it comes to Lack of Cavalry:

This can be offset with increased movement speed of units. (imagine all their units moving at Chinese Palace Guard speed.)
With some units having special ability to allow them to run faster for short durations similar to Dheli Forced march or Streltsy Double Time.

The Inca and Aztecs will have access to Horseman at Age IV. Aztecs having their own unique Horseman unit.

When it comes to Lack of technological advantage.
They will be in the late game be -1 Damage and Armor compared to Old world civs. (exception being the Inca)
However the Aztecs and Maya have more Pierce Armor than other Civs. making them more resilient towards ranged units.

As well as Religius Units and Buildings will play a very important role.
Granting the Civ special temporary buffs and other Mechanics to help offset their “disatvantages”.
Nothing particularly fantastical.
The Aztec and Maya will have a Sacrefice system.
But the way they use the system will be different.

An example of this is Maya will have ability to use Sacrefice resource to use an ability from their religious building called StarWars. (yes, the maya called it that). Which will universally buff all units with 25% more damage, for a period of time. (Think of it functioning as a Mongol Khan does for the Mongols, but with it counts for all units on the map)

I have many, MANY more things written down on my papers from my studies.

but atm I am just Drafting the Universal “common” stuff that all the pre-colombian civs will have access to.

the Incas are an interesting Exception, which also plays great as they will be a great “Transition” Civ for players to play that Kinda plays a in-between of a Old world civ and a New World civ. Having some shared traits from both sides. Yet also be their own unique civ because of this.

I was Originally Thinking: Maya, Aztec and the Zapotec

Ah ok. Thanks for explaining eventually.

no problem. I thought I replied to it earlier. But I never pressed the Send button when i wrote it on my phone lol!

I’d love to dig into this. The past few years i’ve been digging deeper into my own heritage which is more focused on the smaller tribes instead of the big boys like Aztecs, Mayans, Incas, Mapuche and others.

The big civilizations Inca, Mayas and Aztecs were focused on their cities. While the other tribes in the rural area away from the big civilizations were a lot like the Mongols. They still live close with nature.
They had small villages of huts in the deep jungle, the light would not touch them, they travel mainly by paddling over the rivers and try to travel over land as less as possible and always lived close to water. If there is no river than look for a lake.
In daily life everyone had certain tasks, someone would wake up and wake a few others and kids to help out. They would put a fire on front of their hut to see who is up and then team up to do the chores to prepare breakfast. After that they would go to the river to wash. And then the men went hunting, and the women would make items or prepare certain parts of the food. Like making clothing, jewelry or other things.
The women were mostly in charge, and there were often wise women who would philosopher.
The men are mostly focused on hunting, planting ‘cost ground’ where they would grow food like plants with yummy foods to attract deer or other huntable animals.
They would only take a certain wood to use for their houses or their bows and their boats. Considering to let nature mostly intact.
They always believed to be one with their group, if someone found meat it was theirs instead of his or hers. So they literally shared everything together. Including some tribes had forms of polygamy or polyamory.
They believe nature is an active being, as if the planet is alive. And often offer their first drink or meal to nature as a sacrifice.
Most tribes had farms and would produce maize, from which they ate and baked bread (panbati, which the portuguese and italians now call polenta).
When the men would hunt, the animals were often huge and gave them a lot of meat, they would barbecue the meat on the spot and cover them so the food will not rot. They did not need a refrigerator, instead everything was put above the fire.
When paddling they would sometimes stop and hunt or gather food, and barbecue on the boat. Or hunt for fish.
Once in a while they visit certain places for certain resources, so their toponomy was based on natural objects like a certain wood, food or mineral that could be find. Once in a while if they needed something on the longterm they would go to travel to visit there and gather the necessary resources.
They traded with neighbouring villages/groups but also long distance to other regions because some had speical food or special minerals necessary for their tools.
Mostly the sea was seen as a spiritual place where the river met the sea or ocean. And sometimes they would undertake a pilgrimage to the end of the delta and do rituals.
Besides that in their own village like in AoE3, the village was like a circle with the huts around the center. And often a big campfire where they dance and do rituals or hang out together.
The items we know today as maracas and other instruments were from the native americans and they were used in their rituals. Just like certain dances. Dancing was very common, for a happy occasion but also for a burial.

When the Europeans would visit, they saw them first as friendly and were interested to trade with them. Then they found out their intentions weren’t friendly. But still they would help them settle.
When the natives would come in contact with the Europeans and their different items, a person that would come back and show what he had, the item for example a golden ring would go around the town and would meet every person because it would be passed around. It was theirs, and stealing didnt exist. Only when the europeans arrived did they adapt and did their mind change slowly.

These are stories from a book written by a Caribe native from Surinam.
As an Arawak i know our tribes were quite similar, this can give you insight in how the rural tribes on the continent lived. And the coastal ones or on the islands lived very much the same.
Only the natives from the city civilizations had a different life, more a city life like europeans a life that is more specialised were everyone is part of a whole and has one task. A specialisation society where everyone is part of a big wheel. While the royalty live like gods, like in mesopotamia and egypt.

The weapons mostly used were bows, slingers, spears, slingshots, darts, blowpipes. So there is quite a variety to make.
Exceptions are the aztec macahuatl obsidian sword, and the northern american axes. And probably other things i dont know of.

Concerning warfare it’s all about stealth and guerilla tactics. The jungles were thick, and the europeans would never dare to go deep outside the areas they cleared or away from the rivers. So they could use all the cover and their known paths and places. Just like Germanic tribes in their forests fighting Romans.
Same for the Aztecs and the Mayans. Numbers, stealth and guerilla tactics.

I hope this can give you some insight into their societies.

Some ideas for the game.
The possibility to pack buildings when resources are exhausted.
The ability to build a ‘cost ground’ which attracts huntables and herdables and can be used to have control over a hunting spot.
Immense gathering bonus for huntables and herdables and maybe a temporary object named barbacoa (barbeque) which boosts the gathering from huntables and herdables. Or like make it a costless gather spot, or maybe cost 5 wood or something.
Maybe a religious building over a stonemine, like a cave or a rock formation. From where they can train Paddlemen (wiseman/wisewoman) or Priest or a Cascui (chieftain). They were usually envoys for diplomacy, cast spells or settle disputes. It would be nice to see a unit that has several special abilities which involve nature but also things like poisoning a towncenter or make a gathering building unusable.
Or maybe a chieftain hut where you can pick certain technologies. For example cannibalism which makes your soldiers able to gather food from dead bodies. Or sacrificial rites which gives the ability to capture enemy units and sacrifice them at a ritual building or temple.

For the Mayans, i dont know if the aztecs also have it. It would be interesting to add a Ballcourt where soldiers can play and become stronger. But after a play the strongest is sacrificed and returns the resource costs. The winners of the game were actually sacrificed to the gods and not the losers, atleast in Mayan society.

For the Mayans it would be interesting to add hand cannoneers, because of the same reason as the revolution for Mexico to Mayans in AoE3. The region Quintana Roo which is the east of Yucatan actually had a modern revolution and turned into an independent Mayan state and became independent from Mexico. It was called Chan Santa Cruz, it existed from 1850 to 1901. But that is probably outside the range of the games timeframe.

Also in the region between Mayapan and Tulum in some areas there are paved roads. For example to travel faster from city to city. Maybe something similar to the mongol tower speedboost would be great!
Or like in Rise of Nations where you have a support wagon which boosts movement speed and armor.

Medieval 2 total war Kingdoms also has great examples of Aztecs and Maya units like the atl atl (arrow thrower), there the mongols have naffatun but that would also be possible for mayas and incas.

Well we have units on walls, how about giving them the ability to climb walls with ropes?

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