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

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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This is great some great insight!
Always a pleasure to see people who wants to dig in to their heritage, learn and promote it, especially when they come from otherwise fringe groups that has been left to the side by history.
Due to other bigger events and civilizations overshadowing them.

So far I am starting to get a outline how the Aztec, Maya and Inca are going to look like.
The Zapotec which were suppose to be one of the main focus are being set a little to the side for now. But from the knowledge I know from them, they are far more rural, heavy into trade in diplomacy rather than warfare, and more in line how you described yours, a in between of a city-builder and a more rural civilization.

I would love trying to draft a Civilization that bases itself more “Nomadic” and in a way, mimics the Mongols to some extent.
And where the use of “Cuscui/Chieftains” Are their means of “Landmark”, aging up with special units is something I would love to try. This could fit really well with them consider they haven’t left any major “Landmark” structures, at least that has been well documented enough.

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I think you’re trying to do too many things at once with a single unit. 1 and 2 (and ladders) can be done with siege towers and battering rams and neither of those units are implausible for mesoamericans (and Mayans actually used them). 3 could achieved with normal towers. Towers could have some unique emplacements such as a boulder drop and smoke signal. 4 sounds quite interesting, and I think this is what the unit should focus on.

It could have dual functions of being an infantry unit that’s a firestarter/saboteur when unpacked, and also having the ability to deploy into a pyre that creates a smokescreen. That would let you screen your troops from siege weapons and let them close the gap to get in and destroy them. Natives could lean heavily into abilities related to stealth to use forests and smokescreens to level the playing field.

You need specific units that are faster, not everything across the board. You could have the unique native units move faster (such as atlatls being a faster crossbowman). I think you’d also need an infantry unit that runs especially fast. Something like the eagle warriors of AoE2 or coyote runners of AoE3.

Some other options could be to give natives new mechanics. Capturing enemies in warfare was very common in the Americas. The Aztecs had flower wars, and other natives had the concept of counting coup. One way for this to be achieved would be to give them a bonus that synergizes with conversions. Macuahuitl, maces, and tomahawk could stun and immobilize enemies making it harder for them to run from conversion.

The whole Americas should also be considered when developing a mesoamerican unit set. The Inca, Chili, and Muisca of South America, Aztec, Mayans, and Tarascans of Mesoamerica, and Puebloans, Mississippians, Algonquins, etc of North America should all be considered.

Problem with using Towers, is that Tower’s arent Mobile enough.
And with the recent nerf’s to Towers, they will take to long to get up efficiently.
You’d want something that can be much more reactive than sending a group of villagers to try build a tower quickly.

The Ladder is something more to allow them to bypass Palisade walls, its biggest downside is complete lack of protection, it can be easily destroyed by units stationed at the other side of the wall, not to mention that units have to construct the ladder on the wall section itself, leaving them vournarable to ranged units behind it.
It’s more designed to allow for sneak attacks, find a undefended section of wall. Especially in the early game.

The Siege Tower (Which is documented was used by mayans), weren’t the type that rolled on wheels, and would often be constructed right undernieth the walls. They would sometimes construct them at a limited distance away from the walls if the terrain allowed for it to be dragged into place.
The Siege Tunneler is just a damage-version, to be able to break walls, and were their main way of getting through defenses. I couldn’t find any documented use of Battering Rams, Battering Rams also rely on a wheeled structure, alternativly be lifted. Which in this case wouldn’t be much different from the Siege Tunneler idea. In a Sence, game-mechanically wise, the Battering Ram and Siege Tunneler are the same but in name. And the fact that Siege Tunneler get damage bonus for reach garrisoned unit. (same way rams did in AoE2)
Ranged Platform is there to serve as a mobile-tower, and allow some level of aggresive Tower play. But can be balanced individually from normal Towers, by being counterable by anti-siege weapons as well. But much stronger against Melee and Ranged units.

Boulder upgrade ability, which would be their equivalent to Burning Oil, would be available for it, unlike regular towers. allowing you to field some front-line AoE.

The Ranged Platforms (Lack of a better name) Were something that they often used in unison with their Siege-Towers.
They built the Range platforms first at a distance, to allow them to be able to start supressing units stationed on the defensive walls. This was done in order to allow them to build up the siege towers undernieth the walls, in order to scale them

I Think its a very interesting and different approach to siege that is worth being emphasized upon.

While it might seem like to much. I don’t really see it any more complicated than using Rus navy or manage Mongol structures.

at least in my personal opinion, I see it nothing more than a unpacked Mongol structure, that can be garrisoned and moved into position. And has a option to unpack between different “buildings”. Depending on what you need.

This would also give the unique quirk to the American civs, that they have Siege-weapons that are mobile and flexible, and can be played very reactivly. To help compensate for their lack of long range Siege such as Bombards and Trebuchets.

Certain units will be moving at Palace-guard speed.
And Certain units will have movementspeeds buffs akin to Forced March / double time / movement speed arrow.
Giving temporary high speed movement akin to Cavalry.

But I am no fan of allowing them to permanently run at Cavalry speed, like eagle warriors do in AoE2.
I find it a bit to much Unrealistic, without wanting to go into whats realistic or unrealistic debate.

It also removes a level of uniqueness. If you have “cavalry” for the these civs, then we will miss out on unique tactics especially made to deal with a lack of cavalry, and they wouldn’t be much more unique to old world civs.
Using the form of movement speed buffs, would allow them manuverbility in a battle in the same way cavalry does. But Strategically how you would move units around the map would be very different.
I don’t think the lack of cavalry will be a issue at all.

Putting the whole Americas in consideration will set me considerably back.
Putting on the task of just Aztecs, Maya and Incas (And originally the Zapotec)
Was already monumental in itself. As I am going deep into the research of each of them.

The Aztecs and Maya are easier to find commonality with. But that isn’t strange as they were geographically quite close.
The Incas differ quite a bit. But there are some shared stuff, but at the same time rather very distincly unique in many ways compared to anything else.

if I were to do North American tribes, I would have started more from scratch with these as well. But I have far to little knowledge about them to be able to get a draft.
Also another consideration im sticking strictly with is the Time-line relevancy.
My foucs are on the civs that were largest during the timeline between 8th-16th century.
One of the reason why I ended up putting the Zapotec to the side for a bit, as their peak ended in the 8th century, and then they were reduced to a smaller kingdom for the rest of their time, still hanging on and be influental all the way until the Spaniards came.

This is where having no siege crew screws things up. It would be a lot more elegant if there were siege crews to carry some of the equipment since they didn’t really use wheels. But having that floating around supported by nothing is absurd.

A mantlet would be better suited for this function. They were used in the old world and they feature along with rams as an Iroquois unit in AoE3.

Overall, I think you could have some satisfying native siege designed around several different battlefield constructions instead of just a “siege platform”. The constructions could be as follows:

  • Battering Ram - same as the existing one but carried by a crew
  • Siege Tower - same as the existing one but carried/rolled on logs
  • Mantlet - similar to your “ranged platforms” but more mobile
  • Pyre - emits a smokescreen that acts as a stealth forest and also damages buildings at close range. Slowly depletes health until it consumes itself
  • Mayans could have more unique options like pit traps and hornet bombs

I think there should be a dedicated unit similar to eagle warriors that serve the cavalry role. It could be like 80% the speed of cavalry and then have a “forced march” or sprint ability for temporary speed boosts. It could be further distinguished by lacking the ability to construct siege and could be trained from something like a noble’s hut.

All the natives are going to need the same foundational unit set so when proposing a design for the Mesoamericans, it should be compatible with the North and South Americans. You don’t need to do anything too in depth for research.

Even for the Mesoamericans, there are more than just the Aztec, Zapotec, and Maya. The Purépecha Empire (Tarascans) was just as powerful as the Aztecs (if not more) and even possessed metal weapons.

The Incans could be grouped with other powerful South American empires like the Chimu and Muisca. They could have regional units such as a bolas thrower that could be like a scaled down mangonel and deal ranged area damage.

The North American natives are a perfect fit for this time period. The Puebloan and Mississippians had many large impressive cities during this period. You don’t necessarily need to research these guys, just avoid making natives revolve around a core mechanic that only makes sense for Mesoamericans and excludes the North Americans.

ofcourse, the siege platform needs to have crew animated into it. If it has to use ghost-crew that siege uses currently when unpacking and reloading, or actually animate in a couple of guys carrying it. Either works for me.

The Mantlets is pretty much the Default base of the Siege-Platform. As it acts like an Mantlet, and it could be default as a mantlet.
Now for the ranged attacks, that can be a matter of civ-design feature. The Range Towers are depicted being used, and does make a little more sense on allowing their range attacks to ignore Wall-bonuses.

Hornet Bombs are in the plans for the Mayans, thinking them to be a unique technology that unlocks a hornet bomb skill for their slingers. (The effect of the hornet bomb be supportive in nature)

I don’t know how much you’ve played RUS on navy maps, but their Lodya ships are fairly fun to use when you get used to its features. I personally prefer them over regular ships. They add a fun unique quirk to ships and a flexibility that can be played upon.
The Rus kinda mimic the New World civ but on water, as they lack any sort of “advanced” ships compared to other civ, such as Hulks and Cannonships.
Yet they work quite well.
It’s something I would love to give to any of the New World Civ.

It’s not like I’m gonna completely ignore the content I make for the Mesoamericans if I were to add more Native-American civs.
It will form a sort of Basis of sort, but I leave it open for considerable changes if needed.
The Tarascans are something I recently came across and are definitely on my radar.
I don’t think they will be a to hard addition to make as I’m also including the Incas who also used Metal weapons.
But I’d like to research them some more, which is happening while I am trying to map the “general” idea of meso-america and the incas.

If I am going to make a civ concept with them, then I would have to research them quite a lot. Which is what I do for any civ I make concepts around.
Infact I let most of the research and things I find about these Civ’s mainly dictate how I design them.
I put a far greater focus on making things more thematically relevant. And it’s also a great source of inspiration.

But we will see how thing goes in the future.
I have a set of planned Civs I’d like to cover now, and I’d also thinking of doing African civ’s as well once I’m done with a few pre-colombian civs.
But it will leave me a good basis to go back to when I want to add a few more American civs down the line.

It helps keep things fresh.

I don’t think a “siege platform” is really comparable to Lodya ships. Lodya ships start out with a useful role and can transition to other ships. A siege platform starts out in a useless state and has to transform to be useful. It would make more sense to cut out the useless state and just have infantry be able to make rams, towers, mantlets, and smokescreens as battlefield constructions. It would also eliminate the need for a siege workshop building.

Perhaps, but its nothing more than to adjust the useless state to start off as something usefull.
Say it just starts off as a ram or its equivalent. Can garrison units just like a ram.
but unlike conventional ram, it can be turned into a siege tower when needed and ungarrison troops ontop of the wall. Alternativly and most commonly just break down the wall (this is a problem with Siege-tower design in general on the game)
If there is a lot of army, then ram is pretty useless, however it can then just change into a “tower”, and allow for some long range damage, and perhaps some close range AoE akin to burning oil to deal with crowds.
And whenever it is low HP, you can just turn it into a Pyre when needed, granting you some cover / blinding defensive structures.

I’d rather have this, because one of the big problems of having -individual- siege equiptment is that its not very Pop-efficient.
Also the fact that the core issue of any native-american civ is lack of Ranged seige weaponry, such as Mangonels, Springalds, Trebs and cannons.

If you’re stuck with a battering ram, you’re pretty limited what you can do with it.
Sure you can also make a Pyre to give you some LOS cover. but that requires you to sink even more resources, Resources you are already hard-pressed for especially in the late game, when other civ’s have a technology advantage to a degree. (in forms of weapons and defenses)

This flexibility, akin to Rus Lodya ships, allows them to compete on par with otherwise technological superior opponent.

Rus Lategame navy excells, not only because the rus ships are rather cheap.
but because whatever the situation turns into, you can quickly adapt, say turning one of your ships into a Demo-ship to deal with mass cannonships.
Your navy dosn’t get wrecked because its able to provide tools that you need quickly on the field allowing you to adapt to the situation.

This is something I feel the native-americans needs to play on when it comes to siege-warfare.
So I think it’s only fair that in return they can’t launch trebs and mangonels from the safety behind a wall.
Nor have siege weaponry that can counter siege.
It’s only fair that they then get access to Cheaper and more flexible siege tools, to play around and shift their weakness.

They can then use situations reactivly, such as; I just invested a lot of resources into a battering ram, oh ■■■■ the opponent is coming in with Mangonels. Turn ram into Pyre to cover your range units allowing them to get away. Instead of just staying as a ram and being useless as it can’t really push without cover from ranged units.

Alternativly also when someone is trying to Tower rush you, you can invest in a early ram, that allows you to deal with the towers, and then be used as a tower itself to cover your resources and alliviate some pressiure. Rather than just sitting useless in the base.

This allows the American civs to sieze the early game initiative, which they need, consider they suffer a late game disadvantage to various degrees. They should have early game advantage to equal degrees.

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Chontal Maya Seafaring Canoes

I see someone beat me to the Mayan siege towers.


but did not beat you to maya seafairing ships :slight_smile:
Thats a nice image, is it an actual historical model or just a conceptual model?

Well, I’m not super sure the source of that exact model, its been floating around a long time.

I studied Mesoamerican Archaeology in college, and my prof at the time was all about the Chontal Maya, and the reconstruction is based I believe on Columbus’s descriptions.

The Chontal Maya or Putun Maya | Access Genealogy (a link is not an endorsement of the info ;))

I may do some digging but I can only find pretty weak sites about the topic, I have a variety of books on mesoamerican warfare and lifeways but the Chontal or Putun Maya were significant traders in the Caribbean, and based on the research we read about they may have actively traded as far as Florida on these craft.


Thats great! Actually when it comes to Mayans, I am quite curious about their Maritime technology aswell as culture.
I know as much as there were a fair amount of Mayan coastal towns that thrived due to coastal trade, as it was a very efficient way of trading for the American civilizations. As it was their most efficient means of transporting goods over long distances.

So if you manage to dig up anything about Mayan river and seagoing vessels larger than a single man canoe, I would be delighted.

Problem with googling this is you get so much trash-results it makes it hard to find specifics. And not to mention so much info being locked behind Pay-walls.

Ill have to take a look at my bookshelf, I recently moved and most of my books are packed up from back in college :sweat_smile:

But I’ll try to get you some info on it, good luck with the brainstorming.

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The Greenlanders’ Saga mentions the Skrælings having a “ballista”. However, the description sounds more like a staff sling to me.

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This isn’t Native American, but I came across a Polynesian siege weapon.

The Tīpao was a Maori stone/spear/incindiary thrower. It could fill the siege role for a Polynesian civ like the Tongan Empire.



That looks pretty cool. Some unique siege units for the less technologically advanced civs would be nice.

Like a civ who’s infantry can quickly build ladders right on walls.

It gets a little tricky because every civ probably needs cheap feudal siege (rams), ranged anti siege (culvs/springs), and long range anti building siege (trebs/cannons). Maybe even anti ranged infantry siege (mangonels).

So they need to hit all those areas with siege units or some other type of unit, but also avoid silliness like guys throwing tree logs (like AoEO does).

I don’t think you necessarily need 1 to 1 equivalent units. You could have some that fill multiple niches or other ways of mitigating enemy siege and buildings.

Universal Siege Units

Rams and Siege Towers make sense for basically all factions. The only problem is that lots of factions would have carried versions instead of wheeled and having unmanned siege would make this look even more ridiculous than it does now. Just making siege crews would make everything look better though.

Battlefield Constructions

More options for battlefield constructions could also be a way for them to level the playing field. Constructable Pyres to create a smokescreen that conceals your units or Mantlets to shield your infantry would let you avoid or tank some damage. Building most siege in the field would also eliminate the need for a siege workshop building. There could be unique options for Maya who had things like pit traps and hornet bombs.

Ranged Anti-Siege

Jungle Archer: Something similar to the Arrow Knight from AoE3. Could be available for Inca, Maya, Aztec, etc. Some of the Incan auxiliary archers apparently used giant arrows. I think they’re referring to tribes like the ones mentioned here:

Skraeling “Ballista”: According to the Norse, the natives had some kind of stick weapon for flinging large projectiles. These could be available to all North American natives. I think there also may also have a connection to Lacrosse.

Tīpao: A Polynesian siege weapon that could be anti-siege and anti-building.

Anti-Personnel Weapons

Bolas Warriors could have an area of effect attack. Mayas had hornet grenades that could also be an option for them.


Smokescreens could allow rams to get close enough to do damage. Some of the anti-siege units could also double as anti-building.


I agree they don’t have to 1 to 1. I just think the bases need to get covered for balance. Like long range anti building, ranged anti siege, and cheap feudal siege.

Something to compete with Bombards/trebs is probably the trickiest to get right and fit the less technologically advanced civ without getting too silly.

I found an actual example of this strategy being employed. The Maori Aupōuri tribe gets its name from a time when they used a smokescreen to escape a siege. Having infantry able to construct pyres that create smokescreens could conceal and protect them from long range fire of siege units.

The same article also mentions a “Trojan Whale” strategy where a fake whale carcass that concealed warriors was made to lure defenders out of a fort. I’m not sure how it could be applied to a unit or strategy, but it’s an interesting concept.