Basically, when a villager reaches water and the player tells them to go across it, they transform into a little canoe with a villager in it, and they can travel across the water!
Once out in the water, they can harvest stuff like deep fish(like a fishing ship) and also they could maybe even build sea walls and towers to defend with.
I think it would be a kinda cool bonus because it’s both economic and defensive. Villagers can harvest extra resources without building a fleet of fishing ships, and they can run away from raiders into the water to escape. It’s good enough it would probably be their only economic bonus, I suppose.
My thought was it could be for an ‘Inuit’ american civ, but it could be for just about anything ultimately.
While the oppose army charge into your base, you can easily run to the water,going to other place far from your original base by crossing the river or sea quickly. The enemy even can not chase you. Same reason, if you are attacked by oppose ships, you can run to the land.
If your people garrison in the house, the oppose still can take some time to siege them, destroying the house and getting them. However, they will have no any chance to touch while people can run to the water directly.
That shows your thinking can not reflect the real situation in the battle.
It cost extra more resources and time, which are unnecessary to other civ, to build the ships just for chasing, and they have already run to another land while you finish your boat. They can keep run, run, run and ruin the experience of the oppose player.
To be 100% honest houses take quite a while to get destroyed, and since no one will keep their focus on a house for the time it takes to bring it down, the defender will just ungarrison their villager and garrison them in the next house. Actually, if you’re good with rally points and hotkeys this “house teleportation” can make your villagers the fastest units in the game 11
On hybrid maps it’s not a bad idea to do just that.
Regarding the “doability” of the idea, AoM war salamanders, which are just like described in the OP (a walking animation+ a swimming animation instead of a canoe) are magnets for pathing problems. Like every patch AoM had since 2016 they found stuff to fix you wouldn’t even expect.
From a balance standpoint, I think villagers shouldn’t gather deepfish as fast as fishing ships do, otherwise it would be a bit too easy and profitable to retask them. Either this, or they should totally be as good because if they aren’t gathering wood for more fishing ships (dock = additional TC after all) you’re producing your “fishing ships” from your TC wich might not be the most optimal play.
For me, its too strong. Player with this civ will be able to make the fastest rush on water maps, just take few vills and cross water, build Barracks and do drush, all without need of building Dock, and take water when enemy is wasting time on clearing his island. Also landings will be insane.
there will be even more abuse of griefers on maps with patches of water, they will hide vils so the player has to build a dock and a galley just to kill griefing vils, its bad enough with griefers walling in
also forcing a player to attack by both land and by sea is completely unprecedented in the game… no where does a player HAVE to do this… except vs this one civ? sounds very warped
i like the idea if every civ could do it, and just super nerf the speed, but definitely not a good idea if only 1 civ can do it… there could be a wind up/down time on the coast, to prevent abuse… aka vil jumping in and out of water to avoid raiders…
This would be incredibly OP on maps like migration or pacific islands or nile delta where a major part of the game is establishing your eco on another landmass.
If you try to balance this by giving the civ some other disadvantage, the civ would become useless on all other maps.
Creative, but possibly too creative. I agree with the other suggestions that an amphibious unique unit might be balanced. This would enable new kinds of raiding, but you have to invest in a castle first so it is not game breaking. And plenty of civs can be balanced with very situational UUs. Perhaps you could combine it with a relatively weak mid or late game navy, so that the advantage and disadvantage cancel out on land maps. Then the civ could be competitive on land and water while having a more unique playstyle on water (kind of like Vikings.)