For funzies, a tread for combinations of bonuses & techs that might be fun and balancable. Similar to
Most notable tech tree feature: The blacksmith lacks all imp upgrades
UT1: eagle line gold cost replaced with wood cost
UT2: skirmishers ignore armour
UU: gold-heavy ranged unit with strong Elite upgrade. Either ‘Siege Weapon’ or ‘Archer’.
Eco bonus: All food sources contain more food. (eg 30% or 40%.) This effects farms too.
Team bonus: Blacksmith upgrades cost less (eg -10%, or perhaps -20% food). Also UT2 effects the whole team
Extra tech to add if it doesn’t make the civ too strong: Elite Eagle Warrior → Elite Falcon Warrior, gains extra speed, creation speed & attack speed. (Size of bonuses and cost of upgrade are to be determined by balance considerations, the post-imp Elite Falcon Warrior should be slightly better than generic FU Hussar, but not superior to the best Hussars in the game. With -1/2 armour and -2 attack compared with FU eagles, I think the comparison with Hussars is reasonable.)
Rest of tech tree (siege/monks/defences) to be determined by flavour and balance.
To give them a shot on Islands: ships cost -50% wood. No Imp water upgrades at all (except chemistry).
Food sources having more food should be really good in the Feudal age. Hunt lasts longer and farms can be delayed. In Castle age the longer lasting farms become relevant, but I think that effect is weak when compared with eg Teutons, Burgundian, Franks and Sicilians.
Before getting the first UT their Castle age should be weaker than Mayans & Aztecs. Getting UT1 and staying in Castle age for a very long time should be a viable strategy.
In 1v1 they’re again very good in post-imp.
In team game post-imp they either need to lean on their UU (because neither archers nor eagles are viable power units) or perhaps it could be balanced if they’re weak themselves but their teammates get really strong skirms via UT2.
Its possible making UT2 effect the team would be impossible to balance (due to OP Mayan Imperial Skirmishers and silly stuff like that), in which case that aspect of the tech could be canned.
I think both UTs would need to be fairly expensive. I’d make UT1 cost food+wood and UT2 cost a lot of gold.
Most notable tech tree feature: No knights. No champions. No Halbedier. No elite step-lancer or elite elephants. No light-cav. Missing last archery armour upgrade.
UT1: Scouts, Step-lancers and Elephants +0/2 armour
UT2: Very Long Sticks: elephants, step-lancers and pikemen gain +1 range.
civ bonus: spear line +1/+2/+4 attack in feudal/castle/Imp
eco bonus: start with two free lumber camps and free palisade walls.
Receive 2 free farms on maps where the free palisade wall is not applicable (such as Islands & Arena). (Add guaranteed free farms if the civ is too weak.) Extra Palisades double up inside the original walls on maps like Arena & Hideout.
2nd eco bonus: UTs can be researched in the TC.
team bonus: spear line +2 attack vs eagles
UT1 could also be made to apply to cav archers, if it suits the flavour → CA would be good in Castle age and slightly worse than FU in Imp