Streamlining the way the Italian economy works could help stabilize their balance and make the civ smoother to play.
Lombards are an interesting compromise to give Italians a “Bank” without giving them the same thing as the Dutch (because Banks + Architects would be completely broken). But in practice they’re quite tedious and don’t actually yield any resources without the Uffizi and Usary cards and a lot of manual input and resources tied up. Given that Lombards should theoretically be good enough to make up for one less Factory, something needs to be done to make them a little less taxing. Altering some of Italy’s cards to give Lombards some automatic resource inputs would greatly alleviate how tedious they are.
The build limit should also be reduced (maybe to 3?) since building more only has the benefit of making the exchange faster.
Guardia di Finanza could work similar to Ethiopia’s Cartridge Currency card and grant input for defeated military units.
Current: Adds coin equal to 5% of the cost of all defeated enemy units to the player’s stockpile up to a maximum of 3,000 coin
New: For every enemy unit killed an amount of coin equal to 25% of their experience bounty is deposited into the player’s Lombards
The financier cards could work more like Jesuit Influence or Spanish Gold and give recurring input over time. Just imagine X and Y as whatever number makes you happy. Usary should just be a technology as it fits the theme of the building and is practically essential for their utility.
Current: Deposits 800 food into the player’s Lombards
New: Deposits X food into the player’s Lombards and Y for each future shipment
X = ~300
Y = ~200
Current: Deposits 1,200 wood into the player’s Lombards
New: Deposits X wood into the player’s Lombards and Y for each future shipment
X = ~700
Y = ~200
Current: Deposits 1,200 coin into the player’s Lombards
New: Deposits X coin into the player’s Lombards and Y for each future shipment
X = ~700
Y = ~200
Current: Deposits 2,300 coin into the player’s Lombards
New: Deposits X coin into the player’s Lombards and Y of each resource for each future shipment
X = ~1000
Y = ~200
Moving some cards to technologies and adding some new ones could greatly improve utility, and let you get a few more Settlers by researching them. To prevent these from being available to any teammate via Team Lombardy, these technologies could be locked behind the Advanced Lombards card.
Current: Lombards trickle resources twice as fast
New: Lombards trickle resources twice as fast and have access to new technologies
Double-Entry Bookkeeping (III)
New: For each invested coin, Lombards now return 15% more food and wood
Current: Lombards now return 25% more coin for each invested other resource
New: Same effect but as a technology at the Lombard instead of a card
Architects are the main source of recent Italian exploits and could use a few adjustments to bring them in line. One of their major problems is that adding multiple Architects to a build linearly improves building speed, so multiple Architects can put down things like Outposts extremely quickly. This was somewhat addressed by locking Outposts behind the Freemasons card. However, I think this is a bit misguided, and Architects should be able to build Outposts by default, but multiple Architects should not linearly improve build rates until after Freemasons (would be thematic for a cooperative secret society). Improving Architect build rate should also be split between Stonemasons and Freemasons. It is very unintuitive that Stonemasons doesn’t improve Architects and sending this card is basically committing to neglecting using Architects. Splitting the improvement between two cards also makes committing to full Architect cheese require sending an additional card.
Current: All villagers, except Architects, build buildings 65% faster
New: All villagers build rate +65%; Architects build rate -50%
Current: Architects get +25% speed and +65% build rate; enables Architects to build Outposts and Walls
New: Architects get +25% speed and +50% build rate; Architect group build rate is linear