Low tech peoples out on the edge


Age of empires did a good job of the Aztecs, Mayans and Inca but often makes the game play for other neolitic or “edge of the world” people either very limited or mere NPC’s. Yes it is true that the North Americans, Australian, pacific and a few others did not make empires and castles but that was often an accident of history. Australia had all the resources of Eurasia but all the best resources were in treeless deserts. Similar problems are found elsewhere.

AoE IV wants to do Amerindians and has them with horses in a game with Rome and Japan, etc; a bit of creative alternate history is needed.
I thought of a solution that should not break the game style away from AoE 2, much, which is everyone’s idea of classic AoE.
Start these off without a stables as per the Aztec but:
Add in a dog travois for north american indians. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Travois
Pair this with a hunter scout for your long range scout [eagle warrior scouting]. However if this unit defeats a mounted unit the dog Travois is replaced with a horse travois and if that is delivered to the town centre it can then build a Stables. The stables then produces the Amerindian mounted units. If the map has no civilisation with any horse units then none of the civilisations will have a stables. You get historically accurate play.
[Also In snow maps the Amerindians should be able to make a sled dog team that serves as a trader/ scout unit or fast gatherer scout. He becomes a horse sled on defeating mounted unit. This is also an option for the sami of the Eurasian Arctic coastline.]

For sub saharan africa; bantu, Zolo, etc. This mechanism would be a warrior herdsman with a big African bull in tow. Again he can capture a horse and on getting back to the town centre that triggers the stables build. He is not riding the bull.
For Australian Aborigines & Argentinian Mapuche: add a hunter scout with a dog. Same functionality. One or two horse units only from their stables.

The basic idea is a fast scouting unit with no bonuses against cavalry that must beat and capture a horse to get the stable technology. This unit is recognisable because it has a ‘pet.’
For the pacific islands its an out rigger canoeist that can capture more advanced ship technology. Horses on islands are of limited use.

Stables units: Amerindian: Mounted spear; Mounted archer (keep distance function); Fire arrow rider, Travois trader.
Aboriginal case: Mounted skirmisher & Bush Ranger (gun powder).
Mapuche: Mounted bolos & Gaucho facón or Gaucho rebel (gun powder).

Rather than have a castle age and castle build allow a simple name change flag for these peoples to Tribal Confederation. Add a defensive mound build: more food and less stone/ gold. This serves the castles function. Give these neolithic races a reduces gold mining speed but add trap lines that give them gold slowly. Give them a diplomacy victory condition: Great Treaty.

There are plenty of mods for assets such as tipi’s, tents, huts etc. As an Australian I have other suggestions to balance the aboriginals. There are a few historic unit options. (Contrary to most claims the aboriginals were not easily defeated in battle. They just thought better food and clothing was won by joining in and becoming farmers than fighters. Racism came later.)

This way we cover all the world without making the peoples out on the edge easy conquests or NPC’s.


I do not understand. How do you know that? In case you talk about the trailer, it is just an announcement with images from previous titles.


True but I am assuming that if they want to be honest then the trailer will also be honest. That’s the point.
In previous games you could have Celts verses Mayan, Carthagean fighting Indian elephants, Aztecs facing off with Magyar in Skirmish mode. Running away from that just produced arguments and mods to “fix it.”
Also I am assuming that the best modded units and features will be used as inspiration and to reduce the work load. Go with what works. We have good assets out there to allow you to play many more civilisations than just those around the Mediterranean. There is no point going backwards when forwards is easy.

If they do a civilisation A can’t meet civilisation B, some would complain. Its easier to have all civilisations in the game and add a setting drop down for era and region with open [anything goes ] at the top. That way we get Rome, medieval Japan, pre Colombian America and colonial Africa all in the one game.

Also several games that have done Amerindians as colonial push overs have copped a lot of flack from real Indian tribes that know the real history was one of treaty not total defeat. (Dishonoured treaties aside.)

However my main objective is to make the southern hemisphere players happy. We feel left out. I’m in Australia.


I like where you are going, but I wince at the notion that any of the empires you just named were remotely neolithic. I understand the term neolithic to refer to the period where humanity started to develop cities and the agricultural skills needed to sustain large populations. Technologies developed at different places based on need and resources, so the broad concept of a “Stone age” never existed across the globe at once. It is true that the new world empires did not have gunpowder or forge metal weapons like the west, but the Incans, Aztecs, and Mayans had a variety of other technological achievements in mathematics, architecture, and agriculture that far surpassed Neolithic technologies. At its height, the Incan Empire was geographically the largest on the planet. The Mayans had complex state structures and literacy. These are not neolithic traits.

Age of Empires has a twenty year problem of acting like the Mediterranean (and particularly Europe) is where important empires come from and relegate many other continents to expansion pack afterthoughts.

Of course there are some of exceptions, but most of those are still derivative of Europe. For instance, AoE1 launched with eastern Asian civs, but they were variations of the European ones (the Yamato had hoplites, for instance).

Who knows where Age 4 goes, but if it doesn’t launch with Asian, African, and American civs, the game will just be exacerbating the franchise’s myopia. It’d be bad history and a huge missed opportunity. There are other words for it, too.


Good points. Technically the designation neolithic means they did not have common metal tools, except sometimes gold. It should be noted that many germanic and early greek cultures indicate that they may have had math and writing before copper. People forget that what we call greek classics were written in the bronze age but some of the scholars were hundreds of years earlier or palaeolithic. The warrior champion has a spear not a sword. Some on the legends would work well as neolithic. There is also no evidence of the neolithic in Mesopotamia at all. The oldest sites have metal. (Note I’m a creationist so that makes sense to us. Noah was at not stone age. All the stone age sites are refugees radiating out from Mesopotamia later in history, concurrent with the ice age in a young earth creations context). Still you get my point.
The term Empire is eurocentric and breaks down as you move out into the wider world. China had empire and units similar to Europe. India and the middle east it kind of works but most “European style units” were archaic in those region in the Indian Empire and Islamic eras. In Africa out side Egypt you are dealing with empires that were very short lived or very sketchy but there were big nations. If you think about it, Europe’s empires were tiny compared to some civilisations: Pama–Nyungan the main aboriginal culture and language covers 80% of Australia.


I’m not the only person thinking about it. BRANDONSPIN has some ideas. See link below.
There are others in 0AD, an open source rts, that has explored it too.
The New Zealand mod for AoE 2 has a nice joke. Every time you build a house it spawns a sheep. New Zealand has more sheep than people.
A lot more could be done.


My standard Aboriginal build includes no bows but the skirmish javelin units have greater range and damage due to the Womera. Everyone has that.
I would add a slow stealthy one man siege unit with an area fire attack: fire elder. (burn down your enemy.)
A fast running Kurdaitcha scout with some priest like attack. Think ritual bounty hunter/ messenger that counts as a priest cop. They had shoes!
My boomerang unit has a ranged attack plus a bonus to melee. The boomerang could be used as a blade. Brandon gives them a bonus verses horse units. That works too.
I have several ideas of dugout canoe units which can carry the canoe cross country and use it as a shield in combat. It deploys as a water unit to cross water, land unit to cross land. Just a skirmish spear unit with high armour and a big canoe shield.
Gungaroo hunter: With a slow firing long range spear attack with high penetration. Kangaroo claws are lethal as a spear head. Doors did not stop them.

In forested terrain the Aboriginals were never beaten but on open ground facing guns they never won. They never faced bows but matched range thanks to the Womera. Forest walker is a must have.

Houses are humpies pup tent sized bark hut: low cost low hit points and passable for most units. Watch towers count as houses for 1 unit. The fire elder can attack grass to burn an area. That spawns a kangaroo or emu for meat. Aoe already had the models for roos and emus for some reason.

The Maori in New Zealand started off with wooden weapons yet fought the British to a stand still and forced a treaty. They made good use of captured weapons and trench warfare.