Minor Civilizations Should Have Passive Abilities

Changing Royal House Abilities from Active to Passive

This post will focus on some ways to implement a passive ability for the royal houses, but it would be most impactful if it applied to minor alliances across the board. Feel free to contribute ideas for passive abilities for the other minor civilizations.

Having a mechanic that takes 5 minutes to charge up and needs recurring player intervention to take advantage of is a recipe for underuse. This is especially true when minor alliances are already something that are generally peripheral to the game and easily passed by. An immediate passive bonus granted by minor alliances would be an excellent way of implementing the royal house abilities and making minor alliances in general more enticing to use.

The only drawback to this is the awesome jingles that come with the abilities. These could be repurposed to other areas such as upon the completion of a TP on their site or when triggering a trade monopoly. Or it could be as simple as adding a button to play it on command even if it has no effect.


The current ability is the Royal March which makes units move 5% faster for 15 seconds. This ability is entirely underwhelming considering how the French court was a powerhouse in exporting French culture across Europe. It would be much more fitting if their ability reflected some of the culture emanating from the French palaces. One such example is the magnificent gardens of Versailles.

Ability - Jardin à la Française

Villagers generate a small amount of experience when farming or gathering from berries. An alternate name could simply be Royal Gardens.


The Current ability is Goldener Reiter which boosts the armour of cavalry in a targeted area for a short duration. It’s marginally more useful than the Bourbon ability, but in terms of theme, it’s just a statue of a horse. The house of Wettin has had far more of an impact on the world than just commissioning a statue. The Saxon princes enabled the protestant reformation by being the protectors and benefactors of reformers like Martin Luther. An ability that reflects this history would be far more fitting.

Ability - Verbum Domini Manet in Aeternum

Healers gain a combat boosting aura. This would essentially be a watered down version of the Spanish Unction card and could also stack with that card. An alternate name could be Magisterial Reformation, or an abbreviation to VDMA.


The current ability is Greek Revolution which spawns Sacred Band Infantry and temporarily strengthens Villagers. It’s frustrating that this is the extent of representation that a major event like the Greek revolution gets. A revolution doesn’t suit a passive bonus, and the Greek revolution really ought to be a full on revolution anyways, so this should be replaced by a different ability.

Ability - Filiki Eteria

Your hero gains the ability to train a limited number of Sacred Band Infantry. The only way to get Sacred Band Infantry is through the Greek Revolution ability so this would not only preserve, but actually increase their availability. To make them balanced as a unit that can be trained by a hero, their stats and abilities would need some adjusting. This ability would also replace the Athos Monastery tech of the same name (which is a very niche and overpriced tech to begin with).


The current ability is Royal Fireworks which briefly stuns all enemy units. The English monarchs were fascinated by fireworks, so this actually is a well themed ability that could be adjusted slightly into a passive form.

Ability - Royal Fireworks

Town Centers gain a charged ability that briefly stuns nearby enemy units. The cooldown for this ability could be global, similar to the cooldown for US levies.


The current ability is Scientific Expeditions which spawns a temporary Hot Air Balloon. This ability is also well themed with a basis in Christian IV’s expeditions, the expeditions of Vitus Bering for the Russians, and Arctic balloon expeditions. Very little would need to change to make this a passive ability.

Ability - Scientific Expeditions

Your hero gains the ability to launch temporary Hot Air Balloons. If your Explorer already had the ability to do this, the duration would increase.


The current ability is Alpine Horns which reveals enemy buildings and spawns Alpine Troopers. This ability doesn’t really work as something passive and would be better suited as a technology similar to Somali Lighthouses. Like the Somali tech, it could increase the LOS of certain buildings and have an ability that reveals certain buildings such as Trading Posts, Town Centers, and defenses. One of the existing Wittelsbach techs could then be repurposed as their passive ability.

Ability - Oktoberfest

Enables building an additional Tavern. For civs that can’t normally build a Tavern (Africans, Natives, and Colonials), this would give them access to map specific outlaws that they could not otherwise build. To not complicate the build menus of these civs, the settlement could have the option to recruit a Tavern Wagon. The Gun Running tech should still be required for Native civs to train outlaws and mercenaries from Taverns (otherwise Lakota could take advantage of their free population space to easily make outlaws).

The first Oktoberfest was as part of the celebrations of a royal wedding, so this ability is much more strongly connected to the royal house. The current function of Oktoberfest isn’t really useful or interesting, so there’s not much lost by changing it to a passive ability.


The current ability is Balance of Powers which equalizes your resource stockpile. This ability is fairly useful, but would make more sense as a tech for Habsburgs who were more entangled in a network of alliances through the scheming of diplomats like Metternich. A Balance of Powers tech could replace one of Habsburg’s generic boring techs like Crown Lands.
Some of the functionality of this ability could also be rolled into the Leipzig Trade Fair tech at the Wettin house by giving markets a slow passive reset. A new ability for Jagiellon could showcase their achievements much better than this generic ability.

Ability - Collegium Maius

Technologies research faster, and each technology researched grants a small sum of experience (similar to the Bourbon Reforms tech). The university the Jagiellonians founded is their most enduring legacy and would be represented by this ability.


The current ability is Order of Vasa which increases all gather rates for a short duration. This is pretty bland as is and would be just as boring as a passive ability. A new ability based on the powerful nobility of the Vasa domains in Poland and Sweden should replace it.

Ability - Powerful Magnates

Heroes respawn faster and/or more cheaply and have their charged ability cooldown duration reduced. The nobles of the Swedish RiksrĂĄdet and Polish Sejm were extremely powerful and often sidelined the monarchs of both countries. The founding of the dynasty even has its roots in a rebellion of Swedish nobles against Denmark.


The current ability is Radetzky March which ships Magyar Hussars. This is themed well and could be slightly adjusted to make it a passive ability.

Ability - Radetzky March

Adds an infinite 2 Magyar Hussar shipment to your deck for age 2.


I am pretty sure this is considered the most powerful ability in the game, its basically infinite fur trade


I can see that being the case in treaty, but in supremacy it seems quite situational.

They did just nerf Fur Trade, so it would probably be better for Balance of Powers to be a one time tech so that it’s not abused in treaty.

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not really, you can focus a single res and basically not waste shipments, for civs that can do fast hunt gather its basically free res

I tested it out yesterday and I did actually find it quite useful. But it was mostly to fix my macro while getting idled by enemy raids (happens a lot facing Lakota on Courland). Using it as a way to get free resources in supremacy seems a little risky since it is only available every 5 minutes. Probably most helpful with booming on water, but there only one water map they appear on.

Even with a few decent abilities, many are still essentially useless and above all, very easy to forget about. Balance of Powers also would thematicly fit the Habsburgs much better since they were the ones with a continent spanning system of alliances.

I also thought about making a topic about this possibility, to make it more emphatic, but I see that it has already been created.

Somehow the native TP could be considered the replacement of the relics with respect to the previous games. In my opinion it wouldn’t be a bad idea to give a passive bonus to all native TPs.

In my opinion the ability should start charging from the start of the game, and not from the start of the alliance. When you establish the alliance, you will be able to use the ability if enough time has elapsed for it to be charged. I think that in general they are good, but there are some skills that don’t give anything the longer you wait, so it would be good to give something more.

My main problem is that the whole system is way too easy to overlook and forget about. First of all, making a TP is often skipped in the first place. And if one is built it, it still takes forever to charge up so it’s easy to forget about. Some of the abilities are also so bad that the only reason to use them are to hear the jingle.

Making them a passive ability incentivises building a TP in the first place and also eliminates the need to constantly remember to check on it and press a button. Extending passive abilities to all alliances would also make the old natives more desirable.


Some proposals for passive bonuses:

Caribs: -5% XP and shipping time.
Comanches: -5% in cost of coins or wood in the cavalry and shock infantry.
Cheyennes: +5% hunting performance.
Apaches: +5% speed and defenses near the territory you control (Near TP, defensive buildings and TC).
Navajo: Sheep and the like 10% cheaper. It also gives you a sheep for all the shipments you have made so far.
Cherokees: Cherokee newspaper with each shipment worth 80 XP (similar to books).
Tupis: Archer cadence increased by 10%.

I like the idea of passive abilities and your reworks sound like a lot of fun and are themeatic!

The only one I’m not on board for is the fireworks rework… if the idea is to make the power more accessible and less easy to forget I don’t think putting it inside the towncenter is going to help that. Plus, having a stun power around your TC seems way more situational than having a stun power wherever you want.

Maybe if it was automatic with a cooldown and worked on trading posts instead? Sort of like the “shotgun messengers” ability?

I was thinking it would make it more useful as a means of defense if it was concentrated in the Town Center. Calling your militia and then stunning the enemy could be a pretty strong combo. The current ability only stuns for like 3 seconds so if it was more concentrated but longer lasting it could actually have more potential to be useful.

I’m not familiar with how shotgun messengers works. Is it just a charged attack for Trade Posts?

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yeah it just lets the TP shoot a cannonball every few seconds with a recharge

Only just saw this thread, however I think that’s a great idea for them to have these very slight passive abilities. It’s also a great nod to AoE2 with them acting pretty much like civ bonuses.

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