Personnaly, I have always found the musketeer design strange. Colonial age is probably arround 1600, at the time where pike and shot formation are the standard army in Europe. Musket fire begin to be deadly at range, but you still need a lot of pikemen to protect musket carrying soldier against cavalery charge. From 1600 to 1700, the number of pikeman/melee infantery will progressively drop to reach 0% when musketeer are equiped with bayonet. From this time, musketeer will efficiently take care of cavalery, unless deployed in a very thin line.
In the game, you start with musketeer with bayonet, meaning that they can counter cavalery. Effectively, they are ranged unit with a strong range attack, meaning that they will always be more effective than pikemen (unless, obviously, you can’t train musketeer!). I would have liked to have weak range unit at the beginning of the game (skirmisher with lower range) to force player training pikemen. I understand the design choice. For newer player playing against the AI, it’s more easy to just build one unit that have few weakness.
The age 3 bring the skirmisher, the most formidable counter to the musketeer, with a much higher range and strong multiplier against heavy infantery. To me, it represent the new light infantery tactics, that have been used effectively during the French and Indian war (and before in other region of Europe) and the new rifle. Contrary to the the musketeer, skirmisher are not good against cavalery, and we have our counter triangle musketeer/skirmisher/cavalery.
If we analyse the skirmisher we see that :
- Higher range (20), nearly two times the musketeer range
- The difference in hp in not that big between veteran skirmisher (144) and musketeer (180) (~20%).
- Same speed as musketeer.
- It’s damage against musketeer can be increase by 50% with an arsenal tech.
With the faster pace of the game, skirmisher will generally be available arround 10 min, unless heavy colonial fighting, and they will counter effectively musketeer unit.
I believe you find amercan musketeer with higher range and ashigaru with higher speed OP (maybe carol with range multiplier against cav ?). I somewhat agree, although most of the time you can counter them effectively. I think its the other bonus these civ have, that together make these units borderline op.