New Civ Idea - Croatians

Hey, I really enjoy imagining possible new civilizations for Age of Empires II, so I thought I’d try my hand at it. I decided to design a civ concept for the Croatians, a southern Slavic empire that was one of the strongest kingdoms of the 10th and 11th centuries. In 926, they utterly annihilated the Bulgarians at the Battle of the Bosnian Highlands, putting an end to the military conquests of Tsar Simeon and establishing a national pride that would carry into the modern state of Croatia. Although you could group the Croatians under the Slavs, they were historically Roman Catholic, and I think their history stands pretty well on its own.

The Croatians (925 - 1102)
Cavalry and Naval Civilization

Architecture Style: Mediterranean
Language: Croatian (technically, medieval Croatians spoke language similar to the Slavs and Bulgarians, but I’ve decided upon modern Croatian to distinguish this civilization from its eastern neighbors)
Wonder: Cathedral of St. Domnius

Civ Bonuses:

  • Cavalier upgrade free (requires Imperial Age)
  • Spearman line +1 attack
  • Melee units don’t suffer from hill disadvantages

The Croatian king Tomislav was known to have trained an impressively large army consisting primarily of infantry and cavalry, hence the civilization’s focus on melee units. Although their units are slow, they can be extremely powerful against other melee-oriented civilizations such as the Bulgarians and Hungarians (Croatia’s historic arch-rivals) thanks to their civ bonuses. Although they lack an early economic bonus, their stronger spear line makes a Spearman flush a more viable early game strategy.

Unique Techs:

  • Recruits - Knight line can be trained at the Castle, cost -20% less gold at Castle (500 Food, 500 Gold)
  • Bans - Castles fire additional arrows (1000 Food, 500 Stone)

The Croatians were known to be an aggressive, militant civilization, and their zupani ruled from fortified cities, hence their Castle-related bonuses.

Team Bonus: Trade Cogs generate +20% gold

The Croatians were historically known to be allies with the Byzantines, and since they’re a naval civilization, I figured a Trade Cog bonus would fit.

Unique Unit: Zupani (Light cavalry unit that doesn’t suffer bonus damage against the Spearman line)
Cost: 70 Food, 30 Gold
Attack: 8 (Elite 11)
Armor: 1/0 (Elite 2/1)
HP: 90 (Elite 110)
Elite Upgrade Cost: 1200 Food, 700 Gold

Zupani (or Zupans) were the regional rulers in medieval Croatia, similar to the Slavic Boyars, so I’ve designed them as the Croatian equivalent of Knights and Boyars. Although they’re generally weaker than most cavalry units and fare worse against archers, their lack of weakness to the Spearman line makes them much more versatile than other cavalry units. They are, however, just as vulnerable to Camel Riders as other mounted fighters.

Unique Unit: Kondura (Naval Trash Unit)
Cost: 80 Wood
Attack: 5 Pierce (6 Elite)
Speed: 1.35
Range: 5 (6 Elite)
Hit Points: 100 (135 Elite)
Elite Upgrade Cost: 800 Food, 600 Gold

The Croatians were historically a naval civilization, and they deployed Kondura as warships. These ships looked pretty similar to the Viking Longboat, but didn’t have a dragon at the front.

Missing Techs:

Barracks: Squires, Eagle line
Archery Range: Arbalest, Elite Skirmisher, Hand Cannoneer, Heavy Cavalry Archer
Stable: Husbandry, Camel Rider, Battle Elephant, Steppe Lancer
Siege Workshop: Siege Ram, Bombard Cannon
Monastery: Atonement, Block Printing, Illumination
Dock: Fast Fire Ship, Shipwright
Blacksmith: Ring Archer Armor

University: Keep, Bombard Tower, Architecture
Economy: Two-Man Saw, Guilds

As a whole, the Croatians are very powerful against infantry and cavalry civilizations, but struggle against archer civilizations, especially those with good cavalry archers like the Cumans and Mongols, due to their infantry and cavalry lacking Squires and Husbandry, respectively. Against ranged opponents, they must rely on Siege Onagers, as their Archery Range is among the worst. However, their Castle bonuses allow them to deal with enemy archers better from a defensive angle.

Let me know what you think, and how I could change the tree to be more balanced and/or historically accurate!

7 Likes

Nice idea. But the civ bonus is a bit weak as there is literally no early eco/military bonus. Maybe its better to give them naval bonus. The first 10 fishing ships are free.
Team bonus is meh compared to Spanish which has +25% gold from trade. Maybe the first 10 trade units are free such that they can have stronger early bonus.
Since the siege is just missing a few. i dont think they struggle against archers after castle age as manganel/onager/siege onager can wipe them all.

I figured the +1 Spearmen line attack would make Spearmen viable raiding units in the early game (so you don’t need to waste time and resources on the Man-at-Arms upgrade), especially on hilly terrains (as this was how the Croatians crushed the Bulgarians so easily in 926), and in the late game, the civilization can become quite lethal with highly protective Castles and more accessible Paladins. As is at the moment, they’re clearly below-average in the Feudal Age, but if used right, they can ultimately gain the upper hand. I suppose a possible buff would be to give Melee units a +20% attack bonus when fighting from a higher elevation in addition to not being weakened by lower elevation so that they don’t need to produce as many units to keep up, but I don’t want them to be OP in the lategame. The idea basically is to encourage the player to take advantage of hill bonuses to compensate for a weaker economy. 10 Free Fishing ships sounds like too much of an advantage imo.

In hindsight, I’d agree the team bonus could be made better, considering the Spanish equivalent is way better. Maybe if Trade Cogs specifically produced 35% more gold, but Trade Carts are unaffected, it would be more balanced?

The biggest issue though is cavalry archers, which can easily dodge Onager shots while also giving the relatively slow Croatian infantry and cavalry a hard time with hit-and-run tactics. I could imagine the Croatians struggling badly against the Cumans, Tatars, Huns, and Mongols especially. Also, Onagers are expensive and hard to produce, and since they’re the only decent anti-archer option the Croatians have, they’re easy to predict and counter back.

This bonus feels a bit too strong to me… Unlike longswords who are far from being meta, and who are stil kept in check by crossbow if auto-upgraded, cavaliers can just roll on everything your opponent might have… However I doubt it wil make the civ OP, given all its shortcomings.

If I want that, but better, I play Japanese or Burmese.

They would still get hit by the uphill bonus that the enemy get, while not benefiting from an attack boost either. They are just slightly less horrible in a pretty bad situation, and it sounds more like a crutch for people who don’t micro.

Both the Bulgarian 2Hs and Hussar ruin their Croatian counterpart, and Magyar can just switch to CA/Arb if they don’t want to invest in Paladin.

While the idea of making a standard unit available at the castle is original, that gold discount just feels like a worse Berber (or heck, Portuguese) bonus. Another incentive would be better.

Welp, besides the fact it’s Spanish but worse, buffing the bonus won’t be of much use since everyone favor trade carts because they are so much easier to use. I guess for people who play team games on archipel?

This idea sounds good, and it’s different enough from the cata (ie.you can have enougn money to use it 11) however this unit won’t be enough to compensate for the rest.

Dunno how to feel about that

Why no Elite Skirms? At least in the Turks’ case, all gold units besides mangonels are good, and bulky HCA, siege rams and BBC can do the trick. For this civ, only hope is that the enemy let you live until you get siege onager because there is no way you deal with archers with your slow units and without Siege ram. I get that it’s what you wanted but no upside of the civ is worth the trade-off.

Foot archers are already 1 shot by FU Castles anyway, so that’s overkill. That’s situationally useful vs cav archers, rattans, huskarls and maybe rams (provided all arrows hit in the first place!) I guess. IMO it’s not very original and barely better (if better) than Stronghold.

Welp, in the end Croatian are clearly not better in melee than Bulgarian, and only thing they got over Magyars is 1 infantry armor upgrade, which clearly doesn’t make up for the fact Magyars can just go archers. And the Magyar knight rush is clearly better, +1 on spears won’t save the Croatian. Even the trashboat niche isn’t useful, because most civs are faster and will take control over water before you. The Zupani could be a good raider, but since it doesn’t get Husbandry and is weak to arrows that’s ruined as well. Only real thing this civ has going for itself is free Cavaliers and that’s all.

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Thanks for the feedback! You raise a lot of good points that I think could definitely factor in to improving the Croatians’ balance. I tried not to make them OP like original Cumans were, but there are definitely ways of making them more effective.

Was thinking, maybe both Infantry and Cavalry could be trained faster, i.e. 30%? This aligns with Tomislav’s famously large army of both, and it allows them to produce more Feudal Age units. You’ll still need an economy to pull it off, but a faster production rate without extra buildings could probably improve their ability to do a flush or knight rush.

Instead of a Spearman attack bonus, I suppose an eco bonus would be better. How about the Horse Collar and Heavy Plow techs increase farmer gathering rates to +10% and +15%, respectively, in addition to their usual upgrades? It’s worse than the Slavs’ bonus in the short-term, but better in longer games. The farming bonus is related to Croatian lands being quite fertile.

I probably wasn’t specific enough here, but the idea would be that Croatian units are not only not weakened by hill disadvantages, but also don’t take bonus damage from enemy units attacking from high elevations. I wanted this bonus to be a more defensive spin on the Tatar hill bonus, which is more offensive. A different possibility would be to give Croatian Melee units (or units in general) an attack bonus rather than an attack penalty when fighting from a lower elevation.

If the hill civilization bonus is implemented better than I originally conceived, then the Croatians could easily crush the Bulgarians like they did in the mountainous Bosnian Highlands. I’ll address the Magyar CA/Arbs a bit later.

I still stand by the Trade Cog bonus because it’s historically accurate, but I would at least increase the bonus gold to +35% more so that it can be situationally better than the Spanish.

I definitely should have given the Zupani more pierce armor. Probably 2 for regular and 3 for Elite. They’re still not as good against archers as the Knight line, but they no longer have an unnecessary weakness there, either. It’s mostly the Militia and Knight lines that they should be careful about.

Archery should definitely be a weakness for the Croatians, but I suppose I could at least give them the Elite Skirmisher so that they have a better counter against archers than just Castles. Possibly I could give them back the Ring Archer Armor technology, but I stand by their lack of access to Imperial Age units.

I dunno, having more arrows by default can be quite helpful, and more strength is at least somewhat distinct from firing faster. Having more arrows means a single attack can hit and thus kill more units at once, not just a single target. I still think a Castle bonus like this is historically accurate, not just because the Croatians defended their lands against the Hungarians and Bulgarians, but also because they used they managed to defend their homeland from the Mongols after they became part of Hungary.

It’s an odd idea, to be sure, but there aren’t any other naval trash military units in the game, so it would at least be original. I think maybe giving them an attack bonus against the Galley line though would make them a lot more worthwhile, and it would also help them counter the Saracen navy, which they also historically fought.

I think adding back Husbandry, giving an eco bonus, and making the additional tweaks I suggested could make their strengths come together a little more. Here’s a full changelog based on the feedback I’ve gotten in the thread:

  • Instead of free Cavaliers, Infantry and Cavalry now train +30% faster.
  • Instead of stronger Spearmen, Horse Collar and Heavy Plow improve Croatian farming rate to 10% and 15%, respectively.
  • All Croatian units receive attack advantages rather than disadvantages when fighting from a lower elevation (equivalent to the usual hill advantages) and ignore enemy attack bonuses from higher elevations.
  • Recruits simply reduces the gold cost of the Knight line to 50 at the Stable, doesn’t allow the Knight line to be trained at the Stable.
  • Zupanis now have 2 pierce armor, while Elites have 3.
  • Trade Cogs now generate +35% gold in team games.
  • Konduras now have +18/19 attack bonus verses the Galley line (so they do 15/17 damage to Galleons).
  • Elite Skirmisher and Ring Archer Armor added.
  • Husbandry added.

Hopefully these changes should buff the Croatians to a much more competitive level. They’re still not perfect, I imagine, but that’s why I appreciate the feedback!

Thank you for being open about your civ idea. I much prefer the second version of the civ.

Welp, I did the comparison with Berbers but Berbers don’t get Paladins. But it can still be tweaked to be something acceptable, and anyway getting both Recruits and Paladins looks expensive enough.

That’s nice since it would prevent late game naval battles to be nothing but galleon battles. Also, what about their matchups vs fire and naval UU?

Welp, them not getting Ring archer armor is fine, after all their Halbs and Hussars are already good. However, with the rework of the elevation bonus, maybe they shouldn’t get crossbow because being garanteed to always have the hill/ downhill advantage AND being equal on flat ground sounds too much for me. Not to mention this bonus is a huge deal for their mangonels since deleting your mangonel can be worth it to cancel downhill malus, so the Croatian would have the unique upside of being able to get the benefit without the sacrifice.

I guess now the best way to test is to get in touch with someone who can mod them in the game? At least imo the farming bonus, Paladin discount, trash boats and special downhill bonus can be balanced with the right numbers, but theorycrafting alone won’t help to determine which exact values are right.

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As Serbian I would love Croats much more than my country because of things like the Kondura. Croatia can be a very interesting versatile civilization ! Great ideas!

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i also would love new civ Croats, beacuse Magyars has the civ, and if you know the empire called Hungary and Croatia.

Uniqe unite must be uskok, ore cavalary

Ya let’s add Croatians to the game alongwith

Burgundians, Bohemians, Finns, Dutch, Swiss, Avars, Hungarians, Georgians, Armenians, Venetians, Poles, Frisians and Vlachs at the very least.
There are not enough European civilizations. We need at least 14 more to keep the balance.

How could they even think of grouping up the Finns with the vikings,
not recognize the independent medieval history of Swiss and Burgundy,
smash the Poles with the slavs,
Vlachs(Romanians) with Byz and Bohemians with Teutons,
ignore Dutch(Flanders),
think the Magyars represent all the Hungarians,
and disregard independent Georgia and Armenia in the "Kaukus".

And Venice was separated enough from the rest of modern day Italy for them to be considered their own civ too.

There are not enough European civilizations. Period.
feelsbadmen :.(
feelsDauTmen :.( /s

First Croatian kingdom are much bigger than your civ what you write, wining the battle against bulgarian, avars,franks, also fighting with ottoman empire.

Also Venezia, Poland deserve to be in game.

Hi nice concept l would like to see croats and serbs in the game. l think it would be interesting

That’s a nice late game bonus, it saves a bit if resources, but more importantly it allows you to research paladin right away.

Although, the lack of just husbandry I’m not sure that balance it… maybe they need to lose bloodlines too.

That’s basically a worse version of the Burmese bonus… also, +1 on spear doesn’t do much…

If you need a bonus for pikes, I might suggest:

  • supplies affect spear-line units (you can throw in there skirms too)

Meaning that they don’t receive extra damage and they inflict the standard damage too?

Yeah it can be a decent bonus, the main problem in my opinion is that this civ lack any sort of eco lead or advantage…

I don’t know if you already have thought of something for it, but maybe a bonus could be:

  • TC techs are researched 80% faster

This basically helps you grabbing wheelbarrow and hand cart before having more TCs, since you don’t idle vill production for much time, and it also help to click to feudal a bit faster.

Then I don’t know much about croatians history and eco, so maybe you can better indicate what should be the focus for the eco bonus.

That’s not much good… apart from the problem that it’s similar to Spanish TB, you also have the problem that it affects only water maps.

Maybe trade units could have more HP, or have armor.

Mmm this is intriguing… but poles can already train knights at stables for 60% less gold…

Maybe castle could affect the nearby stables, to have knights remove the food cost.

I like the concept in general, but it needs a bit of tuning, especially on the eco.

That’s good, the civ could save a ton of gold, and use it to buy wood in the late game, it would be basically unbeatable.

That’s interesting, the unit could be used against knights too in melee of they had a bit more MA or a bonus damage.