New Civilization Concept - the Maltese

The Maltese would represent the island of Malta and its inhabitants, particularly once it came under Hospitaller control. Malta was dominated by various civilizations throughout the Medieval Ages, and its culture bears Byzantine, Saracen, Sicilian, Frankish, and Spanish influences. This civ would also represent the Knights Hospitaller, which were one of the most significant military forces during the Crusades. This civilization would feature powerful defenses backed by a versatile army and navy.

The Maltese
Defensive Civilization
Mediterranean Architecture

Unique Unit
Hospitaller: Powerful heavy cavalry unit with an attack bonus against camel units. Does not receive bonus damage from camel units.

  • Full knights of the Hospitaller Order were almost always mounted and made up some of the most elite military forces during the Crusades. They were also one of the only religious military orders to persist once the Crusades ended. Their advantage against camel units is intended to reflect their history combatting Middle Eastern armies during that period. Given that this is a somewhat niche role, I thought they should also be powerful, but expensive, units which can hold their own against most units (similar to Cataphracts, Boyars, and Centurions).

Unique Techs
Commandery: Castle Age unique tech which would enable garrisoned cavalry to fire arrows.

  • The Hospitallers were famous for building impressive fortresses called commanderies throughout the Holy Land. Significant fortifications included Saint-Jean-d’Acre, which was arguably the last real Crusader stronghold to fall, and the Krak des Chevaliers, which acted as the Hospitaller administrative center. This defensive legacy would be carried to the island of Malta, where several Hospitaller fortresses played a vital role in withstanding a siege by the Ottomans.

Holy Orders: Imperial Age unique tech which would make Hospitallers and Knight-line units unable to be converted.

  • This tech is meant to reflect the nature of the Hospitallers as a religious military order. Most knights took monastic vows and were driven by religious vigour - hence why they cannot be converted.

Civilization Bonuses

  • Buildings take 20% less bonus damage.
  • Garrisoned units heal +100% faster.
  • Stone miners drop off +10% more stone.
  • Dock technologies (not including unit upgrades) available one age earlier (i.e., Gillnets and Careening available in Feudal, Dry Dock and Shipwright available in Castle).

Team Bonus: Fortified Wall free.

Missing Techs

  • Barracks: Eagle-line; Supplies.
  • Archery Range: Parthian Tactics; Thumb Ring; Elephant Archer-line.
  • Stable: Hussar; Husbandry; Steppe Lancer-line; Battle Elephant-line.
  • Blacksmith: Ring Archer Armor.
  • Siege Workshop: Heavy Scorpion; Armored Elephant-line.
  • Castle: None.
  • Dock: None.
  • Monastery: None.
  • University: Siege Engineers.
  • Economy: Two-Man Saw; Crop Rotation.

And that’s it! This civ is very much intended to not just represent Malta, but also to represent the Knights Hospitaller. Again, feedback is welcome!

EDIT: As I do not play Age of Empires III, I did not realize that the Maltese were a civ in that game when I made this! However, I believe I put much more of an emphasis on their Hospitaller identity than in AoE3, so I think its something distinct.


This is broken in a lot of ways. First, you need to give it a focus and theme. This civ seems be able to do everything except archery range. Even there, they have everything except thumb ring and last armour.

They need to be good at one set of things. If they are good at cavalry and siege, everything else except one thing needs to be weak like bulgarians. If their thing is cavalry and monks, look at something like Lithuanians.

This UU design cannot exist in the game. You have a UU that is strong against cavalary, and cannot be converted. What am I supposed to do if I’m playing hindustanis, gurjaras, mongols or berbers?

Cataphracts are one of the most annoying units and you are just making a stronger version of that here.

In my opinion, this civ isn’t viable without a total rework.

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The theme is a focus on defenses - their CA UT, 3 of their civ bonuses and their team bonus all pertain to their defenses.

I think missing those two technologies does make their archery range kind of bad - but I take your point. I could remove arbalester and/or heavy cav archer to weaken their archery range. I also originally didn’t give them Siege Onager because I thought it might be a problem that this civ had no real answer to a good archer civ. I could take that away to make that weakness more pronounced.

I don’t know if this is true. The Byzantines (another civ labelled as a 'Defensive Civilization) have access to almost the entire tech tree, including a complete Barracks and a nearly complete Archery Range, Stable, and Dock. Their Blacksmith is only missing Blast Furnace.

It’s strong against camels (which only 13 civs have access to), not all cavalry. I was thinking that pikes (which nearly every civ has) would be the appropriate response (particularly because this civ lacks husbandry, meaning that they can’t get away as easily). Admittedly, I haven’t worked out the specifics of what this UU’s stats would look like - maybe they would have low pierce armor, heightening that weakness to archers, or would just be a slower cavalry unit, encouraging a counter with pikes.

I understand your point, but I do think you’re overstating how broken this civ would be. However, I could see giving them a few more weaknesses, like taking away arbalester & siege onager. I could even see them losing plate barding armor or blast furnace to weaken their cavalry.

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This is actually a problem for your civ, because of a huge overlap. The UU is similar, the theme is defence, the buildings are harder to take down, both have full monastery, and similar tech trees. Each civ should feel unique to play, but from what I see, this is essentially a mini-byzantines.

It makes their skirmishers garbage, but archers are just a bit weak. Thumb ring isn’t as big a deal as, say, bracer. They have enough stuff till late game, so make the UU an anti-archer unit. Let it serve a functional role.

The problem is that strong camel civs have no other options against cavalry. Think about something like Gurjaras or Hindustanis. They only have their camels, which this will negate. Also, pikes aren’t enough against imperial age cavalry. That’s just how it is. That’s the reason they introduced halbs into the game to begin with.

I should’ve been more clear, that’s mistake. By broken, I don’t necessarily mean overpowered here. That is just one component. I also mean that it is broken thematically and what kind of experience it would provide.