Petards and Massed Siege

Right now, there really isn’t much in the way of a counter to massed siege. Get enough onagers and you’re functionally unstoppable.

There is one real potential counter in BBCs, but of course, not all civs have access to them.

While I don’t take issue with the current status of mangonels, I do think that, when massed, they could use some sort of counterplay beyond ‘spam your enemy with so many units they can’t kill them all’.

At the same time, Petards have sat in a sort of limbo for a long time. They’re very rarely used, and even their main niche, of blowing a hole in a wall quickly to let raiders through, has been partially supplanted by the introduction of the Siege Tower. So they’re less useful than ever, and I can probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen them used.

But Petards do have something we rarely see used; they do 85 damage to siege.

Which raises an interesting possibility. Why not make Petards a potential counter-unit to massed siege?

They’re available to all civs. They have the damage they need. They’re always going to be expensive, as a one-time use unit, which means you won’t see them used in situations where there are other possibilities, but having the option to make them could really widen the diversity of the game.

All you need to do is increase their speed! How much you increase it would take a little fine tuning, but I think we can all agree that they’re not fast enough right now to effectively counter massed siege. On the other hand, we don’t want them to be so fast as to be uncounterable.

But I can envision a scenario where the enemy has a mass of onagers and you send in half a dozen petards from different angles. Even if only one or two get in, you’d be looking at a cost-effective trade, especially if you can tag multiple onagers at once.

Imagine this:

Except with petards and onagers.

I think it could provide a good amount of counterplay to massed onagers and actually give Petards a reason to exist for once, both of which, imo, would be good things.

So…how about it? Bump their speed up from 0.8->1.0, or so? Give them a purpose for once?

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I like the idea. Could also help a player who is massing archers/ca dealing with capped rams. Just send in some petards and boom, the arrow sponge is gone.

One limitation i see is historical accuracy. I don’t know of any “suicide bombers” running directly into a trebuchet or other siege engines - except your good ol’ cavalry charge.
Unless you can give me some historical evidences, i’m completely against the idea - even if it sounds good.

It’ll be pretty hard to find any sort of realism in the current version of siege engines. They’re very, very different from the ones that existed historically.

Historically they would be built as part of prolonged sieges and would be immobile. There would be no need to destroy them, because you could just capture them instead.

Well that is true for an extent. Some siege weapons actually were used in the field - like the roman scorpio (scorpion, ballistae, giant crossbows, whatever you like to call then). There’s cannons in medieval warfare fields too, and you don’t need to go very far - like in the battle of Crecy, 1346. And the reason why you could capture then was because everyone was dead by the time you got to then, while in aoe they make the frontline.
Be it during sieges or field battles, siege pieces weren’t captured/destroyed by a “specialized unit”. Eventually the flank falls, and the pieces in there would retreat aswell. Ammo could run out, or the piece itself would break (siege of Tenochtitlan, 1521).
Even if most/all of these don’t apply directly for the game (ww1 artillery is nothing compared to Korean/Ethiopians siege onagers or Khmer scorpions), the fact they didn’t had an specialized counter unit is still true.

TL;DR why i don’t support your idea: there’s is no historical evidence for that - petards or any other specialized unit, even if it would make sense in context and fix the game balance.

The point is, there was no historical need to blow up an enemy artillery piece, because it was defended by the equivalent of militia. This game does not sustain this degree of historical accuracy.

If you could send a single knight in, kill the person manning the mangonel, and then use it yourself, something like this would not be needed. Seeing as we are not maintaining this degree of historical accuracy, I do not believe it is out of the question(or of historical accuracy) to take a unit that already exists, and give it a greater purpose than building 4 to take down a wall and then never using again.

Anyway Petards themselves aren’t accurate because according to the manual (you can read the description here no one in the Middle age willingly did suicide attacks with explosives. My only concern with this idea is that it would also make Petards much better vs buildings. Maybe it would make them a more “mainstream unit” or make them OP. Not much of an idea frankly.

My toughts on petards are that they were supposed to represent sappers that would mine below enemy fortifications to weaken then, thus making siege engines more effective at crumbling the walls or towers. It would make sense - but the miners wouldn’t simply die in the process. They also didn’t run around blowing soldiers, tho.

Interesting suggestion. One concern is they would make castles a lot weaker especially if you dont have ballistics researched. Petards can trade really cost effective vs a castle.
Anyway I strongly believe that such game changing ideas should be ran through the top 10 players in the world and only if they approve should be implemented into the game. Especially viper, he always seems to find a troll way to use an idea in the game exposing the issues with it.