Hello everyone, I think I may have gone a bit long with this post, so for those of you who are interested in reading it, I recommend listening to this song on repeat while you do
I’m glad to see your comments again. I want to emphasize that it’s not my place to make decisions about the design or rework of units, but I feel that the concept is taking shape thanks to the contributions that everyone has shared.
I believe that the most coherent approach is to separate the concept of the ‘grenadier’ from the ‘line grenadier.’ It’s impossible to attribute two radically different functions to a single unit that changed its role during the AoE 3 timeframe. By removing the role of ‘heavy infantry’ from the standard Grenadier, it can better serve as human artillery. Simultaneously, we can design a ‘Line Grenadier’ as heavy infantry with a specific role.
16th century Grenadier
Swedish early 1700s grenadier exercise
Below I present an interesting historical fragment from this link
In summary it says the following:
During the late 16th and early 17th centuries, Habsburg infantry used pomegranate-sized metal balls filled with gunpowder and shrapnel as grenades. The concept was adopted by the French, leading to the establishment of specialized grenadier companies. Grenadiers served as elite assault troops in sieges and close combat, armed with grenades, swords, or axes. They were selected from the largest and strongest soldiers and offered higher pay, distinctive uniforms, and privileges. However, with the increased firepower of infantry units and muskets, the use of grenades waned, mainly relegated to siege warfare. The tradition of grenadier companies persisted, and by the 19th century, the title ‘grenadier’ had become a badge of honor for certain units, losing its original tactical significance.
I know that for some forum members, it may even seem strange to seek historical information for gameplay mechanics, but from my perspective, AoE 3 can leverage the knowledge gained through trial and error in real battles to organize better gameplay.
Now, I would like to explore the idea of introducing a diplomat called the “Army Reformer” and how it could impact the gameplay of European civilizations if this decision makes the “Line Grenadier” accessible but removes access to melee infantry.
In Age of Empires 3, Hand Infantry serves as heavy infantry primarily designed to counter melee cavalry and provide mobile siege support. While Hand Infantry had common usage during the 16th and 17th centuries, they gradually disappeared in subsequent centuries. As the game covers a timeframe that could easily accommodate three different RPGs, it becomes challenging to fit units like pikemen or rodeleros into combat against Napoleonic-era musketeers. However, with Age of Empires 3 nearing its 20th anniversary, a complete game rework is unfeasible. Therefore, it falls on the fans to be creative in organizing the game.
Is it possible to choose a politician that disables the creation of Hand Infantry (barracks) without breaking the game?
Personally, I believe it can be done, but it requires substantial modifications:
The Grenadier should be replaced by the “Line Grenadier,” taking on the role of heavy infantry with powerful siege damage: The Line Grenadier will be a powerful unit that uses musket and grenades. It will not be as effective in siege or damage against infantry as the standard Grenadier but will have greater durability and effectiveness against infantry and cavalry.(the Line Grenadier will have the automatic ability to “throw grenades against units”)
The Musketeer gains the “Charge!” ability (big button): This will make it more effective in pitched battles, especially against cavalry.
Remember that this decision is a personal one, and I don’t want it to feel like “radically changing the game”, what I want is for it to feel like “adding new content.”
The French would lose pikemen and halberdiers, but would gain Line Grenadiers and charging ability for their musketeers. A balanced change without controversy.
The Dutch would lose their valuable Halberdiers, however they would replace their Grenadiers with Line Grenadiers giving them access to an elite type of musketeer (for which they do not have specific cards). A risky choice that only an experienced player would make.
The Portuguese would gain Line Grenadiers (which sounds good considering the Portuguese do not have Grenadiers). However, apart from not having specific cards, they would lose Pikemen and Halberdiers, having to rely on their powerful Dragoons and Legionarios to defend the fragile “Cassador” and “Ordinance Besteiro” from enemy cavalry. It seems like a significant improvement but would greatly increase the costs of their army (especially in coin).
The Swedes already have the Caroleans, who have a charge ability by default. Furthermore, they would lose the Dalkarls and transform their Grenadiers, but they already have the Hakkapelits. So, the configuration of their army could shift towards something more powerful but also more costly, without controversy.
Now let’s look at the civilizations whose choice of “Army Reformer” might be more controversial.
I know that for many, it’s sacrilegious that AoE 3 doesn’t feature Prussian or Austrian Grenadiers, and the Renaissance style of the 16th and 17th centuries may seem incongruous for the Germans. So, the inclusion of this politician for the Germans could be a sort of “reclamation” of German military history in AoE 3. The Germans would lose their Pikemen and powerful Doppelsoldner, but in return, they would gain a Musketeer and Grenadier for the first time. Although this may seem powerful, it can actually be an interesting nerf. The Doppelsoldner (although they lose efficiency from Age 3 onwards) are powerful “meat shields” with area damage ability and a bonus against cavalry. If a German army loses the Doppelsoldner, they will have to rely on the slow War Wagons (as they don’t have Dragoons) to counter cavalry and even depend on mercenaries or use Uhlan against cavalry for cost-effectiveness.
One of the characteristics of the Spanish in AoE 3 is their “archaic units,” and here I believe there could be an interesting exception. By choosing this politician, the Spanish would lose the “Rodelero” but retain the Pikeman, and in return, they would be able to train SOLDADOS in barracks. (The Soldado would be weaker and more versatile than the Line Grenadier, but the Spanish could still use their formidable Tercios; It seems like a fair change to me since the Spanish do not have grenadiers and their musketeers will have the ability to “Charge!”)
Civilizations that probably don’t need to have this new politician:
The British already have too many anti-infantry units (archers, Rangers and good musketeers). Maybe they should replace their current grenadiers with some unique Line Grenadiers cough Black watch cough
Italy and Malta have well-structured and coherent armies as they are. They do not need Line Grenadiers.
Maybe yes, maybe no
I consider that Russia needs a better rework, they currently have the Pavlov Grenadier and I don’t know how they could modify the structure of their army if that unit is replaced by some “Pavlov Line Grenadier”. The historical concept fascinates me but I don’t know how this could affect the gameplay.
I emphasize that these are just my suggestions, but I would also like to hear your opinions, especially from those who find this idea unfeasible.