Portugal Civ: Suggestions

As a fan of Portugal both in AoE2 and 3,and crossing my fingers that they will make their way into the game eventually, here is what I would like to see in AoE4 considering their history, and their AoE iterations:

Unique Units: Caravel/Nau (Carrack)
This one is a given.
Instead of organ guns, Breech Loading Swivel Gun, still anti infantry.
And above average arquebus, thus maintaining their Naval/Gunpowder focus.
Depending on how the ages are divided, having good Crossbowmen and Good Light Cav would also go along with their Reconquista origins.

Now I’m a fan of the feitoria, but I would like to see it as a fortified forward base, that you could possible garrison with a few units, and would make more resources the further away it is from the city center.
This could open up for risky and profitable gameplay options, or it could backfire terribly.

On the Hero/Commander unit side, one thing that criminally overlooked in Iberian history is the use of the double handed Greatsword Montante, and I would like to see the Port leader rocking one of those (like in my forum avatar), while giving a buff to infantry units.

This is just a little brainstorming I’m doing.


Every unit will be a unique unit

Think AoM

Interesting, but surely some units will be similar for example on European Empires.

Actually you’d be surprised. Then again it will depend on which countries. For instance, Only Eastern Europe will have a hussar, no longer all civs.

On that I agree, and I do prefer civs different to one another.
But for example Spain and Ports can share a couple of units due to cultural similarities.

But still it’s great news just due to the fact that civs might be researched on more detail.


I really like your suggestions! I just don’t like this one:

As far as I know, the Portuguese cavalry was mainly provided by the wealthiest groups on the kingdom, being the Military Orders (Templar, Aviz, Tower and Sword, etc.) part of these groups. And, as others military orders from others European kingdoms, they focused on heavy cavalry. So I don’t know why you say about “good light cavalry” which actually was the “common” cavalry unit of the Arab-Berber armies.

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By light Cav i meant Cavaleiros Viloes:
or a Jinete (no, not a berber unit, unfortunately AoS2 has that one very wrong)

"In regards to the art of war of the Portuguese, as they had to undertake a
restricted occupation of the territory, very soon they adapted themselves to
the kind of war carried out in Morocco, as this was very similar to the one
practiced in Iberia, during the Reconquista. In fact, throughout this period,
the land warfare developed by the Portuguese in Northern Africa will be
defined by the Portuguese chroniclers as the “war fought” (guerra guerreada;
torna fuye). At the end, it was, as João Gouveia Monteiro who points out, "the
medieval variant of the ‘guerrilla’, this age-old way of war still commonly
practiced by the so-called primitive peoples, based on armed actions that imply
non-reciprocity and are related to surprise attacks and ‘sleights of hand’ ".
Fought to avoid the enormous risks arising from the great camp battles, but
carried out with sufficient military potential to cause significant damage to
the enemy on several fronts, it was here the most usual way of warfare, together
with the siege war - both offensive and defensive siege manoeuvres - and the
example of what had already happened in Iberia during the Reconquista. In
fact, it will be necessary to get to the 16th century, the year of 1514, to come upon the first pitched battle in Moroccan territory between the Portuguese and
Moroccan armies40
The garrisons of the Portuguese strongholds besides their defensive
functions, tried to establish a “no man’s land” around the fortresses by means of
highly destructive and intimidating warfare actions. The permanent condition
of endemic war, resulting from a number of “cavalcades”, “surprise attacks”
and “raids” within Muslim territory (military expeditions not always easy to
distinguish; they mostly concerned the social status of the participants and
the purpose of these actions). It also resulted from the Portuguese noble men’s
need to perform great feats in order to obtain more “honour and wealth” for
their families, obtained not only from loots and captures but mainly from the
granting of favours by the King.
In fact, it was a way of making war through sudden attacks carried out
by the cavalry, where the surprise element was prevalent. The ambushes and
traps were part of this warfare, the “torna fuye” being a frequently used tactic of
combat and very similar to the one used by the light cavalry in Iberia. It
consisted of simulating an attack on the enemy’s forces with a small body of
cavalrymen in order to lure them to a place where the bulk of the Portuguese
cavalry remained hidden; the soldiers attacked without warning and devastated
the enemy.
The action of the crossbowmen was also very important as constitutive
elements of the innumerable cavalcades, entries (entradas) and raids that
marked the first half of the 15th century. In fact, throughout this period, the
crossbowmen equipped with cranequin and stirrup crossbows, as they were
lighter and easier to prepare41, were included in most military expeditions
carried out on Moor soil, and their number varied according to the number
of horses. They restrained the counter-attacks of the enemy after the attacks
by the Portuguese cavalry equipped with spears and swords, or during the
retreats, while helping defend their captures.
Exceptionally, their number amounted to several hundreds, as occurred
in 1416, in an ambush set by the Moors near Ceuta. Then D. Pedro de Meneses
mobilized most of his soldiers to help the cavalry that was retreating, while
positioning them between the fortress and the location of the ambush. He
ordered the soldiers "to shoot alternately in order to put the Moors always
under fire"42. D. Duarte de Meneses, his son, would later adopt and improve
this tactical manoeuvre on the numerous cavalry charges and “entries” onto
Moor territories; his peers praised him on the way he organised "his troops
of crossbowmen"43. The crossbowmen were therefore an excellent support
to the cavalry and the foot soldiers for their guerrilla actions, characterised
by their speed and violence wherever the surprise element was fundamental.
Equally common were the “entries” and surprise attacks onto enemy
camp, followed by raids on farms and houses and the capture of people in order
to lower their morale and to cause economic damage on them, as well as the
loss of human lives. The Portuguese learned with the local people how to carry
out a mobile war; they were forced to lighten up their cavalry, initially very
heavy for the climate and the physical geography of Northern Africa. They
started using Spanish horses (light horses), almost exclusively, as they were
much more fit to raids and ambushes. Later on, this feature would also be
very important in India, mainly in Goa, Bassein and Daman, where their light
horses became extremely efficient.
The captains of the strongholds, or some noblemen appointed by them,
conducted these operations, and the commanding officers helped them
reconnoitre the land. The military expeditions included several men armed with
spears or swords (the noblemen), as well as equestrians using a crossbow or
a firearm, and the foot soldiers; with the exception of the noble men, the
guide (adail) conducted them. The most important military operations were
sometimes extended to many leagues; this fact afforded more pillages as
well as greater risks. In this instance, some cavalrymen and crossbowmen
that had remained in the fortress supported them during their retreat, waiting
for them on previously appointed places. When they were inside the fortress,
they divided the booty.
Equally important were the “maritime assaults” (saltos) launched onto
the coastal settlements, not only for the frequency they were inflicted but also
because they allowed the widening of the scope of their troops. These attacks
were amphibian military operations that transported the infantry soldiers by
boat, and disembarked them at night in solitary places near their intended
target. There, they remained ambushed until daybreak; at that time, they
hurled themselves over the enemy forces to avoid the retreat of the villagers,
in order to make as many prisoners as they could. Afterwards, the soldiers
ran away transporting their plundering to the ship, thus avoiding the
confrontation with occasional reinforcements of the local people.
As mentioned before, this kind of amphibian operations along the North
African coast, as well as the successive episodes of the siege and attack on
the Muslim strongholds, would later on become extraordinary important on
the Eastern seas, especially for the establishment and consolidation of the
Portuguese presence. These operations supported many of their military
triumphs and contributed decisively for a quick establishment of the fortresses’
network that, operating in articulation with their fleet, were the basis of the
“Estado da India”.
The Moroccan fortresses were, throughout this period, a training field
where the Portuguese soldiers practised and improved their knowledge on
the defence of the fortresses. There, they made contact with the technology and
the technique of siege combat, a characteristic of the Arabic war where the
mining and countermining techniques were very important; this fact would
be very useful in the Far East when, once more, the Portuguese had to confront the Muslim armies, especially the Turkish.

In regards to the besieging war, the Portuguese developed a more accurate
technique of organizing their camping ground44 and using the offensive system
of stands45, mobile towers and elevated platforms; they also developed the
efficiency of their field gunpowder artillery with more and better cannons
and gunners46. It allowed them to successfully confront the Moroccan forces
throughout approximately one century and gave them a significant advantage
over other countries, when they arrived at the Indian Ocean."

Portuguese Art of War Northern Morocco during the 15th century
By Vitor Rodrigues


Ok I’m overwhelmed by these facts of the Portuguese’s history that I didn’t know. Now I’m going comment some quotes and try to give an impartial and fair opinion:

So, here it says that these mounted warriors were basically farmers on horses who on those times were obligated to go and raid into Moor territory from May to the rainy seasons for sacking or looting the enemy’s borders (basically they were kind of skirmishers). Meaning that they were not part of the main forces, despite they were very important at it says on the next quote:

So important in fact, that they existed on the same level as the knights that made up the potentates’ hosts with a difference—they were not professionals in the sense that their military activity was not a full-time occupation.

And also seems like they existed on the early Reconquista period, before the end of thirteenth century.

Basically they kept the same strategy, and seems that was on these wars where they switched their heavy cavalry for light. At the point of using foreign horses (Spanish) cause were lighter and I guess faster than Portuguese horses who were meant to be the heavy cavalry I suppose.

Interesting to know they were equestrians using crossbow. So I guess they were shooting from their horses?

In Conclusion:

I was focusing on the “official” cavalry on the Reconquista period. But given the fact that the Portuguese’s golden medieval era was on the 15th century seems more logic to include an light cavalry unique unit for this civilization.
Also it will be more accurate because Portuguese on AoE2 it’s a civilization with strong gunpowder units, which can build “feitorias” and also caravels. It’s obvious the developers focused on this period of the history.

Now for the unit light cavalry, I won’t support the idea of the “Cavaleiro Vilão” not just because of the inaccurate time period, but also because it was a recurrent unit that was used mainly for skirmishes.
Actually it reminds me a bit of the “Tarkan” from the Huns.
Maybe on AoE4 they could add this unit, if further they put a season system, the “Cavaleiro Vilão” could be available from half of spring to the autumn, created from villagers. That would be a huge feature both for gameplay and historic accuracy.

Also a bonus for the knight on feudal age would be both fair and accurate for the Portuguese heavy cavalry of the Reconquista times I think.

I think the light cavalry should be gunpowder, but the Spanish has already this unit (Conquistador) so maybe the idea of a Light Crossbow Cavalry sounds both unique and historically accurate.

What do you thing?

Btw thanks for the interesting text, if you know more source of the Portuguese military historic facts like that I will appreciate. It can be written on Portuguese as well. :slightly_smiling_face: :grinning:


And what they meant with “torna fuye”? I didn’t find anything about that. Just something similar (“toca e foge”, touch and flee) but I’m not sure if it’s the same strategy.


By no means it should be a main unit.
I understand what you are saying.

I also prefer the navy/gunpowder focus, but please, no organ guns!

If you check a thread I made on AoE3 about Portugal Historical Referencing, I have a few books that I recommend and a few free pdf aswell with a lot of great information.
Unfortunately it focus a bit more 15th to 17th century as it is my preferred area of study.


I feel like a raiding unit that can’t be upgraded in the mid-to late game would work well to represent Portuguese light cavalry.
To make gunpowder unique units, you need to research pricey technologies, giving you an awkward transition into more powerful units, thus giving a window where Portuguese are vulnerable, which would work towards asymmetric balance and represent these two phases of Portuguese history too.
Imo Portugal would make sense to add along with other Indian civs in an India-themed expansion. It could play an important secondary role in the later stages of Indian campaigns.

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It’s not a bad idea, a raiding unit that can be just useful on the early-to mid game.

I understand but giving the fact that they already allow the Spanish unique unit (Conquistador) can be created without the need of technologies then for Portuguese applies the same condition.

But rather than that I prefer the idea of Crossbow Light Cavalry as I said before. But just if this kind of cavalry actually existed on the real Portuguese army.

Maybe if there would be some feature like mercenaries or something. But I’m not sure cause Portugal was actually fighting against Indians, right? So doesn’t make too much sense.

Yes Portugal did have some Crossbow Cav.

Best early unique units for Portugal would be Besteiros do Conto (Crossbowmen) that can be upgraded late game to Espingardeiros do Conto (arquebus)

Cavaleiro Vilao instead of Light Cav (let’s say medium armored cav), and ranged Crossbow cav.

Castle Age Caravel as unique unit with the Nau Upgrade on Imperial.

Oh and the crossbowmen would poison the bolts with: Helleborus foetidus - Wikipedia


Is it possible to see organ gun again ? :thinking:

Sure, maybe with the French or English.


Not with Portuguese???

I never saw a mention of an Organ Gun used by the Portuguese ever, historically speaking.

It’s like having the Polish Hussar but with Camels.

Now the English, the French and Italians used it, not the Portuguese.

What Portugal used was Breach Loading Swivel guns.


I meant as a civ in an expansion where more Indian civs are present!


Yes, I misunderstood what you said but then I realized thanks to TalVheet and posted my opinion about it but seems that got deleted…


A mod must have made a bit of a cleanup after a less acceptable comment was made.

Like I posted on other thread, Portugal on an expansion with Middle Eastern, Indian and Southeast Asian civ would make sense.
Really almost anywhere except north america probably.


There’s an issue, I’m pretty sure that the Breach Loading Swivel guns were exclusively mounted on ships and weren’t used on the battlefield.