Edit : The topic as shifted we started by talking about portuguese cavalry and later in this post started talking about the general balance
Is there a reason Portuguese have bad cavalry?
In my mind, we can approach the issue from two sides, from a historical (and thematical) point of view and from a balance standpoint. I am no expert in either field but I thought I’d share my thought either way.
As far as I know, Portugal always had good cavalry. Their horses are known to be quite sturdy, strong, and obedient even to this day. The quality of their horses is quite on par with the Spanish horses (I won’t debate which of the Lusitano or Andalusian breed is the best, they are very similar and both have been used in war to great effect). (obviously, because the countries are so close to each other)
Portugal also has had multiple orders of mounted knights in its history. Though it is less well known.
Now, we could argue and be quite right that Portugal in Aoe:2 was added in African kingdoms for a reason. And few horses were transported inside ships because it was hard and travel by boat usually meant horse would need a few months to a year to be back in shape after a long journey on the sea. That could explain why we don’t see Portugal with a large number of horses. If that is the reason then one would have to ask why is it that the Spanish have access to so many mounted units in their tech tree when part of their identity in the game is them fighting with the Aztecs which are also quite a long way by boat (maybe they don’t need that hussar upgrade, just sayin’…).
From a civ balance perspective, I would argue that the Portuguese civ does not risk becoming broken and they should have access to the paladin. This has great implications. Especially when their units cost less gold. I am aware of it but it would leave Portugese’s weaknesses pretty much unchanged in the early game where they struggle the most with only a few relevant bonuses.
Knowing their horses are strong but not particularly known for their speed, leaving them without hussars seems fair.
I would like to know your thoughts on the matter, tell me if a forget something important or if I am flat out wrong on one aspect, I would be very interested.
Thanks for the read!