Many of the royal house units are painfully generic and lack any connection whatsoever to the royal houses they supposedly represent. The units should not just be “Royal ____” without any connection to the dynasties they serve. There are numerous units from history that could replace the most uninspired royal house rosters. In order to be halfway historical, the Habsburg, Oldenburg, Vasa, and Bourbon need a rework of their units. The rest of the royal houses have solid units but could use a few minor adjustments to techs, abilities, and names.
“Line Infantry” is waaay too generic and should be the name of a unit tag, not a unit itself. The musket infantry tag applies to units like Tomahawks and Gascenya which clearly don’t have muskets, so renaming that tag would improve clarity. The Line Infantry unit is also poorly designed with very unintuitive attack speeds. Line Infantry should be removed from the Habsburgs and reworked into a Lieb Guard for Oldenburg. Giving a different unit to Habsburgs would also conflict less with Bourbons who they often overlap with and also have a beefy musketeer unit.
Calling a unit “Dismounted Infantry” is beyond ridiculous. The concept of a dismounting unit is interesting, but this example does not do it justice. Mounted Infantry should be removed from the Habsburgs and reworked into a Chasseur for Bourbons.
Unlike the current generic units, Grenzers are about as Habsburg as it gets. Wikipedia even lists their “country” as the Habsburg monarchy. There is currently a Grenzer unit available through the Hungarian revolution, but Grenzers were overwhelmingly Slavs and Vlachs guarding the frontiers, not Hungarian. A Honvéd unit could be a replacement for the Hungarian revolution.
The Austrians regarded Grenzers to be something between light infantry and line infantry. They could conform to this description by being a heavy infantry unit with a ranged multiplier against other heavy infantry.
Houfnice were the original howitzers first used in Bohemia. They first appeared in the 1400s so they could even make sense as age 2 units. The howitzers produced by the Skoda Works in Bohemia continued to arm Austria-Hungary into the World Wars so the unit works for both the early and late Habsburg reign.
They would also be a nod to the AoE2 unit of the same name.
There is currently no example of a native artillery unit and the Royal Houses are the perfect opportunity to introduce one such as a Houfnice. Since it would be a zero population artillery unit, it could be limited to age 3 and possibly have some drawbacks like reduced ranged resist or slower firing rate.
Hunting was a prominent pastime for many royals and aristocrats, but there isn’t really a connection to Oldenburg. The closest connection is a modern Jager Corps and a Danish band. The unit itself is also pretty clunky with it losing its hunting ability with an upgrade, but still not being able to be trained in batches. An economic unit like the Royal Hunter would work best if it was shifted to Vasa to replace the Royal Arquebusier.
A “Northern Musketeer” simply isn’t a thing. There’s no history behind it, and it’s just a made up bland unit to fill a roster.
The Lieb Guard grew out of the Toy army of Peter the Great. Features like changing stats with stance and promotions would fit well for a highly trained royal unit, so Line Infantry could be reworked into this unit.
A Toy Army card for the Russians would be a great opportunity to ship them and possibly buff their infantry’s low stats.
Royal bodyguards are the ideal units for royal houses, and the Romanov branch of the Oldenburgs has the perfect potential unit in the Lieb Guard. These would be tanky musketeers that could have some of the features Habsburg Line Infantry currently do. They could even use the same skin as the Northern Musketeers.
Both Denmark and Russia have had marines since the 1600s. Adding a “Baltic” prefix would help distinguish them from the American Marine unit and give them a stronger connection to the northern domains of the Oldenburgs.
An infantry unit with some siege resist and bonuses against ships, buildings, and artillery. Similar to Darood Militia and United States Marines but more general purpose and close range. Most of the maps Oldenburg appears on are water maps so this unit synergizes well with that.
Honourable Mention: Snapphane
A Snapphane or Friskytter was a Scanian partisan that fought for Denmark against Swedish occupation. They would also be a fitting unit for the Danish Oldenburgs, but I think they should be reserved for being a unit for an actual Danish civ.
League of Armed Neutrality
This tech never made sense in the first place since it was about protecting neutral shipping against British searches and has nothing to do with hunters or land troops.
This tech could be reworked to grant Fishing Boats an attack proportional to the number of units onboard. Baltic Marines could also count as double when determining attack strength.
Royal Arquebusier is another wholly made up unit. There’s no connection between arquebusiers and royalty, much less a connection to Vasa.
Winged Hussars are awesome and appropriate for Vasa. However, if Poland is ever to be added, something else will need to take the place of this unit.
Sami Hunter or Royal Huntsman:
The Sami are a people from northern Scandinavia who subsist on reindeer hunting and herding. A Sami Hunter could represent them and take on the role the Royal Huntsmen currently fill. They would be more economic focused than Royal Hunters and could gather from livestock as well. The Sami use a suopunki lasso to capture reindeer. This could be incorporated by making them interact with animal herds in a unique way. Herds attacked by a Sami Hunter could run towards them instead of away. Their ranged attacks could also snare enemies similar to Bolas Warriors.
If Sami is too specific to one region, the existing “Royal Huntsman” could still fit for Vasa. Instead of upgrading to a “Royal Hunter” that can’t hunt, still isn’t batch trained, and is visually identical, it could instead be upgraded into the Karelian Jager that’s currently available via the Finland revolution. Jager means hunter, so it would simplify some translations, and Karelian Jaegers are already an economic unit that can gather most resources after a card is sent. The Finland revolution is also weak enough that giving Karelian Jagers the native tag wouldn’t be broken. Constructing buildings and gathering some resources could be gated behind the revolution.
Sami Hunters would be a mostly economic unit that can hunt and gather from livestock. They could also have a unique herding mechanic.
Alternatively, a more conservative approach would be to move the Royal Huntsman to Vasa. Its upgrade could instead be the Karelian Jager or they could forgo the ‘upgrade’ for the sake of simplicity.
There are several more obscure types of Polish cavalry that served similar roles to the Winged Hussars but might not make the cut for a Polish civ. Petyhorcy are one such type of cavalry.
The Pancerni were another type of Polish cavalry, but Jagelleon already has a Pancerni tech.
Petyhorcy could replace Winged Hussars if Poland were ever added.
As far as “Royal ____” units go, the Bourbon ones are the least objectionable. Royal Musketeers actually do have a historical basis and should be retained with some minor adjustments.
Dragoons also have a tenuous historical link to the Bourbons. During the persecution of Huguenots under Louis XV, a policy of billeting Dragoons in Huguenot households knowns as the Dragonnades was instituted. However, these were just regular Dragoons, and there was nothing royal about them.
The Habsburg Mounted/Dismounted Infantry is by far the most poorly named unit in the game, but it does possess some interesting mechanics. These mechanics could be preserved by giving them to a real historical unit such as a Chasseur. However, Chasseurs were French, not Habsburg, so they make more sense as a Bourbon unit.
Chasseurs were rapid action French and Belgian troops that functioned as both light cavalry and light infantry. The Mounted/Dismounted Infantry should be reskinned and given to Bourbons as a similar functioning unit with a much better name and historical basis.
The Musketeers of the Guard and Three Musketeers provide a strong justification for this unit. However, its design is rather poor. Its charged pistol attack is very redundant since it’s already armed with a musket.
The Royal Musketeer should lose its pistol charged attack and instead lean into the Three Musketeers theme. Their charged attack should be a piercing rapier attack (similar to a lance charge). This would also align better with their design of excelling in melee.
Royals Tax -> Dragonnades:
Royal Tax is an exceptionally uninspired and underwhelming tech. It should instead be replaced with a Dragonnades tech that would compensate for the loss of the Royal Dragoon unit.
Dragonnades: Each current and newly constructed house spawns a Dragoon
Maison du Roi:
Instead of shipping Royal Horsemen, this would ship Swiss Guards. The Swiss Guard were very notable for their defense of the French monarchy, to the point of being slaughtered while defending the Tuileries Palace.
Royal Horsemen are another poorly named and poorly designed unit. They are supposed to represent a royal guard, but their ability damages everything they come near. Their name is also terrible since it is extremely generic, and makes them easily confused for a royal house unit.
The Royal Horseman mechanics would be much better applied to Elephant units since it would help offset their pathing issues and would make much more sense thematically. Replacing Royal Horsemen with scaled up a White Elephant mercenary would make much more sense.
Shock Rider -> Rascian:
The unit itself is fine, Shock Rider is just a terrible name. They are supposed to be Serbo-Croatian, so renaming them something like Rascian would be better.
This Jagiellon unit needs a name change only.
Sacred Band Infantry:
These guys look way too similar to Black Brunswickers.
Folwarks is a good name for a tech, but its function is extremely boring. A more compelling bonus would be nice. Maybe Folwarks could be an actual building that is enabled by this tech.
Oktoberfest is another good name for a tech, but its function is also extremely boring. A more compelling bonus would be nice. Maybe this could ship a tavern and increase the Tavern build limit.
Leipzig Trade Fair:
I can’t see this ever being a beneficial tech. You’ll only ever want to sparingly buy and sell at the market since the exchange rates aren’t great. Spending another 300 resources to reset this once seems like a bad deal. I think this should also have the benefit of passively returning the market rates back to the equilibrium values.
The House of Phanar appears on some landlocked maps, so this tech should probably be locked on those maps to prevent people from accidentally researching it.
A Greek revolution needs to be an actual revolution available to Ottomans, Italy, and Malta. Its very disappointing that the revolutions have been so badly neglected. They had enormous potential, but they have become anathema since the USA and Mexico broke the game’s consistency.
Phanar should have a different ability that replaces the Greek Revolution.