Sicilians should be able to build *one* donjon in dark age (no prod. or arrows)

Sicilians should be able to build one donjon in dark age, it can’t produce army or shoot arrows. This would make their opening a bit smoother

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There wouldn’t be the need to limit the number: it’s already restricted by the starting resources.
If you put vills on stone in Dark Age in order to build many Donjons you won’t be able to go in Feudal in a proper time.
But yes, Donjons without arrows could be a good idea to make Sicialians opening smoother.

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If it can’t produce or shoot arrows what’s the point of it? Just so its built and ready to go to produce in Feudal when you get there?

here is my insight which i am confident in, problems and solutions for sicilians.

about your post it self, all i can say is this, i saw hera suggesting this but it’s really not gonna do anything. at best it can protect your villagers from a dark age rush by having them garrison it but the dark age rush would still be happy to hit the donjon 'possibility destroy it " while your villagers are either idle inside or having to ungarrison and run away. at least a barracks can make units too so you have that issue as well.

sicilians issues does not come from the “awkward start” becuase of this specific reason.

let me explain what i think is the issue of sicilians.

1- there is nothing they are better at than any other civ, their skirms in fuedal and castle are indeed strong. their archers as well, and their knights in castle age are the only knights that can actually hardcounter pikes. however, the lack of a proper eco means you don’t need to counter their units with counter units, you can counter their units with mirror units. for example, u don’t need skirms to beat their archers if you can use archers to beat their archers as they have no eco to support their archer numbers. same logic, you can beat sicilian knights with knights.
and the imperial age is an issue by it self which i will give it’s own point later.

2- the easiest way to compare or explain sicilians weakness is to compare it to teutons, sicilians farm bonus is actually the same as teutons but with a delayed return. so early game a sicilian farm will last about 20 mins with horse collar instead of 10 which means every farm for sicilians will contain 40%ish more food. on paper this sounds like a good deal but it comes with 2 big issues if you compare it to teutons.

first issue:
the farm payback is so delayed which means you effectively have no CIV eco before the 14 minutes mark "assuming both opponents have horse collar’ and you will start feeling the eco after the 14 minutes mark. then you get an advantage between the 14 mins and 20 mins mark where your farms expire but your opponent farms are still 8 mins away from expiring. what does this mean ? it means if take into account your opponent civ bonus, they will have a much better start with that bonus, you will have a window between 14-20 mins mark where they have paid wood again and you did not, you will go back to being weaker at 20-28 minutes… and so on.
the way to navigate around this issue for sicilians is actually not being done even by pros. which is to move villagers from wood after you build your horse collar farms and put those villagers into something else keeping enough villagers on wood to gather enough wood for your military / farms since your villagers will have 6 extra minutes to collect the required wood. while this in it self is a strategy, it is still a problem since it does mean your eco is gonna have to keep moving all over the place and it is so unusual it is hard for new players to adapt.

second issue:
here is where the comparison to teutons comes. first let me highlight the fact that if you get the discount upfront like in teutons case, it allows you to build dark age farms effeciently with very good return on the wood spent. as you build “almost” 2 dark age farms for the cost of one.

further more, not only sicilians payment is delayed, but they can’t even get their payment without an upfront cost which is horsecollar it self. in other words for sicilians to have an eco bonus they have to pay 150 rss at the START of feudal age. do u understand how problematic that is ? it’s like you have to pay the price of 2 scouts on a tech that pays you nothing until the end of dark age. if you skip horse collar at that point you effectively have no eco bonus, and if you get horse collar you effectively have no strong feudal opening. which means if you get horse collar to feel your civ bonus you will have to go defensive nad rely on your skirms/spears to fend enemies of “which they can and will do as your skirms and spears are very strong compared to enemies” but you are still forced into a defensive position and cornered.

and again if you skip horse collar, then the only thing you have is scouts that can beat spears, but can’t beat scouts cuz enemies will either have better scouts or more scouts “or both better and more like in magyars case”
or archers that are a little resilliant to skirms but still can’t beat skirms or at best goes even. this is assuming skirms ahve 4 armor and you have 5 damage means you are doing 1 damage. and skirms bonus damage is cut by 33% so they do 2 damage and 2 from base damage for a total of 4 “instead of the typical 5” but reload slower.
so skirms do 2 hits for 8 damage vs sicilians when your archers do 3 hits for 3 damage. it’s something but it’s not enough without an eco bonus.

so again, skipping horse collar makes you weaker than other civs in general, having horse collar forces you on the defensive.

this issue is easily solved if sicilians are given free horse collar, and no it won’t make them op but it will overlap with another civ bonus which i assume the developers would hate. that said crop rotation is useless for sicilians so developers can give them free horse collar and take away crop rotation.

3- as i promised, time to talk about sicilians imperial age. sicilians imperial age is actually one of THE worst imo currently. too many storng new civs very good buffs for old civs. and the only thing sicilians have to compete is the 33% less bonus damage taken.

so lets talk about this 33% less bonus damage taken, what does it do currently? what is it supposed to do in general? and why is it not enough ?

if you do to scenario editor, and play around a little with normal FU paladins/ Frank FU paladins and put them against FU helbs. then compare to the result to sicilians cavalier. you will notice that the FU paladins will still do a better job than sicilians cavalier

if you do the same thing but against archers this time, some archers will take longer to kill a sicilian cavalier, but it’s offset by paladins damage and extra health. and if we are being real there won’t be a scenario where you have 40 paladins and your opponent is hoping to beat you with 60 archers. there will always be a meat shield and most likely spears.

so lets get into the questions, what does the bonus do currently? with sicilians lacking final archer armor their skirms are not very good, their archers are gonna take more damage from FU skirms than any other archers 'cuz they will take 2 extra base damage and reduce 1.33 bonus damage" and their infantry will lose to any generic FU champions. and although they are more resistant to gunpowder they will still lose hard to gunpowder. and as we established earlier their cavalier will not perform as good as a paladin anyway.

all that said, all sicilian units will lose to mirror units and to counter units in imperial age. which means any cavalier civ beats sicilians cavalier in a mirror army comp. any paladin civ as well, even poles winged hussars will win. any archer civ will win vs sicilian archers, any skirm civ will win vs sicilian skirms. and same is against sicilian infantry.

all that to say sicilians can neither win against any mirror army comp or any counter army comp and they also have a lackluster tech tree 'no hand cannons/Bombard cannons"

so what is the sicilian 33% less bonus damage taken doing in imperial age? nothing simply.
second question and the answer is short, what is this bonus supposed to do?
it is supposed to make sicilians function better against counter units than other civs does.

why is 33% not enough? simply because even at 50% sicilian archers without final armor will still lose to any other archers and will still take “same damage this time” as any other archers from skirms. meaning skirms will do 2 less bonus damage to sicilians archers but 2 more base damage. sicilians skirms will be stronger vs skirms but they will still be bad vs CA “especially CA civs” and not very strong vs arbs. sicilian champions and sergeants will still not beat hand cannons. and sicilian cavalier will become maybe as good as paladins , and at best “slightly” better than paladins vs helbs. and they should be the best vs helbs “after byz cataphract”
the order of how good cavs vs helbs should be, cataphract>sicilians> the rest. but as it is now sicilians are lacking behind all FU paladin civs.

now some might ask why did they nerf it from 50% to 33% in the past?
i was not actually playing but i can assume 2 answers.
1- the new more powerful civs / old civs that got recently buffed did not exist.
2- becuase of how over powered would 50% be in fedual/castle age. sicilians knights are already so strong vs pikemena and their skrims, eliteskirms, xbows, archers as well as scouts are already decent or strong in fuedal/castle.

so the solution is simple, you make it a scaling value such as it would become 33% in feudal / castle and 50% in imperial.

and how do you counter them in imperial ? same as i said. their archers will still be countered by skirms, their light cavs are still countered by spear-line, their infantry are still countered by hand cannons.
thier cavaliers will be LESS countered by helbs but at least soft countered. and thier cavaliers will still be hard countered by any knight civ, camel civ, infantry civ, poles winged hussars… etc. in other words their cavaliers will still lose to mirror comp or brute force comp.

conclusion,

1- sicilians suffer from the upfront cost of horse collar making them weaker than any other civ early, give them free horse collar.

2- sicilians less bonus damage is good in feudal and castle but does not do anything in imperial, make it 33% feudal/castle and 50% imperial.

Building it in Dark Age allows you to build the Stable/Archery Range as soon as you reach Feudal Age.
By now, you have to build the Donjon when you are Feudal, and only then you can build Military buildings.
And you could even hide you villagers in Dark Age, similar to Khmer houses.

It won’t resolve all the problems for the Sicilians, but it would be fair.

Although, in reality, they could build their Barrack like any other civ.

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