Siege engine alternatives for Mesoamericans

I have a love-hate relationship with the Mesoamerican and Incan civs. I love that they exist, but I can’t get past the fact that they’re given siege engines. Why deny them cavalry and gunpowder, but give them gratuitously-inaccurate wheeled units? The profusion of siege engines in Dos Pilars is ludicrous. Whenever I play as a Meso or Incan civ, I refuse to create any siege units – which makes the games a lot longer and harder. But what if siege engines were replaced with unique human units?

Here are a few ideas for unit that could help siege a city, sans wheels. I have no attachment to the names I’m using, they’re simply descriptive.

Sappers – strong attack against buildings (especially walls), very weak against units. Highly armored against arrows, weak against all other damage. A human equivalent of rams. Perhaps 5 sappers deal the same damage as one ram.

Occupier – a unit that can be garrisoned inside enemy towers. Very susceptible to damage of all forms, but once inside a tower, can’t be evicted by the enemy. An occupier inside a tower can fire arrows back at the enemy. Up to five occupiers can be garrisoned in an enemy tower. An effective way of neutralising enemy towers. The enemy can choose to delete the tower, killing the occupiers in the process, or move their operations away from the seized tower. The trick is getting such weak units into the tower in the first place.

Trap-setters – a weak, poorly armored unit that can build single-use booby traps which inflict damage to enemy units that walk over them. Traps are harmless to units of the same player. A trap setter can build multiple traps, although each takes time to construct. There is a limit to how many traps a player can have at once (eg. max 10 traps). Imagine being able to set traps in terrain pinch-points, or outside enemy gates, or the frustration of having enemies build traps outside your own gates! Perhaps (and this may be taking it too far) enemy traps are visible to archers only (who can neutralize them from a distance with arrows), but invisible to all other units?

These units could be trained in a new building that replaces the Siege Workshop. An academy of some form? Obviously, none of these units could be used alone to win a game. They’d simply help lever an advantage for the regular infantry and archery units to go do their thing more effectively beyond enemy fortifications.

Whether or not such tactics existed in Mesoamerican warfare, I don’t actually know. But they’re slightly more plausible than hulking great wheeled contraptions that definitely never existed in the New World. It’d make a HUGE difference to the way the game is played when Meso civs are involved, in ways I can’t even imagine yet. And personally, I think a bit of shake-up is a good thing. I’d love to see how gameplay evolves when sophisticated guerrilla warfare becomes a late-game option. Defending against these units and tactics could require a whole new game strategy.

Thinking alternatively, a siege could be turned into a battle of attrition by damaging the enemy’s economy rather than their military. Maybe introduce an Imperial Age technology that give Mesoamerican and Incan monks the ability to ‘Cripple’ an enemy’s economic buildings (instead of converting them). A crippled building or farm accrues resources at 25% the rate of normal (or only accepts 25% of the resources a villager delivers it, the rest is wasted). ‘Crippling’ can be done from a distance, like conversion. So now if you can’t get past the enemy fortifications, you have the option of starving them out – as long as you can get your monks close enough to do their job.

If not this, then there should be SOMETHING to make Meso monks more powerful on the battlefield.

I’d pay good money to buy a DLC that fixed the problems with the Meso civs (and gives the Inca their own unique architecture, long overdue), although I suspect this sort of dramatic restructure would need to come in the form of a massive patch to the main game, rather than an optional expansion.

What do you think? Would you like to see siege engines replaced with human units for certain civs?


Balance reasons.
You can not give them Cav, if you give the a fast Infantry unit that mimics Cavalry, but without Siege, any non-Mayans civs would be screwed against defenses.

They could have, maybe, given them Regional Siege units, like a Mantlet instead of a Scorpion, or a Hive Thrower instead of a Mangonel, but then they would have to rebalance all those, and Eagles are already hard to balance as it is, since most of their upgrades also affect a commonly made Trash unit and they all need UTs to actually achieve the efficiency level of actual Cavalry.

The devs chose the easiest route on Siege, and to be honest, I am glad they did.

You really would not want to play without Trebs, for example, as that would mean 2 Castles in range of each other would be almost impossible to overcome.

The simple answer is balance. the game has always taken balance and gameplay over historical accuracy
take for example the william wallace campaign where you play as the losing side and win.
its also the reason meso american civs have steel, crossbows, and arbalests, among other things.
its also why a civ like Chinese doesn’t have much in the way of gunpowder despite inventing it, or the fact that they aren’t allowed something like 3 times the population of the rest of the civs.


You might want to refuse arbalesters and champions too? And refuse to research plate mail armor :smirk: