Indians: Great idea! A friend of mine pointed out the India AI personality Ackbar would never say “By the Gods” since he was Muslim (I checked, there’s a number of posts criticizing this oversight xO ). So the mosque with associated mosque upgrades would be a great idea and thematically fit. It could even add livestock pen to train goats for additional exp trickle. Ottomans could serve a similar role to the Indians as Dutch serve to Japanese or German/Russia-factory serve to Chinese (e.g. resource and economic buildings for treaty).
Ottomans: I really like the unified card like Liberation March. Also, since the Nizam, Spahi, and Great Bombards are such great home-city-shipments, I would really like to see something similar to the USA (New Jersey Seaports) or China (Confucius Gift) or Japanese (Spanish consulate) with “very fast home city shipments”. I think this would add a lot more uniqueness to the Ottoman play style, being able to flexibly send any of these very powerful home city shipment cards at a ‘reasonable speed’. (For example, buff the “Silk Road” home city card to expedite shipments by -50%).
Dutch: I don’t really play them, but I do get the impression that they’re “working as intended”. That is, you get the benefit of a much larger army for a few minutes, but the trade-off is you better win within X minutes (due to resource stockpile), otherwise you lose. The attraction and uniqueness of the Dutch is their larger military population and automatic resource gathering with lower villager limit; I feel like this concept is very hard to balance, and I’d personally prefer a solution that doesn’t have villager-count. Maybe offer a card with a huge trade-off like “Add 5.00 to Bank Build Limit, but Reduce Maximum Population by -10”. Or since the Dutch did a lot of capital investment, maybe add a card that every building (up to 100) grants a small gold trickle, with the numbers balancing out. But no matter the solution, sadly the only “true balance” is gutting everything that makes them unique.
Aztecs: I suggested a mechanic for them where “an upgrade” (e.g. age4 card or age-up-politician, etc.) would improve the Aztec Hero’s aura to grant resources. It’s the worst Warchief aura in the game for treaty, and basically gives 0 value (3x exp often leaves you with 10+ queue of home city shipments). And this would give the Aztecs a little more ‘personality’/uniqueness than a resource-trade card.
→ Treaty improvement suggestion for Aztec Hero - #2 by Ekdal1378
Also, Russia is another civilization that often appears at the bottom of treaty tier lists. Although I don’t have any great ideas for how to preserve their civilization trait (cheaper + weaker units) and buffing them. Maybe, considering the Huge population Russia had (their population dominance only fell in the 20th century, long after the time period of AOE3), they could get their population limit increased to 210? This would grant them a similar military power as other civilizations, while keeping their weaker units. Although, now reflecting on it, I wonder if Russia is SUPPOSED to be bad at the beginning of the fight, and just persevere and then succeed much later when both player’s stockpiles are depleted…
I’ve formalized that treaty gameplay basically has 3 phases. Phase 1: Boom. Phase 2: Battle of “population efficiency” under a limited period of ‘infinite resources’. During this phase, civilizations with units that are very strong and very expensive shine. The goal here is to push hard and exhaust your opponent’s Boom-stockpile before yours depletes and push them to the next phase. Phase 3: battle of “resource efficiency” when your military expenditure must match your resource gather rates (though most players quit before even getting to this phase). It’s important to note that when civilizations get balanced for treaty, all 3 phases have to be considered (developers may intentionally give a civilization a great phase-1-Boom, like access to a resource-trade, and a weak phase-3-battle-efficiency, by not granting access to good infinite-shipment-cards).
What do ya’ll think?