Suggestions to make Ports more interesting

There has been some discussions on this forum about how the Europeans are receiving special treatment in detriment to other civs. While overall I do agree there is a case to be made there, I also believe that some European civs (Brits, Spanish and, especially, Ports) were left behind in these more recent Updates (I’d go as far as saying that the update that Ports received in October was probably the 3rd weakest of the bunch). There’s also a surpring lack of threads being made that talk about this specific subject and that’s the reason why I decided to write down my suggestions. I don’t expect all of my ideas to make it into the final product but I hope that at least some of them make it. Without further ado, let’s begin:

  1. New Unique Units

I know everyone is already rolling their eyes, but this is the easiest way to create interest in a civ update. Don’t worry, I’m not going to put a billion suggestions here that change every single unit in the civ, but I’m going to put here 3 base unit changes:

  • Fidalgo: Replaces the Hussar through the [Restoration] Card. Stats: 340 Health; 6.25 Speed; 27 Attack; 18 Siege Attack; 48 sec Train time; Cost of 145 Food 85 Coin; Has Deflection; All other stats are similar to those of a Hussar. My intentions for this are for the unit to be pop efficient, but also very resource inefficient, so that you’d be discouraged from making them in Age II but, after gathering sufficient resources in Age III, you’d consider pairing it with your Musketeers. Reasons for this change: 1 - The Portuguese were one of the few nations to never officially describe their Light Cavalry as Hussars; 2 - I really wanted to represent a Portuguese unit that wasn’t from the XIX Century and this sounded like the better choice; 3 - It solves one of the civs problems in its design: it lacks a high Health melee unit for its frontline and it lacks a unit that could pair well with their Royal Guard Musketeer.

  • Nau: Replaces the Galleon. Stats: 40 Ranged Attack; 1700 HP; Cost: 350 Wood 350 Coin; Gets Attack Promotions; All other stats are similar to those of a Galleon. Reasons for this change: Overall, I felt that some civs that were powerful maritime empires lack any form of naval unique units or uniqueness to their navy in general. This is especially the case for both Portuguese and British (Spanish have a lot of fantastic Cards that buff their Navy, so I’m not counting them here). With this unit, at least I can solve that issue on one civ.

  • Espalhafato: Unique Cannon that is accessed only through the HC (they can be trained with a Card in Age IV). Stats: 380 HP; 6 Pop Cost; 3.5 Speed; 32 LOS; 140 Bombard Attack; Range: 25; Other stats similar to a Falconet. Reasons for this addition: I only have two reasons for adding this unit: first, there’s not a single Unique Unit in the Portuguese roster that represents the empire in the early XVI century (there is ZERO evidence that the Portuguese ever used the Organ Gun, so it doesn’t count). Second, Ports always had some trouble in the mid game in sieging an enemy’s town (I know, that it’s because it’s supposed to be a defensive civ, but many recent defensive civs have the ability to have Cards that promote both defensive and offensive gameplay).

  1. New Unique Cards

While I’m going to put some unique Card Ideas here, I also would like to discuss some possible buffs for some of the Cards that were introduced in the October 2022 update:

  • [TEAM] Nonius (Age I): Reveals all water for 20 seconds. All ships get +12 LOS.
  • Jogo do Pau (Age I): Settlers gain +50% melee damage and +1 AoE in melee.
  • Quadrilheiros (Age I): Buildings have +5 LOS. When destroyed, they spawn a small number of Militia (1 for Military Buildings and Houses, 3 for TCs, 2 for every other Building [except Walls and Wall Hubs]);
  • Black Carrack Swords (Age II): Increases the melee attack of your Explorer, Crossbowman, Fidalgo, Pikeman and Halberdier by 10%.
  • Volta do Mar (Age II): Ships move 5% faster and Explorers can plant a Padrão, a large stone pillar that prevents enemy Settlers from gathering resources within it’s range. Padrões last 100 seconds and there can only be 1 of them at a time.
  • Berçeiros (Age II): 250 Coin Cost. Sends 3 Cannoneers and 1 Artillery Foundry. Allows Cannoneers to be recruited from Artillery Foundries and Taverns.
  • [INF] 1 Espalhafato (Age III): 300 Coin Cost
  • Restoration (Age III): 750 Coin Cost. Sends 5 Harquebusiers and allows them to be recruited in the Tavern. Replaces Hussars with Fidalgos.
  • [TEAM] Moors of Peace (Age III): 1000 Coin Cost. Sends 5 Zenata Riders.
  • Iron Cored Cannonballs (Age III): Caravels, Naus and Espalhafatos gain +2 Range.
  • Prazeiros (Age III): 400 Wood Cost. Sends 2 Askari. Sends 1 more Askari for each Mill and Estate owned.
  • Emboabas (Age III): 200 Food Cost. Sends 1 extra Explorer and 1 Gold Prospector Wagon. Explorers can now mine from Coin mines.
  • Goan Foundries (Age IV): 3000 Food Cost. Sends 2 Siege Elephants and 1 Artillery Foundry Wagon. Artillery Foundries produce Espalhafatos while idle (Espalhafatos take 200 seconds to be produced from an Artillery Foundry. Artillery Foundries are limited to 10, if you have more than that, the more recent one get destroyed).
  • Lusitano Horses (Age IV): All Cavalry is 5% faster. Fidalgos cost 10% less resources.

I have other ideas for Cards, but these were, in my opinion, the ideas that I thought the most about.
I’d also add some new blance changes for two Cards that I thought were way too underpowered for them to ever be used. Those are:

  • Carracks (Age III): personally, I’d make an Age II Card and instead of buffing Caravel’s HP by 15%, it’d increase their both their HP and Attack by 30%.
  • Naval Infantry (Age III): I’d have so that, for each Infantry unit inside a Ship, it’d Increase that ship’s Fire Rate by 0.5% and auto-Heal by 1HP/10 seconds/5 infantry units.
  1. The Nit-picky Stuff

This is the last portion of my post. While I thank the devs for the work done to all the civs, including the changes they made to Portuguese, there’s some things, including changes that they made that honestly botter me to no end. In this segment I’ve decided to include the 3 main ones, but there are a few others:

a) Renaming the Portuguese [TEAM] Improved Walls Card to something more interesting historically: I suggest renaming it to [TEAM] Lines of Torres Vedras.
b) Renaming the Church Tech Encomienda Manor (since it should be Spanish, to begin with) to either “Casa Grande” (based on the name that Portuguese fazendas were called in Brazil) or “Madeiran Sugar”. This one has been bothering me for years and it continues to surprise me that this simple change hasn’t been made yet.
c) Renaming the Portuguese Royal Guards and changing their skins. This has been a more recent problem and it might be just a personal pet peeve of mine but I HATE the fact that the Portuguese Royal Guard are based in the French “Portuguese Legion”. It really makes no sense, but since I also didn’t want the artist’s work to be thrown away, I came up with the best solution that I could think up:

  • First off, both the names and the skins for the Portuguese Royal Guards would have to be changed. I suggest the following:
    Portuguese Legionarios would be renamed to Fuzos, the nickname for the Portuguese Naval Fusiliers, and they would have a skin similar to the image bellow:

Portuguese Legion Dragoons would be renamed to Alorna’s Legionario and they’d have a skin similar to the image bellow:

  • Secondly, in order not to lose the skins that the devs made for the Portuguese in this last PUP, the French could be given a new Card called something like “Foreign Legions” in which they would be able to recruit a small batch of Foreign Legions from their Town Center, p.e. (Portuguese Legion, Legion of the Danube, Swiss Legion, Tirailleurs du Po, Prussian Legion, Joseph Napoleon’s Legion, Lithuanian Tatars, Irish Legion, Albanian Legion and Dutch Grenadiers).

d) This is something very minor, but can you please rename the Cassador to Caçador? You’ve done it for the Ottoman units, why not for the one historical Portuguese Unique Unit in the game?

  1. In Conclusion

I don’t want the devs to feel attacked by this post and I even thank them for some of the changes that they’ve made for them. These are just some of my ideas for a civ that represents my country and that I believe that a better job could’ve been done. I’m not claiming that all my ideas are perfect and I don’t expect the devs to implement all of them but I’ve been somewhat disapointed with the changes (or lack thereof) done to Portuguese, especially when civs like the Dutch have been consistently getting new Cards almot every single recent update. I know that both the Asian and Native American Civs have also been aching for some extra changes but, not only do I know little about the history and culture of these civs, I’m not personally involved with these civs as I am with Ports (for obvious reasons). I welcome any constructive discussion in the comments bellow this post.


I’d be careful about this. Ports are good late game and this seems like a late game buff and an early game nerf.

I’m not sure about the stats for the cost, but the idea of a unique ship for Portugal is cool. What I might consider is basically make it a galleon with a broadside attack. That could be fun

Adding a cannon seems like a massive change, I’d be careful about that too.

I’d say please no on “Quadrilheiros”, it would buff the Portuguese turtle, which even as a Port main I’d prefer to avoid.

Regarding “Iron Cored Cannonballs” giving the Portuguese extra culv range would be WAY to good.

“Goan Foundries” free cannons would probably be overpowered. Even on the expensive card.

“Emboabas” also might be an issue as it strengthens the turtle.

In all, I like the unique ship. I also like your suggestion for “Berçeiros”, “[TEAM] Nonius” and “Black Carrack Swords” (though I might change this one to +2 or 3 melee damage for all Portuguese infantry and cavalry).

I’d tend to say pick a small number of changes and just go with that. I appreciate that your suggestions don’t involve nerfing their Dragoons or the other things I enjoy about Portugal. I really like Organ Guns, Cassadors and Dragoons, and people talking about replacing the Organ Gun is disappointing to me because they’re one of the funnest units in the game, and are part of what I like about the civ (even if they’re historically inaccurate)

Interesting thread and anything to ake the Ports less boring is good in my books.

Regarding the Organ Gun, I’ve probably missed any mention of it, however would you still want to see it?

Personally I think it should just be Mercenary artillery unit (give it a Polish or Ukrainian voiceover as Eastern European powers generally used organ guns longer) - that way it gets rid of something that really doesn’t scream Portuguese plus allows everyone the chance to hire a unique artillery unit in Merc form.

I was going to suggest Berços as the replacement, however your suggest HC shipment with the similar name does a better job - Cannoneers are somewhat vague and could pass as either a heavy matchlock or Berços gun I guess.

With that in mind, the good ol’ Falconet should be available for Ports, especially considering that was their forte in using and producing in real life.

The one other point I’d like to make is whilst the Nau is a great suggestion, it is after all a Carrack, so why not replace the Caravel instead as it’s closer ship type? A minor quibble is that the model of the standard Caravel is actually a Carrack! Maybe one day this could be rectified (of course leaving that Carrack model for the Portuguese).

The Organ gun is personally one of the things I like about Portuguese. I personally would be strongly against removing it. The Portuguese combo of Goon + Organ gun is so fun and it’s more viable than a lot of other Art + Light cav

I like the idea of the fidalgo. I can see ports getting a sidegrade to the hussar like ottomans. The encomienda manor thing has always bugged me as it’s one of the more egregious examples of the legacy devs just making portugal spain because they didn’t know what else to do with it.

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I mean, is it really an early nerf? I don’t see many Portuguese players building a Stable in Age 2 for Hussars, so nothing really changes in the end. About it being a late game buff, I can kinda (?) see it, but you got to admit that Ports don’t really have many options for unit comps in late game, just Dragoon/Caçador/Heavy Cannon. With this unit, they could actually give a good use to their Royal Guard Musketeer (which is going to get nerfed in the next update, for some God forsaken reason) and have a Heavy Inf/Heavy Cav comp. Maybe I’ve exaggerated slightly in the Cost, Health or in giving them Deflection out the get go, but I don’t think the change would change your gameplan that much in the early game.

I know that it feels like a huge change, but so was giving Ottomans the Azap and Humbaraci or giving the Russians the Poruchik in this new update. Devs seem to have no issue with making very radical changes to give some civs some extra flavour, so why not giving Ports an HC exclusive cannon? It doesn’t really influence the main roster…

I should’ve prefaced by saying the following: I’ve based the balance in the Cards that I’ve made here on the fact that I don’t believe that the extra 50 food that was given to Ports start is probably not going to last, since the Devs seem to have an interest in increasing both the readability and internal consistency in the game, so food crates that look exactly like the 100 Food ones but only give 50 feel like temporary solutions.
Getting now to the issues that you have with some of my Card designs:

  • I think it really depends with the amount of Militia you’d get per building. I’d say something like 1 for an Outpost, 2 for a Market/Barracks/Stable, 3 for a Church/Artillery Foundry and 4 for a TC. Also with the release of Italians, Incas, Maltese and Mexicans, the Portuguese turtle feels more like a soft-shell by comparison;
  • When it comes to Iron Cored Cannonballs buffing culvs, yeah, I can agree that you’re right;
  • “Goan Foundries” might be a bit overtuned, but you end up producing worse cannons at a slower rate then a Factory producing Heavy Cannons. I can agree that it still needs some tweaks, though.
  • I don’t really see the issue with Emboabas. You get 1 Diamond prospect Wagon, that’s the only thing I see that may “strengthen” the turtle, but it seems rather minor. I made this Card mainly as a way to recover some of Ports identity that I feel has been lost with the later civs, as being the “Explorer” civ. Besides, I don’t think that adding 3 Explorers worth to one’s eco is that big a deal, especially when you have stuff like Oklahoma Black Mesa as a Card for US.

I have made a few sugestion on this but i kinda quit already.

Ill leave this one here for again reference.

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why should portugal of all factions get super melee cav? portugal as is is a late game faction, it doesn’t hurt them that much in supremacy and will be a very massive buff for treaty. portugese cavalry also never was anything to write home about.

Portugal is designed to be an infantry/range civ first and foremost, their melee cavalry is dog by comparison.

if its balanced why not.

not super up to date on artilley, but more dmg but less range than a falcon? this doesnt seem that changing, esp if you first start training them in age 4 where you get super mortars.

but hey if its balanced why not, it wont hurt the identity.

eh, why would they want that?

there is no way this is balanced, even just shipspeed seems really really strong as far as upgrades go.

i have been tinkering with a similar idea, what buildings would this apply to? how many militias?

my own conclusion was 1 militia like unit for every 1 non wall building, its too strong for age 1 though.

again, really strong upgrade, it cant see it going well buffing the range of art, since it will really screw with balance, esp. lategame/treaty with culverins.

you have to be careful with boost to speed and range.

ehh, really weird tech, not sure if its balanced or now, or if its desirable.

have to be careful, this is an easy way to make a faction that dominates sea.

I think it nerfs the cav semi ff. It might actually be a buff to musk/huss and might be a late age 3 buff.

As for late game, pop efficiency is more important than cost so it would be a buff. Also Hussars are for tanking anyway so more hp and deflect are great.

I wouldn’t necessarily be opposed to replacing the Hussars, though I’d change the cost closer to that of a Hussar with slightly higher cost and HP at a slightly lower speed with the deflection.

Regarding Emboabas I think the biggest concern is a diamond mine have 100k coin in them. If you meant a Salt mine I wouldn’t be concerned because Salt mines are like 10k that mine slowly. 100k means you never need to leave base in a Supremacy game for coin (thus the buff to turtle/FIs).

When you actually state numbers on the militia per destroyed building it’s probably less of a concern, though you might want to reduce the numbers slightly.

The unique cannon might not be an issue. It’s just a large change, and I personally prefer to make smaller changes with more predictable results.

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Some change that I would like to see for ports

Constable card (age 3). Also give the effect to Explorer.

Rangefinding card (age 4). Give half the effect to Monitor.

Order of the tower and sword (church tech). Give Valor promotion to Hussar in addition to current benefits. Cost changed from 2000W to 2500W.

Mercenary Contractor (fortress age up). Change the mercenary from Ronin and Lil Bombard to Cannoneer and Lil Bombard.

New card
Siege Logistics (age 4). Reduce horse artillery pop to 5, but increase it cost from 100w 500c to 150w 550c. Enable Galleon to train Organ Gun.

Casa da Índia (age 4). Factory give 10% more resource but train artillery 10% slower.

Peninsular Garrison (age 2). Covered Wagon construct faster, Town Center basic attack do not require villager garrison, outpost can train pikeman and crossbow.

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I think portugal has abysmal cards for what is considered a top civ for water. All you really have is improved warships, brit for example gets improved warships and naval gunners in age 3 which gives +25% attack on all ships while port gets +15% hp for caravels in age 3 there’s no comparison.

Ports is only even considered a good water civ due to the tc age up, on paper it’s nothing special at all either in terms of upgrades for ships or eco cards for fishing which sucks.
USA for example has a 15% HP card for sloops/frigates/docks/fishing boats which is an age 1 card yet port is stuck with 15% hp for only caravels in age 3 slot.
USA also gets all the best fishing eco cards, naval gunners, european cannons and a card that lets you make 2 hulks which can beat a battleship, it really sucks that ports has such weak cards for water.

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speed is much more powerful than hp or damage, since it makes it so you can dictate the engagements. im not inherently against cards to buff their water a little but not speed or range.

lol just wanna let you know that 150 wood is too much. even if it does reduce pop. The price is too close to a heavy canon which is 200 wood and 600 coin.

I don’t think small changes are game breaking, we already have lots of variations in the boats themselves with a galley being much faster than a caravel or all the european boats have more range than the asian boats for example and there are cards that boost speed and range for certain civs. I consider the chincha raft as 1 of the best boats in the game but that’s the slowest of the caravel type war ships.

Ok, I can see that, I’ve replaced it with a Gold Prospector Wagon, since Salt makes no sense for the historical reference I’m trying to make.

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They’re not terrible, especially with the combat card that effects all of the Portuguese core melee units (Pikeman, Halberdier, Hussar)

Ok, let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that I agree with you. Then explain to me: why should Brits get Rangers, when they were designed to have an unflexible army comp of Heavy Inf/Heavy Cav in late game? Why should Germans get Landwhers, when they were designed to have an espensive Coin based army? Why should Russians get Poruchiks, when they were designed to have a more difficult time countering early cavalry raids? Why should Ottomans get Azaps, when they were designed to only produce a single unit from their Barracks? Why should Spanish get access to both Soldados and Wild Geese (Irish Brigadiers), when they were designed to be an early game powerhouse of melee infantry and melee cavalry? Why should Dutch get access to Blue Guards, dismounted Highwaymen and Highlanders (Dutch States Army), when they were designed not to have Musks, and why should they get access to Royal Horseman (Dutch States Army), when, like Ports, they were designed to have weak Heavy Cav?
So, all of these Civs can have their main weaknesses be mitigated, but Ports? No, they have to be stuck with their “dog” heavy cav in the late game. If your problem is with its Stats, they can be tweaked, if it’s with them having the unit by default, then they can have it through a Card. If its the fact that they would be able to get good Heavy Cav reliably, then I don’t know what to tell you, except pointing out that this has been happening to other civs for a looooong time.

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germany is designed around weak melee cav and lag of musketeers. mercenaries and coin heavy army is a side effect.

im not sure they should but they were relatively weak in treaty back before they got them, i can see why the devs wanted to give them it because their lategame entirely relied on their eco and they really struggled fighting infantry heavy factions like portugese.

today its different obviously.

im not sure where you get the idea russia struggled with this, no one buys pikemen to fight cav, russia had musketeers, inherent outposts in barracks and 2 super strong early cav shipments not to mention a fair few upgrade cards as well early on. Russia is the faction that will cav rush you, not the other way around.

its not comparable to making an already good infantry civ into a super cav civ too.

and Azaps have very little impact on ottomans from what i heard.

spain was and is perfectly playable in treaty because of their monks. either of those changes haven’t changed that much.

portugal has been one of the best treaty factions since forever, despite their lag of good cavalry. giving them good cavalry will push them over the edge towards the top spot. its the price they pay for having quick train in all categories, good musk and great skirm and dragoons, not to mention some of the best culverins and mortars. their eco is also fine, nothing fancy but not bad either.

the other examples you come with most of the time really dont impact those factions that much esp. in treaty, only exception being british. a 4 pop cavalry is basically worthless unless its super tanky which as far as i can tell royal horseman shouldn’t be, and it comes at the price your other units cost 10% more, which is bad.

Your information is outdated then, since they’re pretty much considered mid-tier in the most recent tier lists.

Is it really a side effect when both the Uhlan and the Doppelsoldner are WAY more coin heavy then other civs counter parts? Is it really a side effect when you need to spend 60 more coin for the equivalent of a Dragoon?
Or does this sound like a conscious, basic feature?

Most of the youtubers I’ve listened claimed that this was one of the main flaws of the civ was in countering cav (I wrote cav raids, my bad). Hey, maybe they’re all wrong, but the devs seem to agree with them, since the very first post DE Card that Russians received was Sovnya, a Card that buffs anti-Cav damage. Also the average base Russian Musk needed in the early game to strike a Hussar 11 (9 for a normal Musk) times to kill it, while it only survived a total of 5 (7 for a normal Musk) sword swings.

But Ottomans are both a good infantry civ and a good cav civ. They’ve got the Deli which, when fully upgraded, has a higher DPS than a fully upgraded French Hussar, they have a pretty good Cav Archer and the less we talk about the Sipahi the better.

Spain had Musks with low Hp in late game that could hit well because of unction, but were, in the end, nothing more than glass cannons. With Soldados, they get a super tanky Musk that hits like a truck, and you’re telling me that the design didn’t change much? Ok…

Tell me, what price do the French pay to get possibly the best cav, fantastic infantry, very good arty and some of the best Native play? Reminder that they get the Bourbons for their Native Embassies.

At least they have more choices besides +15/+15 Huss.

when its a 150/150 unit you cant really use the coin difference as an argument.

ottomans are a cav and artillery civ, jans are only good in the early game and needs their 2 strong upgrades to be meaningful lategame.

last i checked spanish musk got a 25% hp boost, far from bad.

you cant mass soldados in treaty, so why use them? they are a limited unit, you cant compare that to a normal unit you can buy from a stable or barracks and which is a direct comparison to a similar unit. your super cav doesnt cost 4 pop, it doesnt have limits that makes it less ideal, it doesnt require sending a card, it isn’t vulnerable to about half the units in the game, and its a frontline cav unit where Hp and range resist are the only thing that matters.

is it a choice if you cant use it?

why should portugal get a better hussar than the british or french? compared to france you get better musk, dragoons and skirmishers and compared to british you have much better artillery and comparable infantry, the only real disadvantage being eco and hussars. at least it isn’t an uhlan.