During the 16th century, Japan utilized muskets from European merchants, and firearms were heavily used during the Sengoku period.
The Ashigaru Arquebusier is a secondary Japanese Unique Unit only available in the Imperial Age. It is a unique Hand Cannoneer that replaces the standard Hand Cannoneer in the Archery Range, and has better stats.
Cost: Same as for Hand Cannoneer
Base Attack: 18
Frame delay: 15
Attack delay: 0.35
Base Range: 7
Projectile speed: 7.5
Base Melee Armor: 1
Base Pierce Armor: 1
I like the concept of Japanese having some kind of handcannoneer bonus or UU, and I think the civ is in a place of not necessarily needing a buff, but also not in much danger of being overpowered if it were to receive one.
The issue I see with this is that it bears a lot of resemblance to existing hand cannoneer bonuses/UTs/UUs. Like a bit of the Turks’ HP bonus, the Burgundians’ damage bonus, and Hindustanis extra armor and/or kind of looks like a worse Janissary. I don’t want to overemphasize this point, as most hypothetical new units can be expressed in terms of similarity existing units, and some similarity to existing things doesn’t mean that the idea is bad. But I think it’s an important consideration.
Perhaps more importantly, I would question whether Japanese need anything more that primarily serves as anti-infantry. They already have regular Hand cannons (I get that this is a replacement, but even without HC Japanese might even be fine), Arbs, HCA, Heavy Scorps, top notch Champions, and even the Samurai, which is only really good as an anti-UU with reference to enemy Unique Infantry.
Personally I would make it quantity over quality. IIRC Japan at one point had the largest production of firearms in the world, so instead of a UU I would have this reflected via a civ bonus or UT that improves speed and training time, and/or decreases cost (possibly even shifting some of the current gold cost to food). It’s true that these are also similar to existing bonuses, but I think they make more sense for Japanese than just dialing up the power of the unit.
If it must be a UU, IMO it should have a different area of competency than anti-infantry. Perhaps it has a small bonus against siege, or even mounted/archer UUs (but not infantry UUs). Perhaps it has a lower attack, but an ignore armor/destroy armor ability. Perhaps it resists some anti-archer damage. Just some ideas, but if it’s going to be a UU, I would differentiate it from the powered-up HCs of other civs.
Japan is in a weird state of being OK-ish until imp, but transitioning to Yasama towers takes so long and is so expensive that they usually play out as a halb SO civ without actually having SO.
They also struggle a lot against both hussar CA and halb SO compositions, the two dominant comps in imp.
I wholly support japan getting a strong backline unit, but I’d like to see it a bit more specialist, such as, instead of 55 HP and mostly generic stats as OP proposed, maybe 40 HP, 1 more range, and more damage, or bonus against archers as well.
I like the idea of an Ashigaru unit replacing the hand cannoneer, but a unit with the same cost and higher stats doesn’t make sense to me, in terms of balance and history. I just don’t see why the Japanese need more power against infantry. I’d make them a quantity over quality unit like they were in the 16th (not 15th) century. Maybe they could lose their bonus against infantry and become more of an all-rounder that can be used against cavalry as well if you have enough of them. Kinda what happened in real life