Unique Units ideas for all civilisations

I thought about some Unique Units ideas for all civilisations in case they want to add them to Return of Rome.

I think Unique Units should only be available in Iron Age (maybe with exceptions) so they don’t have an Elite upgrade.
Many of them will be trained in the Academy but not all.
I’m limiting myself to just 1 per civilisation for now. In AoE2 a lot of civilisations have 2 plus some regional units.


Shielded Archer

  • Archer carrying a large shield
  • Relatively high piercing armour and decent HP
  • Slow rate of fire that is compensated by the Assyrian civilisation bonus.
  • Relatively slow movement speed
  • Trained in the Academy or maybe Archery Range

Assyrians were popular for their foot archers. In AoE they can only train Bowman and mounted archers.
Archers where often paired with shield bearers but having a unit made of 2 people would look silly.


Shield Bearer

  • Infantry with high piercing armour
  • Bonus damage against Cavalry and Archer
  • Very effective against Horse Archers or Chariot Archers if they can get close enough
  • Weak against other infantry
  • Trained in the Academy or maybe Barracks

They had similar armies then their Assyrian neighbours but I didn’t also want to give them an Archer unit.
They counter the commonly seen late game Chariot Archer spam giving Babylonian players more gameplay options.
This unit is a unique unit for the Babylonians in Age of Empires Online. I never played that game though.



  • Mounted Javelin thrower
  • Slower then Horse Archers (and especially Heavy Horse Archers)
  • Lower Range then Horse Archers
  • Slowly regenerate HP when idle
  • Trained in the Academy

Based on Elite Warrior from the ancient Silla Kingdom. They were trained with Buddhist principles that’s why they can meditate to regenerate HP.
Korea was both famous for it’s Cavalry and it’s Archers but is not really good at it ingame. This unit fills this gap.

Alternatively the Wonhwa. Female warriors that might have been mythological only.


Khopesh Swordsman

  • Cheap but fast Infantry
  • Train very fast
  • Have good attack damage for their cost
  • Trained in the Barracks
  • Benefit from Logistics

An unit originally planned for AoE1. It was later added to AoM.
They are somewhat between a Karambit Warrior and a Shotel Warrior from AoE2.



  • Javelin thrower
  • Anti Archer Archer unit
  • Similar to AoE2 Skirmisher
  • Trained in the Archery Range

Hoplites are already a generic unit and giving them a unique version of them would be strange. Better give them a unit that fills a gap that they might have.
Peltasts are a good support for Hoplite Line units because they counter each others weaknesses.

Funny Arian people in Anatolia how name is censored in this Forum

Heavy Chariot

  • Has 2-3 Fighters on it (depends on what looks better)
  • Can switch between ranged and melee like the Ratha from AoE2
  • Has much better stats then all other Chariot units
  • Cots Gold
  • Trained in the Academy

This civilisation was known for it’s Chariots more then any other. They perfected Chariot warfare.
This unit will be the first Chariot in AoE that is not trash.


Cretan Archer

  • Upgraded version of the Composite Archer
  • Trained in the Archery Range

Crete was known for it’s Archers in ancient times so why not give them a unique one. It works similar to the Elite Skirmisher or Imperial Camel Rider from AoE2, it is an upgrade to a generic unit.



  • Can switch between Bow and Spear
  • Counter cavalry if they use a Spear
  • Have good HP and Piercing Armour
  • Trained in the Academy

They are just to famous not to be included. They were also famous for using both Bows and Spears in combat.
This will be the only unit the Persians can train in the Academy.


Heavy Trireme

  • Armoured ship with more HP and armour
  • Costs Gold
  • Trained in the Dock

They are just to famous for their navy to not give them a unique ship. It combines will with the Juggernaught.



  • Slow shooting archer with high damage
  • Bonus damage against Heavy Infantry (Hoplite Line)
  • Trained in the Academy

The Chinese were the first to invent the Crossbow and they used them a lot. Their high damage per hit makes them useful against armoured units. The bonus against Heavy Infantry makes this advantage even stronger. They struggle against units with a large health pool though because their relatively low DPS.



  • Anti Cavalry Infantry
  • Trained in Barracks

The Summerian armies where mostly made up of Infantry which mostly used spears.



  • Can heal allied units
  • Can’t convert enemy units
  • Fights with a bow (not sure if possible)
  • Trained at the Temple

Shrine maidens have a very long history in Japan going back into the Stone Age. The earliest foreign texts about Japan already mention the importance of female shamans.


Nubian Cavalry

  • Light and fast cavalry
  • Not very durable but with strong attack
  • Trained in the Stable

The Nubian allies of the Carthaginians were famous for being the deciding force that won them many battles over Rome.
Their speed and low HP make them a strong contrast to the Elephant units.


Companion cavalry

  • Shock cavalry unit with a charged attack (like Coustillier)
  • Attack with a long lance
  • Trained in the Academy

The Macedonians were famous for their strong cavalry that won them more then one battle. They don’t have any cavalry bonuses yet to this unit is a good addition.


Ok I’m going to skip them. It’s just a city. What unique unit could they have?



  • Meele infantry with a charged ranged attack (if possible)
  • Throw pilum at enemy before engaging in melee combat
  • Trained in Barracks

The classical Roman infantry. You all know it, I don’t think I have to add any more to it.


I tried to find a unit that both makes sense historically, isn’t already well represented by a generic unit and also fits well into the civilisation.
I hope I also found a good mix between Infantry, Cavalry and Archer units. Some units are kinda copied from AoE2, I have to admit.
Not all units are equally interesting because we just don’t know enough about some older civilisations like the Minoans or others didn’t do much war like the Phoenicians.
On the other hand are civilisations like the Romans or Chinese where we know a lot of details about their warfare, weapons and how it changed over time so there are so many possible unique units.

I wonder what ideas you come up with.


I dislike the naming style. I much prefer AoE2’s method, which sound much more distinct, most of these just sound like generic units, or could-be-bonuses turned into units.

Also, you mean Numidian, not Nubian.

Out of your list, the only ones I think have UU worthy names are the following:

  • Hwarang
  • Khopesh Swordsman
  • Peltast
  • Cretan Archer (having designed Cretans for R@W, I have to support this)
  • Immortal
  • Miko
  • Numidian Cavalry
  • Companion Cavalry should be h-e-t-@-1-r-0-1 (@ is a, 1 is i, 0 is o, and the censor is incredibly stupid)
  • Hastati

None of the others sound unique in my opinion. Civ specific upgrades/replacements for generic units at best, like AoE2’s Winged Hussar, or Imperial Camel Rider.


If I can come with some suggestions for alternative names for the unique units of the Babylonians, Shang and Sumerians, then it could be:

[Gababum Bearer] or [Kababum Bearer] instead of “Shield Bearer” for the Babylonians. As for the Shang, [Nǔ Marksman] or [Nǔ Shooter] instead of “Crossbow”, where “Nǔ” (弩) does apparently mean “Crossbow” in the Chinese language. And where the “Spearman” for the Sumerians could be called [Aga-Ush] which was a military title for those who regularly served as soldiers according to a website known as Weapons and Warfare.

(Edit: Perhaps the “Heavy Chariot” for the Anatolian civilisation could be called [Hurrian Chariot] since it seems that there was a Hurrian by the name of Kikkuli who was instrumental for improving their chariots in warfare, you can find this information in the later half of this source that I have provided. The name for the “Heavy Trireme” could be [Bireme], I did also manage to come across information for warships that were apparently called “Navis”, “Lunga”, “Quadriremes” and “Quinqueremes” for the Phoenicians.)

The [Hoplite] could easily become the unique unit for the Greeks instead of giving them the Peltast. The only thing that the developers have to do is add another unit with a different name that will replace the current baseline infantry unit slot from the [Academy] building which will be available for every civilisation in the game, while making the [Hoplite] exclusive for the Greeks.

Maybe the [Khopesh Swordsman] could cause a bleeding effect, where enemy units will take damage over time for a short while.

Camel cavalry,they had the best camel warriors.

And no palmyra was not just a city but an empire.


Many of the units you listed already existed in the “Bronze Age” of its respectively civilizations, so I can’t see any reason for them to become available only in the Iron Age.
In this case, they could have good stats already since the Bronze Age, not requiring any elite upgrade in the Iron Age!

I hope that, with the addition of gates, the devs will bring a Battering Ram unit with bonus damage against them! That so we may have this iconic Assyrian siege tower:

That would be a really unique approach to units mechanics in this game, I like it!

… a.k.a. “Hero Jason” in the Scenario Editor! Perhaps it means that the devs of the classic game were planning to add unique units all along? Or only regional designs for the same units?

I believe a Spearman unit should be added to the Barracks, then the Hoplite would be made into the Greeks unique unit!

Seriously that we can’t say “H|tt|t&S” in here?! :thinking:

The Sumerian Spearman should have a defense bonus because of their big shields. What about an Anti Infantry bonus in place of the Anti Cavalry one?

I think the Palmyrans were meant to represent Syria, but as it sounds too close to “Assyria” they decided for represent that region with Palmyra. Well, I’ve read that somewhere here in the forums, actually :sweat_smile:

Now, about all this “Unique Units in Age 1” thing, honestly I still haven’t decided yet if this would be appropriate for the game or not.

On one side, it would add more character to each civilization - something that is missing since forever in this game, as we haven’t even unique Wonders and unique UI for that. And, of course, it would be really awesome!

On the other hand, the whole game would need re-balancing, not to mention that it might become too de-characterized and close to Age II mechanics, and as you well said already on another discussion, it is better for each game to have its own identity that makes it unique to play in comparison to the others.

In the end, everything is in the hands of the devs, so we are yet to see what surprises they have in mind for us!

I don’t have enough in detail knowledge of the Babylonian language, sorry.


Sounds good. I’m not an expert on those languages so I can’t tell how correct they are.

The Bireme is the weaker smaller version of the Trireme. But the Trireme in AoE1 already is a cheap unit that doesn’t cost Gold so it makes little sense to give them an even cheaper one.
Did the Phoenicians already have Quadriremes?

No. Hoplite warfare was very common in the Mediterranean.
Romans, Macedonians, Carthaginians also used them.
Mesopotamians had similar units too like the Summerians for example.

You’re right. Dromedarii make a lot of sense in that case. The name is also nice.

Maybe some could be Bronze Age but it has to be balanced.
I don’t want to have a scenario like AoE2 where some civilisations have gunpowder units in Castle Age.
I don’t want units that clearly visibly weak Iron Armour/Weapons to be trainable in Bronze Age.

That’s pretty impossible for melee units. Iron Age units are so much stronger then Bronze Age ones.
Archers don’t improve that much though.

Same. Rams are a very common siege weapon no reason not to add them.

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This page is useful for finding names.

Changing names

Changing some names and graphics for units would give space to add new UU:

Legion > Royal Guard, Nobleman Swordman

Hoplite, Phalanx, Centurion > Spearman, Phalangite or Heavy Spearman, Pikeman

Cataphract > Lancer cavalry.

If you change thoose, you can have Legionaries, Hoplites and Cataphracts as UU.

Unique Units

  • I dont think that mixing priest and military roles works well with unit AI, so probably there should be an alternative to Mikos

  • War Cart for Sumerians (check civ6 UU) is an interesting concept.


I am not completely sure, I am just basing this of from the information of a PDF that I shortly skimmed through. Here’s the link to the PDF if you want to take a look at it yourself (Note: Once you choose to click on this link you have to then download it if you want to read it).

Some of these civilisations could also have a second unique unit. Perhaps the Romans can have the Carroballista together with the Hastati. Even if the Chinese were the first ones to develop the crossbow that shouldn’t stop the Greeks from having the Gastraphetes as a unique unit, since each of these civilisations did apparently develop the weapon independently of each other. The developers just have to implement some changes where there will be some notable differences between the Chinese crossbowman and the Greek crossbowman.

The Mangonel could potentially make an appearance in [Age of Empires] since it did appear during the timeline of the first game. And where the actual accurate version of this siege engine will be in the game unlike the one from [Age of Empires 2]. The Mangonel is also known as the “Traction Trebuchet” in modern terms.

Here’s my suggestion:
Remove Hoplite, Phalanx, Trireme, Legion and Centurion from the tech trees.
Then you can add Hoplite and Trireme as Greek unique units
Legion and Centurion as roman
Phalanx as Macedonian - Phalanx is just a formation of Hoplites, so the name is a bit redundant, although it can still work
As it doesn’t make sense for all civs to train Greek and Roman unique units.
For Egyptians: Some type of Chariot archer and for the ######### Some type of melee chariot - As described in the battle of Qadesh between Egypt and the #########


There are a lot of generic units in AoE2 that also sound like they only belong to one country Cavalier and Paladin are clearly French while the Man-at-Arms is clearly English.
The Eagle Warrior is even more culture specific but it’s at last a Regional Unit.

Cataphracts where used by multiple civilisations. Who should they be unique to anyway?
Legion sounds pretty Roman but they don’t look Roman with their Greek helmets and round shields.
Centurions are even more Roman sounding but they a long spear and rectangular tower shield, a combination the Romans never used. They stopped using the Phalanx before they adopted rectangular tower shields.
Phalanx tactics where the prominent type of warfare in large parts of the ancient world, they should not be unique to one civilisation.

Absolutely but I wanted to limit myself to 1 at first.

Triremes were invented by the Phoenicians and used by many civilisations, they are absolutely not a unique unit.

That’s wrong too. Chariots were used by every major power at the end of the Bronze Age. All the way from Britain to Indochina. It would be absurd to make them a unique unit.

We could argue that the Hoplite Line should be a regional unit for the Mediterranean civilisations but they make up half of the game. It would be like making the Knight line a regional unit of Europe in AoE2.

Generally looking at AoE2 we see that a lot of civilisations don’t necessarily have the unit they are most famous for as a unique unit if it’s to similar to a generic unit or to someone else unique unit.
The Franks have Trowing Axeman instead of the Paladin as unique unit, the Huns have the Tarkan instead of a Horse Archer unit and the Poles shade the Winged Hussar with the Lithuanians.

AoM, AoE3 and AoEO don’t have the problem anymore of course because they just give each civilisation as many unique units as they want to.
AoE4 is kinda inbetween.

That sound kinda cool actually. If it doesn’t conflict with other chariot units.

Not sure if it’s even technically possible to have a unit that can both heal and attack.
I think that shouldn’t be too much of an AI issue. They just only heal when there are no enemies around.

Yes, maybe you are right about the trireme, but the other 4 units are definitely exclusive to the Romans and Greeks (All 3 academy units and the Legion). They must be renamed and redesigned for the tech tree of all civs and given exclusively to the Greeks (Hoplite), Romans (Legion, Centurion) and Macedonians (Phalanx).
The Hit ites (strong censor) used heavy chariots extensively to plow through enemy melee formations, this unit represents them best even though other civilizations used it. Chariots were expensive to make and only the rich and powerful states could afford making a big amount.
Egyptians also used chariots extensively for war and religious purposes. So for balance sake they can have an archer chariot to avoid too much repetitive unique units. Because they were used in the New Kingdom more extensively, a second unique unit could be added to represent the Old and Middle Kingdoms. Because it is a very big historical period and IMO Egyptians are cool enough to have 2 UUs.


Would it still be AoE1 if you come and replace half of the units?

Also Hoplites and Phalanx are absolutely not exclusive to the Greeks. A lot of civilisations used them.

Same with Chariots. Assyrians and Babylonians used them a lot too. They were super wide spread as I said before. You can’t just make them unique to 2 civilisations.

The fact that they are trash units is obviously historically completely wrong but it has become a core part of what makes AoE1 AoE1, changing that would make the game feel and play very different.

Legion and Centurion are indeed bad names. But I don’t think they can change the names of such important units after 25 years.
They never did it in AoE2 either. I mentioned before that there are multiple generic units that kinda should be unique units but aren’t.

We are talking about improving AoE1 here and not making an entirely new game with a new techtree.

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I’m not saying to remove the chariots, just to give another unique chariot unit to Egyptians and Hit ites.
And the academy is really badly designed anyways, they can remove it altogether and replace it with another building and place the heavy infantry in the barracks.
And Legion top barracks unit doesn’t make sense. Never did, even when i played like 20 years ago it was incoherent. Just rename it and give it to romans.

This is like suggesting to change aoe completely.

It’s not that big of a deal, all you do in the academy is 1 single unit. Which kind of doesn’t belong anyways. It would make more sense to train Unique units and techs in the academy IMO.

Hoplite line is the super unit,they are perfectly fine as it is.Just because you dont like something dosent mean it needs to be removed.

I agree with @CinnamonIce6056. One’s nostalgia should never determine the state of the game, if something is poorly represented in the game then it should be corrected if it is possible.

Sticking to a mindset based on nostalgia for the game is the same as being conservative, and this kind of thinking can hold the game back from becoming better. Isn’t the main focus of the [Age of Empires] franchise supposed to be a RTS game based on human history first and foremost (with some necessary loose ties to history so that it can be a flexible game), or is it also going to pander to a bunch of nostalgists?

The [Phalanx] could be kept as a general unit. And the second unique unit for the Macedonians could instead be the “Pez heta iroi” who were apparently the backbone of the Macedonian army and the Diadochi kingdoms, and served as the battalion for the Macedonian phalanx.

The bolded words are supposed to be put together and make one word. But it gets censored if I try to do that.

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But we are talking about a game that is mostly based on nostalgia.
This game is 25 years old and had many successors that brought many innovations.
AoE1 is good because it is simpler and because of it’s strange design decisions at times.
A building like the Academy that trained a single unit like that did never return. (yes some civilisations like the Ottomans could until recently only build one unit in the barracks but that’s a special case)
It might not have been the best game design but it is a core aspect of AoE1. It makes the hoplite line of units feel more unique and special.
That’s why I think it should stay that way. Adding many of the unique units to this building gives it a second purpose anyway.

If you change to much about AoE1 it’s not AoE1 anymore.
I’m all in for an ancient AoE5!

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It’s time to make substantial changes, AoE I DE can be played for a closer experience.

IDK, I think the big changes that the devs are making to OG AoE 3 DE and I’m happy. Giving UU to AoE I would be a big chnge anyways

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