Usac’s Civ Crafting Brainstorms Part 4- Vandals

Wait, I’m back with… Vandals?! So, why the Vandals? They’re not Medieval! True, they’re Dark Age. And that’s okay because a good deal of civs have Dark Age aspects: Persians are based mostly on Sassanids, Goths are mostly Dark Age, Huns, the Ethiopian Axumites fell in the year 940. A large Mayan Empire was wiped out around 900. Celts, Britons, Teutons and Franks are all Dark Age tribal names!

From here, any argument starting as Too early is easily nullified. They also don’t clutter Europe on the world map, they’re in Tunisia!

With that, let’s talk the Vandals: the underdog Barbarians. Not as violent to start, the Vandali, along with the Alans, were pushed far! From Scandinavia all the way to southern Spain by invading Huns, Romans and other German tribes. So bad, was this bullying, that the Vandals were pushed across the water and into Northern Africa, whereupon they gained knowledge on heavy cavalry (not that they didn’t have heavy cavalry to begin with) and the art of taking over cities. Besieging much of Roman Africa, they made Roman Carthage their capitol and, using abandoned Carthaginian ships, made the greatest navy of the Dark Age from which they ruled the Mediterranean and even got to ransack Rome, whereas Attila could not. They learned of the camel from the desert peoples and Berber camel and javelin tactics were tough to circumvent for these guys until they learned it themselves.

Eventually, the Byzantine empire destroyed the Vandals and they became but a memory, but their impact is unforgettable every time you spray-paint a wall.

The campaign of Gaeseric is almost too easy and conflicts with Franks, Goth, Teutons and Burgundian Germanic tribes were common as well as Hunnic aggression. Berber neighbors and of course Italians, Sicilians and Byzantines, possibly interactions with Ethiopia? Anyway on with the show!


Vandals (406 – 534) - A Cavalry and Naval Civ

  • Starts with dead boar under completed TCs that decay more slowly.

The hunt is on for the most nomadic of German tribes.

  • Stable units do +1 damage vs. cavalry per age starting in Feudal for +3 total. This does NOT add bonus damage vs camels but does increase camel damage vs. cavalry type armor. Camels specifically do +3 vs other camels.

The history here was that Vandal cavalry was pretty good. Even Justinian the Great knew that it was folly to send his own horsemen against the Vandals and their Moorish Camelry conscripts, (thus the camel access) because yes, the smell was effective. To win, he dismounted his troops in order to win battles and even end the Vandals themselves.

  • Heavy Demo Ship Free. Demo Ship upgraded even without War Galley.

At the battle of Cap Bon in 468, the Vandals employed unmanned vessels loaded with combustible fluids. Granted, historians define these as Fire Ships, but these boats while, yes, set ablaze, were unmanned and were literally meant to destroy many boats at once due to Byzantine navies being in tight formation. This better defines a Demo Ship bonus. As a power Spike, Demo Ships have the problem of winning fights and killing themselves in the process.

  • Siege Engineers effects all War Ships except Fire Ships (doesn’t give Demos +1 range but gives them 40% more building damage instead of %20)

Being the naval savvy force they were, the Vandals were also Siege Masters as they besieged Carthage and Rome and in a much shorter time than either Carthage or Rome ever could, with far inferior starting tech. You still have to research Siege Engineers mind you.

Unique Unit: Plunderer – If the Throwing Axeman were a knight, then the Plunderer is its Tarkan. The Plunderer is a short range infantry who destroys buildings and Siege but lacks power vs. other units. Has some pierce armor and inflicts a minor burn effect. Does 1 damage (2 vs buildings) per Plunderer to a target enemy every 2 seconds for 20 seconds. If the unit dies burning, the Vandal player gets 20% of the resource cost of the unit.

Plunderer Stats Elite
Hit Points 50 60
Armor 0/3 0/4
Attack 5 (+5 vs buildings, +3 vs Stone Defense, +5 vs siege) 5(+7 vs buildings, +6 vs Stone Defense, +6 vs siege)
Range 4 4
Line of Sight 5 5
Accuracy 100% 100%
Rate of Fire 1.75 1.725
Movement 1.1 1.1
Cost 50f,30g
Train Time 15s 15s
Elite Upgrade 900f,750g 45s


The history of the name plunderer isn’t strictly Vandalic. In fact most barbarians did this, but few did it to the degree that they got a modern term VANDALISM named after their handiwork!

Castle UT - Drauhtinon: Barracks, Stable, Siege Workshop and Archery Range build 166% faster and work 20% faster.

Cost: 400f/350g. 35s

The word means “To War” and for most Germanic tribes, that was kinda life at the time. It’s as specifically Vandal as Chatras were Vietnamese.

Imperial UTVandalism: Burn damage of Plunderers increased x2 duration and get +1 range

Cost: 500f/400s 80s

Disabled Techs:

  • Disable Barracks: Eagle Scout, Halberdier
  • Disable Archery Range: Hand Cannoneer, Parthian Tactics, Arbalest, Elephant Archer
  • Disable Stable: Hussar, Battle Elephant, Steppe Lancer
  • Disabled Siege: Heavy Scorpion, Siege Ram, Siege Onager
  • Disabled Dock: /
  • Disabled Blacksmith: /
  • Disabled Economy: Two Man Saw
  • Disabled University: Fortified Walls, Bombard Tower
  • Disabled Monastery: Theocracy, Block Printing, Atonement, Fervor
  • Disabled Castle: /


To play the Vandals, you must cope with your lack of strong pierce damage land troops. This means high melee armor units will be better able to shrug off Vandal damage. If near the shoreline however, you can support your armies with Galleys. At sea, there’s +1 range after getting Siege Engineers, although it does arrive late to the scene. If you can rule the sea, your Siege Engine boosted Cannon Galleys will rip thru any shoreline defensive that thought it could have the right to exist.

If you must pierce late game, your best bet is Heavy Cav Archers, oddly enough, but that’s in extreme circumstances. Other Germanic Teutons can be very troublesome with all their armor.

Knight vs. Knight, Vandals have the edge. It almost makes me want to take away either Husbandry or Blood Lines: for a comparison: An FU Paladin does 12 damage vs. an FU paladin slicing thru 180 HP in 15 hits. But a Vandal Paladin kills a Frankish paladin in 13 hits, doing 15 damage per hit. This bonus applies to when your camels attack as well, so without Husbandry, it would less likely be able to abuse cavalry destruction. Camels however aren’t weak to this. Simply put, the bonus is vs armor type known as Cavalry which horse and elephant units have.

The ability to hinder buildings by hitting them adds a layer to the gameplay. Sending a scout to hit a TC or castle or barracks to slow production can give you the edge if you can get there.

On water this is THE Demo civ. And there’s no other civ more worthy than a civ from the 5th century that actually used unmanned burning ships instead of some blasting power Imperial gunforce.


At first, I want to say I like the concept of the UU Plunder.
But the UU feels a little underwhelming as Castle UU (based on your description, not on the stats)
here is why:

  1. First, the only purposes of the unit is to destroy buildings and siege, so is more a support unit as the main unit of your army. For me, that is too little for a Unique castle Unit.
  2. it doesn’t mach with your core army unit. For my understanding of the civ you want to go knights. there are mobile and can easily break Palisade Wall on his own and other buildings So the Plunder is only useful, if you go infantry or archers.
  3. but then is required, a castle (650 Stone) to produce. So it will come late in the game, or you rush a castle and have no army to push.
  4. And if you are able to destroy your enemies base, it would be better to go for mangonel or ram’s in castle and Trebuchet in Imp. So I see no real use for them as a Castle UU.

But I like the concept of the unit, my idea would be to make it at a Barracks UU accessible in Feudal Age with Feudal Stats, of course, you now need a new castle UU
with Either 2 upgrades in castle and imp or is Upgrade like a Sergeant

  1. Now is easier to produce
  2. it can be used as a tool for Feudal fights to break into the enemy base for Raids or destroy key buildings to slow down your enemy
  3. if it produces from the barracks it is a good pushing tool for early castle age and to snipe siege
  4. And with it gold and stones generate you can better get your castles up or towers

I know that’s one of the UT had an upgrade for them. I am not sure if the need to change with my idea…

I hope my English is not too bad to read :smile:

I really quite like the idea, and in spite of the Alaric and Attila campaigns, I still feel like the dark ages, or even the early Middle Ages in general are very under-explored in AoE II. Exploring other geographical areas (like Africa say) is definitely interesting, but other time periods too. And we could get a nice Genseric, and perhaps even Bellisarius campaign!

However, I think some of your ideas are very good and creative, but some other a bit underwhelming. In particular (as the distinguished @Nordsultan mentioned), the UU Plunderer is not quite powerful enough in my opinion. Tarkans are already not the most popular UU, and yet far more powerful than the Plunderer you propose. The only interest I see to tech in this unit is to get some gold generation. Now that brings two other issues: first it’s already seen in the Keshik, and second I don’t think you should get a reward to attack walls for instance. I am also not the biggest fan of UT only buffing the UU, especially if the buff is marginal and the UU not the best.

I also don’t quite like their aging up, eco bonus: it is too much of a blend of two other…

Now enough with the criticism:

I like the fact their identity would be centred around, globally, burning everything! Imperial UT idea is interesting, but I have no idea how this would play out. Also -1HP/3s is not that much for 15s (-5 HP max).

I really enjoy the ease to teching into demolition ships too! In fact, I feel Vandals could be a quite cavalry/naval civ with all right archers, siege and infanrty (but terrible monks and defences, and average economy). If you pushed this further by having demolition ships creating faster, or -20 gold for instance, I wouldn’t find it crazy!

As for the secondary effect of Siege egineers, I think that’s good, but also shouldn’t affect fire ships, especially if they get elite. Also, a Barbarian civilisation should either not get gunpowder, or very limited (e.g. no Elite Cannon Galleon).

At last I really quite like the stable bonus. I would say probably efficient but not overpowered, except that I would give them Hussars and no Paladins. Only concern is to have too powerful Heavy Camels, but I think it should be fine.


As you said, Italians and Malay, I mean, it has to have something more in order to justify it. It’s like having an Unique Tech that will give CA 10 HP and 1 Range. A Turks/Magyar hybrid, you need a 3rd unique component to make the hybrid justified.


That’s very nice, espeically the fact it doesn’t rely on other upgrades.

Kinda Luxurious.

Absolutely an amazing design. I truly like it. However you said it’s not supposed to be a globally strong unit, but according to the stats (7 base damage * 1.725 rate of fire) is pretty much a Throwing Axeman, good against any unit.
I’d either lower the movement speed and/or lower the damage and/or increase the gold cost and/or decrease its range. It’s too OP, way too OP, and less proffesionalized.

Elite should be same stats just some adjustments:
5 Attack
0.9 Movement speed (you dont want a gold generating unit to be fast, unlike Keshik, this unit generates it by attack an immobile target, which is very abusive potentially, I’d further more limit it to stone only)

Oh no! You over-murdered the unit, as if it wasn’t Axeman enough, you turned it to a better looking twin brother. This UT should definitely be removed, 4 range is far enough. And this unit, again, cant have high base damage or else it’s good against every unit in the game, it’s melee damage, which means general damage according to AOE’s armor mechanism.

Overkill, you turned it from a nice identity feature that the civ has, to a whole theme, which the civ in enslaved to, you cant have all bonuses streamed line the same direction. Imgaine Lithuanians with UT’s that buff Knights and Monks rather than TC’s and Trash units, so single dimensional.
This UT should be completely replaced like the previous one.

*That’s nice the civ doesnt have Halbs and Hussars, however since the civ has BOTH fully upgraded Paladin AND an UU that’s quite a nice Anti-Archer, why does it need a fully upgraded Skirmisher? it’s an overkill, most civs dont have inflation of options, I’d take away the last armor of Archers. (On top of that they have SIege Onager with Siege Eng, which is an Anti-Archer unit)

Overall there’s a nice base design (tech tree, unique unit, civ bonuses) just some adjustment to the unique unit and a whole redesign to the unique techs. Good job!

Why is it you are so nice here, and so toxic everywhere else on the forums?

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I like the idea of the Vandals as a Germanic Naval/cav/ possibly camel civ. I think the UTs could be a little more grounded and a little more distinct from each other. Vandalism and Ransacking are nearly synonyms, and while that was a notable and iconic aspect of the Vandals, I wouldn’t put all the focus on that dimension, especially since we already have the Goths and Huns, that had a similar reputation and have similar bonuses. People also don’t usually like needing a UT to make a UU viable, and even then it’s questionable whether people would make a unit that isn’t good against most other units. I would make the Castle Age UT (Plunder/Ransacking) instead give them either a sizable percent of the cost of destroyed buildings, maybe 25% (so you’d get 162 stone from destroying a Castle), or a low percentage, say 8%, of a building’s cost in gold (so you get 8 gold from a lumber camp, 52 from a Castle, etc). Similar to how a keshik operates, but with a different enough mechanic to keep it fresh.

I think that’s too close to the malay bonus.
I would probably give them a Housing bonus, something like “Their TCs give 40 population space.”
And ofc something else cause this Eco bonus alone would probably be a bit weak as it basically a weaker Huns bonus.

Interesting unit… Very strong against archers and also not that bad against a lot of different other units. I think that thing is really strong, not only to destroy buildings… Mix it with some pikes or light cav and yeah.
In any case an interesting concept.

Don’t think this UU needs that tech to be viable. But it can potentially make it kinda OP cause of the cricumstances when you usually pick up this kind of UTs - when you already kinda ahead and have some numbers of them out. Then the increased income from destroying buildings could make an insane snowball effect.

I can see how. I have a few tweaks in plan.

The problem is, the ECG is kinda crucial for the feel of the siege water. Siege Engineering on these ships is all about ripping coastals apart!

I agree, if it only gets 40% building damage and no range then maybe it would be okay.

I honestly think there may be another civ or 2 out there who can work around with blasting units.

I think the idea has a lot of merit, but the problem is that in team games, players start to worry if your ally gets the kill and denies you precious resources.

So to go upon what @Nordsultan and everyone is thinking. I have a concept rework.

So Changelog:

Vandals not longer get an Age up discount. Instead, all TCs (including your first one) spawn with a decaying boar underneath them. This boar decays a little slower than normal.

Plunderer has less base power and attack speed and now starts with a burn effect that lowers RoF and if a unit or building dies while burning, you get 20% of their base cost (this ignores discounts such as Teuton Farms or Frank Castles.) The reason for the leniency is to not have to worry if an enemy deletes a unit/building at the last second to starve you out. The damage is over 20 seconds and is 3 damage every 2 seconds. Every individual Plunderer causes an added tick effect.

Ransacking is renamed Drauhtinon, which means “to War” in old Germanic, and it causes Barracks/Archery/Stables to build 33% faster.

I agree, so Siege Onager is gone now.

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Is It going to be only vandals or vandals-alans as the cuman-kipckak are represented by the Cumans and their UU?

Alans could easily be its own civ and interestingly due to their timeline proximity to Persia could be a civ with elephants and lancers possibly alongside camels being Iranic peoples. Not even much overlaps.


I like it and quite agree with you, with two minor points:

  • I know Chinese or Tatars for instance get bonuses or else for demolition units, but it is globally still quite underwhelming in the sense that I never think of any civilisation as “I have to go suicide unit”. Which is fine, but means there is some space here (which the 42 civilisations game can sometimes seem lacking).
  • Drauhtinon is a cool name, but the effect for a UT is underwhelming. Perhaps go -67% cost, builds 200% faster (so takes 33% of the time)?

Good idea for early period civ :wink: