I found that petards are the units that are the least addressed in the design of upgrades and the civilization bonus.
They are very situation units in the meta, mostly are used to break walls for a surprise ambush ; or to damage rams under a castle in an emergency ; or during close-up castle fights.
Suicidal units like flaming camels are even introduced recently in addition to the already mighty tatoh ship.
As a siege unit, it excels at taking down buildings but sucks at dealing with other units. It is understandable to some extent since it is supposed to be good at what it is good at, but what stopped us from making it just a little bit versatile ? Giving some kind of buff to them so that they can at least have some more use despite being situational. Looking at other sieges, they all serve multiple common purposes or at least are very strong in a common way.
- Rams are excellant versus buildings and they can tank archer fires.
- Onager lines are quite good versus buildings and they kill mass units.
- Scorps are very scary when massed. In late game or in death match they are used a lot.
- Bombard cannons are better vs buildings but worse killing mass units compared to onager line. They can snipe trebs thus are important in a treb war.
- Trebs are the go-to unit versus buildings and snipe units especially sieges. For some civs they can also kill units quite well (Japanese and Britons come to mind)
So petards become the most situational one-trick siege. Buffing a dimension towards fighting against units is not overpowered at all. It would be interesting to let petard be a more important part of the real battle. When it comes to making it better, we know that petard is available in castle age but almost gets no upgrades later, which is very uncommon of a castle age unit (only petard and siege tower)
Everyone loves SO badaboom and demolishing ship connections are typical of water battle. The petard instinctively creates potential for area of effect damage, but its damage output is too small (25 attack can’t even kill a villager) and so is the area of effect.
see if we added some new upgrades to petards as well. For example :
- chemistry : also double the explosion damage area of petards and unlock the saboteur upgrade.
- gun powder processing (200f 200w) : allow petards to be trained in siege workshops
- saboteur (800f 500g) : upgrade petards to saboteurs.
where saboteurs are twice as effective vs buildings, move as fast as dark age villagers, have 50 attack, 0/0 armor with explosion area as big as that of a siege onager shot. (maybe too strong?)
I think it can fit into the design of some civ’s bonuses. The one coming to my mind are the Japanese with their brave samurai-spirit unscared of death, can receive a civ bonus
- petards cost -50%