Why no chickens?

The dev would not introduce the chicken with such a complex mechanic.
After all it is just a type of animal, not like a core mechanic of a civ, it does not worth such a heavy loading of work.

  1. Introduce the chicken with a size like the turkey, having either 100 food or less. (100 is still better.)
  2. Introduce the chicken den as a kind of berry bush, having 125 food.

Basically that’s all.

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Good for a scenario, but I think not for a civ bonus – at least the instant gold on kill would have essentially the same practical effect as just having bonus starting gold.

I don’t see any evidence of this. Geese, with the same food yield as sheep, were added by Forgotten Empires in 2019. If anything, AoE2 is less “realistic” than it used to be, with aura effects, glowing heroes, and particle effects on buildings.

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If we can have almond or oat “milk” that bear only the most superficial resemblance to real milk, as well as pig iron, why not turkey wool?

Right, the Gurjara-like gold trickle is more plausible as a bonus but would require other food compensation. But it’s a starting point to consider differentiation among herdables beyond food amounts.

I also agree that I don’t see any kind of intentional and sustained effort from FE to be more realistic than ES. The Urumi’s armor-ignoring whip sword and cannonball “dodging” shrivamshas (while standing still, no less) are IMO easily as bad as anything that has come before, on top of being more annoying gameplay-wise. There are other issues, like the Slavs’ wonder and units/techs that may or may not have been based on fabricated wikipedia info. ES had its issues too of course, but it’s not at all clear to me that it’s worse overall, and in some cases where it is bad, it’s for very clear gameplay reasons (e.g. Aztec Trebuchets).

Regarding auras though, I’ve changed my mind considerably since they were first introduced. I still think some of them are implemented in a silly way, especially the Caravanserai speed, and Monaspa attack, but I’ve come to think that there’s nothing inherently unrealistic about gaining an advantage by proximity to something. And arguably their effects can increase realism, by simulating leadership/inspiration and morale among otherwise robotic units, or (potentially) allowing farms to be more efficient near a water source than in the desert. Of course that’s independent of whether one thinks they’re a good idea in terms of gameplay. Units needing to sleep would be more realistic, but not many people would want that.

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See how AOM Retold has included chickens in the game (centre) without issue. AOE2DE should not have an issue doing this, adding dogs, ducks and chickens…

For me it depends on the aura, with the Caravanserai and Stronghold auras in particular being “unrealistic”. But it’s a figurative game, so that’s fine – I’m not the one arguing for more realism. (Gameplay-wise, I don’t like auras in AoE2 though, although I think they fit some other games very well.)

Sounds like a HeftyLogarithm suggestion…

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