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Tody we're going to do something very basic, yet also something that we've never done before. Previous Friday Updates, recent and not so recent, have always focused on particular gameplay systems or other side-things like that. Well, today we're going to look at the very basis of every civ in K&B, which is the basic unit roster.
Unlike some other mods, and indeed unlike AoE3, K&B uses the exact same basic unit roster for each civ. For some civs a unit or two may get ditched, and some others may be replaced with Unique Units, but the basic outline always stays as a recognisable basis for each civ. This goes for all civsets, so not just the European civset has these units, but the Crusading civset and the Muslim civset as well. Of course there are differences, such as in the fact that Muslim civs always get one extra unit through the Race Track, and that Crusading civs get a set of two extra units through the Chapter House, rather depending on which Knightly Order was chosen. European civs counter this by being the only civs that have Royal Guard upgrades, of which there are always two. The Italians for instance have RGs for the Man-at-Arms and Knight, turning them into the Legionario Veneziano and Lancia Spezzata, respectively. Sticking with the Italians, they have Unique Units to replace the Crossbowman, Light Cavalry and Cog, and they don't have access to the Skirmisher, for a combination of historic and balancing reasons.
Unique Units in K&B aren't just random units, they always fulfil the same role as the unit they replace. Fair enough, there are a couple of UUs that don't replace another unit and have a wholly unique purpose, notably in the gunpowder department, but they are the exceptions to prove the rule. The Italians for instance have the Stradiot instead of the Light Cavalry, and while the Stradiot is a different unit, we still refer to it as a "Light Cavalry type unit". This is true even for units that appear to be rather different from the unit they replace, such as the Varangian Guard, which replaces the Halberdier for the Byzantines, and is still a "Halberdier type unit", despite looking more like a Man-at-Arms.
Right, enough. Let's take a look at the basic unit outline, what units are in it, and why they are:
Starting off with the infantry units, it is immediately obvious that there are lots of them. So much so in fact that we divide them over two buildings, having an Archery Range in addition to the Barracks. The Archery Range trains ranged infantry units and the Barracks trains melee infantry units. Those of you with keen memories may remember that Age of Empires II had a similar kind of setup, but there is a difference. Unlike AoE2, ranged cavalry in K&B is trained from the Stables, not the Archery Range.
The core infantry unit of K&B is the Man-at-Arms. Or rather, it could be. The Man-at-Arms is a nice jack-of-all-trades infantry unit that has a decent amount of hitpoints, good melee resistance and a relatively high attack. It doesn't get any bonuses against other unit types though, and it isn't as cheap as some other infantry units. While Men-at-Arms can fulfil a lot of roles, you'll probably end up using them primarily against other melee infantry such as Spearmen. Coming to the Spearman, it's rather cheaper than a Man-at-Arms, but also slightly slower, less strong in attack, and in possession of less hitpoints. Spearmen have a massive bonus against cavalry though, as you'd expect, and as such they're as good against cavalry as they're rubbish against other infantry. Our third and last melee infantry unit is the Halberdier. Being available an age later than the Man-at-Arms and Spearman, the Halberdier rather combines the best of both. It's got the hitpoints and attack of a Man-at-Arms (even more, in fact), and it's got the anti-cavalry bonus of the Spearman. However, Halberdiers are slow and expensive, and don't have much in terms of melee resistance. As such, they're excellent all-around units, just as long as you don't meet enemy Archers or Men-at-Arms.
The Archer is our main ranged unit, and the most straightforward of them all. Archers aren't particularly fast or strong, but they're blessed with a decent ranged attack and a rather good range, making them ideal units for picking out enemies from afar. A slightly less straightforward unit is the Crossbowman. It's much like the Archer in that it's a mediocre ranged infantry unit, but it has a twist. Crossbowmen are defensive units at best, and in K&B this means that Crossbowmen get extra hitpoints if they're near Walls. Each wall section will have an aura that slightly improves Crossbowmen HP, making them really difficult units to take out at the defense, and also an excellent boost to the already good strength of defensive buildings in K&B. Crossbowmen can of course go on the offensive, where they're aided by a slightly higher siege attack than the Archer, but they're most in place defending the walls of your settlement. The final ranged infantry unit that'll be available through much of the game is the Skirmisher, which is a light infantry javelineer. It's fast, it has a really good attack against other ranged infantry (or rather, all other infantry), but it suffers from a short range and really low HP. It does get a decent ranged resistance, but that won't prevent it from falling very quickly when attacked by any melee unit, in which case its best option is to run.
Finally, we come to the Hand Gunner, which is another ranged infantry unit, and really a rather strong one. It's got an abysmal range, but it's also got very high HP, good melee resistance, and a ranged attack to take out the weaker of units in a single shot. This might seem OP, and it probably would be, were it not for the fact that the Hand Gunner can only be trained after the Black Powder tech has been researched, which can not happen before Age V. The Hand Gunner then is a late game power unit, one that turns regular units into mince pies, but doesn't come early. That said, Hand Gunners aren't a "game ender" as such, and fully upgraded regular unit can still take them out, it'd just cost more effort.
Our list of cavalry units is fortunately rather shorter, consisting of just three units. The Light Cavalry is our weakest cavalry unit, and also the only one that's available already in Age II. Don't mistake it for a crap unit though, as it isn't. It's got a very decent amount of hitpoints, a good resistance against ranged attacks, and most importantly a bonus against artillery and villagers, which makes this the ideal unit for both raiding an enemy's economy to bits and sallying forth from a siege to take out the enemy's siege units. Our second cavalry unit is the strongest melee unit in our generic unit roster, the Knight. As you'd expect, they're expensive and really rather powerful. The Knight hasn't got any bonuses against other units, but it hardly needs them, as it will charge through just about any formation of units at minimum cost. The only thing to really watch out for are Spearmen and Halberdiers. Ah, and Cavalry Archers. Cavalry Archers are royally crap in melee, but they do very well against other cavalry, and they are quick... Unfortunately though, Cavalry Archers are of very little use against infantry, and their short range and lack of ranged resistance makes them vulnerable to foot Archers too.
And so we come to Artillery, and our very elaborate siege system. Or rather, our well thought out siege system. As you might know by now, ordinary units can't attack walls or gates, and this makes artillery an absolute need, rather than just the luxury it was in AoE3. The simplest artillery unit is the Sapper, which will simply walk up to a wall and start hacking away at it in melee. While they are very effective at this, they are of course quite vulnerable to ranged attack, so there are more options available. One of these options is to simply protect your Sappers with Mantlets, which shield your nearby units from enemy fire. Or, to put it in more technical terms, they provide a massive HP boost to other units around them, making them practically invulnerable until the Mantlet is destroyed. Another way of protecting your Sappers is to garrison them into Siege Towers, which has two advantages. The first is that the Siege Tower can now start firing at enemies behind the wall, and the second is that your Sappers are completely invulnerable until they exit the Siege Tower again, or until it is destroyed. Mind you, destroying a Siege Tower isn't easy, as they have lots of hitpoints. Very much the same technique can be applied with Battering Rams (except these can't be garrisoned in Siege Towers), which are special units in that they can only attack Gates. Only Gates, nothing else. However, their attack against Gates is so damn strong that they'll have them down in no time at all.
A more direct method of attack is to use the traditional idea of blasting walls to bits. While this isn't half as effective as it used to be in AoE3, and also not nearly as effective as just using Sappers or Battering Rams, it is still possible, by using either Ballistas or Catapults. Ballistas are the more versatile of the two and can also be used to great effect against infantry, and Catapults are the more specialised siege alternative. Of course, you could also wait until Age V, research Black Powder, and say goodbye to the walls in the style of the Bombard, which is very quick indeed.
- Economic and Other:
Now we arrive at economic, religious and other units, which is a lot less exciting. In terms of "other" units, the Militia is our version of the Minuteman that was present in AoE3, and it works like a Spearman, except of course it loses HP over time. The Lord is our version of the Explorer, which will be able to gather treasures and be generally rather powerful, especially with the bonus abilities that are bestowed on him when a certain HC card is sent. These are different for every civ, and something that I won't talk about now, because they'll probably feature in future Friday Updates. The War Dog is a cheap and rather weak military unit for the desperate, or for those who want to train military units in Age I.
Coming to economic units, the Peasant is our main villager unit. It gathers resources, it builds buildings and it's not very good at fighting. As we've shown in previous Friday Updates, the Farmer is a more specialised villager that can gather quicker from agricultural buildings and is also the only one that can build these. Finally, the religious units. There's two of them, although there's really only one that plays a major role. The Bishop is a really powerful healer, but it's only enabled after sending an HC card, and it doesn't share the abilities the Priest can get by researching Church techs. The Priest, as mentioned, is more versatile, although less powerful a healer. The names of Bishops and Priests change with the religion chosen in our Religion system, by the way.
This is where descriptions get really short. Fishing Boats are pretty self-explanatory, and the rest just follows the regular pattern. The Galley is more powerful than the Cog, and the Carrack is more powerful than the Galley. This is obviously offset by the fact that Cogs can be trained from Age II onward, while Galleys only become available in Age III and Carracks only in Age IV. Another thing worth mentioning is that upon researching the previously discussed Black Powder tech in Age V, all your Carracks on the map turn into Gun Carracks, which you can then also train. These are even more powerful than standard Carracks.
For those who think modding is a serious business, here's proof of a K&B team member being funny:
Synecdoche wrote:Rich and I have decided that the oft-debated name for the Slav civ should reflect the most ethno-politically accurate and consistent theme for the area's inhabitants while maintaining their individuality. So, we will both be tendering our resignations to K&B unless the Slavs shall henceforth be known as "The Wendish Balto-Slavs of the Vistula Watershed". Thank you all for your adherence to utter lack of historical bias in what I'm sure will be the unanimous acceptance of this final name proposition.
K&B salutes... Top Gear. Half the team's favourite motoring show got a Guiness World Record today for being the most widely watched factual TV show on earth. We salute again.
K&B refutes... American election campaigns. Trying to cover one's opponent in as deep a pile of shit as possible is not a very honourable way to win an election.
Sola Scriptura. Sola Fide. Sola Gratia. Solus Christus. Soli Deo Gloria.
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