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Because circumstances caused us to delay and ultimately cancel last week's Friday Update about the English economy in K&B, we'll now have, for the first time in Friday Update history, a Double Friday Update!
Sheep, and the English economy
Go to Britain today, walk into the nearest pub and look at the menu; that's all you need to do to uncover the remains of England's greatest economic achievement in the Middle Ages. The menu in question will contain several dishes based on lamb, unlike in continental Europe, where similar dishes are almost guaranteed to be made with beef or pork. The prevalence of lamb in English cuisine is a significant leftover of England's sheep-based economy in the Middle Ages. These sheep were primarily raised for their wool rather than their meat, but with so many sheep around, it was always going to be inevitable that some of them would end up in an oven somewhere. Still, English sheep did produce wool, and more than just a little; not only was England the biggest wool exporter of medieval Europe, English wool was also deemed to be of the highest quality, and as such became a longstanding favourite of the cloth industries of the Low Countries. Bear in mind that England plied its wool exports in an age when cotton, silk and linen were, for different reasons, enormously expensive and out of reach of the vast majority of society. England, then, effectively clothed all of Europe during the Middle Ages.
This takes us to the English civ in K&B. Based on how crucially important sheep were to the medieval English economy, our English civ bases its entire economic uniqueness on Sheep as well. To achieve this, they have three very potent bonuses related to Sheep.
Before we get to that though, let's have a quick recap of how livestock normally functions in K&B: Unlike in the unmodded Age of Empires III, where you train livestock, let them fatten either by themselves or on a Livestock Pen, and then kill them for more food than it cost to train them, K&B has a system whereby livestock are useful both dead and alive. After all, most of the animals kept as livestock provide useful produce even when alive; sheep make wool, cows produce milk, and horses and goats can do useful physical work. As such, every herdable unit in K&B slowly autogathers a resource while alive, and stops doing so when it is killed for its food. As such, they aren't entirely useless during their fattening period, and it even becomes feasible to deliberately delay butchering a fattened herdable. Sheep, in this system, slowly trickle coin while idle, to represent the financial value of their wool. They do this for all civs, but thanks to the first of the English Sheep-related bonuses, English Sheep trickle their coin at a significantly increased rate, getting on for twice as much.
Sheep are trained from the Manor, which they can also gather from to increase their fattening rate. This means that Sheep (and other herdables) cannot be trained until a Manor is built. The English, however, can get a head start in the livestock game, thanks to their other two Sheep-related bonuses. Firstly, alongside infinitely sendable cards for food, wood and coin crates, the English HC also contains as standard a card that allows them to infinitely send Sheep. Secondly, the English receive a free Sheep every time they build a House, as a cheeky wink to the primary economic bonus of the British in Age of Empires III.
Together, these bonuses mean that while the English are just as capable as other civs when it comes to regular resource gathering, they get a major bonus on livestock, and with that a significant economic edge over other civilisations. Of course, livestock-based gameplay is notoriously heavy on micromanagement, so getting the full potential out of the English economy really is something of a challenge, but when succesful, the English can be very powerful indeed.
Next time we'll be... ...oh no, "next time" is directly below here. Please keep reading!
Archers, the keystone of the English military
The English focus on a single unit when it comes to their economy; the Sheep. Similarly, the English military hinges on a single unit as well; the Archer. This may seem odd, because usually when a particular unit type is key to a civ's success, the first thing that happens is that they receive a unique unit for that particular unit type. The French, for example, were famed for having the finest knights in Western Europe, and so they get the Chevalier as a UU, to distinguish them from regular Knights available to other civs. The English, however, do not have a UU replacing the Archer. What they do have, though, are ways to make this perfectly standard Archer múch more powerful than it will ever be for any other civ.
The first thing that the English have for their Archers, albeit not a full-on civ bonus, is a Royal Guard upgrade. In itself, this isn't too special. Every European civ has two units that get Royal Guard upgrades, so for English Archers to be called Yeoman Archers in Age IV and be somewhat more powerful than regular Great Archers isn't singularly what makes Archers so powerful for the English. It does, however, help.
Where the key to English archery success lies is with the Blacksmith. This humble little military improvement building is key for the English. Firstly, the English get a cost decrease on all Blacksmith technologies, chain techs and single techs alike. While this doesn't give them access to anything other civs do not have, it does mean that the English can afford to research these technologies sooner, and with less disturbance to their economy.
The Blacksmith does, however, also contain the cherry on the English cake; unique archery technologies: Yew Bows is a tech that offers greatly increased range to both Archers and Cavalry Archers, Compulsory Archery Training makes Archers trainable in half the time it would normally take to train them, Welsh Longbowmen gives Archers a not insubstantial bonus to their overall attack damage, ranged and melee alike, and finally Agincourt Strategy gives Archers a hefty increase in their attack damage in melee, not to mention (and it's difficult to overstate the significance of this) a bonus against cavalry. To top it all off, these very powerful techs come at much less of a price than might be expected from such powerful technologies, as these also benefit from the English bonus of having cheaper Blacksmith techs.
Next time we'll be talking about the last English bonus, their UUs, and how the English military ought to be used.
For a Double Friday Update, we obviously ought to have two Thousand Words as well, so here's one of the English UUs to look at, as well as one of Pepp's latest textures for a mercenary unit.
The Billman, which replaces the Spearman for the English.
The Gascon Crossbowman, a new mercenary unit to take the place of the Novgorodian Dvor.
This week John Tan will be our fan of the week, as he was the one who suggested doing a Double Friday Update instead of having two separate ones in the same week...
Synecdoche wrote: Do you only use your wisdom teeth to grind down bone from your kills?
Sola Scriptura. Sola Fide. Sola Gratia. Solus Christus. Soli Deo Gloria.
Sola Scriptura. Sola Fide. Sola Gratia. Solus Christus. Soli Deo Gloria.
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