- Jul 8, 2019
Its important to clarify that my idea of an Neolithic Era is not all about being a hunter-gatherer society, that aspect would be optionaly a brief start of that era. Players could still pick a settlement point quickly, developing a civ from one or more settlements growing to be cities. In fact the player would NOT be capable of built Canoes (War-Canoe) until being settled and has a proper tech researched, like it was said the base of this model are the canoe raiding war parties of chiefdom cultures like the Carib and Maori, that in gameplay ballance terms could be limited to sea scouting and transport.Some comments:
Canoe - would definitely make sense as a 'Neolithic' Unit or graphic indicator of activity (shallow-water crossing for Scouts, civilian units) and I sincerely hope that Civ VII at least explores doing Neolithic Right. On the other hand, we have very, very little evidence for mass military actions this early, so the possibilities for how they can be used should be very limited. I would leave the War Fleets for Ancient Era at least - perhaps a required Civic or Social Policy allowing the organization of largest purposeful groups than simple hunting bands on land or (coastal) sea.
Pentekonter/Galley - Yes, the Galley as a word applied to oared ships is no earlier than about 1000 CE, Medieval Era. But between 1300 and 1500 it was in general use all over Europe to refer to oared ships of all sizes and hull construction, including Scandinavian 'clinker-built' and 'caravel hulls' in the Mediterranean. More importantly, it has been understood in that general context ever since - not always completely accurately, I will grant, but the proposed Pentekonter/Penteconter is just as bad in the opposite direction: it is Too Specific, refering to the Pentekontoroi, or '50-oared ships', the largest of the single-banked oared ships in Greek only. Since the Egyptians were using similar single-banked oared ships almost 2000 years earlier, this is pretty Helleno-centric nomenclature. Especially since the more common oared ship even in Greek was the earlier Triconter - '30-oared ship' that appears very similar to Homer's 'Hollow Ships' that may date back another 500 years. Also, the Penteconter is rather like the super-battleships designed and built in the early 1940s when the fleet aircraft carrier was already in use: too little, too late: in the Penteconter's case compared to the Phoenician bireres or Bireme that concentrated more motive power by double-stacking the oarsmen.
I would keep the Galley as an easily-identified term for the oared ship from the start. The alternative is to ring in terms like the Egyptian wiA or wjA or Mycenean Greek Naus or slightly later Triconter and whatever the Phoenician, Chinese, Indian, etc terms were. I foresee a real problem selling all that to the average gamer.
Penteconter as upgrade would add to the feeling of advance from Canoe since the model War-Canoe were already of >30 rowers, anyway I am OK naming it Triconter or any earlier non-Greek name. What I dont like is the ideas of have Canoe as the Bronze Age naval unit neither name it just "Galley" when would be also specific classical and medieval forms of galleys. Find neutral "universal names" is nice if possible but we must not close eyes to the fact that most of the other naval units are named after Greco-Roman>European>Western ship designs, so when you have Ancient, Classical and Medieval galleys only one could be named Galley and who is better than the medieval one that actually was named like that at its time.
We have two big reasons, 1) Gameplay and 2) Recognition. By far most CIV players know about the massive classical warships, even if anecdotic and exaggerated by pop-culture those huge multy rowded roman galleys with some extravagant weapons on board are expected, add the chance for a form of "imperial" naval unit that contrasts against a lighter class and can exploit the naval siege ability.It’s not so much trireme. It’s trireme And Polyreme And Lembus And Dromon etc etc. The default units should try to be less parochial.
Plus, as several people have already mentioned, ranged combat on boats was little more than a curiosity until the late medieval in any part of the world. There isn’t a good reason to have a ranged naval boat until medieval, even if you were only concerned with a Mediterranean context.