So, I’ve been playing as the Ethopians in the War of Liberty Mod for Age of Empires 3. They have a cool mechanic, as an African Nation, with an age up mechanic is a lot more like Rise of Nations. Instead of having building requirements and then click on the age of system (as the Europeans) or building wonders (as the Asian Nations) they have a library that has 3 different sets of research. Military, Economics and Civils. Each is researched independent, and unlocks buildings and units, regardless of what “age” you are officially in. If you research 4 times into military, you will get higher end units, despite being at a lower age. That being said, if you want to unlock the cards from the next age, you do need to research all three techs in that age to unlock them. Or, if you research 2 of any of them, you go up a level.
Like Rise of Nations, the research in the particular tech unlocks builds and techs, not the age you are in though So, if one tech is particular behind (like military) you might have high level resource gathering, but not the troops.
Besides that the African Age Up mechanic, they have a cool mechanic called Porters. It takes a while, but every once in a while, you town center unlocks a porter, which can build for free any building unlocked.
Some of the buildings are very expansive, but having multiple town centers means multiple porters being generated. I eventually get too many though.
I build towers everywhere.
Anyway, its nice that the team took the ideas of Age of Empires and the three distinct types of civilizations and added a few more. They also have Anglo Nations (Canada, US, and Australia), South American Nations (both look like they play European Style but with unique units and techs) and some more native nations.
Still, as much as I am liking the mod, it just compounds the general problem I have with AoE 3. Cards are finicky and complex and I am not always able to recognize what troops are the best match ups, unlike in Age of Empires 2.
Also, I like the idea of drop off points.