A nation torn by many wars through the middle ages, any part of Spain might see three rulers in the same number of years, Moor and Christian alike as both grappled for control of the land, resulting in the eventual Reconquista where the Spanish crusaders finally destroyed the Moorish presence. Spanish had excellent cavalry, taken from Frankish and Arabian stock, and their armies were always spearheaded by cavalry units whether the force in question was Moslem or Christian.
The Spanish of Age of Kings make a generalist civilisation with a wide range of powerful military options, and a couple unique to themselves.
- Trade units return an extra 33% gold
- Builders work 30% faster, excepting Wonders
- Blacksmith upgrades are gold-free
- Gunpowder units fire 15% faster
- Cannon Galleons benefit from the research of Ballistics
Trade units return an extra 33% gold
This puts the Spanish player and his allies at a marked advantage on team games, with slower returning trade gold being all the more beneficial. This is hugely beneficial to the Spaniard also; who has a huge tech tree of options to choose from, but many heavily gold-reliant.
Builders work 30% faster, excepting Wonders
A um....er...self explanatory bonus, this is indeed very useful, cutting down the critical wait and waste of villager time when building structures such as Market and Blacksmith in the critical early game, benefits the Spanish players boom with faster rising TCs making management that little bit easier. Most of all, it makes the Spanish the most effective at offensive building, feudal Tower pushing, Castle dropping or Bombard Tower pushing.
Blacksmith upgrades are gold-free
Providing a significant profit in the long run, this bonus saves critical gold early on. Later when the farming/woodcutting base is established during his boom, the Spaniard finds it easier to research these where with other civilisations he would be forced to wait until his gold stockpile was high enough and his military strain low.
Gunpowder units fire 15% faster
This bonus obviously affects the Spanish Hand Cannoneer, Bombard Cannon, Cannon Galley and their unique unit, the Conquistador; adding comparatively small but critical extra power to these units. In matchup tests with Turkish units, the Spanish ones were shown to be clearly superior, and in the end it comes down to personal preference which is better.
Cannon Galleons benefit from the research of Ballistics
Dismissed by the many as a pointless bonus, many do not see the true power of the Spanish Cannon Galleon; its an effective naval combat unit. Dealing 45 damage a hit over 15 tiles and firing significantly faster than the ordinary Cannon Galleon or Elite Cannon Galleon, the Spanish ECG can effectively flatten enemy ships before they even manage to engage. However, Spanish Cannon Galleys are still just as slow and sport the minimum range disadvantage, and obviously have to be screened by other more practical units, plus costing 150 gold.
Spanish have fully upgraded Paladins in their armoury, fast moving response, combat and raiding units. The Spanish unique unit, the Conquistador is much of a mounted Hand Cannoneer, with a slow rate of fire and relative inaccuracy, but dealing heavy damage when it hits, and excelling against Infantry, even Halberdiers; and making an ideal support unit to hand-to-hand units the Spaniard can field such as Champions or Paladins.
Gold-free trash units
Affectionately named trash units, Skirmishers, Halberds and Hussars are the practical late game options for the player lacking plentiful gold. The Spanish are fortunate to have all three units with every relating technology available to them. Where people see the Knights and Conquistadors making the Spanish a gold-heavy civilisation, they also have these effective cheap options as well.
The only game civilisation other than the Byzantines to have access to every naval technology, the Spanish are one of the real naval powers. Together with Fire Ships and Galleons, their Cannon Galleys are effective combat weapons, as discussed above, and well defended will annihilate many units before their rain of fire.
Available only to 6 of the 18 civilisations in Age of Kings, bombard towers are a terrifying prospect to deal with. They increase the odds of victory on any battlefield, and consolidate gained territory for longer. Being cheaper than castles, its not such a loss when one is destroyed. Spanish Bombard Towers have a terrifying 11 range and deal 120 damage a hit. While expensive and not in all games a viable option, bombard towers are a distinct advantage to any player. The Spanish, with Supremacy and the build speed bonus has an obvious advantage in dropping Bombard Towers all over a battlefield.
Being a generalist civilisation, there isnt any real military lacking to highlight for the Spanish, except perhaps the Archer line which I will mention for want of a point to discuss.
The only team to lack the Crossbowman upgrade: the Spanish. This deprives them of a practical unit that can fulfil the same realistic capacity as the archer line, combating infantry and killing villagers. While many players would be disinclined to use archers anyway when they can take advantage of other units, it deprives them of a practical weapon throughout the Castle Age and makes the Spanish less practical flushers despite the advantage afforded in their faster build bonus.
Many people look at the Spanish tech tree, sporting units like Hand Cannons, Bombard Towers, Paladins and Conquistadors and instantly assume the Spanish to be a gold-dependant civilisation. Not true. The Spanish have top notch trash (gold free) units, Hussars, Skirmishers and Halberdiers all fully upgraded and paying no gold cost on the blacksmith upgrades, too. They also have Champions which are low on gold cost and high on return.
Through the Ages
The Spanish Dark Age has nothing worthy of note, nor really their Feudal Age, though the building bonus is handy at cutting off critical time on buildings; it can also make the Spanish effective tower rushers.
In the Castle Age, the Spanish begin to shine. Opening with the customary Knight rush, a Spaniard would benefit in attempting a Castle drop on his opponents economy, with his faster builders bringing it up before the enemy can react and beat him off. (Read into crush specific tactics for more, check my strategies collection.) Spanish TCs also go up faster and make ideal covering fire for a forward Castle, as well as making your boom more painless. Spanish Conquistadors are fairly viable at this stage, as your armies are low numbers and you can allocate more time to micromanagement, and they can deal a fair bit of damage when managed well.
In the Imperial Age the Spaniard really begins to step up. The early Imperial Age Champion flood is at their disposal, and its effective counter, Hand Cannoneers. Blacksmith upgrades are easier to get hold of due to the eliminated gold reliance to get the last few techs, and Spanish gold-free trash units are top of the line. Bombard Towers, one of their biggest weapons become available upon the research of Chemistry, along with the ability to build Bombard Cannons. Along with supremacy, the Spaniard can put down Bombard Towers in the middle of battles, most likely; then prevent Trebuchet assault with his Bombard Cannons and cavalry; all in all making him an aggressive Imperial player. Eventually he wins or loses as is the games nature.
Every civilisation in the game has some weakness in some form. Striking at these weaknesses should be a high priority of enemy tactics, as is the games nature. To prevent this you must cover these weaknesses at all costs. The best way to do this is by even more extensively accentuating the strengths of the civilisation in question. This reinforces my law of AoK: A unit is only as good as your ability to back it up. In doing this, we create what are commonly called combos or using multiple units in our tactics to cover the weaknesses of one with the strengths of another.
Response units, general combat: Cavalry
Critical to the continued success of every general is the proper caution employed by maintaining a response force to deal with unexpected threats in the form of enemy ranged units and siege. Spanish cavalry is also ideal for general combat due to its real power in the thick of battle. However, being gold-heavy a Spaniard should beware not to make it the focus of his armies and waste unnecessary resources in doing so, but rather to make sure he keeps it focused as a reaction unit and let more practical units do their share of the fighting.
General combat unit: Champions
Always the greater part of any infantry-reliant civilisations military complement, Champions are hailed as *the* unit of AoK. They cost 20 gold, have no counter that costs less gold, and are produced in a handy 16 seconds; and dole out 17 attack fully upgraded.
Support weaponry: Missionaries
While statistically inferior to regular Monks, Spanish Missionaries are faster moving and less vulnerable to the more common units that frequent fields of combat. The real use of Missionaries, however, is not converting enemy units but healing your own, prolonging their effective lifespan and thus stretching your resources further with each unit you field.
Support weaponry: Bombard Cannons
Only available to half the civilisations in the game, bombard cannons are invaluable. While more expensive and less enduring than trebuchets, which are also available to every player in the game; bombard cannons have numerous advantages over a trebuchet in practical use. First, cannons have the ability to nullify enemy siege weapons before they become a threat. It can also destroy trebuchets from the safety of defending units 12 tiles away. As well as this, a number of cannons can wipe out archers faster than mangonels, due to their superior range.
With 80 hit point villagers, fully-upgraded Bombard Towers and a faster build bonus, keeping a force of builder-villagers with your army is a must. As your army do battle your villagers can be busily erecting a BT or two to hold the ground youve gained until the enemy beats you off with a full scale attack. With sappers researched, a Spanish villager will also demolish buildings about 50% faster than a Champion will, and you can occupy them wiping out buildings while your military are still fighting.
With faster created gunpowder units, the Spanish are directly benefited by the Turkish team bonus, as the Spanish one affects the Turks gold reliance in turn. Spanish trash units also make up somewhat for the Turkish lacking.
The Britons are obviously an Archer civ and lack all gunpowder units, which the Spanish just happen to have, along with Spanish Cavalry making up for the marked Briton lacking. Early on, the Britons are competent flushers which can complement a Spanish fast castle well.
Cavalier, Paladin unit upgrades
Critical to the Spanish offensive capabilities in late game are the expensive knight line upgrades, providing strength and speed to back the Conquistadors and infantry, the power to take the extra hits from defensive pikes and camels when attacking siege and come out alive. Earlier in the game, when you approach considerable numbers of knights say 8 or 9, you will want to get the Bloodlines upgrade as well.
Champion unit upgrade
While some players disregard Champions and rely on Cavalry, the cheaper swordsmen are a more practical option in the broader scheme of things and prudence says to research it as early as possible. If you intend to use gold-heavy knights and siege, you want your infantry to be as little reliant on gold as possible, and Champions cost much less gold than Paladins or Conquistadors.
Chemistry not only allows you to build bombard cannons, a valuable asset to the Spaniard player, as outlined above, but also opens up the possibility of Hand Cannoneers and the Bombard Tower upgrade, both of which can be pivotal to the Spaniards success.
Critical to any civilisations continued success, blacksmith upgrades provide small but significant extra power to your units. The Spanish blacksmith upgrades are all the more viable due to the removal of gold cost with their civilisation bonus.
The Spanish are a powerful civilisation and have a wide range of military options. They are one the high choices on my list of potential allies in a team game, providing excellent backup to most civilisations, with a great late-game economy benefited by their trade bonus. Early on they arent very powerful, and make a more ideal Imperial civilisation which is why they tend to be used more in team games.