The Napoleonic Era is a Game Mod for Age of Empires III that switches the focus of the game from the colonization of the Americas to war in Europe and the Mediterranean area, also reducing the time-span of the game (from 1492 to about 1870 in the original, to 1550-1815). The French revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars receive special attention, with the fourth age being entirely set in the first and the fifth in the second. In addition to introducing a variety of new (mainly European) nations like the Swedes, Italians, Prussians, Austrians, Polish, Swiss and Americans, the mod also revamps and alters many of the existing factions with new skins, units and unique technologies. It's also one of the handful of mods for the game that not only remain supported but are still in development, with "Version 3" on the horizon.
The mod can be found online.
Napoleonic Era provides examples of the following tropes:
- Americans Are Cowboys: Invoked aplenty by the American civ. For starters, they have a barn that replaces both the stable and the livestock pen, allowing them to train both cows and cavalry. The "Cowboy Band" card gives them a shipment of Wild West-themed outlaws, and the Mounted Rifleman (their version of the Dragoon) also has a very Settling the Frontier-vibe.
- Anachronism Stew: Still present even after the overhauls, due to the game's timeframe.
- The ever-delayed 2.2 version has the intent to eliminate or rework many of the archaic units that were added before later modders set the beginning of the mod in the year 1550. This will likely spell doom for crossbowmen, hand cannoneers and Teutonic knights.
- The Artifact: The modders don't hide their dislike for the playable Native American civs and don't intend to do any changes to them. But they won't remove them either.
- In the same vein, the game contains a shell Inca civilization that has no working card deck and tech tree. The current modders have no interest in developing it, but they won't remove it either. If someone takes it upon their shoulders to actually make it a civilization, then good for him.
- Also played but eventually averted with the Persians, who were similarly proposed and abandoned, but were taken up again when new, interested people joined the team. While the 2.17 version of the Persians is a complete shell, the 2.2 version will be playable and have its own unique units.
- Blade on a Stick: Many of the Swiss units seem to have a preference for pikes and halberds, including the famed Swiss Guard.
- Cannon Fodder: The Russians rely on a lot of cheap and plentiful, if expendable infantry. Further down the line though, said fodder become more than capable of holding the line in sufficient numbers.
- Death from Above: Artillery is noticeably more powerful and varied here, reflecting Napoleon's penchant for cannons.
- Dueling Games: With the War of the Triple Alliance and Knights and Barbarians mods, among others. Although the competition is rather friendly, with quite a bit of overlapping influence among the modders.
- Elegant Weapon for a More Civilized Age: Some (but not all) of the early-game units tend to become obsolete once the Fortress (III) or Industrial (IV) Ages are reached, when rifle infantry, proper artillery and more powerful gunpowder units in general become available.
- Elite Mooks: While many of the nations have their own respective variants of this (like Prussia's Death's Head Hussars), the French can ship elite Napoleonic troops from the homeland.
- Empty Levels / Poison Mushroom: Of a sort. Some of the randomized "upgrades" for your units or faction in general actually bring about penalties (like "Pacifism" or "Malthusian Disaster"), encouraging players to be careful with how they research.
- Hired Guns / Private Military Contractors: The Italians can ship in mercenary armies from their homeland for a fee; the Condotieri in particular are described as basically mercenary knights. The Swiss meanwhile are presented as a whole nation of mercs in all but name.
- Large Ham: The Italians, in a nod to the main game's Elmeti units.
- Morton's Fork: The Imperial Age politicians for the French both of whom are none other than Napoléon Bonaparte, as First Consul and Emperor respectively.
- Mythology Gag:
- The 2.17 version has slow Teutonic Knights on foot available for Prussia, and Mangudai identical to the ones in Age of Empires II can be recruited from Mongol camps. The skins of the Condottiero and its two upgrades are identical to AoE II's Knight, Cavalier and Paladin.
- The Malta map lets you recruit Hoop Throwers and Maltese knights from Maltese villages, and also has hostile Janissaries in the countryside, regardless of who you are playing.
- Multinational Team: The Austrians are essentially this by default, with their Grenzers evidently meant to be Czech/Bohemian, while their Hussars are clearly intended to be Hungarian (complete with their own stand-in language voices).
- Nintendo Hard: The AI has been revamped to make even a normal-difficulty skirmish a challenge. Not to mention making said enemies unafraid to use artillery against you.
- Obvious Beta: There are still some bugs and unfinished bits to be ironed out, along with some additional factions and features. That said, the current version is very much playable.
- Retool: From colonial warfare in the Americas (the mod started life before any expansion came out) to European warfare. Word of God is that 3 will be a total conversion mod, rather than just additions to the original game.
- Despite the name, the first modding team was more concerned with adding cool things they considered missing than with actually bringing the focus to the Napoleonic Wars. The current team is bringing it more in line with the latter idea, to the point of discarding already completed units that are too archaic, unbalanced or Hollywood History-ish.
- Semper Fi: Also invoked directly by the Americans, who can train Marines in the dock. The Marines have a special ability, called precisely "Semper Fi", that boosts their attack for a limited time.
- Settling the Frontier: The Americans have a decidedly frontier-colonial aesthetic compared to the European factions, which is reflected in their units, gameplay and even architecture.
- Shout-Out: Quite a few references and crossover elements are present. Britain's skirmishers for instance are clearly based on Sharpe, while the Hassassin "Natives" in some of the custom maps are the Assassins from Assassin's Creed in all but name, complete with eagle vision and hidden blades. Meanwhile, the Swiss and French incorporate some gameplay elements from the Norse and Atlantean civilizations respectively from Age of Mythology.