I think I am the only one left who plays these guys almost entirely. I use to play the Italians 95% of the time on AOE2 as well as Sid Meyer games, Knights of Honor, and Total War games, so playing them here almost exclusively in WOL is nothing new to me in gaming. I like them amongst other reasons because they are challenging, even borderline under powered.
I thought I read something about them having the best spies and priests. I don't really see it. The description of Italy says they have a stronger form of espionage, the Mafia. Not sure if I agree with that. Italian Spies and Assassins as well as spies/assassins others from other civs seem stronger than the Mafiosos in hitpoints and attack. I know both units are most effective in stealth mode but still 5 assassins can take down an explorer but 5 mafiosos couldn't? I was like wth? That doesn't make sense to me. I would think the Mafiosos would be "all around stronger" than a regular assassin. Don't understand why a handgun has more attack than a machine gun or why spies have over 200 hp and mafiosos have like 75. Villagers have more hp than them. lol They are more powerful in groups in stealth mode even though the stats don't show it. But still I think they should be able to do everything a normal spy/assassin does and even better. More hp, attack, line of sight, even have more powerful bombs.There is a tech that says they will reduce the gather rates of enemy villagers. If the mafiosos are nearby by any enemy villagers, they will typically harass them and chase them off. So unless I am wrong, that is a useless tech. The other tech that they reduce the attack of nearby enemy units. If it's true. that is great but I can't say I notice it.
The Omerta card is creative but useless. You can't have merchants hovering around mafiosos during a battle. They all
get killed and with them the Omerta affect is killed as well. I think they should increase the Mafia hp by atleast 3x , 250-350 seems fair and raise attack of a tommy gun when its unstealthed, definitely more so than a spy with a hand gun and without the use of an omerta/merchant genocide card, seeing all your merchants get killed while trying to boost your mafiosos.
Religion is also suppose to be a strength of Italy. How is it so in WOL? Because you save 200 gold by already having a pre determined religion? That's not a big advantage plus they are the only Catholic civ that can only construct one church. Yes the church can convert faith to gold, but still only one vs 2 for all others? How is that an advantage? Also catholic priests from other civs or priests from other religions seem to have just as much power.
I imagine there are useless to silly cards for different civs but there is a card in the Italian deck that says treasure guardians condemned by priest are turned into merchants? Really? The Priests can hardly condemn anyways, so its a waste of trying. But if you do condemn a treasure guardian, it turns into a merchant. Wow... How about improving the condemning ability of Italian Priests so they are clearly stronger than other catholic priests and if you wish to condemn a treasure guardian, be rewarded with something far more valuable than a merchant like a military unit, spy, or even another priest or statue? Also Inquisitors could be available as soon as your church is built and they can condemn enemy villagers? That would give them some religious swagger.
There is another card that says Statues which I have grown to like since I learned how to use them will condemn enemy priests. I like the concept but you never see an enemy priest with in walking distance of a statue. AI or humans wont use them that way. So having to use a card to do such an action is a waste of card deck space. I think if an enemy unit or army destroys a statue, they should all get condemned. That might second guess enemies from destroying statues. I never seen a natural disaster on this game with any civ, so having that as a feature for a statue seems useless or they need to create more natural disasters. I seen another post of somebody trying to create the papal states and Hoops said they were good ideas for the Italians. Those ideas would definitely make them far more interesting. Without me being a developer, its easier to say ofcourse
And another card, i think it was the Roman Question that said your units will instantly kill an enemy priest. Why waste a card on that, It's not hard at all for a unit to to kill an enemy priest
Anyways, thanks for reading and if you disagree with any of my opinions, please enlighten me.