The ancient ancestors of the Polynesian peoples ventured out across the largest ocean in the world, using the sea, wind and stars to guide them. They explored and settled distant islands, scattered a third of the way around the planet. Over the centuries, these diverse islands evolved their own unique cultures, tribes and kingdoms.
Wars of Liberty is set at a critical time for the people of the Pacific: Strange ships, carrying people from the other side of the world, are arriving on the shores of once-isolated islands. They bring with them new crops, weapons, religions and diseases. The arrival of Europeans is both a threat and an opportunity to the rulers of the Polynesian nations. Will your civ grow strong from trade with the newcomers? Form an armed resistance and repel the invaders? Or be swept away in the rising tide of colonisation?
Seafaring is a major theme for the Polynesian civs. They age up by sending their explorer-type unit on a Voyage. The further the voyage, the better the loot your explorer will bring back. Polynesian civs also do not require conventional docks: their villagers can train boats at any shoreline. In the later game they can construct a Free Port, where foreign warships and mercenaries can be hired. Additionally, Polynesian civs have special home city cards which send extra units or resources for two shipments.
The Polynesians have small but highly flexible unit rosters, upgrading via a “decision tree”. They share three basic infantry units (there is no cavalry!*) at Age II. At Age III, for each of these units, players must choose between one of two possible unique units for them to be upgraded to. In the next two ages, players must choose one of two possible upgrades for each of these units. The same shared unit could evolve into an anti-cavalry unit with high hitpoints in one game and a swift-moving raider with a high attack in the next.
Each Polynesian civ has a unique building (or buildings) which replaces the conventional Town Centre. These may or may not perform the duties of a normal TC as well as provide unique abilities. For the Maori, these are the Pā. For the other civs… wait and see.
Each civ also has a unique way of gathering food in the lategame. While they all share the same coin building, the Sandalwood Grove, they each have a different building and/or additional method for securing a lategame food supply.
Five hundred years ago Polynesian explorers sighted distant mountains that they first mistook for clouds. They named this new land Aotearoa, or Land of the Long White Cloud. Initially peaceful hunter-gatherers; changes in climate and the extinction of the giant Moa birds lead the Māori to become a more agrarian society. Different large tribes, or Iwi developed and fought each other for land, resources and Mana. The wars between Iwi produced a strong warrior culture with a range of weapons and martial arts as well as fortified villages called Pā.
By the timeline of Wars of Liberty many European explorers have come and gone and the colonisation by Europeans, (Pākehā to the Māori), of Aotearoa has started in earnest. These foreigners have brought new crops, weapons and technologies. Access to trade with Pākehā settlers has given some Iwi and their leaders, the Rangatira, huge military and economic advantages over their rivals. While some Māori fight against the foreign invaders, others ally with them to gain supremacy over their old enemies.
To guide your Iwi to victory in these volatile times you must be swift, decisive and flexible. Spread out and control the map with your Pā. Take advantage of your unique bonuses: one increases the speed of newly trained warriors, while the other boosts their attack with every enemy slain in combat. On water maps, be sure to field a strong navy of fast Waka and Waka Taua boats.
The leader of the Māori is Te Rauparaha. Leader of the powerful Ngāti Toa Iwi, he has led many campaigns to conquer rival Iwi in both the north and south islands. A signatory of the famous Treaty of Waitangi with the British, Te Rauparaha knows how to use his relationships with the Pākehā to best advantage. The Māori home city is Parihaka, on the North Island.