We’ve shown you plenty of map changes already, including updates to Russia, Scandinavia, and most recently Italy and the Alps. But surely, we couldn’t do all of these wonderful updates without looking at the continent that deserves it the most, right?
So let’s have a look at Africa.
You read that right. Africa is finally getting the love and attention it deserves! Northern Africa and Mali have long needed an update. Where counties resembled squares and rectangles more than anything else. But no more!
Let’s start with the northern kingdoms. The kingdoms themselves remain the same. Only Mauretania has been renamed to Maghreb, and has along with the kingdom of Africa been placed in the Empire of Maghreb. Mainly to break down the very large Arabian Empire slightly. On the county level, every single county has been repainted in order to place them where they should be and give the borders a much more natural feeling.
All in all, the new provinces and additional holding slots will make North Africa stronger than before. But to offer additional protection against aggressive Holy Wars from the major powers of Europe, we’ve increased the number of sea zones slightly in the mediterranean. The stronger realms of central Europe will now have to first conquer their way down to the coast of Iberia, Southern Italy, or go through Mallorca or Sardinia, before they will be able to reach the shores of Africa. This should give the realms in Africa some time before the Europeans attempt to make their way onto the continent.
As for Mali. The area has about twice the number of provinces compared to what they had before. This in turn allows for more than just the lonely kingdom of Mali to exist, which has been split into the three kingdoms of Ghana, Mali and Songhay. One kingdom for each of the major powers that inhabited the area during the timeframe of the game. They’ll all still be part of the empire of Mali, which is finally no longer the only empire with a single De Jure kingdom.
Here is an overview of the De Jure kingdoms:
Updating the existing parts of the map is not the only thing we’ve done for Africa however. Kanem-Bornu and the region around lake Chad is now on the map as well! The area consists of the two kingdoms Hausaland and Kanem. These consist of three and four duchies respectively and together form the empire of Kanem-Bornu. So not only do we get new rulers and titles to play with, but it allows both east and west to move across the continent without always having to expand north and, usually, through a Muslim blob that more often than not forms in Northern Africa and Arabia. Instead, you’ll be able to cross Africa through Ghana/Mali in the west, through the Sahara and the Fezzan corridor in the center, and finally through Wadai and Abyssinia in the east.
Let’s not stop there though.
To make Africa more distinct from other regions, a second trade route has been added to the game; the Trans-Saharan Trade Route.
It requires either Horse Lords or Jade Dragon to be unlocked and functions very much like the updated Silk Road from 2.8. There is however, a certain twist to it. The base value of the trade route is very low. Granting next to no bonuses to the counties it passes through. What you need to do in order to benefit from it, is to control certain locations along the trade route and construct unique production buildings in established trade posts. To be clear though, these are merely special buildings within the trade posts just like you would upgrade a trade post on the Silk Road. These buildings represent some of the trade goods that historically had a large impact on the trade in the region. The most important of these will be the Gold Mines.
There are two Gold Mines located on the map, both of them in the kingdom of Mali. The Gold Mines will allow Mali to amass great wealth. Just like they did historically. If you would prefer to do it differently and take the mines from them, conquering Africa will very much be worth the effort. Not only will Gold Mines greatly increase the value of the Trans-Saharan trade, it will also grant the owner a large bonus to the county’s income. There will also be some flavour events that can trigger for anyone owning them.
Remember that what I’ve shown here is still a work in progress and things may be subject to change. Now, let’s wrap up the dev diary with some smaller additions.
We’ve renamed the West African religion to simply “African”, as to not exclude the newly added region around lake Chad, and updated the Patron Deities accordingly. The religion will also get a new set of shields for displaying the CoAs on the map.
I hope that you look forward to these changes and the overall improvements for Africa!