Senates are important for several reasons. Firstly, where a senate is built will determine where your capital will be set up. A capital will exert a slight boost upon your borders, and will also act as the spawn point of your patriot unit. At each stage in the development of your faction, you will also be allowed to choose one of two self-exclusive technologies at your senate; each one representing a totalitarian or libertarian stance towards government.
To research a government, select your senate, and then click the icons representing your choice government. Apart from effecting some changes to your faction's abilities, the new government technology you researched will also grant you a patriot unit (which represents the ruler of your people) and may even unlock new units. All government techs require both Civics Level 2 (Bureaucracy) and Science Level 2 (Natural Law).
Dark Age governmentsEdit
"The people are the city."
- Grants access to the Burgher patriot unit
- Increased commerce cap
Researching Urban Corporation will relinquish your control over land and the armies that you recruit. However, you will discover the amount of resources you may receive from your estates will be increased, given the gravitation of skilled craftsmen to your lands seeking to flee tyranny and death in battle!
"My father was the soldier’s friend, / Cheered him in camps, in marches led, / And with him in the battle bled."
- Grants access to the Duke patriot unit
- Cheaper barracks units
Researching Feudalism centralises your control over your faction's lands. While this results in some corruption and inefficiency resulting from a hierarchy, you can be assured however that your hold on your military is secure enough that their loyalty will be much cheaper to purchase.
Castle Age governmentsEdit
Castle Age governments are known for unlocking further military units for some factions. Republic unlocks armed civilian units, such as the Armed Caravan, Armed Supply Wagon, and the Armed Merchant.
The two Islamic factions, the Moors and the Saracens, can unlock extra units, depending on the level of Islamic research taken. The higher the level, the more powerful the units unlocked. Each one of the two levels of research unlock different sets of units.
"Liberty is the power that we have over ourselves."
- Grants access to the Doge patriot unit
- Grants access to Armed Supply Wagons and Pike Levy (for some)
- Cheaper library research
- With Darul Islam, access to more units - 2 from the Temple, and 2 others from different buildings.
Placing emphasis on the community at the expense of cohesion, researching Republic grants access to cheaper research and upgrades, as a Republic will be more friendly toward some semblance of consultation and consensus, as opposed to monarchical rule which invests all power in a single individual or his/her family or party.
Factions whose unit rosters are affected by Republic include:
"Our brave king will endure no ill, / The hawks with him will get their fill."
- Grants access to the Monarch patriot unit
- Cheaper Stable units
- With Darul Islam, 4 new units from the Nobles' Court for Muslims - Mamluk Lancers, Tabardiyah, Cavalry Jund and Ghulam horse archers
Kings and nobles are heavily interlinked with one another. As a result, it is unsurprising that one of the things that monarchy benefits is the horse-riding nobility. Those who install a Monarchical government will discover that Stable units are much cheaper than before.
Imperial Era governmentsEdit
"The administrator of state affairs should consider the many, and disregard the few."
- Grants access to the Legislator patriot unit
- Grants access to Brigs, Armed Caravans and Armed Merchants
Whereas tyranny is rule by the strongest, Legalism implies rule by laws. As fine-tuned laws are required for the perpetuation and fostering of commerce, Legalism thus grants access to a better economy. Yet, as the law is accessible to all and sundry, it would be very hard to obtain a centralised and streamlined naval programme running.
"Let's kill all the lawyers!"
- Grants access to the Autocrat patriot unit
- Faster production for units produced at Dock and Siege Workshop
- Nobles' courts spawn free heavy cavalry when built
- Grants access to Lantern Galleys, Carracks and Covered Swoopers
With the rise of kings comes the impetus for modernity - that is, the most modern warships, guns and armouries. With Absolutism, the will of the sovereign is made supreme and uncontested, sweeping away all pretence of feudalistic democracy and making the production of ships and artillery faster!
Note, however, that you need to be careful with your capital, as in some games, you will lose if your opponent captures your capital and holds it successfully as his own for a limited amount of time, so careful placement of your senate or capital can make a difference between victory or defeat.
The Welsh have the ability to build senates for free and instantly too, so this means that in most games, you have quite a bit of leeway on where to set up your capital. If you find a very strategic and defensive position, you can then place your senate there to move your capital from its previous position.
The Polans are granted the ability to erect two capitals instead of one thanks to the Power of Liberty; the second city erected by them will always function as one of their capitals. If a senate is built in this second capital, the other capital will always be the last city which was designated as a capital before either this second city or its senate was constructed. Both capitals will have to be captured to eliminate you.
Thanks to the Carlovingian Renaissance, the French have the best deal when it comes to politics: government techs at the senate are free and instantaneous.
The Aachen Palace Complex, a wonder buildable to Frankish factions such as France, allows government research for free. As later government upgrades are rather costly, this can be quite a useful boon as it allows additional bonuses that can compensate for factional weaknesses or augment key strengths. For instance, the Papal States and Russia may find monarchy most useful to render their unique heavy cavalry units cheaper than others, while other factions such as Venice and Spain may choose Republic instead to tech up and use their economic strengths to create a comparatively modern army should the need arise.