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"Warships must be not too broad of a form so as to be hindered in movement; yet at the same time they must not be so weak so as to be damaged by ramming by enemy vessels."

Leo VI the Wise, Tactica Ch XIX.4

In game[edit]

Galley rkc.png
Lanternas — Vital statistics

Super-heavy ship with very powerful attack and range but poor rate of fire, best siege ship in the game, but can serve in a naval engagement if properly escorted.

Prereq: Build time HP LOS Attack Attack speed Movement
Upgrade of
  • Level 1: Caravan Train Commerce
  • Absolutism Politics
  • BombardmentFortification
360 13 14 3.6s

Roundship rkc.png

Cost Created from Armour Weapon range Specialty
Base Ramp Pop
Timber: 80;
Ore.png: 80
Book.png: 40
Timber: 2;
Ore.png: 2
2 Estaleiro.png 5 0–16
  • Moderate attack bonus versus buildings.
  • Poor turn speed.

Sicily Papal States.jpg Venice.jpg Wales.jpg Hre.jpg Poland.jpg Magyarok.jpg Armenia.jpg Byzantines.jpg Serbians.jpg Russians.jpg Moors.jpg Saracens.jpg Turks.jpg Mongol.jpg

Overall strategy[edit]

Although only marginally better as regards to armour, speed and hitpoints to the War Cog, the strength of the Lanternas is in fact its armament. With her complement of long-bore, forward-facing guns known as sakers, the lantern galley has the strongest non-siege, non-suicide attack available to many ships. A fleet of lantern galleys bearing superguns is as fearsome as the cost required to maintain them — only nations with a strong degree of centralisation of power may arm and deploy such weapons of mass destruction, due to the need for a professional rower corps (and possibly impressment when rowers become costly). Lantern galleys are the favourite units of Sicilians and Andalusians, because of the lack of political penalty incurred in furnishing their super-light corsairs.

Bear in mind that while lantern galleys may have powerful guns and are long enough to outstrip war cogs, they have one enemy. That enemy is the fire ship, and so a fleet of war galleys must always have barque-type vessels on its flanks to cover them. It is also to be noted that Carracks, while outranged by a lantern galley's firepower, have the benefit of enhanced armour and toughness as well as more accurate multiple guns, thus making the odds between carracks and lantern galleys somewhat more evenly matched. In such cases, the best technique for the Lanternas is to have her fire, and then move to make way for another rank of lantern galleys to open fire. Nevertheless, the firepower and mobility of lantern galleys means that they are excellent at taking out castles — a sufficiently huge fleet will easily reduce a castle to rubble.

Unit summary[edit]

  • Glass Cannon — Although a Lanternas may have the best range and most destructive firepower as regards to heavy ships and is fast, it suffers from poor constitution and attack speed issues. Deploy your Lanternas in waves, so that one group can cover the other, especially if facing carracks.
  • Fire Hazard — As with ships like cogs and roundships, the Lanternas is vulnerable to fireships.
  • On Stranger Tides — Not all factions build Lanternas galleys: Asians build War Junks and South Sea Barques, while European factions along the North Sea and Bay of Biscay instead build carracks, which are slower in movement but have better hitpoints. The difference between them and the lanternas however is rather marginal.
  • Starboard to Port — Portugal's carracks are comparable with lantern galleys, but exceed the latter as regards to speed and performance, and do not require Absolutism.


Although cogs were relatively mobile, the ongoing post-mediaeval arms race demanded more guns and more powder to load them, outstripping the capabilities of cogs which could only mount small pieces. The lantern galley was thus a stopgap version for many nations until larger vessels such as frigates or galleons could be discovered.

Even so, the galley's ability to move independent of the wind meant that it was guaranteed a very long shelf life, and even the introduction of larger and more spacious vessels such as carracks (which proved their worth over Indian and Egyptian galleys at Diu) didn't prevent the galley from distinguishing themselves at Lepanto in 1571 or at Gangut in the Baltic Sea in 1714. Indeed, the last battle fought where galleys were brought out to face the foe was at the Siege of Copenhagen during the Napoleonic Wars — although the British tall ships could outclass the smaller Danish gunboats, the tables were often turned when they were becalmed, leaving them easy prey for swarming tactics by the Danish galleys.