The Falconet is a simple yet surprisingly useful and capable artillery piece, which is important because of their early accessibility and impact on early battles, due to its bonus against infantry that combines well with its area damage and versatility. Sent early into the Fortress Age, they can allow friendly infantry to quickly turn the tide of battle as long as they have the needed protection of a nearby force. They are usually used in small groups, such as the early "2 Falconets" Home City Card.
Each shot deals 300 damage to nearby infantry, which are usually packed very densely. Limbered, the unit is also quite fast for artillery, keeping pace with infantry, and can reposition along with an army between battles. Falconets can be easily countered with the Culverin, which is effective against other pieces of artillery. They are also weak against cavalry and should be protected by nearby heavy infantry or ranged cavalry, or placed behind obstacles like walls.
Despite their anti-infantry properties, they are not really designed for heavier tasks such as destroying enemy buildings, although they can do so quite well to some degree. For example compared to the Mortar razing a town, the equivalent-era upgrade to Field Gun will do half their damage, for more than the same cost. If the battle drags on, Heavy Cannons or unique equivalents (such as Rockets or Great Bombards) may prove more useful. However, in the early game, Falconets on their own are sufficient against buildings if needed and can outrange Town Centers, Outposts, and some base defenses.
They are surprisingly powerful against ships, performing nearly as well as Culverins. A small group can easily sink stray Galleons and Caravels thanks to the damage multiplier, provided ships somehow come into their firing range. However, Mortars and Culverins can pick ships off more safely from deeper inland with their longer range but slower rate of fire.
Together with Culverins, Falconets are the second lightest and second cheapest cannon in the game that is available to the European civilizations (the first is the Organ Gun) as well as being the most versatile and value-for-money of all artillery. Note that all cannons deal siege damage for resistance purposes, which is distinct from the ranged damage of gunfire.
Leather Cannons, Falconets, and Heavy Cannons use -1 population
Although the Portuguese do not have access to Falconet, there are unused voice files for Portuguese Falconet in the game files and in the Scenario Editor.
Falconets were among the smallest artillery. They weighed about 280 pounds, had a six-foot barrel and used about a pound of powder to fire a one pound shot. Still, the small quantity of powder (relative to larger artillery pieces) was enough to make a properly braced Falconet fly back up to 10 yards when fired.
A Falconet in Bombard mode
A Falconet in Limber mode
A(n) (Imperial) Field Gun in Limber mode
A Field Gun in Bombard mode
A real-life falconet
A 16th century falconet in the Bauernkriegsmuseum, Muhlhausen, Germany.
Falconet in the original game and in the Definitive Edition