Analysis: The Tatar Hill Bonus

I’ve been thinking about the Tatar hill bonus a lot lately, and I think I’ve finally pinned down why it’s so underwhelming.

The problem is that when you have hill advantage, you’re already in a situation where you’re probably going to win the fight. You have 25% more health and 25% more damage, those multiply to give you 56% more unit value.

The Tatar bonus takes that from 156% unit value to 188% unit value. In reality, that’s a mere 20% extra unit value(1.88/1.55=1.20), and only while in a situation where all civs would already win.

Being buffed in a situation players already know well to avoid isn’t a particularly useful bonus, because those players are already avoiding it to the best of their ability. This means that it doesn’t particularly change the way the existing fight structure would go. The Tatars just win fights they would have won anyway, and it doesn’t meaningfully impact any other part of the game.

A more meaningful bonus would be the ability to ignore enemy hill advantage. If they could attack enemies uphill without penalty while still getting their own normal hill advantage when attacking downhill, that would be a far more potent and useful bonus.

Of course, this still ignores the fact that hills don’t exist on all maps. So while some civs like the Mongols get a consistent bonus across all maps, the Tatars are essentially useless on any map that does not have hills to abuse.

There are a few ways to fix this. One unorthodox idea I had was to just let Tatars build a special building that’s just a level 1 hill about the size of a castle foundation. Not sure if that’s a great idea, but it would at least let them use their bonus in all potential scenarios.

Alternatively, you could leave the hill bonus as-is, if you give them some sort of other bonus that’s more universal.

For example, we can attempt to emulate the real-life Parthian Tactics.

Have Tatar units flag the last 3-4 tiles they walked over. When they attack an enemy standing on those tiles, the Tatars get the standard hill advantage, but NOT their enhanced bonus. So if they charge at an enemy, they don’t get anything(because the flagged tiles are behind them), but when they attack and then retreat, they get hill advantage if the enemy walks on the flagged tiles. They only get the hill advantage if they’re actually attacking from higher altitude, but that doesn’t require the enemy to be standing on flagged tiles, either.

This is drawing inspiration directly from the real-life Parthian Tactics, where the cavalry archers would charge the enemy, then fake a break+retreat. The enemy, seeing the enemy seemingly fleeing, would break formation to chase them, only to be hit by a huge mass of arrows fired from the fleeing horses. This would throw the other force into chaos, which would then be broken and destroyed by the Parthian Tactics-using force , who would once again change directions and attack the divided and weakened groups.

This would put Tatars in an interesting position of a defensive cavalry archer civ, where they have powerful bonuses if they can get the enemy to chase them, but lacking a bonus in outright offense.

The only question is whether this would be overly complex.

Anyways, just some thoughts on the Tatars, thanks for reading.

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Well, your ideas are original, but maybe quite hard to implement. I think that you can’t give a civ out of 35 a mechanic THAT different. I agree their bonus is redundant, since you gonna avoid fighting down hill.

They need a serious buff, But IDK what


agree with olive, good idea, but much too expensive to implement, they need a buff in addition to what they already have, as you pointed out there are maps where the bonus is simply unusable, nevermind how difficult it is to get to use it in the first place…

even the extra food from herdables is situational. so you have 2 situational bonuses, a not amazing free tech (still nice though, but not like free chemistry for example which unlocks half your army)

a useless UT(treb range), and a mediocre one (silk arm)

i dono who designed tatar and thought they were balanced…

They were balanced arround broken steppe lancers… And yes. Their UT are kinda lame. Both of them

I would make the hill bonus as part of one of their UT and give them something less niche in exchange…

Thank you for sharing

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Anything for you man.

Interesting ideas. I think the “building hills” idea is too much, but I actually quite like the idea of ignoring the enemy hill advantage. Then again, I don’t know that their hill bonus needs to be as defining for them as some other things are for other civs. It’s easy to lowball the value of the bonus when you compare it to say, Mongol cav archers firing faster on all terrain, but that’s just one unit, versus all Tatar units which benefit from the hill bonus, so IMO the two civ bonuses are of a similar power level except on flat maps.

As they are now, I agree that the Tatars are somewhat underwhelming, but I think they’re only a small tweak or two from becoming strong. Their UU provides excellent value for its price, and they have a solid early eco bonus, they just need a couple tweaks to tie it all together and make them a compelling choice.

It’depends only on herdables being present, so…99% of the time you’re going to benefit from this bonus. It’s not as flashy as some bonuses, but it’s a pretty solid early eco boost on most maps. What’s missing is a compelling reason to pick Tatars in Feudal and Castle.

Silk Armor is a pretty solid tech. The obvious buff regarding it is to make it apply to Steppe Lancers. In a similar way to how eagle warriors have diverse buffs between the 3 Amerindian civs, there should be more to differentiate steppe lancers, and giving Tatar SLs more pierce armor would help with that.

I agree that their Imp UT could use some help. +1 range isn’t bad, but it’s not enough to justify researching the tech a lot of the time. On top of this, trebs could ignore the penalty of being downhill from their target and/or always do bonus hill damage, regardless of whether or not they were on a hill. I think that would be sufficient.

And finally, I do think Steppe Lancers need a small global buff. There have been other threads all about this, but a slight decrease in cost, increase in damage, etc. would do the trick.


and then on maps like nomad, and struggle to find sheep thus earning very little food out of it… its not a terrible bonus, but when its stacked with a bunch of either “useless”’ or “not so terrible”" these things add up

like celts stealing sheep might not be used, but then they have amazing bonuses to make up for it, not so for the tatars sake, thats my point…

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