This is Part 2 of my Bantu split mini-series after I erroneously made an Indians-level umbrella civ for all the Bantu cultures. Today, the Swahili will be covered. Next time, the final part of the “trilogy” will be the Kongolese, so look forward to that.
The Swahili represent the peoples living on the Swahili coast, a region of East Africa heavily influenced by the Arabs. As a result, the Swahili have the Middle Eastern architecture. Their focus is on infantry and navy, but gunpowder is powerful as well due to this Arab influence. Their Wonder is the Great Mosque of Kilwa.
- Fish last 50% longer
- Barracks units recover 25 hit points per minute (starting in Feudal Age)
- Hand Cannoneers 15% more accurate
- Fishing Ships take up half a population slot
Team bonus: Fishing Ships regenerate
Unique Unit: Rungu Thrower (ranged infantry that ignores armor)
Unique Technologies: Dhow (Galley-line gold cost replaced with wood), Imported Silk (Mpombo Scouts, Assegai, Rungu Throwers, and Hand Cannoneers +2/+2 armor)
Tech Tree Notes:
Swahili infantry is quite good. They have Champions and Halberdiers, and their Mpombo Scouts get extra armor after Imported Silk. All of the Barracks units regenerate over time, and they are fully upgraded. The Rungu Thrower is also an infantry unit, and it’s quite strong. Although it doesn’t regenerate, it does get extra armor.
The archers are all right. Although Arbalesters are missing, Assegai gain extra armor, and there are even Hand Cannoneers with extra accuracy and armor. However, all the units are lacking Thumb Ring and Bracer.
They have no cavalry, although Mpombo Scouts and Assegai can be pretty good substitutes.
The siege is somewhat noteworthy. Both Siege Rams and Siege Onagers are missing, but the Bombard Cannon is there, and it even has Siege Engineers. Overall, it’s passable.
The Monastery isn’t all that good. It’s missing Redemption, Herbal Medicine, and Theocracy, and there are no bonuses to speak of. Let’s move on.
The defenses are awful. Fortified Walls are good, but there are no Guard Towers, Keeps, Bombard Towers, or Arrowslits. Be very aggressive.
The economy is pretty good. The only technologies that are missing are Gold Shaft Mining and Guilds, and fish last longer too, which can help on even mostly land maps that still have shore fish. Team trade units also heal, which can help if they are getting raided.
Swahili ships are situational. Having trash Galleons is very helpful in the late game, but they suffer from a lack of Shipwright, and Fire Galleys cannot advance past that stage in return. Heavy Demo Ships are also unavailable, but regular and Elite Cannon Galleons are enabled. Since fish last longer, and Fishing Ships take up only half a population slot, you can get more Fishing Ships out, and they are much more efficient. In addition, they also heal for you and your allies.
In conclusion, the Swahili are a strong aggressive land and water civ, but have little in the way of defenses. Take advantage of the trash Galleons, accurate Hand Cannoneers, and healing infantry.
Stats and Costs:
Rungu Thrower Stats:
HP: 60, 65 (Elite)
Attack: 8, 9 (Elite)
Attack Bonuses: +1 vs Standard building, +2 vs Cavalry
Range: 4, 5 (Elite)
Number of Projectiles: 1
Rate of Fire: 2.0, 1.8 (Elite)
Frame Delay: 25
Attack Delay: 1.2
Armor: 0/2, 0/3 (Elite)
Cost: 70 food, 45 gold
Training Time: 23 seconds
Elite Upgrade Cost: 750 food, 750 gold
Dhow Cost: 800 wood, 500 gold
Dhow Research Time: 30 seconds
Imported Silk Cost: 1000 food, 350 gold
Imported Silk Training Time: 45 seconds
Fish last longer because the people on the Swahili Coast commonly caught fish.
Many African tribes contained medicine men or shamans, spiritual men who healed the sick and injured through spiritual or medical means. Thus, Barracks units heal over time.
The Swahili people gained access to gunpowder through trade, and the Ottomans specifically gave it to them to help fight their enemies. So, Hand Cannoneers have better accuracy, as the Swahili Coast commonly gained advanced guns through trade.
Since the Swahili Coast was largely naval, there were no doubt many people who boarded fishing ships and went on extended fishing expedition. During this time, the fishing ship would’ve been the only place for them to stay, their home away from home in a way. So, Fishing Ships only take up half a population slot. In addition, they probably would’ve been repaired out at sea, so they regenerate over time.
The rungu is a throwing club used in certain African cultures. Clubs tend to be good against armored opponents; thus, the Rungu Thrower is a ranged infantry unit that ignores melee armor.
The dhow is a ship that became widespread to the Swahili Coast through the Arab traders, and is now used as the main type of trade ship. While the tech doesn’t affect Trade Cogs, it does have an effect on another commonly-used ship: the Galley line.
One of the items frequently imported to the Swahili coast from places in Asia like India and China was silk. Silk can often make for good armor, so certain units gain extra armor from the tech.