This is by no means a new concept. In fact, it’s already been up on the wiki for quite some time now. However, a lot of people here don’t use the wiki, or at least don’t look around in the user blog sections, so I’m posting it here.
The Alans represent the medieval kingdom of Alania and the nomadic Alans of Late Antiquity. They also represent the Sarmatians and other descendants of the Scythians. They have the Caucasian architecture, which is new to a conceptual Caucasus expansion and is shared with the Armenians and Georgians. Their Wonder is Central Zelenchuksky Church, the oldest (and probably largest) of the churches in the Zelenchuk region, home to the now-gone Alanian capital.
The Alans are a cavalry civilization, with the unique theme of having glass cannon cavalry units. In addition to the typical Light Cavalry and Cavaliers, they also have Camel Riders and Steppe Lancers. Their navy is also quite decent, since they allied with the Vandals to conquer Carthage, and they have access to the Dromon as a nod to their importance in Late Antiquity.
Let’s get into their bonuses now.
- New Town Centers provide +100 gold when built (starting in the Castle Age)
This is simply a reference to the Alans ceasing to be nomadic and settling down. It was originally 100 food, but was changed to gold after the Lithuanians gained a very similar bonus.
- Starting boar LOS shared
The Alans had a great affinity for hunting and developed a new breed of hunting dog to help them track down the best game.
- Cavalry +1 attack with each armor upgrade
The Alans were expert horsemen, stemming from their nomadic roots. They even inspired the Goths to take up horsemanship.
- Monks +15 HP per age; Monastery technologies cost -30% gold
The Alans eventually converted to Christianity after missionaries were sent from Georgia, and though many people still clung to their pagan beliefs, Alania as a whole built a number of churches, only a few of which survived.
- Unique units trained 10% faster
The Alans have acted as mercenaries for many different kingdoms and empires throughout the millennia, including the Romans, Georgians, and Mongols. They frequently contributed troops, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, to create special divisions of highly trained soldiers.
Unique Unit 1: Asud
This is a cavalry archer with an attack bonus vs buildings. It is not negated by Masonry, so it remains effective throughout the match.
It costs 50 wood, 75 food, has 55 HP (65 with Elite), has 1 pierce armor (2 with Elite), and 5 attack (7 with Elite). Its attack bonus vs buildings is +3 (+6 for Elite) vs standard buildings, and +4 (+8 for Elite) vs stone defenses. It also has an additional 1 attack vs spearmen, like all other cavalry archers.
The Asud were a military unit in the Mongol army originating from the Alans. The term “Asud” is the plural form of As, the name used by the Arabs to refer to the Alans. The Mongols told the Alans to stop allying with the Cumans, and after they obliged, the Mongols conquered the Alans and then the Cumans, recruiting members of both into the Mongol army. The Alan recruits formed a unit called the Right Alan Guard. To this day, the name Asud exists in Mongolia as a clan name, though there are very few members left.
Unique Unit 2: Alaunt
This is a war dog unit created from the Town Center. It has a bonus against infantry and villagers, and is classified as cavalry, though with bonus damage resistance. It has its own armor class so that pikes have less of an attack bonus.
The Alaunt’s stats are closer to that of the Two-Handed Swordsman, including the same base cost. This gives it a unique role in terms of most cavalry. The Elite Alaunt is quite similar stats-wise to the Hussar, which is unavailable for the Alans.
The Alaunt was a large breed of dog existing from ancient times. Having possibly been developed by the Alans, it was used as a catch dog, a war dog, and a guard dog. Even if the Alans did not create the breed, they extensively altered it to suit their needs, as they were renowned for their dog breeding skills. It spread all over Europe, and is the possible ancestor of large dog breeds such as mastiffs, Great Danes, and greyhounds.
Sarmatian Rituals: Mounted units +1 attack and heal 20% HP after killing enemy mounted units
Cost: 500 food, 500 wood
This technology is intended to make up slightly for the lack of Bloodlines, making Alan cavalry even stronger and giving it a chance to survive longer against enemy cavalry. The healing doesn’t apply to other units, giving Alan cavalry a practical counter, but the extra attack helps against all units.
The Sarmatians and the other Scythian remnants, including the Alans, had a sort of proto-Zoroastrianism, and believed in a pantheon of seven elemental gods. To worship these gods, the Scythian people groups erected burial mounds and performed rituals on stationary altars; the nomadic horse culture of the Sarmatians omitted the latter. Such pagan beliefs likely carried over to the Alans, an offshoot of the Sarmatians, and continued to be practiced by the common folk, even though their rulers converted to Christianity.
Right Alan Guard: Stable units cost -25%
Cost: 1000 food, 850 gold
This technology makes Alan cavalry considerably cheaper than most other cavalry, which, combined with their insane attack, makes them very strong. However, the technology’s very high cost means that a lot of units need to be created for the discount to pay itself back. Practically speaking, gold units may not be very common in the late game even with the technology, so the 850 gold cost is quite prohibitive if put off.
The Alans have had a long history of allying with other militaries, dating back to Late Antiquity. Particular examples include allying with the Romans to fight the Goths, Vandals, and later Huns and allying with the Georgians in the precursor to the Battle of Didgori to drive off the Seljuk Turks.
The Right Alan Guard were formed when the Mongols advised the Alans to stop allying with the Cumans, and then conquered both. Some of the subjugated Alans became part of the Right Alan Guard and some became Asud.
Missing Units: Champion, Elephant Archer line, Hand Cannoneer, Hussar, Paladin, Battle Elephant line, Siege Onager, Bombard Cannon, Heavy Demolition Ship, Cannon Galleon.
Missing Techs: Bloodlines, Heresy, Sanctity, Theocracy, Plate Mail Armor, Plate Barding Armor, Blast Furnace, Architecture, Fortified Wall, Guard Tower, Bombard Tower, Siege Engineers, Stone Shaft Mining.