Civilization Proposal: Tatars

Hello everyone,

For as much talk about the Tatars as there has been since game launch, I am surprised that nobody has yet undertaken a comprehensive proposal for a Tatar civilization. I wanted to attempt an undertaking to design a Tatar civilization for AoE3: DE.

Historical Background:
The Tatar civilization encompasses the collection of post-Mongol successor states spanning from the Crimean Khanate north of the Black Sea; the Central Asian Khanates of the Uzbeks, Kazakhs, Kiva and Bukhara; through to the Dzungar Khanate of western China.

The conquests of Genghis Khan in the thirteenth century profoundly transformed the political landscape of much of Asia, from China, through the Middle East, and northwards in Russia and Ukraine. Although the lifespan of the great Mongol Empire of Genghis Khan was relatively short-lived, the legacy of his conquests lived on in the litany of successor states found across much of the Khan’s former territories, which were feared and powerful fiefdoms in their own right; the rulers of these successor states came to be referred to in European literature as the Tatars.

Perhaps the most fearsome of these Tatar conquerors was that of Tamerlane, whose empire cut a fiery swath across Persia, down to India, and westwards to the Mediterranean, even almost bringing the rising Ottoman Empire to its knees! One of Tamerlane’s descendants, Babur, eventually went on to found the Mughal Dynasty in India.

The Tatar Khans held particular sway over the region of modern Russia and Ukraine, where the realms of the Golden Horde, Crimean Khanate, and Khanate of Kazan controlled much of the economic and political life in the region. However, the stranglehold over the peoples of eastern Europe began to loosen as realms such as the Grand Duchy of Muscovy, the future Russian Empire, began to exert more confidence against their Tatar overlords, and the Khanates promptly began to fall into decline. Muscovy managed to entirely conquer the Golden and Kazan Hordes before pushing eastwards across the Urals into Siberia. The Crimean Khanate turned increasingly towards the Ottoman Empire for support, reducing the Crimeans into puppets of the Sultan in Istanbul.

A major factor behind these setbacks was the comparative lack of military innovation among the Tatar realms: whereas the European, Chinese, and Persian powers enthusiastically adopted gunpowder weapons such as firearms and cannons, the hordes continued to cling to their ancient tactics of horse archers and massed cavalry charges, all of which made for easy targets to gunfire.

In 1873, the Russian Empire stamped out the last Tatar khanates of Bukhara and Kiva. Nonetheless, Tatar culture continues to live on in the form of the Central Asian republics, as well as among ethnic enclaves across Russia, Ukraine, and Lithuania.

Civilization Basics:
Regional Category - Central Asian (bundled with a hypothetical Persian civilization)
Architecture - Central Asian/Indian
Language(s): Chagatai, Crimean Tatar

  • This can borrow voice lines from the Tatars and Cumans of AoE2: DE

Age-up System: Horde

  • Proposed as a variant of the Dynasty system for Persians here, but the Dynasty system would function differently from Persia’s

  • Horde: Based on a historical khanate or Tatar dynasty, they have scaling benefits by age similar to Alliances, Wonders, or the Tribal Council, as well as a military benefit; unit upgrades consequently improve unit stats less than other civilizations.

    • Commerce Age:

      • Timurids: Coin delivery, increased siege attack for all units

      • Kazan: Additional sheep/goats/yaks, Foot and Mounted Archer attack

      • Golden Horde: Wood delivery, Melee Cavalry Attack and Defense

      • Yuan: Food, Coin, and Wood; improved infantry melee and defense

      • Uzbeks: Building hit-points, research speed; modest attack and defense boost for Foot and Mounted Archers

    • Fortress Age

      • Crimean Khanate: Additional Villagers, access to Janissaries, later Bombard delivery
    • Industrial Age:

      • Mughals: Access to Elephants; Turcomans become boosted Zamburaks
    • Imperial:

      • Kiva: Productivity boost to villagers and TP’s; Musketmen are improved

Civilization Type: Cavalry, Trade, Native Alliances

Hero: Khan

  • Mounted hero armed with a bow and scimitar
  • Abilities: Spotting Arrow (short range, temporary illumination of an area), sabre strike (area of effect attack)

Economic Bonuses: All trade posts generate an XP trickle, especially natives; trade-posts have 10% improved payout per delivery; Livestock fatten more quickly, but sedentary farming is less efficient


  • Town Center
  • Village
  • Market
  • Rice Paddy
  • Mosque
  • “Asian” Outpost (seen in some campaign levels, on the Siberia map
  • Barracks: Archaic Infantry
  • Gunsmith Workshop: Gunpowder and artillery units
  • Stable
  • Tea House: Tavern equivalent and up to three can ne built, earns more gold when close to TP’s
  • Walls

Infantry Units:

  • Seymen: Chainmail-wearing musketeer with no attack bonuses but a strong base attack, and resistance to melee
  • Recurve Archer: Basic archer unit with a 1.0 rate of fire
  • Tajik: Melee warrior that acts between a Pikeman and Rodelero, with speed approaching a Rodelero but siege and anti-cavalry attack closer to a Pike


  • Bombard: Trainable in the Fortress Age from the Training Field, it is a decent but not great cannon unit
  • Camel Gunner: Camel unit with a mounted cannon, able to damage to infantry and buildings from long range


  • Turcoman: Rapid-fire horse archer like a Tatar Archer
  • Oglan: Hussar-type melee cavalry with high defense
  • Cataphract/Baghatur: Lancer-type cavalry with a wind-up attack, like a mainline Bosniak
  • Steppe Rider: From the Chinese Roster
  • Steppe Ambusher: Sneaky Horse Archer which can stealth; initial attack from stealth has a bonus against Villagers (UP FOR CONSIDERATION)


  • Fishing Boat
  • Galley
  • Galleon (placeholder for a tanky transport)
  • Dhow

Sample Cards:

  • Kuraltai: You get an additional Khan per age up, with up to 5
  • Ottoman Fealty: The Ottoman Sultan sends a battalion of 8 Janissaries; Janissaries recruitable from the Training Ground
  • Kalmyk Invasion: Receive 10 renamed and boosted Keshiks; Keshiks replace Turcomans from the Stable
  • Basmachi Rebellion: All villagers transform into Musketmen
  • Caucasus Emirate: Receive 5 Mountaineers and a Hajji hero which boosts the combat stats of your Mountaineers (reference to Tolstoy’s Hajji Murat)
  • Migration: All Tatar buildings can pack and relocate
  • Timurid Scourge: Destroyed enemy buildings grant coin


Feedback, additional ideas, and historical corrections are of course welcome!


I misread this as “Taters” and was so ready for a civ of spuds.

That aside, I’ll read through this and comment more in a bit.


This is actually not that different from a concept I had for a Comanche Civ. I rather like it, although you’ve got a few formatting errors scattered throughout.


Thanks, some of the formatting is messed up because it overzealously censored some of the historical khanates I had placed down as references.


I wonder what the lucky words that got censored are.


I wouldn’t be surprised if one was the Kazars with an H

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my notes on feedback:

civ design generally looks quite good. roster seems well rounded and follows the counter system nicely. I dont like promotions as a default mechanic but that’s a matter of my own opinion.

I get a very strong Hausa vibe generally from the civ.

Also the Cataphract, love the idea, imo it should have melee and siege resist, no range resist, to make it really unique

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It was one khanate northeast of the Caspian Sea, the other one is where Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan now are.

Edit: I can’t even seem to link the wiki pages without it freaking out at me.


Promotions were a way to keep it unique, since many of the “twists” on the original mainline units are already done somewhere else: the promotion system is not featured in many mainline unit rosters and is reserved primarily for mercs and natives, so I integrated it here.

I won’t disagree here, my worry is that it makes a mainline unit, and specifically an archer, depending on promotions.

I’ll try to elaborate in a simple way (and this isnt intended to be a criticism, but something to consider)

Archer units are essentially the mainline unit used to hold off most rush types. Most rushes are very heavy infantry biased. Where this becomes an issue is that if your archer is promotion based, they have to (by definition) start out relatively mediocre. if you’re defending a rush you’re pretty much guaranteed to be fighting heavy infantry and very likely will have to do so in close quarters. This will make an archer shipment very undervalued and leave the civ in much the same circumstance that TAD Lakota (Sioux) was in with cetan (90 hp, the dmg was fine).

While I wont fight against promotions, I think its best not applied to an archer. May I suggest it be a unique 1.0 rof archer?

Also, with promotions embedded in the civ, making a healer available widely and with good secondary uses would help enable promotions being much more useful.


I like the idea.
This could be a common feature for new muslim civs like Persians and Arabs as well instead of the wonder age-up used by the Eastern Asian civs.


I’m amenable to this rapid-fire archer. I was only concerned it would be too similar to a Chu Ko Nu, but on second thought, thus latter unit has more of a burst fire attack than rapid repeated shots. I will amend the proposal.

It still leaves my Tarkan cavalry unit, however. What kind of niche could it have that no Hussar type fulfills?

At the moment Hussars are still the cavalry with the most hp in age 2 outside of special cards. You could have a slightly tankier cavalry (360 hp?) with slightly lower damage, or you could make it a 3 pop age 2 cav with a 300ish resource cost that has more hp and damage than a hussar but being very expensive.

I am leaning more towards a higher-HP, lower attack option. A high-cost cavalry in pop and resources would be unpopular, and this meant to be a cavalry civilization.

You should message a mod to get whatever words that are censored whitelisted. It’s hard to follow with so much censored stuff.

There’s a few groups like the Kazakhs and Uzbeks with enough strength and longevity to make sense as standalone civs, but central Asia was an ever changing region of migrating people’s, so an umbrella civ does make a lot of sense.

A “Dynasty” system doesn’t really seem like the way to go. Almost all the options you’ve given for this and your Persia suggestion are people groups, not dynasties. Aging up by adding a khanate or horde is what you’re doing, and obscuring with little known dynasty names would be detrimental.

As you’ve stated there are a ton of potential options for allies:

  • Timurids/Persians
  • Kazakhs
  • Kipchaks/Golden Horde
  • Uzbeks/Bukharans
  • Crimean Tatars
  • Nxoxgxaxi (stupid censorship, disregard the x)
  • Kalmyks
  • Bashkirs
  • Turkomans
  • Oriates/Dzungars
  • Mughals


Villages should be a Chinese exclusive thing and could use a reskin to not just be a collection of yurts.
Yurts should be the Tatar house.

Training Ground is not a great name. The central Asian peoples were not just nomads. They ruled a lot of cities along the silk road so just a standard Barracks wouldn’t be out of place. Or some kind of garrison based on these cities.

Caravanserai should not be a Stable. It should be a Tavern replacement for Islamic civs.

Aul - Fortified tower/village and could be a defensive structure.


I like the Recurve Archer, but the other options aren’t great. Tajiks and Caucasian Mountaineers are not Turkic or Mongol so I don’t see why they’d be a Tatar unit. Musketman is way too vague, and there’s probably a more thematic unit that could be used.

Some possible units could be the following:


Ghulam - Slave soldiers in Muslim armies often taken from central Asia. Probably a spearman unit. Could be shared with Persia and other civs.
Ghazi - Muslim holy warrior
Kharash - A Mongol tactic of using slaves as frontline cannon fodder. Could have weak attack other than siege, but be able to soak up a lot of damage.

Most of these are slave soldiers which would be fitting considering how much slave raiding was a part of their economies.


Bombard - Slower firing but heavier hitting falc equivalent. Based on Turkish artillery that was used across the Muslim world. A little more concise than “Bronze Bombard”

Hand Mortar - The Mongols used various hand cannons and this could represent that.


Steppe Rider - These are the people that live on the steppe, so it would make sense to share this unit with China.

Turcoman - Seems reasonable

Tarkan & Cataphract - I’d just merge these into one beefy lancer unit with the name Tarkan

Steppe Ambusher - This unit sounds like cancer. A tactic used a lot by the Timurids was to ride around to make a dust cloud to obscure their units. A card or tech to enable some cavalry units to create dust clouds that are zones of stealth could be interesting.

Camel/Horse Mounted Artillery - The Dzungars used camel mounted artillery to repel Quing forces. This would be similar to a Zamburak with a function more like a Rifle Rider. It could even deal siege damage to be extra potent.


Galleys make sense, but why do they have Xebecs?

The Crimean Tatars traded extensively with the Genoese at Caffa, so they could have some European ships from that interaction.


You could probably do it based on specific hordes or ethnic groups and name it; I think we at least agree on the biggest groups that should be included. However, I would push back on regarding the dynasty list as obscure; most are cadet branches of Genghis Khan’s bloodline, with the only prominent exception really being the Timurids.

I know there is some weirdness around Caravanserai or Villages, but I proposed having these buildings to save the developers work from designing, coding, and having to name and put a description behind entirely new buildings. I don’t think they will rename the Chinese house or Indian stable at this point. However, I am open to the idea of having a Tea House or Coffee House instead. The Aul isn’t a bad idea, either, if depicted correctly.

As far as the field goes, it is a stretch of a name, and I’m not committed to it. However, unlike Barracks, it needs to be the place where Tatars can train artillery as well.

On the other hand, I also had the idea of actually splitting the barracks between an “Archaic Barracks” that trains archers and melee, and a Gunpowder Depot, which has the Musketmen and Cannons.

I chose the Tajik to represent sedentary subject (often Iranian) peoples which were dragged in to Turkic armies. The idea came from this plate:


I proposed a kind of Ghulam unit for a half-proposal about Persia once in the middle of a thread. I was thinking about reformulating it all and trying another complete proposal to collate my ideas.

For the Mountaineers, my reasoning consists of a few points: first, there have been requests to feature the various Caucasian peoples as at least a tribal unit, which I think the developers are beyond adding new minor civilizations. Secondly, the Tatars and Caucasus people found common cause resisting the Russian Empire, and Tolstoy’s Hadji Murat describes the warriors of the Caucasian Emirate interchangeably as Avars, Chechens, Dagestanis, and Tatars; these groups are, all of course, different peoples, but at least unified by Islam and an opposition to the Russian advance. For what it is worth, Turkic Tatars like the Kumyks and the Mongol Kalmyks made up the ethnic composition of the Caucasus and joined in fighting the Russians at various points. If Wikipedia can be trusted, their language was the lingua franca of the northern Caucasus until the 20th century.

The idea of the Bronze Bombard would be to give a name to differentiate it from the Ottoman factory Bombard. It is hard to find anything on Tatar artillery, largely because few of the Khans fielded extensive artillery, even late into the period. Hand Mortars sound ok to me, as long as it doesn’t give the Tatars too much artillery to use, which I doubt it will.

It crossed my mind to feature Steppe Riders, but I felt that it had some issues:

  • The unit doesn’t make a lot of sense standalone and seems to make the most sense in the context of Banner Armies.

  • Steppe Riders just aren’t good units, and make the Tatars look bad, when they should have a strong cavalry focus - it really should be the basis of the civilization. That is also why I gave them two melee cavalry types, and tried to propose even a second mounted archer type. The other idea for a Mounted Archer would be a more specialized type that can kill artillery, at the expense of its traditional counter-cavalry emphasis

It could be interesting, but it reflects just how badly designed Zamburaks (which are what these are meant to be) are in this game; the Zamburak shouldn’t be a weak dragoon, but was used as a potent and highly mobile artillery force which gave a unique dimension to Central Asian armies.

Xebecs were to tie them in to the maritime world of the Eastern Mediterranean and Indian Ocean. As most of the Tatar civilizations remained far from the oceans and naval warfare was outside their interest or skill set, I will admit that coming up with ships is tough for them.


I’m not saying they’re not significant, they just obscure the different groups. They could only claim the title of Khan if they were descendants of Ghengis and it was so important for legitimacy that powerful warlords who weren’t related would keep puppet Khans around. Saying dynasties like Jochi Ulus or Hülegü Ulus is much more obscure than Golden Horde or Ilkhanate. So if you just ally with various hordes directly, that would be much more clear. The dynasties also don’t neatly correspond with different hordes and there is a lot of overlap and flux.

Some of the more minor Khanates could just be cards instead of age ups.
Khanate of Sibir - Ships some Tatar Archers
Khanate of Kazan - Ships some Cavalry Archers

Renaming takes next to no effort. And Villages are fine for China, they just need a bit of a reskin. Tatars could also potentially share a bunch of stuff with other civs already. Steppe Riders and Hand Mortars shared with China, Ghulams and Zamburak shared with Persia, and Bombards shared with Ottomans.

Tatars did have castles (Çalım, Tatar Tower) so you could make them share that with the Asians. Or maybe they could have a unique building such as a Barbican.

I’d prefer them to be included as a Circassian mercenary rather than a Tatar core unit.

The Ottoman factory unit is a Great Bombard. We have Great Bombards, Li’l Bombards, and Papal Bombards, but nothing that is just a plain old Bombard. Turkish made cannons were used in Turkey, Persia, India, Somalia, and Indonesia so a Bombard could be a falc replacement for civs in those regions as well as for Tatars. In my opinion, “Papal Bombard” should get renamed to Bronze Bombard and shared with other civs like Malta or Portugal.

Just make a bunch of cards to beef them up. The cloud of dust stealth ability could be given to them through a card so that they can have a unique support role in screening other cavalry.

Zamburaks have so much potential to be a really interesting unit. It’s a shame they are a crappy dragoon. It’s extra annoying because India already has Howdahs for the role. Something like a Rifle Rider that deals siege damage would work very well to round out a Tatar roster and could be interesting for Mughals and Persia too. At the very least they should be a good that deals siege damage to represent the fact that they use a literal cannon.

I’d also maybe include Dhows since the Mughals would have had them.

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Not to be that guy, but your reference image is very medieval. Like sure, steppe nomads were slow to adopt gunpowder weapons, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t change their tactics.

In fact in the 16th-19th century you’d see them using wagon train tactics, mobile fortresses and whatnot.

It’s an example for one single particular unit.

I’d like to shape this proposal up further, which sources have you used to cover late Tatar warfare?

I mean, we’re using Tatar veeeery loosely here, because your design looks more like an umbrella civ that encompasses all nomads from the region. I second the comment that we’d better off with a Kazakh and/or Uzbek civ, hell even Karakalpaks may be a better idea.

Speaking of which, most of my comment stems off History of Karakalpak arms and military affairs in the XVII - XVIII centuries. Although Unwalled Cities and Restless nomads tells a similar story.

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