How I would design a Nomadic Architecture Set

In this post I want to write down the overall style and design direction I would follow for a hypothetical nomadic architecture set.


First, what civilizations should receive this new set?

Mongols and Cumans are a no brainer.

Tatars as a civilization is more leaned towards representing the settled populations of the Transoxiana and the central-western steppe, so their current set fits them perfectly.

And now, I consider Huns to be also a proper candidate for this set. Yes, the empire of Attila was a confederacy of many germanic tribes alongside Huns, and yes, we don’t know if huns were turkic or mongolian, or what their cities (yes, they had some cities) looked like. But I still think a nomadic set fits the fantasy of “savage invaders coming from the east”.

Magyars, Turks and Bulgarians focus much more on the sedentary stage of their historical counterparts, so I consider a nomadic set wouldn’t fit them.

With this in mind, I think the set should be fundamentally based on Mongols and Cumans.

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Before getting into the set itself, let me clarify something.

I’m aware these peoples, despite the majority of the population living a nomadic lifestyle, had many cities and urban centers, specially along rivers and concurred trade spots. These cities had a population varying on seasons, and those who live permanently there were mostly artisans, handcrafters, metalworkers, etc, who depended on trade for their subsistence. In the case of mongols, the largest cities probably even achieved some level of auto-sustainability. These cities I’m referring to, like the mongol capital, Karakorum, “belong” to these civilizations, and it’s a different case than conquered cities ruled by a originally nomadic elite, like the case of the mongol conquest of China.

I believe an architecture set should represent the style of the places where these civilizations actually inhabited and belonged to. Along this line, conquered chinese or central asian cities should not be the basis of a nomadic set. For historical role-playing or campaign depiction, these cities should use the architecture set of the civilization they “originally belonged” to.
Now, to the actual topic.

No civ have a special dark age set. But, as most of us would agree, a nomadic set should have yurts as houses. It would be weird if sedentary houses turned into nomadic yurts when you’re supposedly advancing your town in its development level. To attend this issue, I make use of a previous proposal I made on this forum (Don’t take it too literal. Focus on the main idea).
As yurts would replace houses, the dark age yurt could use already existing in the game model:

Note that these sprites don’t quite fill the 2x2 grid, which, as was seen during the mongols event some years ago, led to some issues related to hitboxes and holes in the walls. These models should definitely be made bigger, so as the borders of the yurt touch the grid limits.
If my previous proposal of mobile dropping sites is given some credit, I’d like to give them a look like a mix of these models from AbeJin’s HD set:

The rest of the set would stay the same.



The feudal set would be aimed to represent a still nomadic or transhumant community, with an air of military camp. Buildings would be mostly palisade based covered with leathers and furs, with yurts integrated into the building models.
Yurts would now look better polished, with a whiter color indicating a better quality felt. There would be some decorations in the outside, but there would still be some degree of austerity. I picture it something like this:

The overall feeling of the set would give an impression like:

but with a more sophisticated approach in terms of infrastructure and a more conservative take on the buildings’ shape, with more use of palisades and fences:

Something similar was achieved by the Abejin’s “Feudal Asian Architecture for Mongols” (sorry for the bad resolution):
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Turkish base camp, from “Resurrection Ertugrul”



The Castle Age design marks the transition to a proper sedentary town. Most of the (temporary) inhabitants of the city either are still nomads passing the season there, or have just transitioned to a sedentary lifestyle. As a result, houses are still yurts.
By this level of development, the inhabitants and travelers have prospered from commerce, crafting industry and plunder from raids, and thus their yurts are elegantly decorated with expensive fabrics and ornaments, like these:

Whereas most of the population prefer to live in yurts, the city has seen his places destined to handcraft, metalworking, trade posts and such evolved into mudbricks and stone buildings, resilient to the passage of time. Given that this trend has been carried by originally nomadic peoples (perhaps aided by some chinese or persian architect), these are still basic works of architecture, without much decoration or sophisticated styles.
Something similar to this:
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But without the oriental styled roofs. I’d keep them as flat roofs, like the tower. This is important because, while the oriental roof style may fit Mongols, it would not quite fit Huns and Cumans (I’m gonna contradict myself later on). I’d also keep some elements that resembles nomadic life-style, like tents, or yurts, just like the Town Center of the picture does, specially in buildings with two (or more) “bodies” like the Siege Workshop or the Blacksmith.

About the Monastery, I wouldn’t make it a simple tengrist shrine, as it would leave aside the progressive buddhist and Islamic influence on mongols and cumans, respectively. It should be something ambiguous between chamanism, buddhism and islam. The way I would make it would be with a very ornamented yurt or tent mounted over a platform, or a yurt shaped stationary building. Something like this:

Given that in our ideal game every civilization has a unique Castle, the model for Mongols, Cumans and Huns should be based on captured Chinese, byzantine and roman castles, respectively.


Karakorum, from the Marco Polo Netflix’s series



By this time, the town has grown into a proper city, perhaps even worth being a capital for the empire. This is when the three candidate civs begin to differ in what an imperial age set of buildings would be fit for each one of them. If we consider the Imperial Age a mixed concept between advancing in time through the middle ages and increasing the city’s level of development in terms of infrastructure and architectural sophistication, then we could draw some lines on what the Imperial Age would look for each civ:

• Huns didn’t even reach the “Feudal Age” in terms of time advance. Along those lines, their Imperial Age set would take influence from roman architecture. Basically, stone and brick buildings with arches and tiled roofs.

• Cumans began to mix and evolve into (what the game understand as) Tatars after the mongol conquest. What was left of Cumans progressively received more and more central asian – persian influence. The result is cities that would have looked like Sarai Batu, the Golden Horde capital, mudbrick buildings with minaret looking towers and blue-colored tiles as decoration.

• Mongols, finally, through the close contact with China after the conquest, saw many influences of chinese architecture and art. Later on, they would receive influences from Tibet, specially in regards to temple buildings, but that is in the late 16th century, the very end tip of the timeframe of the game, so I wouldn’t give much representation to that style.

All that explained, the decision I would take for the nomadic Imperial Age set is to go for a sober oriental style, with black colored tile roofs with slight curves. Something, precisely, like the AbeJin set I shared above:

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It is, in my opinion, the style that doesn’t feel that much improper to the other two civs, in contrast with a persian or a roman inspired style. And I put an emphasis on sober; I don’t want it to scream chinese influence. Remember it would only affect three buildings, as the three civs lack Keep and Bombard Tower.

This would make the Imperial Age set.

And that’s it. I wanted to get this written down just for fun, but I hope it also helps as inspiration for the time a nomadic set is in the plans.


THIS I love!

Perhaps there is a way to make Imperial Age buildings that all three could share, as different buildings for each one is a little on the complex side. But overall, really love the idea, and all these new yurt models really make it quite easy to port over for designers.


Great post! The three civs selected are also those who have the special nomadic UI.


They should also get mule card counter part horse card instead of wood/gold camp and mills, they can rearrange team bonusues with this change.

HD Nomad Architecture Collection MOD

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I am always amazed how all the talented artists lost talent as soon as definitive edition released.

I don’t quite like this particular set. There’s certainly a lot of skill involved, but the design direction doesn’t convince me. It relies way to much in wagons, wood structures and tents, giving the impression of an improvised stationary military base (kind of fantasy looking as well) rather than a nomad or semi-nomadic camp.


I am against adding any kind of nomadic set, even though everyone wants one, because it’s always going to look awkward no matter what.

Eh i think a Eastern Central Asian set with some nomadic elements and a lot of Tibetan Influence would look quite nice. I think if anything the Gaudio buildings he posted are a bit too fortified looking, I remember that there was a mongol set that was similar-ish but had some small tents in the archery range for example


I think a big part is that most of those bsets were Kitbashed sprites, who aren’t as easy to make look good with the new updated graphics.

The alternative is making all the buildings from scratch, but that’s a very tall order, it’s about a hundred per bset.


Why be so demanding of fanworks when the tools to design the new icons has shifted from spriting to modeling. The retraining is hard and you need to get off your high demand horse of unpaid fanworks yesterday!


The Nomadic architecture set is need, but I do not like these pictures

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It has a weird Mongol punk vibe lol

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Would it be crazy to be able to pack up your towncenter with the villagers inside and make yurts instead of houses.

Looks like Gypsy camps.


I though about Mad Max

Anyway, I do not want to be rude, I am glad, that people are interested in change the buildeng set for Mongols, Cumans and especially Huns

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