Knights play in numbers - Berber vs Poles

Berber castle age (immediate):
(115 total)

Polish LATE castle age:
(90 total)

  • To get the knight spam up and running, it costs a Pole 650 stone, 500 food, 300 gold and a whole bunch of villager seconds to build castle plus the time to do the research.

  • As gold will not run out until late imperial, let’s assume all resources are equal for the purpose of this thought experiment.

  • Polish knights are 25 resources cheaper than Berber once it’s all up and running.

  • It’d take 58 knights just to break even, disregarding the villager seconds to build the castle and the time taken to achieve this.

  • Berber initial knight rush is way better since their discount is immediate.

  • Berber continued knight push is equal or better if 58 knights or less are produced before early imperial. Polish continued knight push is equal or better if 58 or more knights are produced during a continued push before early imperial.

  • Once Berber ages up, knights cost 48f, 60g. Only 18 resources more than a Polish equivalent which lacks access to Plate Barding. Oh dear.

Conclusion: Szlachta seems like a false friend if you want to play knights. Very broken in a game with Imperial Age disabled, but not seeing why I’d choose the Poles to execute this strategy and if I wanted their Hussars I’d be playing Lithuania for better ones.

Still too early to call on the overall balance, but I can’t see the Obuch/Arb combo being enough to make this civ viable for intermediate level play.


The more time goes by people will realize how subpar and irresolute their tech tree is. Let’s wait and deliberate on reasonable buffs in the meantime.
Imo their weak point are their late Castle and Imperial Age when don’t perform particularly well at anything.


You forget 2 things, why poles bonus is better than it looks:

A) Stone mining bonus: If they collect 650 stone for a castle, they get 325 g for free which is more than they need for szlachta privileges.

B) The Folwark is the 2nd best overall eco bonus after the 2nd Cuman TC in the game. Effectively reducing the food cost of the knights and the tech by about 20-30% (depending on the pace of the game).

With respecting this, szlachta privileges is actually way stronger than just looking on the raw values.

And also because of that bonusses poles get to stone mining and farming, the whole concept of szlachta privileges is even fitting into their gameplan which would be to mine stone quite early, use it to make towers and castle drops while investing the autmatic gold into military units that doesn’t cost a lot of gold, but gold and food. Try to boom a bit behind (I think 2 TC is optimal for them because they scale bad in imp, but maybe also 3 TC)
You see the synergy?


Eh. Doubt it.

Its really good, but not that good.


This analysis has a lot of important things missing. Gold efficiency, poles farming eco, poles stone mining productivity, the lack of berber eco other than the discount, equating food with gold, the value of a defensive castle or castle drop on it’s own, etc.

I mean at the very least it ignores the huge ability of the poles to go double-gold unit compositions basically 100% of the time.

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The “analysis” is just a juxtaposition.

If you mine 650 stone, you get 325g free. Wonderful. The time you spend doing this your opponent has a lot more knights than you if they’re on any knight civ doing the same strat. Also, you could subtract 325 resources from the 1450 + vs needed and the break-even point is still so far into the game you’ll have been enveloped by lanchester’s square law unless you’re fighting a player who’s at least 200 ELO below you.

Let’s talk eco bonuses. The Folwark is a trade-off. It gives 5 pop, it costs 25 wood more, let’s just ignore that and pretend it’s the same as a mill. Reasonable, right? The difference is mechanics. To get the bonus to “proc”, you need to build your farms around it instead of around your TC’s. So this has the passive cost of having to build a couple more Folwarks than you would otherwise have to build mills. In exchange for this extra bit of wood investment, you get an incredible long-term economic return.

So much like the knights thing peaks a bit late, the food bonus does too. It’s just a lot of late-nesses going on.

Knight comparison aside entirely, the Folwark does not stand up independently in the first three ages vs any of the extant civs known for having great eco bonuses. With the gold generation, it’s in my opinion above average, but we’re still looking at an Obuch/Arb sensible composition.

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I don’t think the Poles strategy will revolve around their Knights tbh. The UT comes in very late, and probably only going to be useful if both players stay in a protracted Castle Age fight. Plus investing into a unit that falls off hard in Imp is rarely done by players (see Cuman Camels). I think poles will be a trush civ

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Confirmed. They are maybe the best trush (+maa) civ currently.
It will just take some time to find the right eco balance for that build. The folwark bonus makes it a bit awkward as when you build them you get a lot of food which can trick you in thinking you have already set up a healthy food eco.
But they can follow this up with either cheap knights or UU, depending on strategy. Knights are the better mid-term investment, the UU needs less investment iniatially but might be even stronger in the long run than the knights. I personally dont know which is better UU or knights as followup. I think it depends on what the opponent is doing.

So a defensive castle or offensive castle drop is worth literally nothing in this hypothetical? The knights have to pay the full cost by themselves? Sounds totally legit for a civ which has a great castle drop potential…

Well its a good thing a polish player isn’t literally forced to play early castle knights against berber knights and camels.

The math and empirical testing do not support this assertion in the slightest. A player who optimizes their folwark usage will have relative little benefit in feudal followed by a massive pay-day in mid castle age as they plant more farms and reseed the old ones. There’s a bunch of options which can be balanced like when to get the farm upgrades, how many folwarks to build and when, etc. Early evidence and theory shows some promising possibilities which are at minimum as good as slavs farming, and seem to be the strongest mid-game food eco in the game for a cavalry civ.

I honestly have no idea what information you are trying to convey with this “juxtaposition”. As far as I can tell it’s missing so many relevant details that no conclusions can be drawn other than “Don’t try and play the same with Poles as you would with berbers.” It certainly can’t be used to imply that the civ won’t be viable for intermediate play.

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If you don’t know what information I’m trying to convey, I can only assume you missed the thread title. And also the conclusion in the initial post. It’s pretty clear, honestly.

Poles are stated to be a cavalry civ. Compared them to another cavalry civ for their cavalry play. Chose the prime discount civ for comparison since their knight bonus is also a discount.

Sure, there’s value to a castle drop. I think that value is much better viewed as “access to Obuch” though. Bit of a shame we’ve got another tower civ in my opinion, if that’s the way they develop.

You’re right, I should have said, “I know what you’re trying to convey, but the evidence supporting your conclusion requires so many unrealistic assumptions as to be 99% irrelevant. So why even make this post?”


Why make the post? Can answer that with a question: Why even research Szlachta?

Not saying there’s no reason to; I’m exploring the why, with comparative numbers. My current viewpoint being there’s little reason to, yet the civ is stated to be a cavalry civ. Perhaps another viewpoint would cause mine to change? Perhaps I’d learn something?

What assumptions have I made? Which do you find to be so unrealistic?

Because in Melee vs Melee the Szlachta Privileges line is the best knight line in the game. And by far.
No berbers, no Franks, no Teutons, no Lith. Nobody has a chance against the sheer power of that almost trash knight line.

Against Archer civs it may look a bit different. But even against them, they actually seem to perform “above average” compared to other cavaliers who actually get the +2 armor.

And it makes sense, cause poles cavalier can take 4/6 == 2/3 of the arb shots than a fu can, but also costs only 2/3 of a FU. So if poles get a surround they even perform better than standard ones as there are more units with which leads to higher damage output.

And if we are talking about monks, the szlachta privileges kniht line just disables monks as a counter. You can’t use monks to counter a 60 f/ 30 g unit, that’s a pain in the ■■■.


In order for the berbers comparison to be relevant beyond a narrow scope, you must (at minimum) have ignored the points listed out in my first and second responses. I don’t know how you don’t see these as necessary to include in order for the extrapolation to be valid.

Since these cannot be ignored the berbers comparison is not relevant outside this narrow scope.

It might be true that szlachta is bad outside this narrow scope. However there are, epistemologically speaking, so many additional things needed to draw this inference that there is no reason anyone should have their belief about Szlachta outside this narrow scope changed using the evidence in this post.