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Civilization: Byzantines



TEAM BONUS: Monks 3x Heal Speed
BENEFICTS / PENALTIES: Buildings H/P +10% to 40% At Imperial Age
B Camels,Skirmishers,Pikemen cost -25%
B Fire Ships +20% Attack
Advance to Imperial Age cost -33%
AVAILABLE UNITS All Swordsman Units and All Archer Units
AVAILABLE TECHNOLOGIES All Monk Research and All Ship Technologies
UNAVAILABLE TECHNOLOGIES Siege Onager,Heavy Scorpion, Blast Furnace and Treadmill Crane
UNIQUE UNITE The Cataphract


Unit Information
- Attributes: H/P 110 Attack 9 Armor 2/1 Range 0 Speed F
- Attributes Elite: H/P 150 Attack 12 Armor 2/1 Range 0 Speed F
Cost: 70 Food 75 Gold
- Elite Upgrade Cost: 850 Food 850 Gold
- Strengths: Heavily Armored,Attack Bonus vs. Infantry
- Weaknesses: Knights and Camels


Historical and Game Information

The Byzantine army carried on many of the military traditions of the old Roman Empire into the Middle Ages. This was a professional force that was well trained and well led. Officers studied tactics and command. The army was organized into formal units that maintained their own traditions for centuries. The best units in the Byzantine army were partially armored cavalrymen called cataphracts. They fought with several weapons, including the bow and sword. With plains to the east and north of their empire, the cataphract was ideally suited for combat against the unarmored cavalry of their enemies. The Byzantine army went into decline partially because it lost the plains of Asia Minor from which it had drawn both horses and cavalrymen for service as cataphracts.The cataphract was a unit in the original Age of Empires. It was the ultimate cavalry unit - strong, well-armored, and fast. In Age of Empires II, the ultimate cavalry unit is the awesome paladin unit. But the cataphract still remains as the Byzantine unique unit. Although it is not stronger than the paladin, it is an excellent unit for charging into enemy ranks of archers, siege weapons, and swordsmen. What makes the cataphract special is its bonus against infantry. The unupgraded cataphract has a large bonus against all infantry troops. Prior to final playbalancing, that bonus was +5. The upgraded cataphract had a +8 bonus. However, these two stats probably have been changed in the latest round of balancing, although the general idea is to make the cataphract an infantry-killer. Thus, it is the best Byzantine troop to take on marauding Viking berserks and Goth huskarls, although the paladin might be better overall.

Byzantines of Age II

The Byzantine Empire was a strong civilization with an excellent administrative infrastructure and very advanced technology. It ruled the Mediterranean and fielded a strong army. It maintained the traditions of Rome but added its own Middle Eastern and Greek influences. While the rest of Europe was recovering from the Dark Ages, Byzantine still held on to the advances made by the Roman Empire. The Byzantines follow this model closely. They are the most complete naval power, with all ships and technologies, and also the most technologically advanced civilization with nearly all the technologies accessible to them. The Byzantines are the Age of Kings' most advanced culture. As the beacon of civilization in the Western world during the Dark Ages, it is only natural that they be the most technologically advanced nation in the game. Also, because of the role that the sea played in the ascendancy of Byzantium, it is logical that the Byzantines also enjoy a naval bonus.

Strong Structures

From the outset, Byzantine buildings have 10 percent more hit points than the buildings of other civilizations. This bonus improves with each age, going to 20 percent in the Feudal Age, 30 percent in the Castle Age, and 40 percent in the Imperial Age. What this does is let the Byzantine player last longer during rushes. His towers are also more effective because they last longer. Sandy Petersen, Age II designer says, "All Byzantine buildings get additional hit points. These increase over time, when more effective siege techniques become available. Fundamentally, this bonus means that attackers need extra time to accomplish their work of destruction. This additional time can be used by an effective Byzantine player for a variety of purposes - to pump out a few more troops from a beset barracks, get out one last demolition ship from the burning dock, gain a few more seconds for allied help to arrive while waiting behind a threatened wall. Consider: A Byzantine keep does 40 percent more damage to attackers than other civs' keeps, simply by outlasting them."

Cheap Counter Units

The Byzantines have a significant bonus when purchasing the three counter units of skirmishers, pikemen, and camels. The skirmishers counter archers, the pikemen counter war elephants and cavalry, and the camels counter all horse-mounted units. For Byzantines, these units are 25 percent cheaper. This means when you are being attacked by a horde of one unit type, you can get more counter units out than any other civilization. Coupled with your buildings' high hit points, this bonus lets you counter rushes more effectively than many other civilizations. Says Petersen, "All these [counter units] are significantly cheaper for Byzantines. Add cataphracts to the mix, and the Byzantines have the keys to defeat almost any conceivable combination of enemy troops."

Strong Fire Ships

The fire ship is a seagoing counter unit that is best at taking down ships at short range. It spits a rapid stream of Greek fire at enemy ships. Byzantine fire ships do 20 percent more damage per attack. Petersen says, "As the inventors of Greek fire, the Byzantines naturally have excellent fire ships and, as in Rise of Rome, fire ships are best [used] defensively." Demolition Ship: This ship is a floating bomb. You simply click on an enemy ship, and the demolition ship will sail over and detonate on impact, damaging all ships in a certain radius. Ensemble says it is perfect for quickly wresting control of the seas from an entrenched opponent. It is strong against all other ships but the galley. The demo ship can even affect ground units on shore.

Imperial Age Bonus

The last bonus of the Byzantines is that for them, jumping to the Imperial Age costs 33 percent less. This savings lets the Byzantine player leap to the final age faster than anyone else. With the several minutes this bonus buys the Byzantine player, he can quickly crank out Imperial Age troops before the other players and land a killing blow. However, this bonus really needs a plan of attack for a player to take advantage of it. If you scramble up to the Imperial Age but don't know what to do when you get there, you have wasted the bonus. But if you jump to the Imperial Age and have a strategy lined out, it could give you a huge advantage.