Byzantines/Strategic Overview

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Faction Overview Strategic Overview History
  • Strengths: Extremely strong defensive capabilities, legendary Dark Age military
  • Weaknesses: No Imperial Era units or chivalric order units means that Imperial Era games are difficult to win. Unless wonders are included in the equation.

Located at the centre of the old world, Byzantium carries over its old Roman heritage even as it inspires new influences while at the same time, receiving others. Because of its strategic location between Europe and the Middle East, Byzantium receives doubled taxation gains from all taxable activities. At the same time, its Roman knack ensures Byzantine towers and forts as some of the most well-built among other factions, which when coupled with its abilities as an Orthodox nation, can make them nearly invulnerable in the Imperial Era. It is almost impossible to take down a Byzantine castle in the Imperial Era using cogs - the far reach of a Byzantine castle with all upgrades means that cogs are hopeless outranged — if the naphta vessels do not reach them first.

In the seas, Byzantium is queen, very much like the original Byzantium of old. Once a player reaches the Castle Age, they have the chance to stop using fire rafts, and start using naphta vessels — naval units with very mediocre range, but a fearsome flame attack that makes short work of other ships and units and buildings too close to the shore. The ability to build ships at a faster rate than others means that Byzantium will remain fairly powerful for a while, until the Imperial Era when other factions like the Asians, Venice, or Portugal obtain more destructive weapons to scourge the seas. Byzantium gets a tougher heavy cavalry line, with increased hitpoints and armour stats, making them somewhat more useful when attacking other cavalry or rushing down infantry. Your own infantry are also not neglected, however: as with the cavalry, the infantry all have some added hitpoints and armour, making them sturdier and better at holding lines. This is especially so in Dark Age games, but over time, the Byzantine Army slowly becomes more hopelessly backward, although the range of their Kontaratoi spearmen should help them survive for a while. Lastly, if all else should fail, the Byzantine player can rely on enhanced militia buildings and static defences — access to the Imperial Mandate technology like the Asians means that Byzantium has access to bastions, which are an upgrade of the Imperial-Era keep, as well as chapterhouses and magistracies, which replace peasants' communes and town watch guild buildings and cannot be taken over by the enemy if the city is taken, so they allow you to conduct a "poison-pill" strategy by producing militia (if resources are still sufficient) to harass your opponents, until they or the buildings are destroyed. This option might be a useful one as an enemy will then have to be wary how to proceed when attacking your cities.

With units bearing highly defensive abilities, and a knack for harvesting benefits from trading and maritime expansion, Byzantium is thus a very flexible faction, suited for receiving enemy rushes. Boat and land wars can be easily broken off using your unique units, while enhanced late-game defences and added wealth from taxation mean that a Byzantine game will often revolve around defence.

Byzantine Flag.png

Faction summary[edit]

  • Defensive civ that relies heavily on its superior fortifications and naval units.
  • Mix-&-Match — having fast-training mercenaries means that you will always have an answer to your opponent's threats. As mercenaries are only half as effective or so as their mainstream counterparts, balance is the key. Either it's lots of cheap archers and warriors, and powerful cavalry, or it's light cavalry and siege units with heavy infantry in the lead.
  • Castle Crush — The Byzantine game alternates between defence and offence: build up your Dark Age economy as well as you can, in order to support the many Castle Age units that the Byzantines are famed for.
  • The Smell of Victory — Although the Naphta Vessel is a very strong unit, it is still vulnerable to fire ships. Screen this unit with your own light ships at all costs. In fact, a Byzantine navy can be built merely around these ships and some light ships, like Dromonds and Barques alone, although it will prevail little against the heavier Portuguese and Venetian navies. However, these factions do not get into full swing until the Imperial Era...
  • Poison-Pill strategy — in late Imperial games, you can train militia in your cities even as they get absorbed, making occupation of your cities a nasty prospect for any potential hostile takeovers.
  • Bank Book and Cheque — Do not neglect your taxation dues, trade and universities: you need wealth and knowledge to create your unique cavalry units and (much later) gunpowder weapons.

Best age(s):[edit]

Dark and Castle

Strategic Overview
Byzantine Flag.png
Basic gameplay Rise of Chivalry Renovatio Europam