"For ye have iron cuirasses beneath your Latin helmets.
— The Lay of Prince Igor
Gridny Retainers are the infantry retinue of a kynaz, and represent the junior component of the elite forces of the Russian army in the Castle Age. Armed with axes, these units are as heavy-hitting as any heavy infantry, and while they are mostly self-sufficient and do not require food in ramp, they still cost dearly in terms of metal. Thus, only a kynaz who owns proper mines or ample sources of metal may raise sizeable numbers of Gridny to bolster his numbers, alternatively, other units would have to be relied upon. Gridny as part of a greater whole, however, might prove to be advantageous. Less food being spent means that the Russian player may have more to spend on lighter units, especially light infantry and cavalry. Or civics research.
- Weight Problems — Cavalry archers, siege machines, skirmishers, and polearm units are capable of causing serious damage, so screen your Gridny Retainers with cavalry or skirmishers of your own where possible.
- I Don't Like To Slay Alone — Armies of Gridny Retainers however are costly to equip and maintain, and so you may prefer to recruit light infantry, which performs well against all other units save heavy infantry and cavalry.
- As Bold as Brass — While they are mostly self-sufficient and do not require food in ramp, Gridny Retainers still cost dearly in terms of metal.
- When Life Hands You Lemons — Unless you possess ample supplies of metal, other units would have to be relied upon., although less food being spent means more to spend on lighter units, especially light infantry and cavalry. Or civics research.
As with the Germanic housecarles, the Slavs also had their own warrior elite which served as the bodyguard of their leaders, known as a druzhina, or "fellowship", which formed the armed forces of the community. Over time, however, the druzhina split apart, with the property-owning boyary in Russia forming an elite caste within the druzhina, with less privilleged members forming the rank and file or gridny. In Poland, the druzhina was eclipsed by feudal land-owning magnates organised along a German-styled feudal system.