|Faction Overview||Strategic Overview||History|
- Strengths: Excellent cultural bonuses with enhanced Food production; enhanced raiding abilities, enhanced naval production bonuses, simple tech tree for units.
- Weaknesses: UUs have little or no armour, poor Imperial game.
At first glance, most people are willing to dismiss the Saracens as being extremely weak, with fairly crappy armour and a limited tech tree. After all, nothing can beat an arbalest-and-pike formation of the late game, right?
Although in possession of fairly weak units that normally do not perform well against others, especially with regards to infantry, the Saracens however possess several advantages that make up for this weakness. First is its base military abilities. A glance at Saracen cultural bonuses indicates one thing: its infantry are perfect gatecrashers, capable of destroying buildings with sufficient military research. Despite the heavy infantry jundi line having poor armour and hitpoints compared to normal pikemen, these units have greater operational range, given their near-superhuman speed and their awesome attack power. The same also goes for the camel jundi line, of which the Saracens have three. Best of all, the mamluk units of the Saracens also do not require the Imperial Era, but need Darul Islam to be researched.
If that was not enough, the Saracens also have several other cards up their sleeve: religion. As Muslims, the Saracens enjoy 2 different perks: the first one is a technology based in the House of Worship, stylised Five Pillars which serves to speed up knowledge creation. This in turn is required to research Darul Islam from the Nobles' Court itself, which generates more knowledge, and also grants access to a special unit, the fedayeen. This implies several possibilities for the Saracens, being that gameplay will revolve around strengthening your defences and penetrating your opponents' own. Fedayeen are highly dangerous agent units — not only can they turn your opponents' troops if left unchecked, but are also powerful fighters if amassed together with other sturdier units. Your opponents' woes don't just stop on the land, but are also worsened on the seas because of the Saracens' ability to amass ships: against a faction such as the HRE or France, the Saracens can amass four ships out of the resources required by either one of the former two to produce three. Religion is also a vital component: the Muslim militia, consisting of ahdath and ghazis, do not require age or military upgrades, but rather require religion to be upgraded, as with all other chivalric order units.
So while sea battles should be a breeze with your command of superior fishing and cheaper ships, it is at land where your abilities will be tested to the utmost. The Saracen war machine is one that requires unconventional approaches and a strong economy to survive a fight with more heavily armed factions, such as the Holy Roman Empire or the Japanese. Camel archery serves well in early raiding, being capable of knocking down enemy civilian units with just one shot. Use these units to hurt your opponent's economy while building up your own - do not overlook the Saracen's propensity for food production. Aside from its camel line and its weak but highly specialised heavy infantry, the Saracens also share Muslim militia, namely the ahdath and the ghuzat with Andalus and Sicily, meaning that a militia rush is also feasible with proper research.
- Faction based on raiding and economic production.
- Prince of the Seas: Do not neglect your navy or the sea. Use your superior marine bonuses (cheaper vessels and more efficient fishing) to gain control of resources and to secure a stranglehold over coastal areas.
- Gate Crashing: The Saracen heavy infantry are weak in armour and hitpoints, but make up for it over several areas - military research will enhance their building-razing abilities. Use these units in tandem with your camelry to raid unprotected towns, stump your opponent and gain resources.
- Scare tactics: one of the most vicious units is the Fedayeen agent unit. Although weak, they are fast on foot and can bribe enemy units. Use them to neutralise key targets such as European chivalric orders, or to massacre lone units but be wary of enemy scout units. Note, however, that all non-Christian factions have special agents in the Castle Age.
- Finding Religion — Like all non-Christian factions, the Saracens cannot train advanced barracks and stable units, and must rely on religion to save the day. Research the Muslim unique technologies from your house of worship and (later on) your Nobles' Court to unlock your army by the Castle Age.
Settlements: Baghdad; Makkah; Cairo; Jeddah; Madina; Ammam; Hadramaut; Aswan; Tarabalus; Sidon; Beirut; Kirkuk; Basra; Najaf; Tal Afar; Karbala; Iskandariyyah; Mosul; Nasiriyah; Muqdadiyah; Baqubah; Damascus; Fallujah; Al Qa'im; Ramadi; Ar Rutba; Hamath; Samawah; Al Diwaniya; Afak; Sulaymaniyah; Dendera; Umm Qasr; Balad; Samarra; Tikrit; Kut; Siwa; Aden; Muscat; Yamamah
Leaders: Abu Bakar, Noordin, Kamil, Muawiyah, Saladin, Harun al-Rashid, Hakeem, Mamoun, Baibars, Walid
|Basic gameplay||Rise of Chivalry||Renovatio Europam|