The Turk civilisation in Knights and Barbarians represents the countries established by Turkic peoples in the Middle East during our timeline, including the Great Seljuk Empire, the Sultanate of Rüm and, latterly, the Ottoman Empire. It would be impossible to come up with a good summary of all these three medieval powers, as the Turks during the Ottoman period lived noticeably different lives to those during the Seljuk period. When the Turks first entered the Middle East from their traditional homelands east of the Aral Sea, they were a nomadic tribal society relying mostly on swift horse archers for its military, as wouldmost steppe-based societies of the time. These Turks would soon carve out an empire stretching from Persia in the East to Anatolia in the West, also conquering the Holy Land, an event which played a major role in triggering the Crusades. Just looking at this point in history, round-and-about 1100 AD, the Seljuk military was already vastly different, now relying on heavy shock cavalry, no doubt inspired by Persian horsemen, instead of swift horse archers. Move another two hundred years forward in time, and we find the beginnings of the OttomanEmpire, and another drastically different military, this time based on infantry.
This adaptability of the Turks showed in more than just their military. Starting as a nomadic people, the Turks very soon became settled, but they switched their capital city so often that it would seem like they hadn't let go of their nomadic streak completely. The Turk Home City in Knights and Barbarians is Caesarea, or Kayseri in Turkish, but it might as well have been Iconium (Konya), Nicaea (Iznik), Hamedan, Dorylaeum (Eskişehir), Bursa, Adrianople (Edirne) or even Baghdad. It seems every Sultan was obliged to choose a new capital for his empire, and it wouldn't be entirely untrue to say
so. Seljuk and Ottoman Sultans certainly were eager to leave a legacy, and never short of ambition. One of the most ambitious sultans of all, as well as one whose life's work nowadays rings a bell with millions of people around the globe, is Sultan Murad I. Not commonly remembered are his conquests, even though they were impressive, with him pacifying various Emirates in Anatolia, conquering almost all of Rumelia and turning Serbia and Bulgaria into vassal states of the Ottoman Empire. What is commonly remembered is the military reforms that he pushed through, giving him the honour of being the Sultan who established the Janissary corps, as well as the Devşirme system used to recruit Janissaries and Sipahis. The Janissary name comes from "yeni ceri" meaning "new soldier", which may seem peculiar to those more familiar with the Janissaries of the 18th and 19th centuries, by which time they were heavily outdated, but when introduced in the 14th century, the Janissaries truly were a revolution in military thinking, and one of the first properly organised military forces in the
The Janissaries would see it through all the way until 1826, when they effectively brought about their own end by staging a coup against Sultan Mahmud II. The coup failed, and the Janissaries were disbanded. The Ottoman Empire would live on until 1922, after it had been so thoroughly defeated in World War I that it was carved up and divided among its former enemies. This, however, does make the Turks the only Knights and Barbarians civilisation who would stay in existence all the way into the 20th century. In fact, as Mustafa Kemal Atatürk intended the Republic of Turkey to be a successor state to the Ottoman Empire, one might argue that it still exists today...
The Turks are part of the Muslim civset, which means they have the Race Track, as well as the Jihad system, which can supply them with some instant military units, the Qal'aat instead of the Castle, and the Bazaar system and its Merchants, allowing for economic flexibility. The Turks start each game with 6 Peasants and 4 Crates of Wood.
The Turks have a choice of the following three religions:
- Sunni Islam (main religion): + Priests move more quickly and cavalry units train more quickly, - infantry units have less hitpoints.
- Sufism (reformed religion): + villagers are cheaper to train, - infantry units have less attack damage.
- Zoroastrianism (outside religion): + villagers have more hitpoints, - military units move slower.
The bonuses of the Turks serve to make them a much more challenging civ than many others, to start with anyway. The point in playing the Turks is to advance in age as quickly and efficiently as possible, as the Turks, who are quite rubbish at game start, can become extremely powerful later in the game, with superior military units and a very easily sustainable economy.
- Instead of a Barracks, an Archery Range and a Stables, the Turks get a Barracks and an Ottoman Academy
This bonus gives the Turks a minor advantage in earlier ages, as they do not
have to build an Archery Range or Stables in order to train generic
ranged infantry units or Light Cavalry, since the Turks train all these
units from the Barracks. The Ottoman Academy comes into play by Age III,
when it can start training powerful Janissary and Sipahi units.
The Turks can upgrade all Ottoman units in pairs
This bonus means that the Turks can upgrade the Janissary Halberdier and
Janissary Archer with a single upgrade technology, and similarly the
Sipahi Lancer and Sipahi Archer. This saves the Turks a lot of resources
that would otherwise be spent on unit upgrades for their most powerful
Turk Peasants cost wood instead of food
This bonus is actually more of a malus, as it will be more difficult to
train Peasants in Age I. It does however cut in very nicely with the
Turk Peasants and Farmers become cheaper with each age-up
This bonus is a major one in representing the reforming nature of the
Ottomans, and is a significant boost to the Turk economy. While the
Turks will struggle to get to Age II very quickly, from there on, their
economic units get cheaper and cheaper in every age, until they are
virtually free in Age V. An additional advantage of this is that it
takes the Turks far less resources to recover from an enemy raid.
The Turks have the Observatory, which makes them have sight of much of the map
This bonus consists purely of a unique building, the Observatory. This
building does little else than provide line-of-sight, but the amount it
provides is huge, so much so in fact that the Turks can partially ignore
base defences, because they'll be able to see the enemy coming, and
have time to prepare a counterattack. It also holds four chains of
technologies, which benefit military unit line-of-sight, Lord stats,
farming rates and ship hitpoints respectively.
- Man-at-Arms (Barracks, II)
- Bashi (Race Track, II), becomes available by selecting "Encourage Enlistment" at the Race Track
- Spearman (Barracks, II)
- Janissary Halberdier (Ottoman Academy, III), unique to the Turks. More powerful than the Halberdier it replaces
- Janissary Archer (Ottoman Academy, III), unique to the Turks. Much more powerful than the Archer it replaces, but only becomes available in Age III
- Crossbowman (Barracks, III)
- Skirmisher (Barracks, II)
- Janissary Gunner (Ottoman Academy, V), unique to the Turks. Becomes available after researching Black Powder
- Light Cavalry (Barracks, II)
- Sipahi Lancer (Ottoman Academy, III), unique to the Turks. More powerful than the Knight it replaces
- Sipahi Archer (Ottoman Academy, III), unique to the Turks. More powerful than the Cavalry Archer it replaces
Artillery and Siege Units
- Sapper (Siege Workshop, II)
- Ballista (Siege Workshop, III)
- Catapult (Siege Workshop, III)
- Ram (Siege Camp, II)
- Mantlet (Siege Camp, II)
- Siege Tower (Siege Camp, III)
- Bombard (Siege Workshop, V), becomes available after researching Black Powder
Other Land Units
- Militia (Race Track, I), becomes available by selecting "Encourage Self-Defence" at the Race Track
- Lord (I)
- Peasant (Town Center, I)
- Farmer (Manor, I)
- Priest (Church, II)
- Bishop (Church, III), first has to be unlocked through the HC
- Dog (Manor, I)
- Fishing Boat (Docks, I)
- Cog (Docks, II)
- Galley (Docks, III)
- Carrack (Docks, IV), becomes replaced by the Gun Carrack after researching Black Powder