Over the last year and a half ”Tzars and Salesmen” has undergone a series of bigger and smaller updates resulting in a very new arrangement which is here to stay. In this news announcement I will attempt to give a proper walk-around for the latest stage in the mod’s evolution.
The Ruthenians were replaced with the Scots and 3 entirely new factions – Aragonese, Asturians and Berbers join the game. With this move ”Tzars and Salesmen” embraces a more complete representation of Europe and the Middle East.
Which units are available to whom and under what circumstances has been a shifting and unstable aspect in the mod’s evolution. The final choices ultimately were determined by two criteria. First, a radical purge of all graphics that do not perfectly fit the original game’s style and flair narrowed down the last choices. Second, and as a consequence, some of the game’s older arrangements were revisited, like e.g. making the Hungarian unique unit a knight-type cavalryman again. Moreover, while the exchange of material among modders is a common practice many of the newest units are self-made by the author, like the Scottish Hobelar, the Aragonese Esgrimidor (Fencer) and the Kun Raider (the unique upgrade of the Hungarian light cavalry line). Two new units expand the civilian category – the Tangerine Miner (Berber unique gold miner) and the Vlach shepherd, whose dog companion helps him fend off bears and wolves (special attack bonus) and can outlive him and be used as a separate unit, too.
In the picture: Esgrimidor (left), Hobelar (middle), Kun Raider (right)
Final building sets
The building sets are also taking final shape, with an increasing number of self-made buildings replacing material previously adopted from other work. The feudal sets for Mediterranean and Central European factions are now mostly replaced by the author’s self made buildings and by using parts of the newest Byzantine buildings of Catbarf and Warsmithy an entirely new Balkan set was composed as well (now shared among South Slavs and Byzantines). In the course of this reconstruction one of the three Flemish renaissance houses was also replaced with a new, self-made variation.
In the picture: 2nd level Mediterranean set (upper left), 2nd level Central European set (upper right), 3rd+ level Balkan set (lower left), Flemish renaissance houses newest edition (lower right).
New mercenary system
One radically new gameplay feature is that many mercenaries are now trained in encampments that you cannot build, but have to find on the map. You can also compete with other players for control over these hired forces, since the encampments can be converted. Controlling them may give you an edge against others. Your enemies certainly will use this against you as soon as they can. Not all maps contain encampments and some maps support different types of mercenaries. The information is provided in the in-game description of each map.
In the picture: Norman encampment and Norman Raiders