Berber (Imazighen) states have existed in North Africa since antiquity, existing alongside Romans, Vandals, and Egyptians in the region; the Berbers were also early converts to Islam, and quickly became one of the most prominent ethnicities in the Early Islamic world, alongside Arabs and Persians. In 711 AD, a coalition of Arab and Berber soldiers invaded Spain and established a kingdom that would endure for centuries and make lasting contributions to art, science, and philosophy. They were dreaded in war because of their fast horses and skilled guerrilla warriors. These facts are reflected in the game in their unique units, both of which are powerful counter units, the Camel Archer and the Genitour, two cavalry units that historically used to be very effective against European armies.
Much of their strength was represented in the fact that once they built a base they realized systems of communication in order to connect the camps to each other and respond quickly to the attacks of the enemies. To reflect that, their first unique technology, Kasbah, makes their Castles and the allies' ones produce units and research technologies at a faster rate. Because of moving constantly in the desert, their soldiers were used to fight effectively in hostile conditions or as nomads. While Europeans' cavalry could not survive long there, their troops were deadly ambushers able to hit hard and quick. That is why their second unique technology, Maghrabi Camels, gives their camel units a regeneration ability and also, their Villagers move faster. At last, as a result of their sailing abilities, their ships are faster.
The Berbers are primarily a cavalry civilization, and have very strong and cost-effective cavalry units and an almost full tech tree in the cavalry department, only lacking the Paladin. Their infantry is also good with only the Halberdier missing. Their archers are also good, although the lack of Parthian Tactics is unfortunate as the Berbers otherwise have superb mounted archers. The siege weapons are average without Siege Rams and Siege Onagers. The navy is another selling points for the Berbers with faster ships and a full tech tree apart from Shipwright. Their Monks are average, and their defenses rather weak. Their economy, however, is really strong with all technologies apart from Two-Man Saw at their disposal and a great civilization bonus which grants their Villagers +10% movement speed.
Initially, Stable units cost -20% starting from the Castle Age. With patch 4.8, the cost is now staggered to -15%/-20% in the Castle/Imperial Age.
Initially cannot research Ring Archer Armor. With patch 4.8, it was added to their technology tree.
Initially, Kasbah increases not only the team Castles' working speed by 25%, but also the Castles of the researching player by another +25% (resulting in a total +56.25% bonus). With patch 4.8, Kasbah only affects the researching player's Castles once.
Non-Elite Genitours initially have 4 attack and 3 range. With patch 4.8, they have 3 attack and 4 range.
When playing a random map game against the computer, the player may encounter any of the following Berber AI characters:
Abd al- Mu'min: A prominent member of the Almohad movement. As a leader of the Almohad Movement (since 1130), he became the first Caliph of the Almohad Empire (reigned 1147–63).
Abdallah ibn Yasin: A theologian and founder of the Almoravid movement and dynasty (died 7 July 1059 C.E. in "Krifla" near Rommani, Morocco).
Abu Bakr ibn Umar: A chieftain of the Lamtuna Berber Tribe and commander of the Almoravids from 1056 until his death.
Abu Yazid: An Ibadi Berber of the Banu Ifran tribe who led a rebellion against the Fatimid Caliphate in Ifriqiya (modern Tunisia and eastern Algeria) starting in 944.
Ibn Tumart: A Muslim Berber religious scholar, teacher and political leader, came from southern Morocco. He founded and served as the spiritual leader of the Almohad movement.
Idris I: The first Arab ruler and founder of the Idrisid dynasty, ruling from 788 to 791. He is credited with founding the dynasty that was instrumental in the early Islamization of Morocco.
Kusayla: His name means "leopard" in the Berber language, died in the year 690 AD fighting Muslim invaders, was a 7th-century Berber Christian king of the kingdom of Altava and leader of the Awraba tribe of the Imazighen.
Maysara: Berber rebel leader and original architect of the Great Berber Revolt that erupted in 739-743 against the Umayyad Muslim empire.
Musa ibn Nusayr: Served as a governor and general under the Umayyad caliph Al-Walid I. He ruled over the Muslim provinces of North Africa (Ifriqiya), and directed the Islamic conquest of the Visigothic Kingdom in Hispania (Spain, Portugal, Andorra and part of France).
Salih ibn Tarif: The second king of the Berghouata Berber kingdom, and proclaimed himself a prophet of a new religion. He appeared during the caliphate of Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik in 744 AD.
Tariq ibn Ziyad: A Muslim commander who led the Islamic Umayyad conquest of Visigothic Hispania in 711–718 A.D. Under the orders of the Umayyad Caliph Al-Walid I he led a large army and crossed the Strait of Gibraltar from the North African coast, consolidating his troops at what is today known as the Rock of Gibraltar. The name "Gibraltar" is the Spanish derivation of the Arabic name Jabal Ṭāriq (جبل طارق), meaning "mountain of Ṭāriq", which is named after him.
The Berbers are featured in El Cid campaign as one of the antagonistic factions in the late campaign, and are represented by Saracens and Turks. They also appear in the Tours scenario of the Battles of the Conquerors and are also represented by Saracens.
The ship speed bonus does not improve the efficiency of Berber Trade Cogs, as they are affected by the speed increase, but earn less gold per trip to compensate this effect, so that the gather rate remains the same in total.