The Saracens are an offensive civilization with particularly strong camel and naval units. Even though they are not very strong in the early game due to lack of early economic bonuses, they instead have lots of powerful units and technologies making them a fearsome opponent in the late game.
Strengths EditTheir unique technology, Zealotry, grants Camels and Mamelukes extra hitpoints, allowing them to dominate almost any enemy cavalry unit they encounter. Camels normally are unable to stand up to Imperial Age heavy cavalry but Zealotry makes up for this, making them more cost effective. This makes them powerful against civilizations that rely heavily on cavalry such as the Huns, Franks and the Mongols which all have cavalry bonuses. The Mameluke is one of the most effective cavalry counters in the game, capable of taking down nearly any cavalry unit and in groups can easily handle War Elephants. However, they are a versatile unit and can handle most enemy soldiers.
The Saracens also have a strong navy, with their Galleons having a faster attack than normal and their transport ships have more hitpoints, making it more difficult for opponents to sink a naval invasion. In addition they can carry an additional five units so population space is saved when planning a naval invasion.
They have access to all siege weapons except for the Heavy Scorpion giving them strong offensive capabilities. They have full archer technologies and their archers also do bonus damage against buildings. This allows Cavalry Archers to become devastating raiders as this bonus allows them to raze buildings with ease.
The Saracens also have an economic advantage in which trading resources in the Market costs only 5% instead of the usual 30% (15% with Guilds). This allows them to easily amass resources through trading.
Their main weakness is in their heavy cavalry. They cannot upgrade their Knights and are one of only two Old World civilization to be missing this ability (along with the Indians, which lack knights completely). Fortunately the Mameluke's versatility makes up for this. They also lack several economic technologies though their market bonuses make up for this somewhat. Their defense is merely average as the Heated Shot, Architecture and Bombard Tower technologies are closed to them. Thus, there's no advantage to help stop a determined attack.
Saracens have several effective strategies, they can rush and boom, but mainly they perform better as a rushing civilization at the middle game. Saracens can perform a really particular and unique rushing strategy called the Smush ( Saracen monk rush) for performing this tactic, saracens must perform first a fast castle technique, but with many differences the most important of these differences is that they may take their stone mines ( at least 4 villagers starting in the dark age) since stone mining rate is faster than gold mining rate, then the player must age up in 20 population and once in feudal age build a blacksmith and a market and sell all their initial stone ( market saracen trading bonus make up for this) and basically jump the feudal age by getting just enough resources to advance to the castle age through market trading. Once this is achieved the player must task some villagers to gold and leave the other miners in the stone. Once in Castle Age the player must create at least two monasteries and create then four or five monks, it could be necessary to research many monastery technologies for the monks to perform better and then the player must get the monks to the opponents base and start converting first of all villagers and then other units that could be militias, archers, men at arms or other feudal or dark age units. It is important for the player to micromanage well the monks and use only one monk per converted unit at once, the monks also must avoid town center fire. Once the player has converted several enemy villagers they must task them to create some towers and steal the enemies resources. In "the Forgotten" expansion Saracens received 2 buffs that furthers this tactic, with a cheaper market and the madrasah technology.
Saracens are at its best in the castle age when they can start to create their camels, mamelukes and cavalry archers, which made them a formidable cavalry civilization, mamelukes and camels come in handy when dealing with enemy cavalry forces but also they can be used for raiding, also Saracens have full monastery technologies so if a player perform the smush tactic the left over monks can be improved for future battles and start to support the cavalry ( camels and Cavalry archers). Their Cavalry archers can work as a siege engine if massed becauseof their +3 attack vs buildings. In imperial age they get the Zealotry technology that improves the hitpoints of the camels making them more durable than other camels, they also get gunpowder units so the siege unit of choice must be the bombard cannon.
In water maps saracens are one of the best civilizations, they have 2 bonuses that allows them to take the seas earlier than other civilizations, galleys attack faster and saracens will require less transport units than other civs because transport ships have more capacity.
Strategy changes in The Forgotten Edit
Their new unique technology, Madrasah, gives to monks the ability to return 33% of their cost when they are killed, making Saracen monks better in giving support to the front lines in a battle due to some of the resources a player invests in creating monks are secured if they lose them on the battle, and the fact that they can research all monastery technologies. Saracens also have now a -75 wood discount building Markets, improving their trading capabilities and their already good capabilities at changing resources at the market.
Strategy Changes in The African Kingdoms Edit
Camels are no longer considered ships and this applies also to the Saracen Unique unit the Mameluke so now they can raid a town more effectively without having to worrying too much about enemy towers
In team games, Saracens should preferably play in the pocket position, but they can also stand in the front line position.
Saracens profit greatly from the following team bonuses:
As a teammate, Saracens make a synergy with archer based civilizations, such as the Britons, the Chinese, the Mayans, and others. Their team bonus gives allied foot archers +1 attack versus buildings. This adds to the Mayan technology Obsidian Arrows which increases archer attack versus buildings by +3, making massed archers a viable replacement for siege and swordsmen. Fully upgraded British Longbowmen can outrange towers and castles, so this bonus speeds up the destruction of enemy fortifications. Vietnamese allies also grant Saracan players gold subsidy (via Paper Money) for extra Mamelukes, camels, warships or horse archers, together with anti-building-enhanced Imperial Skirmishers and first-hand revelation of the enemy bases at the beginning, in exchange for more "siegable" Rattan Archers against hostile fortifications.