"Slavic Unique Unit. Heavily armored cavalry; resistant to melee attack."—Age of Empires II description
Boyars can be upgraded to Elite Boyars in the Imperial Age.
The Boyar is a heavily armored cavalry unit, enabling them to absorb a lot of damage. Still, they have a lower amount of hit points than the Paladin. This, combined with their average pierce armor, makes them somewhat vulnerable against arrow fire, not unlike the Cataphract. However, their attack is heavy, and their melee armor is unparalleled in the cavalry branch. These properties make them extremely hard to take down solely with melee attack.
Slavs are primarily a siege and infantry civilization supported by cavalry and Monks. Boyars serve as the main shock troops of the Slavic army, serving to decimate the opponent's army once their opposing counters have been dealt with. Scorpions are probably the Slavs' best partner for Boyars, since they are the best the Slavs can field to cover the Boyar's weaknesses, which are massed archers, Monks, Halberdiers, and Heavy Camel Riders. The Boyars can effectively protect the Scorpion from approaching cavalry. Monks always fit in any Slavic army as well, as they can heal and convert. Camel Riders can be a deadly threat to that combination. They can effectively be countered with the outstanding Slavic infantry, especially Halberdiers.
Siege Onagers are also an option to use, but using them is far more difficult than using Scorpions since they damage friend and foe alike. That is especially unlucky for the Slavs since their army heavily relies on melee units.
Combinations of infantry, Boyars, and Monks only are also possible, but very prone to archer fire.
With statistics rivaling other cavalry civilizations' early Imperial Age Cavaliers, the Boyar in many ways outclasses some of the toughest Castle Age units such as Knights; Cataphracts, and Teutonic Knights. With their sheer bulk, they can even stand up to Camels and Pikemen, although they are not cost effective in these match-ups. Since they are expensive and are Castle units, they are hard to mass. Their power combined and cost make Monks a good option to counter them.
In the Castle Age, where Boyars only have 1 base pierce armor, Boyars are vulnerable to massed archers such as Crossbowmen and Plumed Archers. The Genoese Crossbowman deserves a separate mentioning here since it possesses an attack bonus against cavalry.
As with most cavalry units, Boyars do not fare well against Pikemen. While faring better against them than most other cavalry due to their armor and attack, Boyars are still not cost effective.
Since the Slavs are unfortunate enough to lack Heresy, they are extremely prone to conversion. Especially in the Castle Age, when Boyars may need 4 hits to strike down a Monk with Sanctity, a Boyar cannot hope to kill an enemy Monk if they meet alone. Hence, they are likely to be picked as a target for a conversion.
Civilizations with Camel Riders can freely use them against Boyars and rest assured to field a cost effective unit. Mamelukes can also be used. Against the Slavs, however, Camels are not of much use anywhere else, since they fall to any other unit of the Slavic army.
In the Imperial Age, the Elite Boyar has 2 base pierce armor, just like other standard cavalry units (Scout Cavalry line, Knights, Cavaliers, Elite Konniks, Leitis, Elite Leitis, Keshiks, Magyar Huszars, Elite Magyar Huszars, and Xolotl Warriors), so is not so weak to archers. It is even faster than the Knight line, so it can be good against archers. However, the pierce armor is less than the Paladin and Elite Keshik, which are much better against archer-like units. The Paladin also has 30 HP more than the Elite Boyar, which makes it even more suitable at this job. However, countering an archer army in the Imperial Age is not a problem for the Slavs, since they have Siege Rams and Siege Onagers with Siege Engineers.
As Boyars are unique to the Slavs, only technologies that are available to them are shown in the following table:
|Unit strengths and weaknesses|
|Strong vs.||Skirmishers, melee units|
|Weak vs.||Pikemen, Kamayuks, Teutonic Knights, Mamelukes, Camel Riders, Monks, War Elephants, Samurai, Scorpions, defensive structures, archers, Leitis|
|Hit points||Bloodlines (+20)|
|Attack|| Forging (+1)|
Iron Casting (+1)
Blast Furnace (+2)
|Armor|| Scale Barding Armor (+1/+1)|
Chain Barding Armor (+1/+1)
Plate Barding Armor (+1/+2)
|Creation speed||Conscription (+33%)|
- A team containing Berbers: With Kasbah researched, Boyars are created and upgraded 25% faster, and Conscription is researched 25% faster.
- A team containing Huns: Researching Bloodlines and Husbandry is 20% faster.
- A team containing Teutons: Boyars are more resistant to conversion.
- Boyars move at a speed of 1.35 and are created in 23/20 (Elite) seconds.
The African Kingdoms
- With patch 4.8, Boyars now move at a speed of 1.4.
- (Elite) Boyar training time reduced to 15 seconds.
In the mod version, Age of Empires II: The Forgotten Empires, the Boyar has a distinctly European looking design. The unit itself was an unused 'beta' model for the Cataphract. Joan of Arc's mounted unit also uses the said model for its horse and sword. In the retail version, Age of Empires II HD: The Forgotten, however, the Boyar is replaced by a completely new model. This model's texture is appropriately region specific in appearance. The horse is encased in felt and leather with gold accents (covering the armor), the rider himself is armed with an axe instead of a sword and carries a circular shield as well. In patch 3.6, the Boyar received minor redesigns.
- In the Forgotten Empires mod for Age of Empires II, the Boyars' model was a modified version of Joan of Arc, which is also based on Cataphract's beta model.
- The Boyar is one of only six units without any attack bonus, the others being the Knight line, the Militia, the Keshik, the Leitis, the Turtle Ship, and the mounted version of the Konnik.
- The Boyar appears to be wielding a bardiche, a hafted-axe-based weapon whose use started in 15th century Russia and later became standard equipment for Strelets. It was also used in Poland, where similarly to Russia, it was used to rest handguns when firing. It was also used for execution duty.
A boyar was a member of the highest rank of the feudal Bulgarian, Serbian, East Slavic, Wallachian, and Moldavian and later, Romanian aristocracies, second only to the ruling princes (in Bulgaria, tsars), from the 10th century to the 17th century. The rank has lived on as a surname in Russia, Ukraine and Romania, and in Finland, where it is spelled Pajari.
Also known as bolyar, this word appears in various languages include Bulgarian: боляр or болярин; Ukrainian: буй or боярин; Russian: боя́рин, tr.boyarin, IPA: [bɐˈjærʲɪn]; Romanian: boier, IPA: [boˈjer]; and Greek: βογιάρος.
The word is likely derived from the plural form of the Bulgarian title boila ("noble"), bolyare, which is attested in Bulgar inscriptions and rendered as boilades or boliades in the Greek of Byzantine documents. Multiple different derivation theories of the word have been suggested by scholars and linguists, such as it having possible roots from old Turkic: bai ("noble, rich"; cf. "bey"), itself a derivative of beg, bag, from the Indo-European Iranic word bagh, "lord"—whence, Baghdad (Lord Given), akin to Russian bog, Serbian bojh, "lord," plus Turkic är ("man, men"). The title entered Old East Slavic as была byla (nom. sing.) & былями bylyami (instr. pl.) (attested solely in The Tale of Igor's Campaign).