|This article is about the unit type of mounted soldiers. For the unit in Age of Empires, see Cavalry (Age of Empires).|
Cavalry is a basic unit type consisting of a soldier riding on an animal, usually a horse. In some cases, these units are also referred to as mounted infantry. Cavalry in general are faster and have more hit points than foot soldiers, but have much greater costs and take up more population space (the latter in Age of Mythology and Age of Empires III only).
Age of Empires
- Main article: Cavalry units (Age of Empires)
In Age of Empires, the Stable can produce five lines of cavalry units, for a total of nine units. These units all cost food, and usually also cost gold or wood. As such, they are expensive units, requiring anywhere from 80 to 210 resources apiece.
With the exception of Nobility, a Government Center technology that increases the HP of mounted units by +15%, all technologies that benefit cavalry are found at the Storage Pit. These include the melee attack upgrades that start with Toolworking and the dedicated cavalry armor upgrades starting with Leather Armor Cavalry.
Six of the sixteen civilizations have bonuses that improve cavalry. Note, however, that these upgrades all benefit certain units rather than the entire cavalry class of units. Elephant units in particular are heavily favored, with three civilizations having bonuses that favor elephant units. In contrast, no civilization has bonuses for the generic Scout, and only the Yamato provide any bonus for the main Cavalry line of units.
Age of Empires II
- Main article: Cavalry units (Age of Empires II)
Cavalry in Age of Empires II are distinct from those in the original game in a few respects. Most notably, units with significant anti-cavalry bonuses are widespread in this game, including the Spearman line and the Camel Rider line. With that being said, cavalry, despite these major weaknesses and high price, are often the dominant force in games due to their high stats and mobility.
36 of the 39 civilizations in Age of Empires II have access to some form of cavalry, including at least the Scout Cavalry unit. The only exceptions are civilizations from the Americas, who historically lacked access to horses. The heavily armed and armored Knight is nearly as ubiquitous as the basic Scout Cavalry (along with their two direct upgrades, Light Cavalry and the Cavalier), meaning most civilizations have access to reasonably useful cavalry units.
In addition to the various unique units available at the Castle, there are a few other cavalry units available. The final upgrades of the Scout Cavalry and Knight are the Hussar and Paladin, which are only available to 22 and 11 civilizations respectively. Additionally, some cavalry units are based on the geography of the civilizations in question. Civilization found in arid and steppe regions of the world typically have the Camel Rider, which deals extra damage to other cavalry units. The civilizations in southeast Asia have access to the Battle Elephant, a slow and lumbering yet powerful unit. Three civilizations of the Eurasian Steppe have access to the Steppe Lancer, a sort of "medium cavalry" notable for having a small amount of range. Additionally, nine civilizations have access to unique cavalry units, not counting the unique Imperial Camel Rider upgrade.
Cavalry units are mostly upgraded using the Stable and the Blacksmith. However, many civilizations have one or two unique technologies that will benefit at least one type of cavalry unit. Additionally, 18 civilizations have standard bonuses that benefit cavalry in some way, and 8 have team bonuses that provide benefits to cavalry.
As may be expected from the sheer variety of units, technologies, and bonuses, many civilizations in Age of Empires II are considered particualrly strong cavalry civilzations. However, many civilizations provide much better support for certain units than others. One excellent example is the Franks; despite having arguably the best Knight line in the game, their Scout Cavalry line is below average due to missing the critical Bloodlines technology and Hussar upgrade. Similarly, the Hindustanis have among the best Camel Riders in the game, but are one of the few civilizations to lack access to Knights.
Age of Mythology
- Main article: Cavalry units (Age of Mythology)
Although each of the five civilizations in Age of Mythology have access to cavalry, they do not all represent cavalry evenly. On one end, the Atlanteans only have access to the single Contarius unit, whereas the Chinese have access to five units: the Scout Cavalry, Mounted Archer, Cataphract, General, and War Chariot.
Age of Empires III
The cavalry branch in Age of Empires III is divided in melee cavalry and ranged cavalry.
All melee cavalry are heavy cavalry on the area of multipliers, but still some cavalry are often called light cavalry, like the Hussar because of their low health compared to heavier units like the Cuirassier. Both light cavalry and heavy cavalry are no different from each other with the exception of their statistics since both can counter artillery and Shock Infantry.
- Main article: Heavy cavalry (Age of Empires III)
Ranged cavalry or light cavalry, like the Dragoon, can quickly respond to enemy cavalry attacks and are generally used in guerilla warfare.
- Main article: Light cavalry#Age of Empires III
Age of Empires IV
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- Main article: Cavalry units (Age of Empires IV)