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The vast Eurasian plains were home to nomadic tribes whose steppe husbandry and fearsome exploits still live on in the records of their terrified neighbors. Lead the Cuman-Kipchak hordes to war and pillage to your heart's content, or offer your riders as coveted mercenaries in the service of foreign kings. When an even greater threat looms to the east, will you migrate west and adopt the lifestyle and warcraft of your sedentary neighbors, or vanish before an unstoppable wave of Mongol conquerors?
—Description[1]

The Cumans' civilization music theme in the Definitive Edition

The Cumans are a Central Asian civilization introduced in Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition based on the a confederation with the Kipchaks, Khazars, Pechenegs and Kazakhs. They focus on cavalry.

In-game, the Cumans are a rush-oriented cavalry civilization that can apply early game pressure in a similar vein to the Huns. One of their unique traits is that they can produce Battering Rams in the Feudal Age, allowing the Cumans to close out games in the Feudal Age relatively easily. Despite their strong rushing potential, the Cumans can also opt for a boom strategy in closed maps thanks to their ability build a second Town Center in the Feudal Age. This makes the Cumans relatively flexible in both open and closed maps, but due to the unorthodox nature of the civilization, the Cumans are designed for experienced players who can adopt their Feudal Age build orders with the second Town Center or Battering Rams. As a nomadic civilization, the Cumans have access to the Steppe Lancer, and noted to be one of the two civilization without Stone Walls and the only camel civilization without access to the Heavy Camel Rider.

While the Cumans have long assimilated into European, Caucasus, and Arab kingdoms, their military unit voice dialogue is used for the Tatar Archer native unit in Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition (possibly because the language the Tatar people used in the Age of Empires III timeframe derived from the Kipchak languages, as opposed to the extinct Chagatai language).

Overview[]

The Cumans are classified as a cavalry civilization. Their cavalry is strong, having fully upgraded Hussars, Paladins, and Steppe Lancers, as well as the Steppe Husbandry unique technology, which makes the Scout Cavalry line and Steppe Lancer train 100% faster; furthermore, their cavalry move 5%/10%/15% faster in the Feudal/Castle/Imperial Age. Curiously enough, they are the only camel civilization that does not have access to the Heavy Camel Rider.

Their Cavalry Archers are among the best in the game, with fast-firing Kipchaks and Steppe Husbandry allowing the Cavalry Archer line to be created 100% faster; however, their lack of Bracer makes them weaker in the Imperial Age. Foot archers, on the other hand, are rather weak, due to the lack of Bracer, Arbalester and Hand Cannoneer.

Their infantry is ordinary - all of the upgrades for infantry except Supplies are available, but they do not have access to any civilization-specific technology for infantry.

Their siege units have an advantage in the form of Rams being available in the Feudal Age. Late in the game, Cumans have Siege Onager and Siege Ram, lacking Siege Engineers, Heavy Scorpions, and Bombard Cannons which makes their unit line started with letter "S" (Siege Ram, Siege Onager, Scorpion, Siege Tower).

Their ships are among the worst in the game. They do not have access to Cannon Galleons, Heavy Demolition Ships, Bracer, Dry Dock, or Shipwright.

Along with Goths, Cumans do not have access to Stone Walls; their Palisade Walls, on the other hand, have +33% HP as a team bonus. In defenses, they also lack Guard Towers, Bombard Towers, Architecture, Arrowslits, and Treadmill Crane.

Their Monks are mediocre, lacking Redemption, Illumination, Block Printing, and Theocracy.

Their economy is solid, lacking only Stone Shaft Mining, but having the ability to build an additional Town Center in the Feudal Age compensates for this completely.

Campaign appearances[]

The Cumans have a campaign devoted to their civilization: Kotyan Khan.

They also appear in:

Barbarossa[]

Genghis Khan[]

Tamerlane[]

Ivaylo[]

Kotyan Khan[]

This campaign is played as the Cumans.

The Hautevilles[]

Algirdas and Kestutis[]

Babur[]

Characteristics[]

Unique units[]

Kipchakicon.png Kipchak: Multi-shot cavalry archer.

Unique technologies[]

UniqueTechCastle-DE.png Steppe Husbandry: Scout Cavalry line, Steppe Lancers, and Cavalry Archers are trained 100% faster.
UniqueTechImperial-DE.png Cuman Mercenaries: Team members can create 5 free Elite Kipchaks per each Castle.

Civilization bonuses[]

Team bonus[]

Palisade Walls have +33% hit points.

Changelog[]

Definitive Edition[]

  • Initially can research Husbandry and mounted units move 10% faster starting in the Feudal Age. With update 34055, Husbandry was removed from their technology tree and the bonus was staggered to 5%/10%/15% in the Feudal/Castle/Imperial Age.
  • Initially (Elite) Kipchaks have 45 (50) hit points and 1.8 Rate of Fire. With update 34055, they have 40 (45) hit points and 2.2 Rate of Fire.
  • Initially Elite Kipchaks fire four arrows at once. With update 34055, they fire three arrows at once.
  • With update 34055, the time to construct a Feudal Age Town Center is increased from 225 to 270 seconds.
  • Initially can research Redemption. With update 36202, it was removed from their technology tree.
  • With update 36202, can research Capped Ram in the Castle Age, (Elite) Kipchaks fire +1 extra arrow, Steppe Husbandry also grants its benefits to Steppe Lancers, and the effect was reduced from 400% to 100%.
  • Initially can research Supplies. With update 37650, it was removed from their technology tree.
  • With update 42848, (Elite) Kipchaks have a 0.5 second fire delay, equivalent to the Mangudai.
  • Palisade Walls have +50% hit points.
  • Cuman Mercenaries lets allies train a total of 10 free Elite Kipchaks, each of which takes 20 seconds, but the ally must be in the Imperial Age.

Lords of the West[]

Dawn of the Dukes[]

Dynasties of India[]

  • Cuman Mercenaries now enables 5 free Elite Kipchaks per allied Castle. The Mercenary Kipchaks no longer require the Imperial Age to become available for allies, and Mercenary Kipchak train time is now 12 seconds.

In-game dialogue language[]

Cuman units speak the Cuman language (incl. Kazakh Language), most probably exactly the one which is attested in the Codex Cumanicus, a linguistic manual of the Middle Ages, designed to help Catholic missionaries communicate with the Cumans. Being a Turkic language, it is related to the languages spoken by the Turks and Tatars. Note that the lines contain three Arabic loanwords - "an" (moment), "madїm" (mine) and most notably "sälâm" (hello). While this is most probably ahistorical for the Cuman language at the time and place of Kotyan Khan, the Codex Cumanicus was written almost a century later in Crimea. Its language is influenced by many other languages and contain several loanwords from Arabic as well as Persian, and even a few Greek, Slavic, Mongol, Hebrew, Syriac and other ones. It is, however, clear that for Cuman lines the translator tried to use pure Turkic words, which is in stark contrast with Chagatai spoken by Tatars, where a lot of loanwords from Arabic and Persian are used, even if they have Turkic synonyms, most probably to make spoken lines of these two civilizations as different as possible.

Voice actors are either speakers of different modern Turkic languages or non-Turkic speakers at all, and because of that, different voice actors pronounce the same words differently, mispronounce them, or even say them indistinctly. The latter case is marked with (?).

Villager
  • Select 1 Evet? – Yes?
  • Select 2 Sälâm – Hello
  • Select 3 Anukmen – I'm ready
  • Select 4 Buyruǧuŋuz? – Your order?
  • Task 1 Evet – Yes
  • Task 2 Aŋladum – I understood
  • Task 3 Barurmen – I shall go
  • Task 4 Bir ančä itärmen – I shall do it at once (literally - "during one moment")
  • Build Qururmen – I shall build
  • Chop Aǧаč kesärmen – I shall cut a tree
  • Farm Čöplärmen – I shall gather
  • Fish Baluqlarmen – I shall fish
  • Forage Čöplärmen – I shall gather
  • Hunt Avlarmen – I shall hunt
  • Mine Madїm ačarmen – I shall open a mine
  • Repair Tüzätirmen – I shall repair
Military
  • Select 1 Evet? – Yes?
  • Select 2 Qulluq itärmen – I shall serve (literally - "I shall do service")
  • Select 3 Buyruǧuŋuz? – Your order?
  • Move 1 Aŋladum – I understood
  • Move 2 Barurmen – I shall go
  • Move 3 Maǧat, beyim(?) – Clearly, my bey ("Bey" is a honorific title in Turkic languages which meaning varied greatly from place to place and throughout time - from "tribal chief" in first Turkic inscriptions to "mister" in modern Turkish. In Codex Cumanicus its Latin equivalent is "princep" (sic!))
  • Attack 1 Sančїška! – To war!
  • Attack 2 Suvašurbiz – We shall fight
  • Attack 3 Saǧïtlanїn! – To arms! (literally - "Arm yourselves!")
Monk
  • Select 1 Evet? – Yes?
  • Select 2 Buyruǧuŋuz? – Your order?
  • Select 3 Qulluq itärmen – I shall serve
  • Select 4 Teŋri atana – In the name of Tengri (Tengri is one of the names for the primary chief deity in traditional believes of Turkic and Mongolic people, but this word is also used in Codex Cumanicus' Christian prayers and texts in the meaning of God)
  • Move 1 Barurmen – I shall go
  • Move 2 Evet – Yes
  • Move 3 Kerti – Truth
  • Move 4 Bir ančä itärmen – I shall do it at once
King
  • Select 1 Ešitürmen – I shall hear
  • Select 2 Ne izdärsiz? – What do you want?
  • Select 3 Ne üčün bašїmnї aǧrïtïrsïz? – Why do you bother me? (Literally - "Why do you make my head ache?")
  • Select 4 Keldim – I came
  • Move 1 Qolqaŋїznї itärmen – I shall comply with your request (literally - "I shall do your request")
  • Move 2 Küčüm birle(?) – With effort/Hardly (literally - "With my (full) strength")
  • Move 3 Nečik kovursaŋїz(?) – As you ??? (most probably mispronounced and should be "Nečik körüvsäŋїz" - "As you desire to see". The word "körüvsä-" is used several times in Codex Cumanicus' Christian texts)
  • Move 4 Itärmen – I shall do
Sources used:

AI player names[]

When playing a random map game against the computer, the player may encounter any of the following Cuman AI characters:

  • Aepa: A Cuman khan; died around 1120.
  • Alp Tarkhan: A Khazar general who was active in the early 8th century on the war against the Arabs.
  • Altunopa: One of the many clans who made up the Cuman-Kipchak confederation. Their name means "Gold Clan".
  • Boniak the Mangy: A Cuman chieftain in the late 11th and early 12th century who allied with the Byzantines against the nomadic Pechenegs and later made war against the Rus' and Hungary.
  • Bulan Khagan: A Khazar king who led the Khazars to convert into Judaism sometime between the 8th and 9th century.
  • Danylo Kobiakovych: A Cuman khan in the 1220s.
  • Ildeya Khan: A Pecheneg prince; lived around 975.
  • Konchak Otrakovich: A Cuman khan, who was involved in wars and raids with the Russians and united the western and eastern Cuman-Kipchak tribes.
  • Kotyan Khan: The main character of the Cumans' campaign. He is a Cuman-Kipchak khan who made alliance with various Eastern Europe rulers to oppose the Mongols
  • Kurya Khan: A Pecheneg khan; ruled to 988.
  • Otrok Khan: A Cuman-Kipchak khan; died 1125.
  • Sokal: A Cuman chieftain who won a major victory against the Kievan Rus' in 1061.
  • Sutoi: Father of Kotyan.
  • Yurii Konchakovych: A Cuman khan in the 1220s.

Trivia[]

  • The Cumans' civilization icon is based on masks worn by Cuman-Kipchak warriors.
  • User interface image is a picture of a Cuman kurgan stelae.
  • The Cumans are the only civilization who can build an extra Town Center, Siege Workshops and Battering Rams from the Feudal Age as well the only one with Capped Ram available in the Castle Age. Also, they are the only civilization with access to Camel Riders who cannot upgrade them into Heavy Camel Riders. In addition, they are the only civilization in the franchise outside of the Atlanteans of Age of Mythology: The Titans and the Portuguese of Age of Empires III that can build an additional Town Center one age earlier.
  • The Cumans, along with the Goths, are the only civilizations who cannot build Stone Walls. Also, they, along with the Dravidians and Malians, are the only civilizations that have access to Siege Onagers, but lack Siege Engineers.
  • Islamic historians mentioned a people named Qun, who were forced out of their East Asian homeland by the Mongolic-speaking Qay, who in turn had been expelled by their Khitan cousins. The Qun were possibly precursors to the Cumans (as Magyars recorded the Cumans' ethnonym as Kun).
  • The Cumans' Wonder (Sarkel Fortress) was historically built by the Khazars, another Turkic people. As the Wonder appears ruined in-game, just like the Huns' wonder (the ruined Arc of Constantine), this signifies that in-game Cumans merely capture Persianate Central Asian buildings to dwell, just as the Huns dwell in captured Central European buildings.
    • Indeed, Cuman-Kipchaks historically reached Khwarazm, a region rich in Turco-Persian cultural tradition.
  • Some Cuman AI players are named after Khazar and Pecheneg rulers, possibly showing that the Cumans represent not only the Cuman-Kipchak confederation/Cumania, but also other Turkic peoples who historically occupied the Pontic-Caspian steppe.
  • Due to sharing the same architecture style as the Tatars, the Cumans' Monastery is designed after a mosque. Early in their history, Khazars, Pechenegs, and Cumans-Kipchaks were not Muslims, but Tengri-worshipping pagans. Only later would those peoples convert to Abrahamic religions. As a result, Khazar, Pecheneg, and Cuman-Kipchak societies were religiously pluralistic. Later on, Cumans would be completely assimilated into other ethnicities (Magyars, Bulgarians, Slavs, Kipchaks, Tatars, Arabs, etc.); thus, the Cumans' descendants practice Christianity as well as Islam.
    • This is a quirk they shared with the Byzantines and the Ethiopians, who were Christians with mosques for their Monasteries due to sharing their architecture style with Muslim civilizations. That said, the Byzantines' architecture style was changed in the Definitive Edition to the Mediterranean style to better reflect their historical religion.
  • In early beta versions, Cumans were able to build more than one Town Center in the Feudal Age and there was not increased construction time, which meant that were built much faster, the cavalry speed bonus applied since the start of the game, and their Castle Age unique technology, Steppe Husbandry, only affected the Scout Cavalry line, they also lacked entirely Camel Riders. Also, they had Cannon Galleons, Stone Walls, and Fortified Walls.
  • Together with the Aztecs, their Imperial Age Siege Workshop unit line starts with the letter "S" (Siege Onager, Siege Ram, Scorpion, Siege Tower)
  • The Cumans' strong focus on cavalry units and weak defenses can be compared to the Lakota in Age of Empires III: The WarChiefs.
    • The Cumans are also considered to be similar to the Huns, as both civilizations are cavalry-focused civilizations that encourage early game rushing and aggression while having lackluster defenses. Both civilizations also have economic bonuses that are considered to be double-edged swords and are only utilized to encourage a rush strategy (in the case of the Cumans, their ability to build a second Town Center in the Feudal Age was originally designed to help with their military unit production for their rushes, which was further emphasized with a new civilization bonus of cheaper Stables and Archery Ranges when Dawn of the Dukes was released). Both civilizations lack gunpowder units and have a terrible late-game navy.
  • Cumans, like most nomadic tribes, were filled with light cavalry. In the game, they have access to Paladins. A possible reason is that when they migrated to various eastern European countries (such as Hungary, Wallachia, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Kievan Rus) and the kingdom of Georgia, they integrated into the culture they settled in, which many of those kingdoms utilized heavy cavalry.
  • Like the Burmese in the HD Edition, the Cumans were also the most powerful civilization in land maps when it was released. Their Steppe Lancer moved faster with their civilization bonus, and they also got Husbandry, making it easier to chase enemies. Their unique unit also fired faster and had better hitpoints, and building a new Town Center was faster. The Feudal Age rams also had trample damage. This, combined with the much stronger Steppe Lancer at release, made them a very criticized civilization in terms of balance and widely avoided in most match ups. Ironically, the Cumans are now the one of the civilizations with the lowest win–rates. Possibly lacking any defense for the double Town Center, thus would bear a lot from Fast Castle tactic, but still being a top pick for closed maps due to their booming capabilities. In order to have protection for the double Town Center tactic, they were given cheaper Archery Ranges and Stables in an update, which will serve to save wood for the new Town Center while creating military units to defend this expansion. The accompanying buff to the Steppe Lancer in the update have made them more appealing for Cumans.
    • The bonus movement speed for lightly armored cavalry is more appropriate for the Mongols. Modern historians remark that the 13th century Mongol army traveled up to 100 miles a day, outperforming any contemporary army, including the Cuman-Kipchak confederations.
    • One could however see the bonus movement speed as justifiable in light of the Cuman campaign, which involves them successfully escaping the Mongols.
  • The Cumans have both the worst defensive structures and worst navy, forcing them to be aggressive, and they should not be picked in water maps.
  • The Cumans, Burgundians, and Bohemians are the only civilizations which have access to a generic unit earlier than any other civilization (Battering/Capped Ram, Cavalier, and Hand Cannoneer, respectively).
    • Coincidently, the reason for the first two civilizations' low win-rate are their early use of buildings and technologies, which will cause a time that later to be upgrade to the next age, thus easily being punished by fast Castle tactic. The latter already have a concrete answer to solve the problem, thanks to their half food cost for their economic technologies.

History[]

The Cumans are Turkic nomads whose origins can be traced to the east of the Yellow River. After being pushed out of their homeland by the warring Khitan tribes, they migrated westwards during the tenth century. The Cumans eventually reached the Kazakh steppes, where they allied themselves with another Turkic tribe, the Kipchaks. The two groups quickly merged into one and together they came to dominate the vast territory between present-day Bulgaria and Kazakhstan in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.

Rather than an empire with a strong central government, the Cuman-Kipchak confederacy was a loose union of independent tribes that exerted power based on kinship and military strength. The latter mainly consisted of light cavalry archers and heavily armored lancers, but mangonels and ballistas were also regularly employed. The Cumans launched several campaigns into Kievan Russia, the Balkans, and the Khwarazmian Empire. Most famously, chieftain Boniak (r. c. 1091-1107) aided the Byzantine emperor in repelling a Pecheneg invasion at Levounion, raided several monasteries near Kiev, and defeated the Hungarian king Coloman, all within a few years. However, the Cumans also used more diplomatic tactics, such as marriage and military service, to expand their influence in the surrounding states. Chieftain Seyhan, for example, married his daughter Elizabeth to king Stephen V of Hungary. In Bulgaria, the assistance of Cuman cavalry was essential to the success of the revolt against the Byzantines in 1185. Consequently, some Cuman leaders were ennobled when the Second Bulgarian Empire (1186-1396) was established.

Although the Cumans assimilated elements from the many civilizations that they encountered, the Cuman-Kipchak culture remained true to its nomadic lifestyle for a long time. Their economy was based on animal husbandry and trade. Only a minority engaged in semi-sedentary activities such as blacksmithing or leatherworking. Society was structured around the family. Together with related families, they lived and moved as a clan. The Cumans worshipped their ancestral spirits through stone or wooden anthropomorphic statues, called Balbals. As practitioners of shamanism, they also believed in animal spirits. The dog and wolf in particular were seen as sacred. Chieftain Boniak, for instance, determined that the conditions were favorable to fight the Hungarian king by howling with the wolves the night before the battle.

In the early thirteenth century, Mongolian and Tatar armies conquered the Cuman-Kipchak confederacy. Khan Kotyan tried to muster resistance by allying with the Rus’, but suffered a major defeat at the Kalka River in 1223. Many Cumans subsequently fled to the neighbouring states, where they gradually assimilated into the local populations. Others were, however, captured and sold as slaves. The Sultan of Egypt, al-Sahil Ayyubi (r. 1240-1249), bought many Cuman-Kipchaks and enrolled them as Mamluks, highly trained slave warriors. By 1250, the Mamluks had used their military strength to seize power in Egypt, thus establishing the Mamluk Sultanate (1250-1517). For over a century, the sultan of this powerful empire would be of Cuman-Kipchak origins.

Gallery[]

Notes and references[]

  1. https://www.forgottenempires.net/age-of-empires-ii-definitive-edition/civilizations/cumans
  2. For any additional Town Centers built in the Feudal Age, the construction time is increased by 80% (2:30 → 4:30 minutes for a single Villager construction time); this includes the situation where the player has lost their starting Town Center. The debuff is removed instantly upon reaching the Castle Age, even for a Town Center whose foundation was laid in the Feudal Age.
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Civilizations in Age of Empires II
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East AsianChinese · Japanese · Mongols
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Central EuropeanGoths · Teutons · Vikings
Western EuropeanBritons · Celts · Franks
MediterraneanByzantines
AoE2-DLCicon-1.png The Conquerors
Native AmericanAztecs · Mayans
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AoE2-DLCicon-2.png The Forgotten
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AfricanEthiopians · Malians
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East AsianVietnamese
Southeast AsianBurmese · Khmer · Malay
AoE2-DLCicon-5.png The Last Khans (Definitive Edition)
Eastern EuropeanBulgarians · Lithuanians
Central AsianCumans · Tatars
AoE2Icon-LordsWest.png Lords of the West
Western EuropeanBurgundians
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Eastern EuropeanBohemians · Poles
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South AsianBengalis · Dravidians · Gurjaras
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