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?
Historically, the Cumans (also known as Polovtsians) were a nomadic Turkic people who, at the height of their history, inhabited the areas between the Black Sea and the Volga River, formed a confederation with the Kipchaks and influenced the politics of neighboring states such as Kievan Rus', the Pechenegs, the Byzantine Empire, etc. This lasted until the mid-13th century, as they became scattered due to the Mongols' onslaught.
The Cuman warriors were skilled horsemen who usually fought as light cavalry armed with bow and other weapons. To reflect this, the Cumans can research the Steppe Husbandry unique technology to boost their Scout Cavalry, Steppe Lancer, and Cavalry Archer production speed. In addition, the Cumans are also able to train the Kipchak unique unit, which is similar to a cavalry archer, but capable of shooting multiple arrows at once.
Because the Cumans were nomadic people who spent from childhood onward on horseback, they possessed excellent mobility and were able to migrate to another land quickly once the situation in their current land became disadvantageous. To reflect this, the Cumans' cavalry move faster than most other civilizations' cavalry.
Prior to the rise of the Mongol Empire, the Cumans inhabited a vast area in Eurasia known as Cumania. Where they settled, they often constructed forts for defense, and to reflect this, the Cumans have a team bonus allowing their team to construct Palisade Walls with higher HP.
When Cumania was finally conquered by the Mongols, the remaining Cuman people migrated to the west (to Eastern Europe) and built new settlements there. To reflect their ability to quickly establish themselves in the new land, the Cumans are able to build an additional Town Center in the Feudal Age. The Cuman warriors often lent their service to various foreign rulers in Europe and this is reflected by their Cuman Mercenaries unique technology, where Cumans' allies can train 10 Elite Kipchaks for free.
Although Cumans were famous for their fighting ability on open fields, they were also quite capable of laying siege to heavily fortified sites, such as Pereiaslav and Thessaloniki. To reflect this, the Cumans are able to build Siege Workshops and Battering Rams in the Feudal Age and to research the Capped Ram upgrade in the Castle Age.
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 doesn't have access to the Heavy Camel Rider.
Cuman units speak the Cuman 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 (?).
Task 4Bir ančä itärmen – I shall do it at once (literally - "during one moment")
BuildQururmen – I shall build
ChopAǧаč kesärmen – I shall cut a tree
FarmČöplärmen – I shall gather
FishBaluqlarmen – I shall fish
ForageČöplärmen – I shall gather
HuntAvlarmen – I shall hunt
MineMadїm ačarmen – I shall open a mine
RepairTüzätirmen – I shall repair
Select 1Evet? – Yes?
Select 2Qulluq itärmen – I shall serve (literally - "I shall do service")
Select 3Buyruǧuŋuz? – Your order?
Move 1Aŋladum – I understood
Move 2Barurmen – I shall go
Move 3Maǧat, 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 1Sančїška! – To war!
Attack 2Suvašurbiz – We shall fight
Attack 3Saǧïtlanїn! – To arms! (literally - "Arm yourselves!")
Select 4Teŋri 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's Christian prayers and texts in the meaning of God)
Select 3Ne üčün bašїmnї aǧrïtïrsïz? – Why do you bother me? (Literally - "Why do you make my head ache?")
Select 4Keldim – I came
Move 1Qolqaŋїznї itärmen – I shall comply with your request (literally - "I shall do your request")
Move 2Küčüm birle(?) – With effort/Hardly (literally - "With my (full) strength")
Move 3Nečik 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)
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 Editionto 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 wasn't 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)
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 Hungary, their culture was mixed with them, who 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 approrpiate 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.
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.
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.
↑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.