Ivaylo is a campaign in Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition. It is based on the rise and fall of Ivaylo of Bulgaria (Bulgarian: Ивайло, also spelled Ivailo; died 1281). Ivaylo, also known as Bardokva or Lakhanas, was a Bulgarian peasant who became the leader of a peasant uprising in 1277 which ultimately resulted in him becoming the tsar of the Second Bulgarian Empire. During Ivaylo's short reign from 1278 to 1279, he managed to defend Bulgaria from Byzantine and Mongol invasions, but was forced into exile to the Mongols thanks to the treachery of the Bulgarian nobles (bolyars). Unfortunately, the Mongols later assassinated Ivaylo under the orders of Nogai Khan for being an enemy of the Byzantine emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos.
Ivaylo's legacy lives on when Bulgaria was controlled by the Ottoman Empire, where the hajduks are said to be inspired from folk songs and traditional legends about him, and Marxist historians even used Ivaylo as an example of early anti-feudal/bourgeois revolutionary.
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In the game, Ivaylo appears as a melee cavalry hero unit with his own unique sprite and icon. He bears no armor and wields a sword and a small square shield. When killed, Ivaylo rises again as a similarly unique infantry hero, much like the Bulgarian unique unit, the Konnik, turns into a Dismounted Konnik when killed.
"During the Mongol invasions, a pig farmer leads a militia defending the Bulgarian villages. But when his victories attract the attention of the Tsar and his nobles, he is forced to lead a mass uprising. Can a man of such humble origins defy the established order and give his people freedom?"—In-game campaign description
The Ivaylo campaign consists of 5 scenarios. The player plays as the Bulgarians, and the player color is blue.
- A Most Unlikely Man
- An Unlikely Alliance
- Tsar of the Bulgars
- Echoes of Heroes
- Where the One-Eyed Man is King
The campaign is narrated by the exiled Maria Palaiologina, the wife of Konstantin Tikh—the very tsar who was killed by Ivaylo during his uprising—which Ivaylo marries after he becomes the Tsar of Bulgaria, as she told the story to her unnamed daughter from Ivaylo.