Saturday, March 23, 2013

Through The Ages - Card - Genghis Khan

This is a series of blogs written about each card in Through The Ages.  To find more, simply click on "Cards" label.
The Great Khan: a lousy card
Genghis Khan
Temujin was born in Mongolia around 1155 AD.  At the age of 9 his father was murdered and Temujin returned home to claim his place as tribal leader.  The tribe rejected him and his family was relegated to refugees.  During a hunting expedition he regained his leadership after killing his half brother

His marriage to Borte at 16 provided him alliances with other tribes.  Borte was kidnapped by a the Konkirat tribe, but Temujin rescued her.  Around the age of 20 Temujin himself was captured by former allies and enslaved.  He escaped and began raising an army for revenge.

With 20,000 men he began his revenge by defeating the Tartars, the tribe which had killed his father.  Every male over 3 foot tall was slain.  He then fought his former captors, boiling all the chiefs alive after his victory.  The military conquests of Temujin had begun.  His territory spread West and would eventually consist  of almost all of Asia.  His empire would be the second largest the world has yet seen, with only the British Empire being larger.  Temujin would become known as Genghis Khan.

Genghis Khan revolutionized warfare.  Besides his military genius, he created signal corps to give commands over large distances.  Like Alexander the Great, he truly understood the importance of Supply and Logistics, creating a oxcarts which kept the army moving.  He identified the motivations of his enemies, and skillfully used spies to gather more information.

Genghis Khan was more than a military leader, he was a masterful diplomat.  He formed alliances and new concepts of government.  He formalized laws throughout the Mongol Empire.  He promoted people based on merit instead of lineage, a novel concept at the time.  He promoted religious tolerance, believing faith was a matter of personal conviction not subject to governmental authority.

Genghis Khan is best known for his military conquests, particularly with large cavalry engagements.  However, the Great Khan was a strong statesmen, powerful politician, and promoter of social reforms.
Game Stats
In real life Genghis Khan was a man who demanded respect and fear.  In Through The Ages, he receives very little respect.  He is the least popular leader of them all, and by a fairly wide margin.

Militarily, Genghis is the equivalent
of Light Cavalry
At first, Genghis may seem a great leader.  Increasing the value of every cavalry unit by 1.  However, he ignores the tactics cards.  In short, for every 2 cavalry units, the player's military strength is increased by 2.  This makes him equivalent to the Light Cavalry card.  His ability overrides the Light Cavalry card, so in effect, there is a net military gain of zero!

His secondary ability is to give one culture for each cavalry unit the player has in play.  Unfortunately, cavalry units have a more expensive base military cost than infantry, which makes this ability inferior to a similar leader: Homer.  The statistics for Genghis Khan are skewed since he was only played 11% of the time, with the only significant factor being he is a game losing leader:
With Genghis: +1 strength
Without Genghis: +2 Strength
Why play Genghis?!
Genghis Khan is the weakest leader in the game in my opinion.  First, to use his ability requires the Cavalry technology.  This puts him at the whim of card draws.  Second, he is no better than Light Cavalry tactics, and is inferior to every other tactic!  This makes his only true benefit being the culture gain, which is hardly worth mentioning.

Perhaps a 'fix' to try would be to make Genghis Khan's ability stack with the Tactics cards.  Suddenly, the players could command the "Mongolian Cavalry Horde" which the name of Genghis Khan inspires. This would certainly create a potential surge of age I and Age II military tactics.  As he is now, the Genghis Khan card inspires pity rather than fear.  Avoid this card at all costs.
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