- Ignores enemy Zone of Control.
The Courser is the fastest land unit of the Medieval Era, and despite being slightly weaker than a Knight, has slightly lower Production and Gold maintenance costs. It can be a useful unit for players who favor speed over raw strength, or those who want to annoy and impede their enemies rather than conquering their cities.
However, there is more to the story in this pairing that needs to be taken into account than the Cuirassier-Cavalry pairing: the Courser uses Horses instead of Iron. Since both Horses and Iron are not required by any other non-unique units after this point, if the civilization you are playing has a unique unit that utilizes one of these two resources, it is advisable that you choose to focus on Knights or Coursers based on which resources are more available to you without hindering the time window of your unique unit.
Civilopedia entry Edit
At various points in history, different cultures have found a need for a cavalry that was lighter than the fully-armored knight. Some—like the Huns and Mongols—made effective use of the horse archer to fill this role, where other cultures adopted more of a melee approach, or a mix of melee and bow, such as the turcopoles, sipahi, akindji, or the border reivers of Scotland. The term “courser” here refers to such cavalry that emphasize mobility, range, and flexibility, fighting with a mix of melee and ranged weapons, although the term would apply most specifically to the kind of horse they ride.
In general, coursers would operate with some independence from the rest of the army, conducting deep raids into the enemy heartland, with the intention to pillage, plunder, and generally make a nuisance of themselves. They would be equipped with lighter armor than the best-equipped knights, and armed with spears, swords, and occasionally bows.