How many military units should I build?

The Mighty Quinn

Dec 17, 2023
Obviously this is very dependent on context, but say I'm going for some non-domination victory, have 10-12 cities and aren't planning to attack anyone. About how many units should I have to be able to deter the AIs from attacking me? How concerned should I be about keeping my units relatively up to date? I've been aiming for about one unit per city, not more than a couple eras out of date, but I feel like I'm using too much production and gold on that and not being able to focus on my wincon.
Not a hard rule, but generally I try to keep my military strength to at least 1/3 or 1/2 of the military strength of any worrisome neighbor. I do think it is important to have at least one up-to-date unit, so your city defense strength is adequate. I got surprise DOWed once in a Deity game by Shaka and had to spend almost 1000 gold just to purchase a contemporary unit as I had let my city defense lag pitiably.
I don't look at the military strength statistics (probably should take a look now and then) and sometime manage do deter the with little more than one unit per city, mostly to keep barbs away and destroy their camps.I always strive to keep my units as modernized as might get though during the oil era, but as soon as I hit aluminium deposits I build some advanced bombers to compensate.
In SP, just enough to ward off a potential threat so you don't need to go into panic mode if a surprise declaration occurs. That's not much tbh. Aside from that, military units that satisfy eurekas and barb clearing duty is the main role in non dom games.
At least one 'up to date' ranged unit (archers) one inside the city, the other inside border encampment
depend on AI. it is recommended however to post additional anticavalry footmen there (also needed to be 'up to date')

If your city or district is at seashore hex. you need to station a siege unit inside the city instead since it generally has stronger attack against enemy ships of any kind. while it takes several turns to sink a barb galley or quadrireme with an archer. it takes less turns to do so. (and invaders (barbs) tend to be naval units) with a catapult.
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