Here is my second entry, this time on Militia. Comments, reviews, help is much appreciated. MILITIA Milita is the most basic military unit. Like Settlers they are available since 4000 BC. They will be around for some time until they become obsolete by the discovery of Gunpowder. The value of Militia: The great thing about Militia is their cheapness. This means they are very quick to build even if you don’t want or cannot spend money. In the first few turns of the game, your civilization is especially vulnerable. There can be enemy units close to your territory or barbarians may appear without warning (as stated in one of the “Civilization notes” you receive when playing “Chieftain” level of difficulty). That’s why it is wise to build at least a few Militia units. Although quite weak they are still better than nothing. Furthermore, they are one of the best units to explore the unknown surroundings since they are not that valuable. When exploration goes wrong (eg. You enter a hut occupied by barbarians) it’s certainly preferable to lose one Militia unit than other more expensive units like Settlers or Cavalry. Militia units are easy to replace. The problem with Militia: 1. Militia units are useless to attack (they will most likely be destroyed even when attacking weak opponents with the possible exception of barbarian leaders). 2. Militia units require veteran status to be effective in defending against weak opponents (even veteran they will hardly defeat a unit better than a Legion or a Chariot). In the beginning (first millennia or so), however, it’s unlikely that your cities are already equipped with Barracks, so your best chance to get a veteran Militia unit is to be lucky enough to witness it winning a battle. When to build Militia? You should build a Militia unit in your first city as soon as possible. Even if your civilization has the knowledge of Bronze Working which allows you to build the superior Phalanx unit, it’s wiser to build Militia first and only after that you should build a Phalanx unit. Militia is quite fast to build (if you have a good starting city, 5 turns should be enough to complete a Militia unit) and then can be used to explore the surroundings while the Phalanx is being built. Militia are often used to gain time when a city is being attacked either by barbarians or other civilizations. A single Militia may represent one extra turn vital for units from another city to come in aid of the attacked city. And this is true even if the Militia loses combat because most early threats come in the form of units with only one movement point (meaning they can only attack once per turn). Depending on your initial location, sooner or later (the sooner the better) you should dispose of 2 to 4 units committed to explore. For example, if it becomes apparent that your first city lies to the West of the country, it’s a good idea to use one unit to explore the North, another to explore the East and a third one to explore the South. So, many times Militia units are the real pioneers (not Settlers) – they will find possible locations for future cities and then should be followed by Settlers who will found new cities. As a general principle, you should balance the building of units to explore with the building of units to protect cities (Phalanx units and Legions/Chariots/Catapults as soon as they become available) and also with the founding of new cities on locations revealed by exploration of the unknown territory. As soon as the entire continent is fully explored and you are able to build superior military units like those mentioned above, there is no need to keep building Militia units. One exception might be right after founding a new city especially if that city is low on industrial production (it can be dangerous waiting 10 turns before completing a Phalanx unit for defending the city) and is not connected by road with other cities. Remember it’s better to have a Militia defending a city than nothing at all. As all other units, Militia can also be assigned to a new city (which can be helpful if the unit is a burden to the city), moved using the go to command, disbanded, wait (for orders), (put on) sentry, or given no orders at all. Priorities in the use of Militia: 1. Explore – unless in an emergency, Militia should be sent out there to reveal the world starting from the periphery of the city. 2. Enter huts – Since they are the cheapest they are also the best units to lose when… surprise: Those huts are full of barbarians! 3. Make contact – When they are of little use in your homeland, Militia can continue exploring other continents and eventually they will make contact with other civilizations. 4. Defend city – each city should have its own defence units and not rely too much on help from other cities. However it’s not advisable to use just a Militia unit to defend a city. Combine it with other units like Phalanx and Catapult to effectively defend the city. 5. Pillage – You could use your remaining Militia to pillage enemy territory leaving the combat for superior units. Since they are easy to be defeated and pillaging may take several turns, they are best used to pillage where the terrain maximises their defence value, like Hills and Mountains if there are mines on it. 6. Attack enemy units – Avoid this unless you can attack a barbarian leader in order to promote your Militia to veteran (and to earn the reward for his capture, of course). 7. Attack enemy cities – Do this only when there is no unit to protect the city. Otherwise, leave it to better units. Note: Surprisingly, capturing or destroying an unguarded city does not mean a declaration of war to the civilization it belonged. It seems the game requires a unit to be attacked to regard your move as an act of war. So, whenever you find an enemy city unguarded don’t hesitate even if you intend to stay at peace, especially if that particular city is in your natural vital territory or is blocking your expansion plans. However, you must be careful because they will do the same to any of your unguarded cities (if any) unless you establish a new peace treaty (in the end, capturing or destroying an unguarded city doesn’t mean war but a kind of a rotten peace). What to do with Militia (when it seems they are no longer needed)? As the game progresses, your cities will be well defended and you may even possess an army to engage war with neighbouring civilizations. Then, you must decide what to do with those Militia units that were so important in the first few turns. Here are some possibilities to consider: 1. Embark the units you no longer need in Triremes to explore any nearby continent or island and eventually to make the first contacts with other civilizations. 2. Check which units are veteran and keep these as an emergency defence for your most important cities. 3. Disband the units if it’s clear they are really useless and if your government is now more advanced than Despotism (because all other types of government require one “shield” for maintenance of each military unit including Settlers). Conclusion: Although quite weak and useless for conducting wars, Militia units are very important during the first millennia. They are probably the best unit to explore – they are not fast but that is compensated by the fact that they are available right from the beginning (requiring no science to be available) and also by the fact that they are quite cheap (quickly built). In fact, they are the cheapest thing in the game (there is no other unit or building you can produce with only 10 shields).