On Horses and their Military Units

Discussion in 'Civ5 - General Discussions' started by AstralVisage, Feb 25, 2013.

  1. AstralVisage

    AstralVisage Chieftain

    Jun 27, 2012
    Hello guys!

    Today I was just pondering the effectiveness of the horse resource and their military units. I do not horse based units as a worthwhile expenditure of my gold per turn or production per turn.

    I often make the Horse Chariot in the beginning, due to the fact that they are stronger archers than can move forward four spaces. Now we get to Horseman. I never seem to build these because the AI has lots of Spearmen around this time. I myself go for the early techs that allow for luxury resource exploitation, then for Social Service. By the time I have an army of Pikeman and Crossbowmen and can upgrade the Pikeman I disband them and buy and build Musketmen. I've never really fooled around with Cavalry or Helicopters because they never felt worth it to me.

    What do you guys have to say? Are horses just there to trade to the AI, or is there something that I am missing about Horse-based and Cavalry units?

  2. Eagle Pursuit

    Eagle Pursuit Scir-Gerefa

    Aug 12, 2010
    I also don't build many horse units. I might build a few Chariot Archers at the beginning if I have open spaces. It acts as a mobile composite bowman. After that though, I don't build any unless they are UUs or I want to reconnoiter a new landmass.

    I don't feel that Lancers deserve the reputation that they have. They may not be able to go toe-to-toe in the main battle as if they are true successors to Pikemen. Instead they fulfill a different role. They are the skirmishers, the scouts, the raiders, the guys who hunt down wounded units and finish them. People just hate them because the upgrade line changes roles and changes the order of battle in the renaissance.
  3. Wir0s

    Wir0s Chieftain

    Jan 26, 2011
    not my favourite unit, but useful to "finish" damaged enemies, for me, its a "Blitzkrieg" unit: "hit & run"
  4. joncnunn

    joncnunn Senior Java Wizard Moderator

    Mar 17, 2008
    Lancers: The main problem is that they both require Horses (competing with Knights/Calvary) and its on an upgrade path to units requiring Aluminum. (competing with modern armor, jet fighters, and more)
  5. Matthew.

    Matthew. Deity

    Sep 14, 2011
    Maps/fighting area too small to make good use of them, IMO. Sometimes I will spam cavalry in domination games. Their movement on roads helps get them across the map to the font line quickly, and I find their overall usefulness begins to overtake regular infantry. Pace of combat picks up (air/artillery bombardment is constantly dropping city health) and it is easier/faster to just pillage and keep moving--no need to ever fortify.
  6. Shadow717

    Shadow717 Warlord

    May 14, 2010
    I quite like mounted units actually, I like the speed they provide. Especially cossacks. And tanks that were upgraded from cossacks and also have the charge prmotion? That's what, +75% strength vs. wounded? Just use fighters or bombers to hit targets and then finish them with super cossack tanks!

    Lol-pillaging Sipahi or celt pict-lancers are also worth a good laugh
  7. Jelster

    Jelster Prince

    Aug 22, 2012
    I tend to use knights & Cavalry extensively. In fact I often have more horse based units than normal melee units.

    The upgrade path to Landship/Taank an important part of my military strategy. In fact I hardly ever have infantry these days, artillery and tanks do the business for me.
  8. Xahz

    Xahz Chieftain

    Jan 28, 2013
    I would use Knights and Cavalry but the AI just spams pikes, even well into Renaissance. This included barbs and city-states as well.
  9. Dogmouth

    Dogmouth King

    Mar 19, 2012
    I use them all the time for domination, which is my preferred victory type. They're actually quite good for city capturing despite their city attack mallus because they can attack from outside of the city's ranged radius (all melee horseman have no problem capturing cities that are fully wittled down by archers/siege). They are also useful for pre-capture farm pillaging. You can combine the two functions by pillaging the next city's farms after siezing the first city. This allows you to heal, pillage, and prepare for the next capture without losing a step (melee units are much slower, which makes a melee based domination more logistically challenging, particularly given 1upt).

    Horses are also absolutely invaluable for setting up flanking and the +15% honor bonus. Move them in for the flank & adjacent bonus, then move them out when you need a flanker elsewhere.

    Finally, they're a key component of any pillaging strategy, including strategic resource pillaging. Before I attack a sword-heavy or horse-heavy opponent, I always scout out their strategic resources and make a point to pillage those resources in turn 1 or 2 of the war. The lack of strategic resource malus is absolutely crippling.
  10. Freezer-TPF-

    Freezer-TPF- Chieftain

    Feb 17, 2008
    Horses also make good spotters when your artillery does not have LoS to an enemy city. The mounted unit can slip in to provide visibility then retreat out of the city's firing radius.
  11. CivIVNoob

    CivIVNoob Chieftain

    Mar 2, 2011
    Is there a change to the strength of the horse unit if you lose your horse resource?
  12. atreas

    atreas King

    Jan 10, 2006
    If something hasn't change from vanilla, you lose a percentage of the strength (50% if my memory doesn't fail me).


    Now, in the original question, from my experience due to having played a lot with a civ that has a horse UU (Greece). In vanilla it was simply death, coming from miles away and killing an archer with one shot (for example). I believe you could say similar things for other horse UU, although here it definitely applies the famous "the sooner the better" (spearmen could simply do nothing). That's why they nerfed somehow the strength in GnK (correctly IMO), but most importantly they changed the tech hierarchy to slow down acquisition, in order for AI to get pikemen (at least, in higher levels).

    Apart from the uses described already, horse UU or even simple horsemen have another method of use: you park lots of them in front line, just in front of the city; one of them gets shot by the city and possibly the archer inside it, but the rest have the ability to "hit and run away", acting as extra siege but without you suffering unit losses. Then archers/siege do their job and melee finishes the rest.

    Historically, the first editions of civ suffered from the "overpowered mounted unit syndrom", as is well known than you could conquer the world with just a war chariot upgraded later to knight and cavalry. They are very careful in trying to avoid that, and certainly you can't say that in GnK the mounted units are OP. But still, if you catch the opponents with even slightly outdated tech or without pikes, they are lethal with some UU.
  13. Unresolved

    Unresolved King

    Dec 22, 2012
    I consider the horse units to be the best 'melee' units in the mid-game. Early game, spearmen/pikemen are the best with one horse to capture cities. In the middle of the game, Calvary are fantastic in conjunction with either artillery or bombers. I never make units from the warrior line because I find them outclassed in every section of the game.
  14. Galgus

    Galgus Emperor

    Aug 22, 2012
    I make use of them sometimes, but it seems a bit too easy to forgo swordsmen for spearmen for them to be incredibly useful.
  15. mintcandy

    mintcandy King

    Apr 10, 2012
    I'm glad someone finally mentioned flanking bonuses.

    To answer the original question, it depends on which version of Civ V we are talking about.

    In Gods and Kings, I understand that pillaging is far more advantageous than it was in Vanilla, a task ideally suited to high mobility units like horse centric units.

    Also, all mounted units in Gods and Kings have 4 movement points, whereas there were some mounted units in Vanilla that had 3 (I'm looking at you, Knights and Cavalry). 1 more point of movement might not seem like much, but for units that depend on movement more than attack strength, it made them that much more useful.

    Heck, I would love it if Brave New World gave an additional movement point to mounted units.
  16. bcaiko

    bcaiko Emperor

    May 9, 2011
    Washington, DC
    Given thier massive negatives - penalty versus cities, no terrain bonuses (what?), and a penalty when fighting the spears line - I find them to be useless pound per pound versus their unit peers.

    Even what should be their greatest weapon, their speed, is hampered by the fact that they don't ignore rough terrain or zone of control. Horses only have a chance of being good on flat terrain (good luck on standard finding a wholy flat area near a city), and even then I'd rather have a Samurai that can stand up to being attacked and get the Seige promotion.

    I understand that under certain situations, mounted units can be advantageous. But they cost a resource, darnit, and resourced units should be at least slightly better than their non-resourced counterparts. I would rather have a unit I can rely on than a situational, costly, resourced mounted unit.

    But they need more speed. 3 movement in the early game is not really any different than 2. If a mounted unit moves to attack a unit in rough terrain, they're stuck where they are. And with no terrain bonuses, you might have well just have thrown your money into the sea.

    Mounted units at least deserve a promotion that allows them to increase their movement.

    Yeah, me too. Even if I still don't use them most, I like it when most units can be effective most of the time.
  17. pilot00

    pilot00 King

    May 21, 2013
    I always build mounted units when horses are available and I want to go into an offensive.

    I depend on their movement mostly though not their attack prowess so to speak.

    I use them as outriders to finish off weekend/ready to die enemy units and as screen for my ranged units.
    Another use as city captors, since their improved movement ensures they can get into the city when a melee unit might stall.
    Also as spotters for my artillery.

    Their final use comes when they are fully promoted though and the time comes for them to become tanks. Oh the epicness!

    SYKOJAK Warlord

    Jul 1, 2009
    Lockport, NY
    I am one for combined arms forces. So I will most certainly use horse units. Even more so if the civ that I am currently play in has an UU horse unit.

    For all the reasons listed above are all valid reasons to use horse-based units. But I have seem to notice a sort of
    rock-paper-scissors to the game, in which, mounted units beat range units, range beat melee, and melee beat
    mounted units. Its not exact but depending on which promotions units take, its pretty close.

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