|Req. Town Buildings||
|# of figures||6|
|Melee Attack per figure||3|
|Defense per figure||2|
|Hit Points per figure||1|
Swordsmen is the name of a Normal Unit Archetype. It is a template defining the baseline attributes and abilities of 14 Normal Units, all of which are called "Swordsmen". Each of these units is a variant of the basic Swordsmen archetype, and is produced by a different Race. The archetype is discussed in this article, and each variant has its own, separate page.
Swordsmen are a little more expensive than Spearmen, but also appropriately more useful. They have a respectable Melee Attack score for a low-tier Normal Unit, and are somewhat durable against weak enemy Ranged Attacks and some Special Attacks. Swordsmen will likely form the backbone of most early armies, and will continue to do so until better units can be produced to replace them. Experienced Swordsmen can sometimes remain useful well into the mid-game.
The most "majestic" of all weapons is the Longsword - a long metal blade with one or two sharp edges, which is held in one hand and used as either a slashing or stabbing weapon. It is light and comfortable, freeing the user's left hand to carry a shield - thus providing some additional protection. Good swords are expensive and more complicated to create than other, simpler melee weapons (such as a Spear or an Axe), but not so much that they cannot be produced on a massive scale.
Swordsmen are often seen as the core of an army, with tactics revolving around their use. They tend to advance straight towards the enemy, and strive to make contact as soon as possible. Within close proximity, the sword is superior to most melee weapons. Furthermore, the shields that these units carry will help them reach melee combat without being slain along the way by enemy projectiles.
Baseline Properties Edit
The following section describe only the "baseline" properties of the Swordsmen archetype. Most of the actual units produced will have innate racial bonuses that deviate from this baseline template. Read the section on racial variants below for more information.
Attributes and Abilities Edit
Nearly every empire starts the game with one unit of Swordsmen (Dwarven empires start with 2 such units), and won't take long to begin producing more of them. A town requires only a Barracks and a Smithy for Swordsmen production, and both structures are very cheap and can generally be built immediately. Swordsmen are quite cheap, costing only 20 per unit and having an Upkeep Cost of only 1 and 1 per turn. Until such time that Halberdiers or other superior troops become available, Swordsmen will likely be produced in fairly large numbers.
Swordsmen possess only a Melee Attack, but its strength is a respectable 3 per figure. Each figure can be expected to deliver about 0.9 points of Damage with this attack - enough to pierce most Normal Units' armor. With all 6 figures attacking in unison, this can cause serious damage to enemy Normal Units - but is not strong enough to hurt heavily-armored opponents.
Swordsmen have a Defense score of only 2, but this is automatically increased by +2 for purposes of fending off enemy Ranged Attacks (of any type), Thrown Attacks and Breath Attacks, thanks to the Swordsmen's Large Shield ability. It is also similarly increased when blocking enemy direct-damage spells. Swordsmen possess only a basic 4 Resistance, making them an easy target for harmful enemy Curses and other ill effects.
Basic Tactics Edit
Swordsmen are generally useful for striking enemy Normal Units. Their attack can pierce light armor rather easily, especially when the Swordsmen unit still contains all of its 6 figures. As the unit loses figures during combat, it becomes much less effective.
Swordsmen will generally have an easier time than other units when advancing towards the enemy formation. This is thanks to their Large Shield, which protects them fairly well against enemy Ranged Attackers pelting them with arrows or magical bolts as they advance. Swordsmen strive to make contact with the main enemy force, but a large group of them can sometimes manage to maneuver around the enemy's Melee Attackers and go straight for the weaker units in the rear.
Swordsmen will do well to gang up on enemy units. With several Swordsmen attacking in unison, even enemy high-tier Normal Units or low-tier Fantastic Units may be at risk from this coordinated assault. In one-on-one combat, Swordsmen can be expected to defeat enemy Spearmen, Bowmen and even Shamans pretty much every time. They may even best enemy Cavalry from time to time, as long as the Cavalry is not allowed to use its First Strike.
For best results, support your Swordsmen with other types of units, such as Bowmen, Cavalry and so forth. A mix of forces can assist Swordsmen in various ways, making for an easier victory with fewer casualties. Nonetheless, a large force comprised entirely of Swordsmen can be quite dangerous during the very-early stages of the game.
Gradually, Swordsmen will be replaced with the stronger Halberdiers or other, better Normal Units. If the empire's economy is strong, the obsolete Swordsmen can be relegated to garrison duties, protecting towns and reducing Unrest. Spearmen are often better for this role thanks to a lower Upkeep Cost, but Swordsmen will do at least until they can be replaced.
Each of the 14 Races has access to its own Swordsmen unit. Each Race produces a different type of Swordsmen unit, which not only looks different but may also have different properties compared to the "baseline" template described above.
List of Variants Edit
|Barbarian Swordsmen||30||1||6||1||3||1||2||5||1||Large Shield|
|Beastmen Swordsmen||40||1||6||1||4||2||5||2||Large Shield|
|Dark Elf Swordsmen||50||1||6||1||3||1||2||7||1||Ranged Attack x4, Large Shield|
|Draconian Swordsmen||50||1||6||2||3||1||3||6||1||Large Shield|
|Dwarf Swordsmen||50||1||6||1||3||2||8||3||Mountaineer, Large Shield|
|Gnoll Swordsmen||20||1||6||1||5||2||4||1||Large Shield|
|Halfling Swordsmen||30||1||8||1||2||2||6||1||Lucky, Large Shield|
|High Elf Swordsmen||30||1||6||1||3||2||6||1||+10%, Forester, Large Shield|
|High Men Swordsmen||20||1||6||1||3||2||4||1||Large Shield|
|Klackon Swordsmen||40||1||6||1||3||4||5||1||Large Shield|
|Lizardmen Swordsmen||20||1||6||1||3||3||4||2||Large Shield|
|Nomad Swordsmen||20||1||6||1||3||2||4||1||Large Shield|
|Orc Swordsmen||20||1||6||1||3||2||4||1||Large Shield|
|Troll Swordsmen||60||1||4||1||5||2||7||4||Large Shield, Regeneration|
- Barbarian Swordsmen possess a Thrown Attack of strength 1 per each figure, which improves alongside their Melee Attack. This somewhat increases their average damage output, but only when making voluntary attacks against enemy targets (i.e. not when Counter Attacking). Thus, as long as Barbarian Swordsmen keep the initiative, they can punch above their weight and are dangerous to most low-tier and some mid-tier Normal Units. The Thrown Attack allows this unit to initiate attacks against flying units.
- Furthermore, Barbarian Swordsmen have a slightly elevated Resistance score, though this does not provide much protection from harmful effects.
- Barbarian Swordsmen cost 50% more to produce than the "baseline" Swordsmen. This is a little inconvenient, but should not prevent them from being produced in large numbers, and is well-worth the unit's advantages.
- Gnoll Swordsmen are physically stronger than other Swordsmen, possessing a Melee Attack strength of 5. This essentially makes them stronger than most enemy Swordsmen, in terms of offensive strength. Gnoll Swordsmen are still somewhat fragile, but can be directly compared to baseline Halberdiers in terms of combat usefulness - and at no extra cost. Gnoll Swordsmen are also much more useful against heavily-armored targets as a result of this improved attack strength.
- Halfling Swordsmen have several racial advantages and disadvantages that affect their Melee Attack, but ultimately they are no stronger or weaker than other Swordsmen on the attack.
- On the upside, Halfling Swordsmen possess the racial Halfling ability called Lucky, which confers a +10% To Hit bonus to their Melee Attack, delivering a little bit of extra damage as a result - particularly as the unit gains more Experience. Furthermore, the unit contains 8 figures by default, giving an increase of about 33% to their overall damage output - at least when the unit is at full numbers.
- On the other hand, Halfling Swordsmen have a reduced Melee Attack strength of only 2, which means that individually each Swordsman is weaker. This more than nullifies the bonus from both Lucky and the increased number of figures.
- Nonetheless, with further Experience, Halfling Swordsmen should eventually benefit from all this, giving a slightly stronger attack than other Swordsmen of a similar Experience Level.
- Lucky also bestows a +10% To Block bonus, which will help protect Halfling Swordsmen from physical damage, and a +1 Resistance bonus (on top of an innate racial +2) which will greatly help prevent enemy magic from taking effect on these Swordsmen. With 8 Figures in the unit, the Halfling Swordsmen are also significantly harder to destroy, even with powerful attacks.
- Halfling Swordsmen are 50% more expensive to produce than the "baseline" Swordsmen template, which fortunately isn't a big difference. Halfling empires should be able to maintain a large number of Halfling Swordsmen to defend themselves and to quell unrest later in the game.
- High Elf Swordsmen possess a racial +10% To Hit bonus, which allows them to deliver a little more damage with each attack. This makes them more dangerous than the "baseline" Swordsmen template, especially as they gain more Experience Levels.
- Furthermore, High Elf Swordsmen have a higher Resistance score, which protects them somewhat from enemy spells and Special Attacks. They also have the Forester ability, which means that they spend only 1 Movement Point on entering Forest tiles - but this normally has no effect on their overland speed since they only have 1 Movement Point to spend each turn anyway.
- For these advantages, the High Elf Swordsmen cost 50% more than the "baseline" template, but are still rather cheap.
- Identical to baseline template (see above).
- Klackon Swordsmen receive a racial +2 Defense bonus, which makes them very durable against weak attacks. Furthermore, whenever the Large Shield ability kicks in, Klackon Swordsmen are very hard to damage. Thus, they can go up against enemy low-tier Normal Units with little fear, and will generally survive longer in battle. They also have +1 Resistance, which makes them a little bit harder to harm with enemy spells and Special Attacks.
- On the downside, Klackon Swordsmen cost twice as much to produce than the "baseline" Swordsmen, which is still about as much as the common Halberdiers unit - and thus not too expensive. Fortunately, Klackons also have higher Production rates than other races, not enough to completely make up for the increased costs but enough to ensure that Klackon Swordsmen are still abundant.
- Lizardmen Swordsmen are significantly hardier than the "baseline" Swordsmen, with +1 and 2 Hit Points per figure. This allows them to survive much longer during combat, especially when fighting enemy Normal Units and against any attack that triggers their Large Shield bonus.
- As with all other Lizardmen units, Lizardmen Swordsmen are capable of Swimming at a rate of 1 per turn. This enables them to move across Oceans, protecting overseas assets and carrying out wars on other continents. Constructing a large Swordsmen force early on and sending it to attack unsuspecting targets overseas is a common and valid strategy.
- Identical to baseline template (see above).
- Identical to baseline template (see above).
- Beastmen Swordsmen are more dangerous than the "baseline" template, thanks to an innate +1 Melee Attack bonus and 2 Hit Points per figure. In other words, they both inflict more damage with their attacks and will last longer during combat. They also possess +1 Resistance, making them just a little bit harder to affect with enemy spells and Special Attacks.
- Beastmen Swordsmen cost twice as much as the "baseline" Swordsmen. This is a fair price to pay for their augmented capabilities. They should be able to engage enemy Halberdiers on even ground, and may even come out victorious.
- Dark Elf Swordsmen cost 2.5 times more to produce than the "baseline" Swordsmen, though this still only makes them about as expensive as the common Halberdiers, and they are significantly more effective. They make up for the extra cost thanks to the common racial benefit of Dark Elf troops: the ability to make Magical Ranged Attacks.
- Dark Elf Swordsmen can use this attack up to 4 times per battle. This attack has an initial strength of only 1 per Swordsman, but will improve fairly well with Experience. As a Magical Ranged Attack, it does not suffer from distance penalties, and thus can be expended early in the fight before the Dark Elf Swordsmen's advance.
- On top of this, Dark Elf Swordsmen are quite Resistant to enemy spells and various ill effects.
- Draconian Swordsmen have several advantages and very few disadvantages, making them some of the best Swordsmen available. While they will still fall into disuse in the later portions of the game, Draconian Swordsmen are superior early on.
- Draconian Swordsmen are Flying, and have a Movement Allowance of 2. This is a strong advantage both on the battlefield and on the overland map.
- Overland, Draconian Swordsmen can be used as cheap scouts, since Flying gives them a Sight Range of 2. When they do go into combat, Draconian Swordsmen are still Flying, and cannot be attacked by most Melee Attack units at all. They can easily maneuver right up to their intended target - preferably a weak one - and gang up on it to destroy it.
- Flying is also important for Draconian Swordsmen to utilize their Fire Breath attack, which is only executed when they voluntarily make a Melee Attack against an enemy target (not when Counter Attacking). Flying helps the Swordsmen avoid enemy attacks, and only engage voluntarily - thus delivering slightly more than their normal damage.
- Draconian Swordsmen are also better protected from both physical and magical attacks. They possess 3 Defense and 6 Resistance, both slightly better than the "baseline" Swordsmen. Coupled with smart maneuvering on the battlefield, this can keep Draconian Swordsmen fighting a little longer than normal.
- Draconian Swordsmen are expensive compared to "baseline" Swordsmen, costing 2.5 times more to produce. This is still fairly cheap, especially given the advantages described above. If a large army of these can be created early on, it can go off to expand your empire by force quite effectively.
- Dwarf empires begin the game with 2 Dwarf Swordsmen units, since they have no Spearmen units whatsoever. In lieu of Spearmen, Dwarf Swordsmen will form the basis of their armies and garrison forces.
- Fortunately, though 2.5 times more expensive to produce than "baseline" Swordsmen, Dwarf Swordsmen have a lower Upkeep Cost, requiring only 1 per turn to maintain! This makes them as cheap to maintain as the common Spearmen, and allows a Dwarf empire to keep many Dwarf Swordsmen without issue. Dwarf Swordsmen are thus rarely replaced entirely by Halberdiers, as would happen in other empires, and dwarf Towns are better protected by the presence of these strong units (instead of cheap and weak Spearmen as happens in other empires).
- The Dwarf Swordsmen's primary advantage is their high Hit Points per figure, which allows them to stay in good shape even during heavy combat. They aren't stronger than other Swordsmen, but have more time to make repeated attacks and possibly win through sheer attrition. Dwarf Swordsmen also possess a very high Resistance score, which makes them very hard to affect with enemy spells and Special Attacks.
- Dwarf Swordsmen also possess the Mountaineer ability, which should allow them and their entire stack to move quickly through Mountains, Hills and Volcanoes - but this normally has no effect due to their slow default movement speed.
- Troll Swordsmen are both the strongest and most expensive type of Swordsmen in the game. Each Troll Swordsman possesses 4 Hit Points, and has the ability to Regenerate. This not only massively increases their staying power, but also means that the unit may be fully healed or even restored to life after successful combat!
- On top of this, Troll Swordsmen have a much-stronger attack than other Swordsmen, at 5. Unfortunately, to balance this out, the unit contains only 4 figures and so is roughly only about 10% stronger than "baseline" Swordsmen in terms of overall damage output. Nonetheless, a stronger attack is better at piercing enemy armor.
- Finally, Troll Swordsmen also possess a higher Resistance score, which protects them fairly well from enemy spells and Special Attacks.
- For all of these advantages, the Troll Swordsmen unit is 3 times more expensive to produce than the "baseline" Swordsmen, essentially slowing down the rate at which Troll empires can expand early on. Nonetheless, only a few are usually required to begin aggressively expanding, and a large group of Troll Swordsmen can be very hard to stop. Note that Troll Swordsmen also have a higher Upkeep Cost of 2 per turn, requiring the empire to grow rapidly in order to afford more and more of these.
- As Troll Halberdiers become available, production of Troll Swordsmen is normally halted. Troll Spearmen are cheaper and better for defending your towns, and Troll Halberdiers are much stronger on the battlefield. Thus, there is little reason to continue producing Troll Swordsmen later in the game, though existing Troll Swordsmen should still be attached to advancing armies - if only to boost their numbers!