: I still can’t believe I was captured by the Romans like that…
: If it would make your mind more at ease, we’re going to go through the different unit types rather than battling today…
: Well, so long as it isn’t about Romans.
: Actually, it is.
: The very cheapest units, they’re still vital to your success even in the late-game, as they are effective on rough terrain. Terrain bonuses and maluses are considerably large in Legion Arena, so your light infantry will be kicking heavy infantry ass on rough terrain, and vice versa if you’re foolish enough to lead your heavies into the same situation. They’re restricted on open ground though, and outmatched in stats by the heavies.
: For 25 denarii you can buy the indisputably worst unit in the game. The game says to only use when desperate, but… don’t use it even if you’re desperate.
: The pitchfork is cute, though.
: For 50 denarii you can buy the slightly less useless Militia. Some players apparently swear that it’s awesome because of its experience gain, but because they can barely handle their spear, are barelegged and become routed by a particularly loud fart, these players are clearly playing on Normal.
: Plus, he looks far less cooler than the Gaul/Latin militia.
: Now for something actually useful. The Auxilia can throw a spear and has pretty decent stats of their own. It’s like a low-price heavy infantry, but it isn’t, and that’s what makes it one of the best units in the game. Any Roman army will need a few of these.
: Um, Squirtle… these units are turquoise. Isn’t the default colour red?
: I just like turquoise, OK?
: Dedicated ranged units are a nice complement to your army, softening up and harassing the enemy from behind a meat wall. Keep in mind though that it adds another layer of complexity to your army, because of the dangers of the enemy flanking you. Generally though, it’s worth the hassle, as exemplified by just how annoying enemy skirmishers are. They have only 36 men in a squad, rather than 48.
: Skirmishers… these are the most basic of ranged support. They have fairly limited range and ammo. The latter means you’re going to want the Velites, because it has two more ammo. Note that it is better in combat than the Militia. These guys are the only ones who are plain disadvantaged on open ground, but are good on rough terrain in return. One or two Velites are a good complement to an army. Skirmishers are 100 denari per squad and Velites 200. Note that once they reach level 6, you can buy four more javelins for only 15 denarii.
: Velites, huh… more like Wolfman.
: You know that it’s Latin and isn’t pronounced like “elite”, yes? Also, I can’t believe the wolf head thing is historically accurate.
: The Auxiliary Archers are in a league of their own. They start firing very soon because of their great range, but they might not run out of ammo before the battle is over, since they fire fairly slowly and has a lot in the quivers. They have some strategic value since they can entice the enemy army to move forward if fired at. They are useful, but at 500 denarii you should consider whether you need a unit of heavy infantry or cavalry first – the dangers of flanking are as always present. A not at all obvious quirk is that they are effective in all terrain except dense forest, where they are restricted.
: These units have some of the best stats of the game, and are effective on open ground. Most of them can also fire a javelin or two before contact. This combined with that they are effective on open ground, the most common terrain, and have a full 48 man means they don’t have an obvious counter, and some newbs are inclined to make an army almost fully composed of heavy infantry.
: Don’t judge me!
: Anyway… it’s important to have a balanced army with many diverse unit types. But heavy infantry will probably make up the majority of your units mid to late-game.
: The most basic of heavy infantry are Spearmen. They are arguably worse in combat than Auxilia even though they both cost 300 denarii, but since the early battles feature predominantly light infantry the Spearmen obviously has an edge. They could be useful after the early-game due to their excellent trample avoid, which could make them decent dedicated death of cavalry units.
: The Hastati is more in line with what you’d expect from heavy infantry, with one javelin and stats more powerful than any light infantry. They’re pretty decent all around for their price of 450 denarii. But don’t expect miracles.
: You might notice that the seemingly only difference between Principe and Legionary is the Legionary has a tidbit more armour, and is more expensive: 800 denarii versus 600. For this 200 difference one can equip the Principe with both level 1 and 2 armour, and still have 50 over. Unless the Legionary has access to some sort of late-game equipment, or has cool hidden stats, I don’t understand why Legionary would be preferred over Principe. Anyway, Principe is a solid unit and is well worth the investment.
: Old, battle-hardened men, they have excellent stats, but a hefty price tag of 900 denarii. They don’t throw a javelin, but instead have excellent trample avoidance, suggesting they would be good against cavalry.
: Finally, the very best of the best: the Praetorian. They are in the same style as Hastati, Principe and Legionary, but far superior at everything. It comes at a price, though: 1200 denarii. When you’re loaded with money, you may want to invest in one of these. They will serve superbly in anything you have them do, except fight in rough terrain of course.
: Technically, there are two classes: Light and heavy cavalry. But since both have the same terrain bonuses and penalties, and anti-cavalry promotions strike both equally, I don’t see any practical difference between them.
: Cavalry squads are composed of 24 men rather than the regular 48. They love open ground and hate rough terrain. Their greatest use lies in their speed (not to be confused with agility, though they have high agility as well) – they can flank the enemy, utilize cracks in the line-up, support other squads quickly. They also have trample, killing a few units initially, hopefully making weaker units like Skirmishers rout quickly. Trample can also kill a few routed units, which has no effect on the actual battle, but will give cavalry more experience. They also have less order point cost. Any army should definitely learn to use cavalry.
: The Scout is the most basic cavalry unit, having shoddy protection and not that considerably large trample. They have the highest natural agility, though. They have a very nice price as well, of a mere 150 denarii. This is a good unit for when your army is just getting started.
: A better cavalry unit at double the price – 300 denarii. It has some actual armour, and better trample, allowing it to go toe-to-toe with some slightly more advanced units. Also note the morale – it is the cheapest unit to have a morale that high.
: Last but not least is the Auxiliary Cavalry, the closest thing to a knight in this historical setting. At 500 denarii, I’d say you get what you pay for. They have the most trample, and is the most reliable cavalry unit, which is good when your plan for a battle depends on your cavalry not routing, and dispatching an enemy squad quickly. Curiously, they start with more melee concuss than most units.
***OH YEAH, AND THESE GUYS***
: Elephant! Oh boy!
: These beasts are in a category of their own. They have magnificent stats, as well as trample, but they only have 8 units in the squad, compared to 24, 36 and 48. They also have surprisingly small pool of promotions to choose Might veer into Awesome But Impractical. They are best used in conjunction with other units, easily routed when used on their own. Considering that and the price tag of 1000 denarii, you should consider getting one only when your army has some hull on the bones.
: Then there is the Legate, which is a one-man squad. I mean that in the fullest effect, as he really counts as one squad, and since you can’t remove him from the field it is rather irritating on max eight squads maps. The Legate really can be useful – skirmishers will stop firing even if it’s only one crazy guy charging the enemy on his lonesome. If he dies your order point cost goes through the roof, though, so be careful. The “ring of morale” he has ensures that your armies fight better in battle, and could mean the difference between victory and defeat.
: Next: We actually play the game!