- Bonus vs. cavalry units.
Come the Medieval Era, civilizations with access to Iron can start fielding Knights, whose great mobility and Combat Strength can be devastating on the battlefield. Pikemen are your best defense against them, and have the advantage of not requiring any resources to produce. Use their long pikes to keep enemy Knights at bay, but try to avoid having them fight Swordsmen and Musketmen, which receive a combat bonus against them.
Civilopedia entry Edit
A pike is, basically, a very long spear, used for thrusting the sharp point into someone instead of throwing it at them. Very effective against other foot soldiers and especially against horsemen of all types. Indeed, besides longbowmen and muddy ground, the pike was about the only thing that would dissuade mounted knights from riding the peasants down. Thus, the pike was best used in mass formations, as by the Greek phalanx or Swiss mercenaries or German landsknechts. However, as it’s difficult to hold a pike with two hands and a shield simultaneously, pikemen tended to be vulnerable to archers and swordsmen; they weren’t much good in a melee. But if it could maintain close ranks, a pike-armed mass could roll right over the opposition, and could anchor the flanks against knights. During the heyday of its use in the Renaissance Era, the pikes became longer and longer, eventually some being 22 feet or so.