Front-line unit of the Ancient Era.
- Common abilities:
- Bonus vs Mounted (50) (50% Bonus vs Mounted)
The Spearman is the first melee unit available after the Warrior. Armed with a spear and a shield, it is slightly more powerful and expensive than the Warrior. However, its long weapon also gives it a significant combat bonus against mounted units, namely the Horsemen. Where practical, however (e.g. on the defensive by a city, in rough terrain), it is usually more economical to produce the more mobile Archer or Composite Bowman, or wait for Pikemen when research is fast.
Use it as you would other front-line units, but focus on positions with Zone of Control that block flat land, and thus protect the weaker elements of your army (archers, siege machines) that are likely to attract mounted attacks. (Note that a city, as mentioned above, will also confer a ZoC.)
The earliest spears were doubtless straight pieces of wood with crudely-sharpened ends; these would quickly break or become dull with service. The spear didn't become a reliable weapon until some early innovator discovered that he could harden the tip by lightly charring it over a fire. Eventually stone tips were employed, then of course metal. Spears are fairly simple weapons to learn, and they can be produced rapidly and cheaply, so they tend to be the backbone of early civilizations' armies.