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Thread: Swordsmen vs Spearmen

  1. #1

    Default Swordsmen vs Spearmen

    Do the swordsmen have a different function over spearmen? Certain spear units have a relatively high attack power that matches the high offensive power of the swordsmen.

    What's a better offensive unit to use? Nedes Nesamoi or the Argoi? The Hyperaspistai or the Thorakitai? Most of the Germanic Spear Units vs most of the sword units?

    If I engage the spear/sword unit with their opposite counterparts, will they be at a disadvantage?

  2. #2
    iudex thervingiorum Member athanaric's Avatar
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    Default Re: Swordsmen vs Spearmen

    Spearmen have various bonuses against cavalry, depending on the type (it's a bit cryptic and confusing, as there seem to be three types of bonuses). Some of the swordsmen have the AP trait, namely if their swords are curved forwards and sufficiently large. This usually doesn't show on the unit card because practically all of those swordsmen use javelins as a primary weapon. As for direct combat, I'm not sure. Ideally, it should come down to which direction the unit is engaging from, and weapon length. For fighting on walls, I much prefer swordsmen, don't know if they really are better at that though (they should be).




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  3. #3
    EBII Hod Carrier Member QuintusSertorius's Avatar
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    Default Re: Swordsmen vs Spearmen

    Animations play a big part in this, in terms of the battlemap performance of each type. One of the things we consciously did in 2.3 was reduce the over-performance of overhand spear-users, and improve the animations of sword-users.

    The spear is ultimately the better formation-fighting weapon, lots more men can use it effectively in a confined space. The engine is supposed to reflect that, but in a disordered formation, the sword has the clear advantage.
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  4. #4
    Lifelong Mare's Milk Fermenter Member Genghis Skhan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Swordsmen vs Spearmen

    As a general rule of thumb, swords are better against infantry, whilst spears are more all-purpose with a bonus against cavalry. Swords are particularly unimpressive against cavalry, generally speaking, as well.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Swordsmen vs Spearmen

    Quote Originally Posted by QuintusSertorius View Post
    Animations play a big part in this, in terms of the battlemap performance of each type. One of the things we consciously did in 2.3 was reduce the over-performance of overhand spear-users, and improve the animations of sword-users.

    The spear is ultimately the better formation-fighting weapon, lots more men can use it effectively in a confined space. The engine is supposed to reflect that, but in a disordered formation, the sword has the clear advantage.
    The improvement is indeed noticeable. The Nedes Nesamoi I sent to stop a unit of Batori got badly beaten with heavy casualties while in another battle, the Argoi I've sent killed a alot of Boii Retainers while only suffering a few casualties. The swordsmen even managed to hold against regular Hoplites.

    However, during a siege my Celtic Swordsmen got wrecked by a unit of Celtic Spearmen when compared to my unit of Celtic Spearmen holding back another unit of enemy spearmen for a long time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Genghis Akhan View Post
    As a general rule of thumb, swords are better against infantry, whilst spears are more all-purpose with a bonus against cavalry. Swords are particularly unimpressive against cavalry, generally speaking, as well.
    Where do the Axe/Club fit in the weapon advantage however? Are they still only capable of only attacking the enemy units from the rear due to the fact everyone can wreck them if put to the front lines?

  6. #6

    Default Re: Swordsmen vs Spearmen

    Well, from where I know, the main diferences are economic and strategic.

    The economic diferences are:

    -Spears are cheaper to produce and maintain (less iron, the shaft can be replaced easly)

    -Spearmen are easier to train, hold the pointy end aiming to the bad guys and poke when you find an open spot, and preety much it. While swordsmen need more than that, since they have more striking options.

    The strategic diferences are:

    -The spear is the best weapon when you have big numbers, like Quintus said, since the guys on the second and third row now become a threat. (this is why they counter cavalry, a horse ocupys more space, increasing the number of enemies per soldier even more).

    -This, however, requires a well coordinated formation since individualy they lack the striking options that a slashing weapon would, wich makes them rather predictable and easily beaten.

    -Thus, this means that swordsmen have the versatility to remain efective in not so coordinated formations. And when this formations take place? After charging. Swordsmen have much more freedom when performing a charge than Spearmen would. And since individualy can fend off better, this makes disengages also less risky.

    -Its easier for swordsmen to carry more/heavier javelins since they can hang their weapon in their belts. Spearmen cant afford this luxury.

    So, as a conclusion. In practice, Spearmen are the less mobile, denser troops that are more capable of holding the line defensively. They cant charge, nor retreat, only hold the line and advance slowly. On the other hand, Swordsmen act as shock infantry, not needing to keep a perfect formation, runnin to specific points of the battle to deliver a solid punch to the enemy flank and pulling back before they turn their spears on them, leaving a serious dent.

  7. #7
    Arrogant Ashigaru Moderator Ludens's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Re: Swordsmen vs Spearmen

    Quote Originally Posted by Kyniklos View Post
    -This, however, requires a well coordinated formation since individualy they lack the striking options that a slashing weapon would, wich makes them rather predictable and easily beaten.
    I just want to point out that the sword-beat-spear principle is more a game-balance convention than a historical fact. Yes, the spearpoint can be batted away, but that is only easy if the spearman is an idiot who holds his spear completely still. Even a half-trained spearman will be constantly moving the point (and himself, if he has the space) in order to prevent that from happening. And a spear has one major advantage over the sword: reach. While attempting to bypass the spearpoint, the swordsman will be within killing range while the spearman is still outside of it.

    It's definitely true that the sword is the more flexible weapon, though.

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  8. #8
    Member Member Vilkku92's Avatar
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    Default Re: Swordsmen vs Spearmen

    Not that you'd need to choose one over the other, a spearman could always wear a sword at his side.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Swordsmen vs Spearmen

    Quote Originally Posted by Vilkku92 View Post
    Not that you'd need to choose one over the other, a spearman could always wear a sword at his side.
    True but imagine that you have a 2 vs 2 fight. Who wins? A spearman and a swordsman VS a spearman with a sword on his belt and an unarmed guy?

    Since weapons and manpower are the most valuable things to have in your army, you would like to get the most out of them by making each man exelling at the use of a specific weapon. Im not saying that the nobles who could afford to have this luxury didnt do this, but it was rather odd for a common soldier to purchase two very expensive weapons (specially a sword) only for using one. Specially when 90% of your men are common folk who got levied and need to fight ASAP, so there is no point in training a man in more than one melee weapon. As an army, you can have a spearman and a swordsman and have the best of the both worlds.
    Last edited by Kyniklos; 04-03-2018 at 20:27. Reason: typo

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