# Thread: A rule of thumb for picking bargain units in SP

1. I&#39;m still reeling from downloading the crusader_unit_prod11.xls file and seeing how systematically CA have built up the unit stats. One thing that struck me was the costing of the units.

It seems that a complicated formula is used to work out the cost of the units, based on many of its stats. This should help balance the game for MP and means that cost should not be a bad statistical measure of relative effectiveness.

However, support costs seem to be determined largely by the troop type, defined in terms of "soft" factors like whether it is tribal, guard, missile etc, with cav costing double and 20% markups for "elites". There are also some strange fudge factors: Byz infantry get a 40% surcharge on support costs; spearmen get a 50% one; crossbows and arbs pay only 75% of base support costs. You pay 20% extra for Royals and only 50% of base support for crusading knights. Now the end result is that support costs are only very weakly related to combat power. The Chiv spear and Saracen are essentially the same unit, but the Chivs cost 25% more to support than the "tribal" Saracens.

Now bear in mind that support costs are overwhelmingly important in the SP game. A spearman&#39;s price may be 150 but this is outweighed after a mere three years of paying a support cost of 50.

So if you want to know whether a unit is relatively cost-effective in the SP game, one rough assessment is to compare the purchase price as a proxy of benefits to the support cost as a proxy for costs.

For a more sophisticated assessment of costs, we could combine purchase price and support costs given some assumptions. Let&#39;s say the unit lives for 20 years and the discount rate is 5%, then we can calculate the net present value of the support cost (in excel, using the function PV(5%,20,support cost))

Some results are unsurprising. By either method, peasants are the least cost-effective units. Their price-support ratio is 1.33; by the more complicated method of comparing price to the discount net present value of both purchase and support costs, it is 0.1.

However, there are some other units very low down the list that I tend to like, eg Byz infantry at number 5, followed by hobilars and spearmen.

There is tendency for higher tech units to appear more cost-effective - their capabilities - measured by purchase price - rise dramatically, but their support costs don&#39;t keep pace. The top 20 include the Gothic knights, SAPs, PavArbs, JHI etc. Gothic knights are a steal, with a simple price/support cost ratio of 12 and the more sophisticated cost-effectiveness index of 0.49. Some of this is driven by the fudge factors mentioned before, but not all.

I&#39;m not seriously proposing looking a the price to support ratio as better than relying on experience when buying armies in SP, but it does prompt a couple of thoughts.

One reaction: why not make support costs are simply a fraction of purchase costs?

Other thought: I wonder how the AI assesses cost-effectiveness? If it is looking at the price as a measure of the cost, rather than the effectiveness, then that may explain the high preponderance of peasants in early games.

2. I really think peasants should have almost no support costs.

You can justify it historically or gamebalance wise.

Gamebalance - Peasants are close to useless except as garrisons, but then again their support costs on garrison duty are horrible compared to their use.

Historical - Peasants seem to be basically peasants. The only training they have is which spear end is pointy and the only equipment they have is a long stick and a colorful shirt. The unit description pictures make it look as if they&#39;re using farm tools as weapons so that takes the price away even more.

Plus, peasants don&#39;t require much upkeep. You have to feed them, and that&#39;s basically it. It&#39;s not like they are professionals or nobility that you have to pay to keep working for you and also keep their equipment and horses in tiptop shape. Peasants are basically slaves. They should cost practically nothing.

WesW&#39;s MedMod makes peasant costs definitely worth it. I play on Huge units and 200 peasants cost me 25 to support per turn. Urban Militia is also lowered, but not as much as the peasantry.

3. You forget that supplying an army is always cost intensive. Peasants need food as much as a knight does. Add to that the reduced production. When knights weren`t in war they did more or less nothing (that has to be considered), but peasants had to provide food for the whole population.

4. Hamburglar, I use huge units too. I would prefer if peasants could be raised in one turn regardless of unit size. It would make them somewhat more useful in a pinch as every other unit takes at least two turns. Because they don&#39;t build any faster than anything else their historic value is greatly reduced, such as it was.

5. Nelson, I just modded every unit&#39;s size to twice as large, and play at default. This makes their build time just the same as usual, same with the support cost and price. It doesn&#39;t give an advantage to human or AI and its basically done just so i can see lots of bigger bodycounts.

As for the peasants, they don&#39;t eat as much as a knight does. Support cost is not only food, but pay and maintenence.

Even food alone - Knights also have to feed their horses, which cost money. A knight usually would have a riding horse just for tooling around on and then a battle horse for when he fights. A knight would also usually have a squire to take care of his horses. As well as a knight would need his armor and weapons maintained since they are so important. Plus, a knight needs to be paid. A knight is usually paid in land, but that costs money. The game says it factors the "land" in, as with the Pronai Allagion, because essentially you give each knight a tiny estate or something.

As for peasants. Equipment? Farming tools and a colored shirt. Not that expensive to "maintain", if any. Food? Just enough for one man, not one man, and at least one horse (maybe 2) and a squire. As for food, it was a known fact that nobles and rich men were much taller than peasants because they ate better. I bet the knight is getting the pick of the good food while the peasants get scraps of crusty bread and whatever they can find on the ground. As for pay? I doubt a peasant would be paid anything at all. Only money he&#39;d get is what he&#39;d loot.

That&#39;s why I can see peasants as having MUCH smaller support costs. If the support cost only factors food, then a WHOLE LOT of stuff just looks weird. I believe it factors in food, pay, and maintenence. For example, an archer&#39;s support cost would factor in all the new arrows they&#39;d constantly need, as well as the drilling and training that they&#39;d do.

A peasant has no training. His training is learning how to walk in a line and do what he&#39;s told.

Peasants should be a LOT cheaper in price and support cost.

6. Hamburglar- I recently did the same as you. I went through and doubled all the unit sizes so I could play with huge units and only build them in one turn. I also went through and halved all the support cost modifiers so I&#39;d only be paying what I normally would be- my goal was to have the only difference at all the fact that my units were now really big.

Only one problem- the game won&#39;t let me put more than 900-odd men in one stack, which is normal for normal unit sizes. Is there a way to change this? If so, how?

Its more annoying than anythng else, as I can&#39;t get more than 6-8 or so units together at once. It&#39;s manageble, but annoying as it tends to clutter up the map. Any ideas would be appreciated

7. I&#39;d have to agree with you that is essentially the only real problem. I don&#39;t see any way around it but it really only affects the game in a few ways.

Bribing is tougher since all the units in a province aren&#39;t in one stack. It makes it more realistic IMO because I don&#39;t think bribing a whole country is really believable.

Also, it makes assassinating, spying, and inquisitions easier to "pick a target" instead of only the strongest guy in the stack. I kind of like this because oftentimes I don&#39;t want to go for the big honcho. Sometimes I want to pick off a prince who is lower rank than the big boy and now with huge units he gets his own stack.

the stacking limit is weird in the sense that when you play with huge units, stack size is doubled, but playing with Normal units just upped to be huge the stack size is the same.

I tried playing with Huge units option but just cutting the price to one half, but they still always build in two turns. i don&#39;t know if you can put build time as .5 so when you play as huge units it will double it to a build time of 1. You could give it a try? I&#39;m on break and I left my game at school so if you could give it a go and tell me what happens that&#39;d be cool.

8. Well, of course a knight costed still more than a peasant. But not so much as you might think. Peasants didn`t get payed, that`s right, as long as they did army duty. But the same counts for knights. Knights were the kings vassals, they had their land regardless if there was a war. If war broke out, they had to serve their king for a while. They didn`t get payed for that time. Standing armies were mercenaries and they can`t be seen as mere peasants and they did get payed (at least, in principle). The pillaging that appeared offen when rulers couldn`t pay their mercenaries were very costly for a land too (example: sacco di roma).
Usually, medieval rulers hadn`t the money to support large standing armies, no matter what they consisted of. Every standing army costs a lot of support.

9. I&#39;m considering the knights pay as the estate, land, and titles that he is given by you as his lord to serve as your vassal. I figure that&#39;d go into support cost. And the knights would have their "entourage" with them. Stable boys, pages, squires, blacksmith etc would all be factors in a unit of knights. I can&#39;t see a unit of peasants having any expenses but food. Hell, they&#39;re probably the ones that carry everyone else&#39;s food.

10. Knights carried expensive equipment with them. A good warhorse and set of armour were very costly.

Records do exist of the cost to the crown to raise armies- in fact, these records are often the best source of information on the composition and size of medieval armies.

If you want more information, read "Armies and Warfare in the Middle Ages: the English Experience", by Micheal Prestwich. Very informative.

11. Interesting thread, but I have only one question....

Why in the hell are Feudal Knights so much more expensive than Chivlaric knights? Where is the Logic in that?

12. Praylak - I hadn&#39;t noticed that. There is a 0.8 fudge factor for Chivalric knights, so they cost 20% less to support than Feudals. Wierd.

13. Gothic Knights are even less expansive.

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