The Do's and Don'ts of Militias

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    • The Do's and Don'ts of Militias

      Too many times have I seen even the most experienced players relying on militia units. Ok, sure, sometimes (*cough* Mongolia *cough cough*) it's all you have. Even then, Militia units are made to be used in a very specific, highly specialized way. If not used in that way, they're the most useless unit in the game.

      So when should you use militiamen? Here are the Do's and Don'ts!

      DO:
      -Keep in mind that they are very, very cheap. They cost about 1/3rd that of regular infantry, and require only a barracks to be produced. That being said, if you don't have an industrial complex there, it can take a very long time to mobilize.

      -Keep them upgraded. Level 1 militia units are worthless, period. There's literally no reason to have level 1 militia units. At level 6, militia units function similar to level 3 infantry, which isn't too shabby.

      -Put 'me in the hills! Militia fighters gain a 75% buff in hilly terrain, making them deadly adversaries in jungle warfare. 4 strength becomes 7, and at level 7, 2 militia units can overpower a commando in hill terrain, in half the time at half the cost. Remember, if you are covered in forest, hills, or the like, militias are fantastic countermeasures.

      Speaking of...

      -Remember that militia men are NOT attackers. Their defensive stat is far higher than their offensive stats, so use that to your advantage! Put them in hills you want to protect, build some forts, and when you get attacked, your enemy will be crying by the time they break that defense!

      DON'T:

      -Never, ever use militia in place of regular infantry. Cost be damned, infantry is vastly more powerful, and far faster. Militias should never comprise more than about 5% of your army, if that.

      -Send them overseas. It seriously isn't worth it. You're wasting time, money, and precious defensive units. Adding militias to a convoy stack just brings down the SBDE. Keep 'em home! If you seriously need militias that bad on another continent, then do the sane thing and conquer a province FIRST, THEN build a militia unit!

      -Forget to deactivate useless barracks. If you aren't (going to) use it, deactivate it, and get your food production back. Level 1 barracks don't cost much short term, but long term it stacks up. As a general rule, for every 15 provinces you have, not including cities, you can have 1 barracks. After that, you're wasting money.

      -Horde your enemies. The phrase "strength in numbers" is complete BS: Militia units are still vulnerable to aircraft, and they don't have a prayer against heavy tanks. In a battle between 1 medium, 1 anti air, 3 motor infantry, and 1 Anti tank, pit against 10 level 6 militias, the militias are still going to lose. That's not even keeping artillery bombardment in mind!

      -Don't even think about replacing commandos with militias, you monster! Commandos are better in every single way! They cost more, but the cost is well worth it: high strength against all ground units, easy to produce, effective in mountains, etc. Sure, you can augment the two, but never ever replace.

      -After day 20, you shouldn't be producing militias anymore. Replace them with infantry, or keep them in the hills! After this time, you're wasting your resources.

      Hopefully this clears up some things for the newer players, assuming they even read this, and hopefully some other folks realize the errors of their militia-spamming ways. Hope this helps at all!
    • That's pretty bad advice overall, if you ask me...

      - They are quite cheap yes, but not that cheap. In particular, they cost as much same manpower as infantry, which players don't have enough at the beginning (when militia are precious). On the other hand, early on players should have enough food and supplies.
      Their strength is not so much in their price, but how fast they are to produce - almost 3 times faster than infantry. They are the units of which the ratio HP/time to produce is the highest, by far, and they are therefore very useful to buff up a stack in defense...

      - … which brings me to topic #2. Militias level 1 are very useful, as they have 15 HP just like militias level 4. On the other hand, researching militia level 4 cost Raw Material and research slots, so it should not be your prio once you have militia level 1. Your level 10 militia has cost 10K raw materials to research, your level 3 infantry has cost 3K. In addition, your level 3 infantry moves significantly faster, something useful also in defense, and is (marginally) better vs tanks.

      - Yes, militia are really good in defense in hills/forests,... against infantry. Their +75% bonus does not save them against tanks. In addition, they are as slow there as in plains - 15km/h, whereas level 4 Arty or AA or AT goes at 25 km/h, which means they are so slow that they can get kitted by artillery in territory they own...
      … provided your opponent even care and does not just attack through another axis.

      It also means that they perform better against armors in city (due to -50% attack / -50% HP of tanks there) than they do against infantry in hills, and usually cities are more valuable than hills, too.


      Even the "don't" are not that great. True, they don't replace infantry, but once they have done their role in defense you should totally send them overseas … to die, since their maintenance cost is significant (20% of their price in food, which is the rare resource by end game) so no need to keep them around.
      There should not be militias built in barracks without IC (since without IC you lose what makes Militia fantastic : speed of production), though of course don't keep active barracks you don't use.



      … which brings me to what militia is useful for, which in my opinion is one thing => Give HP quickly to your stacks for a small price, either preventively or during a battle.

      The most common example and the one I almost always use militia for is early game. In the first days you don't know whether you are going to be attacked by those neighbours you don't know and, when you are getting attacked, churning HP at a pace that can actually change the result of the battle (compared to producing infantry that may arrive too late).

      So in practice, there is always a city too close to the borders, or really strategic for one reason and another, and really you don't want to overcommit in defense because well you want to expand, too. What you do is instead of detaching let's say 4 infantry in defense (because anything smaller than that will just get destroyed by a 10 infantry stack early game), you detach 2 infantry in defense, and add 3 militias (which is the same time more or less as one infantry, so you are 1 infantry positive). If you are attack, your opponent has 75 HP to go through, which usually will take him 3 - 4 hours + the march time to reach your city, which allows you to produce 1-2 more militias (15/30 more HP), holding that much extra time which should allow you to bring back your attacking army.

      The exact balancing you are comfortable with may change, but that's the most common role of militia. Other roles I have used them for or seen them used for
      - Bring HP to a naval stack, since they don't go slower than other convoy,
      - Bring HP to an airport to prevent (or make more expensive) rocket attacks disabling an aiport,
      - Escort artillery, though it makes for a very slow stack (arty is 20km/h, and then 25km/h at level 4), for these reasons I mostly see that early game.


      Ah, and big "don't" : don't stack militia with anything in attack (only exception might be artillery stack), they slow down significantly anything that you attack to them. I can't count the number of times where I have seen players attaching militias to Light Tanks… Seriously.
    • I don't play COW as competitively or actively as you guys do, and mostly on smaller less active maps.

      That said, I used to play 100 player maps a bit so I do have some experience playing over 10 hours a day on one map.

      My experience with militia is different from both of yours. I never found early game militia to be a thing because you are most likely to be next to someone who doesn't know what they are doing than a lifeless COW pro like yourself.

      I also never got to the end game, mostly because tests and other life factors, so I can't speak of their use there.

      But in the middle game I found them great and I really like them. They are useless against people with the time on their hands to use planes or arty. They are simply too slow and if you are on the defensive against active planes and arty, you need speed.

      Now if you are fighting well versed players that don't have the time to use planes and arty, I find militia exceed, and for different reasons then you guys.

      Militia don't take up valuable IC time and so you can have them training while you build AT guns and Arty. This means I can put out a good defensive force at least vs light tank spam and legacy infantry. If i realize I might be overwhelmed I can build them slowly off to the side while still building real units in the ICs. This way I can have a solid defense while having the offensive abilities of real units, or I can have my anti infantry militia outfitted with a few AT guns and arty.

      I also find they are a great way to harass people who haven't built up a naval wall. Practically for free and without losing IC time you can knock out of coastal cities of active noobs. They are just as fast any other convoy on water.

      Overall, they are great for dealing with semi-active people. I wouldn't expect much against anyone with arty or planes.
    • Chickenus wrote:

      I don't play COW as competitively or actively as you guys do, and mostly on smaller less active maps.

      That said, I used to play 100 player maps a bit so I do have some experience playing over 10 hours a day on one map.

      My experience with militia is different from both of yours. I never found early game militia to be a thing because you are most likely to be next to someone who doesn't know what they are doing than a lifeless COW pro like yourself.

      I also never got to the end game, mostly because tests and other life factors, so I can't speak of their use there.

      But in the middle game I found them great and I really like them. They are useless against people with the time on their hands to use planes or arty. They are simply too slow and if you are on the defensive against active planes and arty, you need speed.

      Now if you are fighting well versed players that don't have the time to use planes and arty, I find militia exceed, and for different reasons then you guys.

      Militia don't take up valuable IC time and so you can have them training while you build AT guns and Arty. This means I can put out a good defensive force at least vs light tank spam and legacy infantry. If i realize I might be overwhelmed I can build them slowly off to the side while still building real units in the ICs. This way I can have a solid defense while having the offensive abilities of real units, or I can have my anti infantry militia outfitted with a few AT guns and arty.

      I also find they are a great way to harass people who haven't built up a naval wall. Practically for free and without losing IC time you can knock out of coastal cities of active noobs. They are just as fast any other convoy on water.

      Overall, they are great for dealing with semi-active people. I wouldn't expect much against anyone with arty or planes.
      I understand the point but by mid game the worst newbies are usually out, and while indeed you can build militia everywhere, it will be at an extremely steep food cost (relatively to the efficiency or "overwhelm value" of the militia.

      A lot of militias is probably going to be frustrating to fight, but it will probably also mean I will not meet much infantry in cities, so I think I would be better off against you than a similarly active and competent player not using militia.