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The Macedonian kingdom of the 3rd century BC is not the same kingdom as the one that controlled much of the known world under Alexander the Great. Your hold on Asia and Egypt has been lost to the Seleucid and Ptolemaic kings, the Greek states are fighting hard for their independence, and even Macedon itself is threatened by barbarians to the north. However, you still have a large and well-trained army at your command. Can you lead these soldiers to victory? Will you follow in Alexander's footsteps and reclaim those distant lands he once conquered?
The Macedonians are very much an all-round faction, with bonuses benefiting their defence, offence and economy. Their first Military research is free and the rest are cheaper, giving the Macedonians a head start with their military, and they are helped further by the free Pezhetairoi they receive on building a new barracks. Their fort bonuses allow them to expand more aggressively and defend themselves more easily. Additionally, the increased wealth gather rate of their cities is essential for military and economic development, as most units and many buildings and technologies are dependent on wealth.
The Macedonians have access to a number of effective units, though they are also somewhat expensive. Most of these units are available from the start of the game, making the Macedonians a very powerful force early on. As a consequence, they have few reformed units and will struggle in the late game against fully upgraded armies such as the Roman legions.
Macedonian military is primarily focused on a solid core of pike infantry. These are excellent troops, capable of defeating all but the most elite units when they are in formation. However, don't fall into the same trap as the Antigonid rulers did historically and rely solely on your pike phalanx. Their lack of flexibility in formation prevents them from dealing with skirmishing infantry, and if they aren't in formation they are easy pickings for swordsmen. Instead, follow Alexander's lead and use these men in tandem with your other units. The Macedonians can access a range of other good-quality units including heavy cavalry and assault infantry, so use these soldiers to counter any threats to your pikemen.
All in all, the Macedonians are a strong, well-rounded faction, capable of establishing dominance early in the game. If you are unlucky to have them as your enemy, be sure to focus on training swordsmen and ranged infantry to counter their phalangites, and reform your armies as soon as you have the chance.
The Hoplitai Haploi are cheap but relatively effective militia spearmen. They are lightly armoured, with only a helmet and large aspis shield to protect themselves, but that is already enough to make them better off than most other levied units. Furthermore they enjoy better health and attack than the spear levies of other factions. While this makes them somewhat useful against cavalry and other levies, do not expect them to last very long against professional troops. Historically, the classical hoplite phalanx was becoming increasingly obsolete by the 3rd century BC due to the emergence of the Macedonian pike phalanx and the Peltastai. However, some cities in Greece and Macedon continued to field hoplites armed with the aspis and doru spear. Although they were old-fashioned, they could still be effective due to their high levels of motivation.
The Phalangitai Deuteroi are the most basic soldiers to fight in the pike phalanx. However, unlike other levies they have access to decent armour including a helmet, shield and sometimes a linothorax. Furthermore they are equipped with the long and deadly sarissa pike. While they are expensive for a levy unit, their superior armour and attack more than makes up for their price. Historically, the Phalangitai Deuteroi were only levied in desperate situations, primarily to defend Macedon from foreign invaders such as the Galatians and Romans.
These javelin-armed peasants are capable of skirmishing but not much else. They are cheap and quick to recruit, and they can inflict some damage on unarmoured units, making them useful early on in the game when resources are difficult to come by. However, they will be quickly torn apart by any professional soldiers, as they have only a small shield to protect themselves with. Historically, the Akontistai were very poor peasants who formed a part of the psiloi. They generally did not play an important part in battles, with their usage restricted to skirmishing before battles, though this sometimes could be useful in prompting an enemy to attack.
Peltastai (Upgrades all Akontistai) - require Level 1 Reforms
The Peltastai are a reformed levy javelin unit. Like the Akontistai they replace, they are best used as skirmishers, and will be promptly cut down in a melee. However, they now have a helmet and thureos shield, allowing them to last longer in battle, and they also are capable of dealing more damage against enemy troops. Historically, the Peltastai were used to a greater effect than the psiloi, as they were more professional and better equipped. They would throw their javelins and then flee if the enemy charged. Because of their lighter equipment they could usually evade successfully and launch another attack.
The Sphendonetai are cheap, lightly-armed slingers. Their armour-piercing attack makes them slightly more useful than other skirmishers against armoured soldiers, and they have a long range, but they do not stand a chance if the enemy manages to reach them, as their only defense is a small shield. These soldiers are at their most useful early in the game when there are few professional soldiers to threaten them. Historically, the Sphendonetai were another branch of the psiloi, comprised of poor peasants and shepherds. The sling projectiles they fired could dent shields and armour, making them ideal for harassing and provoking the enemy.
The Toxotai are cheap, unarmoured levy archers. They are able to soften and disrupt enemy formations with their ceaseless hails of arrows, but their lack of expertise and their poor-quality bows leave them unable to do any decisive damage against armoured foes. Furthermore they have no armour and little health, so they should not be expected to survive any melee encounter. Historically, the Toxotai were the third unit of the psiloi, and were usually shepherds. While they had much experience in using their bows to protect their sheep, their skill in battle was vastly inferior to archers from other lands. This meant that the Hellenistic states often relied on Skythian, Cretan and eastern mercenaries, and the Greek Toxotai remained insignificant.
The Agrianikoi Pelekephoroi are elite light axemen. Their fierceness and their armour-piercing axes make them particularly useful against heavy infantry, though they have the agility to chase down skirmishers as well. However, they have little in the way of armour, making them easy pickings for cavalry. Historically, these men were members of the Agrianian tribe. They loyally served Alexander the Great during his conquests, and after his death, they continued to fight fanatically for the Macedonian kings.
The Pezhetairoi are a professional force of pikemen, forming the backbone of the Macedonian army. They are well-protected by their helmet, greaves, linothorax and shield, and they are highly disciplined. These soldiers can take on almost anything when they are in formation, as their long sarissa pikes allow multiple rows to attack the enemy at once. Historically, the Pezhetairoi formed a vital part of Alexander the Great's armies along with the Hetairoi, helping him to win numerous battles against numerous foes, and and they continued to be used extensively by the successor states. They were eventually defeated by the Roman legions, but this is more because of poor generalship and a decreasing usage of cavalry than a weakness of the pike phalanx.
Hysteroi Pezhetairoi (Upgrades all Pezhetairoi) - require Level 2 Reforms
The Hysteroi Pezhetairoi are an evolution of the Pezhetairoi unique to Macedon. Their linothorax has been replaced with a chain mail coat, and they are have received better training, resulting in a tougher, better armoured, and deadlier unit. Consequentially they are more expensive and take longer to field. Historically, the Macedonians reformed their pike phalanx after being defeated multiple times by the Romans. As a result of these reforms, their equipment was improved, new and more effective methods of training were introduced and non-Macedonians were able to fight as Pezhetairoi. However, this was still not enough for Macedon to withstand the Roman onslaught, and after the Third Macedonian War they were finally subjugated.
Although they no longer have an important role in infantry warfare due to the dominance of the Macedonian phalangites, Hoplitai can still be found in the armies of Greece and Macedon. While they lack the offensive power of the phalangites, they are more maneuverable and tougher. They are also well protected by a helmet, aspis shield, linothorax and a pair of greaves. Historically, the classical hoplite phalanx was becoming increasingly obsolete by the 3rd century BC due to the emergence of the Macedonian pike phalanx and the Peltastai. However, some cities in Greece and Macedon continued to field hoplites armed with the aspis and doru spear. Although they were old-fashioned, they could still be effective due to their high levels of motivation.
Thureophoroi (Upgrades all Hoplitai) - require Level 1 Reforms
The Thureophoroi are a professional javelin unit. They are highly flexible, combining the staying power and heavy armour of the Hoplitai with the mobility and ranged attack of the Peltastai. As a result, they are effective both at skirmishing and withstanding melee attacks, and they can also be damaging against armoured units because of their heavy javelins. However, they still suffer the same weakness as other javelinmen against cavalry and swordsmen. Historically, the Thureophoroi, named after the thureos shields they carried, were a new type of unit that appeared in the 3rd century BC. Their style of fighting was also new, mixing sturdiness with mobility. This versatility made them highly useful in battle as they could flank, exploit breaches in the enemy line, and reinforce weak parts of their own line. However they were never used to their potential, with Hellenistic commanders preferring to rely on the cumbersome pike phalanx.
The Prodromoi are an excellent light cavalry unit, ideal for raiding, flanking and scouting because of their rapid pace. They are well-trained, and their Phrygian or Boeotian-type helmets and their linothorakes make them better armoured than most other light cavalry. While this gives them some staying power, they still should not be used to charge at heavier units. Instead they are best for chasing down light missile troops. Historically, the Prodromoi were small, beneficial to their speed, and members of the nobility, beneficial to their staying power. They were used for skirmishing and also to protect the heavy cavalry from missile troops.
Lonchophoroi - require Level 1 Reforms
The Lonchophoroi are heavy cavalry with extended staying power in a melee. Armed with a kopis sword and well protected by a helmet, greaves, linothorax and large shield, they aren't as damaging as shock cavalry but they have more health, greater mobility and are cheaper. Also, they are more effective against other cavalry, though they should not be expected to come off on top against any elite units. Historically, the Lonchophoroi were introduced and used extensively by the the Hellenistic successor states. These noblemen were used to support the shock cavalry in the melee that resulted after the main charge.
The Hippakontistai are light javelin-armed cavalrymen. They are faster and better-armed than their infantry counterparts, but also more expensive. As a ranged cavalry unit, these horsemen are most effective against melee infantry, though they also excel at attacking civilians. However they have little in the way of armour, with only a small shield and sometimes padded cloth, making them vulnerable against other missile troops, and they will be slaughtered if any melee cavalry or spearmen manage to reach them. Historically, the Hippakontistai came from the poorest noble families, who could afford a horse but not armour. They were used in a skirmishing role.
Aspidophoroi - require Level 1 Reforms
These cavalrymen may fight with javelins but they certainly aren't a skirmishing unit. The Aspidophoroi are professional soldiers who throw heavy javelins, wear armour and carry large shields. This makes them highly damaging against melee infantry and civilians, and able to last longer against a melee. However, they still share the same vulnerabilities as other ranged cavalry against melee cavalry, and they will be cut down by spearmen if they are allowed to get too close. Historically, the Aspidophoroi were a unique type of cavalry adopted by the Hellenistc successor states who combined skirmishing with melee combat. They would first throw their javelins to soften up the enemy formation, and after they used them all, they would then close in with their swords and provide support to the shock cavalry. They were never used enough though to be a particularly decisive force.
The Baslikon Peltastai are an elite assault infantry unit available to Macedon. These swordsmen are incredibly versatile, with the speed to chase down enemies and perform rapid manuevres in the midst of a battle, and the armour, health and attack to be highly effective in a pitched battle. While they can defeat any non-elite infantry unit with ease, they are still no match for heavy cavalry. Also, their elite status makes them costly and time-consuming to train. Historically, the Basilikon Peltastai appeared as part of the elite guards of the Hellenistic kings. Although they are known as Peltastai, they are vastly different from the peasant skirmishers of the same name, having much better equipment, training and status. Like the Hypaspistai of Alexander the Great, they were used for assaulting fortresses, fighting in difficult terrain, flanking the enemy formations and exploiting any gaps.
The Agema Phalangitai are elite heavy pikemen unique to Macedon. They are very well armoured, having reinforced scale linothorakes or breastplates in addition to greaves, plumed helmets and shields. Also, their sarissa pikes will inflict heavy damage on any unit that dares to attack them, especially when they are arranged in formation. They are expensive and take a long time to train, but the professionalism and effectiveness of these soldiers makes it well worth it. Historically, the Agema Phalangitai were members of the Macedonian royal guard under the Antigonid kings. They were well-trained and hardened veterans, having already served as Basilikon Peltastai.
The Hippeis Thessalikoi are heavy shock cavalry. They can inflict much damage thanks to their powerful xyston lance, and they wear heavy armour including a reinforced linothorax or breastplate and a Boeotian or Konos type helmet. However they lack staying power in a melee due to their relatively low health, though their armour mostly makes up for this. Historically, the Hippeis Thessalikoi were recruited from Thessaly, a region known for its heavy cavalry. They served under Alexander the Great during his conquests, being second only to the Hetairoi in their effectiveness, and they continued to fight for Macedon after his death.
The Basilike Ile are the finest soldiers available to Macedon, and are perhaps one of the finest units available to any faction. They serve as elite shock cavalry, capable of easily destroying enemy forces with their devestating charges. Additionally, they have very high levels of and health and they wear the best armour available, allowing them to withstand much punishment. They may take a long time and many resources to train, but even a few of these great cavalrymen can turn a battle in your favour. The Basilike Ile was the cavalry bodyguard of the Macedonian kings, originally being under the personal command of Alexander the Great. While the elite Hetairoi cavalry all but disappeared in the Macedonian armies once the Antigonid dynasty had come into power, this special unit of cavalry remained, albeit in small numbers.
Macedon receives the Taxiarch as their officer. As with all other officers, this unit has multiple abilities, but also it provides a line-of-sight and range bonus to all nearby ranged and siege units, an attack bonus to siege units and an enlarged armour bonus for all units in its radius. Furthermore, the Taxiarch is highly effective in combat. Historically, the Taxiarch was an officer in the Greek and Macedonian armies. In the syntagma, the basic unit in the Macedonian pike phalanx, they would command 8 files, numbering 128 men in total.
These mercenaries are some of the best javelineers available. While they are only marginally better armoured than the Peltastai of the Hellenistic states, they are superior in almost every other regard, able to throw their javelins further and with more force, and able to take more hits before being killed. However this is reflected in their cost, as they are more expensive than typical Peltastai. Historically, the Thracians became famous for their peltasts well before the Hellenistc times, and their effectiveness led the Hellenic states to adopt their own Peltastai units.
The Thrakioi Rhomphaiaphoroi are elite mercenary infantry armed with the rhomphaia, a brutal, two-handed weapon with high damage and armour-piercing capabilities. They are well-armoured, with a scale or chain mail coat, greaves, helmet and shield. They may be very slow moving, but they are devestating against all enemy troops, even cavalry. Historically, these soldiers formed only a small part of Thracian armies, though their role could be decisive. The rhomphaia was a fearsome weapon, capable of hacking off limbs and slicing through heavy armour.
The Thrakioi Prodromoi are an elite light cavalry unit. However they are different from other light cavalry in that they are actually well-armoured because of their elaborate helmets and their scale tunics or reinforced scale linothorakes. This, and their increased attack and health, allows them to perform well in a melee in addition to skirmishing. Overall this makes them a versatile and outstanding unit. Of course, this also means that they are more expensive, but as one of the best light cavalry units available, they are certainly worth the cost. Historically, the Thrakioi Prodromoi were from the Thracian lower nobility. They distinguished themselves in many battles in the service of many Thracian, Macedonian and Hellenic rulers.
We hope you have enjoyed this preview. As usual, feel free to post your questions and comments here. There will be a second part to this preview, covering politics, as the Macedonians receive their own versions of all the patriots and unlocks, and some changes have been made to the bonuses mentioned in the Roman politics preview. Some information will be repeated but hopefully the new graphics will make up for that.
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