Hillmen vs Eastern Infantry

By Awesome Eagle

The topic of many debates in our great halls has centred on the more useful unit between Hillmen and Eastern Infantry. All my information is based on a fair battle between Hillmen and Eastern Infantry on Medium difficulty. Here I have written a detailed analysis of their stats, strengths, weaknesses and overall usefulness and I am now presenting it to you.

Eastern Infantry

"Eastern Infantry are easily recruited militia-spearmen, who are good for defence against less able opponents. They are drawn from among the peasantry and urban poor, given minimal training and sent into battle. They are, however, given large shields. Individually, they are not outstanding warriors, but as a group they have their uses in holding off light cavalry; even medium and heavier troops and will be unwilling to to charge into a forest of spear points."

Attributes: Bonus fighting cavalry, poor morale, can sap.

Eastern infantry are recruited by building a barracks in a township as Pontus, Armenia or Parthia. They are also recruited as mercenaries in many eastern provinces of the map. Although they are a first tier unit, they are useful in many situations. The Eastern Infantry have a quite high defence for a low tier unit and have good stopping power with a lot of men to sacrifice in the unit. Eastern Infantry are more suited to a defensive role and as forming a solid line, behind which missile troops could be safely placed from any headlong cavalry charge. Their main weakness would be their lack of offensiveness and a rather low morale. The Eastern Infantry are best used en mass to form a solid line behind which archers and cavalry can retire to and regroup for a devastating charge. The numbers of the Eastern Infantry units allows them to be cannon fodder against enemy horse archers and enemy chariots.


"To outsiders, Hillmen are a wild and savage people, but they are also skilled hunters, making them superb ambushers. Although only armed with spears and shields, they are a valuable addition to many forces. Their skills at reading ground allow them to hide where others cannot, and this makes them valuable to commanders with a penchant for tactical ambushes. They are expert raiders and thieves (often taking sheep and goats from their lowland neighbours) and this is, unfortunately, something that makes them difficult to control. They do not see any need for military formalities."

Attributes: Can hide in long grass, Bonus fighting cavalry, May charge without orders, Good stamina, Fast moving, Can sap.

Hillmen are recruited by building a Militia Barracks in a large town as Pontus, Armenia or Parthia. As a tier 2 unit, they are quite an unliked unit to have in an army and seen as inferior to Eastern Infantry. They are a balanced unit with nothing remarkable in either attack or defence. They are more suited to an ambush by using their hiding abilities and also using their quick movements for sudden flank attacks on an enemy battle line.. Their main weaknesses would be that there are only 80 men in a unit and the fact that they have a rather low attack and defence so they shouldn't be involved in a prolonged battle. This unit shouldnt be relied upon to form a solid line and wont be able to defend well against any type of enemy infantry.


Much has been said in our great halls as to which of these units is superior and the general consensus is that Eastern Infantry hold the edge. By breaking down the stats, we can see their true values as a whole unit.

Firstly, a basic unit of Eastern Infantry with no experience, weapons or armour upgrades has the following stats: Attack: 3 Defence: 10 Charge: 1 Morale: 2 When we acknowledge that in one full strength unit of Eastern infantry has 120 men, their collective combat strength is now equal to: Attack: 360 Defence: 1200 Charge: 120

Secondly, a basic unit of Hillmen with no experience, weapons or amour upgrades has the following stats: Attack: 6 Defence: 9 Charge: 2 Morale: 4 When we acknowledge also that in one full strength unit of eastern Infantry there is 80 men, then their collective combat strength is now equal to: Attack: 480 Defence: 720 Charge: 180

So, as we can see, whilst the Eastern Infantry is out classed in attack and the charge, they clearly have the lead in defence, meaning they would be able to hold their ground and lose fewer men to the enemy. However, the morale of the Hillmen is superior and also allows them to hold even after many casualties.

I tested which unit was better in a couple Eastern Infantry on Hillmen unit battles on medium difficulty in pursuit of fairness. In the first battle, my Hillmen were routed by the Eastern infantry after a relatively brief battle. My Hillmen managed to kill 44 Eastern Infantry and they killed 56 of my Hillmen before I was routed. I reset the same battle but gave my Hillmen 1 experience upgrade and it was a little better with my Hillmen lasting longer and inflicting greater casualties onto the Eastern Infantry. However it was still a defeat although my Hillmen killed 87 Eastern Infantry whilst taking losses of 72 Hillmen. I tried the same battle again but gave my Hillmen a two experience bonus this time and I was rewarded with my first victory, although it was very close. The battle was long and hard and in the process I killed 91 Eastern Infantry with losses of 57 Hillmen killed. So in the end, it took a Hillmen unit a 2 experience upgrade before they were finally able to overcome the Eastern Infantry.

But how does this factor out in the Monetary side?
A basic unit of Eastern infantry costs 330 denarii to recruit with an upkeep of 150 denarii per turn whilst a basic unit of Hillmen costs 290 denarii for initial recruitment and an upkeep of 170 denarii per turn. So although the unit of Eastern infantry costs 40 denarii extra to recruit, you make that back in approximately 2 turns due to the lesser upkeep of the unit. In the multiplayer battle, I needed a Hillmen unit with a two experience upgrade in order to defeat the basic Eastern Infantry. This unit of Hillmen ended up costing me 422 denarii compared to the 330 for the Eastern Infantry. For 408 denarii, you could purchase an Eastern Infantry unit with one experience upgrade, thus making it a more worthwhile purchase.

To see the result of a bigger battle, I tried a three-on-three battles. In my first battle I commanded the Eastern Infantry.

The battle resulted in a victory for me with my Eastern Infantry killing 158 of the enemy and the enemy Hillmen taking 94 of my men. When I tried the same battle with me in command of the Hillmen, it resulted in my defeat. During the battle I even managed to flank the enemy however;

The Eastern infantry cut through my troops and killed 161 of my Hillmen and I took 112 of the Eastern Infantry. So in an 3 on 3 battle, the superior morale and even flanking the enemy didn't attain me a victory. The superior numbers of the Eastern Infantry ensured their victory.

But how do the two units fare against other different types of units?

Barbarian Cavalry: This battle resulted in a victory for my Eastern Infantry with my Eastern Infantry killing 27 enemy cavalry and 22 of my men killed. In the battle between the Barbarian Cavalry and Hillmen, my Hillmen did well with 23 kills and 14 men dead.

Swordsmen: The enemy swordsmen totally whipped my Eastern Infantry will 80 kills and my Eastern infantry only taking 12 of the swordsmen. The battle between Hillmen and the Swordsmen was much worse, with only 4 of the enemy swordsmen killed whilst they took 59 of my Hillmen. In this instance, Eastern Infantry was only slightly better but both units shouldn't be used against this type of unit.

Militia Hoplites: Against the Militia Hoplites, my Eastern Infantry achieved a very close victory with 76 of my men killed and 55 kills on the enemy. The battle between my Hillmen and Militia Hoplites, it was a defeat with 70 of my men killed and 38 of the enemy killed before my men broke lines and fled. In this kind of battle, the superior numbers of the Eastern Infantry allowed them to push through and break the line of the Hoplites, and then cut them down.

Archers: In the battle between my Eastern Infantry, it was a victory with 17 of my men killed and 34 of the enemy killed this was only because my men managed to close quickly and enter into a melee fight. However, between the archers and my Hillmen, it was a defeat with 71 of my men killed whilst taking 56 of the enemy. In this fight, the Eastern Infantry were superior due to their higher defense.

Scythed Chariots: This battle resulted in a victory due to the casualties inflicted to the Chariots that caused them to run amok with my Eastern Infantry killing 12 of the enemy whilst taking 59 casualties. The battle between the chariots and the Hillmen resulted in a clear defeat with only 5 of the chariots destroyed and 42 men of mine killed. In this battle, the superior numbers of the Eastern Infantry bogged the chariots down and ensured the destruction of them and thus they were the most useful unit.


So, as you see, both units are different and suited for different purposes. However, in a straight battle between the two, Eastern Infantry are most likely the victors in the engagement. So, in the end it comes down to your preferred fighting style, if you require a line of solid infantry which you could hide behind against other weak troops then Eastern Infantry should be your choice, but if you prefer a more fluid battle based on ambuscades and flanking, then Hillmen are for you.