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When you start on the free-to-play game C-evo, all of the available units are "ground units", units that can travel only on land unless transported by air units or naval units.

Some ground units are "civil units", having no attack strength and therefore unable to enter unguarded foreign cities. Those that have attack strength ("weapons"), for which the minimum is 4, are "military units". All must have at least some defensive strength ("armor").

Each unit has a maximum "speed", the distance it can normally travel in one turn. The minimum is 1.5 (i.e., one diagonal step - N, S, E, or W on an isometric map - that's not using a road or river).

A unit's "vital statistics" are attack strength, defensive strength, and movement, with the three normally shown together with slashes, e.g. the "A/D/M" of a Militia is 6/6/1.5. Actual strengths in combat can differ from the basic strengths, depending on various factors such as experience, buildings, and health.

Construction costs: all costs (in materials) in the following paragraphs are for the standard or "Moderate" difficulty level (C-evo). For easy level subtract 25%, rounded down. For hard level add 25%, rounded down. (And if you are in "Beginner" mode your rivals will be paying a crippling 50% above standard, about twice what you pay - but that's not your problem.)

Ground units available early[]

A few predesigned units can be built immediately, before you have researched anything. After some research you can design better units, but the design process takes time that would be otherwise used for "proper" research, so you shouldn't try to design every possible military unit.

Earliest possible units[]

Existing designs[]

Before designing any of your own or doing any research, you can build:

  • civil units: Settlers - 0/10/1.5; costs 40; improves terrain and can eventually build its own city
  • military units:
    • Militia - 6/6/1.5; costs 10; the first explorers and possibly the first city defenders and occasionally captors of unfriendly cities
    • Town Guard - 4/6/1.5 outside a city, with additional 6 defensive strength inside; costs 20 to build and costs one material per turn to maintain; under your initial government type, Despotism, it adds two morale points and is therefore as good as a temple in keeping citizens happy and productive - but because of the maintenance cost you should integrate them (i.e. recycle them towards the production of new units) as soon as your government changes
If built after the city has a Barracks, any ground unit will start life hardened, i.e. with attack and defensive strengths 50% greater than the basic.
If "green", i.e. with no experience from combat or from being built with a barracks, a Town Guard supposedly protected by City Walls will lose to an attack from a hardened 18/6/2.5 or 18/12/1.5, a common type of early ground unit as noted below. The "12" defensive strength is made up of a basic 6 and a city bonus of 6; the walls add 200% of the basic, so the total is 24, which loses to (18 +50% =) 27. However, a Town Guard usually sits in the city turn after turn, thereby earning the fortification bonus of 50%, i.e. 3, taking it up to 27, which means the attacker dies too. Not ideal for you but the city is not captured, though it may be destroyed if its population was only 2. Try to build a stronger defender or another Town Guard soon!

Designing new units[]

All that you need for designing new ground units is to research Warrior Code, which has no prerequisites (and may often be obtained in exchange with a friend, because it's usually the second advance the standard AI makes) and allows:

  • The building of Barracks; a barracks adds 50% - two stripes - strength to all weapons and armor modules of units built in the same city, and it generally speeds full recovery of damaged units resting there
  • New types of ground unit, having at least one armor module plus your choice of weapons modules (up to defined limits) and/or a second armor module, with each weapons or armor module having a strength of 4 and costing 3 resources

Minimum requirement is a single armor module for defense, which takes two of the weight allowance of five. You may add other modules up to the weight quota.

Bear in mind the maintenance cost of any units you build; even under Despotism, if you have more units than population (not counting Town Guards) your productive capacity is reduced. That is an argument against spending time designing and building very cheap units.

Weak cheap units that need only Warrior Code
A. Minimum armor:
(with basic defensive strength of only 4 they will be vulnerable to fairly easy destruction by any other nation's basic Militia unit (6/6) unless they have a terrain bonus such as hill, forest, or jungle or a fortification bonus from staying without moving for a whole turn or an experience bonus from being built with a barracks or from having won a few battles)
  • 0/4 costing 3 - almost certainly not worth designing
  • 4/4 costing 6 - if built with a Barracks it will initially equal a standard Militia built without a Barracks but will cost about 40% fewer material units
  • 8/4 costing 9 - slightly cheaper than a militia and with poorer armor but better weapons
  • 12/4 costing 12 - think of it as the first javelin-thrower, crouching in a city, ideally protected by stronger units but able to kill almost any primitive attacker foolish enough to stop too close
B. Double armor:
  • 0/8 costing 6 - a fairly safe early scout but unable to capture foreign cities
  • 4/8 costing 9 - a fairly safe early scout with better defense than a standard Militia and costing fewer resources

Two more advances each allow better military[]

Consider the following:

  • You can't afford to neglect real research too often
  • You can't afford to have so many units that their maintenance significantly reduces building rates
  • You will get an additional initial strength of 50% if you have a Barracks (which, regrettably, will take a while to build)

Therefore, you should probably start building a Barracks but go on researching so as to get (by either wholly your own research or exchange with friends) one or both of the following improvements:

  • Extra speed and/or additional attack modules or defensive module from Horseback Riding
  • Extra strength in each module (though at greater cost) from Bronze Working.

Standard AI nations almost always research The Wheel first, Warrior Code second, and Horseback Riding third. However, they often refuse to exchange the military knowledge for advances that they cannot immediately use, such as Alphabet, Masonry, or Ceremonial Burial. Try again later!

Add Bronze Working
If you choose to differ from the AI and have Bronze Working before Horseback Riding, it (in addition to letting you start building The Colossus) increases strength by one-half and cost by one-third. You now have Strength 6 (basic 4 plus Bronze 2) with cost 4 per module.

The best defensive units with Bronze Working have two armor modules (each of which has a weight of 2). No more than two can be incorporated until you know Bridge Building or Steel.

If you economize by having no attack module your unit is "Strength x6 = 0/12" and costs 8 (2 modules times 4). In a city without a barracks it has the same defensive strength as a Town Guard and costs less to build and probably less to maintain, but it does not contribute to morale.

Adding (as many AI nations do) one attack module (which costs one weight unit and allows you to capture cities) takes you to the weight limit and gives you a 6/12 basically defensive or exploratory unit, with the same attacking power as the standard pre-designed Militia unit but twice the armor: "Strength x6 = 6/12" and "Cost x4 = 12". It can boldly walk up to an enemy's Militia and with impunity (for the moment) try to attack it, which will succeed if the target's health is less or if both are at the same level of health but your unit has more experience (stripes or a star) AND if the target does not have enough defensive bonus from terrain (e.g. on a hill for an additional 100% of basic strength). AI nations often defend cities with these, in which case the fortification bonus may apply.

For more attack but only basic defense, you can cut the armor to one module and add two attack modules (because they have only half the weight of defense). That gives you (at a cost of 16 for the four modules) an aggressive 18/6, possibly enough to capture a city that has only a "green" Town Guard (which has defensive strength 12 in a city but will be a little stronger if it has not moved in the last turn). As soon as your city has a Barracks, you will get a "hardened" unit (two stripes), effectively fighting at 27/9 and with a chance to conquer even a hardened Town Guard unless the city has Walls. If you get two of those attacking a city in the same turn you have a good chance of capturing or destroying it even if your first one dies.

Complete listing:

Minimum armor (increase initial strengths by 50% if built with a barracks):
  • 0/6 costing 4 (almost certainly not worth building!)
  • 6/6 costing 8 (identical to the standard Militia unit and a little cheaper)
  • 12/6 costing 12 (twice the attack strength but equal to the defensive strength of a standard Militia and costing only 20% more resources)
  • 18/6 costing 16
Double armor (increase initial strengths by 50% if built with a barracks):
  • 0/12 costing 8 - a fairly safe scout but slow and unable to capture foreign cities
  • 6/12 costing 12

Or add Horseback Riding
This allows "Mobility" and increases permissible total weight from five to seven. So you can add an armor module to the basic options for minimum armor listed above, or you can add two weapons modules or two speed modules (each of which adds 0.5 to your range), or one speed and one weapons, or even eliminate the weapons module for more speed, e.g.:
Minimum armor (increase initial strengths by 50% if built with a barracks):
  • 0/4/4.0 costing 18 - really fast cheap scout in suitable terrain; one turn can traverse up to four tiles (or ten along a road or river); but cannot capture cities
  • 0/4/3.5 costing 15 - slower cheaper version of the above
  • 8/4/3.0 costing 18 - quite fast and with some attack value
  • 12/4/2.5 costing 18 - good mix of speed and attack, commonly built by AIs
  • 16/4/2.0 costing 18 - better attack, but the extra 0.5 speed will rarely be useful except where you have two enemies to deal with in one turn or where you can move along a river or road (0.4 or 0.6) then attack then retreat (0.6 or 0.4) in the same turn
  • 20/4/1.5 costing 18 - great at killing primitive enemy units who threaten your capital
Double armor (increase initial strengths by 50% if built with a barracks):
  • 0/8/3.0 costing 15 - fastest cheap scout that can't be killed by any Town Guard unless at low health
  • 8/8/2.0 costing 15
  • 12/8/1.5 costing 15

Complete listing:

Minimum armor (1 module)
(Each cell:
A/D/M, cost)
Speed 1.5 Speed 2.0 Speed 2.5 Speed 3.0 Speed 3.5 Speed 4.0
Attack 0 0/4/1.5, 3 0/4/2.0, 6 0/4/2.5, 9 0/4/3.0, 12 0/4/3.5, 15 0/4/4.0, 18
Attack 4 4/4/1.5, 6 4/4/2.0, 9 4/4/2.5, 12 4/4/3.0, 15 4/4/3.5, 18 -
Attack 8 8/4/1.5, 9 8/4/2.0, 12 8/4/2.5, 15 8/4/3.0, 18 - -
Attack 12 12/4/1.5, 12 12/4/2.0, 15 12/4/2.5, 18 - - -
Attack 16 16/4/1.5, 15 16/4/2.0, 18 - - - -
Attack 20 20/4/1.5, 18 - - - - -
Double armor (2 modules) - for a third armor module, you need Steel
(Each cell:
A/D/M, cost)
Speed 1.5 Speed 2.0 Speed 2.5 Speed 3.0
Attack 0 0/8/1.5, 6 0/8/2.0, 9 0/8/2.5, 12 0/8/3.0, 15
Attack 4 4/8/1.5, 9 4/8/2.0, 12 4/8/2.5, 15 -
Attack 8 8/8/1.5, 12 8/8/2.0, 15 - -
Attack 12 12/8/1.5, 15 - - -
Add both Bronze Working and Horseback Riding
Having stronger modules and more of them in each unit is clearly better if you can manage it before your cities suffer too much predation! See below for details of the sum of the above two advances.
When you research Horseback Riding, your weight limit goes up to 7, with no increase in the cost per module. With that and Bronze Working (usually some time after 3000 BC) you can:
  • keep two armor modules but add two more weapons modules for a (rather common) solid and dangerous early unit worth 18/12, plodding along one tile at a time ("1.5" movement points) and costing 20 material, a good unit for keeping at home if hardened so as to have an even chance of defending against a "green" 18/6 attacker and able to hit it first even if it's on a hill, and to kill an 18/12 if it's on easy ground; it will probably be called a Legion or Hoplite or Musketeer unless you change its name;
  • substitute either or both of the attack modules for half a tile's worth of your new-found attribute "mobility" (with weight and cost the same as a weapons module), i.e. 12/12/2.0 or 6/12/2.5, the latter being a good scout costing 20 resources and usually depicted on a charger;
  • make a faster (usually 3 tiles at a time, one of them a diagonal step, unless in heavy terrain) but riskier version of the above: 6/6/3.5, at risk when exploring but often able to retreat in the same turn if trouble is spotted when there is still another available step; if hardened, it may be able to kill enemy militia; cost 24;
  • make a slow and minimally defended but vicious attacking unit (which may well look like a catapult): 30/6, costing 24 resources

Complete listing:

Minimum armor (1 module)
(Each cell:
A/D/M, cost)
Speed 1.5 Speed 2.0 Speed 2.5 Speed 3.0 Speed 3.5 Speed 4.0
Attack 0 0/6/1.5, 4 0/6/2.0, 8 0/6/2.5, 12 0/6/3.0, 16 0/6/3.5, 20 0/6/4.0, 24
Attack 6 6/6/1.5, 8 6/6/2.0, 12 6/6/2.5, 16 6/6/3.0, 20 6/6/3.5, 24 -
Attack 12 12/6/1.5, 12 12/6/2.0, 16 12/6/2.5, 20 12/6/3.0, 24 - -
Attack 18 18/6/1.5, 16 18/6/2.0, 20 18/6/2.5, 24 - - -
Attack 24 24/6/1.5, 20 24/6/2.0, 24 - - - -
Attack 30 30/6/1.5, 24 - - - - -
Double armor (2 modules)
(Each cell:
A/D/M, cost)
Speed 1.5 Speed 2.0 Speed 2.5 Speed 3.0
Attack 0 0/12/1.5, 8 0/12/2.0, 12 0/12/2.5, 16 0/12/3.0, 20
Attack 6 6/12/1.5, 12 6/12/2.0, 16 6/12/2.5, 20 -
Attack 12 12/12/1.5, 16 12/12/2.0, 20 - -
Attack 18 18/12/1.5, 20 - - -

Greater strength using "overweight units"[]

As soon as you have Bridge Building, a defensive option is the expensive but effective expedient of researching "overweight" units. They cost more to produce (because you pay for extra modules) and to maintain (maintenance 2) and are very restricted in movement except on rails, but their strengths are up to 50% greater than the current standard (because they get an extra weapon allowance and an extra armor allowance), which makes them very valuable once they are built when they can sit in cities that are getting hammered or on hill roads that enemies use for approach.

Once you have Railroad they can even do some useful attacking moves outside cities. If you have Ballistics you can add the artillery feature; you pay a little more for it but they can then pick off enemy ships from the coast or, if road, river, or rail reach enemy cities, ignore city walls when attacking cities.

Iron Working to Gunpowder with extras[]

Once you have a selection of Bronze Working and/or Horseback Riding, if enemies are appearing and giving your units problems, Iron Working and Chivalry will each add to your strengths but add proportionally less to your costs (as each has multiplier 5).

  • if you have meanwhile acquired a preliminary knowledge of Monotheism by trading, finish researching it (before doing Gunpowder if possible) for another 3 strength steps although it takes the cost multiplier to 7 (thus making the additional wait for Gunpowder very good value unless enemies are threatening)

If you can hold out a bit longer, focus on Gunpowder for another 3 strength steps, though regrettably a cost increase to 8, which is disproportionately high unless you have Monotheism. AI nations almost always produce Gunpowder-based units, 48/32/1.5 and 48/16/2.5. However, Gunpowder adds to your naval unit costs, so consider the option of designing naval units with Navigation and ideally also Engineering (for extra capacity) before researching Gunpowder.

(Chivalry and Monotheism should both be sought and accepted in trading. However, don't focus research on them yourself before you have Gunpowder; and maybe not even then, because both need Polytheism, which is often of no use to you at all and should not be accepted in trading unless you can see real value in finishing researching it or you want to help a friend.)

Science opens up more[]

Precursors of Mobile Warfare[]

After you research Science, you may wish to focus on Mobile Warfare, which has militarily important prerequisites:

  1. Explosives (adding 4 to strength and allowing Engineers and canal-building but adding to the cost of new ships)
  2. Tactics (adding 5 to strength and allowing the "Alpine" attribute and the building of a Military Academy to produce elite troops - though with the disadvantage of making air units more expensive).
  3. Steel (allowing a third Armor module and the Eiffel Tower)
  4. Automobile (increasing permissible weight to 10 and enabling Superhighways to increase trade)

Holding back on Mobile Warfare, because for better value-for-money you need Democracy and Radio too, you can design a defensive (and/or marauding) unit with the above four advances with A/D/M numbers 100/75/1.5, for example, but you can replace one of the weapons modules with Artillery to deal with City Walls and ships.

Side dishes[]

If enemies are not too troublesome, go on (before getting Mobile Warfare), for more strength with little or no extra cost, to get one or both of the following (each adding 6 to your strength):

  • Democracy, which needs:
    • Conscription (which needs Republic, but you may have one or both of those already or be able to trade for what you need) and
    • Industrialization (which is almost essential for producing units in large numbers, and which needs Banking, but you may have Banking already or be able to trade for it, and you are likely to make profitable use of it straight away because a Bank in C-evo adds 75% to tax at a cost of only 2)
  • Radio, which needs Electricity (the only prerequisite of the growth-enhancing Refrigeration), which needs Magnetism, which needs Physics (a prerequisite of Flight); if researching it before Mobile Warfare, note that it takes the cost multiplier to 11

Steel and The Lighthouse[]

If you have the Lighthouse and nobody has yet discovered Steel to obsolete it, you could be wise to delay Steel until somebody else discovers it, after which you move as fast as convenient to get Steel (needing Railroad, which lets your Settlers and Engineers improve movement and production) - and build the Eiffel Tower - thereby restoring the functionality of the Lighthouse and any other obsoletable Wonders that you may have now or in future.

While waiting, you may get more ready for the move up the scale of military preparedness by ensuring that you have:

  • Explosives (for 4 more strength points and to produce Engineers instead of Settlers)
  • Combustion Engine (allowing submarines), a prerequisite of Flight (which may be a useful direction in which to move, depending on how close your enemies are).

When you have Steel, you can build better defensive units such as 20/60/1.5 with Explosives or (with Tactics added - though Tactics makes your air units more costly) - an AI favorite - 25/75/1.5. Less cost to build and maintain than what you could get in Overweight units - but if you are still in trouble you can try those with Steel, producing 40/80 or 50/100.

Soon after Steel, though, you want Automobile, because it adds three to the weight quota at no extra cost per module, thus allowing units such as 80/60/1.5 (or 60/60/1.5 with Artillery) with Explosives and allowing 25% stronger units with Tactics added. Get Automobile from a friend or research it yourself using Combustion Engine (a prerequisite of Flight, as mentioned above).


With all of the above, you can have, for example, a relatively superb defensive unit with A/D/M 220/175/1.5 using "Overweight" (subject to its movement restrictions and the double maintenance cost), a normally mobile 176/132/1.5 costing 84, and/or a strong attacking piece 352/44/1.5 costing 108. For an attacking piece you may be wise to have one fewer weapons module so as to include Artillery (needing Ballistics) for ignoring city walls and for attacking ships.

Mass Production leads to further improvements[]

Full list of possible attributes

Much later, when you have (or a cooperative friend has) researched Mass Production, strength will be augmented if you research Composites, The Laser, and Robotics, and finally as many advances in Material Technology as you can manage while not neglecting other profitable advances.

A powerful attack unit you can design before any Material Technology would be 476/68/1.5 with Artillery, costing 135 resources to build (or with Line Production - see below - 270 for the first and 67 each for all immediately following).

Once you have researched Mass Production yourself, you will be able to design units with Line Production, which (without taking up any of the weight quota) gives you all except the first in a row at half the material cost - ideal for combining with your Military Academy. However, you might not use it every time after it becomes available: for example, if you design a superb defensive unit, which all of your scattered cities will want one or two of, ASAP, it should not use Line Production.

See also[]