Saturday, October 24, 2015

Building a Standard Military City

How do you build a good military city? It's probably the most common question that was asked in Night Squires. This is a very short guide to describe the basics. It is NOT a replacement for asking questions in alliance chat.

There are five factors for a good military city: a defendable location, cost reduction buildings, correct resource distribution, matching military sov, mission-specific commander builds.

There is one key to the remaining four factors: PICK YOUR UNIT SPECIALTY BEFORE SETTLING A MILITARY CITY. Before, before, before. Hey, when should you pick your unit specialty? Before you settle the city. Skint, what's in that bag labeled City Units? A delicious cat named BEFORE!

Got it?

Good military players don't mix unit types in a city. Everything is optimized to maximize the effectiveness, production speed, and support cost of a specific unit.


I've already written an extensive guide on how to select a city location for proper defense. A warrior who picks a vulnerable city location can pretty much ignore the remaining points, because they're already dead meat. Non-warriors can probably survive without that, but you never really know if or when a real Illyriad war is going to arrive on your doorstep.


Picking the unit type can be a challenge. Each race has one or two superior units, but big military players rarely build all their cities for the same unit type. Choosing a porfolio is done at the account and the alliance level, and requires careful thought and discussion.

The traditional "best" unit types by race are: dwarven axemen and stalwarts, orcish kobolds and fangs, elven sentinels and trueshots (and possibly marshals), human knights and chariots.

Players might also dedicate a city to diplomatic units; thieves are by far the most common, as they are much more effective in large numbers (10000-30000 in a specialized city is not uncommon, some players have even more).


The unit type you pick will determine the cost reduction building. There is a specific building for military units (spears, bows, cavalry, infantry) and for diplomatic units (saboteurs, thieves, spies, scouts, assassins).

Cost reduction buildings reduce unit costs by -1.5% per level. Each additional building is half as effective as the last one: the second is -0.75%/level, the third is -0.375% per level, and so forth. Most military-focused cities will have two high level cost reduction buildings, and possibly a third mid-level cost reduction building.

Archers Field: 135 wood, 55 iron
Cavalry Parade Ground: 55 wood, 135 clay
Infantry Quarters: 135 stone, 55 iron
Spearmen Billets: 135 clay, 55 iron

Assassins Abode: 155 iron, 95 stone
Saboteur Sanctuary: 135 wood, 75 clay
Scout Lookout: 35 wood, 75 clay
Spies Hideout: 35 wood, 55 clay, 55 stone
Thieves Den: 85 wood, 55 clay, 85 stone


Cost reducers consume basic resources at an impressive hourly rate. Therefore, it is important for the city location to have 5 resource plots in the major and minor resources consumed.

People will tell you that a 3 plot is acceptable for the minor resource. I will tell you right now, I've hit the limit doing that, and it is very frustrating. Just don't do it. A military-focused player will push their taxes, sovereignty, and cost reducers to the maximum, and you don't want an artificial barrier to optimization. Even tournament-only players will want to ramp production to very high levels during tournaments.

5 plots for the major and minor resources, period, The End.


Sovereignty is used to increase the resource, unit, or item production of a city.  Mature cities will claim up to 20 sovereignty squares. Sovereignty (or "sov") costs 100 gold and 10 research points, per level, per hour, multiplied by the distance from the city. If you turn sovereignty on in the Tactical Map, you will see a circle around most larger cities. That's their sov. Typically sov claims are limited by the library's maximum research points per hour, adjusted downwards for 50-65% taxes.

A city focused on size will want several nearby squares in the 10-20 food range. Just be aware that using sovereignty for food sov will cut into the claims for military unit production. A bigger city will be able to support a larger standing army, but a military-focused city will outproduce it considerably when making replacement troops (which is what really counts in a war).

A military-focused city typically uses 16-20 sov squares for military units. Each level of a boosting structure gives +5% to unit production, plus any bonuses from the underlying square. Military cities usually have 8x Sov III immediately around the city, and 12x Sov II outside that. This will provide about +240% to unit production for the selected type.

Military sovereignty also consumes basic resources per hour, per level, of stone/iron/wood/clay. The rates are: 150 (I), 300 (II), 600 (III), 1200 (IV), 2400 (V). Production sovereignty competes for basic resources with the cost reduction buildings, which is why you need the overhead of 5 plots per major and minor resource. At 50-65% taxes, you will begin to strain basic resource production, even with every resource plot at Level 20.

A smart player looks for city locations that have nearby bonus tiles for their selected unit type. A +2% tile will give you 7% per level (5% base + 2% bonus), making it 40% better than a regular tile, for the exact same cost. It is common to have 3-5 bonus tiles at a good location, but the map has zones where entire areas are +3% for a specific unit. For example, deserts and snow plains are both spear production heaven.

In practice, even a military player will mix cities for size and pure production speed. It is also common practice to have 1-3 big food boost tiles near a military city, to increase the size without sacrificing too much unit production sov. It's a fine balance, and should be discussed thoroughly prior to settling a city.


Commanders are optimized to support the troops in a particular city. Since I've also written an article about this topic, I don't feel the need to repeat it here. Look it up, and memorize those rules. I can't tell you how many times I've seen armies of 25000+ units led by a badly built commander. Don't be that guy.

But Skint, you say, I've got this yeoman commander from when I first started, and he's level 3297! Yeah, so here's the thing, your commander is lame and needs to be killed. Don't keep lame commanders around, or you'll just get attached, and keep making a dumb investment in a military dead end. Retire him, and imagine him happily quaffing a beer in the local tavern, but don't keep wasting your time.


This article describes the basic approach of a 7-food military city on a plains square. That is the standard configuration of 95% of troop-producing cities in Illyriad. The astute will immediately notice that many recognizable warriors in SIN and other military alliances have built cities that vary considerably from the basic template. More complex builds will be discussed in an upcoming article, particularly 5/5/5/5/5 cities, and 6/4 cities on 5 food squares. These cities are built to push the limits of troop production sovereignty, but the devil is in the details. Those builds are not recommended as a template for brand new military players.


It's easy to build a basic military city. Follow these basic rules, ask questions about potential settlement locations, and be patient. Don't take shortcuts; once you place a city, all your problems are 1000x more expensive to correct. Do it right, do it once. Until next time:

Misbehave, everyone. Kill lots of stuff.

<^^^^^^^^||==O    Skint Jagblade

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