|"Gainst us their shields an hundred thousand bore,
That laced helms and shining hauberks wore;
And, bolt upright, their bright brown spearheads shone...."
—Chanson of Roland
Spearmen are the backbone of your armies. Amongst all Dark Age infantry, they are the hardest-hitting, and are also endowed with lots of armour and HP. Make no mistake, however, as they easily overtaken by missile units — in particular by cavalry archers and skirmishers, and in some cases can be outflanked by faster-moving light infantry. Nevertheless, their proficiency with a spear and their endurance means that they are adept at taking out cavalry, and if used en masse, can win almost every melee engagement. Thus, while spearmen can be an awesome force to reckon with when coupled with forced marching, they do require someone to take out archers (and in some cases, siege weapons).
Spearmen, however, are extremely costly — they have the biggest appetites for food, and they demand the highest quality of arms and armour, amongst all other infantry types, and some may prefer to use light infantry, which performs well against all other units save heavy infantry and cavalry. Still, their military prowess on the Dark Age battlefield is unrivalled, save by lancers, which having greater speed and LOS can lay down some serious damage in a fight, but in many cases, they are not the only units to be found on the battlefield to fill this role. A highly strataed social structure such as those in Alba, Japan and the Welsh states in Europe have yielded access to a warrior elite of exceptional skill, and the cheiftains who dominate the Welsh highlands are fearsome foes who have mastered the art of guerilla warfare.
- Indomitable — Spearmen's combat proficiency and endurance render them effective for counter-cavalry and melee infantry supremacy work.
- Amongst all other infantry types, Spearmen have the highest cost in resources, so you might wish to supplement them with light infantry.
- Spearmen are most effective but only as either purely defensive or offensive units, due to their speed. This also makes them vulnerable against more versatile units, such as missile infantry and cavalry, which can easily take them apart or massed light infantry.
- Shōen Retainers — These Japanese unique spear units are instead salaried with more food as opposed to metal. While this may seem like a handicap, it in fact makes them very cheap in later stages of the game, helped by their being able to be spawned from the Barracks for free once completed.
- Mental Tartan — Far to the north of Britannia rule the Scots. Their Cliarthaire, while somewhat slow on foot, are highly proficient with the spear, making them the bane of cavalry.
- Ratnici —
- Kontaratoi — Byzantine Kontaratoi have a cost structure that substitutes Timber for Metal and come into play one Age earlier, but cannot be upgraded.
- 'Rhehel —
The first few centuries of the post-Roman era were highly turbulent times for many communities throughout Europe, which often found themselves at the mercy of several different enemies, and it was thus natural that sooner or later a body of chosen men would be required to supply the strong arms which was needed to ensure survival. A man armed with a spear could defeat many attacking warriors without getting hurt himself.
Mediaeval communites (especially the larger towns and free cities of the High Middle Ages) learned to employ large formations of spearmen, usually clad in some semblance of armour, as a counter to heavy cavalry attacks because horses would not charge home against a bristling wall of spear points. Spearmen were originally deployed in a defensive posture, but the best of the spearman armies, such as the Swiss, Scots, and Flemish, learned to maneuver and take the offensive. From the spear, the pike was developed. The pike was a longer spear with different iron tips for different situations.