|“||Quick and cheap to create.||”|
|—Excerpt from Militia definition.|
The most basic of all military units in the series, the Infantry class consists of foot soldiers, primarily melee based, who specialize in weapons such as swords, spears, and axes. They hold a natural predominance against buildings and most infantry units gain an attack bonus against them. Along with their quick creation speed, they are efficient building destroyers in early Ages. They also are the cheapest military unit branch. However, in general they are inferior to archers, cavalry, and siege weapons.
Age of Empires
- Main article: Infantry units (Age of Empires)
There are three lines of Infantry in Age of Empires: the Clubman and Short Swordsman lines, available from the Barracks, and the Hoplite line, available from the Academy. These units benefit from being easy to create large groups of, both due to their relatively low costs and the technology Logistics, which causes two Barracks units to cost a single population space. However, their low speed makes them vulnerable to archers.
- Choson: Short/Broad/Long Swordsmen and Legion have HP respectively. Clubman and Axeman have +5 Hit points.
- Greeks: Academy units have +30% speed
- Macedonians: Academy units have +1/+2 pierce armor in the Bronze/Iron Age. Melee units have +2 line of sight. Units are 4 times more resistant to conversion.
- Romans: Swordsmen attack +33% faster.
Age of Empires II
- Main article: Infantry units (Age of Empires II)
The two main lines of infantry in Age of Empires II are the Militia and Spearman lines, both of which are created at the Barracks. Additionally, there is the Eagle Scout line, which is exclusive to American civilizations, and thirteen infantry unique units, which are typically built at the Castle.
The vast majority of infantry units cost both food and gold, with the main exception being the Spearman line, which costs food and wood instead. Typically, they cost much less than their cavalry counterparts, which helps compensate for lower overall stats and speed.
Typically, infantry units are not used in most rushing strategies, where the role of raiding and destroying enemies is better filled by ranged and cavalry units. However, infantry units have a few strong areas. For one, they are typically very cost-effective counters to other units, with the Militia line being an effective low-gold cost counter to trash units and the Spearman line being a highly effective counter to cavalry units. Even many of the infantry unique units are excellent at countering certain kinds of units. In contrast, there is no cheap and effective counter for infantry in general, even though many units may fare well against them. Therefore, infantry can play a strong supporting role in defending other units against their counters, or can become a powerful late-game option even when gold starts to become scarce.
Though not as vulnerable to counters as archers and cavalry, certain units deal bonus damage against infantry units. Notable examples include the Hand Cannoneer, Jaguar Warrior, Slinger, and Cataphract. That being said, the only relatively common strong infantry-counter unit is the Hand Cannoneer, which itself is only available to 19 of the game's 37 civilizations. Other civilizations are better off either relying on archers (such as the Britons and Mayans), anti-infantry siege units (such as the Ethiopians and Celts), or their own powerful infantry (such as the Aztecs and Vikings).
The following civilizations have bonuses that benefit infantry units:
- Aztecs: Infantry are created faster.
- Bulgarians: Militia-line units are upgraded for free; Blacksmith technologies that benefit infantry cost 50% less food.
- Burmese: Infantry units have +1/+2/+3 attack in the Feudal/Castle/Imperial Age, and Monastery technologies that affect infantry are 50% cheaper.
- Byzantines: Spearman line units are 25% cheaper.
- Celts: Infantry move 15% faster .
- Chinese: Technologies that benefit infantry are 10%/15%/20% cheaper in the Feudal/Castle/Imperial Age.
- Ethiopians: The Pikeman upgrade is free.
- Goths: Infantry are 20%/25%/30%/35% cheaper in the Dark/Feudal/Castle/Imperial Age and get +1/+2/+3 attack against Standard Buildings in the Feudal/Castle/Imperial Age.
- Japanese: Infantry attack faster (starting in the Feudal Age).
- Koreans: Spearman-line units cost less wood.
- Lithuanians: Spearman-line units move 10% faster.
- Malians: Barracks units have +1/+2/+3 pierce armor in the Feudal/Castle/Imperial Age.
- Magyars: Forging, Iron Casting, and Blast Furnace are free.
- Portuguese: Infantry units cost less gold; Technologies that benefit infantry are researched 30% faster.
- Sicilians: Infantry receive 50% less bonus damage.
- Slavs: Supplies is free.
- Spanish: Blacksmith technologies that affect infantry cost no gold.
- Tatars: Infantry deal +25% damage when attacking from hills.
- Teutons: Barracks units get +1/+2 melee armor in the Castle/Imperial Age.
- Vietnamese: Conscription is free.
- Vikings: Infantry units have +10%/+15%/+20% HP in the Feudal/Castle/Imperial Age.
Age of Mythology
- Main article: Infantry units (Age of Mythology)
Age of Empires III
- Main article: Infantry (tag)
The traditional split between archers and regular infantry became less important in the age of gunpowder. As such, the only true infantry units that feature in the game are Doppelsoldners, Halberdiers, Pikemen, and Rodeleros. With a few exceptions, ranged infantry is using gunpowder weapons.
Infantry units are split into heavy infantry, Foot Archers, Rifle Infantry or Siege units that are also Infantry. Heavy infantry (Musketeers, Pikemen, Halberdiers, swordsmen) are good against cavalry, while Foot Archers and Rifle Infantry are good against heavy infantry, and siege units that are also infantry are good against buildings.
- In Age of Empires II, the Incas are the only civilization with a complete infantry technology tree.