An archaic unit, the Pikeman have low attack but high siege damage and large multipliers against cavalry. Despite having more speed than most infantry, they are not fast enough to pursue cavalry and are best used to defend against cavalry attacks. They can be countered by ranged infantry and artillery. In the Colonial Age they are useful for destroying buildings since most civilizations lack artillery at that stage.
Pikeman are useful as a front line defense for ranged units to position behind. Using them with Crossbowman is an effective combo early in the game as they can take out infantry at long range while the Pikemen defeat any cavalry that get too close. This tactic is, however, vulnerable to artillery and anti-infantry, and they should be escorted with cavalry. Settlers/Villagers can actually defeat unupgraded Pikemen in a duel, due to the fact that Pikemen are only effective against cavalry and buildings.
Spanish players have the option of being able to almost instantly (2.7 seconds) train Crossbowmen and Pikemen in the Colonial Age, due to the TEAM Archaic Soldier Training and Fencing School cards. If Standing Army from the Church is used, Pikemen and Crossbowmen can be created instantly.
"Pikemen fought in very tight formations that maximized the danger to enemies as they approached. The front rank would set their pikes against a cavalry charge, placing the butt of the staff against the ground, braced by the instep of their back foot, with the tip raised up at an angle. The rank standing just behind the first would hold their pikes straight out at about shoulder height to add still more stabbing spearheads. As firearms developed, they were integrated into units of pikemen. By the mid-seventeenth century an infantry regiment might be composed of two-thirds musketeers and a third pikemen. Eventually firearms with mounted bayonets came to replace pikes, which were little seen or used after the nineteenth century.
A typical pike was a 10- to almost 20-foot spear-like wooden staff with a steel or iron spear point. Some pikemen also carried swords and axes to attack any enemies who survived the deadly bristling of pike formation. They wore helmets, and sometimes breastplates, to defend themselves against attacks."