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Besides differences in stats, here are the underlying differences:
- Weapon is considered to be an axe by the game engine
- "Axe" weapons have armor-piercing attribute (enemy's armor is reduced by half in combat calculations)
- No special bonus vs. cavalry.
- No special formation
- Carries "long spear"
- Long spears have +8 bonus vs cavalry, and slight penalty vs. infantry
- Long spears have a defense bonus against cavalry charges when the spearmen unit is in bracing (standing still) mode. That's why spearmen should stand still and take cavalry charges, whereas billmen should counter-charge against cavalry.
- Schilitron special formation
- Pike combat mechanics
- Spear wall formation
- High "mass" stat (mass is the stat that affects how well a unit charges and resist charges). High mass is why pikemen don't go flying when hit by cavalry, even when spear wall is disabled or when charged at their flank.
Last edited by Aeratus; February 23, 2013 at 10:33 PM.
Well Billmen sometimes are easier to get ahold of versus other heavy infantry and are a good substitute if you have no other choice. Their main purpose as infantry should not be as front line infantry like spearmen or dismounted fuedal knights, but as flanking infantry (similar to any other 2h heavy infantry). They're especially good at flanking and killing other more defensive heavy infantry such as fuedal knights because of their armor piercing weapons.
I tend to hold the front line of the AI with spearmen or fuedal knights if I have them and flank with billmen and cavalry depending on the situation.
Furthermore, there is the tactic of using one pike unit with guard mode enabled, and using a second pike unit (with guard mode disabled) standing directly behind it. The first unit stops the enemy charge, then you turn off guard mode and order them to attack - the first unit will be disrupted, but will allow for the second unit to maintain their formation and march straight through the enemy, skewering them as they go.
All in all, you should turn guard mode off if you want to use pikemen for anything other than stopping enemy charges.
Use spearmen for clashing with enemy infantry, and then send your Billmen around the enemy flanks to attack them from the sides or rear - once they are in melee they can perform effective attacks, but you must ensure that the enemy is distracted. This makes them good for inflicting heavy casualties in a short period of time, demoralizing the enemy and hopefully breaking them into rout. They can also be sent into the fray directly after some spearmen or some other line infantry - when they mix up, with the defensive infantry holding their flanks, they can inflict some heavy casualties as well.
They do suffer from the two-hander bug, though, which is what makes them ineffective in regular combat.
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It's an animation problem. Their animation is so slow that they actually deal much less damage than they are supposed to do.
I don't think the bug was really fixed in kingdoms. 2h units were just given a higher attack value to make up for it. So 2h's are "balanced" rather than fixed if that makes any sense.
Last edited by Vampiresbane; February 26, 2013 at 10:16 AM.