Alright, I tried to post this two days ago but had to wait for my probationary 24 hours to expire. This time I'll make it short and sweet.
Playing French long campaign. I wanted to ask first when the Flemish and Swiss Pikemen mercenary units will become available to hire, and in which regions might I find them? Anyone hired these before? Judging by their stat sheets, they're pretty awesome units and seem well worth the expenditure.
On the other hand, my second question: can someone help me figure out how to use the Voulgier properly? I've used them against cavalry mainly, since they have polearms or whatever, but no matter how I use them it seems they always get trashed by the opposition. Should these be employed against heavy infantry instead to make use of their armor piercing abilities? I've long since abandoned recruiting them and rely mainly upon Sergeant Spearmen, who are all-around solid as anti-cavalry protection for my other infantry, and who can melee fairly well, too. And I'm hesitant to recruit the Pikemen unit that's one step above Voulgier in castle settlements because they seem far inferior to the Flemish and Swiss Pikemen I mentioned above. (Besides, this frees me up to train and armour up the most advanced crossbow and cavalry units instead)
I don't know the exact regions for the mercenaries, but they're near the France territories. If I had to guess, start checking the South-East starting territories. I haven't tried to recruit them myself.
Voulgier militias are better in a melee fight than Pikemen, but considering their relatively short polearms, they will quickly go melee with an enemy they'll most likely lose against if it's anything better than a simple spear militia unit. Upgrading their armour is a good way to improve their staying power in battle. Their spear wall will do considerably damage to cavalry that charges them, but you'll lose a considerable amount of men as well to the charge.
Pikemen are incredible anti-cavalry units. The pike unit you can recruit in castle settlements are no exception to the rule. They neutralize most cavalry charges they get thrown at with a simple spearwall formation. Only the most sturdiest of cavalry units can entirely break the formation. If it's broken, they will lose in a prolonged melee fight (due to their lack of armour), so keeping the enemy at bay with their very long spears is in your best interest. Good at keeping infantry occupied. Keep the spears out and down.
It's your choice whether you choose to go for mercenaries or for castle pikemen. Mercenaries have somewhat better stats, castle pikemen can be mass produced, quickly retrained and upgraded.
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