Im still very new to the game and I know it "depends". But lets say for Instance in an Archipelago Map (which is what im playing now). Im playing on easy still but shooting for a Scientific or Domination victory.

Is there a good Guideline to how many Military Units I should have per city? Like Melee/Ranged?

i've heard 1 of each per city, but I also have heard up to 4 per city.

Any thoughts?


  • What do you mean by 'have per city'? Defending the city territory? Fortified inside the city? Built by the city? Commented Aug 29, 2013 at 0:59
  • 1
    When you say 'easy' do you mean settler, chieftain or warlord?
    – shanodin
    Commented Aug 29, 2013 at 4:51

3 Answers 3


Most games I will have roughly 1-2 units per city when I don't expect to declare war, located near the border of the civs I expect might declare war on me, dependent on tech level and whether I went for tradition (tradition means up to 1 more unit per city due to no upkeep).

When I begin plans to attack, that increases to around 2.5 units per city, and I use about 80 percent of my units during the war keeping the others at home.

In general with regards to ranged versus melee, you should frequently build 3-4 melee total, and have everyone else be ranged. Melee is inferior in civ5, its mostly for taking cities and hit/run with cavalry. Build more melee when you have tech advantage or a UU, but you will virtually always want 50+ percent of your army to be ranged.

I play on king/emperor, but tactics transfer well down difficulties.

  • 1
    what is a 'UU'?
    – FlipMcF
    Commented Aug 29, 2013 at 21:21
  • A unique unit. UA is unique ability, and UB is unique building
    – Lawton
    Commented Aug 29, 2013 at 22:20
  • Be carefull with your melee units, during the course of a war (especially a conquest one) you may find yourself short of melee units, and so not capable to capture ennemi cities. I usually put one or two cities ready to re-build lost melee units, just for this. Commented Aug 29, 2013 at 22:23

If you are going to war i would say a few more.It also depends on what unit it is. if most people still have pikemen etc. One rifleman per city would be fine. If you would have something like a gatling gun defending your city i would recommend having one infantry unit back it up


Your military score will take tech level into account which means if you are more advanced you can afford a smaller standing army. The archipelago map gives you further safety if you build enough naval units to alert you of an invasion. Plus the AI won't be able to invade from every direction until Navigation.

Keep in mind that you can use your army to hunt barbarians and collect ruins as long as they don't stray too far away. And more advanced units can easily take out many older units if used in groups.

With this in mind, you should be fine with one per city max. Even at King and Emperor it isn't until mid game that I build a larger Army. This is the point where I'm comfortable switching to aggression. Of course a) you can do well being aggressive earlier (I tend to wait until I am assured of victory) and b) at easier levels the AI doesn't put up that much of a fight.

Oh, and in the end "it depends."

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