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Units both offer mobility to your civilization and supply the violence with which it will survive and expand. The available units may be classified as military units, whose talents are those of defense and aggression, and a few noncombatants which support expansion (explorers, settlers, workers, and engineers), diplomacy (the diplomat and spy), and trade (caravans and freight).

The support of your units will be one of your major expenses. Each unit requires one production point per turn, and settlers — the units derived from citizens — also require one or two food points per turn depending on your form of government. Note that autocratic governments force cities to support several units for free, which can save production points for other uses.

Under representative governments, aggressive units standing outside your borders each cause one or two workers to become unhappy. This makes war quite expensive under representative government, since production points are required to support each unit and luxury points must be produced to mollify the citizenry.


Units begin every turn with one or more movement points, depending upon their natural mobility — shown for each unit in the catalogue below — reduced, for damaged land and sea units, in proportion to the extent of their damage. Movement points not consumed by the end of the turn are lost and cannot be stored or transfered. Sea units gain extra movement points if their civilization possesses the Lighthouse, Magellan's expedition, or nuclear power.

Every action undertaken by a unit consumes movement points. This manual describes each action in the section where it is most relevant; see the index for the full list of actions. Actions require one movement point unless otherwise noted.

The most basic action is movement. Units can move into any of the eight surrounding squares under fairly obvious constraints: land units are confined to land and transport vessels; ships are confined to ocean squares and port cities (which are thus the only cities that can build them); and aircraft ignore terrain, though they must often end their turn where they can refuel — see the description of each unit for specific restrictions. Moving one square usually consumes one movement point, and units can always move one square regardless of their wounds. Rough terrain, however, can be more costly for land units as detailed in the terrain catalogue, and land units disembarking from ships lose all remaining movement points.

Enemy units impose zones of control, such that military units, settlers, and engineers cannot move between squares adjacent to enemy units without retreating into unthreatened territory first, unless the square they enter already holds a friendly city or unit, or the unit is one that ignores zones of control. Note also that land units can embark and disembark from transports whenever the transport is adjacent to land or another transport — this does not require ports or other facilities.

Land units can move instantly between airports in friendly cities with the airlift action. An airport can participate in only one airlift per turn.

Unit CatalogueEdit

Several schemes are possible for organizing the variety of units available in Freeciv. This manual arranges them chronologically: each of the eras in the following table groups units which require similar numbers of advances before they can be built. While the eras have been given picturesque names to suggest the periods of history to which they correspond, the choice of which units were arranged together was determined strictly by their technological cost.

About a half-dozen attributes define each unit in the following table. The Cost specifies how many production points a city must invest to build one unit. Next comes M the number of movement points the unit is granted each turn, followed by C the number of other units that the unit can carry (called its capacity). The combat statistics A attack strength, D defense strength, HP hit points, and FP firepower are all explained in the section describing combat.

Bronze ageEdit

U.settlers.trident Settlers cost:40 M:1

A:0 D:1 HP:10 FP:1

U.warriors.trident Warriors cost:10 M:1

A:1 D:1 HP:10 FP:1

Expansion and primitive warfare require no technology. Settlers can not only found new cities, but improve land and build roads.

U.worker.trident Workers cost:30 M:1

A:0 D:1 HP:10 FP:1

U.horsemen.trident Horsemen cost:20 M:2

A:2 D:1 HP:10 FP:1

U.archers.trident Archers cost:30 M:1

A:3 D:2 HP:10 FP:1

U.phalanx.trident Phalanx cost:20 M:1

A:1 D:2 HP:10 FP:1

These four units require only one technology each. Workers can improve land but cannot build cities. Horsemen, Archers and Phalanx provide mobile offense, heavy offense, and heavy defense, respectively.

Iron AgeEdit

U.trireme.trident Trireme cost:40 M:3 C:2

A:1 D:1 HP:10 FP:1

This simple transport must end each turn near shore or suffer a 50% chance of sinking. (Glacier terrain does not count as "shore" for this purpose.) This risk is reduced with increasing veterancy (Veteran: 25%; Hardened: 5%; Elite: 0%). It is also reduced (but not eliminated) by the advances Seafaring and Navigation.

U.chariot.trident Chariot cost:30 M:2

A:3 D:1 HP:10 FP:1

U.catapult.trident Catapult cost:40 M:1

A:6 D:1 HP:10 FP:1

U.legion.trident Legion cost:40 M:1

A:4 D:2 HP:10 FP:1

A second tier of more expensive and capable units becomes available. Attack strength outpaces defense strength, making defense difficult outside of walled cities.

U.diplomat.trident Diplomat cost:30 M:2

A:0 D:0 HP:10 FP:1

Besides building an embassy, your diplomat can attempt to bribe or incite rebellion, and perform espionage and sabotage; see Diplomacy.

Age of ExplorationEdit

U.explorer.trident Explorer cost:30 M:1

A:0 D:1 HP:10 FP:1

Because explorers treat all terrain as roads, each move expends only one third of their one point. Caravan cost:50 M:1

A:0 D:1 HP:10 FP:1

Each caravan can enhance trade by creating a trade route, or can carry production points to contribute toward a Wonder.

U.pikemen.trident Pikemen cost:20 M:1

A:1 D:2 HP:10 FP:1

Obsoletes Warriors, Phalanx

U.knights.trident Knights cost:40 M:2

A:4 D:2 HP:10 FP:1

Obsoletes Horsemen, Chariot

Both feudalism and chivalry advance military organization and make most Bronze Age units obsolete. Pikemen are similar to the phalanx but are doubly effective against horsemen, chariots, knights, and dragoons.

U.caravel.trident Caravel cost:40 M:3 C:3

A:2 D:1 HP:10 FP:1

Obsoletes Trireme

The caravel offers greater capacity than the trireme and does not need to remain near shore.

Age of GunpowderEdit

U.galleon.trident Galleon cost:40 M:4 C:4

A:0 D:2 HP:20 FP:1

Obsoletes Caravel

U.frigate.trident Frigate cost:50 M:4 C:2

A:4 D:2 HP:20 FP:1

U.ironclad.trident Ironclad cost:60 M:4

A:4 D:4 HP:30 FP:1

Obsoletes Frigate

Magnetism replaces the caravel with two ships: the high capacity galleon and the heavily armed frigate. The steam engine offers the even more specialized ironclad warship.

U.musketeers.trident Musketeers cost:30 M:1

A:3 D:3 HP:20 FP:1

Obsoletes Archers, Legion, Pikemen

U.dragoons.trident Dragoons cost:50 M:2

A:5 D:2 HP:20 FP:1

Obsoletes Knights

U.cannon.trident Cannon cost:40 M:1

A:8 D:1 HP:20 FP:1

Obsoletes Catapult

The advent of gunpowder and the advances which follow make all earlier combat units obsolete. Since this advance does not require feudalism, the medieval units may be skipped by those eager to reach powder. The new units follow roughly the bronze age pattern of heavy defense, mobile offense, and heavy offense, except that musketeers are really as strong attacking as defending.

U.engineers.trident Engineers cost:40 M:2

A:0 D:2 HP:20 FP:1

Obsoletes Workers

Engineers work twice as fast as workers or settlers and offer more ways in which land can be transformed.

The Industrial AgeEdit

U.transport.trident Transport cost:50 M:5 C:8

A:0 D:3 HP:30 FP:1

Obsoletes Galleon

U.destroyer.trident Destroyer cost:60 M:6

A:4 D:4 HP:30 FP:1

Obsoletes Ironclad

Both the transport and warship are replaced by more powerful versions. These and all later ships can see two squares away rather than one.

U.riflemen.trident Riflemen cost:40 M:1

A:5 D:4 HP:20 FP:1

Obsoletes Musketeers

U.cavalry.trident Cavalry cost:60 M:2

A:8 D:3 HP:20 FP:1

Obsoletes Dragoons

Rifles give foot soldiers greater attack than defense strength for the first time since the ancient legions. Cavalry are simply an improvement over dragoons.

U.alpine troops.trident Alpine Troops cost:50 M:1

A:5 D:5 HP:20 FP:1

Like explorers, alpine troops expend only one-third of a movement point to move one square. Beware that attacking with only a partial movement remaining reduces your attack strength to that fraction of its normal value.

U.freight.trident Freight cost:50 M:2

A:0 D:1 HP:10 FP:1

Obsoletes Caravan

U.spy.trident Spy cost:30 M:3

A:0 D:0 HP:10 FP:1

Obsoletes Diplomat

Both trade and diplomacy gain mobility. Spies are capable of more actions than diplomats; can be given more precise orders; and often survive and can be reused.

Modern TechnologyEdit

U.cruiser.trident Cruiser cost:80 M:5

A:6 D:6 HP:30 FP:2

U.battleship.trident Battleship cost:160 M:4

A:12 D:12 HP:40 FP:2

Two new warships offer less mobility but vastly enhanced firepower.

U.submarine.trident Submarine cost:50 M:5 C:8

A:15 D:2 HP:30 FP:2

The submarine compensates for its weak defense by stealth — the ship is invisible to any units that are not immediately adjacent. Unlike other ships it cannot attack land units, and can only carry missiles.

U.marines.trident Marines cost:60 M:1

A:8 D:5 HP:20 FP:1

Not only are marines powerful troops, but they are the only land units that can attack directly from ships (instead of having to move onto land first).

U.partisan.trident Partisan cost:50 M:1

A:4 D:4 HP:20 FP:1

Obsoletes Explorer

The partisan behaves like an armed explorer, treating all terrain as roads and thus requiring only one-third movement point to move one square. Some cities will generate them when conquered (see details page). Remember that they are weakened when attacking with less than a full movement point.

U.artillery.trident Artillery cost:50 M:1

A:10 D:1 HP:20 FP:2

Obsoletes Cannon

Bombardment continues its steady advance.

U.fighter.trident Fighter cost:60 M:10

A:4 D:3 HP:20 FP:2

With flight, combat takes to the air. While aircraft can attack ground units, they can themselves be engaged only by other aircraft, and cannot enter and take undefended enemy cities. Fighters need fuel to avoid crashing and thus must end every turn in a city, on a carrier or an airbase.

High TechnologyEdit

U.aegis cruiser.trident AEGIS Cruiser cost:100 M:5

A:8 D:8 HP:30 FP:2

Obsoletes Cruiser

U.carrier.trident Carrier cost:160 M:5

A:1 D:9 HP:40 FP:2

The defense strength of the AEGIS cruiser is raised by 5 when attacked by an aircraft or missile. While transports can carry only land units, the carrier may bear only aircraft.

U.armor.trident Armor cost:80 M:3

A:10 D:5 HP:30 FP:1

Obsoletes Cavalry

U.mech inf.trident Mech. Inf. cost:50 M:3

A:6 D:6 HP:30 FP:1

U.howitzer.trident Howitzer cost:70 M:2

A:12 D:2 HP:30 FP:2

Obsoletes Artillery

U.paratroopers.trident Paratroopers cost:60 move:1

A:6 D:4 HP:20 FP:1

The final generation of ground forces offers the familiar choice between heavy attack strength and defense capability. When attacking units within cities, the howitzer negates any defense advantage that would be offered by city walls. Paratroopers can be paradropped from friendly cities allowing long range actions; they have a range of 10 squares, and may move immediately after being paradropped.

U.helicopter.trident Helicopter cost:100 M:6

A:10 D:3 HP:20 FP:2

Unlike other airborne units, the helicopter can conquer an undefended enemy city like a land unit. Like bombers they expend all their remaining movement points when they attack an enemy target. Though they do not crash for ending their turn outside a friendly city, it does cause two hit points of damage.

U.bomber.trident Bomber cost:120 M:8

A:12 D:1 HP:20 FP:2

U.awacs.trident AWACS cost:140 move:16

A:0 D:1 HP:20 FP:1

Bombers can end one turn aloft before returning to a city, carrier, or airbase to refuel. They can make only one attack each turn which expends all their remaining movement points, stranding them until their next turn when to survive they must return to refuel. AWACS offers greatly enlarged vision.

U.nuclear.trident Nuclear cost:160 M:16

A:99 D:0 HP:10 FP:1 missile.trident Cruise Missile cost:60 M:12

A:18 D:0 HP:10 FP:3

To survive, missiles must end each turn in a city or upon a carrier, submarine or airbase. They are always destroyed when they finally attack. The effects of a nuclear missile are described here. (Beware of nuclear winter when using nukes.)

The Space AgeEdit

U.stealth bomber.trident Stealth Bomber cost:160 M:12

A:18 D:5 HP:20 FP:2

Obsoletes Bomber

U.stealth fighter.trident Stealth Fighter cost:80 M:14

A:8 D:4 HP:20 FP:2

Obsoletes Fighter

The final military advances produce stealth aircraft. They offer greater strength and longer range than the aircraft they replace, and are invisible to enemy units except when in an adjacent square.

Next: Combat

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