Are units costing wood really bad?

I see a lot of people talking about how bad it is for a unit to cost wood. Usually a unit costs either food and wood, or food and coin. So players generally believe that wood costing unit is worse than coin costing units. Because wood is collected slower.

However from experience coin source is much more likely to run out, in mid game. It also requires more map controls. Wood is abundant and never deplete pretty much.

The raw gather rate for coin is 0.6, 20% faster than wood. It is not huge but a decent amount. However when mines start to run out, it is very expensive to transition to estate as each estate is 600w each, collected much slower at 0.35 per sec, it takes 3 very expensive upgrades to get to the base gather rate of wood. It is just really bad, at this stage wood unit is much more spamable than coin units.

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yeah you have a point with the situation when coin is running out, but most of the time (depending on the map ofc) you will be industrial age then, so you can switch your factories to wood and transition easier. But i think the most important argument (besides the gatherrate) is overall resource management. You need tons of food and coin all the time: for age ups and the majority of the units… and they need to be replaced constantly - wood is more of a onetime investment thing: buildings and upgrades … so u dont need to replace it often. Having units only cost food and coin makes you more flexible… you split your villagers (mostly) between two resources instead of 3.
For example:
a french player builds dragoons → enemy makes heavy inf → french player goes skirms. no problem.

a british player builds dragoons → enemy makes heavy inf → british player goes longbows. runs out of wood quick, because he has less villagers collecting it.

Overall i think its really dependent on the civ and situation and i dont think wood is terrible. for example strelets have a really low wood price, so it doesnt matter much. Also german landwehr is nice, because it makes the (insanely expensive) german army less dependent on coinmines

20% is pretty big - that is the effects of 1-2 market upgrades, so imagine getting 2 techs for free from just switching resources. Not to mention its the base difference so any subsequent tech stacks

in the early game that alone makes for a pretty big difference in what you are able to build or age up.

and by the time the mines runs out in a normal game, as the the other commenter said, you are likely to be in industrial already, and you can have factories or other sources that would allow you to continue to spam units

2 more points

  • by the time the mines runs out, you are also likely to have teched up your units, so if you transition to non-coin unit now, you would also have to spend extra resources to allow them to fight, putting you at a disadvantage
  • not many civs have wood costing units that are viable in the late game and those that do already integrate wood into their strategy, like russia with strelet and china if you have dynasty reforms. So even if you have plenty of wood on the map, collecting them isnt worth it if your unit dies anyway
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I’m mostly talking about Brit’s. After game I feel longbow actually easier to spam than skirm. In long run. I played some skirm civs, then brits. I have that feeling

Oh brits, if so then yeah going wood is totally viable. They already go wood heavy for manor booms and with just a bit of gold gathering you can go goon or musk for anti cav support.

But you will need to FF i think, since you want anti cav and better to get goons since you save on upgrade cost and it doesnt make out of the same building

You’re right, but units costing wood means you can’t have a self contained economy as there are plantations for cash crops and mills for food.

Now here’s an interesting datam: the musketeer
It’s expensive in the early ages since it costs a whole 75 food and 25 coin, because you need a lot of food for getting for aging up and coin is valuable for it as well. But in later ages Pikemen become more expensive despite being so low in overall cost, your local wood supply isn’t safe so it won’t be coming in as fast not to mention it you need a lot of wood for upgrades and farming. But at that point a musketeer is pretty cheap as you’ve probably got a lot of settlers on food and 25 coin is minuscule.

by the time you run out of mines you go plantations, which are infinite.

also coin costing units tend to cost less coin per food than wood costing units.

for 200 coin you can get 8 musketeers, for 200 wood you get 5 pikemen which are way worse as a unit.


Your late game analysis is off. In the late game, most wood sources nearby will have run out if you are spamming wood units, so you need to go further out.

Gold and food can be replaced by mills and plantations, and factories on wood (equivalents for other civs apply same logic). This makes the economy easier to manage.

There is a reason why most natives (which are pop free) cost wood - this is to prevent overabusing them in late game.
Wood is harder to come by in later stages of the game.
There are still wood costing units in late game, mostly ships and artillery type units. These are purposely costing wood to prevent spamming.

Also wood eventually runs out. Food and gold do not. So you can spam infinite muskteers but your can’t spam infinite pikemen unless you commit to some inefficient market rates.

I think if i made wood units i will spend less overall because i need way fewer estates.

No, that is not the case.

Any data to back off? Wood is collect faster than estate unless you send crazy amount of gather rate cards. And wood can be collected directly and estate is an upfront cost.

An estate is 600W, that 15 xbows/pikes.
You usually need 6-7 estates, so that;s about 105 xbows/pikes.

Unless you play vs AI, you’re going to need a lot more wood units than that.
This is ignoring that you need wood for houses, buildings, upgrades, cannons, etc.

The math gets worse for wood costing units if you play non-euro civs, because their infinite gold buildings are cheaper.

As I explined, your vilies will have to wonder further out from your safe spots to get wood as the game progresses, so you either need to build some fortifications around or allocate some troops to defend them (or risk losing them). The wood vs gold debate was setteled around 15 years ago. Gold wins.

In Treaty, there is no question that wood units are bad become is is finite and must be harvested far away from your base.

In Supremacy, this is complex. You have a point for sure that wood is no as bad as people claim.

In early game, coin is gathered 20% faster (0.5w/s vs 0.6c/s, both +10% age 1 and +20% age 2) and is safer. So gold is way better.

In Age 3, the wood gets an expensive upgrade (240f+480c) for +30% to become faster than coin (0.78c/s vs 0.8w/s). But there are still many problems:

  • the difference isnt that big
  • people often do not research the 2nd wood upgrade and send 600w+700w crates to cover most need
  • Since people often want to make canons that are coin expensive, the card royal minz is often in the deck (+25% coin), and then coin is more efficient again.

Later, as you say, mines run out and you need either estates (to be avoided) or map control. For wood you “often” need less map control because there us more wood around your base.
So if you cannot get more mines, you have to choose between:

  • switch to wood units (expensive)
  • switch to estates (very expensive)
  • use wood units from the start.

But another problem with wood units is that they are usually “weaker”. Skirms destroy xbows thanks to range, and musketers usually do the job of pikes very well while having a rangeband being cheaper in non food resources (25c vs 40w). So early game you rather go to coin unit if you can. Which then give you map control.

So TL/DR: I think if you go for wood units, more often than not you are too much behind players prodcing gold units when mines run out and they get map control and more mines

This doesnt sound like a good explanation. It just means that the one who use wood units has 100 more units (not at the same time) in comparison. The difference gets much bigger when you include how slowly estates generate coin.

It also depends how much wood you get nearby. I am not conviced wood unit would feel that bad if you only got one coin mine next to your base

I also disagree that 400w for rice paddies is a good argument why coin is better. It is still expensive and still gather slower than wood.

For me better gathering => map control => more natural resources.

This sounds like a good argument to me. Vils also get squattered on the map and it is harder to protect them this way.

I do not care much about how old the fact was found. I care about why it stands and how much of a difference it is… “Gold wins” doesnt help. A vuild order is not so intetesting if you do not understand it.

Chinese wood units might be worth it with old han card. Spanish archaic units might be a viable cheese strategy with the right cards.

I also think that it is usually better and often way better to go for coin units, but I dont know exactly and by how much.
I am very interested in a detailled answer, but not in a “it is much better. trust me I am a scientist”, which doesnt help much understanding the game, which is probably what most of us like to do…

To clarify things. Im not talking about using coin units until mines run out, switch to bow pike… that’s pretty bad. Im saying british for example, using longbow dragoon, has a better eco distribution than skirm goon civ as they use all 3 resources to make units. And when mine uses out, skirm goon civs struggle to make skirms as they have to trasition to estates, while brits can keep making longbow. In this sense longbow as a wood unit is better than skrim for macro. If longbow costs food and coin instead it would be actually worse. (I never touch treaty so im not talking about treaty)

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So you are conparing britons (or japanese) dragoon-longbow combo in the current setting compared to skirm-dragoons in an hypothetical setting where british got regular skirms from age 2 or 3 ? (excluding their skirms at baracks from age 4 card). Or maybe between wood-costing longbows and hypothetical coin costing longbows ?

The comparison is harder because I think British (and Japanese) are balanced around the fact that Longbows (and Yumis) should be viable options with nice range and dps. And British have one of the best mid-game ecos thanks to the manor settlers and the settler cards to compensate.

If we compare longbows with skirmishers, I think that longbows should be better as long as you are not kiting. As you say, having a wood based alternative is good because it balance wood and coin much better and both coin and wood resources are getting depleted much slower.

If you compare it with xbow vs skirmishers (both with dragoons), I am afraid that xbows are too weak to deny map control until the initial coin mines run out.

For coin costing longbows vs wood costing longbows, if we suppose that coin is always 20% faster than wood, for instance assuming the resources invested for the wood+30% upgrade (480c+240f, 30s research time) are more or less equivalent to the royal minz upgrade (the upgrade is cheaper, but well…), then wood-longbows (60f+40w) are roughly 10% more expensive than coin-longbows. So the question is whether or not 10% more light-infantry units in a LI+LC combo is enough of an advantage to secure map control before the initial coin mines run out.

I agree with you that when the mines run out, if the double coin composition did not get an advantage (especially if the wood-longbows player add falconets to his army), then the coin-wood composition gets a huge advantage. As the wood player will be on 0.8w/s and 0.78c/s whereas the estate player will probably be on 0.35c/s * 1.35 = 0.4725 c/s (thanks to the +25% from royal minz) plus the investment of 600w / estate and the 300w+300f for the castle age estate upgrade.

So overall, since the longbow unit is the same (e.g. we do not have the discrepancy between xbow and skirm), I would feel more safe going for wood longbows and accept having 10% fewer LI units while adding falconets…
For “british skirms” vs longbows I do not know…

Anyways, I do not think that longbows (or yumis) are bad, especially with the range card, and would not hesitate about using them. I think the talk “coin units > wood units” is mostly about civs having the choice between xbows and skirms, where the wood unit is also much weaker than the coin unit.

Because i mostly play brits and Portuguese these days. Going longbow dragoon / cassador dragoon (cannons for both as addition) make me feel that longbow costing wood helps a lot balancing res. The coin mines for port uses up much faster when i play them. Also remember port booming need a lot of food for 3 TC vills. While british boom with wood.
I have also seen pro players using german or french, versus brits since their army is gold heavy, once the mines uses up, it is GG because it’s impossible to afford transition to estates. While brits just can win here. Dutch is the only exemption as banks keep the gold coming.