When some of your neighbouring cities decide to invade you, you need to have some forts of soldiers to defend yourself. If you have no soldiers in your city when an army invades, you lose instantly. Also, if you decide to invade them, you need forts.

How many forts can I build?

How many forts your city can have depends on how many elite housing you have in your city and whether you've build an administrative city and/or palace or not:

House Additional forts per occupied house:
Modest Siheyuan 0
Lavish Siheyuan 1
Humble Compound 1
Impressive Compound 2
Heavenly Compound 2

You can have a maximum of 12 forts in your city.

What types of forts are there?

Depending on the time period (and the designer of the mission..), you can build infantry, crossbow, chariot, cavalry and catapult forts.

Soldiers will be made in the forts themselves. Forts need employees and materials (either weapons or wood or both) to 'build' soldiers. Certain forts also house more soldiers than other forts. What materials one soldier need, how many soldiers a full fort contains and how many materials you need to build a complete fort is listed in this table:

Troop type Needed for one soldier: Soldiers per fort Weapons per fort Wood per fort
Weapons Wood
Infantry 1 - 16 16 -
Crossbow 1 1/2 (50 units) 16 16 8
Cavalry 1 - 8 8 -
Chariot 1 2 4 4 8
Catapult 2 4 4 8 16

Ok, you know how to build forts and train soldiers.. now what are those different soldiers good for? That's in the next table:

Please note that the time period is a historical indication only. The designer of the scenario can decide which types of soldiers are available to you.

Troop type Melee
Ability to bash
through enemy walls
Used in
time period:
Infantry good - yes Always
Crossbow weak arrows - Always (?)
Cavalry good arrows - After 500 BCE
Chariot superior arrows - 1200 BCE - 200 BCE
Catapult weak rocks yes After 500 BCE

A more detailed table with hitpoints, armor value etc is available on the Figure Models page.

Catapults have little use in the defense of your city: enemy troops move so fast that it's very hard to hit them with rocks, and they die pretty soon in hand-to-hand combat. They are, however, very handy when you try to conquer other cities.

If you want to conquer a city that is walled in (you can see that on the empire map), you need to send at least some infantry and/or catapults: otherwise your soldiers won't be able to get through the enemy walls.

How fast can I train a whole fort?

Game time is measured as follows:

When combining that information with some tests on forts, we get these results:

Troop type % trained per day Days of training needed for 1 soldier Fort completely full after... (months)
Infantry 19 6 6
Crossbow 15 7 7
Cavalry 8 13 6.5
Chariot 3 34 8.5
Catapult 3 34 8.5 *

* Catapult forts only store enough wood for 1 catapult. While other forts can continue producing soldiers when they 'finished' one soldier, a catapult fort has to wait for new supplies to start making another catapult. The result is that it may take a lot longer than 8.5 months to build a complete catapult fort.