Combat Mechanics: Suggestion/Thoughts
While I applaud the reversion back to the old combat system, it still makes me wonder about the imbalance of the current combat system. To perhaps better balance this out, my suggestions are below. I have made an attempt to flesh this out with an example in hopes that it makes a little more sense, but combat is always a complex thing to balance out properly. While this may not entirely do the trick I believe these are a few changes that might start moving in that general direction.
1) A "general orders" option should be added to each side of the combat arena to allow players the option to command troops as to whether they should take an offensive or defensive stand in the combat for purposes of calculating overall battle scores. Attackers would have "Attack" and "Blockade" while defenders would have "Defend" and "Counter".
2) Fortified units should enjoy a bonus to the defensive rating, penalty to the offensive rating and a "inflicts 1/2 damage when attacking" penalty. This represents a clear combat advantage for a fortified or entrenched unit.
3) Heroic units should suffer a penalty to the defensive rating and penalty to the defensive rating. This represents a clear combat penalty for an aggressive unit.
4) Both unit stacks engaged in a combat action should suffer losses during a combat action. This represents the clear and real expectation of war and provides a more balanced combat action. This also more accurately depicts how an overpowering attacker may get more assaults on a defender and limit "counter-attacks" simply because of sheer size. It also represents how a smaller defender can slowly chip away at a larger defender.
5) Regardless of "attacker" or "defender", any attacking action should use the offensive rating and and defensive action should use the defensive rating. If a defender is "counter-attacking" during combat, the offensive rating of the unit should be used rather than the defensive rating and vice-versa for the attacker.
A few examples to demonstrate the benefits to this combat method.
Example 1: Ancient Era Combat Scenario
Attacker 5 Swordsmen, 5 Horsemen, 5 Natives, 5 Galleys
Base Attack Score: 25
Base Defense Score: 20
Defender 5 Militia, 3 Horsemen, 7 Natives, 4 Galleys
Base Attack Score: 14
Base Defense Score: 19
Under the current rules, the defender is less likely to be able to counter-attack and thus should lose this battle if all troops are set to "normal".
Under the proposed rules, a defender would set general orders to "Defense" (default for defending armies). This would indicate that the defender would prefer to let the invading army attack them and use the defense rating on all troops be used for the calculation of the battle score. In addition, the attacker would set general orders to "Attack" (default for invading armies). This would indicate that the attacker really wants to invade and use the offensive rating of troops to calculate their battle score.
As a defender, setting the defensive troops to "Fortified" should result in an increase to the defense score, thus giving them an advantage against a similarly sized invader. The new scores would be Attacker 25, Defender 38. This represents the clear nature of the defensive fortifications such as walls, natural terrain, etc... that the defender will be more familiar with and can use to their own advantage.
However, a "mongol horde" style of attack with "heroic" attackers changes the outcome once again. Now the scores would be Attacker 50, Defender 38 - a clear advantage once again to the attacker.
The downside to the "heroic" style of combat is, of course, heavier losses. Under the current system, this is generally not taken into consideration when combat occurs and the advantage is clearly in the attackers favor. Because the attacker strikes much more frequently than the defender (and currently the defender switching to fortified is a penalty), the attacker will inflict massive losses on the defender with no change for the defender to inflict damage on the attacker. Under the suggested rules, however, an attacker would suffer losses on each attack weighted against the defender's score.
Using the armies provided above, 5 Swordsmen would attack 5 Militia. The Swordsmen in this case have 20 attack points (base 10 x2 for heroic) while the Militia have 10 defense (base 5 x2 for fortified). However, the militia suffer 1/2 losses while the Swordsmen suffer 3x losses. Under this circumstance, the militia have a real and reasonable chance to defend themselves from an army of equal and proportionate size, even if the attacker has a more skilled army. With each attack, the Swordsmen should be able to inflict damage enough to wipe out 2-3 militia units. The fortified stance reduces this to 1-2 militia lost. The "reciprocal" damage that the swordsmen suffer because of their attack may only be .5-1 unit, but the heroic penalty grows that to a 1-3 swordsmen lost.
With each combat action, the swordsmen are weakened for throwing themselves against a fortified army. As the overall combat scores start to fluctuate, the militia are more likely to counter-attack. As Militia have no offensive rating, this is a poor example - but the Natives for the defender certainly could counter-attack. The defenders 7 Natives (.5 attack, 2 defense) would engage the attacker's natives (2 attack, .5 defense). The only differences in this attack is that the defender has more units and thus an advantage. However, because a fortified defender would only inflict 1/2 damage on the attacker, the penalty for "heroism" is somewhat countered. 1-2 units of the attacker's side may be lost, but 1-2 units for the defender would be lost as well. Overall, this action would be relatively equal for both sides in terms of losses.
As armies become overwhelmingly large and combats are no longer balanced simply because of sheer size, the defender is still likely to lose. However being an aggressor in combat should never be without some form of penalty in terms of troop loss. The decision to invade any nation should always have consequences. In this case, making your own nation that much more susceptible to being invaded by another, bigger fish.
<*pot calling the kettle black icon*> where's the TL;DR?
I admit, I got lost at some point. But the impression I get, is that you want to change the current risk reward paradigm to a reward/reward paradigm with a random guessing game 'which will the opponent do' inserted. The current combat system is very subtle, and takes a long time to understand.
Just look at the conversation Robin and I are having. (http://forums.2kgames.com/showthread...ttle-Mechanics) Two people with a track record of tactical combat success who sound like they are playing different games. You want to replace that with a system where the defender always fortifies? And the goal is that 5 militia can beat 5 swardsmen even though 5 swordsmen have a 2:1 advantage as well as cost and technology level over the 5 militia?
if you balance the question with 5 sworsmen against 10 militia and I think the advantage is already in the hands of the militia, so I am not sure why you would empower them more.
I think that the larger point here is that the invader should always assume some risk of loss from any attack. While attacking a smaller army may result in less losses, the defender should be able to cause some collateral damage moreso than once every 10-15 rounds of combat. This also introduces significantly more combat flexibility by making "offensive" units valuable to a defender (consider a counter-attack rather than a defensive stance) and "defensive" units more valuable to an attacker ("blockade" action rather than attack).
Being an old Civ 3/4/5 veteran I find the current combat system overly simple and highly imbalanced to favor the largest army rather than considering such benefits as fortification, terrain and combat tactics. While a greatly superior army will certainly be able to overrun a much smaller / less trained one under most circumstances, there are numerous historical circumstances where position and terrain swapped the advantage from the large army to the smaller one. 500 Tanks should generally overtake 100 infantry, but some circumstances (weather, terrain, etc...) have caused entire tank columns to fall to simple, determined defenders.
Bearing in mind that the Civ series has tried to simulate a reasonable combat experience where attrition is certainly a viable and useful tactic in previous endeavors, I would hope that attrition would once again play a part in the experience and provide defenders with more advantage. It's a concept that has gone back to such board games as Risk and a lack of it's inclusion here just seems disappointing at times.
We only have to go back to release 3 to be an old veteran now? Well then what's the right term for folks who played the board game before version 1 came out? Early Ancient? Decrepit? Doddering?
Originally Posted by Kalistes
I assume you won't be suprised when I say I think this is the most complex battle system of all the releases, including the board game. Terrain already plays a role. It is not a coincidence that I founded Mongolia to try out the eldar's flanking theory. But more specifically, the developers have already added terrain tactics to combat in the form of the mini-game.
Originally Posted by Kalistes
While I disagree with your premise that smaller armies should be able to defeat larger armies as a general rule and would point to the complaints that arise in all prior releases whenerver one did, I believe there are ample opportunities.
I do not mean this as an insult, but I feel much of the motivation for this topic, and you are not alone in stating it, is that you are finding yourself on the small side at least occassionally and are unhappy with losing... ever. This is a strategy game where defeat, even for the winners, is to be expected over the course of each game.
10 yrs of playing should get veteran status. For the board game vets I'll borrow a cultural victory term and just call that legendary. :-)
Originally Posted by ShuShu62
No insult taken! I appreciate the honest dialogue here. The motivation for my suggestion is not because of a losing of battles - I find losing to be a learning opportunity and expect to be on the losing end of many a battle over the course of playing in order to learn new tactics. What does "bother" me I suppose is more the mechanics themselves. While there are ample opportunities to attain an underdog victory when the field is relatively close *and* acknowledging fully that terrain does change the nature of the battlefield itself, I believe that offensive units should be able to play a viable role in a counter-attack tactic in a combat - and not simply by "re-declaring war" on the invading civ. I also believe that a defensive position on home territory should have a significant benefit as it has throughout history. Finally, I certainly feel that any conflict as part of a battle should cause losses on both sides.
I believe the defensive bonus is built into the units as equivalent era units are generally more efficient at defense than offense.
militia is twice as effective as warrior.
Spearman researched sooner than swordsman
Longbows cost less than legions and more efficient than MAW
Rifles almost twice as effective on defense than offense.
I have no issue with the proper counter attack being a proper attack. I do like having to choose between offense and defense as a strategic decision that I do not think is limited to civWorld. Especially since there are strategic decisions that let you 'convert' from offense to defense (Gunpowder, Industrialization)
Being of legendary status I agree with ShuShu that the combat here is difficult and probably more so than any of the games. Yes you do get a bonus from taking a fortified stance in the games unlike here but other things to know about combat well I'm still learning and I have some players giving me tips who were playing this before beta stage. Of all the suggestions the one I would be in favour of (don't know exactly how it would work) is allow a option for troops to be set as offensive for the defender. That would mean you use their attack value rather than defence value. The should be some penalty for that like maybe only a part of stregth counts toward combat stregth or something similar. Likewise perhaps an attacking army could set a defensive stance with its troops and penalty might be when defender gets attack the combat stregth from these units don't count as they are staying back out of harms way. This changes the overall combat total which affects how many troops lost as it does now.
Thanks for all the feedback and your insight on this oh great and wise legendary ones! I suppose in retrospect that introducing too many or drastic changes to the combat system would probably have some negative impact (and draw a ton of criticism as the last update did). That being said.... I'll shut up about it for now.
No need to shut up about it. Especially since you just scored a point...
The wrong type of troop in a battle is doubly penalized... They are weaker, and they die faster. This double penalty means you should keep them off the field altogether. I think that adds challenge to the thought process (do I risk my 350 MAWs to defend in the rain and heroic to shift the balance of power?).
I think a legitimate case could be made that fortified troops use their higher combat rating when taking hits, but appropriate combat rating when calculating strength. It is a small change, but it would let you 'counter-attack' as you woould only be risking those MAWs when you went on the offensive.
I'm just thinking these comments through to determine what the best method might be to making this work. I think adding a "Unit Tactic" option at the unit level would seem to be the best way to so this, effectively offering each unit a combination of six possible fashions of presenting itself in combat - even if some of those are impractical on the surface. Tactics would allow the player to dictate which rating to use in calculating the overall team combat score for initiative.
Originally Posted by ShuShu62
It could also modify the way in which unit selection for combat took place - a huge improvement over the "size matters most" algorithm currently in place. Ex: 100 Archers in Defense, 100 Legions Offense - Legions would be more likely to attack/counterattack because they are in an offensive stance, Archers would be more likely to defend as they are in a defensive stance. This would allow for a simple yet more granular control over each unit under your control in a combat. It may be that you would prefer your Archer to defend while your Legion conquers. It may be that, with multiple players, one smaller stack of Archers is chosen as a defender while another larger stack is the attacker on the same team. Certainly opens up some interesting possibilities.
Another factor to consider is that changing the battle system where u can use both offensive and defensive units in a battle would inexplicably change the game itself. Right, you have to decide whether you are going to all out attack (applicable to small civs with no wonder and less techs), attack and defend, or just defend. Your resources have to be split. Those that are going full offensive would probably skip science altogether. Up to a certain point of course. I kinda hate to lose the wonder my 4 nation civ took from the large max civ. but Hey, those are the rules of the game.. you can hit but can't defend not when u are a 4 nation civ. Just my thoughts.. I am fairly new to the game so I don't know much
Like, never leave a phrase like that lying around in a public forum, unless you are ready to back it up...
Originally Posted by roastedRabbit
You are not wrong about your general observation. With practice you may find that 4 man civ is quite capable of holding onto it's wonders. In some cases, that 4 man civ is more capable than a much larger cive, but you need to understand all the advanced tools the flexibility provides for you that overcomes the lack of numbers.
In the tale I am currently telling I will have have an example where a one man civ was able to do something even a 4 man civ would have been hard-pressed to pull off.
my wife and i were attacked for our wonders. We were a two player civ. We defeated the much larger civ. It wasn't max players but not far from it. We gained around 20 techs so our units were primitive compared to theirs. We didn't even use any wonders like call to arms to help us!
Was the 'Revenge of the Spearman' good for you?
my wife generally only likes to play games if she can make someone cry. i think she probably got a few people crying that game! Considering before that battle we won economic era victories up to and including 800k gold it was great. I suppose it didn't hurt that my wife won two auctions before our rampage. First auction was get 1% of worlds gold (she had more gold than rest of world combined!) and then straight after was auction turning 20% of gold into production. Considering we had spent very little production the entire game we had amassive amount!
With some additional consideration, a much simpler and more intuitive change would be something as simple as being able to dictate the number of troops you send out to the battlefield from a particular stack. It may be that in the pre-combat phase I want to lock a slot for my troops, but not reveal the exact size of the stack I'm putting out. This is especially beneficial for "Gladiator" civs who may not want to put their whole stack out there because of a barbarian attack or multiple invasions. I can't imagine that this is a difficult change to implement and would immediately provide benefits to all players equally.
You can. ctrl-click a stack to send one to the field. Keep ctrl-clicking if you want to send more than one, but less than all.
Originally Posted by Kalistes
very important skill to have, that ctrl click...
Seriously? I missed that somewhere.... you are my new hero. Here I thought I had to push the stack and then retreat them back.