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Combat System for Civ VII

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- Or a really different system for Civ VI, but we all know no one is going to bother working on that, don't we?

Some basic premises:

1. This discussion will not include individual Unit Types. You want to go into that, I already started a Thread at Unit Ideas for Civ VII with my thoughts.

2. The basis for what follows is the dis-satisfaction with both Civ VI's 1UPT and Humankind's detailed Battle Management. The first expands each battle and battlefield in time and space until they are ridiculous in any strategic 4X context, the second expands the game in time and micromanagement with every succeeding battle - and, not noticed as much by most gamers, is also very unrealistic in its depiction of battles, especially early battles where the actual 'control' by any leader or general was minimal.

Full Disclosure: I'm a military historian by profession and inclination, and I played miniature wargames almost exclusively for over 30 years, which are almost all tactical battle games: I like detailed battle management systems like that in Humankind, but I find the amount of control I have increasingly jarring the more I play the battles out, and in a game in which the shortest turn is 1 to 100 years, that amount of detail is Misplaced.

3. That said, we could simply abstract all battles: move X number of units into a tile with an opponent's X number of units, the computer tells you what happened in seconds. But what's the fun in that? I mean, really, what's the point of gathering resources and specialized Districts and/or buildings and researching Technologies to give you certain Units when the computer can evaporate them in a second and blandly tell you that the Battle Was Lost and all of that was Meaningless? So, realistic or not in terms of time and distance 'scale', the Battle resolution has to include some input from the gamer, and ideally some reason to put together armies that have some distant relationship to the composition of historical (our game model, after all) armies and forces. A stack of nothing but Heavy Knights might have the maximum number of Combat Factor Points for the Era, but such a force has serious drawbacks against a faster moving enemy, or an enemy force with a more balanced composition: go look up the IRL results of such a force versus the Scots at Bannockburn, or the Swiss at Morgarten, or the Mongols at Leipzig. Any Battle system should be able to take those things into account.

4. I've played boardgames, and it's time to remember the difference between computer games and boardgames. In boardgames, the gamer has to do all the figuring, chart-referring, odds figuring, etc. In a computer game, no matter ho complex the calculations of combat factors, movement, zones of control, special talents, time of day, air density, number of hangovers per unit, all that can be done near-instantly by the computer And We Don't Have To Mess With It in the game itself. Remember that, please, when you read about Posture Matrixes and the interactions between Units and types of Attack and Defense later on.

5. What follows is a basis for Discussion. I think a better Combat System lies somewhere between Civ VI's 1UPT and Humankind's Move Every Unit In The Army Yourself For Multiple Turns Within A Turn. At the moment, I think what follows is such a system, but that doesn't mean it can't be better, or that there isn't a better system out there.

A New Unit Distinction.

First, let's introduce a new distinction for our Combat Units. Civ has always differentiated Units strictly by their weaponry, their physical combat characteristics. We got Spearmen, Swordsmen, (Modern) Infantry, etc. This, of course, assumes and/or implies that all Spearmen, Swordsmen, and Infantry are basically identical except for a few Unique Types: every Spearman from the first bronze-weaponed Sumerians off the Vulture stele in 2500 BCE to the Select Fyrd of Saxon England in 1000 CE are identical on every battlefield. An infantryman with 8 weeks of basic training (in game terms, just tossed out of your Encampment) has all the same capabilities for moving and fighting as an Infantry unit that has been around for 20 years.

This is both unnecessarily Bland and very Wrong.

So, let's introduce a basic distinction: between Professional Units and Amateur Units.

For most of the game, Amateurs are people who show up where you want them (usually) with their own weapons and equipment, but expect to be able to go home and get back to useful work after a relatively short time. They don't cost you, the government, anything to equip, arm, or even, often, to pay, but you cannot keep them Away From Work for very long, or the rest of your Civ/Economy starts to suffer.
They also cannot be expected to use some types of weapons very well, because some weapons require a lot of time to be spent practicing with them, and these guys have to spend most of their time working for a living.
So, simply, Amateurs are those Units that can be 'raised' at the start of a war or, after about the Industrial Era, raised once you declare Mobilization (and take major Diplomatic Hits for doing so unless some neighbor already Mobilized) BUT every such Unit will remove population from your civilian economy, and keep them as military Units for too long and your Civ will start losing Production of all kinds: Gold, Industry, Food.

Professionals are people who fight other people for a living. They are Permanent Units, which means someone else has to work to support them. That makes them very, very expensive to Maintain and it usually means they are also very expensive to equip and arm. They may be the result of Civic/Social Policy Choices: Comitatus was the idea of a Sworn Bodyguard for the leader of a Civ, which appears to date back to the Neolithic or even earlier. That means every Civ Leader whose Civ adopted Comitatus Civic gets a Professional Unit - but also has to pay constantly to keep them. A Warrior Aristocracy will also get you Professional Units, but you will have to pay them with (possibly) political control over parts of your land and its output in Industry, Gold, and/or Food.
Professional Units then, are expensive but permanent, and that in turn means they can get Promotions and become more and more proficient at this Battle Stuff over time - they don't go home after the fight and forget everything, the way Amateurs do.

Some weapons and equipment take so much practice to use well that only Profssionals can use them. Swords are probably the first example that appears in the game: an army composed of a majority of Swordsmen Units will be Professional, and Expensive: keeping 50 Legions of swordsmen around nearly bankrupted the Roman Empire in the end, and no other Empire (Persia, China, etc) even tried to rely on Swordsmen. Cavalry is another example: unless people have a civilian job that requires them to ride a lot, learning to ride a horse and use weapons effectively from horseback takes a lot of time and practice: Pastoral civs, in which every adult, male and female, rides everywhere and the males mostly have to defend their families and flocks and herds from horseback, can provide lots of horsemen easily. People who live in cities, not so much.

So, when determining the 'Factors' of a unit, whether they are Professional or Amateur is usually almost as important as whether they are armed with Spears or Axes, with Slings or Bows.

Armies and Units.

A single tile on the game map represents a lot of ground. The size of a City Center on it is exaggerated so we can tell what type of Palace or Monument is in there, but the tile represents at least several hundred square kilometers. That means that a single Unit wandering through the tile does not put a lot of stress on the neighborhood unless it is trying to: individual Units are not Armies, and shouldn't be treated the same way for movement, maintenance, and supply.
They will, however, be treated nearly identical for Battle, which is defined as Entering the Same Tile as the enemy. Even today, two forces a hundred or more kilometers apart are rarely in battle and in 2000 or 1000 BCE they might as well be on different continents. So, the 'battle mechanic' is the same: you enter the same tile, a battle is resolved, and maybe the Unit disappears, or keeps moving, or moves back to the tile it moved into battle from - or, as the patriotic historians will say later:
"Retreated triumphantly before a demoralized enemy who is advancing in utter confusion"

An Army is two or more Units. How many more depends on the Technology, Social/Civic Structure, and infrastructure available to support it. Armies have to be fed. Later, they also need near-continuous supplies of ammunition, fuel, spare parts, publicity officers, etc. That means you cannot simply stack up everybody in your Civ with a spear into a single Stack and roll forward: the maximum number that can move - and stay alive - in the stack will vary from start of game on, and will be especially restricted by the type of terrain in the tile. Try to move an army through the Desert in 2000 BCE, and Kiss Those Units Goodbye, 'cause there is nothing to eat there, and no technology available at the time to get food to them, unless the desert is on the coast and you have a Fleet. Try moving through Tundra, and even a Fleet won't save them, because the coast is Frozen. Basically, some terrain will not be fought over by anything bigger than a single Unit for a good part of the early game.
I suggest that the basic 'stacking limit' or Army Size should start at 4 Units. That gives you enough choices to include Heavy Infantry, a Ranged Unit, maybe a Scout or Horseman - a 'balanced' force if you so desire. Later, with better mechanisms for Command and Control, supply wagons, pack camels, Roads, etc the maximum size will go up. In fact, by the Modern Era, if there is a railroad through the tile leading back to a number of your cities, it may be quite large, BUT it will never be Infinite.

Modern Armies are huge compared to armies of antiquity, but they also cover much more space per warrior/soldier. Dupuy Institute's calculations were that a Classical host of 100,000 men covered about 1 square kilometer. A 100,000 man force in World War Two covered 3000 square kilometers, and even in the Napoleonic Wars (early gunpowder), 100,000 soldiers covered about 20 square kilometers.

So, no matter how you figure it, you cannot cram too many Units into a single tile and still expect them to fight with the weapons they have at the time. This is actually very handy for us gamers, because it means the Stack of Doom is automatically Excluded from discussion: it is impossible after a certain size of Stack, for each given Era.

One thing that Humankind almost got right, was that increases in Army Size were tied to Technologies, not to Eras. On the other hand, because that game (like too many games of all kinds) didn't model the 'soft factors' of command and control, communications, chain of command organization, etc at all, many of the increases were tied to the wrong things. We can do better, and specific 'triggers' for Army Size increase and Supply Factors will be discussed at length later.
For now, suffice to say that you will start being able to put 4 Units into an Army, and put Armies into most tiles with some exceptions of tiles that simply won't support any large group of people: desert and tundra for two of the more obvious examples.

I'm going to split this here, because the next part is the core of the New Battle System.
 
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Battle Decisions and Postures.

In a Civ-type game (4x Vaguely Historical) to have the gamer making decisions about individual Units in combat and what they are doing is Grossly Out of Decision Scale. It's like having you make decisions about how many people in your capital are going to take a few weeks off in July to go visit grandma out in the Home Village. Given that the battle probably takes place during a single day in July and involves fewer people than live in a single District in the capital, that's none of your business as the Grand Poobah God KIng of the Civilization.

So, the trick is to find a level of Abstraction that on the one hand gives the Gamer some input into something as important as the outcome of a Battle for his/her Civ, but on the other hand removes the Out Of Scale Micromanagement from the system.

The answer, I think, lis in the Posture of your Army.

This is a concept explored at length in the calculations in Dupuy's Numbers, Predictions & War. (Fairfax, Virginia: HERO Books, 1985) and so I'm shamelessly stealing from it here.

First, you've already decided what the army will be composed of, by Building or Raising certain types and number of Units and putting them into the Army. Then you've decided where they are going to have a battle (to within a few hundred square kilometers, anyway) by moving into X Tile where an enemy Army is. All that's Strategy and Grand Strategy, and the proper sphere of a Grand Poobah. Now the question is, how will that Army fight the battle, and that's where the Grand Poobah, no matter who he is, loses control over Events.

BUT you can decide What Kind of Battle you want to fight, and the results of that decision will be extensively modified by the terrain, the Units, and most importantly, what the Opponent decides.

The basic Posture of your army is what you decide, and there are 8 possibilities:

Attack Postures:
Pursuit - Means you launch every mobile unit at the enemy, expecting him to be more trying to escape than preparing to fight. IF he is trying to escape (Delay or Retreat Posture) then a Pursuit by more mobile units may turn into a massacre of panicked fleeing enemy troops. But that’s a big IF, because if the enemy is instead preparing to defend, Pursuit is throwing troops at the enemy defense like snowballs against a hot stove: the Pursuers may evaporate

All Out Attack - Means you strike everywhere you can reach, expecting that the quality or quantity of your forces will break the enemy regardless of what he tries to do. This is less of a gamble than a Pursuit, but it is sticking your neck out, because if the enemy doesn’t break he make break some or most of the attacking units

Mobile Attack - Includes both flanking and enveloping attacks, so is potentially the most dangerous type of attack BUT it can only be performed by Professional Troops or Mounted Troops and is also the most subject to Chance: troops get lost, move too far or not far enough: “Any Order which can be misunderstood, Will Be misunderstood” applies here more than anywhere. When it works, it is a battle winning maneuver. When it doesn’t work, it may either remove part of your army from the battle or degenerate into an All-Out Attack in the wrong place. Best not to try it unless you have a Great General in charge or an Army composed of all or mostly Professional Units. (Some armies/units, by the way, may have serious bonuses for this type of Posture: the Zulu Impis spring to mind, and the Army of Frederick the Great of Prussia)

Deliberate Attack - Means you took the time to mass forces, maybe shoot some to soften up the defenders, and so while powerful, this attack takes longer to get started. Virtually any other type of offensive action will develop faster, and therefore may pre-empt this attack and turn it into a Hasty Defense

Defensive Postures:
Prepared Defense - Troops have palisades or simple ditches to stop enemy charges, later they will have trenches and redoubts to shelter troops and artillery, abatis or barbed wire, minefields, ditches. escarpments and such to funnel th attackers into Deadly Ground.

Hasty Defense - Troops have at best stakes or caltrops to slow down enemy charges, later fox holes, heavy weapons pits and fields of fire cleared, but nothing more elaborate

Delay - Troops are not planning to hold anywhere for long, but are prepared to hold positions long enough to blunt a Pursuit or Hasty Attack, then fall back. This requires good morale among the Delaying troops to keep Delay from turning into a Panic and then a Rout

Retreat - You have no intention of fighting, because the enemy outnumbers you, has better troops, is commanded by Suvorov, Subotai or Sherman, or all of the above. IF the enemy has a higher average Mobility than you do, and IF he mounts any kind of attack other than Deliberate, he’s likely to catch you, and force you to adopt a Hasty Defense under Bad Conditions. IF, on the other hand, you have higher average Mobility (a Great General’s Bonus Movement really helps here) or simply have more Light Cavalry than the enemy, you can usually get away without fighting or taking casualties at all.

Posture Relationships:

Regardless of who moved into contact, either side can select either Defensive or Attacking Posture in the battle itself.

IF neither side chooses any kind of Attack Posture, then there is no battle: the moving stack stays in the tile it started from, the defender remains in place, nothing much happened. IF the moving stack has movement left, though, they can move away, try entering the defender’s tile from a different direction, or simply repeat their advance. This is the one place where the in-turn actions will be a bit more complex than 1UPT or simple Stack Combat is now. Given that the average turn is showing (or attempting to show) 1 to 100 years’ of activity, I don’t think potential multiple ‘battles’ or ‘maneuvers’ within a turn is too far out of line.

IF both sides are attacking, the chances are that one side, with higher average Mobility or the more rapidly-developing attack, will force the other side onto the defensive temporarily (Hasty Defense), but that side will attempt to go back on the attack if the force ratios make it possible - in other words, itf the opponent's initial attack get smashed. Luckily for you, the gamer, all this will be calculated and adjudicated by the Computer. We can always include a Battle Report to tell you what exactly happened later. Realistically, it will be largely conjecture, guesswork, or bald-a***d Lies.

The speed of development is based on the type of attack and the average mobility of the force doing the attacking.

The speed of attack development, from fastest to slowest, is:

Pursuit, All Out Attack, Mobile Attack, Deliberate Attack.

Mobility
This also affects whether a battle takes place or not. It is a multiplier for Delay, Retreat, Pursuit, or Mobile Attack. Basically, Pursuit by a force with higher Mobility will Overrun a Delay or Retreat by a slower-moving force and multiply the casualties inflicted. This, in fact, is usually how a force gets completely wiped out. On the other hand, a Retreat or Delay by a more Mobile Force will usually suffer no casualties at all when Pursued or Attacked by a slower force. If both sides are attacking, the force with higher Mobility will get a Bonus from, basically, pre-empting the other side’s attack, and the slower force will have its orders changed involuntarily to Hasty Defense

Having a Great General, of course, modifies all Mobility and may change the ‘normal’ equation completely.

On the Strategic (Game) Map Armies always move 1 tile per turn slower than their slowest Units.

Strategic (On-Map) Movement (suggested):
3 tiles per turn: Infantry, Carroballistae, Field Cannon, horse-drawn Artillery
4 tiles per turn: Heavy Cavalry, Heavy Chariots
5 tiles per turn: Light Cavalry, Light Chariots, Scouts, Horse Artillery, Tanks, Main Battle Tanks, Mech Infantry, SP Artillery, Motorized Units
6 tiles per turn: Armored Cars, Modern Mech Infantry, Helicopters

General:

Basically, you put together an Army, you throw it into Battle, you pick a Posture or Type of Battle you want to fight based on the characteristics of your army, and you wait to find out how badly your General screwed things up.

There are some things you can be pretty sure of, though:

Making a Deliberate Attack against an enemy with higher mobility (light cavalry, armored cars) is pretty certain to be a waste of time.
Making a Pursuit with Light Cavalry against Heavy Infantry with an Anti-Cav Bonus, unless they decide to run away, will probably get your army Massacred.
Not having any fast units in your army (no Light cavalry, Scouts, or even Knights) probably means you cannot destroy the enemy completely - because even if he stands and fights, you can't catch anybody that runs away.
Trying to Delay or Retreat when the enemy is faster than you are is a recipe for disaster: you might as well change your name to Custer right away.
 
^ So then
'Level up' Generals can filter combat postures if situations he's facing don't fit well with player settings??
And then 'Heavy Infantry' now replaces 'Anticav' class??

There are several ways Great Generals could be used with a version of this system.

They could stay as now in Civ VI, adding Combat Power and, most importantly, Mobility to the Army so that your Pursuits, Hasty Attacks, Mobile Attacks, or Deliberate Attacks can catch the enemy or pre-empt his attacks, or your Delaying or Retreating troops can safely get away from the enemy with few or no casualties.

They could make Mobile Attacks, the trickiest of all the attacks, possible even with Amateur Troops or slower infantry.

They could give you more information about the composition of the enemy army before you make your Posture decision

They could allow you to change your Posture after seeing the enemy Posture - but this would be very, very OP.

And they could always be directly attached to an individual Unit, which removes any effects on the rest of the army but allows that Unit to move and fight more effectively. For example, a Great General leading a Light Cavalry Unit would have more mobility than even enemy Light Cavalry or Light Chariots, so in Pursuit it would overrun and severely damage any enemy unit trying to Delay or Retreat. Even better, pull an Alexander and attach your Great General to a Unit of Heavy Cavalry, and they can attack faster than anybody else except (possibly) Light Cavalry and strike harder when they attack.

The whole point is that Great Generals should give you and your army more Options: without a Great General, you have very little control over exactly what will happen in the battle except to Start It Out with a Posture decision after you have put together the Army or stack in the first place - you decisions are all Grand Strategy and Strategy, you as the Grand Panjundrum of your Civ have almost no control over Tactics in the battle itself - while a Great General would give you some tactical options as your (competent) Man on the Spot.

And yes, I would love to see an option ala EU of making your Civ Leader a Great General, putting him/her in direct control of an Arm or Unit, and taking the chance of getting him killed and losing his Leader Uniques for X Turns.

Heavy Infantry is simply a shorthand for the slowest moving troops - the ones who will take longest to move in any Posture. Whether or not they have an Anti-Cav bonus is decided by individual Troop type: Spearmen, Pikemen, bayonet-armed muskets or rifles obviously all have an Anti-Cav bonus against mounted troops, fully-armored Swordsmen or Great Swordsmen may have very high Combat Factors, and similarly low Mobility, but wouldn't have any special Anti-Cav bonus.
 
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I confess I skimmed because combat isn't the part of a 4X game that interests me, but I will say my general stance on 4X game combat is that if it takes me more than two clicks or 10 seconds it's more complicated than I want it to be. This is one of my frustrations with HK because I know I'm putting myself at a disadvantage by autoresolving combat...but I have absolutely no interest in managing it myself. That being said, I like your postures idea; it reminds me of Birth of the Federation where you could give your fleet orders about how to approach the enemy.
 
I confess I skimmed because combat isn't the part of a 4X game that interests me, but I will say my general stance on 4X game combat is that if it takes me more than two clicks or 10 seconds it's more complicated than I want it to be. This is one of my frustrations with HK because I know I'm putting myself at a disadvantage by autoresolving combat...but I have absolutely no interest in managing it myself. That being said, I like your postures idea; it reminds me of Birth of the Federation where you could give your fleet orders about how to approach the enemy.

ANY tactical combat system in a 4x Grand Strategy 6000 years plus time-scale game has to be a compromise, and exactly where to compromise is going to be a personal choice with every gamer.
I happen to prefer detailed tactical combat, but then I've played at that level most of my gaming life and written over a dozen books about it - I'm invested, so to speak.
BUT, despite really liking the Humankind system, I've come to realize that it is just as unrealistic and for most gamers, Labor Intensive as the 1UPT system of Civ VI, just in the opposite direction - too much micro-combat individual Unit leadership as opposed to grossly inaccurate ground and time scale.

This proposed set of ideas is an attempt to give the gamer as few decisions as his Gaming Persona - in Civ, Immortal Grand Nagus of Whatever Civ - would really have, while keeping enough detail that gamers don't feel they are simply taking Pot Luck with whatever the computer decides to do with all those Units they scraped up for and built and moved around the map.

I can't say it reduces Battle to 10 seconds' worth of consideration, but it does reduce your decision-making to a single click on a list of Postures after you've moved a stack/army/Unit. Everything else that could be involved in the process is Extra: a graphical depiction of the battle/battlefield, an After-Battle Report with whatever graphical gimmicks we want to add, an archeological marker of Historic Battlefield where old weapons, equipment and mass graves can be dug up centuries later. Any/All of that are 'extras' to be turned off in the Game Set-Up if you so desire.
 
But How's It Gonna Work, Boris?
(I heard someone say)

Here's an example:

You are playing Bucephalopolis, a Greek city state.
You've decided to invest most of your Gold into Trade, so your army consists entirely of Amateurs - but they are Classical Greek Amateurs, which means Hoplites, providing their own armor and weapons and training themselves in the Gymnasium (which you were smart enough to build in a District right next to your Palace and City Center) and, being a Unique Unit, they get extra Combat Factor from being side-by-side because of the interlocking nature of their shielded formation.
Because your little state is pretty primitive socially (none of that new-fangled Philosophy stuff they are spouting down in Athenoi for your folks) you still have the Civic Comitatus, which in practice means your Leader, Ambiguios, has a Bodyguard. This is one Unit, and being the Special People in the state, they fight on horseback with short swords and spears, but they still haven't figured out how to use a lance without falling off their horses a lot, so they are really Light Cavalry. Paying for these guys and their horses is one of the major expenses of your city state, but the trade in Wine and Timber just about pays for it, with enough left over for a festival or two during the year to keep Loyalty up.

Then the nekulturnii Triballians up in the hills declare War on you and invade. You call up the Hoplite levy, and produce an army of 3 Hoplite Units plus your Comitatus of Light Cavalry.

The Triballians have an army of 3 Spearmen and 1 Slinger. They are also Amateurs, and the Slinger was raised from the young men guarding sheep in the Pastures - there aren't a whole lot of structures around for formally training people with Bows or Slings unless you've got money to burn, like the Lydians across the water.

You move your army towards the Triballian force, and they sit and wait for you, just inside your borders where the hills become Plains.

You stop your army on the last Plains tile, because Hoplites are disadvantaged even more than normal Spearmen in any kind of rough country: they fight best on the Flat, thank you.
This puts the Triballians in a bind. They can't sit still, because after one turn they've eaten everything edible in any ordinary tile, and you are between them and the farms, pastures and other goodies around the city.
So they advance into your Plains tile.

That means a Battle.

Now, your Hoplites are relatively heavily-armored infantry carrying big, heavy shields. They have no chance of catching anything faster than a three-legged turtle unless the enemy is dumb enough to attack them. So, declaring a Posture of Pursuit is pretty much a waste of time, and you certainly don't want to try to Retreat or Delay against faster troops. On the other hand, Hoplites get a bonus for Deliberate Attack, because that's pretty much What They Do. So Deliberate Attack it is.

The Triballians, being Amateurs and with no mounted or mobile troops, can't use Mobile Attack at all, and trying a Pursuit against Hoplites could result in a lot of Triballians impaling themselves on long heavy Hoplite spears, and Prepared Defense can't be chosen because they are the ones that Moved to contact. Going on the defense isn't a good option in any case, because that might result in No Battle, which puts them back in the tile they started from, where there is No Food and their army could start disintegrating as Amateurs wander off looking for something to eat.
So, they could decide to use some of their better Mobility and try an All Out Attack, but Slingers (or any other Ranged Troops) do not voluntarily close with the enemy, and All Out means nobody is going to wait for them to shoot, so that wastes the effects of 1/4 of their army.
Deliberate Attack it is - gives the Slingers time to shoot their rocks, and if they disrupt the Hoplites a little with their fire, their Spearman may get the upper hand - and once Hoplites start to retreat, they are in trouble because they can't move fast enough to get away.

So, it's Deliberate Attacks on both sides, but the Triballian Spearmen (and almost anybody else on the planet at this point) can move faster than Hoplites, so the Hoplite Deliberate Attack turns into a Hasty Defense.

At this point the Gamer is done: he's made his decision on Posture, interaction with the Opponent's decision had its effect, and the Battle is now 'fought' by the Computer.

The Triballian Slingers shoot, and have no effect: against the overlapping heavy Hoplite Shields, no ranged weapon short of Gunpowder is likely to do much. The Triballian Spearmen charge in, but 'Hasty Defense' for Cavalry doesn't mean they stand still, so some of the Spearmen are distracted by a bunch of horsemen on their flank, and the remaining Spearmen, outnumbered and facing a wall of shields and spears, bounce off.
Having started with an Attack Order, the Hoplites slowly advance, and being faster and not suicidal, the Triballain Amateurs run away, led by the slingers since standing fast when there are hostile Horsemen on the other side and all you have is a leather strap and a knife is not what you call Tactically Sound.

The Triballian Units fall back to their original tile, but in the move they will take casualties from the Horsemen, who, having started with an Attack Order, chase them but between being not that effective against spears and not as fast as 'real' Light Cavalry (horse archers, Numidians or Professionals) they don't really inflict much damage. However, being Amateurs that got beat, and falling back on an eaten-out tile, a portion of the Triballian Amateurs keep right on going - basically, Back To The Farm 'cause they've done Their Bit.

Result: the computer tells you that your army is in the tile, intact except for a few percentage points of losses to the Horsemen, while the Triballian Army has only 2 Units left because the rest of them Went Home - they won't lose any Population, but there may be some pointed questions asked about the smarts of their Leader who got them into this mess.

Bottom Line: most of that was decision process to choose your Posture, but everything else was calculated by the Computer, and if you like it will also tell you what happened in the battle but the only standard thing it will tell is your losses and where you ended up.
Amateurs, by the ay, are cheap, but not very reliable - the Triballians lost half their army because they simply went home after one defeat, even a mild one, and invading someone with nothing but Amateurs is not usually a very good idea.
Unless, you can move appreciably faster than the Other Guy - like, having a Pastoral group of all horsemen, real Light cavalry, in which case you can Retreat from any infantry (and especially Hoplite) Army with no losses and get around them to pillage the Good Tiles of farms, pastures, mines, plantations, etc around their cities. That both enhances your morale and lowers theirs, and might even make their Amateurs decide to go home and make sure their own Farm is still intact - so their Amateur Army starts to melt away.

In other words, there's more strategic maneuvering and results possible in addition to or instead of the 'stand up' Battles that have been the only actions in Civ before, while at the same time having a Battle does not mean your turn length suddenly becomes interminable or a single battle takes 200 or more years in the Classical Age and stretches from your border to your capital.
 
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I remember in Rise of Nations you could give your units a "stance" without having to control them too much. I.e. they could remain still and fight, or pursue the enemy at will, or only attack civil targets, or not attack at all (in preparation for laying an ambush), and a few other things.

What you seem to be saying is there should be a compromise between controlling every unit and using auto-resolve (?).

So as I envision it...Maybe if you have a flag, you can set your infantry detachment to defend the flag and they will simply attack anyone who comes close automatically. Meanwhile you can micromanage a cavalry unit as you hunt down the attackers.
 
I remember in Rise of Nations you could give your units a "stance" without having to control them too much. I.e. they could remain still and fight, or pursue the enemy at will, or only attack civil targets, or not attack at all (in preparation for laying an ambush), and a few other things.

What you seem to be saying is there should be a compromise between controlling every unit and using auto-resolve (?).

So as I envision it...Maybe if you have a flag, you can set your infantry detachment to defend the flag and they will simply attack anyone who comes close automatically. Meanwhile you can micromanage a cavalry unit as you hunt down the attackers.

There are compromises inherent in any 'battle' system in a game with 1 to 100 year turns that supposedly covers the world on a single map.

BUT gamers want to play general, and they certainly don't want to go to all the trouble that getting resources and bulding a Unit entails in either Civilization or Humankind and then have a stack of those units disappear in a puff of digital smoke from some mangy computer's Auto-Resolve.

My compromise is to recognize that as the gamer in a 4X game, you are not playing a general, you are playing the entire Civilization, and so individual battlefield decisions are far below your pay-grade. So, you set with the Posture of your Army, the type of battle you want (them) to fight, but the troops/Units and any Great General you have handy do the rest.
If you want a Flag defended, give them a Deliberate Defense posture and they will Stand Fast. If in addition, you have your Leader as a Great General in the battle (giving extra benefits to the 'army' but taking a chance that he will get himself killed and you will lose his Leader Uniques for some turns and maybe even have a forced change of Government) and a Professional Unit of his comtatus - Bodyguard or Household Troops - then they will Stand to the death and you may wind up recreating Thermopolyae or Hastings. That will give you a resounding Defeat in the battle, but might generate a Heroic Epic to enhance your Culture and give you access to a new Civic of Heroic Tradition or Heroic Legacy.

Oh, and you don't micromanage anything, but if you have a force that includes a number of Professional Cavalry they can use Mobile Attack to attack the flanks or encircle the enemy, and a Great General will make them move even faster. I envision a huge advantage to having a Professional Army and Great General on the battlefield, since they did generate a huge advantage in 'real' battles - but were expensive to maintain. The historical trade-offs should work in the game as they did IRL.
 
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But How's It Gonna Work, Boris?
(I heard someone say)
That was me :D

I'm very interested in this, I remember I pondered adding a kind of stance in my WWII mod for civ5, a lot more simple (like "normal" or attack/defend at all cost), but even if the mod allowed stacking, my plan was to make it for individual units as it would have been a lot of work to implement an UI for stacks control over single unit control.

Now that we have HK, we don't need to go back to civ4 to have the base to build this upon (and it's not that I wouldn't bother to work on that with civ6, it's that the game's modding framework don't allow it), and, unless Firaxis was smart enough to hire you as lead designer for civ7, we both know they won't try something like that.

It may take me some time to digest what you've already written, but I do want to know more details, like what the computer would calculate, and how many parameters would define an unit.
 
Started initial development based on this, first the UI
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next is patching the auto-resolve calculations, last will be to code the AI's posture.
 
Is the suggestion for this to be put into Civ7? If so, I'm not quite sure it would fit...
I agree with what Zaarin said earlier.

But very nice implementation into Humankind, and thoroughly thought out idea.
 
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ANY tactical combat system in a 4x Grand Strategy 6000 years plus time-scale game has to be a compromise, and exactly where to compromise is going to be a personal choice with every gamer.
I happen to prefer detailed tactical combat, but then I've played at that level most of my gaming life and written over a dozen books about it - I'm invested, so to speak.
BUT, despite really liking the Humankind system, I've come to realize that it is just as unrealistic and for most gamers, Labor Intensive as the 1UPT system of Civ VI, just in the opposite direction - too much micro-combat individual Unit leadership as opposed to grossly inaccurate ground and time scale.
I see this kind of comments about Humankind combat system a lot (or did back at the time when the game came out), but I don't really follow the logic. I mean, I'm not saying that Humankind system is perfect, and I'm not saying it doesn't have micromanagement. What I don't agree with is that Humankind system has more micromanagement than Civ6 system, nor do I agree that it takes longer. As I see it, the two systems are identical in terms of micromanagement and time spend on the actual battle, the only difference is that where in Civ6, the actions are spread out over multiple game turns, in Humankind, they happen within a single turn (or at least multiple combat rounds within a single game turn).

The big difference - and advantage - with Humankind system is with regards to non-combat actions and movement over the map. Basically Humankind system is Civ6 combat system but without all the micromanagement involved in moving the units over a large distance through a narrow passage etc.

So is that the system we want for Civ7? Well, I guess that's a matter of taste, and it seems Civ has followers that fall into mutually exclusive groups of those who like tactical combat and those who dislike it. I understand and even partially agree with those who say that the combat part of the game is not really what interests them about Civ. I feel the same way to a certain extent myself. On the other hand, I can't deny that I enjoy the tactical part of employing my units, surrounding and besieging a city, etc., and I did enjoy to play HoMaM2/3/5 back in their days, so maybe I do lean more towards such a combat system than the average Civ player. On the other hand, I always hated Civ1-4 SOD combat system, where I felt I would always be trampled by the AI showing up out of the dark with a larger stack than mine, which would then in turn obliterate my entire army. In that sense, I enjoy that in Civ5/6 I can prevail even with the smaller army given my superior intellect and tactical skill than the AI, and at the same time, I acknowledge that the ability to do this becomes the bane of any competitive AI, which is a game-killer for some players.

So what I think I'm trying to say is, that it seems impossible for me to come up with a system that makes everybody happy.
 
. . . So what I think I'm trying to say is, that it seems impossible for me to come up with a system that makes everybody happy.

Exactly. There is no way to have a single system that provides both a complete lack of emphasis and micromanagement of combat in a Grand Strategy 4X game AND satisfies the folks who want to maneuver their little digital armies around a battlefield.
So, what we are left with is trying to find some system that provides some of both - less micromanagement but some input from the gamer as to what's going on at the tactical level of combat, even though the tactical level realistically involves actions on a single day involving a few hundred or a few thousand men at a time in a game that supposedly recreates the actions of millions of people over centuries. It is probably the most extreme disconnect in spatial and temporal scales imaginable.

As said, the system I am throwing out here is a compromise and nothing more - an attempt to keep the decisions at roughly the same place in the chain of command while also giving the gamer real input into what happens to his/her units in the game.

I absolutely agree that the movement of individual units around the map in Civ VI is an absolute Horror - and has the additional not-insignificant defect that the AI seems to be utterly unable to move dozens of individual units efficiently, which compounds the ineptness of the AI opponents in virtually all other parts of the game.

But I equally contend that having a single Stack-o'-Dum that enters a tile and on a single 'die roll' magically wins or loses everything is absolutely unsatisfying to the gamer who has spent the previous 40 turns building all the units in that Stack.

There's gotta be something better, something between the 1UPT and SoD extremes that works, or at least does not produce a gag reflex - for more gamers . . .
 
Exactly. There is no way to have a single system that provides both a complete lack of emphasis and micromanagement of combat in a Grand Strategy 4X game AND satisfies the folks who want to maneuver their little digital armies around a battlefield.

So, what we are left with is trying to find some system that provides some of both ...
Well I'm not sure I agree with that conclusion. Trying to find a system that has some of both may well leave you with a system that ends up pleasing neither group. I'm not saying that will be the outcome, but sometimes when left in such a situation, you have to make a choice on either in order to at least get a coherent system.
 
Well I'm not sure I agree with that conclusion. Trying to find a system that has some of both may well leave you with a system that ends up pleasing neither group. I'm not saying that will be the outcome, but sometimes when left in such a situation, you have to make a choice on either in order to at least get a coherent system.

Of course you have to make a choice, but in this case you are choosing between two completely different games, so whatever choice you make will dissatisfy people who prefer one game over the other.

Basically, the dichotomy is between a Grand Strategy basic game and a Tactical combat system, and they are completely different things playing at completely different levels. The only way to 'meld' the two is by cheating - by providing a tactical Game Within A Game the way CTP did or Humankind does now, in which you leave the Grand Strategic game for a 'tactical interlude' to resolve battles.
This works, but the interface between the two games can be tricky and the tactical game basically interrupts everything you are doing in the 'regular' game for X amount of time - which is precisely what annoys some people about the Humankind system and one of the things that drives a lot of this discussion.

This is nothing new to me: I started out playing tactical or grand tactical ("operational") board games like Gettysburg and Tactics II back in the early 1960s, graduated to historical miniatures in college, and didn't play my first computer game (Civ II, in fact) until after I had spent 30 years in tactical gaming with metal or cardboard. Many board games have run afoul of this same problem, and the only answer for most of them was to focus the game at one level or the other, because, to my knowledge, nobody ever managed to make a playable game that combined both. Miniatures games are almost entirely tactical by nature - part of the hobby is the painting of specific units and combat gear and then maneuvering them on the battlefield in contact with the opponent's forces.

I think part of the conceptual problem is that computers, with their vastly greater scope for storing information and presenting it to the gamer in myriad ways, would seem to be capable of somehow bridging the gap between Tactical and Grand Strategic, but in fact they meet the same problem: that the level of decision-making is completely different between the two. You are basically switching hats between that of a junior officer commanding a battalion or regiment or taxeis and that of the Prime Minister, Emperor, or God-King Essence of the Civilization. The result all too often is simply a lack of focus rather than a good game at either level.
 
Would Offensive/Defensive posture be a "standing order" for units, and you only get to pick the sub-action, or do you choose both? I think you're saying both, but I think it might be interesting if you had to choose before you can move your units unless you had a great general or some other modifier.
 
Would Offensive/Defensive posture be a "standing order" for units, and you only get to pick the sub-action, or do you choose both? I think you're saying both, but I think it might be interesting if you had to choose before you can move your units unless you had a great general or some other modifier.

I consider setting the Posture - offensive or defensive - to be the only Player decision required for a given battle. Making such a decision a 'standing' one makes it absurdly easy for the opponent (even an AI!) to decide on a Posture that gives their unit mix unfair advantages.

However, there are, inevitably, units and armies (and fleets) that have distinct advantages in certain Postures, so they will be picked more often than not. Anybody playing Greeks with an army of Hoplites would be, frankly, an idiot to try a Pursuit against any force faster than a ruptured tortoise, because the Hoplite equipment and formation is about as slow and ponderous as they come. On the other hand, Zulu Impis Always Attacked - a defensive posture for that Unique Unit makes no sense realistically, and any special bonus the Unique Unit gets should be related to attacking.

Part of the subtle advantage of a properly-implemented Posture - automatic battle system is that it makes realistic army mixes of units more effective. An army with no light troops and especially no light cavalry will not be very effective in Pursuit of anybody. An army without any 'heavy' (armored, close formation) infantry will not be very effective in any defensive posture, unless they have one whacking great terrain advantage. You should find that certain combinations of troops and Postures are much more effective than others: think horse archers doing a Mobile Attack, which maximizes their speed, mobility and firepower, or Knights doing an All Out Attack, which maximizes the impact of their thundering charge - but as heavily armored, tight formation cavalry, they can't Pursue worth a Damn.

The very expensive to maintain Professional Armies simply have more very effective options in Posture choices. A 'classic' Roman legionary army could defend or make a Deliberate or All Out Attack with equal effectiveness, and with auxiliary light troops or cavalry, launch a Pursuit and turn it into a Massacre - but it took a rich Empire of 50,000,000 people to pay for an army of that kind that never exceeded 500,000 men, and paying for it stretched the empire to the breaking point in the end.
 
Some postures relations coded, integrated to calculations
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