How would you improve combat in Civ7?

Marla_Singer

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Civ5 and Civ6 made combat less linear using more chess-like mechanics. That's a good thing, yet I've been wondering whether it could be even further improved for Civ7.

The major problem is that the map inevitably grows clogged late in the game, strongly limiting the actual ability to maneuver. A hard coded limit of units per tile also has important consequences in multiple aspects of the game which are not even combat related. Hence why I wonder whether we can achieve the same benefits, but without the drawbacks. The risk in allowing multiple units per tile is to go back to Civ3 or Civ4 "stack of doom", basically being forced to play this way.

Thinking further, stacks of doom didn't only require multiple units per tile being allowed, they also required units to be better protected when stacked than when unstacked. In Civ1 and Civ2, there are unlimited stacks, but you only need to defeat the best defender of the stack to destroy all units in it, litteraly changing your "stack of doom" into a "stack of misery". That was certainly too punishing, but it was efficient.

Exploring this idea, a solution may actually be to still allow stacking, but to use unit types feature in order to make it ineffective in combat. Here are some ideas:
  • Ranged units: can damage all units in stacks, therefore inciting enemies to spread out in order to limit damages. That would make archers useful even with only a 1-tile range (ranged units with a larger radius coming later).
  • Mounted units: can perform flank attacks dividing an enemy stack into 2, with half of units moved to an outside tile. They inflict damage in the process but they don't destroy entire units, and they can retreat if it goes wrong.
  • Spear units: prevents flank attacks to succeed when in the stack.
  • Siege units: early ones (catapults, trebuchets) only limited to destroying city fortifications or forts through bombing, but later ones (cannons, artillery) having an increasingly deadly ranged capacity as well. We could also play the map interestingly in giving a cannon only a 1-tile range on flat land, and a 2-tile range on hills.
As such, the game would incite the player spreading smaller combinations of different types of units not because he would be forced by hard code restrictions, but because that would be the smartest way to play the game. That would also make maneuvering much easier for humans, but even more importantly for the AI pathfinding. As such, an efficient AI, building and maneuvering small stacks with different types of unit would be much easier to program, making it more challenging.

What do you think? 😀
 
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Unit differentiation definitely makes more sense in a tactical context. I could see interesting combat based on your unit descriptions, especially with the pushback ability of mounted units. At the same time, stacks of doom demand little micro, such that I can throw broad waves of unit production into the same stack without consideration of small-stack unit balance. My sense is that I would be less likely to play into small, incentivized stacking unless a) I faced a threatening opponent, or b) I could produce multiple units per turn out of a city, for instance. For single player, AI combat competence heavily influences my desire to engage with the military side of things. When you double the base movement in Civ VI, you actually have to cover your flanks--go figure!
 
Map getting clogged would be a great feature if AI can use it.
In GS, AI already does flanking reinforcement, rotation and focusing on killing weakest units. It just needs a bit more improvement for:
- all ranged units should move after attack, and have shorter range. That's how archers and skirmishers were mainly used. (I modded this but AI never uses it)
- light cavalry should move after attack too.
- heavy cavalry push all but spearmen back in plains and grassland
- siege units should be built by infantry or engineer, taking a turn and not movable (and self-destroy after nearby units leave).
- siege should not succeed until the garrison fights to death already
- AI should keep units on guard to block important routes
- and prefer few elite units not numerous trash warriors.
 
Unit differentiation definitely makes more sense in a tactical context. I could see interesting combat based on your unit descriptions, especially with the pushback ability of mounted units. At the same time, stacks of doom demand little micro, such that I can throw broad waves of unit production into the same stack without consideration of small-stack unit balance. My sense is that I would be less likely to play into small, incentivized stacking unless a) I faced a threatening opponent, or b) I could produce multiple units per turn out of a city, for instance. For single player, AI combat competence heavily influences my desire to engage with the military side of things. When you double the base movement in Civ VI, you actually have to cover your flanks--go figure!
I can't see the problem in stacking in a non-threatened (i.e. non-combat related) situation. If a tile can fit a city of several million people, I can't see why it couldn't fit more than a single battalion. There's something here about scale which feels wrong. However, I do see the interest about discouraging stacking in combat situations as a way to bring more depth, therefore making it more engaging.


Map getting clogged would be a great feature if AI can use it.
In GS, AI already does flanking reinforcement, rotation and focusing on killing weakest units. It just needs a bit more improvement for:
- all ranged units should move after attack, and have shorter range. That's how archers and skirmishers were mainly used. (I modded this but AI never uses it)
- light cavalry should move after attack too.
- heavy cavalry push all but spearmen back in plains and grassland
- siege units should be built by infantry or engineer, taking a turn and not movable (and self-destroy after nearby units leave).
- siege should not succeed until the garrison fights to death already
- AI should keep units on guard to block important routes
- and prefer few elite units not numerous trash warriors.
How placing a spearman as a barrier to protect your melee unit from a cavalry in a 1upt context is really that different than stacking a spearman with a melee unit to protect it the same way? The only distinction is really about the number of tiles being required to operate, which is much bigger in the 1upt context than in the stacked one. To me that looks more like a matter of scale than a matter of depth.
 
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How placing a spearman as a barrier to protect your melee unit from a cavalry in a 1upt context is really that different than stacking a spearman with a melee unit to protect it the same way? The only distinction is really about the number of tiles being required to operate, which is much bigger in the 1upt context than in the stacked one. To me that looks more like a matter of scale than a matter of depth.
In stacked mode, there would be less disadvantages and less need to move armies carefully.

For example, if AI suspects enemy cavalry may attack from out of sight range, it should always put spear in front, since cavalry can move longer than sight range. And archers may follow behind, ready to engage and then retreat in the same turn. And for that to happen they can't run out of movement points before attack. And then there would be infantry and heavy cavalry behind, and maybe light cavalry screening ahead or in flanks, making sure heavy cavalry wouldn't be caught by enemy archers after attacking.

That'd be quite awesome and somewhat resembling the very careful movement Crusaders used when they were marching, surrounded by hostile civilians, spies, and horse archers.... (they learned it from real life lessons)

But it might need bigger maps or carefully designed terrain, and maybe too troublesome to new players.
 
How placing a spearman as a barrier to protect your melee unit from a cavalry in a 1upt context is really that different than stacking a spearman with a melee unit to protect it the same way? The only distinction is really about the number of tiles being required to operate, which is much bigger in the 1upt context than in the stacked one. To me that looks more like a matter of scale than a matter of depth.
There is a difference:
- in a 1UPT System, the Spearman would have to be adjacent to the Cavalry Unit when latter attacks the Melee Unit. But if it was behind the Spearman (between the Melee unit and the enemy Cavalry), then it wouldn't make sense to provide any protection for the Melee Unit. Thus, Tactics and Positioning are important.
- in a Stack System the Spearman would provide Protection from the Cavalry at any time and in any Situation, because they are both on the same tile. So, on it's own, Stacks wouldn't offer much tactical depth here, unless you introduce a Formation System, which determines the Positioning of Units in a Stack (who's in front, back, flanks...etc), and offer similar tactical Depth. But you would need limited Stacks for this to work, otherwise it would be too OP.
 
There is a difference:
- in a 1UPT System, the Spearman would have to be adjacent to the Cavalry Unit when latter attacks the Melee Unit. But if it was behind the Spearman (between the Melee unit and the enemy Cavalry), then it wouldn't make sense to provide any protection for the Melee Unit. Thus, Tactics and Positioning are important.
- in a Stack System the Spearman would provide Protection from the Cavalry at any time and in any Situation, because they are both on the same tile. So, on it's own, Stacks wouldn't offer much tactical depth here, unless you introduce a Formation System, which determines the Positioning of Units in a Stack (who's in front, back, flanks...etc), and offer similar tactical Depth. But you would need limited Stacks for this to work, otherwise it would be too OP.
I understand your tactical considerations here, but rather than bringing more "depth" I would say the 1UPT option only narrows down scales. Solutions to make that interesting from a gameplay perspective irremediably require maps with more tiles and units with more moves, but does that fit with a game supposed to be played from stone age to space age?

My feeling is that the scope of the game irremediably makes it more strategic than tactical. I wonder if we are not deviating too much from the main objective of the game by emphasizing positioning of units over the more strategic aspects consisting in actually building them. This is a 4X game in which what matters the most is to grow an Empire. In this context, what should make the player win wars is ultimately his capacity to build a larger army, not to outmaneuver his opponents. I clearly want tactical aspects in the game, but not to the point they would become more important than strategic considerations. Don't you agree?
 
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I don't like stacks in Civ 4 because I can't tell my units what in the stack to attack; makes the battle very opaque with a bunch of rules, calcualtions, and dice rolls thrown in as to what damage I am said to be doing. feels like I'm fighting a slot machine and not an army.

this is an obstacle you need to surmount.

In this context, what should make the player win wars is ultimately his capacity to build a larger army, not to outmaneuver his opponents.
here's the thing: why? why is that the answer?
it's just a different philosophy between MUPT and 1UPT.
 
I don't like stacks in Civ 4 because I can't tell my units what in the stack to attack; makes the battle very opaque with a bunch of rules, calcualtions, and dice rolls thrown in as to what damage I am said to be doing. feels like I'm fighting a slot machine and not an army.

this is an obstacle you need to surmount.
I'm not here to defend Civ4 with its overpowered stacks and that's not what I've been advocating for. However, you had combat odds preview in that game pretty similarly as in the following civs, so I don't really understand what you mean. That question is unrelated to the ability or not to stack.

Let’s just see it this way. A melee unit stacked with a spearman would behave like a melee unit with a defensive bonus against mounted units. Would you be ok with this? Except that in this case it would be more dynamic as your spearman could move from protecting a unit to protecting another, bringing more tactical value to it.

here's the thing: why? why is that the answer?
it's just a different philosophy between MUPT and 1UPT.
Why should firepower matters in an Empire-building game? Why shouldn’t it matter ?

I neither believe in almighty stacks nor do I believe in almighty single units, I'm convinced the good solution is in-between, with distributed mini-stacks combining different unit types. And I believe we can achieve so without making it mandatory but simply because that would be the smartest way to play the game. I also believe it's much easier to program an AI that would be good at that game than the one we can have with pure 1upt, as pathfinding wouldn't become such a nightmare.
 
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I can't see the problem in stacking in a non-threatened (i.e. non-combat related) situation. If a tile can fit a city of several million people, I can't see why it couldn't fit more than a single battalion. There's something here about scale which feels wrong. However, I do see the interest about discouraging stacking in combat situations as a way to bring more depth, therefore making it more engaging.
It is more that the incentives for limited stacking when not threatened are unclear to me. Unlimited stacking and 1UPT both have clear incentives for the player. The former provides a way to organize one's intent to garrison or engage in combat, while with the latter there is no other option :lol: I can see a transition to limited stacking undermined by AI combat ability. If my capital were besieged, it would be obvious I needed as many units as possible in that garrison. At the same time, if I could clear hostile forces with 1UPT tactics alone, then the complexity of limited stacking would be immaterial.
 
If Civ 7 does not include separate tactical combat screen like Call to Power, then limited stacking is the answer.

In early eras stacks could have max size of 4 to six units, after mass mobilization techs 10+ units.

If a stack would have ranged units they would shoot and damage enemy stack like in MariaSinger wrote.

Also some units, like machinegun, would defend a stack and shoot at enemy when attacked, before the actual combat starts.
 
If Civ 7 does not include separate tactical combat screen like Call to Power...

A separate battlescreen with the graphical brilliance and the tactical possibilities as it is included in Age of Wonders 2 Shadow Magic (AOW2 SM) would be my ultimate Civ-game. :jesus: Think of ships that can have different movement values for the normal map (symbolizing range) and the battlescreen (symbolizing speed) and landunits that need a line of sight to fire at the target. This was also demonstrated in SSI´s Imperialism and with a not so good quality in Call to Power (CTP).

If remembering well, there was also a report, that Sid Meier considered to use a separate battlescreen for Civ 1, but abandoned it due to the limited power of pcs at that time. Unfortunately at present I cannot find the source of that report.

Against a separate battlescreen there came the argument, that this would need to much playing time in a Civ game. AOW showed, that this is not true and additionally holds an autosolve option for each combat (Fast Battle/Schnellgefecht) or Battle Screen Battle/Manueller Kampf).

Fast Battle.jpg
 
A separate battlescreen with the graphical brilliance and the tactical possibilities as it is included in Age of Wonders 2 Shadow Magic (AOW2 SM) would be my ultimate Civ-game. :jesus: Think of ships that can have different movement values for the normal map (symbolizing range) and the battlescreen (symbolizing speed) and landunits that need a line of sight to fire at the target. This was also demonstrated in SSI´s Imperialism and with a not so good quality in Call to Power (CTP).

If remembering well, there was also a report, that Sid Meier considered to use a separate battlescreen for Civ 1, but abandoned it due to the limited power of pcs at that time. Unfortunately at present I cannot find the source of that report.

Against a separate battlescreen there came the argument, that this would need to much playing time in a Civ game. AOW showed, that this is not true and additionally holds an autosolve option for each combat (Fast Battle/Schnellgefecht) or Battle Screen Battle/Manueller Kampf).

View attachment 657928

Nowadays, you could do something similar very smoothly simply by zooming in the tile for the fight. That also makes me think about the idea to subdivide a hex in 7 smaller hexes for combat purpose. That's generally criticized as excessive micromanagement but it all depends on how it is implemented.

Another idea is to totally emancipate from tiles in order to better manage scales of everything rather than having a "1 size fits all" approach. After all, the grid system was first imagined by Sid Meier taking inspiration from SimCity, but nowadays city builders such as Cities: Skylines no longer work this way. Worked tiles would be generated by the city all around it. Cities would grow naturally in size with population and districts. And units would each have its own zone of control in which it would engage combat. The game would remain turn-based though, with units all having their own max distance per turn. That would emancipate the game from many constraints, and everything would physically feel more natural and make better sense. That would also allow the map to be an actual globe.
 
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Honestly I think something like Humankind would be better: where you could move in stacks but battles were 1UPT. But my problem with that game was battles always favored the attacker. Because they got to attack with all of their units before the defender could even do anything.
My solution would be to pick an enemy stack you want to attack. This would prompt the player with something like "An army is moving to attack. Do you deploy? Y/N." If yes, you could fight, and you would have to disperse your units. If no, you could still move away, but your units could still be damaged evenly. One advantage being, however, that stacks should be able to move faster than 1UPT units.
You would not be forced into a battle like in Humankind.
 
All these concepts of expanded battle sounds like they would vastly expand the amount of time needed to play out a game. Sure, the individual battles may not be that long, but over the course of an entire game they would likely add up significantly. And in my experience, those systems, even when they do come with an automatic resolution, will almost always give worse results to automatic resolution than they would to manual resolution. So not much of a choice whether to do it or not.

Very idle thought, staying at the strategic level: what about swapping Units-Per-Tile (UPT) to Attacks-Per-Tile (APT)? Rather than limiting the number of units allowed to be on a tile (with all the cumbersome movement), limit the number of units allowed to *attack* from a given tile at a given time. So with 1APT, if one unit has already started an attack from your tile - other units on that tile cannot attack (this could be simplified to "cannot attack if another unit on the same tile has already attacked", but that would raise issues where you can multi-attack so long as all your attackers successfully move to the tile they're attacking).

That way stacking is possible for movement and defense, but the "all your units attack before the defender has a chance to do anything" scenario is prevented, and there's still an encouragement to spreading out your offensive.
 
The problem with a great many of these suggestions is that they all come at the problem from a strictly Game perspective. That is, what would make a better game mechanic. Which is, of course, not a bad way to loo at it, but overlooks the massive data base available on this subject: Real military history.

A few Basic Facts:
1. From the beginning (Neolithic, Paleolithic, go back as far as you like) concentrating people in one place to do anything was a Problem. First, because they had to be Fed, and the longer they remained in one place, the more they removed food from that place, until eventually either food had to be brought to them from somewhere else, or they HAD to move to stay alive. In addition, the larger the group in one place, the more effort it took to keep them all concentrated on whatever it was they were supposed to be doing, like find and fight an enemy.

Therefore: Stacking is Hard Work. And it gets harder the more you try to stack. The terrain puts serious limitations on how many you can feed, and therefore, before organized logistics and supply trains and such, it puts serious limits on how much you can Stack.
There is no such thing as Unlimited Stacking. - or Concentration, to use the military term: after a certain point, for one thing, you are just piling up Targets, because men and animals and military machines need certain amounts of room just to move and function, and always have.

2. Moving large groups is another Problem. A dozen people can move down a path with relative ease, one following the other. A thousand people, even with each of them moving at the same speed as the dozen, will have more difficulty moving down the same path. For one thing, single file their column will stretch for over a kilometer, and just to stop at the end of the movement will take the folks at the rear an extra 10 - 30 minutes to get to where the people at the front are. 10,000 people will take most of the day just to catch up. Therefore, the larger the group, the slower they move, simply because they take up more space, take longer to get started or to finish, and get in each others' way while doing all of that.

Therefore: All other things being equal, a smaller group moves faster than a larger group, and to move really fast, you move a bunch of smaller groups separately rather than one massive group all on one route. Concentration/Stacking, therefore, is for Fighting, not Moving.

3. Defense, by definition, is less concentrated than Attack. The defender is always to some extent trying to cover terrain to deny it to the opponent. The Attacker is trying to overwhelm the defender and take terrain or destroy the defender. Matching 100 attackers against 10 defenders is the quickest way to do that - weapons and everything else being roughly equal. So, in general, military forces Concentrate/Stack to Attack, and only to a lesser extent do they Concentrate/Stack to Defend. (or Move, see 2. above)

4. Civilization is NOT a Tactical Game. The smallest time interval is One Year, so the average tactical action, which averages a few hours, takes place in 1/1000 of one turn. Now, this is a Basic Problem in Game Design, because after spending much time and effort to build various Combat Units in the game, we also want to put on our General's hat and run the combat action with them as well.
BUT any tactical action represented in detail in Civ is grossly out of time and distance scale. Even a major battle for most of the game will take place in a tiny fraction of a single tile in a tiny fraction of a single turn. Gaugamela involved over 80,000 troops - definitely more than one Unit on a side, but it took place on a plain about 6 x 4 kilometers in a single day, and didn't even take all day: in the Classical Era with 20 year turns, that's about 1/10,000 of a single turn.

Sure, you can drop down to a 'tactical/battle map' and run out the battle in a different time and distance scale, but as many posters have pointed out, when you do that you stop everything else in the game - and you still have to account for everything happening in the other 19.0025 years of the Turn.
In addition, the General's Hat isn't really what you are wearing. To fight the battle you are the Cavalry Commander, the Infantry Commander, the officer in charge of the catapults or artillery, and are in essence wearing the Captain's hat, the Colonel's hat, and several Generals' hats (or, if you prefer, the Strategos' helmet, the Chiliarch's, the Tribune's, etc). Meanwhile, the rest of the focus of the game is the gamer as the Immortal Embodied Spirit of the Civ, which, I would postulate, is several pay grades above the Captain or Chiliarch.

We need to have some input on how the battle comes out. It is Immensely Unsatisfying (read: UnFun Game) to simply stack up all those units you have labored to produce and watch them evaporate at one lousy die roll or its equivalent in Malevolent Computer Manipulation. On the other hand, it makes no sense to stop the entire game to fight out a single battle in a 6000 year history of your Civ, when you may wind up fighting dozens of such battles even in a 'peaceful' game.

I've already posted my answer to these conundrums some time ago at
Combat System for Civ VII,
and I haven't seen any suggestion from anyone to make me change anything there. The entire argument over 1UPT and Stacking is a Herring at its Scarlet best, because you have to stack to keep the combat system even remotely at ground/distance scale with the rest of the game and keep separate types of combat units (Spearmen, Knights, Main Battle Tanks, etc) in the game at all as distinct 'units'. You also have to provide some input from the gamer into the battle, or said gamer will really, really resent losing units to the Deus ex Machina behind the computer screen. The whole point of my earlier post was to give the gamer that input without forcing the entire game and the gamer to move into an entirely separate tactical battle game imbedded in Civ like a stake through its foot, keeping anything else from happening until the battle is resolved.
 
I am in favour of a soft cap system, where as a player you are discouraged from stacking, but unlimited stacking is still possible. Archers/Siege damaging all units in a stack, heavy cav split stacks "open", light cav gets to choose its target etc. All good ideas.

Ultimately I'd like a system where the war is over in one turn. You give your units instructions, the enemy gives their instructions and you watch the war play out.
 
I thought the corp system in civ 6 was a good partial implementation of the stacks, in theory. I just think that the (rather late) tech unlock undermined the system, and that corps/armies should have been implemented as a special unit combat class ability.

ie. I think the army stack idea would have worked better if it was an ability that was core to the heavy infantry (ie. anti-cavalry spears etc.) and heavy (shock) cavalry unit lines. That would mean it could be augmented by things like promotions for those units. It doesn't make much sense to me that scout and lighter skirmishing units be in massed formations anyways.

re: Amplitude's combat, it's really time-consuming, breaks the game up, and gets old fast. I much prefer the faster combat in civ games. For my part, I don't think the civ franchise has anything to learn from Amplitude's combat system.
 
I thought the corp system in civ 6 was a good partial implementation of the stacks, in theory. I just think that the (rather late) tech unlock undermined the system, and that corps/armies should have been implemented as a special unit combat class ability.

ie. I think the army stack idea would have worked better if it was an ability that was core to the heavy infantry (ie. anti-cavalry spears etc.) and heavy (shock) cavalry unit lines. That would mean it could be augmented by things like promotions for those units. It doesn't make much sense to me that scout and lighter skirmishing units be in massed formations anyways.

re: Amplitude's combat, it's really time-consuming, breaks the game up, and gets old fast. I much prefer the faster combat in civ games. For my part, I don't think the civ franchise has anything to learn from Amplitude's combat system.
Amplitude's combat system in Endless Legend and (refined) in Humankind had a couple of major drawbacks:
1. As many have commented, it dropped you right out of the regular game while you played out the battles, and if you had more than one battle in a single turn (not at all unusual late in the game) the turn became interminably long.
2. By using the regular map to generate the battle/tactical map, the result was extremely artificial battlefields with cliffs, forests, rivers and such in them - for ancient and classical battles, which, frankly, was utter Fantasy. As a military historian I may be the only gamer ever bothered by this, but others have remarked that the battlefields frequently had 'choke points' so that they couldn't even get at the enemy - a product of the same inane game mechanic.

BUT, the system also had a couple of things worth keeping in mind for whatever system Civ VII uses:
1. The stacking was never Unlimited, and it got more concentrated (more units per stack) as the game and the Eras and technologies progressed. That means the armies got bigger as the technology progressed and the number of units you could put on the battlefield and control also progressed - just as in the historical reality. It also means the SoD could never be a thing: you could only stack so far, and the enemy had very nearly the same ability to concentrate, so merely piling up Units would not win for you in most situations.
2. There were even more tactical modifications and interactions than in Civ VI's 1UPT system, with almost every unit having something it did better and worse than another type of unit against some other type of unit. Again, that means simply stacking up High Combat Factors is not a recipe for universal success: the combination of tactical bonuses and the battlefield terrain was usually more important at producing Effective Combat Factors.

That means the system had a nice tactical 'feel' to the battles, and the gamer got the impression that he was actually making battlefield decisions rather than simply shoving units into a computer-generated Hopper and seeing what came out.

I really liked the system when I first met it, but the more I played, the more the deficiencies in regards to time consumption and battlefield terrain wierdness soured me on it. But I still hope any system for Civ VII does include the variable stacking limits, varied by technology and maybe by terrain and Era, and the system does somehow manage to provide some tactical decision-making opportunities for the gamer without spreading the individual units all over a strategic map and distorting the time and distance scales for the battles beyond all recognition.

Civ VII simply has to do better than either the time and distance-distorting Civ VI system or the time consuming Amplitude system.
 
A separate battlescreen with the graphical brilliance and the tactical possibilities as it is included in Age of Wonders 2 Shadow Magic (AOW2 SM) would be my ultimate Civ-game. :jesus: Think of ships that can have different movement values for the normal map (symbolizing range) and the battlescreen (symbolizing speed) and landunits that need a line of sight to fire at the target. This was also demonstrated in SSI´s Imperialism and with a not so good quality in Call to Power (CTP).

If remembering well, there was also a report, that Sid Meier considered to use a separate battlescreen for Civ 1, but abandoned it due to the limited power of pcs at that time. Unfortunately at present I cannot find the source of that report.

Against a separate battlescreen there came the argument, that this would need to much playing time in a Civ game. AOW showed, that this is not true and additionally holds an autosolve option for each combat (Fast Battle/Schnellgefecht) or Battle Screen Battle/Manueller Kampf).

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The biggest problem with applying such model of tactical encounters with like 6 - 8 unirs per army (of age of wonders, disciples etc) to civ, is that it is generally applied in the fantasy or sci fi games, in which you have vast diversity of extremely unique troops, as well as countless fantasy powers, spells, characters and artifacts to spice up the combat. Whereas in civ you'd have most of your battles like 'three spearmen, two archers and one horseman vs two swordmen, two horsemen and two archers". Unless you'd to it like Humankind, where battles are complicated mess due to the lack of upper limits of units per battle and there are insane terrain combat penalties (especially height levels). But the resulting combat system of HK isbsuch an exhaustinf mess, with its battlefields being extremely crowded by dozens of units taking every hex and blocking each ommther from moving, and so aggravating with those height bonuses, that I wouldnt like it either.

On the other hand, Humankind's army system has still shown had great it feels to send your army across the world map quickly and effortlessly, in small stacks 'unpacking' only in battle and avoiding logistical micro nightmare, and just how much wonders it does for turn loading times and AI's ability to besiege player's cities, so I'd love for civ to somehow go in this direction. Humankind's system, which makes stacks 'unpack' only for battle but they still fight on the main map, also partially solves the issue of AoW style combat 'taking you out' from one unified campaign map.

I'd personally love to see something combining Humankind's approach with your AoW - style approach, where we send small stacks across the map in one click instead of a hell of taking 30 units across the entire world one after another, and then for something interesting happening in the form of a field battle, and it would solve sooo many problems of civ5-6, I just have no idea how to do that without falling into the pitfalls of super messy HK combat design, while still making it interesting.
 
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