I'm about to introduce some major adjustments to the Size Matters option here and I felt I should give it it's proper due. This full explanation will supersede all information in the first Size Matters Player's Guide thread.
After some testing and experience with the option, as well as listening to feedback as shared, I've made every attempt to address all issues noted so far. There's STILL a bit of work to do here but this major platform rewrite addresses some of the flaws in the first version.
Still on the To Do list:
From the Beginning (for the newcomer and those wanting more basic info):
Size Matters now makes the Combat Quality, Group Volume and Individual Entity Size of a given unit bear weight and meaning. Each of these comprise the Size Matters Categories of Combat Classes.
Under this option, it is valuable to consider the 'Strength' of the unit to be the general evaluation of the combat lethality of a unit when that unit has an average size, group volume, and combat quality.
Under this option, units don't always START with average values but MOST units will enter the game balancing out to an average between the three. The underlying definitions given to units when the option is NOT on still hold meaning here as they are the core base upon which the Ranks of the Size Matters Categories of the unit then adjust.
For each improved step up any of those three Category scales, a unit will have all of its values that apply to Size Matters Modification be multiplied by 1.5. For each step a unit is reduced in any of those three Category scales, the unit will have all of its values that apply to Size Matters Modification be divided by 1.5.
There are some values that receive a x3 or /3 response instead of 1.5 - these are applied to those factors where the size and/or group volume is all that would be considered.
So for a unit that has a single step better than average Combat Quality while being of average size and average group volume, that unit will have +50% more strength and hp.
This required, of course, for a method that enabled strength values to be decimalized. Therefore under this option, you'll find all unit strengths are set to consider and be expressed with two digits of decimal values.
You'll immediately notice that not all units will always average out even from their base settings. I'll leave it to y'all to see if you can figure out what the patterns I determined for those few deviations are but animals in particular can show a wide variation as their group volumes, combat qualities and sizes were considered more for realism than an initial attempt at game accuracy, assuming that the animal strength values they had been initially assigned carried the presumption that all units represented only one individual.
A short list of those that start off 1 rank less (-1 total rank offset) include Recon, Hunters (with the exception of the Master Hunters), Canines, Felines, and Criminals. These units aren't brute force units so much as opportunists and combat avoidants to an extent. They should still have their uses (and if you play with Fight or Flight on as well you'll see they're applications are much more useful despite their strength reductions here.)
Now... these * 1.5 or / 1.5 adjustments to Strength and MaxHP are not the only adjustments these category level shifts can bring. Each category has its own special dynamics when a unit has a higher or lower level.
Let me pause here and express the three categories and the combat classes associated with their levels (in all cases, average is 5 - THIS MEANS THAT GENERALLY UNITS WITH RANK 5 IN ALL CATEGORIES WILL BE UNALTERED FROM THEIR CORE GAME DEFINITIONS):
Incapable - 0
Pathetic - 1
Inferior - 2
Poor - 3
Mediocre - 4
Standard - 5
Superior - 6
Exceptional - 7
Elite - 8
Epic - 9
Divine - 10
Solo (1) - 1
Party (2-6) - 2
Squad (7-20) - 3
Company (21-100) - 4
Battalion (101-600) - 5
Forces (601-2500) - 6
Clan (2600-10000) - 7
Horde (10001-100000) - 8
Multitudes (100k - 1 million) - 9
Millions - 10
Billions - 11
Trillions - 12
Countless - 13
Fine - 1
Diminutive - 2
Tiny - 3
Small - 4
Medium - 5
Large - 6
Huge - 7
Gargantuan - 8
Colossal - 9
And more detail for each category:
Combat Quality is the innate instinctual familiarity with combat the unit possesses. It encompasses the savagery, perseverance, and combat mindedness of the unit. It can be natural or learned. Thus a Pigeon has a terrible Combat Quality while a Tiger has a rather incredible one. Among human troops, usually specialized or culture specific units carry a higher quality while the standard troop type units like Infantry have a rather average level.
A unit can increase its Combat Quality via promotions. These promotions become available when the unit attains a level that qualifies for them. The higher the current Combat Quality of the unit, the higher the level it will need to qualify to take a promotion that gives it an increase.
Obviously, a 50% jump in Combat Strength and Max Hit Points is perhaps one of the strongest promotions a unit can ever take.
But it comes with some cons that make the decision to upgrade in this manner rather interesting.
First of all, any time a promotion that increases the combat quality is taken, the unit will lose ALL current XP, resetting down to 0 (thus it will take quite a while for the unit to earn its way back up to the next level since it must now earn all the xp it takes to get there!) This happens irregardless of the Infinite XP option.
Second, for every level shift greater or less than average, the unit earns more or less xp. Thus, the lower the combat quality, the easier the unit learns. The greater the combat quality, the slower it gains experience. Thus it makes the unit take EVEN LONGER to get to the next level.
Therefore a shift up in quality doesn't mean the unit won't ever improve again but it will mean it's going to take a long time for it to do so. Additionally, you must realize that a unit will be able to level a lot farther and take a LOT of promotions that it will otherwise lose the opportunity to have had by taking this quality step up.
Whether a unit will truly be more powerful this way will certainly be up for debate and player preference. Some players may prefer to simply gain more levels and promotions and maybe later down the road take a step up in quality for their units. Others will prefer to up the combat quality on all units as soon as possible. Both should be fairly valid choices.
Additionally, the greater the combat quality of the unit, the more expensive the unit is to maintain (they demand higher wages than the standard troop) and the more expensive the unit is to upgrade (they tend to have more equipment and thorough training to keep up with their standards).
Increases in Combat Quality will also soon (sorry... still pending!) bring about access to increasingly valuable base combat strength upgrade promotions. Some fame promotions that give exceedingly skilled units national fame and prestige that makes them more effective at making local city populaces more happy than most units will also be developed for higher end Combat Quality access. (Promotion lines supporting this option are among the few things I haven't gotten to quite yet.)
Currently there aren't any ways for combat qualities to be reduced but perhaps some diseases or poisons may (though that WILL be noteworthily complex to develop.)
In summary, the more 'elite' the unit, the higher the combat quality itself.
This represents the number of entities in the unit of that type. The volume of those numbers are shown in parentheses or are self explanatory. Thus, a small strike team will be a Party size Group while a full Infantry will be a Battalion sized group (average).
Immediately upon entering a game with this option you'll see the biggest adjustment this option brings being available on your units. (Well... most of them - many unitcombats are denied this special ability.)
There are two new actions units can take under the size matters option. They may be Split into 3 smaller groups (each losing a Size category level) OR 3 units of the same type with the same quality and group size may come together to Merge into one larger group (the one unit gaining the next larger size category.)
Thus if you take 3 Company sized Stone Throwers and Merge them all together, you'll get one Battalion sized Stone Thrower unit.
When splitting units, the level and most promotions will be translated directly across to the 3 resulting units. Level and XP will average when 3 units are joined and whatever promos they ALL share will be automatically retained by the resulting unit. FREE promotions will only be retained in a merged unit IF the unit initiating a merge has them. They will be maintained by all 3 units in a split. You CAN be gimpy with this and use the process of merging and splitting to propagate free promotions, but the AI will not be concerning itself with this and you're obviously limited to only the original unit's total free promos. You MAY want to turn OFF battlefield promotions under this option if you don't want the dark temptation to spread these technically 'free' promos this way.
It does not COST movement or take the full turn to Merge OR Split. However, units may not merge or split if they are injured or have moved in that turn. It costs nothing to merge or split.
You may continue to split units until you can't split them any further - No unit may be split past the Solo (1) group size.
You may continue to join units until the maximum group category is obtained. Ultimately this means Countless group size BUT there is a limit based on the era at the moment that starts with Battalion in Prehistoric and gains a +1 to the limit with each era achieved. This may eventually be developed out further to make more specified limitations based on the unit combats perhaps.
Obviously the immediate impact of a merge or split is to get 2 additional units with all 3 being 50% weaker or to get 1 unit out of three, that new unit being 50% stronger.
Consider the further balance points for smaller or greater group sizes however.
First, the lower the Group Volume, the less it costs to upkeep and to upgrade the unit (by 20%(unchanged to adapt to the new method but may become a future project) so when you do the math, greater group sized units actually cost less than the three units of a lower size but not by much.)
Second, Smaller group size units heal faster while greater group sized units take longer to heal - this can be the biggest detractor to the huge group size gatherings you might be initially inclined to want. Keep in mind, once injured the unit may not split until fully healed. (This has been changed to be less drastic than the original version but not on this particular update and the method doesn't translate as well into the multiplicative mechanism so will not be further adjusted.)
With each less group size category, the unit earns +20% Experience and -20% for each additional group size. More risk -> greater rewards.
Terrain attack and defense and city attack and defense promo lines will be designed for varying size categories as well - indicating abilities for units to take advantage of open ground upon which they may swarm the enemy, or to take advantage of territory that allows for bottlenecks to enable them to take on a lot greater size force on even footing.
Most importantly, what strategies you'll want to utilize with splitting and merging will really depend on what situation you're in. The AI for this is currently very basic but it may well give you some nasty surprises. But there's more work to do there and more suggestions for how YOU have found splitting or merging to be best utilized are more than welcome!
You'll notice the mathematics involved in this do not split/merge units with perfectly measured ratio modifications for a three-way split or merge. This is to compensate for the differing combat and support conditions that larger or smaller units must face. This ratio offset tends to favor splitting over merging except that the way the odds and flow of combat work, larger units will be (on the face of it) far more valuable in terms of combat effectiveness. Combat Strength is already inherrently an exponential scale - each point gained meaning far more than the last.
The last version was limited to only a 20% modifier to Strength and HP and other modified values to keep from going negative but the new method now allows for a much stronger modifier. However, I'm still against a x3 modifier for merged units.
If you put that modifier at x3 you'll find you've just made a lot of units useless - like Heroes for example. It's important to remember that we don't want to make merging the only valid strategy. We don't have a structure where differing types of units are able to merge together. We are dealing with how many entities in the unit can actually be applicable in the fight in any given moment. We aren't enabling units to attack more than once. Merged units are much more likely to walk away without casualties but MAY not hit as hard as three fully sacrificed split lemming units. In situations where the merged units have the upper hand they can take on a lot more split units without suffering defeat and walk away with all its strength remaining to fight again another day. But if you don't mind suiciding your troops you can get a bit more power overall from splitting them instead.
Hopefully even the strongest critic can recognize some balance in this moderate approach. However, if you can't get around the part where 3 units are blending to become a unit only as powerful as x1.5 one unit then I've provided you with the global modifier to adjust this ratio (see 'What's different' spoiler above).