Greetings and welcome to the second dev blog for Goblin Storm!
Today I will discuss the art and science of killing both man and beast in Goblin Storm. This isn't meant to be an exhaustive guide to combat in GS, but it will cover the basics you need to get started.
Goblin Storm may be turn based, but combat is incredibly fast-paced and highly dynamic.
Attacking your enemies in Goblin Storm is easy. In its most basic form all you have to do is give your warriors a march order and they will attack any enemy units they run into. However, there are a few tips and tricks that can help you get the most out of your armies.
The Impulse System:
Since units from both sides move simultaneously in Goblin Storm, the game uses impulses to replicate real time movement in a turn based environment. Impulses are essentially times of the day from impulse 1 (dawn) to impulse 9 (dusk). In the screenshot below you can see how far a heavy cavalry unit can move in a single turn, the black and yellow numbers over the hexes show the impulse that the unit will arrive in the hex.
Every hex has a 4 point stacking limit. To put this into perspective, a single company of soldiers of any type has a stacking value of 0.5. Full strength regiments have a stacking value of 2.0. So you can fit 2 regiments or 8 companies in a hex at the same time.
The only exception to this rule is roads, during turn resolution up to 6 stacking points can move along a road. This allows friendly units to move through each other on roads during turn resolution and prevents terrible traffic jams on your precious medieval highways. At the end of the turn, any excess stacking points above the 4 allowed will be ejected into adjacent hexes.
As already mentioned, the march order is the simplest and most common combat order in the game. Units will attack any enemy unit that they run into as long as the combat odds are 1 to 1 or better.
The skirmish order is similar to the move order with two exceptions:
1) Units with a skirmish order will attack any adjacent enemy unit while moving. If a unit with a skirmish order is stationary, then they will attempt to ambush any enemy unit that moves adjacent to them.
2) Skirmish combat usually favors ranged units like archers or flying beasts like gryphons. But any unit can skirmish. Some are just better at it than others.
The attack order is an all-out assault that grants the attacker a 20% combat bonus but also means that units with this order will only attack once during the turn, instead of every impulse as with a march order. To use this order, select the impulse you want the attack to happen, let's say impulse 9 (dusk) and then select a target hex. Your units will then attack the selected hex and everything adjacent to it on impulse 9 - this is especially useful for coordinating large-scale attacks on fortified targets that cannot move (mostly castles or towns).
How combat works:
Every battle in GS has two parts, ranged combat followed by melee combat.
1) The fire troops (archers, slingers, crossbowmen, etc.) of both armies fire and inflict casualties before melee starts.
2) The surviving melee value of both armies is totaled, buffed by combined arms and leadership and reduced by encirclement if necessary. Then the two armies clash in hand to hand combat. This is the decisive stage of the battle where most of the killing happens.
Both phases can be affected by the terrain the battle is fought in, but we'll get to that in a moment. For now, here are the detailed melee Losses and fire losses from the combat report above. The report helpfully tells you exactly how many soldiers and what type were killed in each phase.
Combined Arms rewards mixing different unit types together. If you have infantry, cavalry and fire troops in a battle, you can achieve a maximum of 50% bonus to melee value.
Here's a full list of combined arms affects:
just infantry = 0% bonus
just cavalry = 0% bonus
infantry + fire = 20% bonus
cavalry + fire = 20% bonus
infantry + cav = 20% bonus
infantry + cavalry + fire = 50% bonus
The defender suffers a -10% melee combat reduction for every adjacent hex that they are attacked from simultaneously. So, if you are attacked from 6 hexes at once you're hit with a staggering -60% melee reduction. If you're attacked from 2 hexes, it's a far more manageable -20%.
Human leader units such as Kings and Thanes grant a +20% melee combat bonus to all units in their hex. But only as long as that leader is alive.
Goblin clan leaders grant a +20% melee combat bonus to all units from their clan that are within 5 hexes of the leader. Once again, this only works so long as the clan's war chief is still alive.
Choose your battlefield carefully:
Different terrain types can have a dramatic effect on unit performance. Most of this is simply common sense. Don't use knights in the mountains, keep heavy infantry out of marshes and forests have a nasty habit of catching arrows. Terrain effects are listed in combat reports, and you can always click on a hex and see how the terrain affects different unit types by hovering over the terrain portrait on the bottom left of the HUD.
Don't worry about memorizing all of these combat modifiers, the combat report for each battle helpfully tells you about every little minute detail and how it impacted the combat.
Tying it all together:
Once you have the basics - and you will learn them quickly - you are well on the way to mastering the battlefields of Goblin Storm. There are numerous play styles available in Goblin Storm, including (just to name a few): Mongol style mounted hordes. Micro-intensive guerrilla combat with small but highly trained Ranger companies. Flexible armies that mix well trained regiments of infantry, cavalry and fire troops together for maximum combined arms at all times. And of course, when all else fails, massive Goblin wave attacks armed with fire-hardened sticks and wooden clubs. Whatever your preference, you'll find a playstyle that suits you in Goblin Storm.
In future devblogs I will walk you through the art of building an army and a few advanced rules pertaining to the movement and combat abilities of specific types of units. Trolls, for example, are freakishly resilient and often avoid death. Other units such as fearsome 'Deathstalker' beasts are nearly immune to ranged weapons. Until then, let me know if you have any questions in the comments below!