Unit Strength Depletion and Recovery

By on December 21, 2008 1:26:43 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Kuloth

Join Date 03/2006
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For units which are more than one figure in size (say a squad of swordsmen) there are two main models for unit depletion and recovery (which is to say loss of figures but not the whole unit, and replenishing the lost figures).

  1. The MoM model. Figures just grow back over time, the way health on an individual figure would. This is simplest to manage and does carry some realism - a military unit will recruit and train replacements if it has access to the right supplies and a populating willing to be recruited. But it also made for some cheap hit-and-run tactics (and perhaps over-emphasised these unrealistically).
  2. The TotalWar Model. In total war, if your archers unit of 60 men loses 40 men, it's at 20 and stays there until you "retrain" it. At which point, it will lose some of its experience (as the ratio of veteran to green troops within the unit gets worse) but might get its equipment upgraded somewhat if the right buildings are in the city at which it's retrained.

What do people prefer and why?

I see advantages and disadvantages to both models. I feel the TotalWar model is more realistic, but very micro-managey. On the other hand the MoM model is not totally devoid of realism - surely the King doesn't have to tell each unit commander to recruit replacements and historically indeed they did not!

Perhaps some kind of hybrid?

  • The MoM model happens, but very slowly. For example it could take 20 turns for a unit to recover full strength from near destruction, and to do so it requires supplies of the right equipment and a population willing to be recruited. For practical purposes, this would mean ZERO recovery of individual figures on enemy territory.
  • The TotalWar model is still an option. If I want to rush the replenishment of a unit I can take it to the nearest city and throw money at it.

I feel this would reduce some of the cheap hit-and-run tactics since you can't recover in enemy territory and recovery is very slow, but take out the micromanagement element when, for example, a border city is attacked by barbarians once in a while. Instead of having to zoom in and pay attention to it, you could expect the unit commanders to slowly replenish their forces.

The effect of experience?

How about:

  • Experienced commanders will recruit faster on their own.
  • Experienced units are more likely to be famous and attract recruits more quickly anyway - so there's significant argument for experienced units replenishing on their own more quickly.
  • If you 'retrain' a unit yourself, using the TotalWar model, the reduction in experience can be less because as the ruler you can send experienced troops from other units, poach the best mercenaries, or conscript the very best fighters in a given city into your army.

Thoughts?

 

Regards,

Kuloth

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December 21, 2008 7:52:24 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'm not sure in general, but I would much prefer if it works with the economy, eg, that you can't just throw money at it, the equipment is made, and soldiers are trained to fill the unit.  Which would strongly limit any natural recovery.

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December 21, 2008 10:16:04 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I like your ideas Kuloth.

The hybrid where you have detailed I think would be best in my opinion.

There could be various options based on where the unit is located and any other units in area that could improve or slow healing:

Town improvements:

Temple - healers bonus to unit depleted strength per day they are in town

Training grounds - adds veteran units instead of green troops (City or village with no training grounds adds green troops)

Heroes and Commanders:

Perhaps a commander could be 'attached' to a unit. Can add a bonus to unit due to fame or ability (ie the hero is a healer so has similar effect as a temple). Also commanders could have some negative abilities. ie. not a good tactician (in battle unit gets negative to attacks) but is wealthy (unit costs 1/2 upkeep).

Heroes could have a zone they can effect with their powers (ie. a high level hero could give a bonus to multiple nearby units)

Unit mods could have +/- effect. Having a Demon horses cavalry is great, but training and recruiting soldiers to ride these demonspawn is very difficult (unless you are Fallen) - so this unit regains strength much slower than normal.

Spells and magic items could effect units as well. Perhaps there is a curse one could cast on an enemy town to poison the water for instance.

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December 21, 2008 10:47:51 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Good thought to this.  One thing I would modify slightly is that units would recover health:

*Very slowly in enemy territory

*Normally in neutral/unexplored territory

*Fastest in home territory (and/or possibly allied territory)

If health recovery will vary by location, there really needs to be some sort of information on the speed of regaining health.  For example:

Health recovery: X (where X represents the rate of recovery/turn).  Maybe mousing over the rate or clicking on it would give you a breakdown like:

5 points/turn- home territory

10 points/turn- priest building

2 points/turn- channeler spell

etc.

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December 21, 2008 10:53:06 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

There's also another method, much better then these 2 mentioned; the Europa Universalis/Hearts of Iron method (Paradox entertainment). It has sliders for upkeep and reinforcements. It costs you gold and draws recruits from your manpower pool. It also takes time and depends on the territory; hostile or friendly, and supplylines.

 

(Why have I not been rewarded with any karma yet? )

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December 21, 2008 11:08:54 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting NorsemanViking,
(Why have I not been rewarded with any karma yet? )

Why do you lie?

 

Quoting NorsemanViking,
There's also another method, much better then these 2 mentioned; the Europa Universalis/Hearts of Iron method (Paradox entertainment). It has sliders for upkeep and reinforcements. It costs you gold and draws recruits from your manpower pool. It also takes time and depends on the territory; hostile or friendly, and supplylines.

I strongly support her/his suggestion.

Replenishment of lost strength of troops should cost equipment and women/men/bears/whatever. The speed of recovering should also be based on the distance this resources have to cover (ie. either simulating the caravans needed or actually using the caravan system, depending on what is better for gameplay).

Since troop creation will cost manpower/bearpower/womanpower/whatever... from the city population and resources (equipment) having them replenish for free would be incoherent and imbalanced.

Thus I would argue for troop replenishment in the field, but with the associated cost and time needed for training new troops and bringing them to where they're needed.

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December 21, 2008 11:50:34 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting NorsemanViking,
There's also another method, much better then these 2 mentioned; the Europa Universalis/Hearts of Iron method (Paradox entertainment). It has sliders for upkeep and reinforcements. It costs you gold and draws recruits from your manpower pool. It also takes time and depends on the territory; hostile or friendly, and supplylines.

To me, this sounds like a way of implementing the hybrid approach Kuloth described. Wouldn't tweaking upkeep and reinforcements sliders be just one UI option for "throwing money at the problem?" I definitely like the idea of recovery being dependent on supply lines, regardless.

I also like the idea of experience (or reputation, if that will be a stat) helping to recruit replacements.

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December 21, 2008 12:12:44 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Personally the detailed overseeing of how reserves are distributed to forces that have lost men doesn’t appeal to me in the slightest. I mean that really is a mundane task that should be handled by your central command, war chief, supreme command, and or secretary of war. I would like this to be handled automatically (perhaps with some visual component) with the player having the option to set the amount of forces to be used as reserves and maybe the priority of a specific force to receive fresh men. Having to personally oversee lesser tasks that would in real life be handled by someone you would appoint / elect in a game where you’re suppose to be a king always bugged me. 

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December 21, 2008 1:11:30 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Having to personally oversee lesser tasks that would in real life be handled by someone you would appoint / elect in a game where you’re suppose to be a king always bugged me.

 

Of course the whole thing needs to be automatic, with a setting to either not reinforce a troop or to prioritize it. But the costs need to be similar to troop production to balance reinforcing experienced troops with new troop creation.

Basically the proposed system would have an overview/slider or similar where you can set it up if and which troops get reinforced and everything would then be done by the pc for you. The basic setting should be that each troop gets reinforced and you should be able do activate or deactivate troop reinforcement on the fly (if you need the equipment for something else for example).

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December 21, 2008 6:21:03 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I like the idea where you can choose to retrain them anywhere, resulting in the complimentary number of units being trained and equipped at the nearest city (or even a city of your choosing) capable of training that unit. When they're finished, they can be automatically shipped to the 'damaged' squad.

There could also be general options for friendly/neutral/enemy territory, so you can choose to automatically have reinforcements sent to replenish depleted squads in friendly and neutral territory but not in enemy territory (to avoid the caravans being intercepted, for example). General settings could then be overridden by specific squad settings. For example you might want to have stealthy units automatically replenished in enemy territory, and you might not want to waste resources replenishing outdated units inside friendly territory.

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December 21, 2008 6:54:51 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Personally I'm not very picky.  I don't care about realism if the system is simple to understand.   I felt that the Total War system, while realistic, has a steeper learning curve which frutrated me when I first started playing.   So if a dev is reading the forums trying to decide how to do it, I vote: "whatever works"

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December 21, 2008 9:59:53 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I always liked the Kohan model. If a unit was out of combat and within supply, an area around the city, it eventually reached full strength. Being out of supply or in combat and your company wouldn't resupply. Cities that were under siege wouldnt produce the 'aura' of supply. Kohan didnt have a cost to resupplying but it was also an RTS so there was enough stuff to juggle already. Just my 2 cents but that seems pretty similair to the consesus.

I really wanted to like total war more but the unit retraining was a nuisance

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December 21, 2008 11:33:44 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I like many of the ideas brought up; supply lines, sliders, the ability to set none/low/medium/high priority to specific squads, 'reputation' and building specific ways of increasing replenishment rates. I feel that a combination of these ideas would gracefully avoid micromanagement but at the same time add depth to the game and provide the player with an important set of decisions to make.

supply lines; i would see them working along the same lines as caravans (that's what they essentially would be). In order to replenish your plate-armour-wearing-mithril-bastard-sword-wielding heavy infantry squad, you'd need to ensure that you have enough composite materials (plate armour, mithril bastard swords and men) in the first place. Once you have access to the raw materials and your supply lines are safe (probably deserves another thread by itself) we then move to...

sliders; simple and effective. Once the raw materials are in place, the slider will ensure that whatever percentage you set is geared towards repleneshing your army. I personallyt think this mechanic would take out a lot of potentially annoying micromanagement.

Priority; as a previous poster has pointed out, do you really want to waste resources replenishing an outdated squad? Or should you invest more heavily in your up-to-date, elite squadron of bear riders? Obvious really.

Reputation; I like this idea because it can add character to the game. If you have an experienced officer who leads a squad that has taken his name (eg Riko's Roughnecks), it would only add flavour to have that squad attract recruits at a (slightly) higher rate than, say, "Pikemen".

Lastly, buildings (and researchable tech, eg 'logistics') that confer bonuses are always a plus.

However, i do have a question for anybody who reads this; should replenishment of you 'swordsmen' squads depend on how many swords you have in stock? What i mean is, say you are producing swrodsmen at maximum rate (ie you produce 10 swords per turn and are producing 10 swordsmen per turn, leaving you with 0 sword in stock). How do you see this affecting replenishment? Initially i was thinking that as long as you can produce swords, it doesn't matter if you have any in stock.

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December 21, 2008 11:40:57 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting NorsemanViking,
There's also another method, much better then these 2 mentioned; the Europa Universalis/Hearts of Iron method (Paradox entertainment). It has sliders for upkeep and reinforcements. It costs you gold and draws recruits from your manpower pool. It also takes time and depends on the territory; hostile or friendly, and supplylines.

 (Why have I not been rewarded with any karma yet? )

Oh yeah, how could I forget the HoI model! Thanks for reminding me and yes it's better than either, although I agree with GW Swicord it could be a good mechanism for implementing the hybrid approach.

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December 22, 2008 8:09:22 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting delad,
However, i do have a question for anybody who reads this; should replenishment of you 'swordsmen' squads depend on how many swords you have in stock? What i mean is, say you are producing swrodsmen at maximum rate (ie you produce 10 swords per turn and are producing 10 swordsmen per turn, leaving you with 0 sword in stock). How do you see this affecting replenishment? Initially i was thinking that as long as you can produce swords, it doesn't matter if you have any in stock.

First, I'm in line with pretty much your whole post. Also the more I think about reputation affecting squad replenishment, the more I like it. Partially because it just gives an excuse for there being a reputation system. If we can name (or allow the computer to name) elite, battle-hardened squads of units once they reach a certain level of experience or fame it would add a lot to the immersion factor, imo. Wouldn't make a huge difference in terms of gameplay but at least for me, it would make me feel like I have a lot more invested in it.

Now onto your question. I think that squad replenishment should definitely require the availability of all the relevant resources (from people to swords and horses). Otherwise replenishing squads would be much more efficient than training new ones. Although if you go by realism then there could be a discount for replenishing troops because you can salvage some of the equipment from the dead. But I still think I favor equal costs for replenishing squads and training new ones. 

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December 22, 2008 8:44:29 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting pigeonpigeon,

 But I still think I favor equal costs for replenishing squads and training new ones. 

 

This is exactly why most nations have some sort of reserve system, so they don’t have to take the time and money to train fresh recruits. I personally find this along with the reputation of a squad idea flawed, replacing X number of soldiers shouldn’t cost or take as long if you have a reservist system. As I said in my previous post you / the AI should be able to set a number of reservists for your army so when a force has lost men instead of the AI training and outfitting new recruits it would simply call up your reservists equip them and ship them out. Simple, realistic, and effective adding a lot more to the system beyond this would just be cosmetic and server no real purpose. You could give the player the choice however of selecting a specific type of reserve system like mandatory duty, conscription, or volunteer each having its own strengths and weaknesses.  

 

As for the reputation idea I suppose I don’t like it because I would want a professional military where you couldn’t just walk up and join a squad because you thought they were cool. Perhaps a patriotism system where you’re more likely to get volunteers or something like that but typically group reputation is only important within the military itself.  I do like the idea of being able to specifically name armies or battalions though. 

Edit:

Expanding on the reserve system it would also be nice if you could stockpile weapons and armor for troops. Then the cost / time of activating reservists could be reduced even more since the equipment wouldn’t have to be made. Yes I rather like that, could throw in some kind of recycling system for outdated stockpiles of weapons and armor too

 

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December 22, 2008 11:22:56 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Darkodinplus,
This is exactly why most nations have some sort of reserve system, so they don’t have to take the time and money to train fresh recruits. I personally find this along with the reputation of a squad idea flawed, replacing X number of soldiers shouldn’t cost or take as long if you have a reservist system. As I said in my previous post you / the AI should be able to set a number of reservists for your army so when a force has lost men instead of the AI training and outfitting new recruits it would simply call up your reservists equip them and ship them out. Simple, realistic, and effective adding a lot more to the system beyond this would just be cosmetic and server no real purpose. You could give the player the choice however of selecting a specific type of reserve system like mandatory duty, conscription, or volunteer each having its own strengths and weaknesses.

But that doesn't have anything to do with whether or not replenishing squads costs the same as training new ones. In your reservist system you still need to have the equipment available in order to use the reserves. There is a problem with training time and cost, though. A reserve system doesn't really make sense without implementing the whole shebang. In almost every case reservists are people who were trained and in the military, but left. They could be summoned to active duty if they are needed, but they weren't just shmucks from the street that were given a sword (unless you're talking about peasant militia and all). This can be solved by having the reserve systems require some sort of financial upkeep - and it could even reduce the number of working population by a small % based on the size of your army. It wouldn't exactly match up the costs of training a new squad compared to replenishing depleted ones, but it would be close enough for me. 
 

Quoting Darkodinplus,
As for the reputation idea I suppose I don’t like it because I would want a professional military where you couldn’t just walk up and join a squad because you thought they were cool. Perhaps a patriotism system where you’re more likely to get volunteers or something like that but typically group reputation is only important within the military itself.  I do like the idea of being able to specifically name armies or battalions though.

Well, you could like at it kind of like the army rangers or other special forces groups. They're famous for their capabilities and accomplishments, so lots of people want to get in, but only the best make it. So maybe instead of increasing the rate of replenishment, it could increase the quality. They still wouldn't be as experienced as the original members of the squad who have all the battle experience, but their better training and/or physical/mental capabilities would mean that the overall competence of the squad isn't diminished as much by the new recruits.

Quoting Darkodinplus,
Expanding on the reserve system it would also be nice if you could stockpile weapons and armor for troops. Then the cost / time of activating reservists could be reduced even more since the equipment wouldn’t have to be made. Yes I rather like that, could throw in some kind of recycling system for outdated stockpiles of weapons and armor too

Pretty sure the stockpiling of different resources and such will be possible. If you read Brad's dev journal about rethinking the 4X economy, it's pretty much required to be able to stockpile things like swords and armor to have a system like the one he talks about. A recycling system for outdated stock would be nice to see, too.

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December 22, 2008 12:03:27 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Things like a reserve system or anything similar to a 'professional military' in the modern sense don't seem to jibe with the Elemental context. It's a fantasy game that begins with a few maybe-demi-gods and a wasteland with a completely disorganized, devastated population. Things like patriotism only make sense if you've had a long history of competing nation-states. Maybe if an Elemental game can last a few hundred years, we'd start to need things like that, but seems like much of the early game will be much closer to Runequest than to Axis and Allies.

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December 22, 2008 12:16:16 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting pigeonpigeon,
 But that doesn't have anything to do with whether or not replenishing squads costs the same as training new ones

 

Actually it does, I thought an upkeep cost to a reserve system would be obviously but this upkeep cost would replace your one time training cost for new recruits and shorten the time required to get fresh troops. Also with a decent reserve system equipment wouldn’t be a concern. Just like in real life the reserves might go for practice with their military unit at some base where their equipment would be kept while they weren’t using it. In the event they get activated they would get their equipment from the base and be ready to roll. The stockpiling of weapons and armor would come in handy when a nation needs to call up far more reserves than usual or is training more reserves than what they could equip if they were all activated. Getting into the fine details of a reserve system is really unnecessary but suffice to say it works and I believe it would be the best system to implement in Elemental.   

 

@ GW Swicord:

From my own personal experience humans (and fallen I guess?) will grow very attached and defensive over trivial things let alone where they make their home. So if some guy started a city, called himself the king, and provided some level of leadership (good or bad) a number of people will always rally around that idea by itself.  So I don't think professional militaries are to far fetched / out of place in Elemental. 

 

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December 22, 2008 12:41:32 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Darkodinplus,
Actually it does, I thought an upkeep cost to a reserve system would be obviously but this upkeep cost would replace your one time training cost for new recruits and shorten the time required to get fresh troops. Also with a decent reserve system equipment wouldn’t be a concern. Just like in real life the reserves might go for practice with their military unit at some base where their equipment would be kept while they weren’t using it. In the event they get activated they would get their equipment from the base and be ready to roll. The stockpiling of weapons and armor would come in handy when a nation needs to call up far more reserves than usual or is training more reserves than what they could equip if they were all activated. Getting into the fine details of a reserve system is really unnecessary but suffice to say it works and I believe it would be the best system to implement in Elemental.

Yeah I mentioned that the costs and training times would be different, but I also said that I don't mind. A reserve system would essentially balance the fact that getting reserves when you need them is cheaper/faster than training new soldiers, but it would be balanced because you'd be paying for it even when you don't need them. I like the system. And equipment would still be a concern - it would have to be in order to be balanced, for one. And it would also have to be to make any sense. THat equipment that's kept at some base (more likely with the reservists) while they aren't using it, would have to be stored at some point, taken for your 'revenue' of that equipment. 

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December 22, 2008 12:59:25 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting pigeonpigeon,

 And equipment would still be a concern - it would have to be in order to be balanced, for one. And it would also have to be to make any sense. THat equipment that's kept at some base (more likely with the reservists) while they aren't using it, would have to be stored at some point, taken for your 'revenue' of that equipment. 

I don't really understand what you're saying here would you mind providing some clarification? 

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December 22, 2008 3:44:17 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Darkodinplus,
I don't really understand what you're saying here would you mind providing some clarification? 

Sure, first I'll quote what you said.

Quoting Darkodinplus,

Also with a decent reserve system equipment wouldn’t be a concern. Just like in real life the reserves might go for practice with their military unit at some base where their equipment would be kept while they weren’t using it. In the event they get activated they would get their equipment from the base and be ready to roll.

What I'm saying is that equipment would still be a concern. Even if you have everything you need to equip your reserves stockpiled, you would have had to stockpile them. If you used all your swords as you made them, then you wouldn't have any stockpiled to equip your sowrdsmen reserves. Otherwise, if equipment could be pulled out of thin air for the reserves, then replenishing troops would be significantly favored over training new ones. 

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December 22, 2008 4:05:11 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Oh yea, I totally agree I didn't see that at all in your first post. I didn't mean to suggest that armor/weapons should come out of thin air just that based on the number of total reservers that you have a % above what you need in equipment is produced. I would have assumed this goes on behind the scenes without the player ever having to see it though. 

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December 22, 2008 7:58:11 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Darkindopulous, first of all, i think i see where you're coming from re the reputation system but i think it could still work. What i'm specifically talking about though is the rate at which the squad is replenished. It doesn't affect the availibility of anything. Say it takes 4 turns to replenish a typical squad reduced by half its manpower in home territory, with an officer in charge with the 'reputation' trait, that squad replenishes in 1/2 the time it would normally take as long as all of the material is there.

Rationale; this world is a tabula rasa (not the mmo ), dominated by powerful Channelers, their heroes and their armies (if they have any). There are not a multitude of cities, this (i presume) will  be nothing like Europe in the middle-ages (although i suppose you might be able to make comparisons to Europe several decades after the black death).Hence these heroes and armies will have massive impact on their surroundings.

In tLotR there were (locally) famous army squads and i see something similar, though with more impact given the sparseness (in human, civilised terms) of the world. So therefore a Channeler with a handful of cities and a couple of elite squads (imagine second generation) in his army that have grown in fame in these cities would have built up a certain amount of 'reputation' and would have more people eager to join/in reserve/whatever. I actually see the 'sliders' option as covering the function of 'army reserve'

Lastly, regarding the availability of material. I would think, as pigeonp has already stated, salvaging should give a material bonus to a squad. Squad of 40 loses 20 men but they salvage half of what they lose (ie 10 sets of armour, 10 swords and 10 bears). All i need in my resevers is 20 men and 10 sets of *whatever* to replenish my army.

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October 23, 2009 12:33:45 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

agreed, any reinforcement should cost gold and manpower, wether a slow natural flow (based upon distance from supplies), or immediate retraining in a city. either way, gold and manpower should be automatically deducted .... and perhaps have a slider in the Nation manager screen for how much resources you want to put into reinforcement, and how fast you want it.

For instance, you could place the slider at 100% after a large battle, and supply wagons could start transporting men and equipment towards your army (after they have been trained of course) ... although this would be very costly and your economy would be hurting. Or at 0% its all manual and your economy isn't hurt via distance/ect because you would have to return to cities and wait the full necessary time.

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October 23, 2009 3:43:17 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I do hv the impression that units are designed unit by unit.  If that is the case, I am not sure if there is a squad at all.

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