This is a post inspired by the thread “Troops : Quality v Quantity” . In this discussion, I’ll like to see what mechanism (abstraction) should be put into the Tactical Combat (TC); and I’ll assume few things first:
1. The Dragon does not use its Breath weapon. My focus is just the basic Melee combat here
2. TC is done in a grid based map (regardless it is RT or not), as it has been shown in screenshot. All 50 or 500 swordsmen are located in the same tile
For the purpose of illustration, let me dissect the fight in to 1 minute segment (or 1 turn in TBS-speak).
In the 1st minute of the fight, how many swords will be able to ‘touch’ the Dragon’s carapace? 50? Not likely. 500? Not bloody likely. Despite the Gigantic size of a dragon, there is only so much space for the swordsmen to get close within their swords’ reach. In this same minute, how many swordsmen will be killed by the dragon’s bite and claws? Probably 10, give or take.
My point here is, Weapon Reach and the Size difference between the combatants matter in the debate of “Quality vs. Quantity”. There should be a calculation of “how many attacks that is possible from each side” per turn.
This figure will change dramatically, if you replace the example above with Spearman (longer weapon reach = more contact) and the (smaller sized = less contact) Mongol Calvary.
From the perspective of the Swordsmen, the amount of damage they can inflict to the Dragon equals to:
“The number of attack attempts possible in 1 minute” * “Average damage of their swords”
For the sake of illustration, let me assume in this case the math is 20 * 10 = 200 Damage. And please note this number is the same, regardless of whether you are sending 50 or 500 swordsmen to the dragon, because the area of contact remains constant. The remaining 30 or 480 swordsmen cannot move closer in that 1 minute, it is too crowded to reach.
Unfortunately for the swordsmen, their attack is proved to be useless. None of their bronze sword can penetrate the Dragon carapace. Instead of the 200 Damage they hoped for, the dragon remains unscratched and 10 of its fellow swordsmen died in the 1st turn. Tragedy, tragedy…
So, the 2nd turn comes. What will the swordsmen do?
Now knowing their attack is totally worthless, their morale drops to 0 & they will flee regardless of what their hero/sovereign demands them (unless they are then ordered to attack something else).
In a different scenario, if they are lucky enough to be equipped with a magical sword, they found that they have instead inflicted 200HP of damage to the dragon; their Morale will never drop to 0. They will continue the fight in the 2nd turn.
So in the 2nd turn, is there advantage to send 500 magical swordsmen instead of 50 magical swordsmen, even both groups can only inflict 200HP damage per turn? Well, the 500 swordsmen will definitely the advantage. If the dragon is not killed in the next 4 turns, none of the 50 swordsmen survive. At the rate of 200HP per turn, the 500 swordsmen can inflict 200*50 worth of damage to the dragon, the beast must die within 50 turns. The 500 magical swordsmen will be victorious.
My point now is, Morale mechanism is important to high Quality units (Dragon) will not overwhelmed by Too Low quality units in huge quantity (500 non-magical swordsmen). The judge on whether your opponent is of “too Low” quality to bother with is to see if they can inflict meaningful damage last turn. The evaluation of Morale on each side should factor in the rate of inflicting damage and how many units (or %) has been killed in the group.
To recap, I would like to include “Weapon Reach”, “Unit Size” in all units’ stat, because it allows the calculation of “The number of attack attempts possible in 1 minute” between to combating parties. Include the Morale mechanism to make sure High Quality never lost to really low quality units in huge quantity.
You might ask why the Dragon can kill 10 swordsmen in 1 turn. I don’t have the best answer now, but Larger sized unit probably should be allow to multiply their normal # of attacks per turn when fighting smaller foes?
So far so good, the only thing I don’t like here is.. I want short TC that lasts no more than 12 minutes. In the example of 500 swordsmen, they need 50 turns kill the dragon if the dragon still stubbornly refuses to roast them…. Haha