IN this i am assuming a system like
https://forums.elementalgame.com/393907 has been implemented.
There has been a lot of complains about squads being overpowered. That in the late game the only thing that matters is how many squads with 300 attack and 400 Def can you field. There have also been numerous complaints that Spells, especially direct damage spells SUCK in the late game.and there have been complains that Late game heroes are pointless because they are just chickenfeed to the overpowered squads.
There have been a lot of proposed solutions, many of which would work, some of which are even elegant. I hope this is another elegant and workable solution.
I want to talk to you about targets. Or more about how many people you can be attacked by at once.
Unless you are on the ground getting plumbed by a mob (standing beside you and kicking you) it's really hard to get more then three people swinging swords, maces and what have you directed at you in a fight.
Currently, 16 poorly equipped schmucks can lay the smackdown on a level 10 Hero with God's own armour, because they manage to all attack, all at once, and all with perfect efficiency.
Proposed Solution (Paradigm description):
Understanding this I would propose that Units have a 'targets' attribute. Anything 'human' sized would have 3 targets, a giant spider might have 1(a spider 1/3 of the size of a human is *#$%ing huge), and a dragon would have between 50 and 1000 (arbitrary large number). A Squad of 16 people thus would have '66 targets'. (Perhaps the Larger Fallen would have 3.5 'targets each' and the smaller ones 2.5 each).
Make it so that Single Unit Troops (including spell casters) are still useful against Squads in the late game, unless the Squad is designed with the intent to attack Single Unit Troops.
Game Mechanics(in brief);
When I attack a unit, I check if it has a 'target' or part of one free. If it doesn't I can't attack.
I then Roll to attack that Target, (attack and Def for targets discussed later). If I miss that target, I then evaluate if the same unit has more 'free' targets. If it does I RE-roll (with a lower chance to hit(attack), and a lower mean damage.) for up to N targets (Archers have High N, Swords medium N, Mauls have N=2, and Pikes have N=1).
If I Hit a target the Target becomes 'used' until next round of battle. (if I hit it with a RE-Roll I use less then 1 full target, say 2/3rds of a target or 1/2 a target). If I hit a Target that is partially used (IE the unit I'm attacking only has 1/3 of a target remaining because of previous attacks) then any final damage calculated is multiplied by the fraction of a full target remaining. So I hit, do 30 damage after armour, but the target was only a 1/3 target remaining free so I do 10 damage. (Different Types of attacks can consume different amounts of a target [damage based on needing 1 target but amount deducted based on weapon type]. Pikes would use a max of 2/3s of a target [because you can fit more pike-men around a unit] archers would use [1/3] or even [1/6] of a target (balancing needed) Mauls would use [1and1/3] or a target. . .)
If a Unit has more then 2/3s of it's max 'target' allotment filled by melee damage that unit can not disengage without a special ability to do so. However the unit also can not be the target of archery or spells that require a target for the remainder of this turn or the next turn (unless disengaged). [They are surrounded and can not escape. ranged weapons do not have an open enough target to aim at].
Game Mechanics (Swings, Attack, and Defense; Basic);
A units Defense is it's ability not to be hit, see link above, all 'targets' of a unit have the same Defense
If a Unit has 60 armour, and 3 targets. then the Unit has 20 armour per target.
Most units attack consists of one 'swing' (a Dagger, or a weapon in both hands would permit two 'swings'/attack). A squad of 16 units would attack with 16 'swings' unless modified by an ability or weapon. Spells could carry more or less 'swings', Fireball would have something like 5 swings / caster level, a dragon attack might be 10 swings, and dragon breath might have 20 'swings'.
A units Attack is it's ability to hit, Each swing has the same attack as the unit. However if a Unit has three people in it, then each 'swing' only carries 1/3rd of the damage potential. One 'swing' can kill or wound a maximum on one person. (so a 16 unit troop can loose no more then 'max health/16' to a given swing. [if you want to get technical you can track how much health the 'top' person has left... but...])
Game Mechanics( Example );
Thus if a unit has 10 guys (10 HP each), 9 attack, 10 def, 90 Damage, 120 Armour, it means it has: 10 swings, and 30 targets.
Each 'Swing' has 8 attack, and 9 Damage, each 'Target' has 10 def and 4 Armour. [translation these are early mace men with leather armour].
Compare to a Hero.
1 Unit (30HP), 12 attack, 14 def, 20 Damage, 30 armour, This unit has 1 swing and 3 targets. It's 'Swing' has 12 attack and 30 damage, and it's 'targets' have 10 def and 10 Armour.
Both units have combat speed 2.
Translation, That Hero is going to beat that squad of mace men. (with low remaining HP).
Round 1, Macemen; Has 10 swings, but can only land 4 hits: 2 direct hits taking 1 target, 1 reroll target taking 1/2 a target, and one full hit but only for half damage (runs out of targets to hit). [note, the defenders 'def' exceeds the attackers attack, so those 4 hits probably took 5 of the 10 swings.] Has two attacks per combat move
The two direct hits do between 0 and 2 damage each, (attack 9 vrs armour 10), the two other hits likely do 1 damage each between them, 3 damage per combat move.
6 Total Damage.
Round 1,Hero; 1 swing, Hits, 30 damage - 4 armour = >10. Kills one from the troop. Has two attacks per combat turn
20 Total Damage : Kills 2 units.
Round 2. Same (still has more then 5 troops) 6 Total damage to Hero.
Round 3. (only 6 Troops remain) 6 total damage to Hero
Round 4. (only 4 Troops remain) 4 total damage to Hero. Round 5. 2 Damage to Hero. Round 6 End.
Total Damage to Hero: 24.
Same Scenario but with MorningStars rather then maces. (MorningStars take 2/3s of a target each) or 4.5 hits for the first rounds rather then 3. doing 9 damage for the first 3 rounds. Total Damage to Hero 33. Hero Looses.
The choice between mace and MorningStar (otherwise identical weapons save the 2/3's target hit). determines Win or Loose.
Note: If the second unit had been 10 units with knives (two strikes per attack) rather then a hero, the knives would have won. STRATEGIC CHOICES!
Note: Archers fireing into Melee consume targets (your units can not be in the line of sight to target) in some situations you will find it not a good idea to fire into Melee because it will consume the targets
Extended Options (magic and abilities):
Spells could vary in the number of Targets the consume, and number of strikes they can make.
Fireball hits all open targets of a unit for attack____ Damage _____ up to N. Uses all remaining open Targets. (don't want to be where a fireball is exploding)
Lightning: needs 0 targets to hit, uses 0 targets when hitting (lightning comes from above, most of the attacks we're considering don't)
Force Guard: Reduces max number of targets for unit by (.5) (HUGE advantage for single fighters taking on mobs).
Momentum: If unit hits full target, and another full target exists in the same unit, reroll for the second target as well.
Marksman: Can fire on units in melee (units over 2/3s targets full with Melee hits).
Volley: All shots are calculated as if they missed the first target, (reduced accuracy and damage) but do not consume targets upon hit. (good for last volley before Melee arrives.)
Ninja: Always has a bonus 'strike' at same damage potential as normal strikes.
Assuming the 'Gaussian hits', and the 'attack def Damage and Armour' models: https://forums.elementalgame.com/392880 , https://forums.elementalgame.com/393907
Adding only the 4 easy to understand variables of 'Targets', 'Swings', and tracking how many targets are hit (Total and by Melee) Gives the following Strategic Options.
For the same cost one can produce 4 levels of troops SUPER Beasts (dragon), Large squads, small Squads, and Lone rangers:
A Super Beast :
Can Kill just about anything, but has a weak spot of either Lone Rangers or Large Squads. (depending on the super beast).
A Large squad :
that can kill Super beasts, or other Super Squads (but is VERY weak when at attacking considerably smaller squads or lone heroes)
that can kill attack large squads and small Squads (but will loose to Supe Beats and Loan Rangers [doing lots but not enough damage])
or that can kill Lone rangers, but is weak against everybody else.
Small Squads: (like large squad but can be set to kill lone rangers as easily as Large squads can kill Super Beasts)
Lone Rangers: Can Kill just about anything, but has a weak spot of either Super Beasts or small Squads. (depending on the Equipment).
Regardless of this size of your army, you can be set to best attack armies bigger, smaller, or the same size as you. but you'll always have a weakness for the other direction to compensate [or you'll cost much more to cover all your bases.]
Now at the very end game you still want, and still have a use for both Super large armies, and Lone Heroes/spell casters.
You don't even need to do THAT much work in re-balancing spells. Just set their max number of targets and attack/damage per target appropriately.