Another post and a reply from Sethai got me thinking about tactical combat.
We haven't heard much about it from the dev team recently on this topic, and I wanted the throw out some ideas to get a discussion started. Hopefully someone on the dev team is listening and we can get some info on the direction they're taking
So we know we have some sort of initiative based system with various damage and armor types. Initiative is based on action points, action points are based on weapon type and possibly other traits. mounted, etc. Most of this info came out of the Weapons Dev post.
Possible Ideas (deffinitly not my ideas, but just wanted to put them all down):
Not sure if FE is continuing with the simultaneous attack counter attack but this is an interesting idea to deal with it.
"Personally I think it would be better based on weapon types. If weapons had a Reach stat, this could be used to determine who struck first (say, both sides roll 1-10 + reach + 5 charge bonus and the winner strikes first), and if you beat them by a high enough margin, they wouldn't be able to counter-attack at all. Balance this with a mobility stat that determines how many sides you can defend yourelf from (ie, a spear has a long reach but a mobility of only three, so can only counter-attack enemies in front and on the two squares either side, while a sword has 5 and can defend itself from flanking attacks (and possibly higher basic damage)" -Sethai
Combine this with a system of unit facing and rotation. Your pikemen are either facing north, south, east, or west. During their action sequence, if they are about to get flanked you have the option to rotate them to cut off the flanker. Some units can rotate faster than others (see the next idea).
Lower/Higher cost actions:
Weapons dev journal lays out the system for movement like this: each tick units add their action points to their total, when that unit's total ap hit 100 they get an action (all this occurs behind the scenes). Unit takes an action and returns to zero to wait their turn again. Would also be interesting to have "Fast" or "slow" options. Slow actions would actually cost more than 100 action points dropping your unit into negative totals. Fast actions would cost less than 100 so you would potentially only drop partway down the queue. Thus something like a berserker attack that hits multiple squares might be devastating but it would keep you at the bottom of the movement queue for several turns. A quick action like a shield bash that just knocks your opponent down but does no damage could only cost 50% of you AP. So you could potentially knock them down and then go in for the killing blow just a short time later.
This could also be an interesting system for additional spell balance. Some spells will cost more AP that others, a fast spell like a quick fireball may only drop you halfway down the movement queue, but a battlefield wide firestorm will leave your mage out of commission for multiple cycles of the queue.
Combine this system with something like unit facing and rotation, but make a simple action like rotation only cost a smaller percentage of your action points. Certain weapons and units cost more to change facing. A single spearman can change direction quickly, a group of swordsmen can also change direction quickly, however a phalanx of spearmen takes much longer. A group of light cav can manuever quickly, but your armored knights had better be pointed in the right direction early on because turning them on a dime isn't happening, and if they need to turn they'll be very vulnerable to that light cav coming up on their flank.
A lot of people have been asking about this and it seems like a pretty critical addition. Hopefully, there's some way to set up units prior to battle so we can at least get archers in the rear and melee up front. If you have this you could also add some interesting traits like ambusher (you get set up your forces but your opponent just gets a blob of units), General (you get a wider area over which to deploy your forces, including areas to the sides and rear of your opponent), Spymaster (you get to see how you opponent is set up prior to making your decisions), etc.
Obviously, in addition to this stuff, really interesting terrain would be a huge addition to tactical battles. But if we added in systems like these I think i could still get very excited about tactical combat even on a completely featureless grid.