This is true. I prefer each unit to be an individual, a character with a semi-unique appearance and preferably also a personality expressed through dialogue. By a semi-unique appearance I mean that the player can choose to have, for example, three identical blue t-rex units, but they could just as easily have a red t-rex, a blue eagle, and a yellow goldfish. Or, the player could have three batman units, or they could have a batman, a wolverine, and a captain america. And I'd say this could work with up to 8 units on a side in a given battle, but I'd cap the number allowed at 8, or if it's a human summoner + monster system I'd cap it at the human unit + 6 monster units. I don't know whether you'd consider all of these to be heroes - I've only seen that term used in larger-scale strategy games like Heroes of Might and Magic and Warcraft III.
It depends on how many units you plant to interact on the same level at once. If only 4-5 units coexist on each side, this could be viable. Any more though, and you'll risk confusion, longer turns, and overall lack of involvement in the gameplay. It depends if the scope of your game is to depict War or Battles. Inherently, this relates back to whether you depict heroes, or units.
But I personally like systems where actions cost AP varying from 1 to 10, and a normal unit has somewhere between 5 and 8 per turn, and you can do however many you can afford
I like systems with cover/obstacles. They interact well with traps, invisibility, knockback, and allow you to differentiate between ranged attacks which require line of sight and ranged attacks which don't. Somewhat relates is the nice differentiation between area of effect attacks which require the whole area to be unobstructed, those which don't do splash damage to friendlies in the target area, and those which do do splash damage to friendlies in the area.
XCOM uses the regular cover system from other games. Basically, where you move matters more and provides you with cover (walls, debris, etc) which make you harder and harder to hit depending on how much junk there is between you and them. The cover is also destructible for more fun. I think its better than having to skip actions to buff. The one action I really think works well though is the one where you hold off your fire and hit the first thing that moves in sight.
Yeah, the thing with buffs and debuffs is you don't want the player to have to use them every turn, it gets annoying fast. You want to do something like, the player uses "entrench", they gain a defense bonus as long as they don't move, vs. the player uses "hyper", they gain extra movement but lose attack effectiveness.
I remember having a lot of fun in Dofus as a trap-layer on a map with a big tree blocking the middle - I led a monster twice my level around in a circle, trapping and retreating, until it killed itself walking through so many traps. A similar concept is using an ability to render a monster unable to move for a few turns, using those turns to put traps where it would likely walk, then watching it blow itself up when it could move again. Or using a knockback arrow to push a monster into something that would damage it, whether it was an obstacle, a glyph, or a trap. A glyph would combine well with the dodge ability you were mentioning - you use your unit to trap the opponent on the glyph so they will take damage each turn they stay there, then you dodge so you don't take damage from the unit's attacks.
Attacking 3 times in a row can look dramatic if they go off in a quick sequence.
>You could have each attack cost 2 action points too, or even scale up to 3. I personally consider the attack to be the culmination of a unit's turn and want my units to be able to either make a strike or a decisive abilities (once) and move and make minor actions. I can see this current system as something that could potentially drift with players attacking 3 times in a row (which, imo, would be boring).
Combat at any given historical period has way fewer options than a good tactical game. The player should be able to adapt within each battle, while economics and culture forced most historical groups to specialize in one or two strategies for decades at a time. Response continues after next quote.
Well I'm not sure I understand your point. The Chariot was purposely used as a mobility advantage for efficient warfare. It really filled a role, and it was a unit class (so much in fact that it became a SOCIAL class as well in Ancient people). My field of studies was ancient military history, and I could probably name quite a few more units that were developed purposefully. The most striking example would be the use of the firearm with the sole intent of defeating heavy mounted knights which led to the complete eradication of the heavy cavalry in the early renaissance era.
But when you look at strategy and game theory in an anthropological way, as methods humans use to solve problems, you find that a combat role for a unit emerges naturally depending on how the player is attempting to use that particular unit. There just aren't that many things to do in combat, and the whole point of the game is to challenge the player to find an approach that is efficient yet flexible, or a set of approaches for different puzzle-like situations. Combat roles should be the player's tools that they play with in the game.
This is actually what I meant by naturally emerging combat roles, except I was thinking of a somewhat more complex environment with invisibility, temporary speed boosts for attacking or retreating, paralyzing an enemy, moving it somewhere to your advantage, or leading/funneling it somewhere to its disadvantage, traps, healing, dot attacks/status ailments, guerrilla attacking from hiding, unit coordination which can magnify damage, temporarily sacrificing one stat for another during a battle, limited mana pools that must be divided between healing and other spells, varying resistances to different elements, and units that change AI pattern after they take a certain amount of damage or in response to other battle conditions.
Agreed. Tactical warfare still takes considerable advantage over these. The bare minimum is something that moves fast, something that can sustain damage, and something that deals a lot of damage. From these 3 spurs organic strategies. Everything else is gravy