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Karnot

Combat tricks variety.

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Thinking of a realtime tactical squad combat game. Lets say we see two rows of medieval soldiers with swords, arranged in two neat lines, glaring at each other angrily. Six on one side and six on the other. The question is : what can you possibly do with your units, what maneuvers to execute, what commands to give them, so that it would actually be a meaningful and useful choice, and not look like a big mess like it is in ordinary RTS ? One would immediately remember "attack from behind" thing. Thats one. And then there is always just "all of you - attack this single one". Which basically IS a big mess. But what else is there ? How to "spice it up" on this stage ? What if there were only three of your units versus six of AI units ? What could they do, if all units are equal in strength, and the only advantage of your units is that you're in charge ?

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Quote:

Thinking of a realtime tactical squad combat game.
Lets say we see two rows of medieval soldiers with swords, arranged in two neat lines, glaring at each other angrily. Six on one side and six on the other.


The point of strategy is to not end up in a situation like this.

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You could also look at formations that the troops could be in.

You have already indicated that they are in a line or possibly a rank fomration.

Formation sugerstions
Ranks: good for reach weapons as you cna fight several troops deep
Line: good for units with ranged weapons as all the troops can fire
Column: good for fast moving units as they can snake their way past obstacles without disrupting the formation
Box: Like rank but the squad can attack/defend all sides at once, but it is difficult to move around the battle field
Wedge/Chevron: A "V" formation with the p[oint of the "V" either towards the enemy or away form the enemy. Good for ranged units that wish to avoid large profiles or in narow locations
Loose: A spread out formation with no overall structure. It allows troopps to take advantage of cover to the best of their abilities. Good for avoinding massed ranged weapon fire


Then within each formation you could look to different ways wepaons and movments could be used. Like in a rank formation units with long reaching weapons (pikes) could fight with several ranks fo soldiers where as troops with swords might only be able to fight with just the front ranks.

Take a look at how medival or roman battles were fought. FOrmations were designed to take advantage of weapons and armor. The greek Phalanx for instance took advantage of the troops interlocking shields and reach weapons to attack the enemy. If the solider besie you fell, it would be likey that you would fall too.

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If you are outnumbered, make use of the terrain by finding some narrow opening that will force your opponents to come at you one at a time, or attempt to lure the enemy into an ambush.

Basically, when two sides face off as you have described, there is little room for strategy, it will all depend on individual skills of soldiers and luck in the upcoming fight.

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Just a thought, you could give commands to take a specific attack formation like those in soccer games. You could have the group advance towards its nearest group of enemies, and given their formation, each soldier would attack their nearest enemy.

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In such a position, your goal is to maneuver such as one of your enemies fights several of your men while none of your men are faced with more than one opponent. For example, if you manage to get in such a position :
XXXXO
..OOO
Two Xs fight 4 Os. The remaining Xs have to move in order to be useful. Manage to maintain this situation by hit-n-run strategies and you have an advantage. You can also play a bit LiquidWar which is a very simple (free) game with a very good tactical gameplay.

Another classics of tactics is the Cannae battle :
OOOOOOOO
OXXXXXXO
OXXXXXXO
OXXXXXXO
OXXXXXXO

While greatly outnumbered, Os have a clear position advantage. In hand-to-hand battle the goal is usually to circle the enemy. Of course, once you have differently armored units with different speeds, the variety of tactics rises spectacularly.

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