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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

MichaelJanuary

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Changelog:
Edited for clarity 11-06-2019
Edited for clarity 20-06-2019
Edited for clarity 13-07-2019
Edited for clarity 14-12-2020

GENERAL IDEA
  • You design and build UNITS, much like ships (Unit Designer)
  • You assemble armies in an ARMY MANAGER, much like Fleets (Army Manager)
  • Armies have a command limit, and assemble/reinforce units just like fleets reinforce ships.
  • Ground combat works just like fleet combat ... in that units prioritise targets in their own "weight class" first.
    • This is NOT visualised.
    • Same visuals as current can apply.

UNIT DESIGN
  • Each unit is based on a "chassis", ref ship designer in Stellaris, or Unit Designer in SMAC.
    • Infantry: basic infantry, powered infantry, robots, droids, clones, light xenos, battleframes, etc.
    • Armor: Armored cars, battle tanks, all terrain walkers, warforms, mega warforms, heavy xenos, etc.
    • Air Units: fighters, interceptors, bombers, flying xenos, etc.
    • Support units: medical, maintenance techs, artillery, comm specialists, chemical, bio warfare, morale, psi corps, etc.
      • They dont engage in combat, but provide an army-wide buff.
      • Available support units can vary by ethics.
  • Each unit has weapon, armor, shields that are variants of the ship weapons (portable power pack, armor, shields, lasers, kinetics, disruptors, etc.)
    • They auto-upgrade with ship techs.
    • Auxiliary modules
  • Designer can specify species, or leave species slot open, and species will be auto-selected on recruitment.


DEFENSE FORCES
  • Planets automatically spawn defensive armies, as now.
  • Optional: Add a SUPPLY LIMIT to planets limiting the amount of defending units.
    • Limit can be generous, but want to prevent turtling.
  • Stronghold/Fortresses to provide an armor/entrenchment bonus.
  • Medical Workers (gene clinics) can provide a hit-point bonus.
  • Entertainers can provide a morale bonus.
  • Result:
    • Various planet buildings also get to contribute to the defense of the planet. Either through a modifier, or by auto-spawning support units.


OFFENSIVE FORCES
  • One or more Armies can invade a planet.
  • An army has a command limit, much like a fleet, which increases with techs.
  • Armies work like fleets on the map, and can be reinforced like fleets.

INVASION MECHANICS
  • Same UI as now: Combat width determines frontline size.
  • Units join frontline in proportion to their numbers.
  • Each unit engages units that match its "weight class" first. Infantry vs infantry, armor vs armor, etc.
  • A unit type that defeats its opposing weight class gains bonus damage against remaining units.
    • Infantry has an "Outflanking" bonus against armor and air units.
    • Armor has a "breakthrough" bonus against infantry and air units.
    • Air Units has an "Air Superiority" bonus against infantry and armor units.
    • Infantry is the deciding unit (gains the biggest bonuses), so the side that loses its infantry, should lose the majority of battles.


SUMMARY OF MAJOR MECHANICS
  • NEW: DIVISION DESIGNER (equivalent to ship designer)
    • Unit classes: Infantry, Armor, Air
    • Each unit has 2-4 equipment slots (light,medium, heavy)
    • Unit size, armor, weapons, and special attacks unlocked through tech/ethics/traits.
  • RECRUITMENT (on planets - same as shipyards):
    • Planet side recruitment works by queuing Divisions, based on designs that you have saved.
  • NEW: ARMY MANAGER (equivalent to fleet manager)
    • Define army composition based on designed divisions (number and type).
    • Army has command limit (say 20-50 divisions)
    • Replenishment works by "calling up" existing divisions from planets.
    • Planets will automatically rebuild 'embarked' divisions, so no tabbing through dozens of planets recruiting forces.
    • (Optional) Armies can have support forces, traditions, records, enhancements added to it.
  • TRANSPORTS: Unchanged
    • Divisions that are "called up" to an army, automatically embark on a transport, travel to, and merge with the army "fleet".
  • GROUND COMBAT: Largely unchanged visually
    • Mechanics
      • Combat width for defender modifiable by buildings (fortresses, etc) to simulate entrenchment.
      • Combat width for attacker modified by devastation
    • Unit types
      • Combat will obviously be influenced by the composition of the attacking and defending forces.
      • Infantry is required for capturing a planet. Lose your infantry, you lose the battle.
      • Armor - expensive, high health, high damage, cannot occupy planet.
      • Air - very expensive, low health, very high damage, cannot occupy planet.

============================


DETAILED DESCRIPTIONS OF VARIOUS MECHANICS

  • SPECIES MANPOWER
    • Works like fleet capacity, a global limit on number of fielded divisions for a given species in your empire that have military service enabled, modified by policies, technology, ethics.
    • E..g, if you have 20 Blorg, your manpower limit might be 20 divisions of Blorg (modified by policies like conscription type, techs, ethics).
    • Exceeding the manpower limit results in higher upkeep for all units of those species.
  • OPTIONAL - GLOBAL MANPOWER
    • Global manpower might have a different limit, or merely be limited by upkeep.
    • My gut is that your global divisions should be limited to about 30% of your naval capacity.
  • Supply
  • A per planet limit to the number of divisions based on a planet. Base value + modifiers from infrastructure (districts, buildings, fortresses, military academy, barracks).

DIVISION DESIGNER
  • Equivalent to ship designer.
  • Select species from available species in your empire (that have military service enabled)
  • Select a unit type (infantry, armor, air)
  • Each unit type has base health, plus limited number equipment slots based on unit type, size.
  • Equipment slots ... can be armor (increases health), weapon (increases attack), special (ability)
  • Ability might be chemical, biological, medic, technician, political, etc. (See special abilities below)
  • Options available ... you can ignore armor in favor of extra attacks, or choose between weapons that will favor a unit type (anti infantry, anti armor, anti air) through either targeting preference, or bonus damage.
  • Shields are not an option ... doesn't work in atmosphere, or too unwieldy for ground operations, or requires too much power. Whatever.


RECRUITMENT
  • Works like current system.
  • Divisions are recruited on a planet, by selecting available designs.
  • You can queue any division type on a planet, provided you don't exceed the species manpower available in your empire, or the local planet supply limit.
  • MILITARY ACADEMY
    • Personally i would change it to provide experience points per month, to all divisions on the planet, so over an extended period of time the divisions gain experience. Reasons will be clear below.


ARMY DESIGNER
  • Equivalent to fleet designer.
  • You have a pool of available divisions based on what you have queued on your planets.
  • Specify the composition of your Army ... similar rules as fleets (command limit, etc.)
  • REPLENISH
    • Embarks all available units of the types specified from your planets on TRANSPORTS, and assembles the transports into he army.
    • The planets from which units were embarked, automatically queue replacement units. (Cost drawn from sector pool, or global pool)
    • If no Divisions of specified type available, they will be queued, trained, embarked on a transport, and merged (same as ships for a fleet).
  • REPLENISHMENT POLICY
    • You can choose to
      • Always build new divisions (same as ships).
      • Call up existing divisions from nearest planets.
      • Call up most experienced divisions, regardless of distance.
    • High attrition will quickly use up your pool of experienced units.
    • Planets that do not contribute to replenishment (decision?) will over time have a very experienced pool of defenders.


INVASION MECHANICS
  • Assemble one or more ARMIES over a planet.
  • Optionally view the planet defenses to assess number and type of divisions.
  • Select which armies, or how many armies you might need.
  • Assault the planet.
  • Observe results.

COMBAT MECHANICS
  • Works much like current combat.
  • Frontline combat width varies for defender and attacker, and determines the number of units that are directly engaged in combat.
  • Different units may have different sizes, so light infantry might be 0.5 combat width, and heavy tanks or mega war forms might be 2 combat width.
  • Defending armies may have certain bonuses, such as additional frontline combat width (modified by fortresses, devastation).
  • Special abilities may have additional effects on the planet (devastation, collateral damage to infrastructure or pops).
  • Extended combat may result in increased devastation, reducing defenders initial advantage in combat width.

UNIT AND ARMY UPGRADES
  • Damaged Divisions auto-repair after combat (like they do now)
  • Destroyed Divisions will need to be replaced by new divisions (replenishment)
  • Re-designed or Upgraded Divisions can have their equipment upgraded at Shipyards.
  • Transports have to return to a shipyard for repairs, equipment upgrades.
  • Divisions can be disbanded (or removed from the army and landed on a planet)


EXAMPLES OF HOW THIS WILL WORK IN PRACTICE
  • Your ARMY of 40 divisions arrives over a planet.
  • You inspect the planet, and see it has two fortresses, giving it extra combat width, and is defended by 15 divisions, which are mostly armor.
  • You might elect to call in a different ARMY, which has higher anti armor, or call in a second army, so that you can land more divisions simultaneously.
  • You might elect to bombard the planet to increase devastation, which will increase the assault combat width and even the frontline disparity.
  • Bombardment can still cause damage to enemy divisions, risk destroying infrastructure, or pops, and this can vary by bombardment stance.
  • In general, defensive forces will have a higher combat width (entrenchment), thus inflicting more total damage per tick, potentially resulting in high attrition for assault forces.
  • Destruction of assault units may trigger a small global morale hit to the entire invasion force, increasing the chances of individual units retreating, or the entire army retreating if several units are lost.
  • The aim of the defender is to either cause high attrition, outirght destruction, or trigger a general retreat of the attacking forces.
  • Destroying all enemy infantry wins the battle (regardless of surviving divisions).


STRATEGIC IMPACT
  • High attrition (loss of divisions) will be a resource drain, as well as using up your reserve of experienced units as newly trained units will always be green.
  • All units engaged in frontline combat would have gained experience, and all units alive at the end of the invasion may get an experience boost.
  • Planets with Military Academies will train local forces over time, so the longer they have to train, the more experienced they will be when called up.
  • it would be feasible to select a few planets where large numbers of divisions are trained, for rapid call up when necessary.
  • More likely to use bombardment to to reduce defender advantage (entrenchment).
  • Escorting of Armies and Transports through enemy space (unchanged).
  • Composition of armies (unit types, weapon types, special abilities)
  • Deciding on whether to replenish/reinforce from closest planets or most experienced units (army replenishment policy).
  • Management of available manpower (just like naval capacity)
  • As new units are unlocked through tech, you would be able to design new divisions.
  • Queuing new divisions on 1 or more planets would make it available as a choice in your ARMY MANAGER.

SPECIAL ABILITIES
  • Medical ... heals random infantry unit each tick.
  • Technician ... heals random friendly armor and air unit each tick.
  • Political/Fanatic ... Bonus damage for all frontline units, reduced chance of disengagement.
  • Chemical ... High damage front-line attack, with chance for infrastructure damage
  • Biological .... Low damage to all enemy units every tick, with high chance of killing population


GRAPHICS / ICONOGRAPHY
  • Unit types could be distinguished by icon (light, medium, heavy infantry). Same for tanks, air.
  • Equipment could influence unit color or icon overlay, i.e., to distinguish weapon types, special ablities.
  • This would allow you to monitor how many of infantry or army or air has taken the field, or what weapon types they are using. Thus you would see your medic joining the fray.


OTHER ADVANTAGES OR VARIATIONS
  • Access to special abilities such as chemical attacks, medics, etc could be limited via choice of ETHICS.
  • Different species may have TRAITS such as fast reflexes, strong, regenerates, courageous, cautious, which could be sought after for military units.
  • A whole new range of TECHS and POLICIES, such as conscription types, army command limits, weapon types, advanced forms of units (clones, xenos, gravtanks, special armors, chemical weapons, etc.)
 
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Archael90

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This way we additionaly will have more techs, edicts, ascension perks.
This will needs a lot of balance, but i support the idea.
 

iSaluki

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I see exactly where you're coming from but I don't think that the game really needs anything like this. The current armies system is nothing cool - and that one definitely is but I think that making armies more in depth would overall be a waste of time due to the fact that it would swing the focus of the game and significantly increase the amount of micromanaging. I wouldn't mind making armies slightly more customisable but I don't want them to be as complex as fleets.
 

Archael90

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I see exactly where you're coming from but I don't think that the game really needs anything like this. The current armies system is nothing cool - and that one definitely is but I think that making armies more in depth would overall be a waste of time due to the fact that it would swing the focus of the game and significantly increase the amount of micromanaging. I wouldn't mind making armies slightly more customisable but I don't want them to be as complex as fleets.
Are fleet much complex?
 

Zoolimar

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It is a good army system. Very in depth. But why would someone use it? Fortress worlds already could be a pain in the ass but now you'll also need to make sure that you are dealing with them the right way. At certain point you are just better bombing worlds into oblivion or destroying them altogether cause it will take much less time and effort.
 

MichaelJanuary

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Thanks for response.

Yes. At some point in the game if you have Deathstar and a hundred planets then destroying one or two doesnt matter.

However, for the most part of the game the premise is that planets are valuable real estate. So either it's a waste to cover it in fortresses, or it's worth invading. It does beg the question though, besides real estate, what actual value do planets serve?

The sticking point for me is the FTL inhibitor. It forces you to invade or destroy. In general I find such mechanics too binary. If it was an actual starbase module you had to construct, and only available on starbases, then it would be less restrictive.
 

Zoolimar

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The sticking point for me is the FTL inhibitor. It forces you to invade or destroy. In general I find such mechanics too binary. If it was an actual starbase module you had to construct, and only available on starbases, then it would be less restrictive.
Well one of the ways to deal with this is to make invasions actually optional. So that you can just bomb the planet and kill all the armies on it or just destroy the inhibitor without spending years and years. But it needs to come with big problems - like creating blocker tiles instead of destroyed buildings/districts and unhappy population that would slow down any projects you are doing on the planet.

Currently even if you kill and destroy almost everything on the planet you can rebuild it pretty fast and comparatively cheap at the point of the game where you actually can pull it off reliably and without spending half an hour on it.