Crusader Kings II - Dev Diary 10 - Combat

Crusader Kings II - Dev Diary 10 - Combat

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Doomdark

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Time again for my monthly (well, roughly) pastime of developer diary writing! Last month, I might have mentioned plots and intrigue, but I think I'll hold off on that a bit more... Instead, let's talk about units and the combat system.

Like in the first Crusader Kings, military units are of variable size and composition. Each can contain any number of each of the seven troop types (light and heavy infantry, pike men, light cavalry, knights, archers and horse archers.) Most units are raised from a corresponding settlement (castle, church or city), their size and composition dependent on the improvements constructed there. Others belong to a mercenary group or holy order, etc. Units are discrete and cannot be merged or split into smaller parts, though of course they can be grouped together in armies. The basic system should be familiar to anyone who has played the original Crusader Kings.

Crusader Kings II Alpha - Harold vs Harald.jpg

Combat, however, is different from our other games. As soon as they are grouped together in a larger army, units are are assigned to one of three positions; left flank, center, or right flank. This is done automatically, but can be altered manually by players so inclined. On the battlefield, each position fights separately - normally against the corresponding part of the enemy army. Combat between positions is divided into three phases; skirmish, melee and pursue/flee. My left flank can be skirmishing against the enemy's right flank while my center is locked in melee, etc. The seven unit types have different strengths and weaknesses, so that for example archers excel at skirmish and knights at melee. The leader of each flank (a character), will pick combat tactics, which determines if his position should strive to close for melee, or avoid melee, etc. When an enemy position breaks, it will flee, and the pursue phase ensues. The longer the phase lasts, the more losses that contingent will sustain, but on the other hand, the pursuing force will not be assisting against the remaining enemy positions - also a tactical decision by the flank commander. Combat tactics are similar to the combat events of Rome, but more developed. (Btw, combat tactics are fully moddable.)

Crusader Kings II Alpha - Siege of York.jpg

Apart from combat tactics, there are also more traditional combat events, for example when commanders get wounded, killed or imprisoned, or when they improve on their martial skills. Sieges work in a similar fashion, but emphasizing morale loss, and with a different set of combat tactics. A commander with a high Intrigue skill might even manage to bribe some defenders into opening the gates. What about fleets? Unlike CK, ships do exist in Crusader Kings II, similar to the galleys in Rome. They are raised like normal troop levies in coastal provinces, but can only be used to transport troops - not to fight or block straits (large scale naval battles in the period were rare to say the least.)

Crusader Kings II Alpha - Battle of York.jpg

Oh, I almost forgot to mention that if an army is victorious, all commanders will bask in the glory and gain prestige. Conversely, the shame of defeat results in prestige loss. So, choosing to lead the army yourself can be profitable in terms of prestige, but of course, war is a dangerous business...

Enjoy the screenies and stay tuned for the next dev diary - sometime in August. :)



Henrik Fåhraeus, Associate Producer and CKII Project Lead
 

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Looks a lot more involved, and also more readily accessible, than the system in CK1, while retaining the in-depth information on army composition which drew history nerds like me to the original game. Nice work :)

EDIT: The implementation of ships is also great news - it can allow a more fully developed representation of the unique strengths of polities like Genoa, Pisa, Venice, and (periodically) Egypt and Byzantium.
 

Grubnessul

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So I can recruit units, or will my vassals create their own and bring them when called to arms? (like happened in Lords of the Realm 3)

Love the introduction of tactics and the diversity of units. I assume different unit types can get special modifiers? (I'm thinking British longbow men here)

Finally, will there be restrictions on what units can be raised in what provinces? A French army composed of cavalry archers would be silly to say at least.
 

unmerged(340133)

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Second and for the culturephile discussion esther england is saxon there is your aanswer. What i so want to know is. Of the army is organized in three parts, who is going to kras what?. Apperently the king controls the main part, but who is going to control the flanks? Based on titlea and then martial or marshall first?

I remember times when i merged the armies of marshall martial the god of battles and duke whimpy his whimpiness and whimpy his whimpiness got command :mad:
 

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Since you've now confirmed no naval combat, what's going to stop the Sheikdom of Cornwall from appearing within 50 years like in every game of CK I've ever played?
 

Doomdark

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So I can recruit units, or will my vassals create their own and bring them when called to arms? (like happened in Lords of the Realm 3)
You raise the levies of your vassals and they are then under your control. Your vassals will not autonomously try to "help" you, like in CK. I plan to talk more about this in a Warfare dev diary.

Finally, will there be restrictions on what units can be raised in what provinces? A French army composed of cavalry archers would be silly to say at least.
Almost. Province culture affects the composition of all levies from that province.
 

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Really like the combat system!

They are raised like normal troop levies in coastal provinces, but can only be used to transport troops - not to fight or block straits
So basically instead of automatically putting the troops in ships and shipping them to the province you want, like in CKI, you just added some micro to it? Wasn't the CKI system easier for the AI to use?
 

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As soon as they are grouped together in a larger army, units are are assigned to one of three positions; left flank, center, or right flank. This is done automatically, but can be altered manually by players so inclined. On the battlefield, each position fights separately - normally against the corresponding part of the enemy army. Combat between positions is divided into three phases; skirmish, melee and pursue/flee. My left flank can be skirmishing against the enemy's right flank while my center is locked in melee, etc.
Hmm. Does this mean that an army consisting of three units is a no-brainer, because less than three won't be able to fill all the positions and more than three will leave some units out of the battle?
 

Doomdark

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Second and for the culturephile discussion esther england is saxon there is your aanswer. What i so want to know is. Of the army is organized in three parts, who is going to kras what?. Apperently the king controls the main part, but who is going to control the flanks? Based on titlea and then martial or marshall first?

I remember times when i merged the armies of marshall martial the god of battles and duke whimpy his whimpiness and whimpy his whimpiness got command :mad:
Rank decides, but you can replace leaders manually, unlike in CK. (However, a duke might not be pleased to be replaced as flank commander by a mere knight, etc.)
 

Doomdark

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since you've now confirmed no naval combat, what's going to stop the sheikdom of cornwall from appearing within 50 years like in every game of ck i've ever played?
ai?
 

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Second and for the culturephile discussion esther england is saxon there is your aanswer. What i so want to know is. Of the army is organized in three parts, who is going to kras what?. Apperently the king controls the main part, but who is going to control the flanks? Based on titlea and then martial or marshall first?

I remember times when i merged the armies of marshall martial the god of battles and duke whimpy his whimpiness and whimpy his whimpiness got command :mad:
I believe he mentioned that you can setup who is on which flank yourself :) ... so you could possibly leave your king on the left flank and your "God of battle" in the center if you wish.
 

Doomdark

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So basically instead of automatically putting the troops in ships and shipping them to the province you want, like in CKI, you just added some micro to it? Wasn't the CKI system easier for the AI to use?
It is a bit more micro, but not much, especially if you're used to our other games. As for the AI, it's not a problem.
 

Jia Xu

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Great DD, sir! A couple of questions now, if you wouldn't mind:

1) Do traits affect combat tactics? Like would a cowardly character be more inclined to avoiding melee combat or more likely to retreat? (And would a brave character be inclined toward the opposite?)

2) Will characters be able to get a reputation from combat causing other characters to see them as monsters or invincible (kind of like the case of the Saracens being terrified of King Richard for a while because of his reputation)?
 

Doomdark

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Hmm. Does this mean that an army consisting of three units is a no-brainer, because less than three won't be able to fill all the positions and more than three will leave some units out of the battle?
Yes, it's normally best to have at least three units in an army. However, a single huge center unit will still beat off three tiny ones, especially if it has a diverse mix of troops.
 

Doomdark

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If there's some specific system that causes ai to focus more on local provinces could you tell us about it?
I will talk about that in an upcoming dev diary on warfare.
 

Doomdark

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Great DD, sir! A couple of questions now, if you wouldn't mind:

1) Do traits affect combat tactics? Like would a cowardly character be more inclined to avoiding melee combat or more likely to retreat? (And would a brave character be inclined toward the opposite?)
Absolutely!

2) Will characters be able to get a reputation from combat causing other characters to see them as monsters or invincible (kind of like the case of the Saracens being terrified of King Richard for a while because of his reputation)?
Not as such, but it's a nifty idea. :)