Combat is what happens when two discovered enemy forces occupy the same location on the map. If one force or both forces are undiscovered, no combat will occur. Thus, a stealthy force may move right through an enemy and not trigger combat. Thus, both forces are not discovered. Two forces which are both discovered may occupy the same province, but one might be in a fortress which has not yet been breached. In this case, the forces are in different locations (one in the fort, the other besieging in the province). When one army is in a fort and one army besieging, the province is owned by the besieging player and the fort is owned by the besieged. This situation is known as partial ownership of the province. When the same player owns both fort and province, the situation is known as full ownership. Full and partial ownership of a province have certain effects in-game (e.g. some events cannot happen in a partially owned province because they require full ownership as a precondition to happening).
Once combat occurs, units move according to their tactical movement allowance on a grid placed over the map. You can toggle this grid by hitting the [g] key or the [w] key.
Players can find battles overwhelming. This is easy to do if you try to follow every swing of every weapon. It’s not necessary.
It is important to understand that battles in Dominions are not fought to the death. They are fought until one side loses its nerve and routs. This allows small units of elite troops to hold off masses of undisciplined barbarians.
Here are some basic points to understand about combat.
● Units are deployed on the battlefield corresponding to the Army Setup screen under Position squads.
● The attacker is on the left, the defender on the right.
● Units move across the battlefield in accordance with the instructions in <set battle orders>
● When units move adjacent to an enemy, they halt due to a “zone of control”
● Once units are adjacent, they attack each other every turn.
● The chance of scoring a hit in melee depends on the difference between attack and defense values
● The chance of scoring a hit with missile weapons depends on the number of units in square the missile hits, and how good the target’s shield is (if it has one).
● The chance of doing damage after scoring a hit depends on the attacker’s strength and weapon damage versus the defender’s protection.
● Magic in combat works a lot like missile weapons [see x]
● Morale is calculated for each squad. A squad takes a morale check when it suffers enough casualties.
● A squad routs when it fails a morale check.
● Battles are fought until one side routs off the map: the other side is said to have won the battle
● Troops will rout when all of their commanders have been killed or routed.
The entire army will rout when their side loses 75% of its total hit points
So if you kill or rout all of an army’s commanders, the whole army will rout. It does not matter how big it is. The biggest army in the universe (of Dominions) will rout if it is led by a single commander, and he is killed or routed.
(For this reason, there is no “attack commanders” order. You will have to figure out how best to do this yourself!)