Battles in Field of Glory: Kingdoms display a wide variety, either due to their scale, ranging from skirmishes to full-scale engagements involving the main armies of several nations, or due to terrain and weather conditions, or because they can occur as pitched battles in open areas or as castle assaults (here, we use 'castle' to denote any permanent fortification, from a humble rustic fort to a mighty fortress with triple concentric walls!).
When you start the game, it's quite easy to be deceived by the apparent simplicity of combat... until you lose several battles without really understanding why. Indeed, the game simplifies your task by providing an approximate value of your units' effectiveness, but this number is inherently imperfect in capturing all the subtleties of combat.
There's also the combat module, which can be very roughly described as a checkerboard. Square spaces, neatly arranged units facing off. But in reality, this covers a range of mechanisms all working together to add subtlety and allow for different approaches. Let's delve into this more deeply!
The combat system is based on three pillars, which we call the rule of the triangle, because it's crucial to understand that your units need a good general (the first pillar: generals provide additional dice). They need to be rested and experienced (ideally, of course!), which allows them to mitigate bad dice rolls, which are simply excluded from combat (so your veterans are less subject to bad luck), this being the second pillar. Finally, the third pillar, the easiest to understand and often seen by beginners as the only existing one, is the raw strength of the unit. Let's not kid ourselves, equal skills being present, it's better to have knights than peasants... However, even this raw strength varies greatly with the terrain. Heavy units are disadvantaged in constrained terrains like forests and mountains, for example.
This rule of the triangle or the three pillars is fundamental to understanding, as it is the essence of combat in Kingdoms.
Add to this several other mechanisms like the ranged attacks of your archers, skirmish units, which even when they lose tire out your soldiers, pursuit units, those that block charges, etc. There's too much to say, in fact, but what can be retained is that combat in Kingdoms offers more than honorable subtlety, and it would be wrong to think of it as simplistic and uninteresting... That being said, if you want even more finesse and detail, at the expense of a much longer game time, then you can export your battles to Field of Glory Medieval from Richard Bodley Scott, and then retrieve the combat result in Kingdoms!
What about castle assaults?
They largely follow the same procedure as open field battles, but with various defensive bonuses, depending on whether a breach has been made in the fortification. Some units naturally have specialized bonuses or penalties in assault. But before the assault, you must have laid siege and weakened the defenders (or if you are patient, they might even surrender if they lack food).
The art of siege isn't learned in a day either, as it involves considering the abilities of the opposing generals, the capacity of units to conduct or defend against a siege (here archers have a clear advantage, but if you build siege units, you can more than compensate for this problem). Sieges can also be very long, especially if the opposing fortification has undergone several improvements, and this is a feature of Kingdoms compared to its predecessor Empires:
forts and castles are built in several modular stages, each providing different bonuses. With serious investment, it is possible to hold a stronghold for years.
This concludes our 4th developer diary, and we hope it has piqued your interest in testing military maneuvers in Kingdoms, knowing that this is just a small part of the game, and that we also have a lot of content available for those who like peaceful development... so stay tuned!