User:Moulton/combattactics

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Combat cycle

During the combat cycle, within each phase— whether it be skirmish, melee or pursuit; a combat tactic is rolled for each flank. Tactics decide battles the majority of the time, they can overcome the disadvantage of attacking in rough terrain or having an inferior army. Larger armies do not always win. The outcome of a battle is decided by commanders, troop numbers, troop quality, terrain and tactics. Tactics have the largest effect in an evenly numbered battle. Combat could effectively be described as slightly more complex rock paper scissors.

A flank rolls its combat tactic based on several factors:

  • The combat phase. Each phase has its groups of tactics.
    • For skirmish: there are harass, swarm, volley, and defensive tactics. Note that defensive tactics do not suffer or gain from tactical affinity.
    • For melee: there are advance, stand fast, charge, and defensive tactics.
    • For pursuit: there is only the pursuit tactic, cavalry particularly excels in this phase.
  • The composition of the flank itself. There are two types of units, skirmish units and melee units.
    • Skirmish units are archers, camel cavalry, horse archers, light cavalry and light infantry.
    • Melee units are heavy cavalry, heavy infantry, pikemen and war elephants.
  • If there is a commander assigned to the flank. For some tactics to fire; the player needs a commander, for the best chance of rolling good tactics the player will want a commander with at least 18 martial.

'Rock paper scissors' dynamic

Combat within the game could be described as complicated rock paper scissors. Both the skirmish and melee phase have offensive tactics, defensive tactics and transitional tactics. The offensive tactics counter each in other in the same way as 'rock paper scissors'. A harass type tactic in the skirmish phase beats a swarm type tactic. A swarm type beats a volley type and a volley type beats a harassing type— hence 'rock paper scissors' dynamic. This is known as tactic affinity. The potential added damage from affinity ranges from -120% to +300%!

Tactic affinity

Skirmish
Type Strong against Weak against
Harass Swarm Volley
Swarm Volley Harass
Volley Harass Swarm
Melee
Type Strong against Weak against
Advance Stand fast Charge
Stand fast Charge Advance
Charge Advance Stand fast

Defensive tactics aim to protect units that don't excel in their opposite phases, for example, heavy infantry in the skirmish phase or light infantry in the melee phase. They aim to reduce the damage dealt with their respective troops and as such don't have a tactic affinity, there is one exception though, the 'inspired defence' tactic.

Transitional tactics switch the combat phase quicker than normal. Skirmish phases last from between 12 to 18 days on average whilst melee last from 12 to 24 days on average. Transitional tactics are around 6 on average. Transitional tactics often provide large tactical bonuses to their respective troops. For example, the tactic 'charge of opportunity' tactic provides a 300% damage boost to heavy cavalry and horse archers whilst switching the combat phase to melee. The majority of transitional tactics switch the combat phase from skirmish to melee. The only tactics that do the reverse are gated by culture or warrior lodges.

Standard tactic types

Generic tactics

These tactics can be treated as reserve tactics, they have no effect on combat.

Tactic (Days of combat) Effect Affinity Eligibility Base weight Modifiers
Tactic light infantry.png No tactic (1) N/A N/A

Never, this tactic will be set if anything goes wrong.

N/A

N/A

Tactic light cavalry.png Generic skirmish tactic (18) N/A

N/A

Skirmish
Has flank commander

3 days
Has skirmish tech 2: ×0.8
Has skirmish tech 4: ×0.8
Has skirmish tech 6: ×0.8
Has skirmish tech 8: ×0.8

Skirmish phase

All battles will start in the skirmish phase. This is when archers, light cavalry, and horse archers excel, and they will be the only ones doing any major damage.

Skirmish offensive tactics
Tactic (Days of combat) Effect Affinity Eligibility Base weight Modifiers
Tactic light cavalry.png Harass tactic (18)

Harass

Camel cavalry offensive: +300%
Light cavalry offensive: +300%
Camel cavalry defensive: −40%
Light cavalry defensive: −40%
Archers offensive: −150%
Horse archers offensive: −150%
Swarm

+100%

against

Skirmish
Camel cavalry or light cavalry ≥ 5%
Horse archers < 50%
One of the following:

Camel cavalry or light cavalry < 45%
Camel cavalry or light cavalry < 75% and martial ≥ 12
2 days
Camel cavalry or light cavalry ≥ 30%, Martial ≥ 8: ×2.0
Camel cavalry or light cavalry ≥ 40%, Martial ≥ 12: ×2.0
Camel cavalry or light cavalry ≥ 50%, Martial ≥ 16: ×2.0
Tactic light cavalry.png Disorganised harass tactic (18)

Harass

Camel cavalry offensive: +100%
Light cavalry offensive: +100%
Camel cavalry defensive: −60%
Light cavalry defensive: −60%
Archers offensive: −150%
Horse archers offensive: −150%
Swarm

+100%

against

Skirmish
Horse archers < 50%
One of the following:

Camel cavalry or light cavalry ≥ 40% with either:
No flank leader
Leader with martial < 12
Camel cavalry or light cavalry ≥ 75% with:
Leader with martial ≥ 12
2 days
Has skirmish tech 2: ×0.8
Has skirmish tech 4: ×0.8
Has skirmish tech 6: ×0.8
Has skirmish tech 8: ×0.8
Camel cavalry or light cavalry ≥ 50%: ×1.5
Camel cavalry or light cavalry ≥ 70%: ×1.5
Camel cavalry or light cavalry ≥ 90%: ×1.5
Tactic light cavalry.png Volley harass tactic (18)

Harass

Camel cavalry offensive: +100%
Light cavalry offensive: +100%
Light infantry offensive: +80%
Archers offensive: +60%
Horse archers offensive: −180%
Swarm

+100%

against

Skirmish
Camel cavalry or light cavalry ≥ 1%
1% ≤ Archers < 30%
Light infantry ≥ 10%

4 days
Archers ≥ 20%, light infantry ≥ 40%, martial ≥ 8: ×1.5
Archers ≥ 20%, light infantry ≥ 40%, martial ≥ 12: ×1.5
Archers ≥ 20%, light infantry ≥ 40%, martial ≥ 16: ×1.5
Tactic horse archers.png Swarm tactic (18)

Swarm

Horse archers offensive: +120%
Archers offensive: −150%
Camel cavalry offensive: −150%
Light cavalry offensive: −150%
Volley

+100%

against

Skirmish
Horse archers ≥ 1%
Location not in forest, woods, mountain, jungle or marsh
One of the following:

Horse archers < 35%
Horse archers < 65% and martial ≥ 12
3 days
Horse archers ≥ 20%, martial ≥ 8: ×1.5
Horse archers ≥ 30%, martial ≥ 12: ×1.5
Horse archers ≥ 40%, martial ≥ 16: ×1.5
Tactic horse archers.png Disorganised swarm tactic (18)

Swarm

Horse archers offensive: +50%
Horse archers defensive: −100%
Archers offensive: −150%
Camel cavalry offensive: −150%
Light cavalry offensive: −150%
N/A

Skirmish
Location not in forest, woods, mountain, jungle or marsh
One of the following:

Horse archers ≥ 30% and no flank leader or martial < 12
Horse archers ≥ 50%
3 days
Has skirmish tech 2: ×0.8
Has skirmish tech 4: ×0.8
Has skirmish tech 6: ×0.8
Has skirmish tech 8: ×0.8
Horse archers ≥ 50%: ×1.5
Horse archers ≥ 70%: ×1.5
Horse archers ≥ 90%: ×1.5
Tactic horse archers.png Harass swarm tactic (18)

Swarm

Horse archers offensive: +120%
Camel cavalry offensive: +60%
Light cavalry offensive: +60%
Archers offensive: −180%
Volley

+100%

against

Skirmish
Horse archers ≥ 1%
Location not in forest, woods, mountain, jungle or marsh
One of the following:

Horse archers < 35%
Horse archers < 65% and martial ≥ 12
3 days
Horse archers ≥ 20%, camel cavalry or light cavalry ≥ 30% martial ≥ 8: ×1.5
Horse archers ≥ 20%, camel cavalry or light cavalry ≥ 30% martial ≥ 12: ×1.5
Horse archers ≥ 20%, camel cavalry or light cavalry ≥ 30% martial ≥ 16: ×1.5
Tactic archers.png Volley tactic (18)

Volley

Archers offensive: +200%
Camel cavalry offensive: −150%
Light cavalry offensive: −150%
Horse archers offensive: −150%
Harass

+100%

against

Skirmish
1% ≤ Archers < 40%

3 days
Archers ≥ 10%, martial ≥ 8: ×1.5
Archers ≥ 20%, martial ≥ 12: ×1.5
Archers ≥ 30%, martial ≥ 16: ×1.5
Tactic archers.png Swarm volley tactic (18)

Volley

Archers offensive: +120%
Horse archers offensive: +60%
Camel cavalry offensive: −180%
Light cavalry offensive: −180%
Harass

+100%

against

Skirmish
Archers ≥ 1%
Horse archers ≥ 1%
Location not in forest, woods, mountain, jungle or marsh

3 days
Archers ≥ 70%, horse archers ≥ 30%, martial ≥ 8: ×1.5
Archers ≥ 60%, horse archers ≥ 30%, martial ≥ 12: ×1.5
Archers ≥ 50%, horse archers ≥ 30%, martial ≥ 16: ×1.5
Tactic heavy infantry.png Shield Wall Tactic (12)

Defensive

Heavy infantry defensive: +300%
Pikemen defensive: +240%
Light infantry defensive: +120%
Archers offensive: +60%
Light cavalry defensive: −50%
Camel cavalry defensive: −50%
Heavy cavalry defensive: −50%
Horse archers defensive: −50%
N/A

Skirmish
Archers ≥ 1%
One of the following:

Heavy infantry ≥ 20%
Light infantry ≥ 20%
Pikemen ≥ 20%
3 days
Pikemen ≥ 30% of FMT , martial ≥ 12: ×3.0
Heavy infantry ≥ 30% of FMT , martial ≥ 12: ×3.0
Pikemen ≥ 30% of FMT , martial ≥ 16: ×3.0
Heavy infantry ≥ 30% of FMT , martial ≥ 16: ×3.0

Melee phase

After a few days, it will switch to the Melee phase, where melee-oriented units like heavy infantry and pikemen excel. Note that flanks do not necessarily have to be in the same phase as each other, and they'll usually enter melee at slightly different times.

FMT = flank melee troops, in cases where the number of troops are compared to the overall number of a type of unit within the flank. For example, "if heavy infantry ≥ 30% of FMT" means that if heavy infantry were to make up 30% of all the melee type units within that flank then said tactic may fire -- not the proportion of heavy infantry in the overall flank. Only the melee unit types are counted against.

Melee offensive tactics
Tactic (Days of combat) Effect Affinity Eligibility Base weight Modifiers
Tactic heavy infantry.png Advance tactic (18)

Advance

Heavy infantry offensive: +300%
Pikemen offensive: −150%
Heavy cavalry offensive: −150%
Stand-fast

+300%

against

Melee
Heavy infantry ≥ 1%

3 days
Heavy infantry ≥ 70%, martial ≥ 8: ×1.5
Heavy infantry ≥ 60%, martial ≥ 12: ×1.5
Heavy infantry ≥ 50%, martial ≥ 16: ×1.5
Tactic heavy infantry.png Awesome advance tactic (18)

Advance

Heavy infantry offensive: +240%
Heavy cavalry offensive: +60%
Pikemen offensive: −180%
Stand-fast

+300%

against

Melee
Heavy infantry ≥ 1%
Heavy cavalry ≥ 1%

3 days
Heavy infantry ≥ 70%, heavy cavalry ≥ 30% and martial ≥ 9: ×1.5
Heavy infantry ≥ 60%, heavy cavalry ≥ 30% and martial ≥ 13: ×1.5
Heavy infantry ≥ 50%, heavy cavalry ≥ 30% and martial ≥ 17: ×1.5
Tactic heavy cavalry.png Elephant trample tactic (12)

Advance

War elephants offensive: +250%
Heavy infantry offensive: +200%
Knights offensive: +200%
Pikemen offensive: +200%
Light cavalry offensive: +50%
Light cavalry defensive: −20%
War elephants defensive: −40%
Archers offensive: −100%
Horse archers offensive: −100%
Stand-fast

+300%

against

Melee
War elephants ≥ 1%

3 days
Heavy cavalry ≥ 25% OR heavy infantry ≥ 30% of FMT OR pikemen ≥ 70% of FMT OR war elephants ≥ 4% and martial ≥ 8: ×1.5
Heavy cavalry ≥ 25% OR heavy infantry ≥ 30% of FMT OR pikemen ≥ 60% of FMT OR war elephants ≥ 2% and martial ≥ 12: ×1.5
Heavy cavalry ≥ 25% OR heavy infantry ≥ 30% of FMT OR pikemen ≥ 50% of FMT OR war elephants ≥ 1% and martial ≥ 16: ×1.5
Tactic pikemen.png Stand fast tactic (18)

Stand fast

Pikemen offensive: +300%
Heavy cavalry offensive: −150%
Heavy infantry offensive: −150%
Charge

+300%

against

Melee
Pikemen ≥ 1%
Terrain = forest

3 days
Pikemen ≥ 70% and martial ≥ 8: ×1.5
Pikemen ≥ 60% and martial ≥ 12: ×1.5
Pikemen ≥ 50% and martial ≥ 16: ×1.5
Tactic pikemen.png Slow advance tactic (18)

Stand fast

Pikemen offensive: +240%
Heavy infantry offensive: +60%
Heavy cavalry offensive: −180%
Charge

+300%

against

Melee
Pikemen ≥ 1%
Heavy infantry ≥ 1%

3 days
Pikemen ≥ 70%, heavy infantry ≥ 30% and martial ≥ 8: ×1.5
Pikemen ≥ 60%, heavy infantry ≥ 30% and martial ≥ 12: ×1.5
Pikemen ≥ 50%, heavy infantry ≥ 30% and martial ≥ 16: ×1.5
Tactic pikemen.png Force back tactic (24)

Stand fast

Pikemen offensive: +240%
Heavy infantry offensive: +160%
War elephants offensive: +120%
Light cavalry defensive: −20%
Archers offensive: −100%
Horse archers offensive: −100%
Heavy cavalry offensive: −180%
Charge

+300%

against

Melee
One of the following:

Heavy infantry ≥ 25%
Pikemen ≥ 25%
War elephants ≥ 0.5%
3 days
Heavy infantry ≥ 30% of FMT OR pikemen ≥ 70% of FMT OR war elephants ≥ 4% and martial ≥ 8: ×1.5
Heavy infantry ≥ 30% of FMT OR pikemen ≥ 60% of FMT OR war elephants ≥ 2% and martial ≥ 12: ×1.5
Heavy infantry ≥ 30% of FMT OR pikemen ≥ 50% of FMT OR war elephants ≥ 1% and martial ≥ 16: ×1.5
Tactic heavy infantry.png Wait tactic (1)

Stand fast

N/A

N/A

Melee

1 days
Has melee tech 2: ×0.8
Has melee tech 4: ×0.8
Has melee tech 6: ×0.8
Has melee tech 8: ×0.8
Tactic heavy cavalry.png Powerful charge tactic (18)

Charge

Heavy cavalry offensive: +300%
Heavy infantry offensive: −150%
Pikemen offensive: −150%
Advance

+300%

against

Melee
Heavy cavalry ≥ 1%

3 days
Heavy cavalry ≥ 70% and martial ≥ 8: ×1.5
Heavy cavalry ≥ 60% and martial ≥ 12: ×1.5
Heavy cavalry ≥ 50% and martial ≥ 16: ×1.5
Tactic heavy cavalry.png Overwhelming charge tactic (18)

Charge

Heavy cavalry offensive: +240%
Pikemen offensive: +60%
Heavy infantry offensive: −180%
Advance

+300%

against

Melee
Heavy cavalry ≥ 1%
Pikemen ≥ 1%

3 days
Heavy cavalry ≥ 70%, pikemen ≥ 30% and martial ≥ 9: ×1.5
Heavy cavalry ≥ 60%, pikemen ≥ 30% and martial ≥ 13: ×1.5
Heavy cavalry ≥ 50%, pikemen ≥ 30% and martial ≥ 17: ×1.5

Cultural tactics

Tactic (Days of combat) Effect Affinity Eligibility Base weight Modifiers

Warrior lodge tactics

Tactic (Days of combat) Effect Affinity Eligibility Base weight Modifiers

Tactics simulator

  • This simulator created by Navelist is very useful for testing retinue composition and seeing what tactics fire based on different compositions.
    • Do note this simulator does not take into account that camel cavalry can trigger some of the same tactics as light cavalry. For example, if 1000 camel cavalry was entered, it will state that the valid options are:
      • General skirmish
      • Charge
      • Charge of opportunity
    • When in fact the majority of the time the game will roll the 'disorganised harass tactic'


References

  • Combat mechanics thread
  • ahhheygao's Google Docs spreadsheet
  • Ark's steam guide
  • The game file "00_combat_tactics.txt" at the path "Crusader Kings II/common/combat_tactics/00_combat_tactics.txt" (where the tactics are defined for the Crusader Kings II game engine)
  • The game file "text1.csv" at the path "Crusader Kings II/localisation/text1.csv" (where some of the names of the tactics are defined for the Crusader Kings II game engine)
  • The game file "v2_50b.csv" at the path "Crusader Kings II/localisation/v2_50b.csv" (where some of the names of the tactics are defined for the Crusader Kings II game engine)
  • The game file "text3.csv" at the path "Crusader Kings II/localisation/text3.csv" (where some of the names of the tactics are defined for the Crusader Kings II game engine)
  • The game file "v1_06.csv" at the path "Crusader Kings II/localisation/v1_06.csv" (where some of the names of the tactics are defined for the Crusader Kings II game engine)

Further reading