I don’t have any firm recommendations in mind, but I wanted to discuss the current state of Counterattack and Opportunity Attack, and possible changes to them. This seems like a good time to consider this topic because I imagine that a unit balance rework will be coming down the pipeline soon, and any changes to combat mechanics should be done before that.
As a new player, I found the distinctions between ‘attack’ ‘counterattack’ ‘control’ and ‘opportunity attack’ to be confusing, so I will try to lay out how I understand them to work now. If I’m wrong please correct me; to newer players this may be educational. (I realize that most of this is described in the in-game tool-tips, but I do not think they are accurate as the ‘control range’ tool-tip refers to ‘counterattack’ which may be wrong)
Attack Damage: Only happens on your turn. This amount of damage is the only combat variable visible on the tool-tip before you build the unit. This has a maximum range (1 means melee only), and can have a minimum range (like an artillery or a rickshaw)
Counterattack: Listed as a single damage number. This only happens on an enemy’s turn. Only when an enemy unit is adjacent to your ‘Unit A’, and attacks ‘Unit A’, then they will take this much damage (if Unit A survived the attack).
Control Range: Describes the area of spaces that the unit is “controlling” for lack of a better word. Also only happens on an enemy’s turn. If an enemy unit is standing on a space within this range and then takes a move action of any distance, they will take damage equal to your unit’s ‘Opportunity Attack Damage’.
Ok, that is the way it works right now, to the best of my understanding. Now for some edge cases, odd interactions, and opinions.
Attack Damage and Attack Range work great and are often the defining characteristics of a unit. I only ask that Attack Range be more visible before I build a unit, and even before I build the building that creates the unit.
Counterattack and Opportunity Attack are usually different from the unit’s normal attack damage (they are only 1 for most units, but not all). This makes sense, otherwise combat attrition would be very high, but it is mental burden to track potentially 3 different attack values for every unit. The tool-tip showing the counterattack or Opportunity Attack damage before I attack or move is very helpful when I remember to look at it.
Counterattack is adjacent only. Ranged units can attack anything without worrying about a counterattack, as long as they are not adjacent to their target. A common tactic is to move a melee unit next to an enemy ranged unit to pin it so that it would take damage if it moves or attacks. However, the enemy ranged unit can still attack anything else in it’s range without opening itself to a counterattack. Also, a unit can avoid an opportunity attack by being picked up by a friendly vehicle or building.
Control only applies to where a unit starts its move. If there is a solid line of units defending an area, a fast enough enemy can move completely through them with no fear. Moving into and out of the control range, and even through the enemy unit itself does not provoke an attack of opportunity.
Now for random thoughts about possible changes. Again, these are not carefully balanced fixes, but just ideas to start a debate.
*Counterattack might apply at the unit’s full attack range. There are so many unit match-ups that this change wouldn’t even affect, I’m not sure how big of a change it would really be, but it would feel more thematic.
*Opportunity Attack could trigger the first time an enemy unit leaves a controlled space, whether they started there are not. This would prevent running freely through a control zone, and open design space for a unit with ‘Control Range 2’ to be a strong counter to melee units.
*Opportunity Attack could trigger when an adjacent enemy attacks something else. Maybe this only applies when the enemy makes a ranged attack.
*the Trapper is a very unique unit, and any attempts to modify any of these parameters would require it to be reworked. But I’m confident Kyle can come up with something similar, so I’m not interested in restricting ideas to accommodate that unit right now.
I think that’s a start. I will reply here if I have more ideas on this topic, and I hope you will to. There are many things that could be said about specific units and how to balance them or make them more unique, but that is not the purpose of this thread. This may be our last chance to really get wild with the combat mechanics before the units become so finely tuned we are afraid to disrupt the balance.