Not to border to much on pimping my own mod, but I think that the first step really should be to make the combat simply have more than 1 dimension. As it is currently, a standard unit has two choices, fight or move. Fighting itself may have various stat differences which allow the player to make a decision on which units to fight and where to move, but you are still left with only these two options. Now, this is the case only with standard units, as specialty units, like the sov, champions, and summons, all have more options to combat. For instance, the sov has an array of different tactical spells to cast on top of his fighting and moving. When one brings a fire giant to a battle, they find themselves with a unit that is not only battle worthy, but has various alternative abilities to direct the flow of combat. Giving the player various options opens up the door to a variety of strategic possibility beyond simply moving and fight or even just number crunching. For instance, in my mod, maces and hammers all have defense debuffs which they can use just like a spider gets tangling web, or spears get defense buffs to make them more capable of taking abuse. In this way, combined arms and strategic thinking become far more important, as both sides buff and debuff, and use specialty strikes and knockbacks on top of your normal move and fight.
Every thing you say above is great. What I’m angling for is a mechanic that seeks to deal with the way in which combat and particularly, the equipment fitted, effects the units involved.
The situation at present is slap on the best of what is available. What I would like to see is consequences for choices made, which inturn promotes a more thoughtful and purposeful consideration to how one builds their units.
Heavy armour should be heavy – it should yes, provide more protection, but it should have a cost. That cost in my mind should be fatigue.
You can have heavy plate on a unit, but after a bit of melee, your (wo)man is going to be puffed out and susceptible to a decrease in performance.
Light armour may not have the initial protection level as heavy, but the unit wearing it will be able to go longer and suffer less of a performance hit as a consequence.
That heavy plated big hammer wielding trooper is going to get a couple of super shots in but soon enough he is going to be tired. If he hasn’t dispatched his lighter armoured, dual knife wielding foe quick smart, he may find himself in a bit of trouble.
There needs to be a way to differentiate and distinguish the choices made when fitting out your soldiers – fatigue begins to address that, because now there is a cost to contend with.
At present there is not one.