Combat - Adjacent Hex Rule
When a battle is initiated by one stack attacking another, not only those two stacks will take part in the battle. All the units in the six hexes adjacent to the attacked stack will be drawn into the battle. This is called the Adjacent Hex Rule. To easier identify the hexes on the map, turn on the hex grid with the hotkey Ctrl-h. You can turn it off again with the same hotkey.
The Human Infantry attacks the Orc Axemen. All the stacks in this screenshot are adjacent to the Orc Axemen, so this will be a huge battle with all the units participating. That's 4 * 8 = 32 Human and 3 * 8 = 24 Orc units, which comes together to the maximum possible 56 units.
The same setup, but the Human player makes the mistake of using his Crossbowmen to attack the Orc Impalers. The Human player have no other stacks adjacent to the Impalers, but the Orc has both his other stacks next to it. The poor Crossbowmen will have to fight the 24 Orcs without any help from the other Human stacks.
From the Adjacent Hex Rule point of view, a city siege is no different from the above two examples. The "real" city hex is the one in the center of the city (the hex marked with red lines). The defender will stay in control of the city until you move one of your own stacks into that hex. You can surround that hex by standing in the city's "housing hexes" (shaded with blue) without initiating a battle - unless the defender has units in those hexes, of course. The defender of a city have the bonus of starting the battle on higher ground, and may have more bonuses from city improvements like walls, enchantments and tower guard.
When the Human Crossbowmen attacks the Orc Archers in the city's center hex, the battle will involve all the units in the screenshot since they're all adjacent to the attacked Archers. All the defending units will benefit from the city defences.
The same situation, but the Human uses his Infantry stack to attack the Orc Impalers. The only other stack adjacent to the Impalers is the one with Orc Archers in the center hex. This means that the Infantry will have to fight both the Orc stacks without any help from the other Human stacks. But that's not all! Since this is an attack on a city (even though it's not on the center hex), the defences of the city will help the defenders too - in this case height and a wooden wall.
If the Orcs attacks the Humans, the city won't come into play. All units fight on equal terms, without height differences or city walls.
Back to the Combat page.
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