Age of Wonders II is a turn-based strategy game and combat is no different. On the overland map, when two opposing military units come into contact, a battle will ensue. The player is given a choice between directly control of his or her units in battle (called “Tactical Combat” or TC), or allowing the computer to automatically determine the outcome of the battle (called “Fast Combat” or FC).

Each unit on the battle field has a unique set of physical statistics (Attack, Defense, Resistance, Damage) represented by number between 1-20, hit points (“HP”) and movement points (“MP”). Some units have additional special powers or innate abilities, such as fiery breath or ability to throw frost bolts. Units can increase their physical stats and occassionaly gain additional abilities by gaining experience (represented by a silver or gold medal) from killing other units. Check our Units section and Unit Abilities for a complete listing of all the units in the game, their stats and special abilities. Check our Magic Spells section for a complete listing of all the spells that can be cast during combat.

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Battle, unlike the overland game, is always played out in Classic turns style, not Simultaneous turns, and the defender always moves her units first. Each unit has a set amount of MP it is allowed to use each turn. A unit’s MP can also be increased or decreased with spells (like ‘Haste’) or innate abilities (like the ‘Forestry’ ability). A unit’s movement path is shaded in green, yellow and red the further away it is from its starting position. Unlike the original AoW1 game, every action a unit takes uses up part of its MP, be it moving forward one hex, swinging a sword, firing a crossbow or casting a spell. This allows archers to move and fire in the same turn, rather than having to choose one or the other. For example, an archer could use up all its MP to move forward its maximum distance of 6 hex spaces for that turn and take no other actions. Or, the archer could use part of its MP points to move forward only 3 hex spaces use the rest of its MP to fire an arrow.

There are many factors that come into play when attacking. The unit’s offensive capability, the foes’ defensive capability, distance from enemy, height difference, foes’ susceptibility to the unit’s particular type of attack (e.g., a lightning-based attack against a water-based creature). The game uses a complex formula that compares a unit’s Attack rating to foe’s Defense rating to see if the foe was hit and how much damage it took. The enemy then has a chance to respond to the attack with its own retaliatory strike. Also unlike the original AoW1 game, a unit can no longer deal out unlimited retaliatory strikes; it is now limited to four per turn, so ganging-up on the powerful Orc Warlord with weaker swordsmen is now a viable option.

In addition to normal Physical damage, a unit can take special damage (like Holy damage), which causes the enemy to suffer a side effect (like Vertigo that will temporarily lower its Attack and Defense ratings). Special damage is compared against a target’s Resistance rating to see if the special damage causes its special side effects. The attack value of a special side effect is always 8. For example, a Goblin swordsman has the Poison Strike ability in addition to its normal Physical Strike ability. If the swordsman makes a successful attack against an enemy (by comparing Attack to Defense ratings), Poison Strike will also make a check of Attack 8 versus the enemy’s Resistance rating. If the Poison Strike succeeds, it will inflict its special attack upon the enemy, who will be temporarily poisoned for a limited number of turns, during which time the will suffer a -2 penalty to all of its physical stats for 3 days (i.e., 3 turns).

A battle can involve more than two stacks thanks to the Adjacent Hex Rule. Learn how it works in normal terrain and when attacking a city on the Adjacent Hex Rule page.