Their Finest Hour: A Proposal/Ideas on how to make Ground Combat and Armies overall more interesting and interactive

stellaris 8 - Their Finest Hour: A Proposal/Ideas on how to make Ground Combat and Armies overall more interesting and interactive

We all know that right now, armies and ground combat aren't exactly interesting right now. Since launch, any traits or civics that affect Soldiers are usually seen as inferior to other options and there really isn't a reason to keep a standing army around when not at war. These are some ideas I've had to make them more interesting and interactive. Taking ideas from CK2 with bits from EU4 and HOI4, here is my idea for a Ground Forces Rework.

(I should preface this that I haven't run the maths for any of this and this just suggestions to improve ground combat.)

There would be 7 major stats to an army:

  1. HP: Self explanatory, how much damage a unit can take.
  2. ATK Power: How much actual damage a unit can do.
  3. ATK Morale: How much morale a unit has on the offense; reducing morale will cause increasing debuffs until the unit abandons the attack all together
  4. DEF Power: How well a unit can defend
  5. DEF Morale: How much morale a unit has while defending; reducing morale will do the same but they'll just abandon their posts
  6. Discipline: Modifies a unit's Morale and Collateral damage
  7. Organization: Effectively the Army's version of Power, explained later.


Creating an Army first requires choosing a "base", which reflects how the unit was recruited. This is affected by ethics and maybe some traits and each would have various differences. For example, Volunteers would be generalists, Conscripts would have lower Morale but reduced costs, Mercenaries would have higher power but less Discipline and Organization, Cloned/Warrior Caste would have higher stats overall but have higher costs. This can be seen as selecting a Ship type.

After you select a base, you would then add on Combat Gear and Army Equipment, both of which take up Organization (representing logistical capability and organization). Combat Gear reflects what your soldiers might have on an individual/squad level and provide small buffs for small Org costs; things like Heavy Automatic Emplacements, Enhanced Communications, Demolition Explosives. Army Equipment reflect groups within the army as a whole and take up more Org for bigger buffs: Commissars, Orbital Bombardment Beacons, Dedicated Air Wing, Combat Engineers, Volunteer Medical Staff, Logistics Company.

An example of recruiting an army:

  • I decide I want an all purpose attack army, so as my Recruiting Base, I pick "Volunteer", giving me all around solid stats and a good number of Organization Points and Organization Slots to use
  • For Combat Gear, I give my Volunteers "Combat Stims" to increase their ATK Power, "Demolition Charges" to decrease the enemy's DEF Power and "Propaganda Trinkets" to give a boost to their overall morale.
  • For Army Equipment, I assigned them Commissars to keep up their Discipline, Orbital Bombardment Beacons so my fleet in orbit can better support them, Advanced Recon Teams to boost my Recon (explained later) and a Logistics Company since I've accidentally gone over Org
  • With all of that done, I give them a name and go to the Army tab on a planet and select my newly christened "Advanced Assault Army" to train.


Once you've made your army, you're going to want to use it. Instead of the system Stellaris currently has which is best described as "smash X amount of heads against X amount of alien heads and hope you have harder heads", this would use a system more similar to CK2 where each combat turn is divided between four phases:

  1. Recon: This is when you are scouting out the enemy, their numbers, their positions and their equipment. Every X number of days, you have a chance to "Uncover Weakness", which will give your troops a buff.
  2. Skirmish: This is when you have snipers, commando raids, air strikes and artillery barrages. Every X number of days, you have a chance of delivering "Critical Damage", inflicting a debuff to the enemy troops. Basically these are small battles that lead up to bigger ones.
  3. Assault: The combat phase where you and the enemy go head to head, fighting with any buffs and debuffs you might have gotten. These are the true battles, the ones that are written about and studied in history books.
  4. Regroup: After combat when wounded are tended to and the dead are burred. During this time, most army types will have their Power cut in half to reflect that they are no longer at combat readiness. Some special upgrades like Guerrillas or Commandos allow you to attack a vulnerable enemy during the Regroup phase. Armies who are landing on planet are considered to be in this phase and vulnerable until the entire army has landed.

The player is the one who gives final command as to when they launch an Assualt, feeling comfortable with any bonuses they might have gotten. However, to ensure that armies don't sit on their butts until they know more about the enemy their the enemy's mothers, Uncovered Weaknesses and Critical Damages will disappear after a certain number of Recon and Skirmish phases have pasted, linked directly to the General's level. So the buffs and debuffs will only last 1 Recon/Skirmish phase after they're been unlocked for a level 1 general but a level 5 general can wait for 5 turns before they disappear, hopefully gaining more intel in the meanwhile.


An example of Combat:

  • I land my army on Cadia, taking some losses on my way down because of AA guns and snipers.
  • After 30 days of Recon and 30 days of Skirmishing, my level 3 General uncovers a UW "Hidden Supply Cache" and a CD "Delayed Convoys".
  • The first one informs me my scouts have uncovered a hidden cache of weapons, munitions… and alcohol, the ATK Power and Morale of my units are slightly increased.
  • The second tells me that my running battles and snipers have caused significant delays for the enemy, reducing their Morale
  • However during this time, I'm also informed that the enemy has uncovered a CD on me, "Traitorous Soldier", which will lower one of my unit's stats. I am not too concerned about this since the enemy general is only level 1 and there for will loose this CD after 30 days.
  • I spend another 60 days doing Recon and Skirmishing, uncovering one more UW while my enemy has lost their Traitorous Soldier CD on me as my officers have executed the traitor. Deciding the time is ripe, I order an Assault.
  • My forces do not do well in the assault, having taken damage during the Skirmishing phase and not having enough ATK to over take the enemy's DEF
  • However, during the Regroup phase, I get some payback as my Commandos manage to deal heavy damage to the weary enemy soldiers.
  • Now, my forces go back into Recon and Skirmish mode until I decide the time is rip for another Assault.


One of the big things that currently plague Soldiers is that 95% of the time, you don't have any use for them when not as war as all they'll do is drain resources. However, when not a war (or even during it), you can assign you soldiers to certain tasks that help justify them taking all your precious Sun Bucks:

  • Train: Self explanatory; your soldiers preform military exercises, slightly increasing their upkeep while also passively giving them and their general XP
  • Peacekeeping: Use your soldiers as peace keepers; they will increase Stability but lower Happiness at an compounding rate so that eventually, if you have too many soldiers acting as peace keepers, the unhappiness offsets any stability gained.
  • Escort: Soldiers can be assigned to escort Science ships to help defend them or to corvettes to boost their anti-piracy stats.
  • Parade/Good Will Campaign: You tell your men to inspire the populace and increase their good PR, giving you Unity and Governing Ethics attractions. If done during war, it can also reduce War Exhaustion.
  • Mercenary Work: You hire your men out to either other empires or private entities within and without your empire, having them take damage but also gain you some of their payments and giving them some XP (might be locked behind Megacorp civics).
  • Stand Down: In this state, your soldiers effectively return to their civilian lives, Armies no longer incur upkeep but they also start to loose any XP they might have.

tl;dr: I'm hoping that all of this would give ideas into ways on making land warfare more interesting and interactively while also opening the doors and improving existing traits, civics and technology that are focused around ground soldiers. Again, I don't know any of the math behind this or how well it'd work in practice but there are my ideas. If I knew how to mod I would give this a shot but I have a feeling that this is beyond what you can mod in easily.

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