Would ground combat be made more interesting by having the battles progress like the current excavation and espionage system?

stellaris 4 - Would ground combat be made more interesting by having the battles progress like the current excavation and espionage system?

Instead of the current system where armies engage in attrition warfare along the combat width, how about replacing it with a system that makes it more meaningful and more like a "planetary campaign"

Similar to excavation and espionage which needs scientists and envoys respectively, this "campaign" would need a general. The level of the general will matter much more now because it will affect the rolls and progress. You can also send your force without a general but it will lessen your advantage.

The rolls will be affected by average damage of the units, the total number of units involved, combat width, air support from carriers, orbital bombardments by the fleet, level of the enemy and your general, etc.

There are several levels of the campaign.

Forced Retreat <- Untenable <- Disadvantage <- Stalemate -> Initiative -> Superiority -> Enemy Capitulation

The game will calculate if you have an advantage e.g. superior level of general, force disparity, air support etc. If for example you land with 24 armies, and a supporting fleet overhead against a garrison of 4 armies and no general. You immediately start at "superiority" and it won't take long before you force enemy capitulation. You wont need to annihilate the enemy units to win like the current system we have now, unless they have a "To the Last Man" edict or policy.

If you land at stalemate, which would happen with the 100+ armies we see from time to time. You won't have to wait to annihilate all of them. You can rely on your general's skill in the rolls.

The roll takes 30-90 days and with each roll you get things like:

  • Enemy armies encircled, 3 enemy armies destroyed, 1 friendly army destroyed
  • Enemy encryption cracked + 1 advantage.
  • Forces routed near capital – 1 advantage.
  • Airstrikes and Orbital Bombardment destroy 2 enemy armies. + 2 advantage

With every roll, damage is distributed across the entire force (because in real life units are rotated from the front lines)


I think this would add flavor to the planetary battles instead of just. Land Armies -> Send to Planet – Land Armies. Furthermore it can really accelerate some battles as you don't need to wipe the entire garrison. It can also prolong some battles into legitimate military campaigns.

EDIT: I agree with the u/Awestruck_Otter who said in the comments that a planetary invasion should be a massive undertaking. It shouldn't be that easy to conquer a planet with literal billions of life forms in it. HOWEVER, if it's going to be a massive undertaking it should not be micro intensive or annoying. You can just drop an army group and let them sort it out.

I think with this system, players would have to build several army groups and have several planetary battles raging at the same time similar to how Star Wars planetary battles go. There are multiple battles at the same time in Kashyyk, Mygeeto, that planet with big plants, and that planet where they jedi got shot out of the sky at the time of Order 66. They didn't just doom stack the clones in 1 planet and went planet jumping.

It will add to the scale if you have an Army tab showing multiple ongoing planetary invasions, their progress, the generals in charge and the supporting fleets. THEN, it will become a real grand strategy game and the military aspect won't just be a naval battle simulator with the annoying need to send a doomstack from planet to planet.

If you win a planetary battle you can gain INFLUENCE corresponding to the amount of pops in the planet. It can be 200 pops = 100 influence. 15 pops = 7.5 influence. So you will have a greater reward in conquering planets. And winning planetary battles can then have a direct influence in the Galactic Community via the influence gained.

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