Sorry for this clunky title, and beware of Atlantic Wall of text.
I am absolutely proud of my personal mod ww2 scenario, specifically my unit roster which contains up to dozens of different, unique unit types which not only have different values but also have alot specialized support attachments, which ended up in a scissor-rock-paper element, which itself is one really good way to balance out the hitpoint/cost efficiency problem of units if they reach higher combat values and movement.
This i can say because its tested out extensively vs AI, in regard of AI purchase, which i claim is one indicator of a reasonable cost structure, and furthermore in combat, which can be more interesting because its not only about stacking hp, but also significantly about unit composition, ally AND enemy.
That approach means that as you get higher tier units, which most of the time means higher combat values, you will gain not only att/def/mov for some more PUs, which in general is rarely really worth it normally, but also some/alot "hidden" support attachments which at the end leads to a more balanced outcome.
(One thing to mention here is that i always limit support attachments to exactly 3 for every unit as a maximum allowed, because the game cannot show more on tooltip. And 3 is more than enough.)
My Battleships 4/4/2 (2hp) have the potential of 6/6 att/def if they are supported by air (recon) and destroyer (escort) and can weaken (-1AD) all other main combat naval vessels like e.g. Battlecruisers or Cruisers.
My cheap slow coastal submersibles 2/2/1 on the other hand can reach up to 5/5 att/def if they have also air recon and are confronting only sluggish Battleships escorting convoys (transporters) without presence of enemy air and destroyers.
This makes every unit type to have a different ideal encounter strength. So you will not only look for the rough amount of hp of an enemy army, but also about the compositions.
Not all encounters will be like that for sure, but enough to be exiting if you can beat the enemy army even if the hp ratio is not that much favorable at the first glance, because you exploited that composition.
Another easy example from my game (att/def/mov/cost):
Light Tank 2 2 2 = 7 PU
Medium Tank 3 3 2 = 9 PU
Above cost values are exchangeable, the prinicple of hp/cost problem still exists, no matter how high you go with base costs, it only diminishes, but doesnt change the picture more or less. Although it could be done by setting costs in really high numbers i guess.
But if you pack in enough reasonable special support attachmants, it will come much closer to a good buy.
So in this case for example, only the MT will benefit from air recon (for long range weapon combat) while also be able to weaken other LTs and furthermore is more suited to attack fortifications of all kinds. With the right support (air, and mobile infantry in my case) and enemy composition, the MT will end up at 5/4 att/def while weaken a enemy LT and Trenches or similar stuff.
Now to my actual problem and start of my brainstorm:
In my ww2 scenario, i have plenty of reasonable unit combination support options in my head, either through some reading about warfare history or documentations. WW2 military history is huge.
But now i want to make a scenario in the world of Rome and the Barbarians (around 190 BC or so), which i was very exited about till i thought about unit roster, compositions, supports and variety.
And then it struck me. I will eventually end up in a much less complex structure because some mechanics are really hard to reason to use in such a scenario and the unit variation therefore is much smaller. I really want to use all possible mechanics in the game, even if its tricky.
no Air units -> no scramble, and i love the scramble mechanic!
How to implement scramble in a non-aircraft evironment?
I would miss that part really.
Land units with the ability to evade (or first strike?)
Another one is how would you characterize a berserker like unit?
isSuicide with high combat values?
Or how would you generally reason about whether a unit is a offensive one, and which a defensive one?
Are spearmen is a defensive unit because they have a shield? Or because they have a spear? Or because they have both?
There could be a phalanx support attachment for greek hoplites for example. And of course, they are good vs horsemen.
Cavalry as a shock unit sounds reasonable. So they are the offensive combat power then right? Right i guess.
Archers on the other hand are defensive specialists?
I am already thinking of a support attachment too boost the defence of archers if they are behind any allied unit which is wearing a shield. If they loose the blocking melee unit infront of them and get attacked by enemy melee. And therefore are more likely to die next. But only on defense, because in offence, the melee are eventually approaching the enemy lines... and so on and so on.
Does armor make a unit have more hp or does it only get higher combat values? Is armor hindering offence capability or even increase it?
At wich level of armor equipment (helmet, body armor, shield) you would consider a unit not be in disadvantage over bowmen?
Can land units on foot be considered fast (2movement) but only if they wear no body armor? (Cav could be then 3 movement)
Recently i was reading and watching about sword vs shield combat. Result: Sword and shield beats spear and shield.
War-axes are good vs armor, swords are not.
Can horsemen be transports? (i know at least germanic tribes were doing it.)
Which units are able to be transported?
I always try to visualize the combat situation and its potential outcome. Which gave me solid results in building up my huge rock-paper-scissor based ww2 unit structure.
So here i am, and my brain goes nuts.
I like to read about any of your ideas if you are spending time playing such non-modern scenarios or fantasy, medieval themed ones (most know spear,sword,shield,bow) on how you would reason about different unit values, characteristics and possible support attachments in any form you can think of.
Especially scramble, def/att alignment and allied/enemy support attachments.
Thanks for reading. At ease.