A battle can occur in campaign mode when two enemy armies meet on the campaign map, or when an army attacks an enemy settlement. Players can choose to autoresolve if they don't wish to play a battle themselves.
The strength of a defeated army in campaign mode is greatly reduced after a battle, affecting the controlling faction’s ability to continue the war. However, the victor's units may also be damaged to a greater or lesser degree.
Armies may deploy their troops prior to battle. If the battle is fought at a settlement then the victor gains control of it on the campaign map.
In a battle, one side is the attacker and the other side is the defender. If the battle ends in a tie, then the defender wins by default.
Types of battles
A battle between two or more armies on the campaign map, and does not involvement settlements or garrisons. In online competitive multiplayer, all battles are field battles for fairness.
Ambushes and intercepts
Minor settlement without walls
Functionally the same as a field battle except that if victorious you will capture the settlement.
A siege battle happens when an army attacks a major settlement, or a minor settlement with walls.
Set piece battles
Set piece battles are special battles where they player fights a scripted challenge. They can be access in campaign through legendary lord quest chains, or as a standalone game mode from the main game menu.
Battle User Interface
- The battle interface is made up of many separate elements such as the Army panel and its Unit cards, the radar map, the Winds of Magic panel and the Unit Portrait panel.
- The balance of power indicator shows the current relative strengths of allied versus enemy forces.
- The radar map shows the position of allied and enemy units at a glance, while the tactical map shows a more in-depth overview of the battlefield.
- The battle can be sped up or slowed down with the time controls. Press P to pause the battle, ESC to get to the game menu.
Order of battle
Army commanders may arrange their units for the coming fight during the deployment phase of the battle. Once deployment is completed the battle begins.
Units may be positioned within the designated deployment zone. The attacker deploys before the defender. The defender may view the attacker’s arrangement during their own deployment.
- Vanguard units may be positioned outside of their army’s deployment zone.
- The defender has no chance to deploy during an ambush or intercept battle.
- Selecting a unit with left click then right clicking and dragging on the map.
- The small yellow arrows indicate which way a unit will face.
Additional armies drawn into a battle on the campaign map appear as reinforcements. Reinforcing armies appear at the edge of the battlefield during the fighting.
Reinforcements may take time to appear, during which the army being reinforced is at risk of being defeated in detail.
The battle commences
- Units can be grouped together by selecting several units (using shift+left click, or ctrl+left click) and then pressing ctrl+a number. For instance ctrl+2 will put units in control group 2, now they can be selected by just pressing 2.
- To charge an enemy with melee units, select the melee unit and then double right click on the enemy. When two melee units clash, they will combat each other.
- Be aware that certain unit behaviours can be changed using buttons at the bottom of the screen.
- Guard Mode (which stops units from pursuing fleeing enemies) is particularly useful.
- Turning off Fire At Will can help conserve ammo.
- Make note of Skirmish Mode for ranged units (especially ranged cavalry). This will cause them to automatically run away from enemy melee units.
- Remember units can hide in trees or behind hills.
- Remember to make use of spells, abilities, breath attacks and army abilities.
- Try to protect ranged units with melee units. Use cavalry to charge into the back and sides of vulnerable enemies.
- Use warbeasts like Harpies and Dire Wolves to harass artillery and weak ranged infantry.
- Units with a "bonus vs. large" are good against cavalry and monsters. Units with "armor piercing" are good against high-armour targets.
- Don't worry too much about units marked "expendable".
After a victorious battle in campaign:
- You will be get loot money which will be added to the treasury.
- You have a chance to steal items that the enemy lord was holding.
- You have a chance to gain items, followers, banners and the like (including runes for Dwarfs).
- Dark Elves factions will also get slaves alongside loot.
- Skaven factions will also get food alongside loot.
- If you captured a settlement battle or siege battle, then you will be presented with settlement options.
- If it was a field battle, ambush battle or intercept battle:
If your army loses the battle:
- You may lose money and items to the enemy.
- If it was a field battle, you may attempt to retreat. The enemy may chase your army down and destroy it entirely.
- Some stances may affect whether armies can retreat.
- If you were fighting for a settlement, then the enemy may capture/sack/raze the settlement etc.
After a battle in other game modes:
- You will be presented with a win/loss screen showing the armies involved and how many troops they brought/lost.