Spells vs. Artifacts in combat calculations

It’s a pity that neither the Combat Calculator program nor JO’s combat calculation properly distinguish between spells on the one hand, and combat artifacts and/or NPC on the other, when assaulting a popcenter that has a defending army.

It is my believe and experience, but not confirmed in the rulebook as far as I know, that whereas an offensive spell is only applicable in the army vs. army encounter, the combat artifact is used in that AND in the assault against the popcenter (the same is true if you have say a dragon in your army). Unfortunately the combat calculators are too primitive to take this into account.

What I do is tell the combat calculator to only look at the army vs. army, then take what it tells me is my army strength, subtract the value of my combat artifact(s), multiply by my losses, and then add back in my combat artifacts and compare with the popcenter defense which is easily calculated if the combat calculator your use doesn’t supply it.

So, suppose you have a +2000 combat artifact and are assaulting a major town/fort with a defending army. You program in NOT to assault the popcenter and learn that your losses will be 17% against the army, and that your total army strength is 18000. Take away the combat artifact leaves 16000, times 0.83 = 13280 which is your army strength after the battle not including the artifact; add back in the +2000 to get 15280 and you know you can take the major town/fort if the loyalty is 15280/8500 = 1.819 so say less than 82% loyalty.


It’s been a while since I had a dragon but I’m pretty sure dragons take part in only one combat per turn, so they wouldn’t fight the army and them attack the pop centre.

That’s not my understanding FWIW :slight_smile:

Just to elucidate, the reason that I believe that Dragons (and NPCS) and artifacts work on both assaults is because they are THERE for both assaults. The spell is used up. It is cast, and its effects are felt, and then gone. But if you go into combat with a +1000 sword, it is in your hand throughout both the battle against the army and the PC. Same with the dragon – it doesn’t fight the army and then just sit by and watch the pc assault. It’s still there adding strength to the army. IMO.


I would have to say that my memory is not good but I’m pretty sure that I have tried to take a pop centre that had a defending army with an army that had a dragon and the dragon did sit back and watch the assault on the pop centre. A tactic I’ve used many times when defending a pop centre in these circumstances is to keep raising armies at the pop centre. This tactic has always worked but it might be that was because the other player thought like I do that dragons attack only once per turn.

I’ve just checked the rulebook and under army combat it says

“Step 5 – Apply Round One Combat Bonuses to the Army Strength
Note that these only apply to the first round of combat the army has engaged in a turn. So if the army was a navy at the start of the turn and had fought a navy battle before moving on to assault the population centre, or has already fought an army, ignore this step.
􀂙 Offensive Magic – Add the amount of damage being dealt by offensive magic to the strength of the character’s army.
􀂙 Combat Artifacts – Add the value of any combat artifact being used to the strength to the owner’s army.
􀂙 Dragons and NPCS – Each dragon adds somewhere in the region of 20,000 or more points to the army’s strength. Other NPCs and creatures may also lend strength to army.
Step 6”

Thanks for that post. I find it hard to believe that combat artifacts are not used in both assaults because I have taken popcenters that should absolutely only have been possible if the artifact(s) applied to the pc assault as well. No actual experience that I recall with dragons or NPCs though.


You know though, taken literally the war machines would be used against the army and not the popcenter, when in fact it is the other way around when also assaulting a pc. And it talks about a naval and then an army battle but doesn’t reference what happens if there is a pc assault.

So who knows… :slight_smile:


I am not sure if you still have the turn when my Silvan Elves destroyed Morannan after taking out the large DrkL sent with two dragons. I am sure my Ents had to take part in the pop centre attack. I would have been severely short on troops after army battle.

I copied and pasted the extract from the rule book. It seems absolutely clear to me.

Well, I don’t think it is very comprehensive as it says nothing about an army battle followed by a naval assault. And in any event, if you tried to apply those rules in that situation, right off the rules wouldn’t be correct because the war machines would NOT be used up in the army battle but would only be applied against the pc fortifications.

In fact as Ernie pointed out to me, in the original rulebook there were several “rules” that were patently untrue, such as not being able to use an artifact more than once in a turn (but we can use palantir that way), or that troops are spread evenly among the transports, which is obviously untrue since if you sink a transports but the others have room for all the troops, no troops are lost.

So the rulebook isn’t always reliable and seems in some cases to be deliberately incomplete or unclear.


First round of combat each turn means first round of combat as in they don’t continue to their damage in the subsequent turns if the combat needs to do them for resolution as is often the case. I believe they will again participate in the first round of combat against a popcenter.

Well, despite what Jeremy says (sorry Jeremy) I have never found anything in the rule book to be incorrect and the rule book is very clear about this point. I’ve pasted a bit of it again here. Round one combat bonuses include artefacts, spells and NPCs (e,g. dragons).

“Step 5 – Apply Round One Combat Bonuses to the Army Strength
Note that these only apply to the first round of combat the army has engaged in a turn. So if the army was a navy at the start of the turn and had fought a navy battle before moving on to assault the population centre, or has already fought an army, ignore this step."

That would be a really big issue for the rule book to be wrong about.

Old Timer here (30 years) - dragons only affect the first combat in a turn, so won’t go on to be included in a following popcentre combat. Multiple games in evidence. The rulebook is completely right on this score.

This is why it is so important that if an enemy army with a dragon appears at your capital or other important major town you just don’t just defend with the army you already have there, but keep raising new armies there every turn or send new armies there every turn, so the dragon can’t get a free shot at your capital…

The attackers, of course, can also adopt tactics. One is to have two armies arrive at the same time, one with a dragon, one without. Both attack and destroy the defenders, but the dragon army does AttEnmy and the other army does CapPop. Both fight, but the second army’s (without the dragon) CapPop order means it suicides against the walls preventing the defender from raising a new army. The following turn the remaining army with the dragon gets an unimpeded assault on the capital and takes it.


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Clint remains mysteriously silent on the sidelines. :thinking:

What about Ents? I am almost sure they work different.

I have never really played with Dragons. I much prefer playing Free, Unless its FA

Ents, Olyphants, and A Balrog aork like dragons.

Nothing to add you guys seem to be having a nice discussion…

Ents also act as warmachines. Is this also lost if first fighting an army?

Interesting. Do you have an estimate on ents acting as war machines? I thought they were just a strait 15k combat bonus. Guess a clean siege would definitively answer that question.

Also, what’s the going wisdom on how long all these creatures stay with the army? I’ve heard 1 turn per 10 points of natural command rank of the army commander, give or take. Any thoughts?

It’s news to me that ents act like war machines. I suppose I’ve only been playing this game for 30 years.

I’d vote for NPCs staying with an army for 1 turn for every 10 natural command rank of the army commander. However, I don’t think it’s that precise. There’s some random element as well. I also think that transferring command can have an effect, e.g. transferring command to a lower rank character may make them leave sooner.