Resolving Battles in Dracula is tense and involves a number of interesting decisions. Deploying your forces to fight can have a big impact on how the battle develops. Yes, there is luck involved but you can manage much of that with how you develop your forces on the battle field. Let’s look at an example.
Dracula has attacked into Pitesti. Dracula has 8 Troops. The Muslims only have 5. Dracula can group his army by 4’s. The Muslims can only group by 2s.
Before the opposing armies can actually fight, first they must find each other by Searching. Each Group rolls 1 die. They must roll their leaders rating or lower: Dracula 4, Muslims 2
Dracula rolls: 2, 4. Both Groups made it to the battle!
Muslims roll: 2, 3, 5. Wouldn’t you know it? Only the smallest Group succeeds. The other two are lost this round and can’t fire unless fired upon.
The Dracula player now has some interesting choices to make. He has to declare which Groups he is firing at. Dracula can mix up his troops however he wants. They don’t have to stay in 2 Groups of 4. Dracula could just fire all 8 at the 1 active defender. The problem with this is that any excess hits are wasted. They only apply to the Group he declared. Out of 8 rolls, he should get 4 hits on average. So with average luck, Dracula will kill the 1 defender and then waste 3 good hits.
A better deployment for Dracula would be something like this:
3 Troops fire at the 1 Muslim. This should be enough to kill him. The remaining 5 Troops attack one of the lost Muslim Groups.
Let’s say those first 3 Troops score 3 hits on the 1 Muslim defender. The first 1 kills the Muslim piece, the other 2 are wasted. You can’t apply them to other defenders.
Next, let’s say the Group of 5 score 4 hits. The first 2 hits kill the defenders, the other 2 are wasted.
This arrangement was better but still liable to generate wasted hits. Ok, then the best thing to do is ensure that no hits are wasted? Not necessarily. If you push too hard, you could get yourself into trouble. Check out this is a risky attack:
Here we have 2 Troops attacking the 1 Muslim Group. On average, they ‘should’ kill the defender. No guarantees. Next we have 2 Groups of 3 attacking both lost Muslim Groups. If Dracula gets a little lucky, this could be devastating. The Muslims could be virtually wiped out in 1 round of combat with no chance to return fire.
It could also go very badly for Dracula. Let’s say the 2 vs 1 both score 1 hit. The middle Dracula group misses. The third only scores 1 hit. Then the ‘lost’ Muslims return fire with 3 hits. Then Dracula would be going into a second round of combat for the battle looking like this:
Now it’s pretty much an even up fight. This is a total disaster for Dracula. Starting the game outnumbered 6:1, Dracula can’t afford to fight even up battles like this.
Just to clarify, what if ALL groups on both sides passed their search rolls and were active to fight on round 1?
That is just a straight up fight. There are no decisions to make. Dracula would roll 8 dice, the Muslims roll 5, you count hits and remove losses.
The decisions on declaring attacks come up when the enemy has Groups that are lost: failed their search roll and are Inactive.