Swarming:Suppose your stack of 3 Gold Golems is attacking a Behemoth that has a defense score of 13. We determined earlier that your stack of 3 Gold Golems has an Attack Score of 7 combined, so they will need to roll a 6 or better to hit…not a great shot. So, instead, they decide to Swarm. Swarming is essentially sacrificing your attack opportunity to add to your own next attack opportunity. To do this, turn the stack sideways so that you can read the word “Swarm” and skip the stack’s attack opportunity. When they have their next attack opportunity, calculate their stack’s Attack Score normally, and then double it. So instead of attacking with a score of 7, the stack of 3 Gold Golems will have a score of 14, which will kill a Behemoth (with a defense of 13) without even needing to roll a die. Obviously, stacks that are Swarming will draw a lot of fire from the enemy, because they are suddenly a threat, so Swarming is a high-risk activity.
Protecting:Sometimes, it is more important for a stack to simply stay alive than it is to make an attack. For instance, lets suppose your enter a battle with 6 Gold Golems and 6 Halflings, to face an enemy with some good Melee Units, but no significant Ranged Attacks. Since the Halflings have a Ranged Attack Score above 0, they can attack from the Ranged Line. So, you set them up on the ranged line in a single stack. Then you spread out your Gold Golems into 6 separate stacks, placing each on the Melee Line. This will force the enemy to kill 4 of them before you will have to bring up the Halflings to the Melee Line where they will be vulnerable. When it comes time for the Gold Golems to attack in phase 7, you decide that the Gold Golems are not there to attack, but rather to present a barrier between the enemy and your Halflings.
So, you sacrifice their attack opportunity to have them Protect. When a unit Protects, it skips its current attack opportunity, and its card is turned so that you can read the word “Protect”. While in the Protect position, the unit adds its level to its Defense Score. In this case, the level 2 Gold Golems will add 2 to their 7 Defense Scores, giving them each a Defense Score of 9. When it is their turn to attack again, they are returned to their normal position, and have to decide again if they wish to attack, swarm, protect, or sacrifice to help another friendly Creature Stack.
Reorganize:A Creature Stack may also chose to sacrifice its attack opportunity to move to a better position on the battlefield. Usually this is done to move a unit from the Melee Line to the Ranged Line, but occasionally, it may make sense to do the reverse. Remember, you will automatically move a Unit from the Ranged Line to the Melee Line whenever the number of Creature Stacks on your Melee Line falls below 3. Such automatic reorganizing does not cost any stack its attack opportunity, so, sacrificing to make such a move is rare.
Retaliations:In addition to attacking on their phase, Creature Stacks can also defend themselves once per combat round when they are attacked. This is called Retaliation. To retaliate, however, the Creature Stack must first survive the attack, and then must be able to respond in kind. For instance, lets say it is phase 3, and a Bandit from the enemy’s Melee Line attacks your stack of 3 Gold Golems. The Bandit has a Melee Attack score of 1 and rolls a 7 for a total of 8. This kills the top card from your Gold Golem stack. Now, the remaining 2 Gold Golems in the stack may retaliate. However, if it was phase 6, and the attacker was an Orc, the Orc would probably decide to make a Ranged Attack. Since Gold Golems have no Ranged Attack Score, they would not be able to retaliate against the ranged attack.
This is not to say that you cannot retaliate after surviving ranged attacks. In fact you can, but you must retaliate against a ranged attack with a ranged attack. A stack of Halflings could for instance retaliate against the ranged attack, because they have a Ranged Attack Score. This works both ways. Many creatures, like Cyclopses and Venom Spawns have a much better Ranged Attack Score than they do a Melee Attack Score. Even in such cases, when a Creature Stack is attacked in a Melee Attack, that stack must retaliate using its Melee Attack Score. Spell Casters like Magi who have no Ranged Attack Score but have spells they can cast to make Ranged Attacks, cannot retaliate against Ranged Attacks. Likewise, no one can ever retaliate against an attack made by a spell such as Magic Fist, Lightning, or Fireball.
Remember that a Creature Stack can only retaliate once per combat round. In larger battles, if you have a hard time remembering which Creature Stack has retaliated, and which one has not, use upside down markers or coins to indicate which units have retaliated in the round. Be sure to clear all such markers at the end of each round.
Withdrawing Heroes:Rank has its privileges, and Heroes are the captains, or generals of Heroes of Might & Magic. So, if a battle is not going particularly well, your Hero may decide it would be better to live to fight another day. To do so, at the end of any round of combat, the aggressor has the opportunity to give up the fight and withdraw his Heroes from the battle. If he does so, the battle ends, all his non-Hero Creature Stacks are discarded immediately, and his Hero is instantly moved back to the nearest Town under his control.
NOTE: Heroes may not withdraw if they are within 4 spaces of their nearest Town. If the Aggressor chooses not to withdraw, the Defender then has the same option. If neither chose to withdraw, each side may then consider Surrendering (see below). If both sides still want to continue the fight, simply begin the next combat round, starting over at phase 1.
Surrendering:After both sides have chosen not to withdraw, the Aggressor, and then the Defender may consider negotiating their surrender. If one of the parties decides to do so, the surrendering player makes an offer to the opponent. He may offer to discard any number of cards from his hand (not his Adventure Stack) to purchase safe passage back to his nearest Town. The opponent may either accept or reject the proposal. If the proposal is accepted, the surrendering player moves his entire Army Stack back to his nearest Town, and discards the offered number of cards from his hand (not his Adventure Stack). Then, the player who accepted the surrender draws the same number of cards into his hand from his own deck. This process simulates money being transferred from one party to the other.
NOTE: Guard Stacks cannot surrender, nor can they accept the surrender of an enemy Army. Also, Armies defending a town cannot surrender.
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