Create a model for simple turn-based tactical firearms combat that’s distinct from Xcom’s.
-> core of Xcom’s is RNG shot odds against health pools, affected by cover
-> I still want to use cover, too strong and versatile of a mechanic not to have
-> possibly use an alternative to traditional hp and/or morale systems in tactical games. Mind goes to Close Combat series, Total War, and other favorite tactical wargames. As alternative to traditional hp model think Brothers in Arms + Full Spectrum Warrior. Possibly create a system that requires pinning, and flanking enemy to actually kill.
-> at broader tactical level this seems easily solved. Perspective makes it easier to plot the flank. If no other hp damage, becomes too easy to preserve forces, and once flank begins you snowball victory. Mind is now solidly on WWII setting from past game, and historical experience.
-> I like and get attached to the concept of pinning combatants. Getting stuck in isn’t depicted well in most wargames, or tactical games that aren’t fantasy settings. Also like the idea that you must carefully choose what engagements you make, and how. Not just haphazard assemble a line, maneuver for an opening, meet enemy, and sit back while combat resolves.
-> Model as a new mechanic + stat: engagement. Engagement level of a unit rises the longer they are in combat. Possibly 3 levels. Each level can have different effects based on the unit. Maybe for a rookie unit, higher levels of engagement model demoralization. For veteran units higher levels may provide some buffs. Is also versatile in applying to scale. If modelling large units of troops, higher engagement may reflect having time to deploy heavier equipment like tanks, and artillery. Regardless, the higher engagement, the harder/more costly it is to move the unit away.
-> Possibly additional model + stat: depletion. Also measured at levels, somewhat similar to hp. Similarly may have stat effects as a unit reaches different levels. But models more than damage, may simply be running out of ammo and fuel, exhaustion of troops, etc. Perhaps units can only be destroyed if depleted, and then flanked.
I really like these mechanics and what they would imply for a combat system. But they may not stand on their own. There would need to be a complex interplay for the flanking destruction of depleted units to not just be functionally the same as the earlier problem, and also lead to easy snowballing. If it was that complex it seems like it’d involve too many little additional things to keep track of. Not elegant enough for a core combat system.