A peculiar thought

The Skirmisher is a surprisingly effective unit when properly deployed, but how about a slight tweak to its profile. How about offering a probability of disabling stand ground, and defensive movement commands on units attacked? The unit would not go berserk, and could respond to commands, but it might not move the way the player wants at an unnoticed interval.

Do you mean like a “spell” that make player lose his units control?

Essentially after each hit, a successful RNG roll would disable an active Stand Ground, or Defensive Movement Command. The affected player could stop this effect by simply commanding the unit again, in whatever fashion they choose. The precise formula for this effect is not worked out. The unit would not be berserk and would remain under the player’s command.

It’s not hard to realize what you might be saying and going “this might be a bad idea” because rng is bad.

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Sorry am I missing some hidden meta where this is actually effective? My xbows are almost always on aggressive stance and this wouldn’t change anything to the way I use them.

Even then, at most you’ll affect a couple xbows which were on stand ground, and they might wonder off?? What’s the point of this overhaul for something so trivial that doesn’t make sense balancewise or historically? Like either one might be a justification, but if it’s “just because”?

Just reduce the cost on the E skirm upgrade.

Wait, so like the existing Bad Pathing™ but rebranded as a feature for skirmishers?

I like brainstorming, but don’t see what quality this adds to the game. Would just be annoying or just not impactful TBH.

It indeed has potential dangers.

I will focus on your last point. I think that Elite Skirmishers are difficult to balance through pricing alone. My proposed effect would affect their interactions with a variety of unit types and shift their style of play throughout various phases of the game, whilst attempting to avoid making them overpowered. The Light Cavalry line, and Spear lines all have complex relationships with other units. This would transform Skirmishers into more sophisticated units without overshadowing their base role.

That is a valid critique of this proposal. One of the roles of historic skirmishing was to cause formations to lose their cohesion, and this would bring said role into the line. It would be difficult to balance within the game, and might just do as you said.

What this will end in is using skirms to bait the opponent into running in your tc fire in the early game. Which means that attacking while balancing the eco at home gets even more difficult for (almost) everyone.
For other stages of the game, the effect is probably negligible.