I think a change that would make both pikemen and halberdiers more effective would be to given them +1 or +2 range on their melee attack by default, without having to send any card or buy any upgrades (for reference meteor hammers have a melee range of 5 and spanish lancers have a melee range of +1 of normal melee distance with the Caballeros card).
If pikemen or halberdier are lucky enough to connect on an enemy, most of the units in the group waste time pathing around each other, and many resources and damage are lost as a result. This is particularly tough for melee infantry because they do not have the speed of cavalry to catchup to a a unit who simply just walks away. This will slightly help ease a major problem of why musketeers are always used over melee infantry, musketeer are always allowed to do damage, because they can just shoot “over” their comrades.
Thinking about this in math terms a group of units can be represented by a circle on a plane. The number of units determines the size of the circle.
-Because musketeers are ranged units, their damage per second is effectively a function of the area of the circle that the units occupy. They also get a nice bonus of having melee multipliers for units at the edge. At 12 range, a large group of musketeers will all be able to shoot anything that comes near and especially in contact with the edge that circle (due to those musketeer being in melee combat which has higher damage per second and has multipliers vs cavalry).
-For example, if a 5 hussar attacks a group of 25 musketeers, we can estimate that 5 of the musketeers will make melee contact with the hussar, and the other 20 will shoot their muskets. In an instant, those 20 musketeers did 560 damage (assuming default veteran musketeer for sake of comparison with halbs who are fortress age unit, 28 * 20 = 560 damage) and the 5 in melee did 240 damage (16 * 3 * 5 = 240 ‘3 comes from musketeer multiplier to cav’) for a total of 800 damage.
-Because Pikes and Halbs (melee units in general actually) do not have any range, their damage per second is effectively a function of the length of the edge of the circle/shape that has contact with enemy units.
-For example, if 5 hussar attack 25 halberdiers, we can estimate that only 5 of the halberdier will be able to attack initially. In that first instant of fighting, those 5 halberdier did 280 damage (28 * 2 * 5 = 280 damage)
-The damage difference between these two examples is astounding, but I will admit it is a very simplified scenario. If the Halbs are allowed to path past each other and encircle the hussars, or the hussar somehow run into the halb and get encircled, the damage of the halbs is much higher than that of the musketeers. But it can also easily be said that in both of those scenarios clearly the opposing player has done something wrong with their micro and unit control which is not something we should always assume in unit design. In addition, range damage from musketeer as the cav approaches and backs away is not being taken into account, which further increases the total damage the musketeer did.
Pikes and Halbs with a slight increase of +1 or +2 range will be able to hit “over” their comrades increasing their DPS and effectiveness, without really changing their functionality or making them over powered, as their main weakness is still in tact, kiting them and running away.
-Bringing it back to the earlier example, if we now assume out of the 25 halberdier, 5 are able to attack normally and 5 more behind those ones are able to attack because of the change, this brings the damage up to 560 damage (28 * 2 * 10 = 560)
Thinking back on these examples, analyzing the effective usage of resources of the units paints a starker picture for slow melee infantry.
-25 musketeer cost 2500 resources. Because every single one of the musketeers gets to shoot and “does something”, all 2500 of those resources could be said to be utilized.
-25 halberdiers cost 3000 resources. Because only 5 (25% of the population of halberdiers) gets to attack the enemy and “do something”, only 600 resources of the 3000 are actually being utilized, meaning that 2400 resources are being idle, completely unutilized, as the halberdier slowly attempt to path around each other to attack.
On a final note, due to being melee and forced to walk towards enemies to engage in combat, usually walking slowly straight toward enemy counter unit’s range, it can be assumed that several halberdier will be instantly killed before having any opportunity to have any effect on the fight.
-This is simply a waste of resources, except for the fact that they soaked some damage that MIGHT have been directed to other units. Each unit cost 120 resource (50f + 70c, notice more expensive in coin arguably a more precious resource than food)
-This is just ridiculous when in comparison to musketeers who cost 100 resource (75f, 25c), and consider that the musketeer probably got at least one shot off before he died or didn’t even need to come into the range of the enemy counter unit at all to shoot.
-Due these reasons I propose a cost reduction of halberdiers to 50f 60c (from 50f 70c)