In past Total War games replenishment was a financial burden. If you lost troops you had to pay for new ones and move them up to the front. Old depleted formations would need to be merged together or rotated into the reserve to gradually replenish.
ETW changed that to a cash payment for replenishment. It was quicker but still costly.
NTW and S2 had free replenishment but extremely slow, so you’d often be better off recruiting and merging or rotating units back to depots with substantially increased replenishment.
R2 broke that system with the permanent armies system. While past games had individual units as discrete campaign objects and armies as agglomerations of these units, post R2 games have had armies as discrete campaign objects and units as a component of armies. Since then replenishment has become the primary means of filling out depleted units, meaning zero economic cost to losing battles.
This system can be seen at its most extreme in 3K and WH2 where most units replenish almost completely in a single turn by the mid game.
From a micro perspective the new method is a big win! Do nothing —> receive replenished units is a lot less work than organizing a stream of full strength units to fill out depleted armies.
The downside is of course that there’s no economic cost to a defeat and no real reason to pull back for a tick and reorg.
I’d like to suggest a simple change: the less HP your unit has remaining, the more it costs in upkeep. If your unit has 25% HP left, upkeep goes up by some amount.
While this might not be a good fit for WH2 where healing spells are a thing, doom stacks can result in zero damage wins and money works on the Zimbabwe system (and also where many people prefer to focus on the tactical battle system with the campaign as an afterthought), for more realistic titles like ThroB/3K/Troy it’d provider a strong incentive to fight carefully.
Another issue that hasn’t ever really been dealt with in TW games is ammo replenishment. In all the games in the franchise missile units tend to produce ammunition using the tela ex anus system immediately after the conclusion of a field battle. This tends to result in extremely potent missile units that can fight numerous battles in the same turn while starting each battle at full ammo.
The simplest way to handle this issue in a post R2 army world is an army ammo pool that is 3x the size of the battle ammo capacity of all the units in an army combined and replenishes over time just like soldiers do (complete with upkeep modifier for ranged units to represent the need to buy/make new ammo). This simple change would still allow going all out in multiple battles in a single turn, but would force missile heavy armies to invest skills, slots, buildings and tech in boosting ammo production and capacity and constrain the most extreme abuses. The end result is a more interesting campaign map experience that is less heavily weighted toward ranged units. It’d also mean easy wins with ranged units that result in zero losses but also massive ammo expenditure would require some downtime and expense.
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