Melee combat (Civ5)

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Melee combat occurs when a melee unit (any military unit which doesn't have the Ranged Combat ability) attacks an enemy unit or city, or defends against an enemy melee attack. It doesn't matter if the defender has Ranged Combat; as long as the attacker doesn't have Ranged Combat the resulting battle will be melee. An important distinction of Melee combat is that both the attacker and the defender suffer damage, because the defending unit gets to 'retaliate' against the attacker.

Melee unitsEdit

Melee combat occurs throughout the entire game, even with all great advancements in military technology. Even in the Modern Era, most small firearms don't have sufficient range to allow Ranged attacks. Troops carrying these still need to get close enough to their enemies to fire, and although it's not the massive medieval clash where hundreds of soldiers engage simultaneously in bloody hand-to-hand combat, it is still considered melee. Since Gods and Kings melee combat is also possible in the sea, and there are quite a number of naval vessels that attack in melee.  

Air units also engage in melee combat - they move to attack the tile their target is occupying currently, and although they retreat afterwards (go back to base), their target is capable of retaliating.

Melee combatEdit

Engaging in Melee CombatEdit

For melee combat to be possible, the attacker has to be in a tile adjacent to its target, and be able to move to the tile occupied by its target. This brings some interesting situations, where for example a melee unit can't attack its target, because it's inside territory where you have no access (for example another civilization with which you don't have Open Borders treaty, or an Ancient Era naval unit trying to attack a more modern ship in Ocean tiles), but a ranged unit can, because it can shoot it from afar.

When a unit attacks another one in melee, the battle actually takes place in the tile of the defending unit. This determines any terrain bonuses that apply. The two units compare their Combat Strength stats, and damage is calculated. Both the defending and the attacking unit suffer damage accordingly (unlike Ranged attacks). If the defending unit is destroyed, the attacking unit moves into the tile the destroyed unit was occupying.

Combat Information TableEdit

When one of your units is active, hover the cursor over an enemy unit to bring up the "Combat Information Table" and learn of the probable outcome of any battle between the two units. This table shows your unit's modified combat strength on the left and your enemy's on the right. Bellow that appear any bonuses (positive or negative) that apply for that attack. The box at the bottom of the screen tells you the likely outcome of the battle, and the bars in the center of the box tell you how much damage each side will take if combat occurs.

Multiple Units in CombatEdit

Units receive a "flanking" attack bonus of 10% for each unit adjacent to the target unit. Some promotions and social policies give an attacking unit additional bonuses beyond the basic flanking bonus. These bonuses can be incredibly powerful when enough units are involved. In general, the more units "ganged up" on the target unit, the better!

Civilization V [edit]
Gods & KingsBrave New World

BuildingsCivsDLCImprovementsPromotionsResourcesScenariosSocial PoliciesTechnologiesTerrainUnique AbilitiesUnitsWonders

AncientClassicalMedievalRenaissanceIndustrialModernFuture† • Atomic‡ • Information

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† Only in vanilla Civ5
‡ Only in Gods & Kings and Brave New World