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CTP's Combat System: April 26th, 1999
From: Peter "Enjolras" Karpas

"In listening to the debate over Civ:CTP's combat system, one of the things that struck me was when people complained about air units (like bombers) getting shot down by ground units (like marines or even phalanx). I've even heard suggestions that we should have made it so air units can't get damaged by ground units. The reason why I was surprised is because that function -- the ability to attack ground targets with impunity -- is in the game. It's the entire purpose of the Bombard function.

I asked Will Westwater (our Lead Designer) to write up a quick explanation for the thinking and "battle" behind the two ways air units can attack. Here are his two paragraphs on the subject:

"As for the fighter/bomber thing, you can give planes two different orders -- one order is to Bombard. That means fly high and drop bombs. Of course, the enemy can hide in cellars and bunkers and things, so it might not wipe them out (see Kosovo for an example of this). When you bombard, your planes can't get hurt.

The other order is to Assault, which is the default if you move a plane onto a ground unit. This tells the plane to kill the enemy at all costs. To do this, your planes must fly low to the ground at great risk and hunt individual soldiers. Even against ancient soldiers, the planes can crash when there is bad weather or when the pilots get tired".

[Peter addition here]: Of course, if a bomber is in a stack, and is in the second row and able to use it's ranged attack, it is "bombing" as you would normally think of it. But when it's in the first row, it's definitely in Assault mode. In the end, you just need to decide the level of risk that you want.

I hope this explains the key difference between the two types of attack, and why they were included the way they were".

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