Granada: A Combat Analysis
By J.R. Jarvinen
The Granada system itself is deceptively simple:
Each unit has a combat value from 1 to 7;
when attacking, you roll a 10-sided die. If
the number rolled is less than or equal to
the combat value, you score a hit. Each unit
attacking gets to roll one die.
All units have two steps; if it takes a hit,
the unit is reduced (turned over) which reveals
its new attacking strength which in every
case is two less than it’s original
attack strength. A cavalry unit of 5 strength
which takes a loss is now reduced to a unit
of 3 strength, diminishing its chance to hit
in its own turn. If a reduced unit is hit,
then that unit is eliminated. The owning player
always gets to decide which unit is hit.
In the first round of combat, the defender
always get to roll first; the attacker takes
his losses, and then rolls for his attacks.
After the first round, the attack and defense
rolls are simultaneous.
Thus, we have a pretty straightforward system
that some might even compare to a more simplistic
method used by Risk-like games. However,
some aspects that require more analysis, and
yield some surprising results (see Tactical
Combat Analysis in Granada).
Unit strength can be modified by several
different means. However, a single unit can
never be modified to greater than a strength
of 7. This means that no matter what modifiers
you apply, a single unit never has better
than a 70% chance of a successful hit.
Each leader has an Attack Rating and a Defense
Rating, which can modify a unit’s strength
depending upon whether it's attacking or defending.
The Rating tells you the amount by which he
can modify a unit’s strength. For example,
Ferdinand has an Attack Rating of 4 and a
Defense Rating of 3. When attacking, he can
add four points to an individual unit, or
spread the points among two or more other
units. Again, however, no unit can attack
with more than a strength of 7 regardless
of additional modifiers.
While defending in Granada (the only strength
4 castle in the game), each unit adds 2 to
its strength when defending.
There are also five strength 3 castles (two
in Spain — Cordoba and Lorca —
and three in Granada: Malaga, Pinos Puenta,
and Almeria), which add 1 to the strength
of each unit in the castle. When the Moors
make a stand in places other than Granada,
these three castles should be chosen. Even
a +1 bonus spread across a few units rolling
double dice can be very effective.
These larger castles are also the key to winning the game.
If at the end of a campaign season the Spanish
player controls Granada, Malaga, Pinos Puenta,
and Almeria, he wins the game. Similarly,
if the Moors control Cordoba and Lorca at
the end of a campaign season, they win the
If a castle is Unbreached, then the defender
gets to roll TWICE in each round of combat
until the walls are breached. This is a huge
advantage for the Moors while defending in
Granada, a strength 4 castle. Until the walls
are breached, the Spaniards have little or
no chance to take Granada. Furthermore, when
attempting a siege, the attackers are committed
to one round of combat regardless of the siege
attempt results. The obvious conclusion is
not to attempt a siege unless you can weather
at least one round of devastating defensive
The bad news for the Spaniard is that he must
take Granada in order to win the game, so
he must eventually face these withering defensive
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