There are quite a few strategies on how to defend a settlement. Keep in mind that a strategy not only covers military, but also buildings and gear. The clever placement of traps, walls and mechanical contraptions will complete your military.
A very controversial strategy for many reasons. Just build one big dirt wall around your settlement and do not leave an opening. Invaders will be stuck outside until they leave your kingdom.
The advantages to this are:
- No way for invaders to get directly to your gnomes as long as you never open the wall.
- Free reign to do whatever you want safely within your walls.
The disadvantages to this are:
- Merchants and gnomads will be unable to reach a walled-in settlement without player action. Merchants in particular will return to their kingdom of origin. One or more sections of wall need to be opened to let them inside. Doing this however means if there are any invaders currently present, they will be able to get inside if they notice the opening. Additionally, gnomads can still die on their way to their new home while merchants will not appear if the area is unsafe.
- Goblin Raiders that are forced to turn back empty handed due to their inability to reach your base will bring Goblin Tunnelers with them during the next raid. These Tunnelers can construct a tunnel past your walls and can be dangerous if it opens into less protected areas of your settlement.
Map Edge WallsEdit
This is a much larger version of the 'walling in' strategy described above. It consists of creating a large wall going all around the map's edge. There are two ways this can be done.
The simplest would be to create a wall at all of the map's edges. While this is definitely a way to eliminate all concerns with invaders, the problem is that it will keep everything from spawning, including merchants and gnomads. This is not a good strategy if you want to receive merchant visits and more gnomes beyond your starting gnomes.
A more effective, but slightly more difficult version, would be to create the wall one block deep from the very edge of the map. This means that everything will be able to spawn as normal but limited to the squares nearest the map's edge. This is slightly more difficult because theoretically you'll have twice as much to forage/fell before you can begin to make your wall.
However, this is still problematic for gnomads as it is very possible for your gnomads to spawn right into a group of goblins that were wandering around outside your wall, resulting in a swift death to those poor gnomes. Merchants will still refuse to spawn as long as the threat remains present.
The most effective method of constructing an Edge Wall is as follows:
- Forage everything two squares in from the edge of the map for extra food and cotton. This is optional for the trees which can be cut down, but must be done with cotton and strawberry plants as they make building a wall on their space impossible.
- Fell every tree two squares in from the edge of the map. If you like, you can stockpile everything you've just harvested before building your wall. Some resources might get stuck outside the wall if you don't.
- Divide up the space around the map however you like. As an example of even spacing on a Tiny map: start from a corner, move 8 spaces from the corner, then build 2 dirt walls, then leave 8 empty spaces, then build 2 more dirt walls, rinse and repeat. This would perfectly divide the edge of the map into sections of 8, if you leave 8 spaces from the corners empty. So the corners would have 15 empty spaces.
- Now build the full wall around the edge of the map with one block of space from the from the actual edge. Once it's done, you should have a massive wall around the edge with subsections that are 1x8 spaces big with the exception of the corners. Whenever your merchants or gnomads spawn into any of these sections just mine out a part of the wall to let them in, then seal it back up. When invaders spawn in, no matter how many, they'll remain on the edge of the map. After some time they will leave if not engaged by ranged units or a melee team sent in.
The second version of the Edge Wall is still subject to the threat of Goblin Tunnelers, which will require you to either maintain an adequate military to deal with them before they can successfully construct a tunnel, or bribe them with crafts placed outside your wall.
City Walls with Gate GuardsEdit
This is the most basic defensive strategy. Instead of walling off completely, you leave one spot permanently open. Your city guards are posted right next to the entrance, preferably training in a Training Ground. This method forces enemies to pass through them to access the rest of your settlement. Consider placing a crate of bandages nearby and the deployment of traps for best effect.
Divide and Conquer Trap StrategyEdit
An effective use of Self-Powered Traps is to take advantage of enemies' wariness of getting hit with a second trap to split up the attackers. This requires the placement of a one square wide S curve in front of your entrance loaded up with spike traps.
Enemies injured in the bends mull around the area and because of the curves do not see a gnome to attack. This can reduce the enemies attacking your gate at once by 50% or more. A manual order to attack the stragglers can then be issued to finish them off. This strategy is helped by the fact that cheap copper traps are effective for this purpose even against two-headed ogres during the later stages of your kingdom.
This is an alternative to the strategy of building walls, using trenches as a replacement. The advantages and disadvantages are virtually the same, except that ranged combat is now possible. This allows your gnomes to shoot helpless invaders with ranged weapons, causing them to take damage and bleed until they find a way into melee range (or not, if you use a completely walled-off strategy). If enemies with ranged weapons are ever added, this setup may turn into an entertaining scene of your gnomes trading shots with enemies on the other side of the trench.
The most unsafe and challenging form of play. Walls are not utilized and the kingdom's defense relies on soldiers and perhaps traps. This is less a defensive strategy and more of a challenge.
A strong military means placing 40-50% of your gnomes permanently under arms. The obvious benefit of this is that your civilians are not required to defend themselves unless as a last resort, which keeps them largely safe. Having a larger military also allows you to allocate squads as needed to protect different locations without suffering a loss in manpower per location. Finally, having professional soldiers frees them to focus on training at a Training Ground, making them more skilled at dealing with threats over time.
Military & MilitiaEdit
This strategy puts every gnome into a squad. Those that are supposed to work are given lighter armour (it is cheaper to make, and does not slow a gnome down as much). Less full-time soldiers are employed with this strategy as 40 angry gnomes will do some damage regardless of their available equipment. The only problem is that a lucky hit from a strong enemy is more likely to cripple a militia gnome than the more heavily armored full-time soldiers; this can be bad for your economy if it affects skilled gnomes.
This strategy gets rid of a standing military altogether, and puts every gnome into a militia. This is not recommended past the early stages of your kingdom.
The Smart Military StrategyEdit
All soldiers are miners and horticulture profession. This raises their military stats for both speed, and damage taken. Horticulture raises nimbleness (speed) and mining raises fitness (damage taken).
A kingdom of 40+ gnomes only needs a dedicated brewer, a rancher, a cook, a farmer, an engineer, 2 stone masons, 2 woodcutters, and 2 blacksmiths (1 armor crafter and 1 weapon maker respectively). All other jobs can be handled by soldiers, and many soldiers can be made into solid back up for the main job holders. This lets you attend to your economy without letting it suffer, field a very large and strong military, and cover all necessary bases. Soldiers will dig your ditches, clip your trees, smelt your armor, craft wood into coal, prospect your dirt, and perform many other tasks. A handful can be made into brewers and cooks. Just build multiple breweries, kitchens, furnaces, prospecting tables, and smelters. Then let them go to work.
Equipment Strategies (Melee)Edit
1-Handed Weapon and shieldEdit
This is a classic strategy that focuses on defense. Shields are treated in Gnomoria as a weapon with more defensive options. A shield does blunt damage and has a high chance of knocking an enemy back. The personal perk "Guard" and formation perk "Shield Wall" complement this strategy. The best way to utilize gnomes with this strategy is to have a gnome wearing the best armor wield a shield and use the "Taunt" personal perk. This allows other ill-equipped gnomes to fight with lesser risk.
Two-handed weapons hit slower than one-handed weapons, but instead of many attacks that merely inflicts wounds they can penetrate and sever body parts or even kill enemies outright. The "Highlander" personal perk is useful for this strategy. It increases the damage inflicted and the chance of decapitating enemies, but requires gnomes to forgo armor. This can be dangerous but a Taunt gnome or two in the squad can help them maximize the use of their weapons at lesser risk.
"Sneaky" is another useful perk when having allies with Taunt nearby. It allows gnomes to do more damage without being as vulnerable as Highlander gnomes since they can equip full leather armor sets. This is offset by the loss of the increased chance for instant kill decapitations.
Other useful perks include "Disarm", "Finish Him", and "Knock em' Down".
Dual wielding is capable of dishing out great amounts of damage. Personal perks that improve it even more are "The Best Defense..." and "Frenzy". Frenzy lowers a gnome's defensive capabilities but increases his attack speed when dual wielding.
For equipment an axe and hammer are recommended: this setup is very adaptive because you can combine blunt and slashing damage on one soldier, making him the perfect match for any enemy. Imagine an attack by armored goblins. The goblins should be attacked by axes (weak against slash), but they wear armor (best fought with hammers). A hammer/axe dual wielder has both at his disposal, hammering away the armor, then striking true with the axe.
You may also want your scouts to dual-wield torches so that the torch bonus applies even if they are carrying something in their main hand.
Equipment Strategies (Ranged)Edit
After crossbows are invented they can be equipped as a two handed weapon that can be used in both melee and ranged combat. The Crossbow skill applies to both. Ranged combat requires a supply of bolts made at the Machine Shop and a quiver from the Leatherworker. You may also want to have ammo caches (stockpiles) on the map in case your gnomes need to reload during battle.
Avoid using the "Maintain Distance" option for a ranged squad in its Formation tab as they will constantly adjust their position and never fire. This is especially true where you intend to use them as part of a shooting gallery against approaching enemies.
Applicable ranged-only personal perks include "Marksgnome", which increases accuracy and range, "Sharpshooter" for additional damage at longer ranges, "Aim for the Eyes" (increased chance to hit an enemy's eyes) and "Conservationist" (grants a chance to not consume ammunition when firing).
Blunderbusses are two-handed weapons with more damage but shorter range. The advice for Crossbows applies except that you will need musket balls and ammo pouches (crafted at a Tailor instead of a Leatherworker instead to actually fire. They use the Gun skill instead of Crossbow so you may want to keep skilled crossbowmen and use new recruits as gunners.
The only smart choice is to have two pistols with one of the perks mentioned under the Crossbows section. Gnomes with a pistol equipped will try to stay out of melee combat, rendering a Pistol and Shield strategy or one involving a Pistol and Sword with the "Swashbuckler" personal perk non-viable.
A common strategy is to assign a dual pistol gnome with the "Commander" personal perk (which makes squad members inflict more damage on the commander's target at the cost of the gnome not being able to wear a helmet), although this is not strictly limited to dual wielding pistol soldiers.