This article describes design decisions that will be rediscussed before their implementation in the future, and as such are not final.
Squads are groups of military units used in the Strategy Mode. They become available after researching Military Training; until then, units are controlled individually like in every conventional RTS. A squad may consist of any combination of controllable organisms and vehicle Tech Objects. Each TO or organism is counted as a single squad member.
Squads can be created in two ways. The first is with squad types. These are created in a mini-editor available from Society Centres and Military Centres and serve as templates for actual squads. You can create squads in MCs and SCs by selecting a squad type and hitting a "Form" button. This action decreases the number of Military Specialists in your SC or MC. You can also merge or split squads directly on the battlefield, creating entirely new squads.
When squads enter SCs or MCs, they are stored there. Squads can be merged, split, created or disbanded. Each of these actions uses or frees an amount of Military specialists. Each squad type is displayed in a special tab, along with number of squads of this type. Each squad that is not full of Active members tries to heal and replace Injured and Lost members.
Every squad has a formation. That formation may be very loose (modern fireteams) or very tight (Roman legions), based on what player selects. Squads always try to keep their formation, with the sole exception of actively fighting an enemy (sometimes not even then). The player can choose one of predefined formations (line, square, column, etc.) or he can create his own formations with the Formation mini-editor.
In the Formation mini-editor, you can create a formations from different shapes, like lines, rectangles, rings, etc. In combat, units are distributed over these shapes. Soldiers/TOs can be given a certain stance by manipulating mannequins representing the soldier/TO. You can also set some properties for the formation itself, such as scale of the formation, minimum and maximum of units in the formation, how loose or tight the formation is and similar. Then, the formation is saved and you can use it with any squad fitting the parameters defined in this mini-editor.
If a squad has no Active members left, it is destroyed, no matter how many Injured or Lost were in that squad. For every squad destroyed, there is a probability that a part of those injured will arrive to the nearest MC/SC, based on how close it is and on the terrain (also on who controls the terrain, if possible).
Once Military Training research is completed, units will be controlled ONLY in squads. If you want to order a single unit, you have to assign it to its own squad. Every squad has its own "banner", which is just a simple image. Squads are accessed by clicking this banner. The entire squad is commanded at once.
The screen will show you how many units the selected squad has, the selected squad's experience, it's banner, it's squad type if it wasn't created by splitting or merging, and a list of any commanders present in the squad.
Each squad or group of units will have a counter of active/injured/dead units. Each unit would have a status. Active = able to fight. Injured = not able to fight, but can be recovered. Lost = units lost in battle - the squad needs to replace Lost units with new, Active units. Only Active units can fight; any Injured and Lost units decrease combat effectiveness of the squad.
Morale is a value showing the will to fight of the group. Morale will be raised by the presence of friendly SCs, MCs or units nearby, and will drop with combat losses, overuse (not giving the unit time to rest), and shortages of supplies. Morale below 50% will cause the squad to be highly demoralised, reducing its combat effectiveness and making it retreat sometimes, and morale below 25% will always cause the unit to retreat, and sometimes even to flee from the battle. Morale less than 5% causes all squad members to panic and run in random directions, thus temporarily destroying the squad. The squad will be created later again, simulating it's members finding each other.
Each unit will need supplies. Without supplies the unit suffers a high loss of morale and unit injuries and deaths after some time.
A higher ranked officer can be assigned to any squad, replacing the squad's first unit. Commanders will raise morale of their squads and any squads nearby, but their death will strongly reduce morale of their and nearby squads. The higher ranked a Commander is, the better morale bonus he provides, but the greater effect his death has.
Every squad has an experience level. This is measured by 1 - 12 stars (ranks), 1 star squads being absolute greens and 12 the elite of elites. Experience can be acquired by combat, and to some degree also by training and field duty. Experience improves almost anything a squad can do, from speed of movement, to health and combat effectiveness, to rate of using supplies.