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I've seen plenty of fights over my years of playing DF but one thing that I still can't intuit is how well a given squad fights. Sometimes 3 dwarves return from a mission right into a siege and take out over 50 goblins plus a few mounts (martial trance sure is something) and other times my conscripts with silver warhammers get completely decimated by undead.

I've pretty much dealt with every single combat-related problem so far through sheer excess because I just don't know how much manpower is enough manpower for a siege, FB, clowns, and so on; If I see I have 20 or so axedwarves of axing levels 3-6-ish, sporting rudimentary iron equipment, I don't know what I can expect from those because all of this information tells me absolutely nothing.

Are there benchmarks, explanations, or at least rules of thumb for this kind of stuff?

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  • "other times my conscripts with silver warhammers get completely decimated by undead" It's not only the weapon they wield that forms the outcome. They have skills, training, armor, and the enemies also have skills, training, armor... Commented May 8, 2023 at 14:07

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I'm not aware of any simulator just a long list of rules of thumb and things to be aware of.

First, to have successful dwarven fighters they not only need good equipment but also combat training. A dwarf can and should wear quite a few pieces of armor at once and actually getting them to wear all of them is a bit of a hassle. Regular training in squads helps a bit but live training with prisoners or a danger room are much more effective (but may be seen as an exploit).

Second, enemies, experience can help you to judge how dangerous they are. Goblins are generally low risk, even a civilian miner with a pick axe has a good chance to win against a single one. FBs have huge variants and can go from completely trivial to impossible to kill even for a high end fortress. Read their description carefully and in case of doubt try to lock them out instead of fighting them. Don't fight clowns unless you have legendary dwarfs with candy equipment.

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