The movement of a unit is determined by its movement stat, its skills, and the terrain it moves across. If not impacted by any other factors, a unit can move to tiles whose distance to the unit's starting tile is not more than its movement stat, as measured using chessboard distance. However, this is affected by the terrain the unit move across, the presence of Roads, as well as some other factors. A unit may only move once per turn (besides the use of the dash and escape skills), and each tile can only be occupied by one unit at a time. A forced unit spawn occurs when an unit is spawned on a tile that already has an unit on it.
A unit's movement stat determines how far it can move every turn. Moving from one tile to an adjacent tile incurs a cost of 0.5 if both tiles have roads or 1 otherwise. If a unit has 0.5 moves remaining, it can take a move that costs 1.
Certain types of terrain impact movement. Forests without roads and mountains block movement. Units cannot move through them (they can move onto them, but no further in the same turn). Also, units cannot move into clouds (the fog of war).
Most land units moving into a port will be turned into Boats and will be unable to perform actions for the rest of that turn, even if they had excess movement points or had not attacked. However, units with the float or Fly skills are not affected.
Zone of Control
All units exert a passive Zone of Control onto enemy units. This takes priority over movement bonuses conferred by Roads or Polarism. A unit that moves to a tile adjacent to an enemy unit cannot move any further, even if the unit had excess movement points.
This does not prevent units with the Dash skill from attacking after moving, and the Zone of Control goes away when the enemy unit is destroyed.
Units with higher movement stats may be able to move out and then back into Zone of Control, occasionally leading to seemingly impossible but valid movement destinations.
Movement between two tiles with Roads (or a Road and a city) requires only 0.5 moves, ignoring the movement penalty from Forests (it is impossible to place Roads on Mountains) but not Zone of Control. This applies only to Roads in friendly territory or in neutral territory, but not when moving onto Roads in enemy territory.
In order to utilize bonus movement from roads, you need to place a road where your troop is standing and then on the following tile. City tile works as a road tile.
When calculating movement cost of a tile, the game rounds up - meaning even if you have 0.5 movement points remaining, you can still move onto a tile costing 1 or more movement points. place the unit ends up is irrelevant - you don't need a road at the final tile and movement is not blocked if final tile is an obstacle.
If Polarism has been researched, all units without the skate skill gain an extra move when moving onto ice for the first time that turn.
Forced Unit Spawns
A forced unit spawn occurs when an unit is spawned on a tile that already has an unit on it, resulting in the original unit being displaced in a specific, ascertainable direction. This can happen when a super unit is spawned in a city, a Ruin provides a unit as a reward, or when ∑∫ỹriȱŋ uses enchantment to create a Polytaur or Navalon.
Forced unit spawns are notably used to push out an enemy unit attempting to capture a city by upgrading the city to spawn a super unit.
If a unit is spawned to displace another unit, and there is nowhere for the displaced unit to go (i.e. all adjacent tiles are either impassable or occupied by more units), the displaced unit will instead be removed from the game entirely. This does not count as a kill for the Gate of Power, nor does it count as an attack for the Altar of Peace. This can be to force out an enemy unit sieging a city, particularly those that are tough to kill, like Giants.
The push order for forced unit spawns determines the direction in which the unit already on the tile where the new unit is spawned will be pushed. The push order is as follows:
- Friendly units that previously moved will be pushed in the same direction of their movement.
- Example: A friendly unit that previously moved north will be pushed north.
- Enemy units that previously moved will be pushed in the opposite direction of their movement.
- Example: An enemy unit that previously moved north will be pushed south.
- Units that were not previously moved will be pushed toward the center of the map.
The unit skills listed below impact movement in some way. (Units without any of these skills are called “land units”.)
- Carry (Boat, Ship, Battleship): The carry skill allows a unit to carry another unit inside and travel on water. (Navigation or Free Diving must be researched to travel on ocean tiles.) A unit with the carry skill can move to land tiles adjacent to water, but doing so turns it into the unit it was carrying and ends the unit's turn.
- Fly (Baby and Fire Dragon): The fly skill allows a unit to ignore all movement barriers imposed by terrain. However, units with the fly skill cannot utilize roads.
- Navigate (Navalon): The navigate skill allows a unit to move across shallow water and ocean even if the prerequisite technologies are not researched. Units with the navigate skill cannot move to land tiles, except they can capture cities (but not villages).
- Skate (Mooni, Battle Sled, Ice Fortress): The skate skill doubles movement on ice but limits movement to one and bars units with it from using the dash and escape skills on land.
- Boost (Shaman): The boost skill grants a unit the Boost unit ability, which increases the movement of all adjacent friendly units by 1 until their next action (excluding moving).
Terrain and Zone of Control
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