It's a suggestion I wanted to write about in greater length, but...
I'd "divide" the hex in three or four zones (probably four is better, thus obtaining a 10 miles wide front for each); the zones are undetermined and ot drawn on the hex; EVERY unit, regardless of its size, take one "zone"; if there are three units, they are automatically allocated to the three different zones, and so on (exception: player can order units to concentrate in one zone only, stacking limits applying, when unit enters the hex); we don't need, and the engine doesn't need to determine if this area is North, East or South-West of the hex, let's keep it abstracted for now; one of the consequences, is that one unit alone cannot deny "free passage" in and through the hex to other enemy units which has not been ordered to engage; than, clearly, only units that the "engine" has determined being in the same zone, can fight one against the other (exception made for artillery with "long" range);
understood by itself that small islands, or narrow isthmuses, or otherwise fractions or portions of a whole land hex will have space for one, two or three zones, accordingly to their size as determined by the map and/or real historical or geographic features;
the urban centre, and aerodrome, may be place, by default, in the 2nd or 3rd zone;
in case of egress in a contested hex, the unit shall be considered entering the zone closest to the side it entered from, and farthest from enemy unit, to avoid immediate engagement between them,; exception in case the opponent has deployed a sufficient number of units to cover all of the zones;
Combat orders and combat phase: I took inspiration from WITE, where Shock Attack has evolved in Hasty attack as opposed to the Deliberate Attack, difference between the two being the time needed to properly deploy the selected units for the attack and for their movement;
the reasoning behind is that with the deliberate attack all the elements of the unit have to make contact and engage the enemy moving from where they are, reaching in an organized and coordinated manner the starting points, exploiting terrain features, cover from the other elements, communications, previous planning and proper briefing, etc;
The engine should track and calculate the time and advance on the terrain made by each unit toward engagement and contact with the "enemy", dependant on terrain, weather, kind of unit, fatigue, planning, commanders, experience etc; in this case, the "slower" or less prone to an assault unit shall delay all the other units selected for the same attack ( in the same zone), so up to the player finally to use some "brain" and choice what to order to the attack and what not;
again, is the "engine" that has previously determined what units for each player are in zone 1 or 2 rather than 3 or 4, it only has to track every unit and remember what zone it has been allocated to;
the player may only receive and read a message like "units x, y, w, 3 miles and 12 hours estimated to battle" ; "units z, u, t, 8 miles and 24 hours to battle (they are the old and cripples and moving by feet only...);
It is clear the time needed to battle in completely plain terrain shall be minuscule, while on mountains, jungle, rivers crossing the tale shall differ;
the terrain type for each zone could be the same for the hex (exception made fort he urban zones, so that I avoid fighting in an hex of 40x 40 miles all city and houses; does anything like this exist? Mexico City maybe?) , or optionally, customized;
There is more to say and write...
In this way I avoid, to start with and among other considerations, that every unit fight, potentially, any other unit in an hex 40 x 40 miles wide, thing that sincerely I have had enough of in game, personally;
< Message edited by adarbrauner -- 4/16/2018 4:30:54 PM >