There are four combat roles in Stonehearth : These Hearthlings are also known as Protectors
Footman : Melee unit, the base of your army, cheap and quick. Good damage, medium-low defense. Best used as bait/first responders.
Archer : Ranged unit. the main support of your army, very-low defense, average damage but great support. Best used as support/chasers.
Knight : Melee unit, the main unit of your army. Great defense, taunts enemies, very expensive, medium damage. Best used as tank.
Cleric : Melee unit, healer of your army, heals up any wounded, weak in direct combat, weak defense. Best used as support.
You have four Combat Parties that make up your Total Army. The combat parties can be identified by the colour of it's banner [ Red, Green, Blue and Purple ] A good example of building up your army would be to have every group able to fend for themselves, meaning you would want to have at least 1 of each combat role in every party before making a new party. Putting all classes in a separate group will result in some of your weaker units having no backup when needed. ( e.g, 2 Footmen, 1 Cleric, 1 Knight, 1 Archer ) You can always put all units in 1 party to be sure of this, this however will give you less coverage of your town.
Combat in Stonehearth is somewhat divided into two categories. You don't necessarily have to do anything for them to function as they are automated by default. Whenever the town is exposed to a threat your combat party will try to find the fastest way to react and intercept the intruders. The other way is for you to control your combat party by hand giving you four options [ Move to location, Move to Attack, Guard ground and Cancel current task ] You can control an entire combat party or a single warrior.
You can, for example, find places of interests on the map to which you sometimes may have to travel or even fight. You will need the manual controls to get to these locations and target the enemies you want gone.
Another option you have is to call your non-combat villagers to gather at the flag standard you placed at the start of the game. [ Hotkey R ] These villagers will then find any tool to fight with and together fight any intruder reaching the flag standard. This is best used when a large group of intruders is coming for your town and your army is not big enough/too far away. When you do not use this Town Alert Mode [ Hotkey R ] you take the risk of your villagers fleeing and scattering over the map, perhaps ending up incapacitated.
Examples of Combat:
(1) Early demonstration of combat from the developer Radiant Entertainment
(2) Zombie horde battle (From an early mod, not current)
(3) Combat scenes compilation (From an early mod, not current)
Examples of Defend Mode activation:
(1) Demonstration in test world by the developer Radiant Entertainment
The future of Stonehearth combat may feature more of RTS (real time strategy) component. The extent of player control is uncertain at this stage, with the aim of finding a balance between having enough control to be enjoyable (and not frustrating) and avoiding excessive micromanagement.
As of patch 1.1 there will most likely be no more developer updates. However the community has kept things going with the ACE project and as such there may be different options with this mod.