From Tenderfoot Tactics

The combat system of Tenderfoot is turn-based and deterministic (in that there are no misses, critical hits, or random variances in damage). Battles take place on a grid, with the player's team starting on one side of the field. The battle is over when either all the player's units have fallen or the last enemy is defeated. Some battles spawn waves of enemies which are not initially present on the field. There is no way to undo any movement or action, but battles may be retried, which recreates the battlefield and re-rolls turn order.

Battle Prep[edit]

Before the battle begins, the player is able to prepare by positioning and arranging the turn order of their units. The player can place units on any open tile in the first two rows of the battlefield. Units can also be left out of a battle by moving them off of the grid. Enemy information, such as skills, can be viewed before starting the fight.

Turn Order[edit]

Each unit takes turns based on a queue, which is visible on the right; there is no action bar or point-based system for determining turns, which makes turn order completely relative. Units are capable of moving or acting on their turn, both of which are optional. When a unit finishes their turn, they move to the end of the queue, regardless of actions taken. The initial turn order is randomized before the battle starts, with friendly and enemy units interleaved. The player's units can swap their turn orders in the queue by dragging. By default, the player's party determines turn orders relative to each other based on their placement in the menus outside of battle, which can also be rearranged.


Units may optionally move on their turn, before or after acting. All units have a standard movement range of 4 tiles. Some passive skills, such as nimble, and trinkets like citrine, allow for extra movement. Difficult terrain, e.g., dense brush, vortexes, or muck left by the filthy passive, consumes all remaining movement points upon entering, and is marked by diagonal lines in the movement preview.

While there is no penalty for moving downhill, moving up in Height height costs additional movement, with one additional move taken for each height level beyond the first. For example, moving from a height of 0 to 1 would cost the usual 1 movement, but a height of 0 to 2 would cost 2 total movement points. The thin horizontal lines shown on cliff-sides can be counted to show the additional move cost. If a unit has not spent any movement points, they can jump up a cliff higher than what their movement limit would typically allow.


Units may optionally act once on their turn, before or after moving. The actions a unit may take are determined by their allocated skills. Note that the standard attack is a goblin skill, and it is possible to de-equip all active skills, which will render that unit unable to act. The number of different actions available in battle are limited by each breed, which maxes out at 8 potential active skills at any given time. Passive skills are not available to take as actions, but they may affect the battle in various (often significant) ways.

Active skills have a Range range, which affects how far away the target can be from the caster, and a shape, which is the area-of-effect. Active skills may either inflict Damage damage or heal Health health. The action's user may increase damage or healing via power-altering trinkets they equip or by using other skills. Actions may also have various side-effects. Some effects are elemental, which affect natural systems: Fire fire, Water water, Plant life (or plant), and Height earth (or height).


Upon ending a turn, the unit may choose to wait in any cardinal direction. Choosing this direction may affect the unit's future turn order via promote or unnerve. Most attacks cause the attacked unit to turn to face their attacker, although some (non-damaging) actions do not affect facing at all, and others like flare cause attacked units to face away from the attacker.


Attacks may alter a unit's turn order based on the angle of attack. Demoting a unit in the turn queue is called unnerve. With default difficulty settings, an attack hitting a goblin from behind will cause unnerve 2, which moves them back two places in the queue. An attack from the side will cause unnerve 1. Unnerving a unit at the end of the queue will have no effect.

The opposite of unnerve is promote, which moves a unit up in turn order. Promote and unnerve effects on the same attack cancel each other out. Promoting a unit at the top of the queue will have no effect.

Passive skills may affect how promote and unnerve are applied: headstrong reduces unnerve effects (potentially causing promote), and hyperreactive reverses the effect of unnerve and promote.


While time does not affect turn order, it affects many other battle mechanics, such as status effects and natural systems. The game refers to its discrete units of time as "ticks" which advance when moving or acting. Movement advances time by 4 ticks, plus 4 additional ticks per tile. Actions always consume 24 ticks. The number of ticks about to be consumed can be previewed in the bottom left. The number of ticks remaining on a status effect can be seen by hovering over that effect.