This article should function as a Combat 101 for people new to doing Combat in Guns of Glory. It gives a very basic explanation about several things you should be aware about before you start solo attacking enemy castles.
There are four troop types in this game, infantry, cavalry, distance and artillery. Each of them have 10 possible tiers (availability depends on the level of your barracks, stables, shooting range and artillery foundry buildings), with each their own specific statistics. With the exception of Artillery all stats of higher level tier troops are at least as good as lower level tier troops. For Artillery some offer better defense, other offer better attack, so you can select the troop that best meets your requirements rather than the highest tier for Artillery, for the others just grab the highest you have available (for more advanced usage there are two subtypes for each troop type, we will discuss in another guide). Although the game is not clear in explaining the exact role of each troop in the battle, experience points out it is important to have a significant amount of infantry in your army. Infantry takes most casualties and inflicts little damage, but if you do not have enough, your other troop types will take a lot more casualties. In general I get good results in using a balanced army.
There are a number of different ways to get boosts: lord talent points, research, equipment, dragon skills and items. You should consider all of these, there are quite some easy to score boosts that can make a difference.
Lord Talent Points can provide a large attack, defense and health bonus, especially when your Lord has reached a higher level and you have more talent points to assign. The War Tree is where you should assign your points before combat. Getting further in the tree can be useful to unlock the special skills like Emergency Recall and Colossal March, so best to select only one branch of the tree. Keep in mind what troops you will typically use before assigning the points. You might not use artillery much because they are quite slow, which makes it best to boost cavalry and distance for attack and infantry for defense.
The Combat research tree gives you valuable troop boosts. Individually they are not high, but they provide boosts that are always active for each of your troops. Keep researching those. Note that there is also alliance research that provides combat boosts. Encourage your alliance to work on alliance research and make sure you contribute plenty yourself.
In the Forge you can craft equipment for your lord. We will provide a Forging Equipment guide later for details. Try to make sure that for each equipment slot you have a piece of equipment that gives some boosts. The boosts here can be significant, e.g. a green Cutlass already provides (unenhanced) 12% Cavalry and Artillery Attack. As you collect more materials and design fragments (keep killing beasts) keep checking whether you can enhance your equipment or forge better equipment pieces. Do not worry about making wrong equipment in this game because you can always dismantle it and get back all materials.
In the Airship Dock you can upgrade, enhance and assign Airship Abilities. Make sure you assign useful Airhsip Abilities to the attack slots and keep upgrading these with Assault Components and Enhance them with Intensity Gear. When your Airhsip upgrades new abilities and/or new slots might become available. Typical abilities to focus on are Distance Devastation I, II and III and Cavalry Cannons I, II and III and March of Fury (more about the last one below).
What you should not forget are an Attack and Defense boost, you probably have some items already, as they come as rewards. Look in the War category in your items. If you do not, you can purchase them in the shop. Notice there are 3 variations giving 10, 20 and 25% Attack or Defense boost. When you expect the battle to be close, you should consider that these boosts (applicable to all your troop types) can make a huge difference in both the damage you do (Attack Boost) and your own casualties (Defense Boost). Note that in this game it is possible to have an attack and defend boost active at the same time.
Attack only with one march at a time to make sure your Airship boosts apply to that march.
The amount of troops you can attack with is very important, this means of course you have to make sure you have trained enough troops of each type you plan to use, but also that your March Capacity is as large as you can get it. Most important for this is the level of your Castle, but in addition you can get extra boosts by researching the March Capacity projects in the Combat category, assign points to the March Capacity projects in the War talent tree, and use the March of Fury Dragon Skill. In addition there are also items to temporarily increase your March Capacity.
When you are attacking you are likely also going to be attacked. Consider asking some of your alliance mates to fill up your embassy, ideally higher tier troops than you have but anything will be better than nothing.
Some people just attack with one full march and leave their castle empty, so if they are attacked while attacking others they don't lose troops, as an alternative strategy.
Always important to check with your alliance who you can attack and when. It can typically range anywhere from always attacking anyone except for allies (which are normally listed on the Alliance Profile, accessible via menu: Alliance - Manage - Profile) to no attacking at all unless approved by a leader (r4 or r5).
Gold and Alliance credits are quite hard to come by and before deciding to teleport to suitable targets I would make very sure it is worth it. Consider that you need two teleports one to port to the enemy, one to go back. If you have several random teleports you might decide to use these and hope you encounter a suitable enemy hive. As an alternative for using an advanced teleport to go back to your hive, you perhaps still have one of your alliance teleports, or you can purchase a fortress teleport in the Alliance Store, which is slightly cheaper.
As an alternative you can select a fight near your hive, even if this means you make some nearby enemies and/or have to march for 10-20 minutes.
Based on the nationality/language of an alliance, you might try to find targets who are inactive based on the time of day.
Scout first before attacking, to make sure the attack is worth it (are there troops to kill, resources to plunder?), but preferably do this when you are close to actually attacking, to minimize the time your target and his alliance members have to prepare.
If you can find some targets that are not in a hive, that is preferred, as they cannot easily be reinforced.
Only select targets you are confident you can quite easily win (significant less troops and weaker troops than you have in a single march), in case of doubt, ask your alliance mates to rally.
This should give you some pointers to start having fun solo attacking in Guns of Gloey. If you have any questions or want to share other tips, let us know in the comments.