Combat is a direct competition between two players, or between a player and a predetermined opponent.
Making combat worthwhile and balanced has always been one of the greatest challenges of Many Marios development.
Before Many Marios XEdit
In the first versions of Many Marios, combat was largely unavailable as a game mechanic. However, energy was required to repel Bowser's attacks, so it is implied that some kind of combat was going on, but the actual mechanic was just an expenditure of energy. By Many Marios Fused, combat rules were implemented for the first time, which let players set up basic strategies. Nevertheless, units that were defeated were pemanently lost, making battles very risky.
In the Many Marios X seriesEdit
Many Marios X presented a battle system largely based on its predecessor's, though defeated units weren't lost forever. The new system used "battle triggers", letting players develop more complex startegies. Unfortunately, units that went into battle had to use the energy they could otherwise spend in economic tasks, making the pursuit of combat highly inefficient. The players also had a common enemy, the Shadows. These could invade a town and cause great damage, meaning the players had to maintain a defense. The exploration system in Many Marios X allowed a player to find missions, which were battles against predetermined opponents for economic rewards. Many Marios X2 initially maintained the combat system, but it was seemingly scrapped midgame. Missions found through exploration were also kept from the previous version.
Many Mario Bros. was the first combat-oriented game in the series. Players sent their units into weekly Star Battles, attempting to collect Stars. The player with the most stars after a fixed amount of time would be the winner. Raiding was also possible. A raiding player could steal coins from an undefended opponent. Combat decisions were sent to the host via private messaging.
The Many Marios Free-for-All presented a new combat system which let players choose a target to attack (coins, units, items or buildings). However, combat was as inefficient, in terms of economic growth, as in the Many Marios X series before.
- Main article: Many Marios 0 combat
Starting with Many Marios 0, the combat system was separated entirely from the economic system. This eliminated the risks of combat, but simultaneously made it less appealing, as no economic rewards could be obtained.