Movement is one of the core stats which determines how far a unit can move per turn on the world map and in combat. Depending on their abilities, units may be able to move further in a single turn over some types of terrain or may not be able to move at all over others. The maximum allowed value for movement points on any unit is 50, although only heroes and leaders can increase their movement points.
Each unit has an amount of movement points, which determine how far they can move in a single game turn or combat turn. Moving a grounded unit one hex across standard terrain will use up 4 movement points. Therefore, if a unit has 24 movement points in total, they could move 6 hexes across standard terrain in one turn. If a unit has 26 movement points, it would still only be able to move 6 hexes on standard terrain, having 2 unused movement points left over at the end of the turn.
Standard terrain can be defined as any hex that has no forests, hills, roads, mountains, cavern walls or structures of any kind occupying it. The type of base terrain doesn't matter, i.e. grasslands, steppe, wasteland, etc. Forests and hills cost 6 movement points for a unit to traverse, while roads (including bridges) and structures cost only 3 movement points. Even structures that cannot be captured have this effect, such as monster lairs and arenas. In the caverns and depths layers, terrain is treated as standard, with bridges and structures behaving the same as on the surface. Water is also treated as standard terrain for ships and units with swimming.
Non-standard terrain can affect unit movement in different ways depending on what abilities they possess. There are also some spells that can affect the way units move around terrain such as Haste and Free Movement. Flying and floating units only require 4 movement points to move onto any type of terrain except mountains, which requires 8 movement points. This also means that these units do not benefit from roads or structures however. So you will find, for example, that a Highman Swordsman will slightly outpace a Valkyrie when travelling by road, despite the Valkyrie having 6 more movement points.
This table displays types of terrain and the cost in movement points of traversing them per hex given different terrain movement abilities inherent in the unit that is moving (an X means "impassable"). The spell Haste will reduce each of these values by 1 for the enchanted unit. So a unit with mountaineering and haste walking over hills will spend 3 movement points per hex, while a grounded unit on a road with haste will spend only 2 movement points per hex.
Note: Cavern Walls excludes the grey rocky walls that cannot be tunneled through. They are completely impassable. Also, all columns for the table assume the unit also has Walking, except for the Swimming and Flying columns.
This table displays the number of hexes a grounded unit can move across standard terrain, roads and forests or hills given many different common values for movement points. For the purpose of the table, it is assumed that the unit does not have any movement abilities and is not under the effects of any movement-affecting Spells.
|Hexes||Road||Forest / Hills|
Units have a large variety of movement point values. Typically, basic infantry and archer units have 26 movement points (24 for smaller races like Halflings and 30 for Highmen), while cavalry have anywhere from 32 (Halfling Pony Riders, Orc Heavy Cavalry) up to 40 (Azrac Riders, Highman Paladins). Level 3 and 4 units have dramatically varied movement points depending on their size and assumed speed. The unit with the highest movement in the game is the Goblins' Level 4 unit, the Karagh, with 44 movement points. Grounded Machines such as Battering Rams and Flame Throwers have the lowest movement in the game at only 20 movement points.
When several types of units are grouped together in an army, each unit still spends movement points as normal depending on the terrain being crossed, but the army as a whole will stop when any one unit can no longer move. For instance, if you have a Halfling Swordsman paired up with a Dwarf Boar Rider and they are travelling across hills, the Halfling will only be able to travel 4 hexes (24 movement points at 6 per hex), so if the Dwarf wants to travel farther in the same turn, he would have to leave the Halfling behind in order to travel up to 4 more hexes (32 movement points at 4 per hex with mountaineering). The Halfling also would not be able to cross mountains at all, while the Dwarf is capable of doing so, further limiting the army's movement as a whole if keeping them together is a priority.
In general, keeping units which have similar movement capabilities grouped together in armies can be beneficial for this reason. Having some non-swimming units in an army with Lizardmen will prevent you from crossing water unless you want to split the army up, which is not always a good idea. Same goes for pairing non-mountaineering units with Dwarves or non-flyers with a group of mostly flying units. Allowing your armies to maneuver without being held back by the movement limitations of a few units can make a big difference for map control.
Some units have the Transport ability, allowing them to carry other units over terrain they would otherwise not be able to cross. This serves a secondary and sometimes more important purpose however, which is conserving the movement of the units being transported for later use in the same turn. Especially pertinent for Dwarven Balloon and Human Air Galley, this means you can move an army much farther in a single turn than they would normally be able to move. Transporting units across water on ships can still be used for this purpose if quick movement along a coast is desired, but the ability for flying transports to move anywhere makes them far more useful.