A sane (minimal) party includes:
- A knight to draw aggro and tank damage
- A cleric to heal
- An archer set to “spikey arrows”
- A mixture of footman, archers with plain arrows and archers with fire arrows to do actual damage
If any of these are missing it’s bad party, because:
- Without the knight (who has awesome “defense” bonus) everyone else takes too much damage, and tend to cower too much without the knight’s courage buff
- Without the cleric, you get worn down in larger fights until people start fleeing and/or dying
- Without the “spikey archer” your mallee people end up chasing enemy archers all over the map (while taking damage from other enemy archers)
- Without someone to do actual damage it takes too long to kill enemies; which increases the damage you take (dead enemies do no damage)
Note: If you’re not lazy (like me); it can be helpful to change your archer’s arrow types to suit the enemy before each fight. Fire arrows are better for big targets that take a while to die (but are wasted on small targets that die quickly). Plain arrows are better for large groups of small targets that die fast. Spikey is a good for enemy archers but pointless for mallee enemies.
My standard party is 11 people - 2 knights, 2 clerics, 2 archers with spikey arrows, 2 footman, 2 archers with fire arrows, 1 archer with plain arrows. This is a bit of a luxury, but gives backups when people take too long to get to the fight, or get too injured.
I also “cross-train” military. For example; an archer that has level 6 farmer, level 6 footman and level 6 knight has 150 HP more than an archer that only has level 3 footman (or about 440 HP instead of 290 HP).