Combat is brutal: while ranged attacks may miss, melee attacks always hit, though damage is variable. It's an interesting choice that works well: you'll get the nail-biting "please, please, hit!" effect when your hunter tries to take out an enemy that is bound to incapacitate one of your soldiers the next round. At the same time you get a considerable amount of predictability for the melee units, which supports tactical decision making: if a combatant gets surrounded and attacked by two or three opponents he will usually be incapacitated in the same round. An incapacitated follower has a chance of receiving a wound of varying degrees of severity, which after the battle will need to be treated in camp before the follower can be used again.
In most battles your goal is simply to eliminate the opposition, but some scenarios have you fight a defensive battle, where your objective is to survive a number of rounds, or where you have to get everyone to an escape zone instead. I found that a "victory" often meant having one or two doomed men left standing surrounded by enemies when the counter ran out and the opposition miraculously decided that I had beaten them after all. A bit too abstract for my liking, but the different win conditions force you to use different strategies, so from a gameplay perspective it does add variety.