So, having fought the goblins several more times recently on a new save, I want to add a few more thoughts concerning them:
1) Early game, when you’re only going up against small bands of 5-8 goblins? They’re not that rough. I had no real problems fighting them at that point in the game. Indeed, I purposely hunted them down to get access to those pikes of theirs. They’re not bad early game weapons, and I like them with Quick Hands because you can take two steps forward, swap to a Jagged Pike and then stab someone two tiles away.
2) Mid-game is when these little green bastards get mean. Goblins that appear as “Even” or “Challenging” to you are almost always a bad idea to fight. 20+ goblins vs. 12 mid-level (5-8) brothers means you’re probably going to lose a few brothers. I think I’d make their global map difficulty seem a little harder than it is presently. Presently, it seems misleading.
3) Once you get past the mid levels and start rocking level 11 archers and so forth, they’re easy to fight again, moreso even than orcs because you can send the whole pack of gobbers scattering within 1-2 rounds of arrow volleys. The only danger they pose is if they manage to accidentally shoot your archers in the back row. Maybe this is good incentive to level Initiative on your archers? I normally don’t touch that stat, but I’m thinking about trying that out.
4) Finally, goblin wolfriders never pose a real threat. I love killing those guys. It’s easy XP. I think they’d be more challenging if paired with Orc Warriors and supported with Goblin Ambushers and a Shaman. That would be a mean fight.