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Sessions of the War Council - Strategy Guides for Planar Conquest

02-09-2016, 02:52 AM
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Sessions of the War Council - Strategy Guides for Planar Conquest

Hello everyone, and welcome to the Strategy Guides for Planar Conquest.
I - and hopefully others as well - will post my ramblings on strategy here.

Please do not post regular comments in this thread.
I want it to stay clean and easily readable, with content limited to guides only.

If you have questions, problems, etc. , post them to the main thread. Which is here, by the way: http://forums.toucharcade.com/showthread.php?t=281146
And if you have any feedback/criticism, that's always welcome.
In case you want to write a guide piece of your own, feel free to post it. However, I’d appreciate if I can take a look at it first.

With that out of the way, on to the first part of the guide: Starting a game.

UPDATE 7.3.16: Trello Board available

We now have a Trello Board to keep track of Bugs and Requests. Credits go to @faceleg for the idea.
Currently it is not publicly accessible. Send me a PM with your email address if you want access to it.

Last edited by Nullzone; 03-07-2016 at 10:57 AM.
02-09-2016, 02:55 AM
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Starting out - a beginner's guide for setting up an easy game

World Creation
For learning the ropes, we want a short and easy game on a small world. So we will use
- Prime Plane only
- Terrain Pangea, Landmass 90%. These two settings give us one big continent to explore. This way, we can skip on more advanced stuff like building a navy or using flying units (protip: Draconians. They can all fly by default).
- 1 Opponent, easiest difficulty: Adept, smallest world size: Normal, Fast Movement, Gamespeed x4
- Resources, Features, Neutrals: all 3 set to Common. We want some of those, but not too much.
Don’t want to worry too much about taking Resources into account yet.
Cranking up Features to the max fills the map up with dungeons left and right.
A higher frequency for Neutrals, and there’ll be so many they’ll step on their own toes all the time.

Race Selection: Grey Elves
This will be a small and short game, so we can skip all those things that make a difference only in the long run.
For example, the “Glutton” negative perk does have quite an impact in the beginning, with its minus to all production. But can even out in a long game, if you make good use of the extra points from it.
Same goes for Population Growth or Mana & Production modifiers. The game won’t be long (or short, think blitz/rush strategy) enough for those to really make a difference.
Also, races like the Darkelves or Insects require a different and more involved playstyle; but we want to focus only on the basics here.

Because ranged units are so powerful in the early game, and their Archers are really good, we will pick Grey Elves.
While we could start with another Race just fine, we’d then need to get lucky to have an Elven town to conquer near our starting city. To make this easy, we are not taking any chances.

Elven Archers are cheap to produce and maintain, and pack enough of a punch to make pincushions out of almost everything we’ll encounter early on.
Because they are very squishy and die like flies in melee, we will also need a few meatshields.
Druids are the standard Elven unit for that early on. On top of being okay in melee, they can also cast Acid Arrow (pretty good ranged damage spell) and Heal.
Melee units without such a boon just stand around and twiddle their thumbs until something they can smack on comes into range (which we want to avoid anyways).

And we have another ace up our sleeve for the meatshields, more on that later.

One downside of the Elves is that they do not have Engineers of their own, so they cannot build roads. But their units have high movement, so it’s not that much of an issue.
Also, on small maps, roads are less important: your troops do not have to travel that far.
And if you get lucky, you get one from an Inn or as reward from a dungeon. Or you conquer the city of a race that has Engineers.

Creating our Sorcerer
We will go with a custom Sorcerer instead of a premade one, to make our life a bit easier.
I choose Summoning, because it saves us most of the hassle of an army running on booze and coins. They’ll feed off Mana instead.
Also, it keeps us from playing around with all the other fancy Magic stuff, which is just fine for learning the ropes.

However, we will also use two secondary Schools, to get some extra spells that are easy to understand and help out quite nicely.
A note on early game Research:
Selecting some useful - not to mention interesting and fun - spells as starting collection puts less emphasis on Research right off the bat, taking away another potential headache.

More bling, or picking starting Perks
We’ll ignore all Perks that are only effective for long games.
E.g. Warlord gives our units 2 more levels to attain. But in a short game we will never get that far, so the points are better spent elsewhere.
Artificer sounds great on paper, but we’ll need lots of Mana to make good magic items. And in the early game we simply don’t have enough to play around with just for pimping out a Hero unit or two. Again, better invested into something else.

1) Summoning 9: We will go all out on Summoning, so we take the full 9 points.This gives us more starting spells, and access to Summoning Mastery.
2) Summoning Mastery: 3 points. More boni for casting Summon spells.
3) Summoner: 1 point. 10% discount on Summon casting costs.
4) Augmentation 1: 1 point. To get the Fertile Soil spell for more food production.
5) Mentalism 1: 1 point. For the Tranquility spell, which reduces Unrest in a city by 20%.
6) Mentor: 2 points. Gives us a starting Hero, pretty nice. While you can hire Heroes from Inns or summon them, we want one from Turn one; if only for demonstration purposes.

But that is more than the 12 starting points, I hear you say. Why yes, that’s correct. Which is why we take some negative perks:
1) Ascetic: gives 3 points. You can only have a maximum of 1000 Gold in your treasury. While this is a severe hindrance for long games, in a short one it doesn’t matter much. We will be constantly strapped for cash anyways.
2) Butcher: gives 2 points. When we conquer a city, more population is killed off. Easily set off by putting the new city on Housing for a few turns.
3) Optional: Tyrant: gives 2 points. Adds 10% Unrest in any city but your capital (starting city). No problem to compensate for that with 2 more garrison units.

Note that I skipped quite a few of alternative setups.
E.g. we could go for Life 1 to get Bless Weapon. But that spell is also on the Augmentation school, so we can research it if needed.
Or pick Protection, and get access to a few defensive boost spells.
Or we could skip the extra spell schools, and pick Merchant for 2 points, and more Gold income.

Selecting starting spells
Our focus on Summoning gives us a lot of spells right off the bat.
We get all 6 of Tier 1, 4 in Tier 2, and 1 in Tier 3.
On Tier 2, we just take all 4 available creature Summons: Raise Zombies, Harpies, Owl Bears, Gargoyles.
Wall of Force augments our citywall, not something we'll need anytime soon. And while the Floating Island can be considered a creature summon, effectively it is a boat: it's used for naval unit transport.
UPDATE for Tier 2: Listing the 4 Summons by name now, wasn't completely clear before --Credits to funambulist for pointing this out.
Tier 3, pick any one Summon you like. Personally, I like to go with the Fire Elemental; so we will take that.
Note though that the Air, Acid, Fire and Water Elemental are combat summons, and will disappear at the end of the battle. Which makes them excellent tanks, fire magnets, and short-term augments to our Army.
While the Mummies and Nagas are permanent unit summons.

And with that, we are done with getting our game set up. Time to roll, which I will cover in the next posts.

Last edited by Nullzone; 02-23-2016 at 09:26 AM.

02-10-2016, 04:54 AM
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Beginner's Guide - checking the starting situation, and setting the playing field

I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore - getting our bearings
Here, we will cover how to start a successful career in the world domination business.
Doing the right things in the first few turns will set us on the right path to glory and an eventual victory.

Audience in the Capital - a look at the starting city
First, let’s see what we got for our Capital. Use the Magnifying Glass in the Menu to bring up the city details. These will naturally vary, so I’ll use mine as example to explain some ideas:

My city has a maximum population of 25, 78% food bonus, 22.5% production bonus.
On top of that, I have the following resources within the city borders (the colored border around the fields surrounding the city):
3x Coal: +2 production / turn each
1 Fertile Soil: +1 food / turn
1 Wild Game: +2 food / turn

Overall this looks excellent, definitely a keeper.
The resources are plentiful, 5 within the city borders is above average.
The population limit is really good, I haven’t seen one higher than 25 yet. While this is great for a long game, in our short one we won’t get anywhere near having that many loyal subjects.
Food bonus is very high as well. This is evened out by the rather low production bonus, though.

No need to be picky about resource distribution.
Population limit and food/production bonus are way more important.
If these are good enough, it doesn’t matter much in the long run if we have 2 or 4 Coals. It does make a difference in the very early game, though.

Some thoughts on these numbers
For my Capital, even for a short game I restart with a population limit below 10.
For long games, I aim for 20+.
Ideally, we have at least 50% production bonus in the Capital, to speed things up right from the start. However, as seen above, a high food bonus works just as well; all it requires is some adjustment of our strategy.
As a rule of thumb, aim for a total combined food & prod bonus of 100% minimum.
The lower the max. population, the higher the boni need to be to make up for it.
And the higher difficulty you play on, the higher they should be as well. When the gloves come off, every little bit counts.
In a long / high-difficulty game, I’d
a) turn this Capital into a food & Mana production machine
b) look for a good place to found a production city right away
c) take over a good enemy city near my Capital asap

Get things rolling, start building stuff
Next, let’s take a look at our resources. We have a few units; a Hero; some Gold and Mana, and no stored food.
The overview shows us that we make 2 food/turn. Just enough to feed two Archers, so add them to the queue.
To build more, we’ll need more income.
A Farmer’s Market is fast to build and provides 2 more food; which translate into more units, which is good.
While we could go for a Druid right away, they also cost Gold upkeep, and we don’t have any income yet. No big deal though, as the scouting Spirits will fill our coffers soon enough.
Add a Druid in the last queue slot, and we are all set for some turns.

A word on Taxation and Unrest
One way to get more Gold income is to raise the taxes our underlings pay. So we’ll try that.
But first, move all units out of the city.
Then raise the taxes to 1.5/turn.
Go back to the city’s main screen. Note how Unrest increased to 15% and we have a rebel now. Yeah, noone likes the taxman, and fantasyland is no exception. They could be a little more grateful for us running the show.
But well, if nice words and a well-placed Fireball don’t help, maybe good old steel will do.
Move 2 Units back into the city. Not so loud-mouthed and discontent about our benevolent rule anymore, now are we?
You’ll see that Unrest went down from 15% to 5%, and the Rebel got reintegrated into productive society.
But we want to bring all units along for safety in numbers. So we will lower the taxes to 1/turn again. For now, at least.

We’ll be back right after the commercials, or time to have some fun
Now, before we continue our little journey towards world domination, I strongly urge you to take a break and start playing around on your own. At least for me, it's important to experiment with different approaches, learn how the mechanics work, what kind of army I need to beat opponents, how to setup and grow my towns, which spells to use when, etc.

So, go ahead and pick a few fights with your army. Power them up by combat summoning Elementals or Phantoms.
And/or take the time to summon one of each monster we have available (instead of just repeating Skeleton Warriors over and over), to get a feel for what they can do.
To get more Mana, I’d lower Research even down to 1 point only; and to 0 once you have a +Research building like the Sage Guild up.
It’s still a good idea to summon 2-3 Magic Spirits first and let them roam. The extra resources you get from them earn back their casting costs in a few turns.
If you want some hints about what to build in your Capital after the initial round, check the relevant section(s) in later posts.

Last edited by Nullzone; 02-19-2016 at 04:15 AM.
02-10-2016, 09:57 AM
Joined: Dec 2011
Posts: 198
delete. Wrong thread. Apologies.

Last edited by odi0n; 02-10-2016 at 01:14 PM.
02-12-2016, 11:46 AM
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Undead Interlude 1 - Playing the Unhallowed: Being dead and having fun

We may be dead, but we are still alive and kicking - A guide and play report for the Unhallowed.

World creation
For this playthrough, I went with:
- Planes: Prime, Water, Paradise, Shadow. All with 2 Continents, 70% Landmass
- Opponents 3, Difficulty Warlock (2nd highest), World Size Large (2nd highest) -> 20 city limit before income drops
- Fast Movement, Game Speed x4
- Resources, Features, Neutrals all set to Common

Note about starting Plane
If you pick the Shadow Plane, Unhallowed always start out there. If you don’t select it, I don’t know how the starting plane is determined. E.g. to test, I took all Planes except Shadow, and started on Fire.

Sorcerer Setup
- Positive picks: 9 Death School, Death Mastery, Archmage (more casting skill) , Warlord, Alchemist
- Negative picks: Tyrant, Butcher
2 more points to get Battlecaster (-50% distance penalty for combat casting) would have been nice. But I wasn’t sure what effect Opulent has on the Unhallowed, so I skipped that combination for now.

Notes on Perks
This is my second Bones playthrough.
I started one before to figure out how they roll. With the lessons learned, I restarted a new play and changed my picks accordingly:
Magic: Because it fits thematically, I went with 9 points in Death Magic and Death Mastery.
Warlord: As this game should take long enough for it to kick in, I’ll give Warlord a try.

In the first game, I noticed pretty quickly that at least in the beginning the Unhallowed have no need for Gold.
Instead of having it just sit there and collect dust, I decided to put it to better use by converting it to fuel my Mana machine. Alchemist gives a 1:1 exchange ratio, instead of the default 2:1. This helps a lot with moving Gold/Mana around as needed.

Looks like a good idea for a long game: more casting skill means more spells to fling around. In a short game, this doesn’t pay off because the increase will be minimal; the difference between 30 and 33 castskill is nothing to write home about. Now, between 30 and 50 is a different story...
Even starting with 40 instead of 30 castskill does make quite a difference.
Also, it is a more general perk than Battlecaster or Artificer, being more of a general benefit than boosting one specific area.

For the first game, I took that perk as usual. But it turned out that having a starting Hero isn’t that great for the Bones, at least currently.
For one, it seems that living Heroes/Units do not heal while on corrupted land.
In addition, one of the most important spells for the Deadies is Darkness; it increases stats of all Undead in a battle, and at the same time decreases stats for all Living units.
With that, having a Living Hero in the group doesn’t look like the best idea ever.
Sure, there are Undead Heroes. But the starting Hero is selected randomly, and chances that you get an Undead one are pretty low.
Overall, better to skip Mentor and put the points somewhere else.

Butcher: One of my standard picks, nothing much to say about it.
Tyrant / Unrest: Unhallowed do not have to worry about Unrest at all, making picking Tyrant a no-brainer.

Gameplay mechanics

Negative Energy
Deadies run on Negative Energy (N.E.) . Units and buildings both only need N.E. for upkeep.
On top of that, N.E. doesn’t have a storage limit (Food does). Anything you create/find goes into one big pile, which you can live off when you go into negative income.
So far (~Turn 60) I have a *very* comfortable cushion of N.E. to relax on.

Power/Mana - a note on build order
The Shrine -> Temple -> Parthenon line of buildings doesn’t require upkeep, and creates Power each turn (Parthenon also gives Negative Energy). Make building them a priority.

As stated above, Deady units/buildings don’t need Gold for upkeep. So any you get is just sitting there and gathering dust if you don’t put it to good use:
- We can always transmute it to Mana to power our spells.
- Later on, we can hire & pay Heroes/Units and buy items, but that’s about it.
Overall, this is pretty nice: It makes for a difference in playstyle, and we only have to worry about one (upkeep) resource for a long time to come.

Bones cannot create food *at all*, not even by conquering cities of living races (see below).
This means we cannot upkeep any unit (think hiring Mercs in an Inn) that needs Food.
I wonder if there’s a spell to turn a unit Undead to work around this...

Enemy cities
The Unhallowed description states that “Unhallowed cannot have vassal races”.
Turns out they implemented that in a very creative way, really nice touch and attention to detail.
When you take over a non-Unhallowed enemy city, it automatically converts to an Undead city, with all that entails.

Starting Units & Armies

Starting Resources
The Deadboys here start out with:
- 50 +10/Turn Gold, 0 +1/Turn Negative Energy (N.E.), 30 +7/Turn Mana
- Units: 1 each of Ghoul, Skeleton Archer, Reaper, Huecuva
- Buildings: Nothing special to write home about; just the basic tier. Note the Corrupted Sanctum which “keeps negative energies in their place, preventing them from being purified and disspelled” (not sure what the gameplay effect is).

Unhallow Archers are rather on the low end of the scale, compared to Highmen Crossbowmen and Greyelf Archers. We really need numbers for them to be worthwhile against tougher foes. Also, e.g. Skeletons have resistance to Archers’ piercing damage.

DO NOT use Huecuvas (and other Negative Energy attacks) to attack Undead. Negative attacks heal Undead, not exactly recommended when you want to win the battle.
When facing Undead, the Huecuvas’ main task is healing your other units, and maybe drop a “Hold Undead” now and then. Note that stronger units resist that one a lot, though.

Summoning: Skeleton Warriors vs. Mummies
In short, Mummies aren’t worth it, go for the Skeletons.
Starting with 9 Death, we only have access to 2 Summons: Skeleton Warriors, and Mummies.
A Mummy costs 127 Mana to summon, and 2 Mana/turn upkeep.
A Skeleton comes at 17 Mana, 0 upkeep UPDATE: In Planar Conquest Version 1.2 casting cost is increased to 30 Mana, and upkeep to 1. Now the below calculations are no longer correct, I'll update them at some point.
Mummies only move at 2 to the Skeleton’s 3, and are not that much stronger in combat.
For the cost of one Mummy, we get 7.5 Skeles, a small army already.
With the boosted casting skill of 40 from Archmage, we can summon 2.4 Skeletons per turn.
7 turns and 272 Mana later, we have a real army of 16 Skeletons, ready to rock. More on that later.
For comparison: For the same resources, we’d only get 2.2 Mummies. I’ll leave the rest as exercise for the reader.

Reapers and Ghouls
Reapers are excellent close combat units; I find them too expensive and good on offensive to waste on garrison duty.
Ghouls only move 2, I put at least one per city on garrison duty.

Garrisoning Cities
As we don’t have to worry about Unrest, garrisons are only needed for defense.
For early game garrisons, I build 1 Ghoul, 2 Unhallowed Archers, and summon 2 Skeletons. That’s more than enough to keep our cities protected in the early/mid-game.

Taking over enemy Cities
Be aggressive in your expansion. I didn’t build a single Settler yet, keeping the fires fueled with hostile takeovers instead. With the above-mentioned Skeleton Army, taking over a few cities was a breeze.

And that's it with my starting thoughts on the Unhallowed. Actual play report will follow later, I want to continue with the Beginner's Guide first.

Last edited by Nullzone; 02-23-2016 at 09:33 AM.
02-18-2016, 10:43 AM
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Sorcerer Build: Cheap Swarm with Town improvement

For questions, suggestions, or general discussion of the build, please hop over to the main thread here http://forums.toucharcade.com/showthread.php?t=281146. Thank you for your cooperation.

This is the answer/explanation to the spell distribution “riddle” I posted a few days ago.
I came up with it for my Orcs, but found that other Races can make good use of it as well. My current testgame is with Darkelves, and it works really good.

Spell school picks
Earth 2, Life 2, Water 2. Augmentation 1, Biomancy 1, Mentalism 1, Protection 1.

With the perk picks listed below, this leaves us with 1 point left to spend; e.g. for Augment 2, Fire 1, or Protection 2.
Protection(/Death) 2 gives Lifeward, a good defense Enchant.
Augment(/Death) 2 gives Dark Rituals and Weapon Elemental Enchants (nice extra damage)
Fire 1 gives Sow Discord, and some extra Fire stuff.
My personal favorite is Augment 2, for the Weapon Enchants. I prefer extra firepower over more protection.

Complementing Perks
Positive Perks: Alchemist, Artificer, Enchanter, Lucky, Mentor, Merchant
Negative Perks: Ascetic, Butcher, Tyrant
For really long games, I might use the last point - or drop Enchanter or Artificer - to get Warlord instead of another Spell pick. This goes together well with Armsmaster.

Spell List (not complete, only those of special note)
Earth/Augment 1: Fertile Soil (+20% Food/turn)
Life/Mentalism 1: Tranquility (-20% Unrest)
Life/Protection 1: Bless
Life/Summon 1: Healer Familiar
Water/Bio 1: Insect Plague (-25% Production/turn on enemy town)

Augment/Death 2: Dark Rituals
Earth/Biomancy 2: Strands of Power
Earth/Destruction 2: Disrupt Wall
Fire/Mentalism 2: Sow Discord (+20% Unrest on enemy town)

Earth/Augment 3: Pathfinder (move on all terrain for 1 movepoint)
Life/Biomancy 3: Good Harvest (+100% Food/turn, for 10 turns)
Life/Mentalism 3: Armsmaster (+50 xp / turn ; I think it stacks)
Water/Augment 3: Prosperity
Water/Mentalism 3: Creativity

So we are starting out with this spell selection:
Augment: Bless Weapon, Fertile Soil
Biomancy: Heal
Earth: Acid Arrow, Slime (pretty good combat summon)
Life: Disrupt Undead, Healer Familiar
Mental: Tranquility
Protection: Bless
Water: Insect Plague, Phantom Warriors (another good combat summon)

The other nice spells on the list above we need to research. But we’ll be busy enough casting what we have (at least I was, and still am at turn 85) that it shouldn’t be much of a problem.

Now, what’s in the giftbag?
The ultimate goal this build supports is to win by swarming with cheap basic units.
The build and playstyle focus heavily on improving your towns with Enchantments first, and your Heroes second. With a small sidedish of disrupting enemy towns with “Insect Plague” and “Sow Discord”.
Due to the focus on towns, it works even better with fast-growing races like the Orcs, who can just found new ones left and right as fast as they can build Settlers and basic garrisons.
The plan is to have a lot of well-defended towns as early as possible, crank out a lot of cheap units fast, and win by sheer mass and momentum.
Stay away from the more expensive mid/high-tier buildings and units for as long as possible.
Not only are they more expensive in upkeep. With the added building requirements, they take a lot longer to build as well.
This applies to both buildings and units, but unit production is the key point here.
By the time you have your first Highmen Paladin out, I steamrolled you six ways to Sunday with swarms of cheap units like Highmen Spearmen, Darkelf Thralls or Orc Raiders.

So, only build the buildings you absolutely need, and if possible in pauses between creating armies.
Example: if a Granary and a casting of Fertile Soil both give you the food to upkeep some more units, cast the spell first and keep the war machine cranking out meat for the grinder.

A bit of practice will tell you when the basic units start getting too weak and need to be phased out for the bigger guns (hint: when you start seeing neutral armies of 6+ units appear, might be a good time). But at that point we already have the infrastructure in place to support an army of high-tier units.

- Fertile Soil increases food production. Tranquility reduces Unrest, which also means you can raise your taxes higher. Both together allow you to support more units.
- Tranquility also nicely counters the effects of the Tyrant perk.
- If we get Creativity or Prosperity for Research, we can improve our gold and research output further.
- The Slimes and Phantom Warriors are a great and cheap combination for combat summons; what the Slimes can’t tackle, the Phantoms usually can.
- If we need more Mana/Power, we can use Dark Rituals or Strands of Power (if researched).
- Armsmaster, Bless, Healer Familiar, and Weapon Enchants give your Heroes - and thus your whole army - a good boost. And aren’t expensive to maintain.
- With Mentor we have a Hero available right from the start, to benefit from the above.
- Enchanter allows us to cast and research all those nice enchantment spells for less cost.
- Artificer reduces the cost for crafting items for our Heroes, which I tend to do a lot.
- And Alchemist lets us shift resources from Gold to Mana and back without loss. And it makes Ascetic an almost non-existent problem: Nearing 1000 Gold? Just convert it to Mana.
- Even with a slow-growing race like the Darkelves, our population grows fast enough that Merchant is worth it.
- Butcher: Even a few thousand people more dying when conquering a town does not have much of an impact in the longer run.
- Lucky is the only one I am not sure about yet. Mainly because I only got a handful of events so far, so I cannot judge if it’s worth the extra point (e.g. without it, do I get a lot more negative events?)

A few things we lack are:
- Permanent summons. But this is not a summoning build, we need our Mana for all those enchantments.
- Direct damage combat spells. Again, this build is not centered on that.

For questions, suggestions, or general discussion of the build, please hop over to the main thread here http://forums.toucharcade.com/showthread.php?t=281146. Thank you for your cooperation.

Last edited by Nullzone; 02-21-2016 at 10:18 AM.
02-19-2016, 08:23 AM
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’Ere we go! - Swarm Build example early play with Orcs

Now, we will put the Swarm build to actual use with a bunch of our friendly neighbourhood Orcs. We will stop when they founded a second city and have it garrisoned, which by coincidence was around Turn 25.
A nice round number to call it a day; and to define how long early game goes, Turn 25 sounds about right for that.

General notes on Orcs as main race
Orcs have very fast-growing population, which goes well with the focus on swarming and town improvement.
They further support the Swarm approach with their special buildings that reduce unit production cost.
Their main downsides are that they do not have ranged attackers (except Skalds), and cannot build money buildings.

While they do not have any Archers units, their melee guys have high HP and pack a good wallop.
As added bonus, most have the “Thrown Weapon” skill: A free attack on the offense, before actual melee, that hits fliers.
Which is why I’m not too fond of the Wolfguards, as they lack Thrown Weapon. I prefer the Wolfmasters instead.

Their Skalds provide ranged magic firepower with Icebolt and Psionic Blast, and Healing.
For Mages, they are very resilient and can even do harm in melee; they can double as meatshields for Archers or Mages.

So far, I always skipped the Berserkers, Warg Riders, Longboat Rams and Manslayers.
Berserkers don’t have Thrown Weapons, Manslayers and Rams are slow with 2mp.
Wargriders have Thrown Weapons, and are a good high-end unit, especially en masse. They move at 5mp, an army of only those makes a great fast strike force.
I need to make more use of them; I just kept cranking out Skalds, Raiders, and Wolfmasters.

An Orkish Tier 1 Swarm Army (Raiders mainly, with a few Skalds) wins easily against the same number of Tier1 lower-HP units, like Draconians or Grey Elves.
Tougher stuff like Dwarves or other Orcs will need a helping hand by some combat summons for support/tank/damage duty.
Slimes do all 3 pretty good, while the Phantom Warriors are fragile damagedealers, glasscannon style.
They synergise really well: what the Slimes cannot take, the Phantoms usually can, and vice versa.

A pack of 4 Raiders and 2 Skalds serves as great garrison. With combat spells thrown in liberally, they can even hold up to significantly larger forces.

- Hall of Heroes: gives 1000xp to every unit built in the town; and lowers unit production costs by 10%.
- Hall of Stories: adds 3 Research Points / turn; lowers unit production costs by 10%.

Orcs cannot build University, Wizard’s Guild, Bank, Merchant’s Guild.
Especially the last two are quite the restriction, as they provide extra Gold income.
But we can compensate for that by making towns without any military buildings except the basics, and setting them to Trade Goods. Put those on Housing whenever you don’t need the money from Trade Goods.
Make advanced buildings only as needed, e.g. Temples when running low on Mana or high on Unrest.

Setting the stage
We’ll use this setup (which will be my standard for these testplays, to get comparable results):
Planes: Prime and Paradise Plane, 1 continent, 70% Landmass
Highest difficulty, 3 opponents, Fast Movement, Speed x4, Resources all three on lowest setting.
Standard negative perks: Ascetic, Butcher, Tyrant
Spell schools and positive picks as outlined in the Swarm Build.

’Ere we go!, ’ere we go!, WWWAAAGGGHHH!!!
Time to go about some good old-fashioned burning and pillaging
I am not using the “Turn 1 I did this, turn 2 that, etc.” format.
Specific results will vary a little, depending on how your game goes in terms of town bonuses, resources, dungeons, enemy towns, etc.
Instead, I will describe/list which actions I took in which order, just without turn numbers.

We have this to begin with
Buildings: Builder’s Hall, Barracks, Smithy, Granary, Marketplace, Shrine.
Units: 1 each of Raider, Wolfguard, Wolfmaster, Skald.

Starting moves
First, we cast our usual Magic Spirit, to get some scouting underway.
Followup with casting Tranquility and Fertile Soil on the Capital, to reduce Unrest and increase food output.
Increase Taxes to 2 Gold/turn.
I set Research and Spellcraft down to 1 point each, funneling most of my Power into producing Mana to fuel our spells. We will need quite a pile of it, so just keep it like this and check now and then if you need to switch more points toward Mana.

OPTIONAL: Send military units out scouting as well if you want, but keep them close to town.
Build 4 Raiders first, keep at least two as garrison, depending on threat level.
Then we build as many more as we can till we run out of Food and/or Gold income.

Getting the ball rolling
When we are done with building the initial bunch of Raiders, we will build a Sage’s Guild next, so we can add Skalds to our forces.
As this takes a few turns, let’s take our army out for a stroll: Skald, Wolfguard, Wolfmaster, 5+ Raiders.

By now, Tranquility and Fertile Soil should be done. Cast 2 more Magic Spirits for more scouting.
Build a Skald, 2 more Raiders, then another Skald. The first Skald goes to join the army, the Raiders and 2nd Skald warm the bench on garrison duty.

If needed, craft a cheap +1 ranged weapon for our Hero; it helps keeping him out of melee trouble, and adds some firepower to our army.

With the second round of unit building done, we’ll need to upgrade our town a bit to support further growth.
We build a Farmer’s Market for more Food, followed by whatever we might need now.
The Smokehouse is a good option, again adding some more Food.

Our army should be busy doing proppa Orky things like pillaging and plundering, and is strong enough to take on early opposition and come out on top without losses.

Time to find a good spot for a second town. Build a basic garrison for it (3 Raiders, 1 Skald), then a Settler and let them go forth and multiply.
Depending on what we have in our surroundings, focus the new town on unit production or food.
I built a food town first to get more income, and followup with a production town second. But that will happen past turn 25, and I won’t cover it here.
I found that if the new town has an available worker, setting it on Housing until they reach the next full thousand people works pretty well. Only after that, I start cranking out more units and buildings.
Don’t forget to cast Tranquility and Fertile Soil on the new town asap.

Getting more and better units
With the Settler and escort on their way to greener pastures, we can get the first upgrade cycle for our town and army underway.
Building a Stable in the Capital is a good next move. It adds +25% Production output, and allows to build Wolfmasters.
When it completes, build 3 Wolfmasters. Keep one as garrison, send the other two to join the army.
Add another Skald as well: To the army should be enough; if we want to play it safe, we add another to the garrison too.
On Turn 26, I had 4 Wolfmasters in my main army.

Divide and conquer ... ah wait, let’s scratch the first part, just conquer
By now we should have found at least one enemy town, time for a hostile takeover.
Mine was a Draconian town on Turn 22; lost a Raider in the attack, no big deal.
Again, we will cast Tranquility and Fertile Soil. Have the town produce at least a basic 4 unit garrison before we move the main army out to do more Orky stuff.

Taking the tally - results so far
We stop following our merry band of bloodthirsty pillagers at Turn 26. Time to get the final score, we achieved the following:
- 3 Towns: Our Capital, one newly founded, one hostile takeover.
- Garrisons: All 3 towns are garrisoned well enough to withstand attacks until at least turn 50 without major problems. With the help of our combat summons, a 4 Raider 2 Skald garrison can even hold up against much stronger forces that tend to appear around turn 75+. Expect to burn through as much Mana as your Casting Skill allows for every attack, though.
- Economy: On top of that, the Fertile Soil and Tranquility town enchantments provide a significant boost to our economy, at the cost of very little Mana upkeep.
- 3 Magic Spirits for scouting.
- A sizable main army: 1 Hero, 1 Wolfguard, 3 Raiders, 3 Skalds, 4 Wolfmasters.
Total headcount: 12 units. While they are a bit short on the ranged attack side, the Orcs’ high HP and melee strength make up for it. This early in the game, we are looking at pretty heavy firepower.

Overall, quite good results I dare say. We’ll see how they hold up when we do similar early game plays for other Races and Sorcerer setups.

Where to take things from here?
We can go the Orc supremacy route and raze every enemy town, settling new Orc towns in good spots.
If we take over towns, things depend on what we get. I’ll do a separate post on how to use vassal races.

More power to us, upgrading our towns & main army
Keep upgrading the garrisons bit by bit. Add a Skald, Raider, and Wolfmasters once we start mass-producing them.

After that, things depend on what we need:
More Food/Gold to keep the army going, adding the two Ork Halls to produce units faster, more Temples for more Mana, etc.
We can even start a second army, filling it with cheap Raiders and Skalds (1 Skald for 3 Raiders is a good quota). They can go on a rampage; and if units die, nothing much is lost.

Improving the Heroes
Stay on the lookout for at least a second Hero. Via Summon Hero spell, or Dungeons & Inns.
Work on upgrading them: Craft basic items like +2 Saving Throw Rings, Helmet, Amulets. Add +20 Mana enchantments for Caster Heroes. Give them +5 ranged weapons (don’t add other bonuses yet, too expensive). Cast Unit Enchantments.

And that's it for today, thanks for watching!

Last edited by Nullzone; 03-21-2016 at 06:02 PM.
02-22-2016, 06:20 AM
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Beginner's Guide Interlude - Advanced Scouting

Some notes on how to use scouting more effectively.

Manual scouting
Do not set your Spirits to autoscouting right away.
Instead, check the chests around your starting city (say, within a range of 3 turns for your Hero). Skip any that contain XP; feed them to your main army / Heroes. The XP is wasted on the Spirits, a shame if they grab it all.
Collect everything else, moving your Spirits outwards from your city.
When you have collected all XP chests in the near vicinity, or your Spirits are ~5-7 turns away from the city, set them to autoscout and let them roam away.
What I do now is to manually scout my home Plane, to save those tasty +XP chests for my main army. Any other Planes I auto-scout, mostly because doing it manually for only one Plane is tedious enough already.

Scouts to clean Ruins / Inns
Note how your Spirits do not enter buildings? A good idea in general, because the opposition will just roast them.

But there are 2 exceptions we’ll take a closer look at: Inns, and undefended buildings.
Pay attention when the Spirits automove.
If you see anything undefended that is not a chest (Caravans and those round tents that give +population mainly), stop the Spirit and collect it manually.

If you spot an Inn, stop by for a chat with the local yokels, see who’s willing to take up arms for some shiny coins.
Heroes: Only hire a Hero when you have enough Gold (either income or stockpiled) to comfortably afford him. Most come at 10 Gold / turn upkeep.
Should you get lucky and find one with the "Noble" trait (does not cost upkeep, gives 5 Gold/turn instead), *always* get him. Just park him in your Capital if it's a weak one like Gontar.

Units: Same goes for normal units, with the additional caveat to check if you really need them, and if you have enough Food for the upkeep. E.g. no need for an expensive Rune Cannon siege weapon, when no enemy has citywalls yet.
Things like more Archers, Ogre Warlocks, Engineers, or Draconians (they all can fly) are always nice to get.

Magic Items: While they can be a great addition, they also are expensive. So unless I find something rather cheap and useful (e.g. a good bow that will turn your Hero into a ranged attacker), I just skip them.

Scouts and the enemy
Unless you scout in force, your Scouts will be easy prey to almost anything you encounter.
Sometimes your Scout can escape, but that's not guaranteed.
However, for small/mid-sized enemy armies, a hefty dose of combat casting can turn the tide at the cost of a good chunk of Mana reserves.

Usually, it boils down to: Is X amount of Mana worth keeping the Scout, and - more importantly - destroying the enemy?
E.g. a cheap Slime summon goes a long way, much farther than its low cost indicates; even summoning 3-4 into combat is usually cheaper than getting a new Magic Spirit, and kills off some enemies to boot.

Sometimes I go all-out and burn through my whole combat Mana allowance - far more than the cost of a scout alone justifies. Then the goal is to get rid of - or at least weaken - a larger stack of enemies, say 6-8 Dwarves or a pack of Draconian Elementalists.

Some experience and playing around with the various combat spells will teach what works best in which situation:
When to just take the loss of a single Scout and move on; and when going all-out with the combat spells to reduce an army to ash is the better approach.

Last edited by Nullzone; 03-21-2016 at 06:06 PM.
02-22-2016, 11:32 AM
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Detail Guide: Crafting Magic Items

Crafting Items
Crafting in general costs a metric f-ton of Mana. But there is some fun stuff we can do without draining the Mana bank completely.

Crafting items *with magic enchantments* on them lets costs skyrocket *really* quick.
But who says we have to put every enchantment possible onto something?

If you want to go down the “craft the most expensive items with lots of extra bonuses piled on” road, that’s entirely possible.
However, I do not recommend it for any serious play: The benefits from having one (or a small handful of) heavily-equipped Hero(es) do not outweigh the drawbacks like less Global Enchantments or combat casting. Unlike Master of Magic where a few high-power Heroes (or even one alone) could clean out high-level Ruins without breaking a sweat, being on your own without a supporting army *will* get you killed in Planar Conquest, and fast.

If we put the focus on Crafting, it’ll require its own approach to strategy:
- What Enchantments you can put on an item is determined *only* by the Spell Circles you have, not by having any particular spell researched. UPDATE: Silly me, the crafting effects list in the Manual (p.41 ff) not only has every effect with details, but also their Spell Circle requirements.
- We’ll need lots of Mana to keep crafting really expensive items. So everything else (combat casting, Summoning, etc.) should go on the backburner.
- In light of the above, Research definitely plays second fiddle in such a strategy.

- The amount of Mana we can spend on Crafting per turn is limited by our Spellcraft score.
With Research being less important, we can do this:
Only put as much Power points into Mana as we need to keep the machine fueled. Zero points into Research, obviously.
Everything else goes into Spellcraft, to increase the pool as quickly as possible.

- We need a Hero to make this work, so taking the Mentor trait should be obvious.
- In this scenario, it’s a good idea to take the “Artificer” and “Archmage” traits for our Sorcerer: Artificer lowers crafting costs by 25% . Archmage gives 40 starting Spellcraft instead of 30, and a 50% Bonus for Power spent on Spellcraft.
- Alchemist is also a good idea, for the 1:1 Gold:Mana exchange rate.
- Other than those, we can add fun stuff as desired: (Planar) Cartographer, to find good Ruins to conquer without scouting first. Pious to get even more Mana out of buildings. Merchant for more Gold, Enlightened so our Units get more XP, etc.

What to craft without draining the Mana bank dry
We already know that crafting items with lots of blingbling costs insane amounts of Mana.
But who says we have to go all-out right from day one?
We can craft quite a few cheap items that still improve our Heroes rather nicely. Namely:
1) Ranged weapons: All Heroes can use those. Which one(s) depends on the Hero's class, best refer to the Manual for that. If a Hero comes with a melee weapon, craft him a cheap +1 ranged first thing. This will keep him out of melee trouble, and add to our ranged firepower.

2) +2 to Saving Throws: This can go on Rings (remember Heroes can wear two), Helm, Cloak.
At around 30-45 Mana base cost, they are fast and cheap to craft, and add some nice extra protection in a pinch.

3) +2 Save & +20 Mana: Getting a bit more expensive, but still very doable.
Same as above, put it on Rings, Helm, and Cloak. With all 4, we just added a whopping 80 Mana to our Caster Hero’s pool. Great for throwing around damage spells to our heart’s desire.
Check first how much Mana makes sense for the Hero in question. Not everyone casts Icestorm at 35 Mana like Draylik the Druid can. Often enough, only 1 or 2 +Mana items are all that’s needed.

4) UPDATE: Credits to manneger for pointing out that basic Armours aren't that expensive to craft either.
I forgot about them, as usually they are last on my list of things to craft (I tend to prefer more firepower).
Armours can hold the same Enchants as the 3 Accessories. But anything past a +0 Armour (which costs only 30 Mana with +2 to Saves, same as a Ring) gets more expensive fast.

5) Next, we can go various upgrade routes, all getting more and more expensive.
UPDATE: Added. See the topics "Advanced upgrade paths" and "Exploding crafting costs" below.

Just keep in mind that even creating basic sets only can add up really quick if you have more than one Hero. Always check if your Mana might be spent better on other things, or even has to go somewhere else (like fueling upkeep costs for Enchantments).

Advanced upgrade paths

Upgrading Weapons
Basic +1 Weapons cost between 40 and 50 Mana, +5 cost 230-245.
We can either leave it at that; or add more fancy stuff like Lifedrain or “Ghost Touch” (ignores armor, quite handy).

As rule of thumb, I refrain from crafting anything that I can also give to the Hero via the Enchantment spell of the same name.
Example: I could add “Acidic Weapon” when crafting a Sword. But I have the spell for it as well.
So I’ll just cast the spell on the Hero and pay the low upkeep cost, significantly reducing crafting time & cost in the process.

The craft effects for which I have not seen spells (yet) - and thus make sense to get via crafting - are:
Keen (higher crit chance), Poisonous (Poison damage for 2 turns), Wounding (same as Bleeding spell, mundane damage for 2-3 turns).

Upgrading Armor
We cannot put +20 Mana on Armor, so at least for Casters it’s a bit lower priority. I’d still give them a simple +1 Padded Armor with +2 Saves on it, though; it only costs 62 Mana.
For Rangeds, I’d do the same as for Casters, but with the best Armor type they can wear.
Only for Melee Heroes I’d go all out and give them their best Armor with a full +5, +2 Saves, and Mundane Resistance.
Still, I’d do that as step 2; and go for a much cheaper +1 Armor with only +2 Saves first.

Upgrading Damage Spell Casters
Here’s where things get a bit more complex: creating the right items for Heroes who have direct damage Spells like Flay or Acidarrow.
There are 2 Powers that are particularly useful for them:
- Enchanter gives +1 Spell DC; an enemy trying to resist (e.g. for half damage) by passing a Savethrow needs to roll one better than normally.
- Evoker does +10% more damage for every spell cast. NOTE: I didn’t test yet if this also increases the amount of Healing you get from healing spells (those are listed as “damage” in the spell descriptions).

The obvious downside is that they make items more expensive quite fast. Example:
A Cloak/Helm/Ring with only Evoker costs 100 Mana to craft.
Adding Enchanter brings it up to 225; +20 Mana on top of the two already gives us 450.
And putting on the +2 Save as well for some extra protection turns it up to 600 Mana total crafting cost.
Even a Wand+5 (good for ranged Magic attackers who don’t cast direct damage spells) clocks at 245 Mana only. But a Wand+1 with Enchanter & Evoker (EE) costs 345 already, while a +5EE cranks the price up to a whopping 995 Mana.

Personally, I make a rough estimate how much Mana my Hero needs for an average combat (e.g. if most don’t go past round 5, I don’t need enough Mana to cast 10x Flay). Then I create the cheaper items (i.e. with only Enchanter & Evoker) first. And start working on the more expensive ones when I don’t have anything else to craft.

Things that go boom, or exploding crafting costs
There is a cutover point, at which adding more Enchantments gets prohibitively expensive.
Some testing suggests that it is at 15 bonus points total. Example:
A Fullplate +5 costs 288 Mana to craft.
With one Elemental Immunity it goes up to 662. Immunities count as +3 bonus each; so we have a total of +8 now.
Adding a second Immune gives +11 and 1262 Mana.
A third makes is +14 and 2188. Getting more expensive, but still somewhat okay.
Now, putting on a fourth Immune brings the total bonus up to +17. We now see the crafting cost explode to 36.188 Mana.

A similar test with creating a weapon implies that the 15 total bonus points threshold is correct. Any point added after that total is reached lets the costs skyrocket.
For the point costs of each Power, refer to the Manual section ''Artifact Powers" on p.41 ff.

NOTE: Version 1.1 of the Manual states on page 25 that ”all items can have up to five enchantments.”
Which seems to be incorrect, as I could add at least 6. I asked Wastelands for clarification. Will update this section when I know more.

Example Crafting Build
I am working on an example build that gets the most out of Crafting. I do need some clarifications from Wastelands or a good bunch of testing to get the numbers down correctly. Watch this space for an update.

Last edited by Nullzone; 02-23-2016 at 11:32 AM. Reason: Added "Advanced upgrade paths" and "Exploding crafting costs"
03-04-2016, 11:05 AM
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Crush them under the iron heel, or: a look at vassal races

In today’s episode we’ll take a look at what the different races bring to the table when used as vassals by conquering their towns.

A bit of introduction and explanation
“Upkeep Support” and “Military” - Explanation
When I write about using a town as “Upkeep (support)”, I mean this:
- Only build the minimum military buildings to get a good basic garrison. Most of the time, Barracks are enough. Nothing fancy like Fighter’s Guild.
- Focus on those buildings that increase output: Bank & Merchant Guild (the “Gold” line), the Shrine line for Mana, Sage’s Guild line for Research.

“Military” means the opposite:
- Bypass any buildings you don’t need to build your desired unit(s). Other towns will have to provide the upkeep.
- Throw in +Production buildings as needed. The goal is to keep the time to produce units as short as possible.
- While it’s not needed early/mid-game (and most likely you’ll be too busy cranking out units to build those), for late/end-game I highly suggest to add the Armourer Guild, Fighter Guild, War College; they improve the produced units right from when they come out the door.

Townwalls, yes or no?
I usually don’t bother with the townwall line of defense buildings. A good garrison is enough for me so far. Especially the basic ones aren’t expensive in upkeep, so they are worth a thought if your garrison is mainly ranged units.

The Slaves are revolting! - Race and Unrest
Pay attention to the racial Unrest modifiers, if only to figure out how many garrison units you’ll need.
Draconians and Highmen have the best values here. While the Darkelves get the short end of the stick, especially when enslaving the treehuggers.

Raze or Take?
Before you conquer an enemy town, always check what maximum population, bonuses, and resources it has for its race. No need to burden us with a “4 Population, +0% Food, +25% Production” town.
If the bonuses and max pop look good enough, by all means keep them. So far I only razed towns when I had hit my total town limit already.
In case you integrate them into your Empire, think about what you want to do with them. My ramblings below might help with that.

Now, on to the different denizens of Planarland...

Nothing, obviously; unless you play Unhallowed yourself.
To the Living, they are the Eternal Enemy, and you automatically raze their towns when conquering. Only with Unhallowed as player race can you conquer their towns.

Dark Elves
Towns can be built for Upkeep support, and/or for military. Both paths work well with the Darkelves, all the way to the end.
Like with the Draconians, military is their best use for endgame.
Note that all their units - except Thralls - have Spell Resistance, making them a good choice when you go up against trigger-happy spellslingers.

Thralls are okay as cheap garrisons and/or cannon fodder.
I advise against using Wardens: their Unholy attacks heal Undead, which limits their use.
Cranking out masses of Enforcers gives us a great ranged assault army, albeit a bit on the expensive side with 2G/1M upkeep. In any case, I recommend getting a few Crossbow Girls for a main army.
Later in the game, we can use Arachnomancers (who are also Missile Immune) and Weavers as Casters, and Cutters as strong Melee.
Personally, I don’t like the huge Spider melee units (Zealots, Argolath). But they are at least okay, if not good. Zealots can climb townwalls, which helps with sieges.
Arachnomancers can cast Acid Arrow, Bloodletting, Weakness, and - my favorite - Spit of Bile. The latter does a massive amount of negative damage (not good against Undead, mind you).

Darkelves generate 1 Mana per population. *IF* you can get their pop high enough (made harder by their slow growth rate), that can make for a nice bonus.
They have the full Mana & Research trees available.
They can’t build a Merchant Guild, so their Gold output will be lower than that of e.g. Draconians.

IMPORTANT: I didn’t try their high-tier units yet in large numbers, so I still need to test that in actual gameplay. But even going around with only 5-6 Elementalists yielded pretty impressive results.
If you have a town with good production bonus, in my opinion they are wasted on doing anything else than high-end military: cranking out Elementalists first, and Doomdrakes when you get bored with the spellslingers.

Note that all their units can fly, which makes them great for all kinds of things: Scouting, getting an army past that mountain range fast, cross the ocean to the next continent or play island hopping, etc.
But flying aside, their basic units aren’t that impressive.
Drac Javelineers seem to be the worst ranged unit around, in terms of to-hit chances and damage.

So if I go on a serious offense with Dracs, I try to skip everything and fast-track for Elementalists (Casters) and - optional - Galeriders (Melee). Even if you don’t use them as main force, they make good support units for an army. Just add 1-2 of each.
With the Elementalists, keep in mind that they are Fire-based in their spells and attacks. Sending them against that big angry fire-belching Red Dragon over there might not be the best idea...
Their high-tier has Elders as flying melee meatshields. And Doomdrakes for brutal flying melee assault.

Pretty well suited with having the full Gold and Research lines available. Mana line stops at Temple, though.
Their Monument provides -10% Unrest for a low 1 Gold upkeep, making it easier to keep them in line.
They can even build the Fishery to make use of Ocean squares.

Like with the High Men, I prefer to use them for Upkeep. Even more so due to having the highest production output of any race. That translates into a lot of Gold when put on Trade Goods.

While their units are really resilient, they are slow at 2mp. Definitely not recommended for any serious offensive, unless the target is right around the corner, and/or you have a road network in place.
However, Arbalests make for excellent garrison troops, pretty much the best in their 1 Gold&Mana upkeep class. Just keep in mind that they take ages to get anywhere; we need to plan ahead a bit if we want them to garrison other towns.

Another good option - again very similar to High Men - is to build groups of 2-3 Engineers with an escort to build roads between your towns. Standard escort would be 1 Defender and 3 Arbalests. Large escort 2 Defenders, 4 Arbalests, 1 Runecaster and Warpriest each.

They can build the whole Mana/Research trees, except for Cathedral; so they are doing really good in that department.
Their huge production outpout potential makes them best suited for going down the Gold line, adding the +Production buildings; and then put them on “Trade Goods” as needed.
Dwarves cannot build the Fishery, so they can’t get any extra resources out of the ocean.

Grey Elves
Great cheap garrison units with the Archers. Better if you are short on Gold. Otherwise, I prefer Dwarven Arbalests if available.
The Archers also are a great choice for offense, best add a few Druids for good measure (1 Druid for 3 other units). These cast Acid Arrow and Heal, always a good addition to any main army.
Note that higher-tier units tend to resist Acid Arrow frequently, halving the damage.
Archer spam is a great early/mid-game strategy. And even viable for endgame, if you have good meatshields to protect them; and/or a few good mages.

Rangers provide the Pathfinding skill (move army through all terrain at 1 movepoint). If possible (and needed), I add 2 to any army on the move (just in case one bites the dust).

Skip mid-tier Glaiveguards and Pegasus Riders, not worth it in my opinion. However, note that the Pegasi can fly; so they can have their uses, e.g. if you didn’t conquer any Draconians and need a bunch of fliers.

Grey Mages are good high-tier Casters, sprinkle as desired. They have the largest selection of spells of any unit, so make good use of them. They are particularly geared up for supporting ranged attackers, most notably so with Guiding Wind (army ignores range penalty for shooting).

Later on a full stack of Unicorn Riders should pack a good wallop, despite being rather fragile.
Note that they cannot build Armorer Guild and War College, which does hamper them somewhat for endgame.

Greyelves can produce high amounts of food, with the 2 extra buildings providing more of it. The more Forest squares we have within the town borders, the better for the food output.
I’d definitely focus them on that first, before I go down e.g. the Gold line.
They also have the full Gold, Mana, Research lines available; no restrictions there.

Join us for the next episode, where we'll learn how to properly oppress the remaining races: High Men, Myrodants, and Orcs.

Last edited by Nullzone; 03-21-2016 at 06:17 PM.