1. Setting up the game
To set up the game, you have to assign various strengths for the computer opponents. This way, you decide which side you will play, as well as the game difficulty.
Each opponent can have one of four difficulty levels: Knight: The A.I. here is pretty poor. The heroes don't search ruins and after all castles are full, the computer tends to fall into a stereotypical play.
Baron: The heroes put first priority to searching ruins, any allies they find will immediately attack neutral and unprotected castles.
Lord: The computer starts extensivelly use navies and flying units to strike deep into enemy territory.
Warlord: Good money management enables the computer to upgrade castle defenses, and units start to take advantage of temples and other upgrades.
Once you set up the game, press start to play (hint - playing for Sirians against 7 Warlords is considered to be the ultimate challenge).
2. Game interface
The game interface is divided into five parts. If you left-click on the top, several pull-down menus with advanced commands will open. On the left, you have the playing screen. On the right is the map. The playing screen does not have a scrolling feature, so clicking on the appropriate are on the map will bring you there. Between those two screens you have a couple buttons I never used. On the bottom you have the status bar.
3. Production and management
When you start and hire the first hero, you will be prompted to chose the production for your castle. If you double-click on a unit in the status bar, you will be shown the unit's characteristics. Chose a unit and click on the "Prod" button. The "Stop button will stop the town's production, while the "Loc" button will assign the unit production to a different location. More about these in the advanced features. Each unit shows a cost for which it is produced. In addition, the upkeep for the unit costs half of the production cost per turn. Each town earns you money. You can check the town info when no unit is selected (a "?" cursor) and you click on the town.
4. Selecting and moving units
You can select a unit by clicking on it. Double-click will select all units in a stack. If you click more slowly, you will rotate among the units in a stack. To deselect an unit, right-click.
Once a unit is selected, your cursor will change to an arrow. Now you can move the unit by clicking where you want to move it. If the unit can, it will get there immediately, if not, the unit will go only part of the way (depending on movement points). Stack movement points always equal the movement points of the slowest unit in the stack.
The map secion lists maximum movement points for each unit in each city. The movement points varry, however, between max-2 to max. this depends how many movement points were saved in the previous tur.
When you stand next to a castle of an enemy, you can decide to fight by selecting your unit or stack of units and click on the enemy. After that, it is out of your hands.
6. Advanced features
In this section, I will show you through the pull down menus.
6.1.1. Observe On/Off
Observe means watching other players taking their turns. There is no fog of war in this game, so you can always check on your opponents later. Observing the opponents' turn gives you better idea of what they are doing, but slows down the game a bit.
6.1.2. Sound On/Off
This toggles the sound mode. It's advisable to turn the sound off, as Windows has certain problems with the sound. You don't have to do so if you play the game in DOS mode.
6.1.3. Save Game
You get several save slots, where you simply fill in the name and save. You can save the game at any point.
6.1.4. Load game
Works on the same principle than saving the game. You can also load a previously saved game on the game setup screen at the beginning.
6.1.5. Quit game
This is to quit game. You will be thrown out to DOS once you quit the game; there is no restart game option.
Orders work only when a unit is selected. This unit then executes the order.
When a unit is in town, this order will improve the town's defenses by one. You will be prompted to acknowledge this decision. Outside of towns, the unit would build a tower for 100gp, which grants the unit increased defense capacity.
Designates the town the unit is in as your new capital. Your turn always starts in your capital, so if you want to start closer to the action, you may want to move the capital to one of your border cities.
This will disband the selected unit or stack of units. Always watch your finances and disband units you no longer need. You will be prompted to acknowledge the decision.
This command will order the unit to raze the town the unit is in. You will be prompted to acknowledge. Razing a town is irreversible; it destroys the town entirely for a one-time money gain. This town will get a defense value of zero and will not produce units or income anymore.
You can get reports on the number of armies of each player, cities, gold, hatred of you, production level and winning. Those statistics are useless, but a nice addition to the game.
You will have to have a hero selected in order to use the following orders. The only exception is searching temples.
Selecting this will prompt the hero to drop a selected artifact he or she acquired. It is not possible to trade between heroes, so this is the only way to transfer items.
This will offer you the list of your heroes and you can chose which one to select as active.
This will show the inventory of the selected hero. To be honest, View Heroes is a much better way to check inventory. More about it later.
A hero must stand on the top of a ruin to search it. Doing so, all remaining movement points are spent for the turn. Searching, the hero can find allies or battle a creature. If the hero wins, he or she finds an artifact or gold. The only exception is searching in temples. Any unit can search in a temple, which will yield a one-time permanent increase in the unit's strength by one.
Once a hero finds an artifact, this is the command to take it into the inventory. An artifact looks like a small bag. A dead hero drops all artifacts, which are then for taking by whoever comes first.
View is maybe the most important tab in the game, as it covers some very powerful features.
This shows you the whole stack, along with the strength and movement points of each unit. Here, you can also select which units you wish to have in a stack.
This shows you which of your towns produce units and which not. By clicking on a town, you can adjust the production. This tab is the single most important in the later game, when it becomes essential to send production to different cities. Doing so will create the units you produce in one town in a different one. You can send units to a town from up to four other towns. You do it by selecting which unit to produce, clicking on the "Loc" button and clicking on the town you want it send to. The first unit will arrive in twice the production time, the rest as during normal production.
Here, you can rotate through your heroes and their inventory. This screen will also show you the bonuses each artifact grants.
Using this command will show you the map with all ruins, along with their status (searched or not). This screen gainst on some importance when the computer searches ruins as well.
Here, you can change the strength of your opponents. In addition, the "Enhanced" button next to each opponent speeds up the production. In short, the production time will be cut by half, rounded up when the button is checked. If "intense combat" is checked, the combat is calculated with a random number of up to 20 instead of 12, giving much more chances to weaker units. This will enable rush strategies with low-level units.
Clicking on "End Turn" will end your turn and let your opponent play. You need to do it in order to advance into the next round.
The game features ruins, temples and libraries. While I explained the former two before, libraries are an interesting thing: hardly accessible, all they offer you is rewealing the "contents" of a random ruin, so going there is a waste of time...
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Last update: 09.08.2013