Darklord's lair

Strategies

1. General strategies
There are three tyoes of units - 1st level scouts are great at taking neutral or empty towns. Later on, you may use them for rushing as well. Second level units are strong but slow, such as dwarves and heavy infantry. They are great for defending towns and for slow and stationary war. Use them to delay the enemy while you produce third-level units. Third-level units are fast and strong, mainly cavalry and griffins. You should produce them deeper in your territory and use for fast attacks on less-defended enemy towns.

When conquering neutral towns, pay attention to their defensive value. A lone hero will most likely die when attacking a town with defence 6, while the odds are 50-50 for level 4 and 5 towns. You may want to use your hero as a scout for ruins in the hope to find allies.

There are a couple of towns that are clearly not worth it, except afor their great location. Once they are deep in your territory but still vulnerable to aerial attacks, you may want to raze them. A typical example is Jessarton, which is very vulnerable to anybody with a ship, and produces a level 1 unit only once every three turns.

Above all, consult my map section to find out which towns have the highest priority and how much of a force to send against them.

2. Storm Giants (Yellow)
Advantages: Secluded, strong level 2 units.
Disadvantages: No level 1 units in starting town.
You have a ruin to the north. If you get allies, attach the town NE, if not take the road west of your start castle down to three more ruins S of the castle. The priority is the E town and NE town. From the E town you can defend against Evallie (ideally, you should take the town S of you, but that may be hard to capture. From the NE town, you have open way for the four towns NE. One of thm produces dwarves and will be useful if you decide to move north. The town directly N of your capital is strongly defended, but is the second best town for navies and pretty good for cavalry.
Your only enemy will be Evallie early in the game, so try to contain it on the other side of the river. Later in the game, defend your coastal cities against the Selentines.

3. Evallie (Green)
Advantages: The best level 1 units, good location.
Disadvantages: Very poor level 3 units, few ruins.
Evallie is the easiest fraction to play for. Their elves are excellent scouting units, and you should have little problems taking the four surrounding cities. Your first concern will be the Sirians, who will move for the thrre cities NE of your capital. Take them asap, as they will provide quite decent cavarly later in the game. Try to eliminate the Sirians early in the game, as they are an easy target, start with lots of money and will concentrate on attacking you. Storm Giants can wait a bit, so take the town W across the rive and then cut SW.
Later in the game, try to take the corner town at the crossing of the two rivers - this town will be heavily contested by Orcs of Kor and Horse Lords, and who controls it controls the whole bottom half of the map. You can also cut to SE, but those towns will be held in check if you take the castle surrounding by hills and keep a garrison of at least 8 heavy infantry units.

4. Sirians (White)
Advantages: Lots of starting money
Disadvantages: Location
Playing Sirians is very challenging, as you will be stuck between Evallie and Orcs of Kor, and the closest town will be three turns away from you. It is essential to capture at least one of the three cavalry producing cities. Your hero should go NE, as there is a ruin nearby and four more on the other side of the river. Pray for allies and take the bottom half of the E map, preferable all the way up to the river. That town is pretty hard to capture, but offers very good p2nd level production. The hills-surrounded town is a must, and before you can strike at Evallie, you should capture the town S of the capital.
If you survive into later game, you are set for very slow progress, so build armies like crazy and send them to your border towns. You will find it easier to strike N along the E edge of the map, eliminating Orcs of Kor and taking on Lord Bane.

5. Orcs of Kor (Red)
Advantages: Great location
Disadvantages: No level 3 units
Orcs of Kor must expand very quickly, as the surrounding towns offer no 3rd level units. The wolf riders are great as powerful scouts, but no match for heavy infantry of cavalry. Use your hero to capture the two towns to the W - the two NW and the SW town would most likely kill him. Then move with your hero S to search though the ruins there. Your first task is to conquer the two towns NW from your capital and at least one of the towns N of it. Those towns are extremely weak but have great location for staging an attack on Lord bane or cutting NW, so send some production there, enhance the defenses and keep at all costs. The town at the crossing of the two rivers is another must, as it's of interest for the Sirians, Evallia and the Horse Lords as well. Move further W, taking another town. The two citadels N of it (offer heavy infantry and are relativelly fafe, so once you have them, they are great for sending their production elsewhere.
Later in the game, you'll run head-op with Lord Bane and Evallie (providing Sirians are eliminated). If you keep Lord Bane contained in his secluded valley, he won't be much of a threat, and you should concentrate attacking NW the Horse Lords. As for Evallie, the three cavalry-producing towns are the key - they'd provide your first level 3 units.

6. Lord Bane (Black)
Advantages: Deffensible location, good level 2 units
Disadvantages: Very limited expansion, few units
The success lies in moving out of your valley. Move with your hero immediatelly to NE to search the ruin. If you find allies, expand W nlong the N coast asap, preferably swinging S before the Horse Lords move in. In your valley, the S towns are more important, as you can stage raids from here to S and W. Try to take all three towns S of the walley, and you may get a shot at the next two towns as well if you are quick enough and the Orcs of Kor hero dies by attacking a neutral town (heppens very often).
Later in the game, try to solidify four position by pushing Orcs of Kor S of their capital, contain them there and concentrate on Horse Lords and later Grew Dwarves.

7. Horse Lords (Aqua)
Advantages: Some of the best level 3 units
Disadvantages: Location, no level 2 units
You will have hard time defending your core cities, so expand fast to N and NW to create a protective perimeter. If you are lucky, you'll get all the way to N, which would open a way for you to the plains and marshes NE of your capital. To the NW, try to take the town at the edge of the forest - that way you gain control of the three forest cities.
Later in the game, produce cavalry, prefferably in the town N of your capital. Your production time is shorter that othe others' and the cavalry is a bit stronger. You can also enhance their strength NE of your capital in a temple. Your main concern will be the Grey Dwarves, but their capital is relativelly unprotected, so try to take it out.

8. Grey Dwarves (Orange)
Advantages: Great location
Disadvantages: No level 1 units
You will have no level 1 units, so your growth will be a bit limited. Go for the ruin NE of your capital and pray that you get a couple of allies. Your first concern is the town directly to W, as that one produces dwarves each turn. Then move into the towns NW and N, cutting of Horse Lords. The NE town will be safe for a while, so concentrante at establishing a perrimeter. Try to get the SW town, which is below a temple. This town produces light infantry with the strength of heavy infantry, and with the temple right next to it the units can take on level 3 units.
Later in the game, move W and up along the coast, and eliminate the Selentines asap. Expect attacks on your capital by Horse lords, so try to take their town to the E. Also, try to establish a foothold across the S mountain pass; that town is pretty well defended - send a stack of dwarves at once.

9. Selentines (Blue)
Advantages: Great navy, location
Disadvantages: Pesky neighbors
In the first stage of the game, take the towns to the S, SE and E. The three forest towns produce pegasi - get at least one and attack the most S island town. Te goal is to get the most N town that produces great units, but that is heavily defended, and you'd waste a couple of turns just flying there. ALso, try to contain the Grey Dwarves. They expand very slowly, so you may have them eliminated very soon.
Later in the game, try to contain the Horse Lords, build a navy and terrorize the whole coast. Storm Lords should have the situation pretty under control and have very lax town defenses along the coast. With a blitzkrieg strategy, you can take the whole W half of the map and win the game very quickly.

10. Noteworthy towns
Several towns are vital for winning the game. I will name them here, so please refer to the map to see what towns I am talking about.
Ilnyr - the single most important town in the game. Early in the game, it will be contested by the Sirians, Evallie, Orcs of Kor and the Horse Lords. Later, the Horse Lords will send full stacks of cavalry against it. this town is vital for raiding (or preventing raids) against the Orcs of Kor and the cavalry towns in the center of the S half. Place a hero with a coule of artifacts here and produce at least two units of heavy infantry for defense, as long as the Orcs of Kor, Horse Lords and whoever controls the cavalry cities exist. Enemies will try to go around the town, but they would be an easy target for you to pick up.
Meneloth - something like Ilnyr, but on a smaller scale. This town controls the access to the northern plains, but is also a great staging point for invasion to either the Horse Lords territory or the eastern marshes.
Barthel - this town controls the access to the forest cities and will be heavily contested by Grey Dwarves, Selentines and Horse Lords. Hold it and let the enemies bleed on it.
Carmel - this town produces excellent light infantry, and with the temple nearby, you can train some heavy-hitters here. The units are very cheap, so you can train them here and send them across half of the world, to boost your offense.
Hithos - here, you can produce some great navy and level 2 units. If you are based on the S part of the map, use this town as the basis of defense against Selentines' naval raids.

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Last update: 09.08.2013