April 15, 2011
First thing you do is go buy the game for $6.
Here's how you begin:
Land size: Small
After the game begins, press F7 and choose "1.5 Gold" for your taxation rate. Go into the "Game" menu, choose Settings, and unselect "Random Events".
Right-click your starting city, and begin building a Granary. If you were lucky enough to get a food bonus (looks like a stag on the main map) then in your city, reduce the number of farmers by 1. On the main screen you want the Food display as low as possible without being red, at least for the time being.
Go into "Magic" and raise the "mana" bar to the top. Then go into "Spells" and begin summoning a unit of Sprites.
When they appear, go back into "Magic" and drop the "Mana" bar down to about half way. Then use your sprites to explore the map. They move two, over all terrain types, and can see two squares away, so you can learn a lot very rapidly. Don't attack anything with them, because they'll die.
After your granary is complete, build City Walls. Then build: marketplace, farmer's market, shrine, sawmill.
Somewhere in there you're going to need another unit of swordsmen. And don't forget to start sending out settlers to start new cities. (And send troops along, so your outposts don't get overrun!) Scouting unmapped territory with settlers is not advised. They're too expensive and too slow. Generally speaking, the best place for a new city is on a river. But you can use F1 to find out how good a particular square would be.
If B'Shan offers to work for you, take him. He costs 100GP initially, but he gives you 10GP per turn for as long as he's on your team.
If Zaldron offers to work for you, take him if you think you can afford him. He costs 100GP initially and costs 2GP per turn after that, but he helps you research new spells faster.
If Gunther or Brax offer to work for you, tell them to take a hike.
If Serena offers to work for you, that's a judgement call. If she is a sage, then probably yes if you can afford her. But even without that, as a healer she's very handy as a field campaigner.
If you end up really low on money, you may need to spend a few turns with your city on "Trade Goods" building up your treasury.
Save your game often!
As you build up, you'll reach the point where you can afford to build a campaign stack. You might choose to include one or more heros in it. You might want to include one or more summoned creatures.
If you win a node, be sure to summon a "Magic Spirit" (or "Guardian Spirit"). Move it onto the node, and then choose "meld". Once you do that, the area around the node will start sparkling. This means it is adding mana to your income.
This advice is just to get you started. Later, as you learn more about the game, you'll begin to understand these things better and may choose to follow different strategies.
Huh. I can't remember the last time I played orcs. Do they have fast growth, or something?
Posted by: BigD at April 15, 2011 11:33 AM (LjWr8)
Posted by: metaphysician at April 15, 2011 12:15 PM (hD30M)
Orcs are the vanilla race. They have decent units, average performance, and all the building types. Every other race is designed to be "better than orcs in some ways and worse in others". If you're trying to learn the game, I figure that starting with the average race is the best way.
Starting with the halflings, you may learn habits which make it so that you can't ever really play anything else.
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at April 15, 2011 12:38 PM (+rSRq)
Posted by: Tatterdemalian at April 15, 2011 02:07 PM (rf3Je)
Posted by: Tatterdemalian at April 15, 2011 02:49 PM (rf3Je)
Posted by: Tatterdemalian at April 15, 2011 02:51 PM (rf3Je)
Time to go play, I think.
Posted by: Douglas Oosting at April 15, 2011 02:55 PM (N9Lwt)
at the start of your paragraphs is an annoying-but-effective workaround.
Posted by: J Greely at April 15, 2011 03:47 PM (2XtN5)
The entertaining thing about white magic is how hilariously weak its summoned creatures are (except for one, who technically is a hero not a summon), but how devastatingly powerful it is at improving units built using a more Civilization-style approach. As den Beste said, the white lairs with all the UBER LEWT are guarded by arch angels at the worst, and it's not like they can heal your middle- to late-game armies to death.
Black magic, of course, is the exact opposite... their high end units are lethal, evil, and worst of all, cheap. It's not unusual to find a black lair piled high with a full stack of death knights or demon lords, and even the middle tier will often have wraiths (incorporeal, immune to weapons, life stealing). The only good thing about them is that they can't heal (except by draining life), so eventually you'll cherry tap them to death if you can keep sending in units that can do more damage than they can leech.
(thanks for the tip, J. Greely, let's see if this works)
Posted by: Tatterdemalian at April 15, 2011 04:00 PM (4njWT)
Shadow Demons are regenerators, just thought I'd mention.
Lizardmen are quite a challenge, too, because they are severely limited on buildings. On the other hand, Dragon Turtles are surprisingly good units. They're a lot cheaper than Stag Beetles, and nearly as good. And they're water walkers, a huge advantage.
Halflings are pleasant to play, and their slingers are among the best units in the game. But they only have one trick, and it doesn't work on everything. A lot of units are missile-immune, particularly wizards. The rest of the Halfling units are relatively weak. On the other hand, they like everyone and everyone likes them, so running conquered cities is easier. And they produce more food than anyone else, which is useful.
The biggest disadvantage of Halflings is that they can't build ships. So you better have green or blue magic, or luck into a Wind Walker hero, or you're going to be stuck on your initial land mass.
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at April 15, 2011 05:02 PM (+rSRq)
Let's see, other race play styles...
Lizardmen: Swimming settlers. Get one spread onto every little island you can, and you can become a real bugger for your opponents to uproot. The swimming units are also great for the militaristic play style that likes to win by smashing every enemy city as fast as possible, but you WILL need to be fast, because almost all the other races have land units that can turn your dragon turtles into turtle soup. They can't even win a one-on-one fight with a stag beetle. You might be able to smash their ships with ease, but if you can't take their cities you'll just be delaying the inevitable. Use them in a world with a small land size, and hope none of your opponents start on Myrror.
Barbarians: These guys are the "hard mode" for city-building players, as opposed to the gnolls' "hard mode" for conquest players. Barbarians are slow to grow and lacking in productivity, but their high-end berzerker units seem almost tailor made to take down wyvern riders and other melee-based flying units, either as the attacker or the defender, and be effective in combat against very little else. All their units, except cavalry, are restricted to a movement rate of 1 unit, and the cavalry's throwing axes that are only half the strength of the berzerkers. I honestly don't recall the last time I played as a barbarian race, but I do think there was something that saved them... maybe their throwing weapons could be enchanted along with their regular melee attack?
Halflings: The "uber defense, epic fail offense" race. Prodcutive and fast growing, these guys will make developing your empire a snap, and they can produce their high-end slingers very early. Slingers, for their part, are simply devastating little rock-flingers... except that most of their advantage comes from their extra two figures per unit (33% more than the next largest ranged unit, Bowmen), which means that once they start taking damage, their attack power will go in the toilet, fast. Much more effective when they're protected by a city wall, or better yet, a wall of shadow. Much, MUCH less effective when an enemy is protected this way, allowing his ranged attackers to take down your slingers while remaining relatively safe. And don't even get me started on air elementals...
Posted by: Tatterdemalian at April 15, 2011 05:27 PM (4njWT)
Ah, I forgot about that combo of awesome, Black Magic Anything + Regeneration. Fortunately shadow demons aren't too hard to kill, as their only other tricks are flying, ranged attacks, and immunity to webs. Black Channel War Trolls FTW!
As for halflings, I thought they could at least build triremes? Can't carry a full stack, but at least you could get a settler and spearman across the sea...
Posted by: Tatterdemalian at April 15, 2011 05:37 PM (4njWT)
Posted by: BigD at April 15, 2011 06:48 PM (LjWr8)
Admittedly, the game I used this tactic was not a usual progression. I spent maybe 3/4ths of the game in a not-quite-desperate, but very much constant, defense against a constant stream of armies by all three opponents. I had the misfortune to spawn my capital fairly near to two of my rivals. Ugh.
Posted by: metaphysician at April 15, 2011 07:20 PM (hD30M)
Posted by: Mauser at April 16, 2011 01:06 AM (cZPoz)
Posted by: Mauser at April 16, 2011 04:57 AM (cZPoz)
Posted by: Tatterdemalian at April 16, 2011 06:58 AM (4njWT)
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at April 16, 2011 07:03 AM (+rSRq)
Posted by: Tatterdemalian at April 16, 2011 07:25 AM (4njWT)
I think I need to RTFM a bit more too.
Posted by: Mauser at April 16, 2011 07:57 AM (cZPoz)
Turtling isn't the only strategy. The real way to solve that is to go out and take down all the lairs and unaligned towns. And enemy wizards.
I tend to play as a Myrran, and in a game that goes well there comes a point where I don't really need to garrison my towns, because I've taken out every node, every lair, every city, and every tower. The cities don't need defending because there's no longer anything to defend against.
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at April 16, 2011 09:41 AM (+rSRq)
And yes, I do get bitten every once in a while, and sometimes even lose the game when a wandering monster stack hits my capitol. But, to be fair, there's not much that a swordsman and a spearman can do against a half dozen war bears, so I'm likely not really changing anything by sending them out.
I've taken a real liking to Myrran as well, for the same reason. There is a downside, though--the enchanted roads can really work against you, as monsters can use them to sack a weaker city without even giving you a turn to marshal forces.
Posted by: BigD at April 16, 2011 11:01 AM (LjWr8)
You burn mana when you get attacked, but its usually more cost effective than having more and better units defending.
Posted by: metaphysician at April 16, 2011 06:16 PM (hD30M)
Posted by: Mauser at April 17, 2011 01:49 AM (cZPoz)
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at April 17, 2011 07:01 AM (+rSRq)
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at April 17, 2011 07:02 AM (+rSRq)
Sometimes it's a bit quirky to get units you've put on Patrol moving again, and when the screen jumps to moving enemy units, it tends to jump back before you figure out what you're looking at. Loading ships one unit at a time is also annoying.
It was fun to cast Fly on catapults and send them out. There's still a lot I need to figure out about management.
Posted by: Mauser at April 17, 2011 07:23 AM (cZPoz)
There are a lot of cases where using spells on units results in something a lot different. I like flying Great Wyrms, for example.
In the MOM directory, there's a file called "dosboxMOM.conf" which controls how DOSBox runs. If you set "fullscreen" to false in that file, it will start in a window.
I also changed this one:
That makes it run in a 3*size frame instead of 2* size. (I think that on Alcyone I had it set to "hq3x" but I don't have it available to check. That one is more CPU intensive, and this computer is slow.)
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at April 17, 2011 08:28 AM (+rSRq)
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at April 17, 2011 08:29 AM (+rSRq)
I decided to see just how good white magic could be, so I played Myrran, 2 green books, 6 white books, Draconians.
At a certain point I used Plane Shift to put one elite unit of Doom Drakes across into Arcanus, and then did a Planar Seal.
Eventually I had Endurance, Invulnerability, True Sight, and Righteousness on that Doom Drake, and after I'd mapped the entire Arcanus map, I decided to see what it could do.
Just that one unit, juiced that way, was able to take out every city belonging to two enemy wizards (Rjak with gnolls, and Raven with halflings), something like 12 in total. I couldn't believe it. Nothing could stop it.
And later in the game I had Crusade and Charm of Life going. I never got any decent summons, but with all that stuff going on I didn't need them.
White magic is scary good!
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at April 17, 2011 05:33 PM (+rSRq)
The weakness of White Magic, though, is that keeping all those enchantments up can become expensive. So you need a large mana base to work with, and if the enemy can screw around with this ( *coughBluecough* ), you have problems.
At this point, I seriously regret the lack of a Master of Magic sequel with multiplayer, though multiplayer for a turn-based strategy game would be awkward.
Posted by: metaphysician at April 17, 2011 05:58 PM (hD30M)
As for windowed mode, mine always shrinks back down to 640x480, which is just tiny on today's screens. This 2x setting though, bears looking into.
Posted by: ubu at April 17, 2011 08:45 PM (GfCSm)
White magic is scary good!
Indeed. Invulnerability + Immunity to Magic (Hello, Torin the Unbalanced!) = Nigh-unstoppable.
Posted by: Douglas Oosting at April 17, 2011 10:05 PM (N9Lwt)
Of course, that was in the intro mode.
Posted by: Mauser at April 17, 2011 10:21 PM (cZPoz)
Now do that with dark elves, and their ranged magic attack in the early game, if you get lucky...
Posted by: ubu at April 17, 2011 11:07 PM (GfCSm)
Posted by: Tatterdemalian at April 18, 2011 11:28 AM (wwfmh)
Stardock has a game called "Elemental: War of Magic" which does sound like a redo of MOM. I have no idea whether it's any good, though.
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at April 18, 2011 12:42 PM (+rSRq)
Ubu, if I manage to come up with an Armsmaster, I plant him right outside my main manufacturing city. Each guy who comes off the line spends enough time with the Armsmaster to reach elite. If the Armsmaster is at +10 or +12, then usually the education pipeline is only about three units. Every time a new student arrives, an older unit graduates.
Usually it's Bhagtru, and I refer to it as "Bhagtru's school for wayward girls".
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at April 18, 2011 12:44 PM (+rSRq)
As for Elemental, what I heard was that the game was a good try, but poorly balanced and glitchy. Its possible the game might get patched up eventually, but the early word was bad enough that I won't be checking it before the 20 dollar bin ( figurative ).
Posted by: metaphysician at April 18, 2011 12:49 PM (hD30M)
Posted by: Tatterdemalian at April 18, 2011 02:38 PM (wwfmh)
Posted by: metaphysician at April 18, 2011 02:58 PM (hD30M)
It's not like diplomacy works in this game anyway...
a) there's no "diplomatic" victory scenario; the only way to win is... "Conan, what is best in life?"
b) the computer cheats. You can have all 4 opponents with aggressive/psychotic personality types, and run all the happy-fun spells you want, and they'll all hate you and have wizard pacts (or alliances) with each other if you're more powerful/advanced than they are. There's supposed to be a penalty on diplomacy for having white magic if the other wizard has black, or vice-versa, and Ariel and Rjak will still be on permanent friends-with-benefits status.
I've played the game off and on since it came out, and I think I've seen a wizard banished by another computer-controlled wizard exactly once.
The only purpose for spells like Aura of Majesty is to trade them to enemy wizards for something useful (and worth a few more points in the end game.)
As for sequels... well, if there was a good one, would there be a 42-comment thread about a game from an era when people knew what "EGA" graphics were?
Posted by: Mikeski at April 18, 2011 03:55 PM (GbSQF)
Yeah. The only use for Just Cause is that it adds 20 points to your score at the end.
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at April 18, 2011 04:34 PM (+rSRq)
Posted by: Tatterdemalian at April 18, 2011 08:38 PM (4njWT)
Enclose all spoilers in spoiler tags:
[spoiler]your spoiler here[/spoiler]
Spoilers which are not properly tagged will be ruthlessly deleted on sight.
Also, I hate unsolicited suggestions and advice. (Even when you think you're being funny.)
At Chizumatic, we take pride in being incomplete, incorrect, inconsistent, and unfair. We do all of them deliberately.
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