July 05, 2010

Master of Magic -- second game

I'm playing again at "intro" level. Last time it was a "medium" world; this time it's "large". Still only one opponent, and it turned out to be Kali.

I actually have been way in the lead for most of the game, and I've been able to finish her off for at least 200 turns, but it's just so much fun to explore the landscape and attack lairs and nodes that I can't bring myself to do it. I'm playing Merlin again (5 white, 5 green) and I've been hitting Kali's only city with Earthquake spells. So far I've managed to take out a fighter's guild, a shipwright's guild, and a marketplace. I only settled one additional city, but I've been conquering all the independent towns I find instead of razing them. So right now I've got one Troll, one Draconion, about five High Men, one Orc, and about 6 halfling, one of which I started with and one I settled.

Kali turns out to have started with halflings, too, but if she's built any of the legendary slingers I sure haven't seen them. I've put in a road system connecting almost all of my towns (it isn't complete yet) and every once in a while she sends a couple of ghouls down, to bypass all the other cities and head for my capital.

Lotta good it does her. My capital has six slingers in it.

Halfling slingers are legendarily one of the very best units in the game. I also like lizardmen armored turtles, Trollish swordsmen (regeneration is sooo nice), dark elf wizards (though High Men wizards are good, too), and draconian almost anything.

The best summoned unit in the game is the red dragon, but blue dragons are nearly as good. I remember using a lot of those, but upkeep is expensive. This game I've been playing exclusively with non-summoned units.

For a while I had a cash-flow problem, but now there are Prosperity spells on my four largest cities and cash flow isn't an issue any longer.

White magic isn't my favorite, but it's got some really nice spells. My problem in this game is that I've been coming up real short on battlefield magic. I've had Web for a while, but nothing much better than that. Finally, just a few turns ago, I turned up Crack's Call in a lair in Myrror. So now I can help with the fighting.

Of course, I can also help by casting High Prayer, which gives every friendly unit +2 attack, +2 defense, +3 resistance, and +10% chance to hit and to block. I had a battle I was sure I was going to lose, and I cast High Prayer, and my guys kicked serious ass. 2 sword units and a unit of spears in a walled city attacked by eight phantom warriors! Ack! But they won, and I didn't lose any of them.

Another White spell that's really useful is Guardian Spirit. Ordinary Magic Spirits can be used to take control of a node, but unless you garrison each one with military units, they can be replaced by enemy spirits.

In my first game, Freya kept trying to do that to me. But if you've used a Guardian Spirit, there's only a 25% chance of success.

In this game Kali hasn't been trying. Probably Freya (green, remember) had used Earth Lore and knew where they all were. Kali hasn't explored much of the board.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Gaming at 03:23 PM | Comments (7) | Add Comment
Post contains 580 words, total size 3 kb.

1

Phantom warriors are actually weaker than spearmen, but have one special power that makes them death on wheels for most normal units: Illusionary Attacks. They essentially have a 100% chance to hit, ignoring all armor, unless the unit has Immunity to Illusions (cast True Sight if you have it, I think it's a white magic spell). They also have to be summoned onto a battlefield, and vanish when the battle is over, which means you won't see them coming. On the other hand, it also means there is a strict limit on the number that can be added to any one battle, and using that mana pool up prevents the casting of other, more dangerous spells, like Guardian Wind (or High Prayer).

As for the slingers... they'll become worthless if your opponents cast Guardian Wind (-100% chance to hit with ranged physical attacks), and it's an early Blue spell like Phantom Warriors. They're not a whole lot more powerful than Archers, unless you build them in a town with a Mithril vein and an Alchemist's Guild, in which case they become the stuff of legends (8 man units, +2 to hit, damage, and armor per man, can hit opponents with physical attack immunity). Or get a settler to Myrror, and put them near an Adamant vein for a unit that can bring down Red Dragons in two shots. The extra two men per unit Slingers get is their strongest suit, once the Halflings' weaker base attack and defense strength is compensated for with enchanted weapons and armor.

Posted by: Tatterdemalian at July 06, 2010 07:41 AM (TaHHC)

2 Ahh, so that's the mechanic that makes them so nasty... unit size.

I love ranged units in MOM; with melee, it's always a matter of attrition, and you never know when your unit is going to die.  But there's nothing like putting together a stack of wizards and healers led by Xarrax and Mystic X (with 30+ dmg from custom-built items) and 1-turn curb-stomping most enemies.

Posted by: BigD at July 06, 2010 10:14 AM (LjWr8)

3 Yeah, you have to be careful about going ALL ranged, though.  Eventually some wiseguy comes along with an army of all unicorns (which teleport anywhere on the field) and eats your army.  Happened to an army of cuddly and loveable Night Elf warlocks I had, once upon a time.

Posted by: DrHeinous at July 06, 2010 10:47 AM (/Y+Yb)

4 Regenerators can be bad news, too. After your missile troops have run out of ammo, the trolls regenerate and eat you for lunch. (I've done that.)

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 06, 2010 10:52 AM (+rSRq)

5 And that is why I always use Night Elf Mohawks instead!

Seriously, I forgot how much fun that game is.  I remember now, it was probably the one I hated losing the most when I finally jumped to Win'95.   Whatever bean-counter convinced the Powers That Be that there was still money to be made in these old games, I'd like to thank him.

Posted by: ubu at July 06, 2010 10:53 AM (i7ZAU)

6

I think every magic type has some units that can teleport... Green mages can summon Great Wyrms (the weakest of the dragons, but still devastating), Red mages have Irfits, Blue mages have Djinn, and Black mages have ... Wraiths? I think... I'm pretty sure Blue can also cast Teleport spells, though that eats mana that could be used to summon a Phantom Beast or two instead.

One of the things I liked best about MoM was how they treated multiple-figure units realisticly... they often seem pretty underpowered, but their attack strength and hit points are effectively multiplied by the number of figures in the unit... until those figures start dying. One advantage single-figure units have is that their attack power remains the same no matter how much damage they take, until they die. Not to mention many low-level spells that subvert the usual "apply attack damage to a single figure till it dies, then apply the remainder to the next figure until it dies, etc." by inflicting damage to each figure in a unit, devastating units with multiple low HP figures but doing little damage to units with one or two figures with high HP.

There was a surprising amount of strategy involved in every single combat, in spite of the fact that the terrain was never really much more than a flat board that occasionally included a city wall on one side. I think the only other time terrain ever actually played a factor in combat was in "floating island" battles over sea, where the terrain would be half land (on the side of the stack riding the floating island) and half water.

Posted by: Tatterdemalian at July 06, 2010 01:10 PM (TaHHC)

7

Blue mages also have air elementals. They don't teleport but they're invisible except when next to an opponent, and they're completely immune to missiles.

The one I fought was also immune to my champion who was using a magical weapon. I had to flee from the battle because I couldn't figure out any way to hurt the damned thing.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 06, 2010 01:25 PM (+rSRq)

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