Total Annihilation: Kingdoms - The Iron Plague

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Total Annihilation: Kingdoms - The Iron Plague

Developer:Cavedog Entertainment Genre:Strategy Release Date: Download Games Free Now!

About The Game

This expansion to the 1999 real-time strategy game, Total Annihilation: Kingdoms, adds a fifth playable race. Where the previous four relied heavily on magic and knights, the warriors of Creon are known for their use of DaVinci-inspired medieval technology.

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Total Annihilation: Kingdoms - The Iron Plague

Total Annihilation: Kingdoms - The Iron Plague Review

By Monica Bair |

This game raises an interesting question: Can a game survive with both a colon and a dash in the title? It may sound stupid but it's about the most meaningful issue I can raise at this point. Sadly, Iron Plague merely continues the mediocre legacy of its predecessor, Kingdoms. These 25 new missions merely add to the quantity of the last title. Rather than achieving any innovations in gameplay or design, Iron Plague seems just like more of the same. If you liked Kingdoms, that's a good thing. Well, it's not a good thing that you liked Kingdoms, but you get my point. If you didn't like Kingdoms, then you're not going to find anything here to turn your head.

The story picks up at the tail end of Kingdoms. Garacaius, father of the Four Monarchs and Emperor-gone-astray has abandoned magic and fled to the land of Creon. There he builds a new society dedicated to "reason and science." Although the game claims that the technological elements of the Creonite army will sharply contrast with the magical strategies of the other four races, that's simply not the case. Ultimately the Creonite units and structures are merely the same type of units from the previous game but with a different visual representation.

Iron Plague also continues the unfortunate practice of switching between races during the campaign. Each mission is preceded by a little bit of story (which is pretty good) and then you're thrust into the command of whichever civilization that happens to have the most action coming. This undesirable narrative device is supposed to give you the chance to play with all the different units in the game. What it does instead is keep you from gaining any real proficiency or familiarity with the units. Don't get me wrong, I usually get sick of seeing Titans and Wolverines by the end of Command & Conquer too, but to have to switch between five separate armies from one mission to the next is just confusing.

So you're already familiar with the forces of the Four Monarchs, right? Right? So let's talk about this fifth race of Creon. The Creonites (what a name) have a society based almost entirely on science and technology. Since they have a natural distaste for magic, you'd assume that they'd construct their buildings and units out of some material other than mana. You'd assume that but you'd be wrong. The Mana Refinery, despite all the assertions to the contrary in the manual, function exactly like the Lodestones of the other four races. And how magical energy gets converted into mechanical constructs is never fully explained. If the Creonites hate magic so much, why the hell are they using it? I guess since it's the only resource in the game, they had to adapt or else. Now introducing a new kind of resource would require some serious rebalancing of the game, but the rationale behind the Creonite use of mana isn't convincing. The Refinery is just a Lodestone that doesn't look like a Lodestone.

Now that we've got that out of the way, we can talk a little about the units (the Creonites, like most of the other civilizations have only a handful of buildings). The naval units include the Iron Clad, your basic attack ship; and the Steam Wheeler, a transport vessel. The Submersible is an underwater vessel that can be spotted and fired upon by other units even if they're not underwater. Come on, what's the point of that? If the vessel can go underwater, shouldn't there be some sort of concealment bonus? Sigh...In any case, the ships don't move so well so sea fights are touchy affair at best.

The first aerial unit you get as a Creonite is the Barnstormer, a wimpy but nimble scout. The next level up (and it's a long way up) is the Neo-Dragon, a mechanized, flying lizard-like creature that can use three separate breath attacks on your foes. The Aerial Juggernaut is next, and is the most devastating weapon the Creon can build. Although I thought the game could have used more aerial units to fill out the gaps between performance, fighting in the air isn't a huge part of the game. Most of your ranged units and your towers and guard posts will take care of anything in the air without your even having to think about it.

Now we come to the land units. The Automaton, your basic grunt, wields two warhammers and smashes anything that gets in his way. At least that's the way it's supposed to work. The Shock Trooper is a much better unit in my opinion because it can deliver a devastating blow at long range. And in Kingdoms-style play, that's a big plus. The role of assault vehicle is filled adequately by the Tortoise -- a steam tank -- and the Fire Wagon -- a wagon...that shoots fire! Both of these units have a decent ranged attack. So does the Beast Rider, a giant rhinoceros with a turret strapped to his back. I guess there's no such thing as the SPCA in Darien. In most cases the only thing to differentiate the units (apart from the range of their attacks) is their cost to firepower ratio. I'll harp a little more on this later.

Like I said, the Creon civilization has a shortage of buildings. Apart from the Smithy, Navy Yards and Academy (which build all your units), you can build two types of Mana Refineries. The three active defensive structures -- the Gatling Crossbow, the Prismatic Mirror and Bomb Sprinkler -- are all a quite powerful. But since this is an imbalance common to the static weapons platforms for all the civilizations, it doesn't throw the game too far out of balance. With Walls and Four-way Gates completing the defensive perimeter around the base, you'll be hard pressed to gain access to the more heavily guarded Creonite stronghold.

One of my biggest complaints against Kingdoms (and now against Iron Plague as well) was the sameness of units. Not that there isn't a huge difference in power among the units; some of the later ones are quite powerful. What I'm referring to is the fact there doesn't seem to be any difference among the roles of the units. Sure there are flying units and builders and ranged units and brawlers, but there isn't enough to give the units the unique character and abilities that make formations and refined battle plans a viable option for the player. While there are undoubtedly people out there that can find a way to make it work for them, most of us simply don't have the patience to deal with it.

But, hey, since the unit control is just as clumsy in Iron Plague as it was in Kingdoms, then there's not really anything to worry about. Selecting units and ordering attacks isn't as easy as it should be. Like I said, most of us don't have the patience.

Another thing that contributes to the lack of tactical finesse is that the resources (or maybe I should say the game's only resource) were virtually unlimited. Since the supply of mana never ran out (at least during the whole time I played), the game tends to degenerate into battles of quantities. As in Kingdoms, you'll spend your time building up huge armies and throwing them into the teeth of the enemy. And it's not that you don't have the desire to try something a little more sophisticated. But to take full advantage of the bottomless resource wells, you'll want to build more units than you can hope to control strategically.

Like I said, I don't have the patience for it.

And in the end, that's how I felt about the game as a whole. If you enjoyed all the frustrations and limitations of Kingdoms, then Iron Plague is right up your alley. If however, you thought the units were too similar, the resource model shallow and the control interface awkward and unwieldy, then Iron Plague's not going to do anything to win you over. Unfortunately there's not much we can do for you poor souls who have already caught the Plague. All we can suggest is that you rush right out and pick up some streptomycin.

-- Stephen Butts

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Total Annihilation: Kingdoms - The Iron Plague Game Walkthrough

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Total Annihilation: Kingdoms 'The Iron Plague'
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WalkthroughFaq v1.1
By Greyson
Email: Moonshiver7@aol.com, autumnchaser@netzero.net
Release date: 5233

--------
Contents
--------

--Introduction

--New Expansion Units

--Gameplay Hints

--FAQ

--Complete Walkthrough of Chapters 1-25

--Hidden Levels

--Credits

--Disclaimer


------------
Introduction
------------

First off, I want to agree with you.  If you are looking at this guide then I
assume you are having trouble playing 'The Iron Plague.'  I agree that this
game can be frustratingly difficult.  In fact so much so that I almost quit
playing it.  Total Annihilation: Kingdoms is many times easier than IP.
The hardest mission on TA: Kingdoms is somewhat easier than the 'hard' maps
here.  Having totally enjoyed TA: Kingdoms I was looking forward to playing IP.
TA: Kingdoms had such a good flow and story that I couldn't wait to find out
what happens in IP.  That excitement was met with constant gnashing of teeth
and reloading of saved games.  I will say that IP does indeed have a good flow
and story to it as well.  The problem is the early maps are quite difficult and
have no continuity to them.  Everything is disjointed until you get past
Chapter 8.  From then on, the designers began to create a good flow to the
game.  You start to understand why one chapter is easy and then the next one is
hard.  If you can make it past the early tough chapters then I promise you that
you'll start to love IP as much as TA: Kingdoms.

I wrote this Walkthrough just for the simple fact that there were none.  Like
many players I started having trouble on the very second map.  I would then
search the web looking for some hints or strategies.  I then found out there
was never an 'Official' walkthrough created for IP.  No end user guides were
written either.  The best I could find were a few forums that had
player's tips on them.  Even some of the tips weren't that informative.  I
became frustrated over the fact that I could possibly not even beat the game.
With no guides and not really anywhere to turn for help, I decided I would try
to beat the game and create a guide on my own.  Fortunately, I succeeded.
Being such a fan of the game my only intent here is to help others enjoy it as
well.  It simply started out as a basic walkthrough of how I beat a particular
chapter.  Since you can play both games with complete strategic freedom I
decided to just write down what I did.  In hopes that it would direct the
player into making a successful strategy for beating a tough mission.  My
suggestions on how to beat a particular map are just that, my suggestions.  Not
my dictations.  There are a number of ways to beat each map.  I just wanted to
make sure the player knew that there was at least one successful strategy if
he/she became disgruntled.  So, if you're having trouble then read this
walkthrough, take what you need, and apply it.

I also noticed that at times in the campaign you get to control new units for
the original TA: Kingdom forces.  While the IP manual is a pleasant read it
didn't include any info on these new units at all.  I decided to include some
basic observations and tips on the new non-Creon units.  Most of them are
very cool and my favorite was the Spirit Wolf.

Also just so you know what kind of TA: Kingdoms player I am.  I am more of a
defensive player.  I usually take my time and build up my bases.  When I feel
confident that I can repel most enemy attacks I then send out troops.  I also
don't go overboard with defensive structures.  I usually stick with what will
work and get me through that particular map.  Whenever I do have to attack on
multiple fronts I keep my hand near the pause button.  I don't like being too
overwhelmed and unable to take care of all my troops at the same time.  I also
don't mind taking my time.  Sometimes this makes the map twice as long as it
should be.  I also usually play the game at -3 speed.  It only prolongs the
enjoyment of it though.  At least that's the story I'm sticking with.

I hope my strategies help you if you're in trouble.  I have tried to explain
everything in good detail.  I know I can be a tad 'wordy' so if you need to
find something quickly be sure to use the Find option under the pulldown menu
or press Ctrl+F.  Good luck!


-------------------
New Expansion Units
-------------------

ARAMON-


Rolling Tower - Built by Keep - A mobile defensive structure.  They have a
                                strong arrow attack and in groups can be a good
                                backup unit.  They also have high hit points
                                and good armor.  They move slow though and
                                can be hit easily.

Flying Builder - Built by Acolyte - They can build the same structures as a
                                    normal Mage Builder.  They have slightly
                                    more hit points than a Mage Builder.
                                    Their ability to fly and build Trebuchets
                                    makes them a good strategic unit.

Grenadier - Built by Acolyte - Long range bomber.  In large numbers they can be
                               very deadly.  They move somewhat slow but are
                               not bulky.  They have three modes of attack:
                               Explosive, Incendiary, and Stun.


VERUNA-


Lighthouse - Built by Priestess - A tall standing structure that has good
                                  scouting range.  Fires a shot that
                                  momentarily paralyzes enemies.  A perfect
                                  complement to other defensive structures.  It
                                  has medium defense and does not take long to
                                  build.

Ballista - Built by Priest of Lihr - Has very long range.  Shoots an arrow that
                                     does small damage.  Moves slow and is
                                     susceptible to fast firing units.

Centaur - Built by Citadel - A horse unit that attacks with a bow and arrow.
                             They are fairly cheap to create but move slow.
                             If they moved faster they would be a perfect
                             complement to the Berserker.

Mer Warrior - Built by Enclave - A very cool low level unit.  They move at a
                                 decent speed and have good attack abilities.
                                 They can also swim and attack ships.


ZHON-


Swamp Beast - Built by Beast Handler - Slow land based unit.  Has medium attack
                                       power and good health.  Moves too slow
                                       and is susceptible to fast moving 
                                       units.  Good back up unit when paired
                                       with Jungle Orcs.

Spirit Wolf - Built by Beast Tamer - Very fun unit.  Basically Zhon's version
                                     of Veruna's Berserker.  They are built
                                     at a good speed so it is easy to make a
                                     pack of them.  They have medium attack
                                     power but because they are small they can
                                     easily surround an enemy.  They have fast
                                     walking speed and a decent amount of
                                     health.  They can also raise fallen troops
                                     into weaker versions of Spirit Wolves.

Giant Orm - Built by Shaman - A very slow moving land unit.  Looks like a
                              caterpillar.  Has good amount of health.  They
                              have a very strong attack and are probably best
                              used on fixed structures.

Giant Barracuda - Built by Shaman - Sea only creature.  Same size as a ship.
                                    Was not able to use it in battle so I don't
                                    know its capabilities.


TAROS-


Kamikaze Rat - Built by Temple - A small unit.  It can also cloak making it a
                                 good spy unit.  It has around medium speed.
                                 Its must uncloak to attack but has wide attack
                                 damage.  Has enough hit points to survive a
                                 few hits.

Rictus - Built by Abyss - A slow moving land unit.  Its attack and range are
                          similar to the Fire Demon.  Good support unit.

Darkhand - Built by Abyss - A mace wielding troop unit.  Has good range.  Kind
                            of slow though and only medium health.  Its attack
                            is not too powerful.

Fallen Angel - Built by Dark Priest - A flying unit with a strong offense.  Has
                                      three modes of attack.  Its group killer
                                      attack is very powerful.  Has low hit
                                      points considering its cost.  Best used
                                      in fly by attacks.


--------------
Gameplay Hints
--------------

While playing the campaign, I discovered a few tips that were not explained in
the manual.

1. DismissKill a friendly unit: This tip goes along with TA: Kingdoms as well.
   It is plainly written in both TA: Kingdom's and IP's manuals.  I just never
   realized it.  To get rid of unwanted unitsstructures simply select them and
   press Ctrl+D.  You will get a 'leaving your command' message and within five
   seconds the unit will disappear.  I'm not sure if dismissing units adds to
   your loss total.  Sometimes when I would dismiss a unit the attack warning
   sound would play so I presume it does count as a loss.

2. Chief Engineer special skill: You can use a Chief Engineer to resurrect a
   dead troop unit into an Automaton unit.

3. Better aiming with the Aerial Juggernaut: Sometimes you can do more damage
   and aim better by moving the juggernaut beside the intended target instead
   of actually targeting it.

4. Easier targeting with the Neo Dragon's 'Freeze Storm' attack: Sometimes you
   will target a unit and the Neo Dragon refuses to use the 'Freeze Storm.'
   It is usually easier to manually target an area by pressing the A button.
   This applies also to any attack that affects enemy groups.
   Sometimes the attacker will try to lock onto its target instead of just
   attacking and killing all the enemies.  By manually targeting an area the
   attacking unit doesn't have to try to lock onto a moving target.  Also be
   aware that not every unit can frozen.  Examples are the Amazon, Knight, and
   Swordsman.

5. Zooming around the map easily: It is good to remember that whenever you
   select a unit you can center in on it by simply pressing the T key.  So
   if your #8 group is being attacked and you're at the #2 group simply press 8
   and then T and the map will zoom in on group #8.


-----------
FAQ Section
-----------

I decided to include some questionsanswers that I thought were interesting.  I
have gathered them from various sources around the net.  I'm not 100% sure
which ones only apply to TA:K or to both TA:K and IP.  If any are incorrect
then please contact me and I will make the appropriate correction.

Q: How can I edit my own keys?
A: Edit the 'Keys.tdf' file in the Kingdoms folder.

Q: How can Lokken cloak?
A: Press the K key.

Q: How can I disable the logo at the game's start?
A: Use the parameter '-skiplogo' in the Kingdom's shortcut.

Q: How can I create more than one unit while playing as Zhon?
A: Hold CTRL and select the unit to build.  You will see +++ over the unit
   picture.  Also use SHIFT to que the building of different units.

Q: How can I maximize the minimap?
A: Toggle the TAB key.

Q: Is there anyway to build another side's buildingsunits?
A: Yes, you can use Elsin to resurrect another side's builder units.  The unit
   won't be able to build Aramon structures but can help if an Aramon builder
   starts construction first.

Q: Other than Elsin, what other units can resurrect dead units?
A: (Taros) Dark Priest can create Ghouls.

Q: How can I make my units attack enemy units while they're moving?
A: Make them PATROL to their destination instead of MOVING.

Q: What good is there to using the ALT+# formation command when creating
   groups?
A: It makes the group move at the same speed as the slowest unit in that group.
   Units will also be less likely to clutter up and are easier to
   organize.  I do not know which formations are assigned to each key.

Q: What is a good Aramon group structure?
A: Use the Mage Archers and set their attack to 'paralyze' setting.  Back them
   up with Cannoneers and they become a strong attack force.

Q: How does unit experience work and how many levels are there?
A: Units gain experience when they get the killing shot on an enemy unit.
   There are 10 experience levels.  The higher tier a unit is, the more kills
   it must receive to level up.  At the fourth level their picture on the
   status bar gets a bronze shield.  At the seventh level they receive a silver
   shield.  Finally, at the tenth level they get a gold shield.  Also at the
   fifth and tenth levels, they gain visible changes.

Q: How does leveling work with Dragons?
A: Around the 50+ kill mark a dragon gains the ability to use its most powerful
   spell twice in a row.  100+ kills it can use its spells almost at will and
   is very hard to kill.

Q: I am not building
epairing anything but I am losing huge amounts of mana.
   Why?
A: If your Monarch is healing itself or recharging its weapons it may be
   draining away your mana supply.

Q: What is the very latest patch for the game?
A: Patch 3.0BB.

Q: Is there anyway to view the cutscenes without having to beat the game?
A: Yes, you can use the Bink and Smacker player from www.radgametools.com

Q: I want to create a CD of the game's soundtrack.  I can't find the tracks on
   the game's CD, where are they?
A: The game installs the soundtrack as numbered .wav files in the Kingdoms
   folder.

Q: Boneyards, Cavedog's online service, is dead.  Where can I go to play
   multiplayer games?
A: You can connect to Gamespy's service and find players that way.
   www.gamespy.com

Q: I finally decided to purchase TA:K andor Iron Plague but none of my local
   software stores still sell them.  Where can I find them?
A: Some stores still sell TA:K brand new.  However, finding Iron
   Plague can be more difficult.  There are still numerous places on the net
   that sell both games new or used.  An easy way to find them is to use your
   favorite search engine and search for terms such as, 'Iron Plague buy' or
   'TA: Kingdoms purchase.'  You can also use bid sites such as ebay.com  That
   is where I purchased Iron Plague new and unopened. Email me for specific
   stores that I believe still sell the games.

Q: Are there any 'hidden' levels in TA:K or TA:K IP?
A: Unofficially I have heard there are three in TA:K and two in TA:K IP.  I
   cannot confirm this though. Please let me know if there are.  There is
   the 'official' hidden level for TA:K IP called Creon Glory.  See Below.


-------------------------------------
Complete Walkthrough of Chapters 1-25
-------------------------------------

CHAPTER 01-BLOOD AND GOLD-Your task here is to destroy all the Verunan
merchant ships before any of them pass the Lighthouse.  The Lighthouse is on
the far west side of the big island left of your starting position.  This is a
rather simple map as your ship is quite powerful.  Just try to snipe at the
ships and whittle them down.  There are too many to take on all at once.

Strategy I used to beat: You also start off with a Sky Knight that you can use
to scout.  I sent him off to the west side of the island to make sure where the
Lighthouse was.  I made my way to the lower right where a large number of ships
were.  I picked them off several at a time and eventually destroyed most of
them.  Once done here I proceeded to the left along the southeast coast of the
Lighthouse island.  Again sniping and picking off a few ships at a time.
Eventually I made it around the corner and sailed up past the Lighthouse.
There are a few strong enemy ships sitting here.  I turned around and waited
for them when they came after me.  Picking them off one by one.  Eventually I
got parallel with the Lighthouse, destroyed it, and waited for the rest of the
Transport ships to try to make it past me.  After a few minutes the last one
was destroyed.  Also, do not try to destroy every single ship.  If you try to
then most likely you will take too long and a few Transport ships will slip
past the Lighthouse.

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

CHAPTER 02-DARK HULLS-Here you must attack the Creon navy and destroy all their
Shipyards.  This map is not designed for you to kill every enemy unit.
Something that took me a few tries to discover.  There are far more enemy units
than what you can build.  The key is to wait for the main force to attack and
then swoop around to the southwest end of the enemy island and destroy the last
shipyard there.  This map is mediumhard but if you know exactly what to do
it's actually not that tough.

Strategy I used to beat: You start at the east of an island.  Near the lower
middle of the west side of the island is where a strong enemy fleet is waiting.
Unload your troops onto the island and immediately build up the Lodestones.
Then attack the enemy ships with your navy.  It will be a somewhat hard battle
but you should not lose many ships.  I then built two Sea Forts making mostly
Man of Wars.  I was tempted to build some Trebuchet Ships but you actually
won't need them.

As soon as you can, take a few Man of Wars and a Skiff and head over
to the east side of the map and head south.  Go almost to the bottom and then
head slowly to the west.  The first enemy shipyard is located at the southeast
of their island.  Use a Skiff to spot it then use your Man of Wars to pummel
it.  Go back to your island the same way you came.  If you go directly up you
will get sniped by a few Mirrors.  There are also about three enemy ships near
the middle of the island on the east side.  It would be a tough battle at this
point.  One that can be avoided as well.

Afterwards, keep building up your navy.  Another attack will be coming soon
from the west of your island.  Pretty much where the first battle was.  But
this time a few transports will go to the north end of your island and start
unloading enemy troops.  It won't be that difficult of a land battle.
Especially since you will know to expect it.  Take your navy and clear out the
ships that also will be attacking you from the west side.

After a little while you should have a nice sized navy.  Take that navy
and head to the first small island directly north of the main enemy island.
There is another enemy shipyard located there.  The resistance is a little
heavier and you will probably lose some ships.  There are more enemy ships to
the northwest of the second shipyard.  They didn't usually attack me so I
decided to attack first and clear out that area.  Your main navy you were using
will probably be dwindled down by now.  Keep building ships.

Now comes the last and HEAVILY guarded shipyard.  There are two ways you can
destroy it.  Neither way uses a head on battle tactic.  The first way: After
some time a huge enemy navy (about 10-20 ships) will start pouring in and
attacking your forces at your main island.  They will be coming in from the
same area the very first enemy ships were.  You could have built a second
shipyard area at the north end of your main island.  If you did then follow
this tactic.  As that huge enemy fleet is attacking, sneak a few ships behind
them near the west side of the map and take them directly south.  The third
enemy shipyard is near the lower left middle of the enemy island.  Simply
destroy it and the map is over.  The second way (what I did): Clear out the
northwest part of the map.  Leave a few of your ships there.  Then send a Skiff
down to the third enemy shipyard and engage the huge enemy fleet.  This will
get them stirred up and they will attack your main island immediately.  Wait
until you believe the way is clear and then take your northwest hidden fleet
down and destroy the last shipyard.

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

CHAPTER 03-JOIN US-Your orders here are to fend off the Veruna revolt and show
them you're staying.  It will start off rather peaceful but near the end it
becomes quite intense.  This map is between mediumhard.  If you are having a
hard time remember you are not supposed to kill every unit.  Just enough to
where the enemy will retreat.

Strategy I used to beat: You start off in the southeast corner.  You will have
a Mechanic, Fire Wagons, Shock Troopers, and Barnstormers soon.  I scouted
around the immediate area and it was clear.  I spotted a Divine Lodestone
directly northwest of the starting position.  I took some troops up and tried
to destroy the Divine Lodestone placed there.  A Mortar from up above started
bombing my troops.  Deciding to come back to it later, I scouted some more.
Directly below to the west of the starting area was a clear mana site.  I then
headed left.  The road was crumbled some and I decided to make the area left of
the debris my base.  I then sent my Mechanic and some troops down to build up
the mana refinery.  A short while later some Mer Warriors snuck up on the other
side of the mana site and attacked my refinery and troops.  After a good battle
I killed them.  I then built a Smithy next to the mana site.  I then proceeded
to build up a Bomb Sprinkler and some Gatling Crossbows at my base on the road.

By now I had received a good amount of support troops.  Scouting to the left of
my base I saw there was another enemy Lodestone.  I decided to destroy it and
build my own there.  I succeeded and used the extra mana to build up more of my
forces.  I had tried to scout out the water to the west but my Barnstormers
were always destroyed.  After building up a good amount of Fire Wagons and
Shock Troopers I decided to take out the Divine Lodestone that was guarded by
the Mortar.  I destroyed it and continued to head up and engage the Mortar, two
Bastions, and two Guard Towers.  I also met some enemy troop resistance.  After
clearing this area I then headed back down to the mana site.  I built a mana
refinery and made this area my second base.  I proceeded to make another Bomb
Sprinkler and more Gatling Crossbows.

After a while a good amount of enemy troops began to attack my first base.  It
was a tough battle and I had lost the mana refinery to the west.  I built it
back up again.  By now I had created another Smithy at the second base.  I made
some more troops and headed north from the second base.  I engaged a few
patrolling troops.  I then took over the mana site in that area.  Now I had a
good supply of mana coming in.  I made this area my third base.  I again set up
a Bomb Sprinkler, Gatling Crossbows, and a Mirror.  I also built two more
Smithies.  I had scouted to the northeast and saw that most of the area was
clear.  There was also a mana site.  I built a refinery there.

I then started sending squads into the city.  I cleared it out to the top right
bend.  By now I was also under bombardment from an enemy Trebuchet Ship.
Fortunately it was trying to destroy the mana refinery at my second base.  The
sacred stones were blocking it.  Now I headed northwest just outside the city
to the right.  I built up some Gatling Crossbows and three Mirrors.  I was also
distracting the enemy by sending in squad after squad of troops.  I had cleared
the entire city out except the northwest section.  For the next 20 or so
minutes I fought hard against the enemy.  I had a steady stream of troops
pouring into the city.  Some of the city buildings were getting in the way of
my troops so I cleared them out.  After a bit the enemy sent out a large force.
They attacked my Gatling CrossbowMirror station and my third base.  It was
hard holding them back and now the Trebuchet Ship had picked other more
susceptible targets.  It had destroyed my Smithy at the second base and another
Smithy at the third base.  I had noticed another mana site to the top left of
my MirrorGatling Crossbow station.  I proceeded to destroy the enemy Lodestone
and built a refinery.  This seemed to stir the enemy up so after a while I just
left it alone.  At this time an enemy squad had come onto the beach near my
very first mana refinery and caused havoc.  Fortunately, I had left a small
force around my Smithy and they repelled the enemy.

It seemed like it was impossible to break any farther into the city.  There was
an enemy Lighthouse positioned perfectly and anytime I got close to it enemy
Bastions, Mortars, and ships would tear my troops to shreds.  I kept fighting
though and after some time I heard someone yelling, 'Run Run' and the map was
over.

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CHAPTER 04-SINS OF STATE-This is one of those trial and error maps.  You try
five times, die horribly, and then finally learn the error of your ways and do
it right.  Lucky for you I've already gone through the pain beforehand *tears*
On this map it is your duty to save the Veruna sailors before 15 minutes are up
or they will be slaughtered by the Aramon townspeople.  The Aramon military
will also slaughter them if they get near.  This map is hard unless you do
everything the right way.  Then it is almost too easy.

Strategy I used to beat: As mentioned before this is a kind of puzzle map.
There are several routes your ships can take.  All of them have their own traps
but I will show the most direct way.  You start off on a small island all the
way on the east side of the map.  If you also look directly west in town you
will see all the sailors you must save.  I group selected all of them and sent
them directly east to the edge of the dock.  Don't let them stray too far north
or south as enemy Strongholds will kill them.  Back to your starting units in
the east.  You start with a Priestess, a Skiff, and some military units.  Leave
the military units on the island.  Use the Skiff to transport the Priestess to
the top of the map and a little to the left.  There is a mana reserve in that
area.  Grab it quickly.  After claiming it, I built a Sea Fort.  You will be
using mainly Skiffs on this level so no need to have massive amounts of mana.
After the Sea Fort is built jump back onto the ship and head almost directly
south but a tad to the right.  There is another mana reserve located here.  And
then finally hop on the ship and head to the island directly at the southeast
corner.  There is another mana reserve there.  This will be all the mana 
storage you will need to win this map.

By now you should have several Skiffs built.  Perhaps a Man of War as well.
Now head to the castle island directly west of your starting island.  It is a
good idea to build one Guard Tower on each hill.  The enemy will send a Flying
Builder to put down its own Watch Towers otherwise.  This way your Guard Towers
will kill the flyers and you won't be nagged by them.  Also a few enemy War
Galleys might pop up sometime around the first mana site.  By then you should
have plenty of ships to take care of them.

Once you have around 6-8 Skiffs head directly west.  This will be the river
that is directly left of the castle island with your two Watch Towers.  Almost
between the castle island and the dock will be a single War Galley.  It will be
below your ships so ride past while shooting at it.  You will normally lose one
or two ships so be sure you have made them expendable.  DO NOT HEAD DIRECTLY
NORTH from that battle.  There are two or three more War Galleys waiting above
and they will make quick work of your navy.  Instead, keep heading west until
you reach the dock.  There might be a Flying Builder trying to build an enemy
Stronghold on the docks.  Quickly stop it.  Once that's clear start loading the
sailors onto your Skiffs.  You can leave six sailors behind if you want to.
Lose seven or more and you lose.  By now, you should have at least three Man of
Wars.  Send them to tackle those two or three War Galleys.  And while they are
battling it out sneak your Skiffs past them.  Head your Skiffs to the northeast
corner of the map and the map will end.

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CHAPTER 05-TIN GODS-Finally, a stronghold map.  Your mission is to flee to the
desert and establish a strong fixed defensive structure base.  There are
hundreds of enemies in this map and many times you fight 20-50 at once.
However with the right mix of fixed structures it is rather tense but fun.  You
must also last 45 minutes.  I actually could have lasted a lot longer but it
was fun while it lasted.

Strategy I used to beat: At the beginning there are enemies at the gate
breaking through.  It is best if you pull back most if not all your army to
where the white path ends near the middle of the map.  That area is a really
good defensive position to take.  While my forces were fleeing to the desert I
sent two of my builders, one to the east and one to the west, to build up some
mana generators.  Ultimately the generators in the west were destroyed way
before the ones in the east were.  I used that extra mana to build some Guard
Towers quickly where my main army was with the remaining builders.  You
certainly need them since a strong force is chasing you.  I built up two Guard
Towers along with my Musketeers in the back providing support while my main
ground force attacked.  I only lost a few troops as the collective firepower
took care of the enemy force.  Once that's finished start building up fixed
defensive structures and unit factories.  Also, the desert seems to be somewhat
deserted around you so send out your builders to acquire more mana generators.
I even Walled in my Divine Lodestone and it lasted most of the map.  However,
be careful around the mana sites near the corners of the map.  They are guarded
by MirrorsGatling CrossbowsBomb Sprinklers.

I then walled in the lower left of my base and that seemed to help a lot.  At
the front of my base I had three Guard Towers on each side of the white path.
Along with a Lighthouse behind them and one Bastion for support.  I then placed
one Mortar behind everything on each side.  The enemy was also attacking from
the east so I built up my fixed structures there similar to how I did at the
white path.

The gameplay then consisted of waiting it out and repelling the various forces.
Random enemy forces will roam the desert and take out your various Lodestones
that are away from your main base.  Simply let them pass and build them up
again.  Later in the map it becomes more dangerous to do this.  By then you
should already be well entrenched though.  The enemy seemed to attack my base
mostly from the east and southwest.  After a while I decided to try to clear
out the northwest corner just to make it a tad easier for my forces.  Using
only Warriors (around 150-200 of them total) I eventually cleared it out and
built up my own Lodestones.  The enemy didn't seem to send out forces to
destroy them so if you are running low on mana that may be an ideal solution.

Near the end a swarm of enemies start attacking you.  This was definitely the
most thrilling part!  They attacked mostly from the south.  Since my defenses
were mainly armed for north and east engagements it was a little rough going.
Eventually I fought them back.  Finally the Amazons will appear.  They will
start running around and attacking the enemy.  Afterwards the map soon ends.
Whew.

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CHAPTER 06-ENEMY HANDS-This is fortunately a rather laid back map.  Compared to
some of the other maps this one is about easymedium.  The main enemy camp is
at the beach around the Sea Shadow.  There are also many ships in the nearby
ocean and a powerful one guarding the Sea Shadow.

Strategy I used to beat: Basically I just took my time building up my forces.
It seems the enemy doesn't attack until you attack first.  Or at least until
they see you.  I made sure their scouts didn't see me on radar as I built up my
base.  So I didn't use any mana resources that were above the big pit in the
middle of the map.  Once I did attack, the battle is pretty furious for the
first ten minutes.  But nothing too hard.  Just keep the units flowing and pull
Heligrin back when he gets severely damaged.  Some of the units might try to
climb up and attack your base but if you have multiple long range defensive
structures they won't pose a threat.  The enemy will then steadily drop
Mechanics on the beach to build more bases and mana refineries.  Be sure to nag
them enough to where nothing substantial gets built.  Taking out most if not
all their mana refineries will help a lot also.  Always make sure you keep your
forces a healthy distance from the beach as the ships will pummel you quickly.
After a while it seems the enemy runs out of Mechanics and ground units so then
it's time to take out the ship guarding the Sea Shadow.  I used 15 or so Ghost
Ships to do the job.  Having a good sized Ghost Ship army will also help
tremendously in this map.

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CHAPTER 07-CLOSE RANKS-This map was so laid back and easy I was sure Cavedog
had a nasty surprise for me when the island was cleared.  Thankfully, there was
none.  Your job is to unload your troops on the island somewhere and clear it
out of enemy forces.  It says the enemy is entrenched so it makes you wonder if
it will be a very hard battle.  In reality, it is more laborious than hard.

Strategy I used to beat: The area I dropped my troops off was near the middle
southwest part of the island.  You can't drop them off at the very bottom
because there are Gatling Crossbows and a Bomb Sprinkler waiting on you.  Once
you have a builder on the island go to the mana reserve at the lower right.
None of the weapons fired at me so I assume it is placed at a safe distance.
Meanwhile most of your attack forces should have already landed.  Good thing
since very soon a large Automaton force will attack.  However, you have PLENTY
of troops to easily kill them all.  Just don't go near the middle of this area
as there are more Gatling Crossbows and a Bomb Sprinkler waiting for you.

Once you have defeated the Automaton force, try to take out the middle fixed
structure force (gatling crossbow and bomb sprinkler).  I found that a Mortar
took care of the job quite handily.  You can now relax and build up the other
mana sites in the area (however don't try to use the one near the cliff.  There
is a Bomb Sprinkler there that has perfect range on you.)  I then proceeded to
build my base up with some defensive fixed structures.  I also put a Lighthouse
on the hill where the bomb sprinkler was.  Then I built up a substantial navy
(around 13 War Galleys).  Then I built two Trebuchets.  Using my flying scouts
to find targets I then bombed away with my Trebuchets.

After destroying most of the enemy structures I then took my original yet still
very sizable army and proceeded to attack inland.  There are a few Gatling
Crossbows and Mirrors you will probably have to take out by hand.  Also most of
the Bomb Sprinklers here are surrounded by walls.  So it will be much easier to
take them out with the Trebuchets.  I built both of my Trebuchets to the lower
left of my Lighthouse on the hill.  Their range included all the enclosed Bomb
Sprinklers.  Also there are not many enemy troops that are created on this map.

From then on it is pretty much mopping up.  A few enemy ships will ride by the
island shooting at you occasionally.  But it was never more than one at a time
and my navy took care of them.  Also all the ships that will attack you are in
the upper right portion of the map.  If you fly a scout up there then all the
ships attack at once.  There are around 6-9 of them.  I suggest either just
wait and let them thin out over the course of the map or take the appropriate
number of heavy ships (around 15-20 I'd say just to be safe) if you want to
kill them at once.  Once every enemy unit is killed then the map is over.

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CHAPTER 08-DARK TEMPEST-Whoa Nelly!  Talk about a bear of a level.  This is
definitely one for the record books.  I've read from several players that, in
their opinion, this level was the hardest in the game.  It is a grueling 'win
by inches' type map.  This can be an overwhelming map at times.  If you find
yourself getting slaughtered (like myself) over and over then turn the game off
and come back to it after a while.  Fresh rested endurance is always a bonus.
It will most likely take you 2-4 hours to beat.  Your mission is to take over
the Caora Island and show Aramon and Veruna who they are messing with.  But
they will not go down without a furious fight.

Strategy I used to beat: Having read a few other player's strategies I decided
to incorporate them into my own.  I definitely like to come up with my own
designs to win so I did a few things differently as well.  You start off on a
medium sized island in the northeast corner.  Immediately start making mana
generators and some fixed defensive structures.  Place them near the northwest
and southeast tips of the island.  During your exploration you will come across
random packs of Mer Warriors.  They are hard to kill while they are swimming.
They will most likely make it onto your island and cause some havoc.

Almost directly to the south of your island are some enemy Bastions on circular
floating islands.  They are pretty easy to kill as they will usually miss your
ships as you sail by firing.  After you have cleared that section out you might
draw some enemy ships toward your island.  If you do just sail back and attack.
By now you should have one or two Navy Yards constantly building ships.  If all
is clear then head a little left from that first group of Bastion islands you
destroyed.  There are some more islands and this one has a mana reserve on it.
I didn't put a mana generator here immediately thinking it would draw unwanted
attention.  The enemy did destroy it once but it didn't seem to be a big
concern for them.  Keeping a lone Mechanic on one Stern Wheeler and having him
unload and remake the mana generators when needed is a good strategy.  That is
all of the small circular islands in the ocean around your starting island.
You may start getting some more enemy ship attacks by now.

Next, you can choose which western corner you want to take over first.  Either
the northwest or southwest corners.  Both are practically identical in their
design.  You don't really have to worry about making land troops right now.  I
headed to the southwest corner first.  You will start to see some walls
dividing the ocean.  They have some Bastions and Lighthouses on them as well.
On the other side are heavily fortified medium sized islands.  They have a
couple of Bastions, Guard Towers, and a Mortar on them.  Also with some
Floating Towers as well.  If you head southwest first, right past the medium
fortified circular island is another set of the smaller Bastion islands.  There
is another mana reserve on one of them as well.  This area is well defended and
will take several passes to clear out.  If you get close to the enemy mainland
then their beach Mortars and Bastions will open fire on you as well.  You will
notice by now that you have come up to the enemy island.  There is a canal at
the very bottom of the map under the enemy island.  This is somewhat of a key
area.  There are some enemy Sea Forts down there and taking them out will ease
the attacks on your island.  You should also remember to sail through this area
from time to time as the enemy will try to rebuild its Sea Forts.  At the end
of the canal is some land that you can actually drop some troops onto.  Unless
you do this early in the game it won't give you any advantage.  It is just a
clear area that you could build some Mirrors or Bomb Sprinklers on and snipe at
the enemy.  Unfortunately the area does have some enemy fixed defensive
structures as well.  If you can take them out and place a few Mirrors there
then you can slow the enemy down somewhat.  I didn't bother with it since it
required a bit too much micromanagement to handle.

By now you will probably be getting steady enemy navy attacks and Mer Warrior
raids.  The enemy also has a few floating Trebuchet Ships.  They will snipe at
you forever if you don't take them out.  They are VERY annoying.  A trick I
learned was to take the ship they are trying to destroy and move it to the
eastern edge of the screen.  The floating Trebuchets will follow it and you can
then easily draw them out and destroy them with your fleet.  You will also
notice if you get too close to the southwest part of the enemy island that
enemy Dirigibles will start to trail you.  Make sure you have a few Stern
Wheelers to take them out or the enemy fleet will have a much easier time
hitting you.

After you have cleared the southwest part it's time to clear the northwest
part.  Again, it is designed similar to the southwest.  Another heavily
fortified medium circular island and a few Sea Forts in the northwest corner.
After you have cleared both areas out it is time to clear the beach for the
impending invasion.  Have some Barnstormers fly back and forth while your ships
tail them.  They will spot the enemy emplacements and destroy them.  Once that
is done then the hard part ensues.  Making a beachhead.  It is very advisable
to bring a lot of ships (15-30) as moving defensive structures.  After a while
the enemy will start attacking in mass and the explosive nature of the ship's
armament really helps a lot.

You will notice four platform areas that are easily accessible for unloading
troops.  On the enemy island they are located at: northwest corner, northeast
corner, one a little above the eastern middle, and then one a little below the
eastern middle.  The safest place seems to be the northeast corner platform.
There are a lot of buildings there that you can use defensively.  I walled a
few of them off so the enemy was forced to attack from two sides that had three
Bomb Sprinklers waiting for them.  While I was building my base up I was also
attacking the enemy from the southeast corner of the enemy island.  But not
with troops.  With ships and Mirrors.  I had two Mirrors on the small island
closest to the enemy mainland and a few more on the mana reserve island.  Then
I made a Barnstormer guard the small island.  The Mirrors did a good job of
pestering the enemy and drawing their attention from my invasion to the north.
The enemy finally came around to attacking my beach head but by then I had
already become entrenched and fortified.  The key is to keep many many ships
around your base and to logically place Mirrors as long range backup.  Your
ships will destroy a bulk of the enemy while the Mirrors will snipe the
stragglers.  Any leftovers are for my fixed defensive structures and troops.  I
did not bring a lot of troops onto the beachhead.  Just around eight Mechanics
to build up the base and about eight Shock Troopers and Beast Riders each.  I
did not use any Fire Wagons the whole map.  With my Navy and Mirrors guarding
me and the distraction to the southeast area, I had a good amount of time to
build up.  I built one Smithy and one Academy factory, three Bomb Sprinklers,
and a few Gatling Crossbows.

Now it was time to start invading inland.  But where to first?  I don't know if
there is a right way to go as it will be difficult no matter what you choose.
I chose to destroy the closest enemy mana generator just directly southwest of
my base.  You will always draw many troops and Catapults to you so be prepared.
After a bit I decided to build a second staging area at the northwest platform
area.  The enemy didn't seem to be that interested in my actions at first.  I
only made one Bomb Sprinkler and one Gatling Crossbow the whole time there.  I
placed another Smithy and started pumping out Automatons.  I also brought over
around ten ships to protect me.  At the same time queuing my other factories to
move new troops to my second base.  When I would get a nice sized army (10-18
Automatons and 3-6 Beast Riders) I would head diagonally towards the next mana
generator near the very middle of the island.  There is another enemy mana
generator directly right of it as well.  If you head directly south of the
northwest platform, you will run up a hill with two Bastions and a Mortar.
This area is very hard to penetrate right now.  My strategy wasn't to win by
brute force but to whittle down the enemy by knocking out their mana
generators.  After a long battle of trying to take both middle generators out I
finally succeeded.  I then used my Mirrors to make sure the mana generators
nearest to the middle east end were never built back up.

Now I decided to try to take out the heavily fortified raised metal platform at
the lower left of the island.  Again, this is a hard battle.  There are
numerous Mortars and Bastions on it.  Along with very well placed Lighthouses
and enemy troops who seem to always get in the way of your troops.  Patience
Patience Patience.  You should also start expanding to the middle of the
eastern edge of the enemy island.  The enemy Mortars can't hit you from there
but your Mirrors have a perfect shot at the fortified metal platform.  From my
second northwest base I kept the enemy occupied with constant attacks in the
middle of the island.  While I brought down some Mechanics and built up the
Mirrors as fast as I could.  Keeping a nearby ship defense as well.  After two
Mirrors were built I then sent Barnstormers on suicide runs to scope out the
platform.  If some of your Mirrors can't hit some structures then build more
that can.  Just don't build them too far inland or the enemy Mortars will start
hitting them.

Once the platform is mostly clear you can do one of two things: Either start
invading from the northwest base down or start working around the now clear
platform to the south and work your way west.  Both ways will be tough.  I
chose the first choice.  Again the key is to build up some Mirrors and pick
away at the structures on the hill.  They took out the Bastions and a few Guard
Towers but could not hit the Mortar.  Now it's time to start sending in a
majority of your army.  The Automatons will always be killed quickly but the
Beast Riders will do a splendid job of slowly wilting away at the enemy
structures.  Just keep pumping out troops.  By this time you will start to
break through down the hill to the opposite side of the now cleared metal
platform.  There will probably be even more Bastions, Lighthouses, and Guard
Towers waiting for you.  I did notice that while there were still plenty of
enemy troops that their numbers had diminished.  You will be losing squad after
squad here.  Just keep pushing.  Now the enemy will be focusing most of its
attention on that area.  Perfect time finally to build a third base at the once
dangerous lower middle right platform area.  I built a Bomb Sprinkler and two
Mirrors.  A Smithy and Academy factory as well.  Also you should have upgraded
ALL of your non enemy island mana refineries into amplifiers by now.  Again I
started pumping out Automatons and Beast Riders.  The enemy will most likely
have built some Bastions and Lighthouses beneath the cleared metal platform as
well.  Use the tried and true method of using a Barnstormer to scout.  Then the
mirrors to whittle away.  Your Mirrors won't be able to hit the more inland
structures easily.

Time to invade to the southwest.  There is another mana generator below the
metal platform.  Once the generator was destroyed it seemed the enemy was left
with a very low mana supply.  Along the path to the south then west you will
find more Mortars and Bastions.  Keep attacking them and finally they will
crumble.  Your other campaign from the northwest base should be getting closer
to the southwest part of the island.  You will now be hitting the last section
of enemy territory.  It will be tough going since there will be many dead enemy
structures in your way.  As well as most of the Bastions and Guard Towers
having Gold killing experience.  Good news is that there will probably be few
to no troops attacking you.  Keep sending in reinforcements and eventually you
will clear the island of the last enemy.  Whoa, what a hard battle.

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CHAPTER 09-THE TEST-This map is relatively easy.  It's a good thing since your
nerves will probably be waning from that last map.  This map takes a bit more
cautious exploring and relaxed tactics to beat.  Your mission is to keep
pressing onward into Aramon.  Here you are requested to assimilate the local
townsfolk.  After you have killed the populace and raised them back up as
Automatons you are to assault the area Barracks.  Here we go.

Strategy I used to beat: Fortunately as stated before this is a pretty calm
level.  You won't have loads of troops pouring out after you.  You start off
right at the top of the map.  There will be a few Horsemen running around in
your area.  Use your Chief Engineer to attack them.  His taser weapon has long
range and once hit the enemy will give chase.  Lure them back to your waiting
Fire Wagons and Shock Troopers.  Once dead simply reanimate them.

I ventured eastward first.  There are a few more Horsemen running in the
forest.  When you come near a small mountain slightly below your starting area
some Archers and a couple of Barbarians will attack.  Simply use the same
strategy against them.  Have your Automatons slow them down while your long
range troops mop up.  Below this area and slightly to the right you'll find an
enemy Watch Tower along with a Divine Lodestone.  Use your Chief Engineer and
your Shock Troopers to sneak along the beach until you are in range of the
Watch Tower.  If you go lower in the grass enemy Watch Towers and a Stronghold
in a castle will target you.  Take your time and soon the Watch Tower will
fall.  Afterwards walk to the area above the Divine Lodestone and destroy it.

Once finished head back to the small mountain where your main army is waiting.
Now start heading southwest around the other side of the small mountain.  Below
the mountain will be another Lodestone along with a Watch Tower.  Destroy both.
I then kept heading southwest.  Another Watch Tower and a few troops were
waiting for me there.  Keep moving until you reach the southwest corner.  Head
back up to where the small mountain was.  Head a little to the right and there
will be the castle again.  At the lower left of the castle is another Divine
Lodestone.  Take it out without drawing any attention from the Watch Towers.

Now head south and you will be about in the lower middle of the map.  Watch out
in this area as there are a few more troops and another Stronghold.  Spread
your forces out and take care of the Stronghold.  Continue east and there will
be another farm and a few more Watch Towers.  Once they are taken care up head
northeast and you will kill a few more lone Horsemen and other troops.  Now you
should gather your troops under the castle.  There will be another Lodestone in
this area.  Take it out.  Once that is destroyed the enemy will basically have
no mana left.  This will make the destruction of the Barracks much easier.

Now time to head up to the castle.  There will be two Watch Towers behind the
walls along with a Gate blocking your way.  You can easily destroy the Gate
with your Chief Engineer and Shock Troopers.  If you take any damage from the
Watch Towers just pull back and repair.  Now some enemy troops will start
coming out of the castle.  There were only about five of them in my game and
they are nothing to worry about.  Kill them then start flooding in the castle.
I targeted the two closest Watch Towers first then the Stronghold.  Then the
other two Watch Towers then finally the Barracks.  I had a very sizable
Automaton army at the end of the map (55 or so).  My advice is to just kill all
the villagers with your Chief Engineer and Shock Troopers to get them into Gold
experience (then resurrecting them into Automatons of course).  Enemy
resistance will be light the whole map so take your time and build up.

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CHAPTER 10-WAR TOYS-This map is quite a step up in difficulty from the last
map.  This is an intense fast paced map with difficulty between mediumhard.
Be sure not to take too much time setting up your base.  Take over the
surrounding area then head for the bridge to the east.

Strategy I used to beat: You start off with a nice army and some new Tortoise
units.  Directly south of your starting position are an enemy Lodestone and
some Watch Towers.  Use your Tortoise units to take care of the few enemy
troops, Watch Towers, and Lodestone.  From the starting position, I then used
my Beast Riders and Automatons to head east and there were more Watch Towers
along with another Lodestone.  The Watch Towers are spaced apart so try not to
rush in or they will do good damage against you.  After I had taken care of
them, I then built a Smithy at the starting area.  Build a few Mechanics and
send them to the various mana reserves.

I then headed farther east and came to a bridge.  Stop there and build up some
fixed defensive structures.  I first made a Bomb Sprinkler while logically
positioning my Beast Riders for support around the bridge.  You can use your
Tortoise units to then head south (southeast from your starting position) and
there will be a few more Watch Towers and another Lodestone.  Take over them
and you will have a nice flow of mana coming in.  Also since it will be
somewhat calm now it is a good time to try to take out the enemy Watch Towers
and Strongholds on the other side of the bridge.  Taking them out will take the
pressure off your Beast Riders and lets them shoot peacefully.  Soon enough the
enemy will assemble a good number of troops and start sending them over the
bridge.  They are usually Horsemen and Knights.  This is the intense part of
the map.  The fast moving units will try to swarm you and they will usually
have one or two Catapults at the other end of the bridge bombing away.

By now I had another Smithy and an Academy being built.  Keep pumping out
whichever troops you want.  Be sure to send out some 'slow down' units like
Automatons so your fixed structures and Beast Riders can have ample time to
destroy the enemy.  You may notice by now that there is a small strip of land
at the very bottom of the map.  This is a key area in winning this map.  You
will need to build a Navy Yard here sometime.  But not now as there are two War
Galleys that will attack if you stray too far east.  Simply send a Barnstormer
to that area and the War Galleys will start heading toward your troops at the
bridge.  Your numerous Beast Riders will make short work of them.

You will probably be having mana problems now since you will have all your
factories making troops.  If the fast enemy troops are starting to advance over
the bridge into your area then it is a good idea to have a Bomb Sprinkler
continuously attack the opening of the other side of the bridge.  The enemy
will get tangled up for a few seconds when trying to cross, and this will
damage if not kill them before they come across.  After I felt like I had a
good hold of the bridge I decided to upgrade a few of my mana refiners into
mana amplifiers.  After the first one was made I then constructed a Mirror to
help kill the enemy troops that were crossing the bridge.  I had tried to build
another Bomb Sprinkler closer to the bridge but it was too easy for the enemy
to bomb it.  After the Mirror was finished, I built another mana amplifier.

Now I had a good mana supply flowing in.  After I felt I had made enough troops
for the time being I then stopped all factories and built a Navy Yard.  I built
it at the lowest left section of the river.  Since ships are expensive I made
one more mana amplifier.  It is best if you don't make an amplifier out of the
mana reserve closest to the bridge.  As usual the enemy will easily bomb it.  A
good method to stop the Catapults is to manually aim the Mirrors and see what
they are shooting at.  Keep switching enemy blips until it says it is targeting
a Catapult or other long range unit.  Once the third mana amplifier was built
it was time to make a navy.  I built five or six ships and then looked for
targets. I immediately took out the enemy Divine Lodestone that was along the
water.  There is also an enemy Barracks to the right of it as well.  After
taking both out I then set a Barnstormer to guard one of the ships and sent
them on patrol below the enemy dock.  This helped two fold.  I was able to
destroy one of the enemy Barracks in the castle along with many of the bridge
bound units.  It also distracted the enemy to the point that I was able to
build a few more Mirrors near my side of the bridge and to start moving my
units into enemy territory.

While my land units were starting to make some headway toward the enemy castle
I then sent some Mechanics to build more Mirrors on the small strip of land
directly below the docks.  I didn't have to worry about enemy bombardment as my
patrolling ships were protecting me.  After the Mirrors were built I then sent
a Barnstormer in to scout.  I targeted and took out an enemy Trebuchet, another
Barracks, Stronghold, and more harassment of the enemy troops.  By now I had
taken over all the mana reserves outside the castle.  The pressure to defend
the bridge had passed as I was now approaching the castle entrance.  I built
two Bomb Sprinklers and had a healthy supply of Beast Riders outside the
castle.  Along with the Mirrors I had built on my side of the bridge I had firm
control of the entrance.  I then used both Smithies to pump out Tortoise units.
As I made headway into the castle, I took out the enemy Keep along with more
Strongholds and other structures.  I even had two Stern Vessels full of Beast
Riders to unload on the south dock.  I never needed them.  I kept pouring in
Tortoise units and after destroying most of the important structures I then
brought in my Beast Riders that were guarding the castle entrance.  They made
quick work of the remaining enemy and cleared out the castle.

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CHAPTER 11-KINGSBARROW HILLS-Hello!  Talk about tense.  This particular mission
is a hold out mission.  Difficulty is either hard or near impossible, depending
on how well you play.  You have been given orders to hold an area against the
Creons.  Set up your base as fast and logical as you can.  There will be packs
of enemies attacking you from all sides in this mission.  The mission lasts
about 30-40 minutes.  If you don't set your base up correctly then you are
going to be hitting the reload button a lot.

Strategy I used to beat: You are only given four mana reserves in this mission.
Two are above your starting position (left and right) and one is below your
starting position.  I also upgraded the one directly left of the starting area
to a mana amplifier.  It may not have been a good idea.  I'll explain later.
For the first ten minutes or so, it is pretty much smooth sailing.  You will be
confronted with packs of Automatons and Shock Troopers.  Usually about six in
each pack.  You have three major accesses to your base.  Directly north,
directly west, and directly southeast.  I walled in the southeast route.
Something I would advise to do as it made things considerably easier.  I built
up Watch Towers on the west route first.  One on each side of the road.  Then I
headed to the north route and put two on each side.  I then built some Spyhawks
and had them patrol so my Watch Towers had good vision.  I then made a few more
Archers and put them all into one big group.  I also set all the Mage Archers
to 'Tracking arrow.'  This seemed to help a lot during the map.  I then created
a Mage Builder and used him to wall in the southeast route.  Then I walled in
the mana generators except on the sides facing my base.

After I built up four more Watch Towers (6 in total) on the west route I then
got another Mage Builder to start on a Stronghold behind the bottom three
towers.  After it was finished I had him build another Stronghold behind two of
my towers on the north route on the right side.  This position seems to have
quite a blind spot with the mana generator on the right corner.  You should
make it a habit to group the Watch Towers and Stronghold on that side and
manually aim them when needed.  I also was using Elsin and his earthen wave
attack to quickly get into Gold experience.

After a few minutes, I decided to build a Keep.  A Keep will be worth the
effort if for only one unit.........the Knight.  He is invaluable on this map.
After the Keep was built I then made two Cannoneers and placed them on the west
route.  They performed admirably on that side and had well over ten kills each.
I placed one behind each Watch Tower row.  I then decided to build a mana
amplifier on my starting mana generator.  If I was to play this map again
I definitely would not have done that.  It took too long and it drained too
much mana.  And the benefits of the amplifier weren't that apparent.  I would
have otherwise built some more Mage Archers or Knights.

After a bit you will start to get annoyingly sniped by Tortoise units.  They
will use their shooting range to the maximum and stay far away from your base.
This is where the Knights and their speed comes into play.  If you have
anywhere from 6-12 Knights at any given time you should be OK.  You will also
be frequently ambushed by Neo Dragons.  They are really hard to kill with just
two Watch Towers.  I did all right since I had so many Archers but building 6-8
Watch Towers on each route would not be a bad idea.  Eventually all but one of
my Watch Towers on the north side was destroyed.  Luckily about 25 minutes into
the map you get a few minutes of peace and quiet to rebuild your base.  I
struggled on the north side with just five Watch Towers, one Stronghold, and
Elsin guarding.  However the west side with its six Watch Towers, one
Stronghold, three Catapults, two Cannoneers, and frequent hang out for the
Archer pack was virtually impenetrable.  For some reason later in the map you
run completely dry of mana.  Either it is being used to recharge Elsin's
weapons or automatically healing something.  But it was very frustrating trying
to repair while something was draining away +500 mana while only gaining around
+90.  Just keep on your toes and repairing structures and units when needed.
Use hit and run tactics with the swift Knights against the Tortoise units and
wherever else they are needed.  And when the Neo Dragons attack, show them the
fury of your Archer group (I had a mix of Mage and non mage Archers from 8-12
units).

The last few minutes are very tough.  You will get attacked by about 12 Neo
Dragons from all sides, a bunch of Beast Riders and Shock Troopers, and a good
number of Tortoises.  After the last main battle and between breaths for
repairs the Victory text flashed.  Whew.

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CHAPTER 12-SECRETS UNVEILED-This map is a welcome change of pace.  This one
gives you a handful of units and you are to use them to win.  You are given
some Archers, Barbarians, a Knight, and three Assassins.  The map is not too
easy but it is very simp 
                    

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