Basic tutorial for the 7th design iteration

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Basic tutorial for the 7th design iteration

Postby Groovy » Apr 11 2015, 14:51

The purpose of this topic is to explain how the game works in enough detail to make it possible to play the game afterwards, at a basic level. The tutorial uses a small and simple map – only a handful of terrain types, and only towns, dwellings (level 1 and 2) and lairs (level 1 and 2) are present. All the other buildings are omitted, together with higher level creatures and their corresponding items.

The tutorial is self-contained - all the game information that it uses is presented inside this thread.

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Postby Groovy » Apr 11 2015, 14:52

This post serves as a table of contents for all the game turns. This is to make it easier to follow the game uninterrupted by comments, or skip to the desired turn.

Week 1

Day 1Day 2Day 3Day 4Day 5Day 6Day 7Week 2

Day 1
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Postby Groovy » Apr 11 2015, 14:53

Here are the items that make up the Sylvan faction. They are listed here for reference. They will be explained in detail when they first make an appearance in the game.

Emblems:
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Creatures:
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Units:
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Equipment:
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Spells:
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Abilities:
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Town dependency diagram:
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Postby Groovy » Apr 11 2015, 14:53

Here are the items that make up the Barbarian faction. They are listed here for reference. They will be explained in detail when they first make an appearance in the game.

Emblems:
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Units:
Image Image Image Image

War machines:
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Equipment:
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Abilities:
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Town dependency diagram:
Image
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Postby Groovy » Apr 11 2015, 14:54

Here are the items that make up the rest of the game, and that are not specific to any faction. They are listed here for reference. They will be explained in detail when they first make an appearance in the game.

Terrain:
Image Image Image
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Map structures:
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Species:
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Heroes:
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Militia:
Image Image Image Image Image Image Image

Equipment:
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Abilities:
Image Image Image Image Image

Categories:
Image Image
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Postby Groovy » Apr 11 2015, 15:13

Here is the map for the game:
Image

Initially, the map is covered by shroud. Only high-level information – size, shape and location of general areas – is known.

A map serves as the board on which the game is played. It marks the starting location for each player, and what they start the game with. This particular map was designed to be played by two players, each one starting in control of a town.

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Postby Groovy » Apr 11 2015, 15:41

Before the game proper can begin, the board must be set up. For this map, this means revealing the two starting locations.
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Each starting location is a town. A town occupies 7 map tiles. At the beginning of a game, only the centre tile is built up. This is where the townsfolk creatures live.

The greyscale border around the edges of the town marks the boundary of the area where the town is situated. The multicolour border marks the boundary of the region over which the town has influence.

The players must now choose their faction. Only two are available at this point – Barbarian and Sylvan. The bottom player chooses Sylvan, and the top one the Barbarian faction.
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The faction emblem indicates which faction the town belongs to. A Sylvan town is known as Treetop. A Barbarian town is known as Stronghold.

The players’ towns must now be populated by townsfolk creatures from their chosen faction. For Sylvan, this is elves, and for Barbarian, orcs.
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The creature tokens indicate that these creatures live in the town.

Lastly, there are 4 creatures currently available in each town.
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This is because both elves and orcs are level 1 creatures. Level 2 creatures live in smaller groups and only make 3 creatures available to the player.

The board setup is now complete.
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All that remains to be done is to decide who goes first. The Sylvan player kindly volunteers.

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Turn 1: Sylvan

Postby Groovy » Apr 11 2015, 22:13

All that the Sylvan player has to work with is a Sylvan town with four elves in it. What to do?

The town dependency diagram provides a hint – whatever elves can do in a Sylvan town.
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Elves can be trained into Huntress units. These are militia units that can be acquired from any elven dwelling, in a town or in the countryside.
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Elves can also be trained into Druid units, which are specific to the Sylvan faction and can only be acquired from Sylvan towns.
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The elf hero can also be acquired. This is a unique unit that represents a particular elf individual rather than some generic elf. Only one elf hero can be in play at any given time, regardless of who is controlling it.
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Lastly, elves are classified as workers. This has no immediate use, but might come in handy later on (not in this game, though, due to creature level being limited to 2).
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Which unit to recruit? It’s hard to tell without knowing what’s lurking in the surrounding countryside. The Sylvan player opts for the Druid because he has the Forestwalk ability. This should help with exploration if he encounters forests along the way.
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There are now 3 elf creatures available in the town, the fourth having been trained into a Druid unit and made available to the player.
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The only thing the Druid can do at this point is explore the map. He has a speed of 4 action points, as indicated by his speedometer. His only mobility is walking.
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Town tiles cost 1 action point to walk across, regardless of whether they have been built up or not.
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The Druid boldly steps out of the town centre. He now has 3 action points left, and is standing at the edge of the explored world.
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When a unit controlled by a player reaches the shroud, the shrouded areas adjacent to it are revealed. In this case, Calvinia is revealed.
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Calvinia turns out to be a grassland area with a hill and a dog house... er... level 1 dwelling. Dwellings house people, as opposed to lairs, which house animals, insects and plants.
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Now that a dwelling has been found, the player must determine who lives there. Calvinia lies within the region of influence of the L'Agulhas town, so its residents must be compatible with the Sylvan faction, as per the Sylvan dependency diagram. In other words, the dwelling must be populated by Elves, Sirens or Satyrs.
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The player randomly determines that the dwelling is populated by Satyrs. He places the required tokens on the board, including the defensive unit, which is always the militia unit of the species that lives in the dwelling.
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In Heroic, towns only house townsfolk creatures. For towns to develop and grow in power, they must have the support of creatures who live in dwellings and lairs in the countryside. This support is currently acquired by conquering them. Of course, dwellings have no love for the player’s expansionist plans and don't want to be conquered, and will resist all such efforts.

Neutral units behave kind of like a third faction – they treat all neutral units as allies and all player units as enemies. They will move and attack player units that it is advantageous for them to attack. The only special rule governing their behaviour is that they have to return to their starting position at the end of their turn. For this Mountaineer, this means returning to the defence of the Satyr dwelling. This is to ensure that strategically important locations that they have been tasked with defending are not left unguarded.

Based on the Mountaineer’s speed (4 action points) and mobility (walking), and the movement cost of the surrounding terrain, the Mountaineer’s reach is shown with red dots below. This is how far away the Mountaineer can move while returning home on the same turn. Note that shrouded tiles are impassable.
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Of course, the Mountaineer is not going to accomplish anything by just moving around the map. A more interesting measure is his attack reach – how far away he is able to attack. The Mountaineer has a single combat ability – strike – which costs 2 action points to perform and has a range of 1 tile (its target must be on a neighbouring tile).
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Because both walking and attacking cost action points, the more the Mountaineer does of one, the less he can do of the other. On a turn on which he attacks, he will only have 2 action points left for movement - 1 to leave the dwelling and 1 to return.

The movement portion of the Mountaineer’s attack range is shown with red dots below, with the location of potential targets marked with battle symbols. If the Mountaineer moves onto a battle tile, he will no longer have enough action points left to both attack and return home.
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This means that the Druid is safe for now. :)

Can the Druid attack the Mountaineer?
Having already moved, he has 3 action points left on the current turn. His only combat ability – zap – costs 3 action points to perform. If he is to attack, he has to attack from his current location, or postpone the attack to another turn. Zap has a range of 2 tiles, which places the Mountaineer out of the Druid’s attack reach.
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Unable to attack, the Sylvan player moves the Druid to reveal the Caledon area instead.
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Caledon has more varied terrain, and is also a home to a level 2 lair. As with Calvinia’s level 1 dwelling, the Sylvan player has to randomly determine its inhabitants from the choices offered by the Sylvan dependency diagram – Horses, Bears or Cats. It turns out to be Cats.
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Animals don’t have militia units to defend them, so this task falls to a randomly selected unit of the same level. It turns out to be Clay Gargoyle.
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Even though the Clay Gargoyle is able to fly and has an extra action point over the Mountaineer, the requirement to return to the starting point at the end of the turn means that its attack reach is the same.
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At this point, there is no obvious course of action for the Druid to take, so the Sylvan player decides to leave him for now and recruit a Huntress from the town. Her mission is to attack the Mountaineer, while uncovering Amalia along the way.
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Amalia sports a level 1 lair, which could be populated by any level 1 animal, insect or plant from the Sylvan dependency diagram (Vines, Wolves or Eagles). The Sylvan player randomly determines it to be Vines. Because Vines are as defenceless as Cats, a random level 1 unit is assigned to protect their lair – a Viper.
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Even though Viper is associated with the Barbarian faction, it serves as a neutral unit in this instance.

There are now two neutral level 1 units that are within the shooting range of the Huntress (this will become clear shortly). The ideal shooting spot against the Viper is unfortunately a forest tile, which the Huntress cannot access because she doesn’t have the Forestwalk ability. The Sylvan player decides to position the Druid there to attack on the next turn, while sending the rest of his troops against the Mountaineer. The Druid is safe from being attacked by the Viper because of the hill that lies between them.
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The Druid has now used up all his action points for this turn. The Huntresses have 2 points each, which is not enough to use their combat ability, which costs 3. So the Sylvan player sends the Elf hero to their rescue.
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Heroes have special Aura of Effect abilities that change the behaviour of certain friendly units around them. The Elf hero has two such abilities. Both of them only affect shooters. The first one reduces the cost of shooting by 1 action point. The second one gives shooters the Piercing Shot ability. For friendly units to gain these effects, they must be stationed next to the Elf hero when they shoot.
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Both Huntresses now attack the Mountaineer. The damage dealt is simply attack - defence. Each Huntress has 3 attack. The Mountaineer ordinarily has 0 defence, but gets +1 defence from the dwelling. This means that each shot deals 3-1=2 damage, which equals the Mountaineer’s total health, killing him.
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This uses up the Huntresses’ remaining action points. The Elf hero still has 3 action points left, which she uses to capture the Satyr dwelling. Note that units can move through the tiles occupied by other friendly units, provided that they don’t end their turn there, or perform any other action (attack, cast spell, etc) while on a shared tile.
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This gives the Sylvan player access to 4 Satyr creatures, and all the items that they can turn into in a Sylvan town. Note that items that are not faction-specific – Satyr hero and militia units in this instance – can be acquired from either the town or the dwelling.
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Fauns are a race of Satyrs that can only be found in Sylvan towns. Fauns make a couple of items available to the Sylvan player that he can use to enhance his units.
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Neither of them is currently useful against neutral units, so the Sylvan player decides to acquire the Satyr hero instead, and take the fight to the Clay Gargoyle who is guarding the Cat lair.
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This is the map at the end of the Sylvan player's first turn.
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Postby Panda Tar » Apr 12 2015, 0:17

Good! :D Now things start to settle in my understanding. Don't forget to explain icons as well as you show cards. All these things are important for documentation.
"There’s nothing to fear but fear itself and maybe some mild to moderate jellification of bones." Cave Johnson, Portal 2. :panda:

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Postby Groovy » Apr 12 2015, 4:03

I'm explaining icons as they become relevant to the game. Otherwise it might be too much too quickly with no immediate use. :)

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Turn 1: Barbarian

Postby Groovy » Apr 20 2015, 6:18

The Barbarian player consults the town dependency diagram to decide what to do.
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The only options available to her at this point are to train the town orcs into either the orc hero or the militia units. She opts for a militia unit to begin with.
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She discovers a level 2 dwelling in the Taung area, and a level 2 lair in the Tulbagh area. From the selection of ogres, gargoyles and spirits, she randomly populates the dwelling with spirits. From the selection of horses, crocodiles and pumpkins, she randomly populates the lair with crocodiles, and randomly assigns Smashing Pumpkin as their guardian.
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These are level 2 units, too tough for the Barbarian player to take on at this stage. She needs to find a level 1 dwelling or lair with which to develop the town.
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She discovers a level 1 dwelling in the Uvongo area, and a level 1 lair in the Temba area. From the selection of orcs, goblins and gnolls, she randomly populates the dwelling with orcs. From the selection of snakes, spiders and wolves, she randomly populates the lair with spiders, and randomly assigns Archer as their guardian.
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The lair is within her striking reach on the current turn, so she wastes no time in sending her remaining troops there.
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The Grunt has 2 action points left, which is enough to use his strike ability. The Archer is unable to retaliate – her shooting ability doesn’t have the crossed swords symbol. Furthermore, the Orc hero has the aura of effect ability that enables any friendly adjacent striking unit to strike an additional time.
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The Grunt strikes twice, dealing 3-1=2 damage each time. The Archer dies. Another Grunt then uses his remaining 3 action points to capture the spider lair.
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Spiders give the Barbarian player new options. Together with Grunts, she can train them into Spider Riders – level 2 units. Or she can use them to produce poison with which to enhance other units’ attack. Furthermore, as haulers, they allow her to produce two war machines – Wagon and Basher.
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Basher was designed to deal with high-level units, so it’s not a good choice here. Wagon is better, but requires two spiders to produce. Poison attack is handy against other players, but is usually too slow in creeping. So the Barbarian player takes a spider from the lair and withdraws a Grunt to the town in order to produce a Spider Rider. Because the Spider Rider resulted from an upgrade of an existing unit, it cannot perform any actions until next turn – upgrading consumes all the remaining action points. Note that this restriction only applies to unit-specific actions; other actions, such as acquiring further upgrades, can be performed on the same turn.
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Lastly, the Barbarian player positions the orc hero for an assault on the orc dwelling next turn.
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Here is the map at the end of the Barbarian player’s first turn.
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Turn 1: neutral

Postby Groovy » Apr 23 2015, 14:46

The only neutral unit that can attack a faction unit is the Clay Gargoyle. It attacks the Satyr hero, dealing 5-2=3 damage. The Satyr hero retaliates, dealing 3-1=2 damage. The Satyr hero has 1 health left, and the Clay Gargoyle has 4.
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Turn 2: Sylvan

Postby Groovy » Apr 23 2015, 15:32

The Sylvan player positions his troops for an all-out attack on the cat lair. This is because cats, as level 2 creatures, will enable him to train powerful level 2 units – Panther Riders – which will dramatically increase his creeping speed and power. The Satyr hero serves as cannon fodder – to protect the shooters behind him.
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On the other end of the battlefield, the Druid wants to attack the Viper and capture the vine lair. However, the forest has reduced his zapping range to 1, and coming closer will expose him to the Viper’s poisonous attack, which he will not survive. So he moves to explore the Aliwal area in search of a more suitable location from which to attack.
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Aliwal contains a level 2 dwelling, which the Sylvan player randomly populates with liches from the selection of devas, liches and shadows. The new spot exposes the Druid to the Viper’s attack, so he retreats to safety.
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The map at the end of the turn:
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Turn 2: Barbarian

Postby Groovy » Apr 24 2015, 6:15

The Barbarian player sends her troops to attack the orc dwelling.
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After moving into position, the Spider Rider has only 1 action point left. This is not enough to use his poison attack. Fortunately, he has another attack that doesn’t require action points to use. It corresponds to the rider’s attack and is not dependent on how far the spider has already moved, but can simply be used once per turn. The Spider Rider attacks, dealing 4-1=3 damage. The Grunt retaliates dealing 3-0=3 damage. The Spider Rider then strikes for the second time (thanks to the orc hero’s Double Strike aura of effect ability), and kills the Grunt. The Spider Rider still has 1 action point left.
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Because the Spider Rider has only one action point left, the Barbarian player uses the orc hero to capture the orc dwelling. This is to ensure that both units can retreat should they encounter a nearby hostile unit in the bordering Bulwer area.
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The Griffin is far enough away to let them be. Unfortunately, with only 1 action point left, the orc hero has nowhere to go without being killed by either the Griffin or the Ghost, and so has to stay put. This means that the Spider Rider cannot move into the orc dwelling to heal (wounded units heal in dwellings).

With access to another orc dwelling, the Barbarian player is able to use a further 4 orcs. She trains them into Spider Rider units in an attempt to capture the level 2 dwelling and lair as quickly as possible.
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She still has 2 orcs left, but is out of spiders. She decides not to recruit any more Grunts in the hope that she can find better use for orcs later in the week. Using them at this point would only clutter the battlefield.

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Turn 2: neutral

Postby Groovy » Apr 26 2015, 19:50

The Clay Gargoyle attacks and kills the satyr hero. It has 3 action points left after that, which is enough to attack one of the Huntresses as well, but not enough to return home.
Image

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Turn 3: Sylvan

Postby Groovy » Apr 26 2015, 21:28

Thanks to the company of the elf hero, the Huntresses require 2 action points to shoot instead of 3. This enables them to shoot twice in the same turn. They shoot at the Clay Gargoyle, each shot dealing 3-2=1 damage. The Clay Gargoyle had 6-2=4 health left, so the Huntresses kill it. The elf hero then proceeds to capture the cat lair.
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The Sylvan player will now have to be on the lookout for the Barbarian player trying to take the cat lair by surprise. This can be done by recruiting 2 Grunts at the orc dwelling and sending them passed the Griffin. One will get killed, but the other will get through. The Sylvan player cannot recruit any units directly from the lair, so he’ll have to keep some forces within one turn’s reach, just in case. This is not as great a threat as it might seem because Barbarians cannot use cats. It will just delay the Sylvan player if done at the right time.

The Sylvan player decides to make use of cats as quickly as possible. He sends the Druid back to the town to decommission him back into an ordinary elf creature.
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He then trains the elf and a cat into a Panther Rider unit (the elf is trained into a Huntress automatically as a part of this process). Because the Panther Rider originated from an existing unit (Druid), the training process consumes the remainder of the turn. While he is waiting to use the Panther Rider, he also improves it with the Regenerate in Forest ability, which he obtains from a satyr (faun).
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Turn 3: Barbarian

Postby Groovy » Apr 28 2015, 14:20

The Barbarian player positions her troops for an attack on the Ghost.
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The Spider Riders are out of action points, so they use their rider attack, which can be used once per turn and does not require action points. Each attack does 4-2=2 damage. The Ghost’s retaliation does 5-1=4 damage. The uninjured Spider Rider attacks first because the injured one wouldn’t have survived the retaliation (a unit can only retaliate once per turn).
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The spirit dwelling is now available for capture, but none of the units involved in its attack have enough action points left to capture it. So the Barbarian player sends in a Spider Rider from the other side to do this. On the way, it moves past the Balgowan area, uncovering it.
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With the Kami positioned on a hill, her zapping attack can reach 1 tile further than usual. This places the Spider Rider and the spirit dwelling within her attack range. The Barbarian player decides to take the fight to her. She proceeds with the capture of the spirit dwelling, and then recruits spirit-based units to attack the Kami.

In the process, they explore the Amatola area as well. It is a mountainous area that serves purely as an obstacle – mountains are impassable by any means. They cannot be moved through, flown over or burrowed under. No weapon, spell or effect can breach them. The only way to get past is to go around.
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The Barbarian player now attacks the Kami with a spirit hero, and positions the Ghosts next to the Kami so that she cannot zap them without being retaliated against. The Barbarian player also positions her remaining troops for an advance on the crocodile lair.
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Turn 3: neutral

Postby Groovy » Apr 28 2015, 14:43

The Kami attacks the spirit hero, dealing 5-2=3 damage to it.
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Turn 4: Sylvan

Postby Groovy » Apr 29 2015, 6:31

Like the Spider Rider, the Panther Rider has two attacks – that of the panther (costs 2 action points), and that of the rider (can be performed once per turn). Because the panther is faster than the spider, and because the Huntress is a shooter, the Panther Rider has tremendous attack range. The top picture shows the panther’s attack range, and the bottom one that of the rider. This makes it possible for the Sylvan player to utilise it in the historical role of the horse archer.
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The Sylvan player has to move quickly to capture the lich dwelling before the Barbarian player does. He sends the Panther Rider to kill the Viper with her ranged attack and occupy the vine lair. He also withdraws the remaining Huntresses to the town to upgrade them into Panther Riders.
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Now that he controls the vine lair, the Sylvan player uses one of the vines to upgrade the newly recruited Panther Rider. He uses the remaining three to produce the Bramble Wall. The Bramble Wall is a very sturdy but purely defensive unit with which he hopes to block the anticipated Barbarian advance on the lich dwelling.
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Turn 4: Barbarian

Postby Groovy » Apr 29 2015, 7:13

The Barbarian player decides to chance her hand at capturing the lich dwelling before the Sylvan player does. If she succeeds, she will be able to recruit the three lich militia units that reside there, which will give her an overwhelming advantage. With the Ghosts and spirit hero in position, she’ll be able to capture it on her next turn.
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It is left to the rear units to finish off the Kami.
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The wounded Spider Riders move to dwellings in order to heal. The orc hero moves closer to the crocodile lair, in case his assistance is needed there.
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