Author Archives: Tombles

V1.7 is here: The Age Of Modding Has Begun!

After a successful Open Beta we are happy to announce that update 1.7 is now available on Steam and will be available as a patch for our GOG users within the next 24 hours. As well as a number of bug fixes and balance tweaks, the update makes modding tools available to our users so they can start shaping the game into what they want it to be!  There are already many interesting the Age of Wonders users to check out.ModdingBig

Modding tools allow users to:

  • Modify existing units, as well as create entirely new ones with new art.
  • Change spells, skills, specializations .
  • Create new recruitable heroes
  • Create entire new races and classes
  • Change the overal gameplay rules
  • Use Mods in combination with new Campaigns and Multiplayer.
  • Create entire new worlds, basically create a new game 🙂


Early Mods to Check Out:

Over the period that the mod has been in Beta, a number of Mods have already been made available via the Steam workshop. Some are complete, while some are still work in progress, but all of them improve the game for the better:

There are still more to see! Head over to the Workshop to check them out:

Creating your own Mods

For information on how you can make your own mods, see this thread on our forums.  The tools seem complex at first, but a lot of people should be able to understand the basics.  No programming knowledge is required.

It contains a link to our official modding guide, as well as some example mods to help you get started.

Due to technical constraints, the modding tools are only available to Windows users, however our Mac and Linux users will still be able to download and use mods made by other users.


The 1.7 Features

Finally, Update 1.7 comes with a number of balance and stability fixes. A complete list of patch notes is below:

  • Fixed a bug that prevented roaming independent monsters from attacking undefended cities.
  • Fixed a bug in the Random Map Generator where the setting ‘Random Map Type’ would sometimes generate incorrect maps.
  • Fixed a rare crash caused by independent heroes casting spells during city battles.
  • Draconian Monster Hunter now has the correct damage upgrades when levelling up.
  • Mounts of Unlife now also displays Inflict Noxious Vulnerability in the unit panel.
  • Fixed Falling Clouds not affecting unit vision range.
  • Fixed issue where cosmic happenings fired by the Box of Cataclysms would sometimes not apply to all players.
  • Penguins are even more dire now.
  • Vampire Spider no longer is dedicated to evil.
  • Load time optimization for low specs machines.
  • Fixed a rare issue where the AI would hang in tactical combat when trying to retreat heroes.
  • Fixed a crash when a cosmic happening ended.
  • ‘Flaming Mace of Yakka’ is now called ‘Flaming Mace of Yaka’.
  • Fixed an issue where a player would lose the game when their throne city was a Reef Dwelling far from land, and their leader returned from the void.
  • Added failsafe code that detects a rare issue when a player loses both their leader and throne city without losing the game.
  • Added PBEM Version Upgrade confirmation dialog. This is intended warn people of possible version conflicts in PBEM. E.g. if some people in a PBEM session forgot to switch out of a beta build before playing.
  • Fixed an issue where an incorrect error message would be displayed for the spell currently being cast in the spell book.
  • Fixed a translation issue that caused some Polish text to be displayed in the French version and vice versa.
  • Fixed a bug where clicking ‘Yes’ on the duplicate color dialog during leader customization could cause the starting layer to be different from what the player had selected.
  • Burial Ground now costs 100 gold (was 100 gold, 50 mana)
  • Basilica now costs 100 gold, 50 mana (was 200 gold, 50 mana)
  • Dwarf Economic 1 now gives cities with Stone Walls +10 production for Necromancer Players
  • Corpus Furia now does 15 blight damage (was 10 physical)
  • Domain of XXX spells will no longer appear in the spell book for Necromancers
  • Essence Harvest no longer gives casting points for killing Ghouls
  • Necromancer players will now almost always be offered a necromancer hero in the first round.
  • Whispers Of The Dead now costs 15 mana per turn (was 10) and gives a small amount of knowledge for each unit the player kills in combat and each unit that dies in battles that the spell detects
  • Phantasm Warriors now have resistance 8 (was 9)
  • Fixed an issue where units with multiple copies of the same ability would sometimes be able to bypass the ability’s cooldown.
  • Fixed high elf race governance upgrades having the wrong names
  • When a debuff stacks on a target, the timers on other copies of the debuff will now be reset so all copies share the same timer.
  • Necromancer players can no longer select the Creation specializations (almost none of the skills in the sphere were of any use to them)
  • Fire Wyvern now has 52hp (was 44), does 7 fire damage (was 6)
  • Frost Wyvern now has 52hp (was 44), does 7 frost damage (was 6)
  • Bone Wyvern now has 52hp (was 44), does 7 blight damage (was 6)
  • Gold Wyvern now has 54hp (was 46), does 7 spirit damage (was 6)
  • Obsidian Wyvern now has 48hp (was 40), does 10 physical/3 blight damage (was 11 physical), has Inflict Weakened on gold (was Inflict Exhausting Fatigue)
  • Fixed City Quake to have proper happiness and relation damage.
  • Fixed an issue in the launcher that prevented some Mac users from accessing user content.
  • Increased the maximum number of PBEM games from 5 to 10.
  • Necro Frostling Prophet Economic Racial Governance now correctly gives 10 gold and mana instead of 5.
  • Stables of Vigor bonuses cannot be applied on undead units anymore, nor can the upgrade be built in undead cities.
  • Fixed Cragmire in the Caldera Games map so that you now can declare war on the city and its Dragon.
  • Fixed root spears not reducing move points of units that didn’t have full move points
  • Fixed an issue where units with Pass Wall and Floating could move through enemy units when those units were stood in open gates or on walls.
  • Poison bolts, bane fire, and spirit rays are now available in the item forge
  • Fixed an issue where using scripts to trigger a spell on a city would cause a crash
  • AI no longer surrenders when it’s near a seal and beacon victory
  • Savage Rage and Lion’s Courage can now enable the physical damage channel.
  • Power Ritual can now enable both the physical and blight damage channels.
  • Victory Rush now heals 12hp (was 6)
  • Orc Priest now has Bane Fire (was Black Bolts) and Break Control
  • Orc Razerbow now has War Cry
  • Orc Apprentice now has Fairy Fire
  • Orc Shaman now has Bane Fire (was Black Bolts) and War Cry
  • Node Serpent now has 75hp (was 65)
  • Fixed an issue that prevented players from saving mid turn in PBEM games
  • Fixed a bug that meant certain units (like dire penguins) would ignore terrain penalties
  • Fixed a bug that meant race happiness wasn’t always being applied to units (e.g. when the game started, or when the unit changes sides)
  • Fixed some issues that allowed players to detect units who were concealed or behind the fog of war using builders/settlers
  • Fixed an issue where losing mind control over a unit who was mind controlling a third unit wouldn’t cancel the control over the third unit
  • Goblin Economic 5 now gives +1 production per swamp hex instead of +3 happiness
  • Fixed an issue where clicking on an enemy stack which had concelaed units meant the unit select buttons malfunctioned

Age of Modders – AoW3 Modding in V1.7 Open Beta

We are happy to announce that an Open Beta of the new Modding system is starting today! With these tools you will be able to modify or even create units, spells, abilities and much more!

Also, after listening to feedback from the community, we have spent the last two weeks on work to allow mods to add new models and textures into the game. This means you will be able to re-texture existing models and add whole new models in order to create new units and structures.

For full details on how you can access the beta, as well as guides and example mods, see our forums thread here:

For a taster of what can be done with the system, we present the Blight Surgeon, a collaboration between Tombles and forums poster Tibbles The Cat!


The Age of Wonders Series in Numbers

Forumite Tibbles has been so awesome to put together this infographic comparing the exact amount of content in each iteration of Age of Wonders.

We’ve seen some people asking why Age of Wonders 3 has so few races compared to the older games. This graphic shows that while the number of races is indeed lower, the number of units, spells and abilities in Age of Wonders 3 exceeds previous games by a wide margin, even when leaving out racial variations of class units. With the Golden Realms expansion, and the upcoming Eternal Lords expansion included, Age of Wonders 3 becomes by far the most expansive game we as a company have ever created. We hope you’ve enjoyed playing it as much as we’ve enjoyed making it!


Dev Journal: ShadowBorn Specialization

Shadowborn_DevJournalThe upcoming DLC isn’t complete with new things to specialize your leader in. Today we reveal the Shadowborn specialization, which has its sinister skills distributed over Adept and Mastery levels.

First a bit of Lore.

[CAMPAIGN SPOILER] The secret society called Shadowborn have been integral in setting up the conflict between the Elven Court and the Commonwealth. Their ultimate goal is destroying the barrier between worlds, which was put in place by Merlin and unleash powers from the days of the great Wizard Kings. [END CAMPAIGN SPOILER].

The Shadowborn will do anything to achieve their goal; they won’t back down when it comes to manipulating and deceiving the people or causing death and destruction. As a Shadowborn you will become truly evil, it coincides with updates to the Alignment and relations system. Here are some examples of the Shadowborn skills.

EmbraceDarkness_DevJournalEmbrace Darkness: Let your city’s population embrace the evil within them with the Embrace Darkness spell. Cast it on a city and all newly produced units are now Dedicated to Evil and have Life Stealing.

SeedOfDistrust_DevJournalSeed of distrust: Do you want to screw over good players that are all about befriending independent cities? Cast Seed of Distrust on their friendly independent cities. From now on those independents won’t trust anyone, including that good player.


RiteOfMalediction_DevJournalRite of Malediction: This Tactical Combat spell will only affect your darkest units. Once cast, it gives your Dedicated to Evil units two random dark powers. They will have these powers until the end of combat. Which dark powers your units get will be a nice surprise every battle you cast the spell.

Mab'sBoon_DevJournalMab’s Boon: As a Shadowborn player you will probably want migrate your newly captured cities to your own race. Mab’s Boon gives a boost to your newly migrated cities. The Empire Upgrade gives you extra population, gold and a production boost for five turns in the city you just migrated.

FallenAngel_DevJournalThe Fallen Angel: The ultimate evil unit you can summon as a Shadowborn master. Shrouded in darkness, she is a powerful force to be reckoned with on the battlefield. This infantry unit buffed with total awareness and good slayer, but what makes her truly terrifying is her Petrifying Scream she can use once per battle. The scream can leave her living opponents petrified, unable to take any action.

FallenAngelThe Fallen Angel is set to spice up late game battles

Next to these new spells and unit, the Shadowborn specialization gives you boosts that help you build a strong and powerful army. If you are a player that loves a warmongering, doesn’t mind or even loves being evil than this is your specialization!

I hope you’re all excited to play the Shadowborn specialization.  Of course we won’t leave players of other alignments behind, but that is a topic for a following Dev Journal!


Improving Race Variety & Starting Perks

As well as working on new content for the upcoming expansion, we’re also working on refining the content that’s already in the game. These refinements will be released in a free update at the same time as the DLC, and will be available for all players.

Specializations, Starting Skills and the Leader Editor

Currently, when choosing certain specializations, a leader will get a starting bonus. For example, choosing Adept Of Air will grant 5 extra mana income from Air Nodes. However, not all specializations currently give a bonus, and the player can’t see what those bonuses are when they create their leaders. Dealing with the latter is a simple tweak to the specialization’s popup:

1 - Specialization Popup

For the former problem, we’ve reviewed every specialization and tried to add bonuses to those that didn’t have them, while rebalancing those that did. For example, here are some of the changes that are being considered:

  • Adept Of Air – Air Nodes generate an additional 5 mana per turn, Earth Nodes generate 5 less mana per turn.
  • Master Of Air – Air Nodes generate an additional 5 knowledge per turn. The player starts with a spell that allows them to transform neutral mana nodes into Air nodes.
  • Expander – Farms and Springs of Life generate an addition 50 population growth per turn.
  • Explorer – All ships and cities gain +1 vision range

We’ve also been revamping other parts of the leader editor to give players more information about the things they have to choose between:

While doing this we realized that Orc and Dwarven cities do not gain an economic bonus like the other races, so the economic starting bonus for each race now looks like this:

  • Human Cities have +5 production
  • Goblin Cities have +20% population growth
  • High Elf Cities have +3 knowledge
  • Dwarven cities can build Siege Workshops for 50 gold less
  • Orc Cities can build Barracks for 50 gold less
  • Draconian Cities have +3 mana
  • Halfing Cities have +50 happiness

NewLeaderSelectInstead of generic race and class lore we now list an overview of all perks for a particular character in the character selector. We’ve also added selectable icons that access the Tome of Wonders to display the full information on Race, Class or specialization. (Also added this to the diplomacy screen, where it wasn’t possible to see which specialization leader have)

Units and Racial Variety

We’ve been working on a number of changes to try and make the unit line ups of the different races more varied as well. Currently the difference between Dwarven Infantry and Orc infantry is a shield and some stat differences, we’re looking into ways to make the units feel more unique when they’re used on the battlefield.

War cryFor example, some Orc units have a new ability called War Cry. This once per battle ability costs no actions points to be used and grants the unit +3 melee damage until the end of the turn. This ability really reflects the Orc approach to battle (shout and kill first, ask questions later) and gives orc players the ability get a bit more damage when they need it most (which is always).


Defensive strike Certain Dwarven units, on the other hand, have been given the Defensive Strike ability, which allows them to make a melee attack and then immediately go into guard mode. This ability plays more into the Dwarven character of a slow and steady approach, carefully demolishing ones foes while keeping oneself safe at the same time.


For the Goblins, a slightly more radical approach has been taken with the removal of the Skewer unit and the re-introduction of the Butcher, an old favorite from Shadow Magic:

 3 - Goblin Butcher

The return of the Goblin Butcher

Butcher’s are elite Goblin troopers who wield magic, blood soaked weapons that grant the life stealing ability. Unique amongst the racial Pikemen, this is a tier 2 unit, which gives it the stats needed for it to take up its role as an anti-hero and anti-cavalry unit.

These are just a small selection of the changes that are being tested for the upcoming patch, no decisions are final of course and anything could change once we start testing the balance in multiplayer. If you have any ideas for refinements, we’d love to hear them!

Halloween Journal: Necromancer Skills

Hi everyone, we don’t need a botched Halloween tie-in this year, we have the real deal! Let’s continue our journey into the dark arts by having a look at the first Necromancer Skills:

WhisperOfTheFallenWhispers of the Fallen

This global sustained spell allows the Necromancer to listen out for the spirits  of the recently fallen to see details of battles which would normally not be visible. Any battle that takes place within a certain distance of the necromancers cities or fortresses can be seen by the player. The player can watch a replay of the battle, and the hexes where the battle took place are explored on the map. Great sustained low level reconnaissance / early warning spell.

Corpus FuriaCorpus Furia

The return of an Age of Wonders favorite, now with improved particle and sound effects. Causes the corpses of dead units to explode violently on the battlefield. Each corpse deals physical and blight damage to all units in the vicinity.  Careful tradeoffs must be made, as the Necromancer has many other uses for bodies.


DarkRitualDark Ritual

This spell sacrifices population on the target friendly city in order to spawn an undead unit.  Available Undead include the lower tier Necromancer units, but more powerful creatures such as wraiths will sometimes appear.  This spell is great for last ditch defenses

Animate RiunsAnimate Ruins

Instantly rebuilds a target razed city and transforms its population to undead, so all the units produced in the city become undead Ghouls.   An Evil Necromancer can purposefully deploy a scorched earth strategy to gain undead populations in this manner.  For more on Ghouls see the Cities of the Dead Development Journal

BlackPlagueUndead Plague

Infected rats infest the target enemy town.  Every turn a few hundred people will die in the town, while at the same the nearest undead city you own will gain the same amount of population. Since undead cities gain population much more slowly than living cities, this spell is an important part of the necromancer’s economic strategy.


Don’t mind the Lost Souls tonight and see you next time with more on the Necromancer and other cool features for the upcoming DLC!

Dev Journal: Nagas & other Monsters of the Golden Realms

Hello Everyone, today we’re here to talk about Nagas and other monsters who can be found in the forthcoming Golden Realms expansion.

AoW3_GoldenRealms_Nagas_CropHalflings attacking a Naga Dwelling

Nagas are an ancient and reclusive race of snake people who live in the southern islands. Their dwellings are filled with great twisting spires that tower over the surrounding jungles and swamps, and watched over by the fearsome Matriarchs who double as both queens and high priestesses of the massive Gluttons the Naga regard as their Gods. Naga are huge creatures, with 4 arms and long tails instead of legs. They heal at an astonishing rate; the Regrowth ability means they regenerate 20% of their max health each round in tactical combat. The wily Naga have learned to make the most of this by developing a technique called Slip Away, which allows the Naga to teleport a short distance away from its enemies while instantly recovering some lost hitpoints. Conquering a Naga dwelling can be means access to an army of powerful creatures!

The majority of the Naga military is made up of Guardians and Slithers.

4 - Naga Matriarch2 - Naga Guardian

(Abilities Not listed – Swimming, 40% Fire Protection, 40% Blight Protection, 40% Frost Weakness.)

Guardians wield huge tridents and dedicate their lives to protecting the Matriarchs. As pikemen they are exceptionally effective against mounted and flying units.

 3 - Naga Slither

(Abilities Not listed – Nightvision, Swimming, 40% Fire Protection, 40% Blight Protection, 40% Frost Weakness.)

The Slithers venture into the wilderness, relying on their concealment abilities and backstabs to eliminate their enemies before they can discover the Nagas’ secret homes.

4 - Naga Matriarch

(Abilities Not listed – Monster, Naga, Nightvision, Swimming, 40% Fire Protection, 40% Blight Protection, 40% Frost Weakness)

In times of dire need the Matriarchs will also enter battle. Capable of wielding powerful magic, the Matriarch can curse enemies, charm them so they fight on her side, and inflict them with panic so they flee the battlefield. Once they reach Elite status the Matriarch gains the Call Lightning ability, an area of effect attack that damage and stuns multiple enemies from long range,

 5 - Glutton

(abilities Not listed – Swimming, 40% Fire Protection, 40% Blight Protection, 40% Frost Weakness.)

The Glutton is the mightiest of the Nagas, though some might say that it cannot truly be named a Naga anymore. A horrifying monster of epic proportions, the glutton towers over the battlefield, smashing aside its foes with terrible strength. The glutton doesn’t have Regrowth, but does have the Swallow Whole ability, which gives it a chance to eat a target each time it strikes in melee, allowing it to gain some health back. Eaten units aren’t killed immediately, if the glutton is killed the last unit it ate will often emerge from its corpse, filthy and stinking, but otherwise unharmed.

Besides the Nagas, many other creatures inhabit the Golden Realms. For example: Huge elephants roam the lands. Vicious Dread Monkeys, creatures known as much for their incredible stench as their habit of hurling filth at passers-by, hide in the trees.


Dread Monkey  Ambush!

Rarest of all, mighty Feathered Serpents can be found in the Lost Cities, far from civilized lands. These terrifying creatures fly at their enemies, and lash out with poisons and fire.

AoW3_GoldenRealms_XHalflingFireworksEncountering a Feathered Serpent

With the Golden Realms DLC installed, these monsters appear in new bespoke Golden Realms locations (Naga Dwelling, Lost City, Mud pit spawner) as well as other thematically fitting Age of Wonders 3 locations in your Random maps.

Stay tuned for more information on Golden Realms before it is released September 18th!

Dev Journal: Empire Quests

Hello everyone, today we’re going to be talking about a new feature from the forthcoming Golden Realms expansion, Empire Quests:


Empire Quests reward players for achieving a particular milestone in developing their empires, such as building a Grand Palace in one of their cities, or owning 5 cities. The twist is that, once one player has completed an Empire Quest, all the other players in the game are informed of it, and they will not be able to complete that quest themselves.


This means that other players in the game receive a warning that you are pulling ahead in a particular area or that you are going for a particular strategy. For example, if a player sees you have built an item forge, they may deduce that you’re going planning to put resources into super-equipped heroes rather than army production.

Another goal of the system is to help relieve the sense of isolation players can have when playing games, as it can take a while before running into another player. A warning that another, unknown player has managed to get 5 cities helps remind the player that they’re not alone in the world and gives them a sense of how they’re well progressing against their opponents. Also between allies it creates a form of indirect competition.

Some of the quests come in pairs, where a player completing one quest means that same player cannot complete the other. For example, Prime Evil locks out Prime Good.


While other quests can only be completed far into the end game, and serve to warn other players that they’ve got an awful lot of catching up to do:


There are 13 Empire Quests in the game, each with their own conditions and rewards, with plenty of space to add more in the future! Please let us know what you think in our forums and keep an eye out for the next Dev Journal!

Dev Journal: New Disjunct & Spell Mechanics

Hello Everybody! In this second post-release. Dev Journal we’re going to talk about the new mechanics that are being developed for disjuncting and protecting spells.  

What is Disjunction?

Age Of Wonders 3 has many spells that that you can cast to strengthen their empires, enchant their cities and swing the tide of battle in their favor. Many of these spells can be removed by your enemies however, if they research an ability called Disjunction. Disjuncting a spell is simply a case of paying the same amount of mana that a spell cost to cast in order to Uncast it, removing its effects from the world.


How Is It Changing?

Under the new rules, all players will have the ability to disjunct other player’s magic from the start of the game without needing any special research, however disjunction is no longer guaranteed to succeed:

The chance that a spell will resist a disjunction attempt is based on its “Integrity“, the higher the integrity, the greater the chance of the disjunction failing. If the spell does survive the disjunction, it is still damaged and its integrity is decreased, making it more vulnerable should someone attempt to disjunct it again.

Players can also research an ability called Greater Disjunction, which allows them to double the amount of mana (but not casting points) they spend on disjuncting in order to improve their chances of success.


Can I Fight Disjunction?

Players can use a new option called Reinforcement to strengthen their spells and protect them against being disjuncted. When reinforcing a spell, you spend mana and casting points to increase the spell’s integrity. Once a spell has reached the maximum of 200 integrity, it becomes almost impossible for anyone to disjunct it in one attempt.

Note that even the most powerfully reinforced spell can still fall though. Whenever a player attempts to disjunct a spell there is a small chance that they will find a weak spot in the spell’s structure and achieve a Critical Success. When this happens, not only will the spell be destroyed but the character who cast the spell will take damage from the force of it collapsing and will also lose their casting points. If the caster is in tactical combat at the time, they will even be stunned for a short while by the power of the spell.

This can cut both ways however, since Critical Failures are also a possibility. A critical failure indicates that the disjuncting character was not ability to master the powerful energies involved and they blew up his face. A critical failure indicates the target spell’s integrity is unaffected, and the disjuncting character is the one who takes damage, loses casting points and becomes paralyzed in tactical combat.


What About Tactical Combat?

Disjuncting Spells in tactical combat has been updated to work the same way as on the world map, except spell’s cannot be reinforced and greater disjunction cannot be used. We’re also looking into the Dispel Magic spell and abilities to see if they need to have some chance of failure to balance the system.

As with other post release features, we are still determining how they will be made available. Some will be rolled into patches, others will be part of upcoming expansions! Please let us know what you think and stay tuned for many more journals!

Dev Journal: Tactical Combat Bonanza

This week we’re going to have an in-depth look into the Age of Wonders III tactical combat mechanics. Tactical combat is one of the most important parts of the game, and we’ve worked very hard to refine the rules to make it more exciting and tactical. Our main goal was to make combat faster, and more lethal, while maintaining and improving the depth and tactical options that people expect from the series.

Action Points

Each unit has 3 action points that determine how many times it can attack in a round.

01 - Action Points

You can see here that our Goblin Wolf Rider currently has all 3 left over.

As a unit moves, it loses action points. When a unit is selected, the colored markers on the ground indicate how many action points the unit will have left when it stands in a hex.

Green indicates the unit will have full action points, so it will attack 3 times:

02 - 3 Action Points

Yellow indicates 2 action points:

03 - 2 Action Points

Orange indicates 1. Notice that no matter how far a unit moves, it will always keep it’s last action point:

04 - 1 Action Points

Retaliation, Flanking and Guarding

When one unit attacks another with a melee attack, the defending unit will retaliate and strike back. Each time the defender does this, they use up an action point, so once they’ve retaliated 3 times, they won’t be able to retaliate any more. Even worse for the defender, a unit gets it’s action points refilled at the end of its turn. So, after retaliating 3 times, the defender won’t be able to use the unit themselves next turn!

To demonstrate, lets watch what happens when this filthy human cavalry viciously attacks our poor, innocent goblin wolf rider:

05 - Human Attacks

He’ll be attacking from a yellow hex, so he’ll hit twice. Our heroic goblin has full action points still, so he retaliates twice as well.

Afterwards, it’s the goblin’s turn, and he still only has 1 action point left. The human just ended his turn, so his action points have already been refilled:

06 - Goblin Retaliates

The human has a problem though, he’s alone, and exposed. If you can attack a unit from one of the hexes behind it, that attack is a Flanking Attack. Flanking attacks are special for two reasons:

1) The attack gets +2 damage on every type (so +2 physical damage, if a unit also does fire damage it would also get +2 fire damage)
2) A flanked defender cannot retaliate against something behind him, so he loses one chance to retaliate as he turns around.

The goblin marauders are in position to flank now:

07 - Flanking

Since the attack is flanking, the cavalry will only be able to retaliate once instead of twice. After the flanking attack, the cavalry is facing the marauder, so the next attack does normal damage, and the cavalry can retaliate. The cavalry is now facing the marauder, meaning he can now be flanked again:

08 - Ranged Flanking

As you can see, ranged attacks can flank as well. Even though the target cannot retaliate against them, he will still turn to face the unit shooting him in the back, so only the first shot will receive the flanking bonus. Through clever use of flanking, groups of weak units can take out powerful foes while taking minimal damage themselves.

There is one defense against this, however: A unit can sacrifice its actions for a turn and enter Guard Mode. A unit in Guard Mode cannot be flanked, and gets a 20% bonus to defense and resistance. Guarding units are better at locking down ranged units and performing attacks of opportunity as well, but we’ll get to that later.

09 - GuardFlank

The clever goblin is in guard mode, so the cavalry cannot flank him, even though he’s striking from behind.

Engagement and Attacks Of Opportunity

If a unit is next to an enemy, and facing them, then that enemy is Engaged. Most ranged units cannot use their abilities if they’ve been engaged by an enemy.

10 - RangedEngaged

To make matters worse, if a unit tries to move out of a hex where he’s engaged by an enemy, that enemy will hit them with an attack of opportunity.

11 - OpportunityAttacks

The red triangles tell the human player that moving the archers along the white path would get him hit by two opportunity attacks from goblin skewers.

12 - OpportunityEscape

If the human player flanks the goblins, they will turn away, and the archers could escape in safety. This would not work if the Goblins were guarding however, units on guard can engage in every direction at once, not just in front of them!

Ranged Attacks

Like melee attacks, most ranged attacks get one shot per action point the attacker has. Some slower weapons, such as crossbows, can only fire once per turn. These weapons tend to do more damage, however, and allow a unit to be move more freely without reducing damage output.

13 - RangedAttack

If a target is too far away, then a ranged penalty is applied, halving the attacks damage.

14 - RangedAttackCloser

Sometimes it will be in an attackers best interest to move closer to do more damage, even though it will fire fewer shots. This can leave the unit vulnerable to attack however. Most ranged units are fragile and need to be protected carefully from melee attackers.

15 - LineOfSightBlock

Obstacles and other units on the battlefield will block line of sight, and this can reduce damage even further.

16 - NextToAlly

However, a unit can shoot through friendly units and many low obstacles as long as they’re right next to them.

Some ranged attackers negate these penalties entirely. Elven longbow men suffer no ranged penalties, regardless of how far they fire, while Goblin Swarm Darters shoot living darts made of poisonous mosquitoes. The mosquitoes home in on their targets, ignoring all ranged penalties and line of sight checks.

Special Unit Abilities

There are many special abilities that units can have which affect the flow of combat, there are far too many to list, but I’ve included a brief description of some of the most important ones.

17 - Flier

Flying units can fly over obstacles and units, and only need to worry about attacks of opportunity when they take off. This allows them to penetrate enemy lines to strike at vulnerable units at the back.

This screen shot also demonstrates the Swarm Darter’s Inflict Noxious Vulnerability ability. Every attack from the unit has a chance of putting a minor status effect on the target which reduces its resistance, making it more vulnerable to non-physical damage.

18 - First Strike

Defending units with first strike will attack their attackers before their attackers manage to hit them. In this case, this allows the defenders strike their attackers more times than the attackers strike them. Attackers can bypass first strike by flanking the defender, or by having first strike themselves.

Here we can also see that the Halberdiers have the polearm ability (+4 damage versus cavalry) while the cavalry have the Overwhelm ability (+3 damage versus units with shields and polearms).

19 - Static Shield

Wisps have the Static Shield ability, which has a chance to stun any unit that attacks them in melee. Stunned units cannot move, guard or engage other units, and every attack on a stunned unit is automatically flanking.

20 - Stunning Touch

This is one of the many touch attacks in the game, if the goblins resist the stun effect then they lose a few move points instead, so the player’s turn isn’t completely wasted.

That’s it! Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more updates!