This is an easy campaign that is mainly intended to introduce new players to the mechanics of the game.
Rooting Out a Mage
- Objectives: Defeat Mordak, the evil mage
- Lose if: Arvith dies or turns run out
- Turns: 18/18 (easy/hard)
- Starting units: Arvith and lots of loyal units
You start with a lot of units and they are all loyal. This will be helpful later, so try not to get them all slaughtered. If you send 3 horsemen north and the rest of your force northwest along the river, you may be able to ambush the mage. Pay attention to the time of day; the undead will chew you up at night.
On easy level you should be able to win this first scenario with the troops you get at start, without recruiting. Hang back enough that the undead can't reach you at night, then attack at dawn. Attack the Dark Adepts with Spearmen and the Bats with Bowmen; attack the Skeletons with Footpads; use your Horsemen on already-wounded units to finish them off.
On hard, you're probably going to need some reinforcements. It's best to recruit some expendable troops to place in harm's way to protect the loyal troops that you start with--their loyalty will prove helpful later, especially when they level up. You might have an opportunity to send in your Horsemen and take out Mordak around halfway through, but I'd recommend you spend the extra turns leveling up a couple units to get blade attacks (Horsemen to Knights or Spearmen to Swordsmen). A second level Footpad or two will also prove helpful in the third scenario.
Mal Shubertal: I found leveling up Knights early on to be more valuable than Swordsmen in this campaign. Their Paladin advancement has an arcane attack that is useful against skeletons, and a charge attack that is useful against necromancers.
- Objectives: Get through the woods to the kidnappers, then defeat the Dark Adept
- Lose if: Arvith dies or turns run out
- Turns: 28/24 (easy/hard)
- Starting units: Arvith and a horseman
- Other: Remember the passwords
The elves are too aggressive for their own good. Keep your units in line- or V-shaped formations with one or both ends anchored on a village; Elvish Scouts/Riders will charge in by ones or twos and you should be able to swarm them with foot units.
Again, avoid fighting the undead at the north map edge at night. Let your main body catch up with your cavalry and surround them. When you prevail, make a note of the passwords.
On hard, a good strategy is to recruit lots of Spearmen to wound the Elvish Riders, and finish them off with your leader or another Knight. Ideally, you'll have a Paladin by the time you hit the undead in the next scenario.
It might be a good idea to sacrifice some units as a distraction, but make sure you move enough troops north to take out the undead leader, which will be guarded by two skeletons (easy mode) or two revenants (hard mode).
While attacking undead at night is often foolhardy, in this case you only need to take out the Dark Adept leader, and he's a sucker for blasting units at night. If you march a couple expendable units to the edge of his range, he'll probably oblige, leaving himself open to your retaliation. Even at night cavalry make quick work of a Dark Adept.
On easy, an Iron Mauler named Brena will show up at the end of the scenario and ask to join your party. Iron Maulers are powerful level-3 units with a very strong melee attack and good physical defense, but they lack a ranged attack, and are slow (base movement of 4). Whether it's best to accept him or not depends on your playing style, but if you think you can live with his very limited speed, letting Brena join up is probably for the best. If you do accept him, he will be available in the next scenario as a loyal unit. If you refuse his offer, he will give you 70 pieces of gold. Regardless of the choice you make, you will be given the ability to recruit Heavy Infantryman units.
- Objectives: Rescue Baran (defeat the sorcerer to get the key, then unlock Baran's cell)
- Lose if: Arvith dies or turns run out
- Turns: 30/24 (easy/hard)
- Starting units: Arvith
- Use the passwords from the previous scenario
- Chest with gold in northeast of castle
Early on in this scenario you will be asked for a password on two occasions. If you give the correct passwords, you will be left alone to prepare your troops undisturbed. However, if you're up to the challenge, and want to earn some extra experience for your units, you can deliberately give the wrong passwords, and then you'll fight the guards that asked you for them. If you decide to fight the first group of guards, you will be visited by the second group on turn 6, otherwise the second group will come at turn 3, in case you want to use this information for planning your strategy a little better.
One castleful of recruits should be enough to win. Experiment with Heavy Infantry, they do well against orcs and undead. Resist the temptation to grab the village nearest the castle gate before you've brought your main mass of troops to it; the orcs like attacking any unit isolated there, especially at night. If you put forward a strong battle line on the hills before the gate during the day, you can bluff the orcs into not attacking, leaving you free to march up and take the defensible castle squares and gain a significant advantage.
Once inside the castle, split your troops into two large groups; take one west and the other east. Arvith should be in the westward group, as his brother is imprisoned in that direction. But don't miss the chest of gold to the northeast. You'll need to kill the sorcerer before Arvith can free his brother. Also note that the scenario is nice enough to give you several more turns after you defeat the sorcerer.
On hard you won't have any Heavy Infantry to hide behind. The only impact damage available are Footpads, and while their high defense can survive a number of attacks, they always seem to get unlucky and die to three or four hits in a row. I guess I'm saying you'll want to bring extra, along with a Paladin and a few level 2 troops. If you can manage to keep a Footpad alive long enough to level up he'll prove quite helpful in dispatching the skeletons, and a good defensive unit to hide behind at night in the final scenario.
While you're wearing down the defenses at the gate, if you send a Footpad or two off to one side inside the castle you can draw most of the skeletons over to that side. This leaves a opening on the other side for your faster units (Footpads and cavalry) to break for the sorcerer's chamber. Once you've dealt with the sorcerer, you should have time to mop up the enemies skeletons (and grab the treasure chest) while Arvith rescues his brother.
Return to the Village
- Objectives: Find out what is happening in the village then defeat the Orcish Warlord
- Lose if: Arvith or Baran die or turns run out
- Turns: 26/24 (easy/hard)
- Starting units: Arvith and BjArvith
There is no need to conserve gold in the last scenario, so recall all of your veterans. Run a small group northeastward over the mountains where two houses cluster; this will distract the orcs while you take most of your forces straight north up the road to the village, circle eastward, and then hit their from the north.
Pick off as many stragglers as you can before the main assault. Goblin riders, which have more movement than the grunts, can often be lured into attacking a forward unit of yours in such a way that your Spearmen and cavalry can swarm them.
On hard, you're faced with a small map, an endless stream of enemies, and a mostly worthless ally. As it's the last scenario, bring out your best units and as many expendable troops as you can afford (Spearmen work well, as do Bowmen if you can protect them) then head north in tight formation. Don't worry too much about holding the villages; your troops are better utilized fighting through to the enemy leader than chasing Wolf Riders across the map. You should easily overwhelm the enemy's scouts and join up with your ally.
Break a wave or two of enemy troops by concentrating your attacks and maintaining a defensive formation (and relying on your ally to send random units out to die distracting the enemy). Once the enemy is only able to field two units a turn, take the offensive. Forge south in the daytime, defend overnight outside the fort, then attack the enemy leader at daybreak. You might lose some units in an all-out assault so it's wise to keep your "key" units at the edge of the fray until victory is assured.