This is a game where you really have to play with the hand that is dealt to you. Here are some random tips that work for me.
- I set the tax rate to none, start civics and as soon as I can I convert my first city into a town or a conclave. In this city I reduce my unrest to zero and get the pioneer build time to a reasonable level (3-5 turns) then I pump out a scout or 2 and start them heading towards my hero and champion. Because of their explorer ability they will catch up to my champion or sovereign fairly quickly make sure they are uncovering as much ground as possible.
- I usually send out my sovereign far and wide early on taking anything I can hit without dying. Generally this character will be from my cities until expansion is done.
- My first champion heads in the opposite direction. I keep this character somewhat close however to my cities since they die easier then the sovereign and rack up injuries.
- When my explorers pass my heroes then I pull the heroes back and have the scouts take over the scouting duties. I pull my champion sovereign back to the town and clear out early creeps and my sovereign champion generally keeps scouting or helps creep the early area.
- If you have slaves make the best thing you can pump out every turn or 2. For normal units I usually do 4-5 turns. Don't over build your early military. Just get enough to defend your lands from creeps or early threats.
- No more than 1 sovereign or champion per attack group. I make very few exceptions the experience penalty is brutal.
- When building units try not to have overflow. In all my games I have yet run into a surplus of production points so high that I can't add something as long as I'm keeping up with research.
- Try to avoid heavy encumbrance Mix in leather armor for some of the heavier pieces Save metal for later. Your early units are garbage compared to higher end units.
- Try to always fill all your slots. Specialize your cities with them.
- Start with civics to get your infrastructure up with the first 3 techs. After you build your first pioneer for a city get trading. Then either go magic or military. Even if you go magic get leather armor and spears. Drill also helps.
- Don't forget to buff your troops 3 hitpoints from courage can make a huge difference early on. Initiative is critical. Avoid the nuke spells unless you have lowered tactical casting costs or fighting a monster that is weak to the element.
- Leveling your sovereign is important for early city growth. You receive .5 faction prestige for every level
- Finally try to do things in 3s, build up enough mana to cast 3 enchantments then cast them all at once. Build up your city to build a specific unit then make 3 of the same type. Make a few buildings then switch to units. This will help you have an even flow through the game and not run into the I only have militia to fight off your attack problem.
Once you get a good idea for how the game flows you can change this however you want.
- Make a new sovereign every game. Try different play styles. It's fun when one of your created sovereigns mops the floor with you. Playing the exact same way every game will lead to boredom.
- Avoid losses early on move units.