This guide is going to help you understand Thea core mechanics and equip you with tools that will allow you to explore its world. I don't want to tell you how to play exactly, I want to explain and give you map and compass so you can start your own adventure.
How to Start
Set Up for Survive
So... starting the game asks you to create a profile. Each profile gives you 2 random Gods, and 2 God points so if you don't like the ones you get on the beggining you can just create new profile. The last two Gods you can unlock for free by completing game objective, while other gods you can unlock by spending god points. Be carefull, The more gods you unlock the more points it will take to unlock another one.
Each god has:
- Unique trait.
- 2 domain cards (except 2 last ones, they have 3).
- 4 slots (3 for last gods) for neutral cards.
At the beggining you won't have much points and you probably don't know the impact and effect of most of the cards.
My advice is to go for any god you want or find fun, place his domain character and fill neutral spots with the class you miss for 3rd challange type. For example, Svarog gets Harmony and Turmoil so he gets Craftsman (mental class) and Warrior (physical class), he misses Magic class which for starting option is scoundrel or scavenger. Add that in and 2 children, the rest of neutral slots I recommend to use on starting resources. huge group at start may have problems to equip and survive, so its better to start with less characters equipped better.
Note: I really like the Fog of Knowledge card as it quite cheap, lets me scout starting area much faster by spreading starting company) and set up for right direction while it also gives some basic resources to play with.)
It is important to fill all types of challange as even the 1st level challange can get you kill or injure without characters that can deal with the danger. The first few games are meant to score you some more god points and play with different cards. The longer you survive and the more game you will explore in first run, the less time you lose for that in next plays and you won't get tired or bored by replaying on low level characters.
Pick your chosen wisely, when it dies you are forced to resurect him or end the game. He also have to stand alone in one of the final challanges so it must be strong character (Warrior, Zerca, Witch), not the suport class (Gatherer, Craftsman, Scoundrell). You can select any character to be chosen, even child but you don't know what it grow up to. (you can even chose rat or other beasts which is fun when playing as Nydia's).
Next select world size and shape. I prefer Pangea as its makes more of the world open to explore and does not forces you to build a raft or ship in order to progress.
First Few Steps
Before you move, check your equipment:
- Turn off using all the food and cook it on the way instead.
- Turn off using Fuel other than regular wood.
- Identify your characters skills and stats, use all equipment you have.
- Adjust your equipment to fit characters, move heavy armor and good weapons to warrior, etc.
- If you have children give them pets like boar, spider, wraths, to make them helpful in early fights or give them mules or again boars to increase speed so they won't slow you down.
Now… time for planning, still not moving:
- Check the coast line, look for ruins in the fog of war and plan your moves.
- Split the party so you can move any direction you want and can. Depending of the difficulty you participate in event with ALL character that stay within 6 (easy) 3 (normal) or 0 (hard) tiles from the event. On hard you can safely plan to scout with this very first moves.
- Identify resources nearby, you will need wood and food to get you gear for longer journey.
Time to move on:
- On the first biome you will most likely not find any tier 2 resources (mithril, obsidian, diamonds, etc) but if you do, or you have access to Coal to upgrade Tier 1, you should camp near it and get your stuff. I recommend to focus on armor first, preferably heavy for physical and/or at least medium for other characters.
- Because your gathering skill (and all other) is low you should focus on participating in events to get xp, research points, and gear to let you move on. In order to do so, explore as much as you can, help the factions, fight whatever you can beat.
- Remember about children, check how many turn it will take for them to grow up and try to participate in as many encounters as possible before they grow up. The more stats and skill they earn early the better their potential when they grow up.
- Don’t plan to settle on first biome, if you get resources craft the other ring instead. It will boost one of your character. Settling on first biome will stall the game as you have to guard your group and village and you most likely don’t get good resources. Consider settling only near coal, and tier 2 resource if possible (and food obviously).
- After few turns (depending of difficulty) the lightbringers spawns start to appear. By this time you should handle level 3-4 challenges in at least one type (most likely physical), so clear the spawns and collect the loot.
Congrats, you managed to survive first few steps. Now its time to improve your gear, exploit the weaknesses of your enemy, get more characters and plan to conquer… ekhm… Fix the world. One more thing, avoid Bandit Camps and Red Cave main event until you are really strong (deal with level 8 and higher encounters).
- Use any items you find. You probably don’t have good crafters, nor gatherers so getting resources and your own equipment will take time and you cant craft on the go, you would have to camp for long time (10 turn) or settle (no good spots). One way around it is to camp near easy to defeat spawn location, like Nests, Slavs/Scavenger village, or Light spawn and bully the troops they spawn each turn (as you smash them). Keep in mind that bullying slavs or scavenger will lower their attitude. Keep your team busy in camp on crafting, gathering, smelting etc. and split one character to kill the spawn within the helping radius tiles (6,3,0).
- You can also do kill and wood/stone quests for human factions but its slower, and does not let you place the camp so you can’t actually craft or research in the meantime.
- Do the math with resources, maybe you miss one or 2 resources but you will get them by destroying your currently used item. Break it and improve your gear or use Coal to upgrade the resource you have.
- Unless you don’t have to craft, or collect/research artifacts you should keep moving to better biomes. Go for biome of resource you need. Pushing the main quest will require you to have strong gear and it will force you to explore other biomes anyway.
- Once you find your perfect spot you can consider to settle in if you haven’t craft the seed into Ring yet, or push a main quest to get another cosmic seed and settle.
That would be all for starting and most basic tips and guide. If you are interested in something less step by step please check the sections below.
General Points to Note
- Get all challenge type classes at the beginning. Even challenge level 1 or 2 can kill or seriously injure your characters.
- If you know you lose the challenge (you got ambushed) or miscalculated your possibilities start manual fight and forfeit before taking any other action, you should lower your losses that way.
- If you can’t escape choose to lose Magic challenge. Losing magic is safest choice, You can regenerate it via ritual and the only thing it does on 0 it lower max health. Losing health or mental bars may cost you a character, while this only weakens them.
- Don't settle to fast. You don’t have valuable resource on the starting biome, and you cannot change the location of your village. You can think about using first Cosmic seed to craft the Other ring and push to another biome with strong character (you can use Mithril Goat card to speed this process)
- Walking on the coast can trigger event that gives you quite a load of Tier 1 and Tier 2 wood but can slightly injure or poison you party.
- Unlock Physical level 4 challenge to grind resources and survive easier.
- Heavy Armor is your friend. Warrior in Heavy armor can soak the damage even if it has poor weapon. Shield regenerates per each encounter while Health points don’t. You can drop to medium armor for non-physical classes, but it has to magical to get you real value in other than physical challenges so it’s better to equip shields an artifacts found in world early on and support it with Heavy Magic armor later on.
- Don't spend research points to fast. You can get a lot of goods from the world events, you don't have to spend time and resources to craft it, you can also trade for goods.
- You cannot use more than 7 character cards in combat, so having more than 7 character can potentially kill your run if you have only 1 strong character to deal with challenge. having that in mind bigger groups are harder to feed as well. So the bugger starting crew is the harder it is to have good start. I prefer to have no more than 5 starting characters and at least 1 strong physical character.
- Don't trust auto resolve. many fights can be won perfectly if you know how to use your people skills and equipment.
- Grow wisely when your child grows up it saves the skills but resets level to 1. Pick skill that will matter for future class you aim to get on child, or level up skill you already have so you don't trash your progress in the future.
- Don't pick new skills that have no sense for class. it’s better to level up old skill (Brute Force) than pick new one that has no impact on class or challenges it support (like Protective word or Battle orders for someone without block, which can also by substitute by shields).
- Many buffing or de-buffing skills are useful only on the start of the game when the number are low (Hunter mark, Weakness or Inspire). Hurry up and/or other speed/slow skills can be useful, but it’s usually better to play strong character twice, than speed it up for 1.0
- Read you character skills and match the equipment. Character with good skill does not care for strong weapon as damage he does comes from skill not a weapon. Poor skilled character should get better equipment.
- Stone and Bones are you friends. Magic and legendary weapons made of these materials are good because of 2 reasons. They leech shielding and life, so your character can stand for Very long time in battles as well as can heal on weak encounters. The essences also allows the weapons to be used in Mental (stone) or Magic (bones) challenges. Remember that Range weapon scale with Perception, Wisdom and Destiny, while melee use Strength, Intelligence and Mysticism. So... equip your Zerca with Stone Double handed axe and watch him steel mental health and shields of your opponents.
- Win mentally (yellow) against Lightbringer spawn, you will get some specters (good pets and source of high value resources).
Personal Experience and Preference
I played more in Early Access and I have to revisit the biomes to refresh the knowledge, but below you can find my personal best ways to approach and tips how to deal with the game and beat it on hardest difficulty.
Always go for Armor first
Without armor your people don’t survive for long. Get it from events, or craft when you have resources. Prefer the heavy for warriors and magical medium for other classes. The problem with magical armor is that it requires a high tier resource to make it effective and medium armor does really give you that much block. It also requires different tech tree. So instead I go for regular heavy for fighters and magical heavy armor for other characters and support them with artifacts to increase the weight they can use. Or give them range weapons and protect them on the board with physical character in magical armor or summons.
Love First strike on spears and javelins
Having strong regular spear 1h or 2h, or javelins lets you skip all the setup faze and deploy characters a the end of fight while still clearing the board. The hunter with high dmg javelins can clear the board before they act. With support from good skills like double toss it even can wipe entire challenge. Double toss is extremely good on hunters as its fast attack and it procs the first strike as well, meaning your hunter can strike twice before enemies act. Or if it don’t you can place warrior with high armor before enemy to block that attack when the real fight begins.
Exploit the Essences
If you don’t have ways to clear the board, you should craft weapons from Stone and/or Bones to get Shield leech or Life leech. Again, min max characters. If your warrior has a lot of str. You can use heavy armor and 2h Axe to hit like truck and heal on the of the round from any dmg dealt to you.
Shift the balance
If you have scoundrel, rat or other character with Swarm skill use it to your advantage as well. Equip character with distance weapon, deploy 2 of them at start of the fight in opposite corners (each next character played procs the swarm twice) and block first line dmg with heavy armor warrior, summon boar or something just to soak that dmg hit and trigger swarm again. The Swarm buff stays for second part of the fight if it did not finished in first draw so your characters are even more deadly now then before, and you can repeat the process.