These are strategies that you can use for each tribe to conquer other tribes. This guide is primarily geared toward domination mode at the moment, as opposed to perfection.
Guide to Game Strategies
This section of the guide is meant to act as a general strategy you can use if you are struggling to win games. Obviously, since some tribes start with different upgrades, this strategy may not be as viable as it would be for others. I will first go into what you should look to do, and which tribes are best suited (and worst suited) to do it.
Ideally, you'd want to start upgrading your city as soon as you can. If opponents are within view early game, the workshop will allow you to out-muscle them with the standard warrior troop. If no opponents are within view, simply going for an explorer is a good option, since you can steal potentially several technologies, saving loads of stars in the future. If you are able to get to an empty, uncontested village, take it, since it will also give you more stars per turn, which will help you get the ball rolling. In the early game, a warrior that has an archer behind it is an easy method of taking out warriors without taking damage, which means that if enemies are closing in on you, getting hunting then archery is a good early game countermeasure. If you see a tribe that is much larger than you, it may be a better strategy to go for shields by buying organization and then shields. Shields cannot be one-shotted, and if you build a city wall, they can tank more damage. To keep your city from being taken, simply move your hurt shield from the city and replace it with a new one. This works better the more stars you are making per turn/the fewer enemy troops are surrounding your city.
Once you have settled a few cities, you will need to start focusing on increasing your stars generated per turn. To begin this step, ideally, you will have some lighter blue water tiles nearby one of your cities. If you do, then you should go from fishing to sailing. This will allow you to build ports in those water tiles. In addition to rapidly increasing population (+2 per port), this will generate +2 stars per turn if you build a customs house next to it (either across directly or diagonally from the customs house). In order to build a customs house, you will need to buy riding, then roads, then finally trade. When first transitioning from early game to star generation, it may be somewhat dangerous, since building ports is 10 stars per, which is usually a large portion of what you have. Again, if you are being sieged at this point, it would be optimal to go for shields, since they can thwart most offensive strategies at this point.
Eventually the amount of water you have will not give you any more stars, and you will need to attack other enemies in order to get more. If you know what kind of map you made, these next steps may be easier for you.
If your city is situated by a lot of land (like, you are on a continent with one or two other tribes), you will want to upgrade knights quickly, which can be done from buying riding, then free spirit, then chivalry. Knights are expensive but have enough benefits to make up for it. For one, knights ride on horses which move several tiles each move. Because of this, even if your city is a fair distance away from an opponent's, you will be able to close the distance. Knights do more damage than riders do, so they make for a better option when possible. Lastly, knights have the ability to attack enemies one after the other, so long as the knight kills each one in succession. This means if you weaken a troop with an archer, then swoop in with a knight, you can easily clean higher level troops. This also means knights are effective at wiping an entire backend of low health/low defense troops, like archers, mind benders, catapults, and boats (without giants in them). Since knights are able to travel very far, it is a smart idea, with any extra stars you have, to place roads down the path you want your knights to travel, as it will boost how far your knight can travel (instead of moving 2 tiles, they will be able to move 4). Just remember that enemy roads don't boost the knight's distance, and if a knight starts their move on a mountain, they will not be boosted by roads.
If your city is situated near a large lake or a river, you will want to start bulking up a navy. An easy way to build up a navy is to have a city near a port start producing shielded units. These units are the cheapest units to buy with a starting 15 hp. If you can, build a road from that city to the port (unless you are directly next to it), and start dropping shields into the water like mad. You will want to invest in navigation, which can be bought after sailing is bought. Navigation will allow you to travel the dark blue ocean tiles, and will allow you to make battleships. To go from a standard boat to a battleship, you will need to click on the boat and feed it stars (20 required for full upgrade). If battleships are too expensive for you, simply stopping at the cheaper intermediate, ship upgrade should suffice, so long as enemies haven't progressed too far. When you think you have more ships/battleships then the enemy tribe has units protecting it's city, you should head out for an offensive. It's not a bad idea keeping at least one shield (or giant, if you have one) as a ship instead of a battleship, that way when you take out the troop protecting their city, you can swoop in with a shielded unit/giant to capture. The reason you should take with a ship and not a battleship is because you cannot revert back to a ship or battleship once you step on land. This means any stars invested in that troop will have gone to waste. As you progress through the game, you will also find that you will need to focus on any other large naval tribes, as they will likely be the greatest threat to you. Additionally, when trying to attack cities with battleships, you will want to destroy any nearby catapults.
As you conquer more cities remember to build more ports and more customs houses to amass as many stars as you can. Once you have more cities than any other tribe in the game, you should be able to overwhelm others, as long as you focus your troops on one tribe at a time. A good rule of thumb for whether you can take a tribe on or not is: if the enemy you want to fight plus any other enemy you are currently fighting combined have more cities than you, do not engage. While it could be a risk that pays off, what could happen is you aggro every tribe, they all focus on you, they all generate more stars per turn than you, and you perish. Unless you feel very confident about how many stars per turn you are producing, attacking more cities (owned by enemies) than you own is not advisable (for reliable victory).
As you hurdle on towards the end of the game, with all enemies destroyed, you will start to generate way more stars than the enemies can keep up with. For me, I noticed on the 900 tile map when I started generating about 130 stars per turn that I could take 3 or 4 cities every turn. On smaller maps with fewer enemies, this tipping point will naturally be lower. To keep increasing this star count per turn, it is also advisable you keep upgrading your cities. An easy way to increase population is to grow forests (through spiritualism upgrade, found past archery), then burn the forests (this ability comes with the knight upgrade, chivalry), then build a farm (which can be done after buying farming, which comes after organization). This process will cost 15 stars per tile if the tile starts off without a forest or farmland tile already on it. It is best to make these farm tiles in an o shape around an empty tile, and then to place a windmill in the center of (hopefully) 8 farm tiles. The boost to your population from this strategy alone would be +2 for each farm (+16 for farms), and then +8 for the windmill, which boosts population by 24. This means you will be able to upgrade your city a few times for several giants, which are great for protecting and capturing cities, since they cannot be one-shotted by enemies.
How good is this roadmap for each tribe?
Believe it or not, each tribe will have a different difficulty following this strategy, since many components of each tribe differs from tribe to tribe. To start, we will start with tribes this strategy is very good for:
- Kickoo: The Kickoo tribe starts with fishing, and they have a boost to the number of fish in their territory, which means when you clear those fish, you will be able to generate a lot of stars through the port and customs house strategy. It also helps that you don't need to buy fishing to get to ports with Kickoo, and you can move straight into sailing.
- Imperius: The Imperius have equal spawn rates for any naturally generating resources, meaning you probably won't have a hard time getting to fishing. Additionally, the Imperius start with organization, which means you will be able to upgrade your capital fairly early and be able to take on any straggler warriors in your way early game.
- Xin-xi: They have standard spawn rates for each resource except mountains, which are boosted. This gives Xin-xi early sight into their surroundings since they start with climbing (resting a unit on a mountain allows you to see 2 tiles in every direction around the mountain, as opposed to the standard 1). This will help you to spot enemies and empty villages to take. Additionally, you will usually not have much issue finding water nearby.
- Bardur: This tribe has boosted animals to hunt, and since they start with hunting, they will be able to upgrade their capital quick and look for villages without much issue. The Bardur have a great early economic advantage over other tribes since they have hunting and if you unlock forestry, you can use your high number of forest tiles to increase population. They also have standard rates for fish, which is nice for port-customs house star gathering.
- Hoodrick: They start with archery, and an archer on your capital. You will probably want a warrior on turn 1, and then to find a small tribe with your warrior in the lead, with some archers behind. This is an easy way to get early cities, and can help you grow faster. The Hoodrick are also able to get fish rather easily.
- Luxidoor: This tribe starts with an upgraded capital, but at a cost. You don't get a workshop, explorer, or the option to take the bonus resources from the level 3 upgrade, instead starting with a city wall. But still, you start with +4 stars per turn, usually have access to water for port-customs house star gathering, and having a city wall to start means warriors will struggle to beat you early on, giving you time to build up resources.
- Zebasi: These guys start with farming, and usually have farmland near them, meaning you can upgrade your city on turn 0. This helps you get through upgrades faster, and as you settle into a game, you can build up cities quickly.
- Ai-Mo: This tribe is very strange to use, but should be able to follow this strategy. They start with meditation, so you should start by upgrading philosophy if you can. This reduces the cost of upgrades by 20%, which will help you out in the long run, since Ai-Mo can take a while to get their cities started. Plus you get mind benders, which can heal your troops or steal enemy troops next to you (mind benders are not a counter to knights, they will get one-shotted by them).
- Quetzali: These guys start with shields. This means you can camp your capital and slowly build out without worrying about getting taken over (unless you are just reckless). Since it's hard to defeat Quetzali's shields early game, they usually are able to at least make it to the mid game. A good tribe to practice this strategy with.
- Yădakk: They start with roads, which means you don't need to buy riding to get to building customs houses. Additionally, you won't need to worry about buying the roads upgrade when you get to start using knights.
As for the other tribes, this strategy may not work as well, and sections below will detail how to use them more effectively.
- Vengir: The Vengir not only start out with Swordsman, and a Swordsman on their capital, they also have reduced fish spawn rates, meaning going for the fishing tree is not going to benefit the Vengir as much as with other tribes.
- Oumaji: The Oumaji start with riding, which is nice for the strategy because it leads to the trade upgrade, but the terrain the Oumaji spawns in has reduced water, which makes collecting stars through ports more difficult.
- ∑∫ỹriȱŋ: While technically this strategy *could* work for the ∑∫ỹriȱŋ, it does not play to their strengths, and tile management tends to be different.
- Aquarion & Polaris: Simply put, they are built different. They have tech trees that don't allow them to follow this strategy (Polaris can't build ports or customs houses and Aquarion Knights are more like archers on horses instead of the standard knight unit)
Vengir, as mentioned before, have very little incentive to go through the fishing tree early on since fish spawns are lower, so in order to play to their strengths, you should use the 5 stars you start with to immediately buy another swordsman. To progress past the early game, you need to expand, and with swordsman, you are dangerous. If you happen upon a poorly guarded city or an empty village, you should be able to take it on with your two swordsman with relative ease. Be careful in this early stage though, if these two units fail to capture something, you will be stuck with +2 stars per turn, which means you will only be able to produce a warrior, or do nothing. This means if they fail against a tribe, counterattacking the Vengir is very easy.
Once you can capture a city or two, it's time to start developing your land so that you can get +5 stars per turn. This will ensure you can always produce more swordsman if you are threatened. If it's too difficult to progress through the next tribe, and you have water near you, you should try camping until you have ports and customs houses built. If you are being threatened, spam as many swordsman as you can manage, and build a blockade to prevent your cities from being captured. Then, proceed to generate more stars through customs houses.
If it's not too difficult taking the next village with your swordsmen, take it. If one swordsman is lower on health, ideally you will want to attack with a lower health troop first (since it does less damage and if it captures a city, it likely won't keep it), then attack with a higher health swordsman. Once you find that the enemies are stronger than you, develop your cities to get more stars per turn, then work on getting ports and customs houses.
From this point, you should be able to transition back to the general roadmap from the point where you make knights/ build up a navy.
The Oumaji tribe is interesting, since you can use the general roadmap above if you spawn near water. In the event this tribe spawns in a literal desert, here's how you should try to progress:
Firstly, you will start out with a rider on your capital, and have riding unlocked. You will not have any upgrades to start with that will upgrade your city. The rider can move 2 spaces at once, and if it hits an enemy that doesn't die, it will retaliate with some damage to you, but your rider gets to "flee", meaning you can move some more after attacking. The ideal start to an Oumaji game is to find an empty village, since the extra stars per turn will help you build up faster and will allow you to make more riders if you feel threatened or want to explore more of your surroundings. If you can't get another village, you should just try to build up your capital city and get a workshop. This will allow you to keep gathering stars you need for more upgrades, even if you have to make more riders to defend yourself.
When you're fighting against some warriors in order to capture their city, you will probably want 2-3 riders outside but near the city. Then, starting with lower health riders, make your way to their city and attack the warrior protecting it. If your capturing rider is at max health and there's only 1 warrior nearby, you should be able to take. If there are more outside the city, spam more riders until there aren't.
It's important that you don't try to fight too many tribes all at once at this point, even if you capture a city or two, since your stars per turn will be stunted somewhat compared to other tribes. Once you capture a city or two by the water (ideally destroying the tribe that ruled them completely), it's camping time. At this point, you will want to go for ports and then customs houses as normal, and you can follow the general roadmap from here.
As mentioned before, if you want to use the general roadmap for the ∑∫ỹriȱŋ, go ahead! It should work fine, but there's more to the ∑∫ỹriȱŋ that you may find useful.
For starters, the ∑∫ỹriȱŋ are able to build sanctuaries through the Forestry upgrade, which is next to their starting upgrade, Forest Magic. While this isn't immediately useful, if you go for archery and then spiritualism, you can start making forests. If you have forests in an o shape around a sanctuary (which needs to be built on a forest), you will start attracting a lot of Unicorns, which will reward you with 1 star per turn for every Unicorn next to the sanctuary. This star bonus does go away when you enchant the Unicorn, though, so be careful of that.
Understanding this mechanic of the ∑∫ỹriȱŋ, you should start as you normally would to upgrade your cities, even going as far as working on getting knights and a navy started. What you change, however, is instead of making farmland to make giants (which are dragons instead), you focus on forests and sanctuaries to get lots of animals to produce stars for you. The benefit to this is if you feel a city is in danger, you can simply enchant some animals to attack an enemy (they are essentially swordsman that cost 2 stars to enchant). As you keep pushing through enemy territory, start working the resources in one of your well protected cities to create a dragon egg, which will turn into the powerful ranged unit, the Fire Dragon after 6 turns. These Dragons are good at disrupting large crowds of low level troops, since enemy troops next to ones you aim at will also take fire damage.
∑∫ỹriȱŋ also have boosted farmland rates, so if you need that extra bit of firepower from Fire Dragons, remember to upgrade organization so you can see the farmland tiles.
Lastly, you can, through the Water Magic upgrade enchant Whales. These whales are tanky, and can attack any unit in the water or any unit on a city next to water, but cannot go on land (unless it's a city). It's best to have a navy before trying to take on enemy cities with these whales. These whales also have the added benefit of being able to attack adjacent units if it defeats an enemy, like the knight. Water units tend to be weaker than land units, so this ability will help reduce other navies to ashes so yours may rise.
Other than those differences in where you pay attention, the general roadmap should be able to help guide you to victory.
Simply put, the Aquarion is a tough tribe to start. In essence, you either die early, or you live long enough to become a living menace to all nearby tribes. Why is it so hard to start though?
Well, when you spawn in, 30% of your land is replaced with water, and you have no starting technologies. So, in order to upgrade your capital, you need to upgrade fishing, then take 2 turns gathering fish. If before turn 3 an enemy begins targeting you, you're in for a rocky game. Usually, this is a death sentence. If by some miracle you don't get spawn killed, you can make another warrior and start your exploration journey. If you get more villages, great! That's extra stars you can use to progress faster. If you get nothing, that's okay too. Just keep amassing stars until you can unlock Tridentions, which are essentially the Aquarion's equivalent of the standard Knight unit. Why are these guys menaces to society? Well, simply put, they move fast, use a hard hitting ranged trident attack, then move away. With several Tridentions, the Aquarion can easily hold their own against other tribes that have progressed further. Once you have these guys unlocked, you can breath a little easier, and work on getting ports and customs houses next.
When you can produce 7-8 stars per turn, you should be able to handle taking on an enemy tribe, since you can just make more Tridentions. These units are definitely worth their high cost, since they allow you to expand your city network very quickly. It is also advisable, when you have excess stars, to build roads the same way you would if you were using regular knights.
Polaris have really janky resource spawn rates, which are dictated based on what tribe is nearby. As such, what you will want to do will vary based on what's around you.
The first step to getting a Polaris run started is to upgrade your city. If you have water tiles surrounding your capital (or ice), with no other resources, you might have to make outposts, which is not ideal since they cost 5 stars each, meaning you will only get to upgrade your capital to level 2 by turn 3! That's even slower than the Aquarion. This isn't likely to happen though, as fish or fruits tend to be nearby. Still, spawn luck could ruin you.
You start out with a Mooni unit on your capital (the little yeti dude on sleds), and they can freeze all units within 1 tile of them, but they cannot freeze after moving. Additionally, thanks to their sleds, they can move 2 units on ice. Because of this, you will have to get creative with how you start playing. Either keep the Mooni on the capital until you level it, and freeze any incoming warriors, or move the Mooni next to the capital and create a warrior of your own to defend. This will slow your progression some, but it will add some much needed defense. Keep in mind the latter option is not optimal if you have to start by building outposts.
Once you make it through this awkward early game, you should try to get yourself the Polar Warfare upgrade. This replaces navigation, since you can't use boats anyways, and with it are your ship and battleship equivalents: the battle sled and the ice fortress. You don't want to use ice fortresses right away, since they are very star heavy, but battle sleds should be within your price range after upgrading your capital/ potentially taking a city or empty village. They're more expensive than riders, but they also have more HP, attack, and defense to make up for it. Spamming these guys at cities will allow you to take them fairly easily unless shielded.
Once you feel like you can afford it comfortably, you can start transitioning into making ice fortresses. These are essentially your battleships, and when paired with regular knight units, are able to defeat hoards of enemy armies. Merely weaken with the fortresses, and clean up with a knight or two. This sort of attack is very difficult to defend against in general, and gets harder to defend the more fortresses you have.
To start generating lots of stars, you will want an ice bank. While there can only be 1 per world, you can get many stars from it. For every 20 tiles you freeze, you will get 3 stars per turn (Maxing out at 30 stars per turn after freezing 200 tiles). This incentivises you to freeze oceans for stars, and if you get the Polarism upgrade (found behind whaling), you can move very quickly on the ice (+1 tile boost for all troops!). This means on ice, you can potentially have a Polaris Swordsman with the mobility of a rider.
Through all of this, keep your cities upgraded, and eventually you will be rewarded with a giant's replacement, the Gaami, which wears a skull. These guys can freeze water and troops after moving, which makes defeating them very difficult without any ranged attacks. If your Gaami is protected by some fortresses to ensure ranged weaponry is inadequate, they are extremely difficult to kill.
Lastly, if you find yourself having a hard time capturing cities, consider making an ice archer or two for sieging. They can freeze an enemy, making them unable to move for the turn they're frozen for. This can help give you that slight edge you might be feeling you needed to capture that city.