Dominions 5

Dominions 5

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Rej's Guide to Winning Wars
By Shinuyama
A guide to how to win wars that you fight with other people. Real gooder.
Introduction and Foreword
Wars are complicated and rarely about 'making a single army and marching it at your opponent'. Most games do not meaningfully iterate this, especially in singleplayer. While the potential is there in many of them, it can still work or even be more effective to make a single blob and hurl it. That is not the case in dominions when playing against other players. The high effectiveness of counter-tactics in dominions means that a single, counterable army is potentially going to seriously suffer, and lose you the game, if you use it without thinking and without planning.

Thus, this is a guide to how to win the wars you will inevitably get into with other players, with the minimum of risk and the highest chance to win.

In order;

1. Have a useful spell ['a useful spell'; A spell which negates the enemy plan, makes their soldiers pointless, or otherwise enables you to win the fight with disproportionate losses]
2. Make sure all the mages you need are at fights, bring too many if unsure
3. Attack. Don't defend. Attack. Attack anything that doesn't have enough troops in it to stop you and you're not going to lose things you can't afford to take it.
4. When you do plan to engage, make sure you have enough stuff to win decisively. Otherwise, retreat. Don't put things you care about in the jaws of the enemy's land forces unnecessarily or without a plan you feel will win.
1. Determining the Useful Spell
A spell is a funny thing. It can be entirely useless, or utterly destroy what your enemy has. Every path has useful spells against nearly any opponent. It is quite hard to be in a situation where you genuinely have no useful spells. However, determining the useful spell against a number of spells that are situationally useful in other situations or just dross, useless cabbages of spells that have no purpose, can be hard. Use this as a rough guide, but if in doubt, ask. Secrecy harms only you - any even half decent player can use scouts and battle reports to work out what you have.

Some nations rely on armour. Take it away(destruction, armour of achilles, strength of giants, weapons of sharpness, fatigue, swarm/creeping doom). Some nations rely on troops. Make their troops unable to act(earth meld, tangle vines, wildtangle/grip of the marshlands, fatigue, swarm). Some nations rely on quantity. Hit everything at once (flaming arrows, equake, wrathful, ros). Some nations rely on ranged attacks (evos, arrows). Take that away (buff prot on 'catcher' units, summon big things to get hit by the attacks while other tactics wipe out enough of their stuff to force a rout, put up mist or storm or both to nerf their prec while using lots of small units, only put elementals into their range and other things you don't care about and that are hard to hit or kill).

Watch battles. Counter-raid to see more battles. Look at their mages and check for gems. If you don't know why that mage has those gems, ask on discord. Work out what your enemy is doing, even if it's 'wild flailing'. Then find your useful spell(s). Research them if necessary. Ask in discord if you can't work it out. Counter-raid, hide in forts, whatever you need to to get the tool you need. Sometimes the ideal tool is out of your reach and you must bodge up something else. That happens. It's fine. But don't bring a general purpose tool to a fight with someone you know nothing about, and expect not to lose.
2. Bringing Mages
To bring mages to fights you must have first built mages. To have built mages you must have understood that early gold, early expansion, early research and early forts, are all valuable. I often build forts late to get max dudes out for expansion, and yet have far more mages in early fights than my opponents. That's largely because people build forts early, spam mages, and then keep them in labs.

This is a mistake. Winning wars and having more forts and income is how you get more RP, not by leaving mages in forts for the turns of the war. Losing wars sets your RP to zero. Draws, stalemates, and long wars, cost you far more RP than you could gain by leaving mages in forts. I typically have 50-60% of my mages in an early war. Obviously not if they have nothing to do - this is step 2, not step 1. Do step 1 first, get the spell(s) you need, and then do step 2. Maybe if you can time things right, decamp from forts to march to the war front so you arrive AS you get spells, but not before.

Mages need to be in fights. With gems for elementals, hats, blood slaves, or whatever crazy things they need to succeed. Even lowly spells such as Armour of Achilles, Tangle Vines, or Summon Imps can win fights and even wars. Mages are the vehicle by which you deliver these spells. You need enough delivery mechanism to get the amount of spell you require painted across your targets. Sometimes this can be only a few mages, for mass buffs or battlefield enchantments, but often this means a mage standing behind every 5 line soldiers, machine gunning the enemy with debuffs. The amount required should be work out able from looking at the enemy, looking at the spell, and a bit of envelope math. When in doubt, err on the side of 'more'.
3. The Best Defense is an All-Out, Screaming, Berserker Attack
When you own a province the enemy cannot move into it from anywhere but adjacent, and cannot move 'over' it as part of multiple-province movement unless they have flying or sailing (or teleporting). Let me reiterate that. THEIR MOVEMENT IS NOW BLOCKED FOR A TURN. Every time an enemy attacks you, there's a chance they'll slip up and give away their army strategy, which spells they plan to use, how they've ordered their troops. Every province you take is time bought for spells to come online, and it's a chance to gather intel on the enemy and what they plan to do in a real fight - a fight you plan to win.

Also, if the province is connected to your lands, you get income. Precious gold pounds and magical gems. If not, you deny it to the enemy and place economic and psychological pressure on them to hurry - and therefore, to make mistakes.

Detaching squads of soldiers with a commander, a mage with a few gems to spam elementals, or even a thug (very expensive for this kind of thing, but their mobility means you might use them to do this), a teleporting/flying mage, or bloody anything you can get your hands on, mercs hired in a raided province, to take provinces reduces your opponent's ability to continue the war, their income, and their available forces, as well as the psychological toll. You will lose many of these guys! But you're paying for time with their lives - even if you don't earn back their cost, what they buy you is time, the use of the enemy's retaking forces, and the loss of enemy income as WELL as any income you gain.

You aren't 'raiding for gold', you're raiding for time, for position, and to draw the enemy into your trap. A trap that might have not been there the turn before, not some long laid plan, but simply an opportunity created by a relentless offensive. The more provinces, aka time, position, and intelligence, you have, the less the enemy does, and the more chance they'll blunder into something that'll rip them apart. Armies should shard raiding parties into each province they can reach, if you have the troops - or even split up into mini armies if that's not going to get them destroyed piecemeal. Forts should periodically spit out little tiny raider groups, or each mage picks up a few gems and goes off to do his bit for the glory of your god. You're feeding these into the teeth of enemy forces sometimes, but your willingness to do so buys you territory and time - and if the enemy is truly defending in depth, upscale, or abandon, these efforts as need be. Remember, a dead raiding force is a good investment if it takes a single territory - even if it doesn't pay back the gold cost, it pays in other ways.
4. Roll Some Dice
Eventually you'll see a weakness. You'll see a likely spot the enemy will move to, and you'll have enough that can get there in time to have a real go of it. Or you'll form up an army that you're sure - sure - the enemy can't beat with what they have, and start it walking towards the embattled front line where the enemy army is either advancing or holding their homeland. If you sit there raiding forever, even if the enemy can't make headway - neither can you.
Raiding costs you MEN, and buys you TIME. Sometimes it works super well and you spend almost no men for infinite time and income. But often, you want to lock the enemy in forts and leave their land safely - or sorta-safely - in your hands.

While you prosecute this war, others are doing the same. And their opponents might be weaker - or they might be better at it - than you. You are on a timer, always. While you don't want to lose, you must also win before you exhaust your resources, so you can build up for when the next person decides to involve themselves in your business (or you decide to involve yourself in theirs). So don't hesitate too long - when you know what the enemy can do, when you can simulate how the battle might go in your mind, decide upon your formations, place your mages, and script your useful spell(s). And then turn them into swiss cheese. Once the enemy's main field forces are destroyed, you must immediately move to consolidate - taking their land, putting their forts under siege (but not with field units except to bottle up the enemy, and not necessarily to immediately storm - don't sit on top of forts like the AI with real troops! Don't run into forts without forward intelligence and a plan! I've left enemy forts under siege for in-game years and it's been a good plan!), and consolidating the new borders with scouts and forward raiding potential in case anyone else decides to take a swing at your new lands.

In other words, you do need to eventually go for the kill. Just make sure the deck is stacked in your favour, and your opponents plans lie revealed. Even the silliest or most mundane things can grant you victory, if, and only if, you know what your opponent has. Additionally, you can much more safely mass the mages needed for an absolute victory, knowing that your opponent doesn't have the tools to wipe them out.

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Felius Dec 29, 2020 @ 2:36pm 
> When you own a province the enemy cannot move into it from anywhere but adjacent, and cannot move 'over' it as part of multiple-province movement unless they have flying or sailing (or teleporting).

This is not true in dominions 5. A high movement army can invade from a distant province. And for movement across enemy provinces, it's all extra movement cost, so a high map enough movement should be able to hit the backlines in a single leap. I'm not 100% sure on this part, but I can definitely confirm you can invade provinces with fast ground units from 2 provinces away, at least if the province in the way is one of yours.
John William Aug 29, 2020 @ 4:02pm 
Very good stuff, I have not played a MP game yet, but I watch it a lot on YT and the war there sometimes dont make sense to me ..with this guide i can understand a lot more whats is going on there :D
Stopple May 13, 2020 @ 11:32am 
nice writing style. you make words good
Eccy Apr 3, 2020 @ 4:34am 
From the text I can hear them crying...)) good times
Twogun Aug 19, 2018 @ 4:45am 
really well done/written.
Silence Apr 17, 2018 @ 2:12pm 
I couldn't agree more
Amom Dec 30, 2017 @ 11:21am 
Blue Boogers Dec 26, 2017 @ 1:40am 
I like this guide good
horstjens Dec 22, 2017 @ 12:28am 
thanks for sharing
Spinx Ironhead Dec 15, 2017 @ 1:07pm 
Now this is well crafted