Finally, here we go. I couldn't get the DosBox screen captures to work (couldn't find the capture directory, tried to redefine it in the DosBoxconfig and nothing was ever saved in the defined directory) so I'm using simple Windows screen captures.
Man, this screen fills me with nostalgy.
Yes! We want to start a new game!
(...at this point I realized I had been saving my screenshots at gifs, yuck, look at the loss of color depth! Fixed for the later pictures!)
Yes. This is how I always play.
"Standard" wizards are good for getting acquainted with the game. For experienced players, however, Custom wizards are the best choice.
Sss'ra is the one wizard I do not want to meet in this game! He ruined one perfectly good game with his killer Planar Seal + Meteor Storm combo. Made it literally Impossible.
So, I'll pick Sss'ra's image and the computer won't pick Sss'ra. Simple.
Since we've got a dragon-looking wizard, let's give him a proper dragonlike name. Nidhogg or Nidhoggr was, I recall, a mythological dragon who lived somewhere around or in the Norse underworld.
As I decided earlier, it's 11 Sorcery or bust!
Tought choice between Haste and Invisibility. I have a fetish for Invisibility, so that's what it's gonna be. Hope I will be able to research Haste later. Or maybe find/trade it.
Spell Lock would be nice to have, too, but let's face it, Spell Blast is vital when playing Impossible level.
High Men it is. Bring on the flying invisible Paladins!
Red is the easiest color to see on the map.
Nastrond is the place where Nidhogg lived (thanks, Wikipedia!).
Not a bad starting spot: I will be able to build Warships here. Got some minerals too. But this town will be blocking a potentially better spot for a town nearby (rivermouth). Oh well.
I want magical scouts...
Magic Spirit is worthless in combat but moves 2 areas per turn and can walk on water. Upkeep 1.
And I could always help those guys in combat with Phantom Warriors and Confusion.
Nagas are slightly better in combat - but move slower (IIRC). They can swim too. The upkeep is higher, though...
I decide to summon a Magic Spirit first, maybe Nagas a little later.
Time to research my first spell! Lets see:
Spell Lock is integral to my strategy...but not quite yet. It's a long time before I have my flying invisible paladins out (let alone enough mana to sustain them and the Spell Lock!)
Disenchant True is likewise very useful. But not yet.
Vertigo can turn an early defeat into a victory. Not too expensive.
Phantom Beast. Phantom Beasts are cool - when they are on your side. I want this spell - but it costs twice as many research points as Vertigo. Besides my skill isn't good enough to cast several Phantom Beasts per battle in the early game anyway.
Aura of Majesty is helpful when I want to go trading spells. But I haven't even met the other wizards yet, and this spell costs mana per turn...
The rest are also useful but not vital in the very early game.
...I choose Vertigo.
...and immediately regret the decision, truth be told! In most combat situations, I will be better off simply casting more Phantom Warriors and Confusions. Should have gone for the 'Beast. Oh well. What's done is done.
The Swordsman unit will patrol and guard Nastrond against wandering monsters. The Spearman can start initial exploration.
Need to build something. Well, before building anything costly and complex, it's best to boost our production rate. Since production and pretty much everything relies on population size, let's build Granary first to make Nastrond grow faster.
A Chaos Node! But Fire Giants are not something a Spearman unit can take, with or without Phantom Warriors. The Fire Giants will probably slaughter my Spearmen from a distance before I can cast any spells. No thanks, let's move on...
My Magic Spirit spell is proceeding to slowly. I have excess gold, I'll transmute it to Mana to speed up the process.
...and there's my Magic Spirit!
Suddenly, another Magic Spirit out of nowhere! Who is that?
Ok, it's Oberic. Not my favorite opponent but not a particularly terrible one either. At least it's not Tauron, Rjak or Kali!
What worries me is that he's this close. I may need to deal with him pretty soon. Best start summoning those Nagas.
Here's his profile:
The Nastrond Granary is complete! Next, Smithy->Marketplace->Farmer's Market. Maybe build a Shrine in between, especially if rebels show up.
So that's where I am, now. One further piece of info: the lair near my Spearmen & Oberic's Magic Spirit contained "Ghouls". Since it did not specify how many Ghouls, I didn't enter. A large pack of Ghouls will be a problem for one Spearmen unit when you've got only Sorcery magic - not much help against the Undead.
Now the questions:
1) Most importantly, what to do about Oberic?
Go for peaceful coexistence or try to wipe him out quickly?
He's got lots of Nature books so he could have the Change Terrain spell I might want to trade later. And he's got only Sorcery book, so I have lots of spells to give in exchange. Even as bribes...
But I'm worried by how close he is. That is not going to end well.
If I want to eliminate him quickly, how to go about it? Maintain peaceful relations until I got Paladins? Or summon Nagas like crazy, build Archers/Swordsmen/whatever early units and rush his capital?
2) Powerbase allocation: What should I prioritize?
Maybe take away from Spell Research, since I already have my key spells (Flight, Invisibility, Spell Blast)?
3) Nastrond development. What should I focus on?
(Obviously this will depend on how you answer to #1 and #2.)
(I think I should make the follow-up posts slightly more compact, fewer images and skip uninteresting stuff.)