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Old October 16th, 2006, 08:55 PM

dirtywick dirtywick is offline
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Default Beginner\'s Guide to EA Arcoscephale

Early Age Arcoscephale is an interesting nation with a lot of different options, and thankfully it's easier to play than to spell. It has access to high levels in most magic paths except death and blood through itís national mages and forging items, multiple stealthy commanders, healing afflictions, scrying (which gives you scout reports in friendly dominion), and the tools necessary to go for a dominion kill. But, with so many options, it can be difficult to decide which is important and end up failing at them all.

Suggested Pretender Design

Cyclops, Dormant
F4 E5
Dominion Strength: 7 Order: 2 Productivity:1 Growth:2 Drain:2

This makes a decent pretender SC with high stats and all slots available. With Earth 5 his protection starts at 25 which is nothing to sneeze at, and gets an improved attack skill. The blessing on the sacred troops isnít too bad for a few reasons Iíll get into when I mention them. All considered, itís a decent pretender.

Ghost King, Awake
Dominion Strength: 8 Order: 3 Sloth: 3 Growth: 2 Misfortune: 1 Drain: 2

I use this pretender for a specialized purpose: the Dominion Kill. In high dominion, the Ghost King generates ghosts, both of which are stealthy and amphibious and being awake helps generate more ghosts earlier. Death magic also has a lot of stealthy and amphibious summons and having an abundance of magic gems to alchemize will help you search for death sites remotely. Alternatively you could lower order or your dominion strength or magic paths to raise growth. Itís a specialized and difficult strategy though, but worth mentioning for diversities sake.

National Units

Slinger-The slinger is not a very good unit. Theyíre the only real ranged unit available to Arco and are marginally effective against unarmored/light armor troops, however they are outclassed by most indy archers and thus should be completely replaced early in the game.

Peltast-I like the Peltast. It doesnít have much armor to speak of which is pretty standard for light infantry, but can throw javelins before engaging in melee. Theyíre cheap and pretty effective against light infantry.

Cardaces-Cardaces arenít bad either. They are slightly more armored than the Peltast at the expense of being able to use ranged attacks. They last a little longer but get chewed up quickly by heavier armies.

Myrmidon-The Myrmidon is probably the best infantry available to Arco. Theyíre heavily armored at 17 protection and can hold off all but the most powerful troops, like giants, and can absorb arrow fire well. Theyíre costly at 28 resources, so if youíre going with the suggested Ghost King donít plan on making too many of these.

Chariot Archer-I havenít found much, if any, use for Chariot Archers. Theyíre very expensive in both gold and resources when compared to most other archers. You could maybe use them fire and flee and have a large chance of getting your army away intact, but at the cost of making an army to do that with these guys thatís going to put a real hurt on an enemy, you could have raised an actual army that has a chance at conquering the province.

Chariot-These are pretty good cavalry, another staple of my armies using Arco. They have good stats and trample, so they make short work of human sized and smaller enemies, especially when the army has routed and is fleeing. Just make sure to use hold and attack and put them a distance away or theyíre likely to charge the front lines and take heavy losses before they break and flee.

Icarid-I donít like Icarids at all. They can fly, which is nice, but their stats are bad and frequently, even on hold and attack rear, they fly in and get slaughtered, even by archers, and rout and retreat. Plus their map movement is only 2 so thatís even limiting their raiding ability. Theyíre not worth the even moderate cost.

Wind Rider-Wind Riders are excellent. For starters they fly and have a map movement of 3 so theyíre not hard to get to where you need them without using gems. They have great stats, including both 17 in protection and defense skill, so theyíre survivors. Plus, theyíre sacred so they can be blessed to even higher stats and effects. Theyíre an excellent addition to the army, but very expensive and cost a point of holy each so hard to mass in high numbers early in the game.


Scout-Total waste of money. You get a superior effect with slightly more expensive Skeptics and the unique Scry property makes any effect from scouts irrelevant.

Myrmidon Champion-The Myrmidon Champion is a good commander. Theyíre pretty tough and have a leadership value of 80 which lets them field large numbers of troops, and they have all the slots available for magic items if you choose to give them any.

Chariot Commander-This unit isnít so good. Itís more expensive than the Myrmidon Champion and has a lower leadership rating and fewer slots. However, their map movement is 3, so if you plan on fielding a more mobile army made up of quicker troops, this is an alternative, however youíll probably find a better, cheaper indy commander that can produce a similar effect.

Wind Lord-This is a great unit and a good candidate for a prophet to increase itís hit points and give it a permanent bless, especially Earth to give it reinvigoration to keep it from getting fatigued too quickly. It has great starting protection and defense, and with a few magic items, like a kite shield and magic sword and pendant of luck, can be made into a great thug that can fly to the rear and take out the soft troops and commanders.

Skeptic-This is the bread and butter of the dominion kill. Theyíre stealthy and lower enemy dominion in the province theyíre in, and it appears that multiple skeptics lower dominion more quickly. You can even make them a prophet to both raise your dominion and lower enemy dominion even more quickly. I find it useful that when not in a hurry to attack, get as many of these in enemy territory as possible. Watch for old age though.

Philosopher-Theyíre basically cheap, capital only researchers. Theyíre worth the cost; however the old age status on them can kill them quickly, so use with care and monitor them make sure that any research boosting items you have on them arenít lost if disease catches up with them.

Engineer-Not worth the time I feel. They assist you in castle sieges, however thereís a superior mage version of them that will actually help you on the battlefield as well as sieges. They also have old age.


Priestess N1 H1-First, this is the only unit with holy magic available as a national to Arco, so theyíre good for building temples at least. They have the ability to Heal on the strategic map, which is valuable for removing afflictions, and cast Sermon of Courage. I keep one of these with large armies at all times, theyíre valuable on the map and can cast a few useful spells, such as Tangle Vines, Protection, Elemental Fortitude, Swarm, and Heal.

Mystic S1 ?2(FWES 100%, F 50%, W 50%, E 50%)-The mystic is a decent mage. They have a moderate chance at getting up to 4 different paths, but as low as 1, making them able site searchers, and the only unit available to Arco that guarantees a pick in Astral magic. Theyíre not bad in battle and not bad for forging. Theyíre good at spamming Body Ethereal for one, and have a few other useful combat spells depending on their picks.

Mage Engineer A1 E1 ?1(FAWES 100%)-These are good units, but capital only. First, they help with sieges considerably, so you can keep them around for just that. They also have quite a few useful combat spells depending on their picks, so they arenít too bad on the battlefield if not just to launch low level evocation spells.

Oreliad A2 E1 N3 ?1(AWEN 100%, AWEN 10%)-This is a great unit, probably one of the best Arco has to offer. Being capital only can be a problem, but there are ways around that, such as Mountain Survival for increasing their map movement and the ability for every one recruited to cast Cloud Trapeze. Theyíre also stealthy and have the Seduce command, which doesnít seem to work very well. They can forge powerful items, cast powerful rituals and summons, and make good battle mages with access to spells like Lightning Bolt and Orb Lighting. Theyíre costly at 400G, but worth it; theyíre great units all around.

General Tactical Strategy

In first few turns I like to split Cardaces into two groups, and have a group of Peltasts and Slingers. I put the Cardaces and Peltasts into a line on the far right of the screen, to account for my short range, with the Peltasts in the middle and slightly farther back, and the Slingers behind them. It works well for taking out weaker indy provinces.

After I have a decent supply of Myrmidons, Chariots, and indy archers I change it a little bit. I put the Myrmidons in front, and groups of combined Peltasts and Cardaces on the flanks of the Myrmidons, slightly behind them to form what looks like an arrow so as to draw arrow fire on the Myrmidons. I put the archers behind them a ways. The chariots are scripted to hold and attack and are put behind everyone and off to a flank. The effect is good.

General Strategy

Using the Cyclops SC pretender, the first order of business is to research to Construction 2. The reason is simple: To overcome the Drain scale, forge owl quills, and lots of them. Oreliads can do this regardless of their picks. Arco naturally gains Air gems, so by the time youíre ready you should have more than enough to forge a few. Use mystics for research until you reach Construction 2 and make sure you recruit at least one Oreliad when your coffers are big enough, with Order: 2 gold shouldnít be much of an issue.

So, the first two turns are spent recruiting an army of slingers, cardaces, and peltasts. I like to wait two turns so any losses I take in the first battle wonít require me to return to the starting province and restock my army, slowing you down more than waiting an extra turn, and to give me a chance to scry and plan my initial conquests. The first one I aim for is a province I think contains indy archers to replace the slingers or a high resource province, preferably one with both.

When youíve conquered a mountain or forest province nearby, you probably have enough resources to start recruiting Myrmidons and Chariots en masse.

When youíre at Construction 2, itís time to switch to Evocation and research that to 2 to get access to Lighting Bolt, a great spell for your Oreliads. Begin to recruit Philosophers and giving them an Owl quill so your mages can move onto more useful prospects. If you get a chance you could recruit a Wing Lord and make him a prophet and gear him up a bit. Also begin branching out to site search manually with a Mystic and an Oreliad; between them you should have nearly all of the paths covered so you only have to search once.

Your pretender should be awakening soon, so be prepared to give him a few magical items as well. Also, if you get a spare moment, forge bows for your army commanders. Recruit a Priestess or use your prophet to build temples. When you hit Evocation 2, itís time to switch to Construction to 4 to gear up your prophet thug and SC pretender with some respectable items and give him and others with lucky picks and a pair of Earth Boots access to Legions of Steel, a helpful spell in all respects.

By now you should have a very good idea of where the enemies are if you havenít already begun to fight them. I suggest finding a place near one of them to build a castle. From this castle you can increase your army size and send out Skeptics to slow them down and keep the dominion friendly, maybe even score a dominion kill eventually.

From here, it really depends on needs, playstyle, and the type of enemy you face. Below Iíll outline which schools of magic have useful spells and useful items to help you to decide where to go from Construction 4.

The more difficult strategy, using the Ghost King pretender is very similar up to the Owl Quills, however itís slightly different after that. For one, you should be turtling up instead of expanding quickly. Your resources are low so youíre army is weaker and you donít want to face the enemy toe to toe, however getting a dominion kill doesnít even require you to fight a single battle. Using all that extra money to stock up on PD isnít a bad idea to discourage the enemy from attacking you directly.

Next, Evocation 2 isnít as important as Conjuration 2. Dark Knowledge is important for finding death sites quickly, and you want a lot of death gems for summoning raiding parties to destroy enemy temples. Also moving onto Enchantment 3 instead of Construction 4 may be a good idea, as Seeking Arrow can destroy a preaching priest if youíre having trouble pushing down enemy dominion.

The next thing thatís different is setting up the second castle is imperative. The more skeptics you have out there, the better off you are, especially a skeptic prophet.

You should also make building temples a priority to help move your dominion outward. Use the preach command to build your dominion quickly whenever possible. It can be even more difficult to use this on a large map where your later enemies will be both powerful and their dominions well established.

Suggested Magic Schools

As mentioned, taking Construction to 2 is a must. Evocation to 2, Enchantment to 3, Construction to 4, and Conjuration to 2 have also been mentioned. But what to decide next depends on what youíre trying to accomplish and if your original strategy is a possibility, so here are some other useful spells:

Conjuration: The Summon X Power spells are pretty nice for bigger battle spell effects and available early. Summon Amphiptere isnít a bad spell available at 3, and at 5 thereís Draconians and the Sirrush. The Firbolg from Awaken Sleeper, available at level 5 is worth mentioning. I also highly suggest taking it to 6 for all the useful death summons if you took the Ghost King. Your Oreliads can also easily cast Summon Tarrasque and Wild Hunt later in the game with a little help from some items or empowerment, and Wild Hunt may be worth taking it all the way to 9 if youíre going for a dominion kill strategy, and level 9 will also give you access to the Ghost Riders spell, which is excellent for raiding especially if you can coordinate it with a stealth army attacking at the same time. I donít suggest this school over others unless itís a dominion kill youíre after.

Alteration: There are some good spells here for your national mages and a couple for the Cyclops pretender, and one useful spell for your Ghost King pretender if youíre using it directly for raiding. Aim, at 1, is a great spell for all of your units because it increases their accuracy. Mirror Image at 2 is OK, but is outclassed by Mist Form at 3 for your Orelaids. Ironskin, also at 3, is good for most of your mages as they get Earth picks and temporarily for your Cyclops until Invunerability at 5. Body Ethereal at 3 can be spammed by every Mystic on your army. Swarm, at 4, is good for your Priestesses as it gives them something to do besides weak army buff spells and Sermon of Courage. Good higher level spells include False Horror at 6, and Mass Protection and Creeping Doom both available at 7 for your Orelaids, and Phoenix Pyre at 7 is great for any SC, including your Cyclops. Darkness at 6 is good if youíre using the suggested undead army for raiding and the Ghost King can cast it making most PD nothing more than a nuisance. Itís a good school to take to at least 3 or 4 quickly to eliminate the possibility of a lucky arrow killing an expensive mage.

Evocation: This is actually a great school for Arco as there are many useful spells in it for your mages. I wouldnít rate it a high priority for the Ghost King strat, but for the Cyclops itís almost always my pick after Construction 4. There are many spells that directly damage the enemy in this school, too many to list because of all the random picks, but I can outline some of the more important and easily used ones. To start, Sleep Cloud at 3 is a cool spell to use against large armies. Blade Wind, at 4, is huge for your Cyclops pretender as heíll launch more blades than you can count, and some other mages can use it as lucky picks. Thunder Strike, also available at 4, is good for Oreliads even though itís really fatiguing. Orb Lightning, level 5, is a great spell that nearly all of your mages will be able to cast, and your Oreliads to great effect. Also available at 5 is Healing Mists which isnít too bad and can be helpful in big battles, and Falling Fires which your Cyclops can cast, but I wouldnít do it outside of using it against enemies weak to fire. The Ghost King doesnít gain much from this spell other than Shadow Blast at 5 and Cloud of Death at 6, both of which are good spells against PD, but I donít think itís worth the investment for that strategy.

Construction: This is a good school for the Cyclops pretender. Thereís a lot of earth spells/summons available to it, plus very powerful and unique items past level 4. Itís worth taking a look at after getting some of the more essential spells from other schools.

Enchantment: This school is a bit of a low priority in the beginning, depending on map size. At level 3 Seeking Arrow is a great spell whether going for the dominion kill or not. At 4, Haste is a good spell, and Cloud Trapeze can help get your Oreliads to where you need them quickly. Gift of Health at 5 is good for Arco because of the old age that effects many of your commanders, but with a good growth scale I donít find it necessary. At 5 you could summon a Watcher, and Faery Trod can help move your armies around the map. At 6 Rigor Mortis can help your undead raiders if you choose. Overall though, itís not too impressive for either strategy.

Thaumaturgy: This is a great school for the dominion kill strategy as it has many spells that slow down your enemy from afar. There are some good spells available to both strategies though, such as Horror Mark at 1, Panic at 3, Confusion at 5, and Beckoning at 6, all of which are castable by your national mages. My favorite, however, is Melancholia at level 6. It requires E5 to cast, however even for the Ghost King pretender itís worth doing your best to get someone able to cast it, because it cripples the resources of your enemy and lowers dominion. Although I wouldnít rate this school as a huge priority, if youíre having trouble with a high dominion enemy Melancholia is where to turn.

Useful Magic Items

Lesser: Obviously Owl Quills are very important. Pendant of Luck is always a good item for any commander. A Longbow of Accuracy or Piercer is good for a regular commander who would otherwise be standing around. The Ice Sword is a good choice to give to a Wing Lord as it raises his defense skill, and a regular Black Steel Kite Shield will bump his protection up to amazing levels. The Ring of Water Breathing is great to give to a skeptic to get at those hard to reach water provinces and lower any extra dominion you can. Birch boots are good for reinvigoration.

Greater: The Amulet of Antimagic is a cheap and effective way of extending the life of most commanders. The Spell Focus is great for just about anyone with any magic. The Vine Bow and Bow of Storms are great upgrades for your regular commanders, especially the Bow of Storms. The Sword of Quickness is also a good upgrade for your Wing Lord as it is more powerful and increases defense even more. A Shield of Valor is a good upgrade as well, but youíre sacrificing protection for near missile immunity which can be good or bad. Chainmail of Displacement is good for your Wing Lord as well, and Rainbow Armor is a possible choice for the reinvigoration, but I donít really recommend it because you can give him an Amulet of Resilience instead. I also like to give my Cyclops two Lighting Spears as thatís some pretty high damage to anyone who isnít immune to electricity and maybe a Horned Helmet for the extra attack with Boots of the Messenger for reinvigoration and a Ring of Regeneration in addition to other possibilities. The Robe of Missile Protection and Ethereal Robe are good choices for casters if you can spare the gems. Winged Shoes are good for turning mages into raiders, and a Flying Carpet is better if you want bodyguards to come along, and again Boots of the Messenger to help overcome the Drain scale. There are also Thistle Maces, Earth Boots, and Bags of Wind for boosting paths.

Very Powerful: The only ones to note here are the Water Bracelet for increasing paths, the Bottle of Living Water for popping in a spare Misc slot, the Barrel of Air and Sea Kingís Goblet if you can get them to enter underwater provinces, and if youíre going for a dominion kill the Stone Idol is excellent to give to a skeptic, but you may have to empower a mage to get access to it.

Unique Artifacts speak for themselves as most of them are very powerful.


With the versatility of Arcoscephale comes a lot of decisions that need to be made. Outlined above are two viable strategies out of many as well as some general tips for the new players choosing this nation. With time you can develop your own strategies as this is only meant to give you a kick start and begin to experiment and understand the strengths and weakness of Arco.
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Old October 17th, 2006, 12:22 AM

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Default Re: Beginner\'s Guide to EA Arcoscephale

Fixed the title, forgot the EA
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Old October 17th, 2006, 01:01 AM

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Default Re: Beginner\'s Guide to EA Arcoscephale

What about the Stone Idol? Construction Six, E2S2 constant priest 3 prech that only work against dominion? It's very helpfull for dominion victory, although it's a tad pricy.
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Old October 17th, 2006, 01:34 AM

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Default Re: Beginner\'s Guide to EA Arcoscephale

It's there under the "Very powerful items". It's especially pricey for Arco because you'd have to either empower a mage or forge another item to increase their paths depending on the picks you get, but it is among the best means available for a dominion kill.
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Old October 17th, 2006, 05:55 AM
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Default Re: Beginner\'s Guide to EA Arcoscephale

Good guide.

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Old October 17th, 2006, 06:04 AM
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Default Re: Beginner\'s Guide to EA Arcoscephale

I like the fact that you wrote the dominion-kill strategy there. There might be some people who never considered that.
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Old October 17th, 2006, 12:28 PM
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Default Re: Beginner\'s Guide to EA Arcoscephale

These are very cool guides. Anyone care to do what he did for Kailasa?


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Old October 17th, 2006, 03:24 PM
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Default Re: Beginner\'s Guide to EA Arcoscephale

I care.
Again a very good guide, fascinating to read. I really love this deep nation discussions.

guide copyed to http://strategywiki.org/wiki/Dominio...%2C_Golden_Era
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Old March 15th, 2007, 11:20 PM
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Default Re: Beginner\'s Guide to EA Arcoscephale

Thanks for the great guide! I'm still playing the demo while waiting for my order to arrive. This is a really cool game.

I'm using the above strategy, but I substituted an awake Forge Lord for the Cyclops. He's already got 1 fire to start, and he spent a few early turns making armour. A priestess healed the Forge Lord's limp. Since I'm playing the turn-limited demo, I cranked luck up (to 3) instead of growth, and set random events common.

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Old March 16th, 2007, 12:47 PM
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Default Re: Beginner\'s Guide to EA Arcoscephale

Ooooh, one glaring omission (IMHO) is the use of mystic communions for battlemages. The mystics are some of the absolute best mages in the game at forming a communion to dish out damage because they all have astral (for communion master/slave) and they have a variety of the best paths for evocation spells. They're not capital only, reasonably cost efficient researchers, and the ones who get bad/low random picks make great communion slaves while the lucky ones are pretty darned good for their price even before becoming a communion master. Plus, because of the variety you can change the focus of your army every turn by anticipating what you needing to cast in the next battle- you can switch an army from having heavy fire mages to sending out a load of blade winds by just changing who is the slave and who is the master. Or go with an astral focus (make sure to bring a banner of the northern star) and go recruiting with enslave mind when the enemy army is weaker than you. Or switch to water and send a ridiculous amount of cleansing water towards all those undead. I find the mystic is VERY versatile, and one of the best parts of Arco.
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