Dominions 6 – Useful Tips for Newcomers

New Players Advice

Lower the AI difficulty to give you a more relaxed environment in which you can experiment, learn your units’ strengths and weaknesses, which formations work in what situations and which spells synergize best during battle.

Above all, realize that it’s ok to lose a battle (or several) if you can walk away having learned something new, even if it’s only, “well that didn’t work; I had better try something else”.

Take it more slowly at the start and scout before sending your troops out to capture a province so that you know what the composition if forces you would be facing.

Make sure you evaluate the independent troops before you invade as some of them are really, really tough to fight against. In the early game, independents are quite the speedbump to your expansion but once you’ve built units for a few turns, you should be able to take them on without taking too many losses. Forget the towers of ascension regions for a while as well too.

Yes, one of the harder things about tackling these games early on is learning how expansion works. There are really two elements. One is learning about the various different types of independents out there and what their strengths and weaknesses are. The other is learning for the nation you’re playing what it’s abilities and limits are when it comes to expansion, and how you can manipulate those limits with nation design (and whether it’s worth the expense). It’s a layered problem and some of the nuances can feel subtle, but trust me when I say that you eventually get a feel for what’s safe and what isn’t. The better players can pick up a new nation and expand efficiently with it their first time out just because they’re good at reading the game and they know the field well. But it can take a long time to get there.

My advice is to study the problem. Tackle it like an interesting puzzle to solve. Play a dozen or so quick first-year games with a nation you enjoy and notice how things differ each time. You can get through that exercise in an hour or two, depending on how fast you’re going and how carefully you’re following the combats, but it’ll give you a sense for what you’re seeing and keep you from overpowering the indies too easily with more robust mid-game armies.

If you’re looking for a nation that expands well to play with, any of the Roman-themed nations (EA Ermor, MA Sceleria, MA Pythium, LA Pythium; arguably MA Ermor and LA Lemuria, although they’re not great at teaching lessons you can take to other nations) can be a good start. Their javelins are good for breaking up a lot of the glass cannon independent types, and their big shields make them resilient to arrow spray and charges, and they reward experimentation with the formation tool. And they have the expendable gladiator units that are very good for dislodging a particularly thorny pack of independents.

I don’t play much Arcoscephalae, but I wonder if they might have a few traps for a new player learning how to fight indies. They have chariots and the winged horse fellows, which are generally good against independents pound-for-pound but suffer from the problem of being relatively delicate elites, who can be brought down by sufficiently big piles of outraged barbarians or whatever. You’re just one bad scouting report away from an expensive disaster, whereas losing a roman war party doesn’t hurt the treasury as much.

Agartha on the other hand has, uh, mind blasters and some truly terrible line infantry, if memory serves. Mind blasters are another kind of trap, because they’re fantastically good but they’re expensive and very swingy – they’re great when they’re not too outnumbered, but irrelevant once you get past that tipping point, and being so expensive, they’re hard to mass, which means it’s easy for them to be insufficiently packed into any army to be meaningful. When mind blasters work, though, they’re very fun and absolutely decisive. Meanwhile Agartha’s infantry is really only effective at fighting surfacers who are underground (which is not what indies in caves are), or mind-blasted enemies who don’t fight back. My sense of Agartha is that they want to have the slug people act as road bumps for the enemy while their mages transform the battlefield into a hellscape. None of that is great for expansion, unfortunately, because it’s just not online in the first year, which is when you want your expansion to happen.

Generally speaking the name of the game is finding asymmetries and making sure they’re in your favor. As an example: barbarians are nasty because they hit very hard and they berserk, which means they’ll stick around in a fight until the bitter end. They’re also lightly armored and unshielded, though, so they’re vulnerable to massed range attacks (archers or javelin throwers) or big cavalry charges that shock them into routing before they can berserk. So if you just don’t have any of that, usually you steer clear of the barbarian provinces during expansion until you can come back later with some fire or necromancy or space lasers or a furious, awoken god or whatever and burn them out.

The number of independents changes turn by turn as well so if there are 50 heavy cavalry in a province next to you, they might steаm roll your starting army, but several turns later there might only be 20 and you have a bigger army. So you can leave provinces with large amounts of heavy hitting troops until you get a turn and the numbers have changed to be more favourable.

I tend to play against the AI a lot, I don’t do throne games I just do full conquest. the thrones have a pretty big impact on closing out the game. I feel kinda forced to push for the thrones just so the other teams don’t get them. they usually are defended by a absurdly strong independent army. but it does change the way the game plays out. if you play conquest, you can expand in whatever way you want, but if you play with the thrones then you are pretty much forced to expand toward your nearest throne. because that is exactly what the enemy teams will be doing.

Good things to research are very much dependent on what you are trying to do and who your faction/pretender are. No good answer there except that its worth getting Construction 3 early (but not necessarily immediately) so you can make magic items for your leaders.

EA Arco is very straightforward early and mid-game. They have some novel troops, but the truth is that you can expand into indie troops with nothing but the very cost-efficient cardaces. Despite being disposable, they are more than enough for most indies (elephants are an exception), and they make great human shields for your mystics, which you will need to take on thrones and the rare mage-backed indies. These guys are the unsung heroes of Dominions.

To the OP – if you like the Greek cultures, give them a try. Spend you first turn prophetizing you commander and recruiting cardaces, and you’re essentially good to go. Focus on evocation magic, followed by alteration, to get the most of your mystics. Then some construction magic for crafting. For your pretender, my main advice would be to put a level or two into productivity and order so you can boost your recruitment.

Also helpful is any pretender that gives you a forging bonus, especially if they have some earth magic. As Arco, you have access to all magic paths except glamour and death on turn one, but at relatively low levels. That forge bonus makes it easier to roll out the magic path boosters that will really let your mages shine. More than 10% of your mystics start with Earth 2, Astral 1, which means throwing a pair of earth boots on them gives you access to Gifts from Heaven, a spell that will bring you a lot of joy, and various mid-tier large AoE troop buffs.

Set the AI to defensive not random. Look at the resurch tree. Look at spells that mages you can recruit can cast that are in resurch level 1-3 and 4-5

Have some mages out of your labs site searching. Almost nothing requires a mage higher than 4 but the vast majority of sites will be found with a mage with 3 ranks in a path.

Mages can spend a gem to cast a spell 1 higher level than they would otherwise be able to cast in battle.

Use a scout that is hiding to carry extra gems if you want to try using them in battle. Your going to need more than one battle’s worth of gems and your mages tend to dump all of them even if you command them not to. Maybe dom6 has improved this but dont count on it. Also gems held by a scout are safer becuase they are not risking the person holding them dying in battle.

Volodymyr Azimoff
About Volodymyr Azimoff 944 Articles
I turned my love for games from a hobby into a job back in 2005, since then working on various gaming / entertainment websites. But in 2016 I finally created my first website about video games – Gameplay Tips. And exactly 4 years later, Game Cheat Codes was created – my second website dedicated to legal game cheats. My experience with games started back in 1994 with the Metal Mutant game on ZX Spectrum computer. And since then, I’ve been playing on anything from consoles, to mobile devices.

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