You’ve explored your map of Elemental and have a good idea of where your new cities can go and where your trouble spots lurk. You’ve started to build outposts and expand your influence, allowing you to amass more firepower against the Sorcerer King. Now that we’ve covered two of the four “X's” in 4X, let’s talk about the third.
Exploit can mean a lot of different things. During my chat with Adam, he cited a few different ideas for exploitation:
Shards are one of the most obvious things that you can exploit. The more shards you have, the more magic you are able to amass, which means more enchantments for cities and more spells for your Sovereign. It will also be easier for you to defend the shards against the Sorcerer King if you control them and are able to level up cities and outposts around them. This is obviously a good thing, since if the Sorcerer King manages to destroy all of the shards, it’s game over.
There are lots of different ways to exploit resources in the game. Obviously, finding fertile tiles and expanding cities across these tiles will grow the resource pool that you are able to draw from while you play. Tip: There are spells your Sovereign can learn that will allow you to further exploit opportunities for resources. Some spells will make a tile fertile while other spells will grow a resource on a tile that will allow you to build a structure for you to harvest that resource from.
Magic is a massive part of playing Sorcerer King to its fullest potential. Your Sovereign’s spell book is an indispensable part of winning the game. They have spells that can enchant your city, increasing food, defense, unit power, etc. The Sovereigns also have spells that can literally grow terrain like mountains, which you can use to surround your city and create a “choke point” for any forces who might be bold enough to try and invade. On top of all of this, Sovereigns can learn spells that teleport units to any space within their Zone of Control, spells that can heavily damage enemy units in battle, and spells that can influence enemies to switch over to your side of the fight. I will discuss magic in depth later, but it’s important to know that the spells that you research are important and will definitely impact your chances for victory or defeat against the Sorcerer King.
Finally, you will want to exploit the heck out of your Forge of the Overlord, a powerful forge that the Sorcerer King has (perhaps foolishly) allowed you to keep. Crafting will allow you to build powerful magic items that you can use to buff up your Champions and their army. Tip: Remember to make equipment for units other than just your Champion! While it’s important (and very satisfying) to build up their power and watch them decimate your enemies, your other units are just as important in battle. We want them to live as long as they are able so they can cause as much damage as possible. Make sure to research crafting by building structures within your city that expand your knowledge of the Forge and grant you additional recipes. This, much like magic, is another indispensable part of the path to victory.
If you exploit the shards, resources, spells, and crafting recipes that are available to you to the fullest, you will have that much more ammunition to throw at the Sorcerer King and his lieutenants when your fight against him starts to come to a head.