Ultimate Guide To Playing The Game

From Populous Wiki

Welcome to the Ultimate Guide To Playing The Game. This guide is made to help new players and experienced players alike. The idea of this guide is to create one place where you can find all information you'll ever need.

Note: This guide will not explain anything on how to start games and such, this is gameplay related only.

This guide is split into different skill levels:

  1. Completely new to the game. All basics are explained here.
  2. Beginner. Basic tips and tricks to improve are explained here.
  3. Advanced. More advanced tips & In-depth strategies
  4. Expert. From this point forward, you already know everything. This will be about mastering them.


1. Completely new to the game

Recommendation for new Populous players:

Play the Tutorial, at least some levels from the Singleplayer (if not all), and maybe some multiplayer matches (and/or watch streams)

So you're completely new to the game and don't yet know how to play. My suggestion would be to atleast play the tutorial and the single player levels, as this will give you all the information you require to be able to play the game. This chapter is assuming you've done so.

User interface

The user interface is split into two main sections:

  1. The sidebar
  2. The game

The sidebar

Under the minimap, the sidebar is divided into three tabs:


  1. Building's Panel (left)
  2. Spells Panel (middle)
  3. Followers Panel (right)

Building panel

The building tab is where you can select a building to build and place them. You can only build them near other buildings or close to your reincarnation site. The only exception is the guard tower - you can place building anywhere, as long as the land is fertile and flat (and you are not placing it too close to water or any other object).

The Hut


The hut is the most important building there is. Huts provide you with the ability to breed more braves. Huts have three levels:

The first level is when you've finished building it and it allows a max of 3 people to occupy it. It is called a small hut.

Level 2, also known as medium hut, can have 4 people in it.

Level 3, the large hut, can have 5 people in it.

The more upgraded it is, the better the hut will be as it will breed more braves faster. But do note, upgrading takes two wood piles to make - and it will only upgrade if there are at least 3 on the door's entrance.

The Guard Tower


The guard tower might not provide anything essential in regards to breeding braves or training troops; however, it is very good at defending your base. Even though you can place any type of troop in it (not ghosts), people usually use it in combination with fire warriors, as they get extra damage and range when inside a tower.

Aside from these buffs, the unit inside the guard tower can be tougher to be killed - it will be basically immune to fire spells (such as blast or firestorm's comets. Even though they benefit from extra spell protection inside, it is not common sense that they are still rather vulnerable to actual Firewarrior's shootings - 6 fireballs will kill any firewarrior inside a tower (even though the tower will not get any layer destroyed).

The guard tower becomes more useful when placed on hills as the range increases from which firewarriors can fire (also increases the range of the shaman's spells. For this reason, try placing guard towers on hills whenever possible.

The Warrior Hut

Warrior Hut.jpg

The Warrior Training Hut is one of the training huts in the game. It has the size of a hut, but takes 8 wood piles to build. These buildings train warriors, a unit capable of tanking damage and dealing damage - widely considered the strongest melee unit.

For more information about the warrior, see "The Warrior", on the followers category below.

The Firewarrior Hut


The FireWarrior Training Hut is one of the training huts in the game. It has a large size, and takes 8 wood piles to build. These buildings train firewarriors, a unit capable of shooting fireballs, defending your base from afar, and also a threat when used offensively.

For more information about the firewarrior, see "The FireWarrior", on the followers category below.

The Temple


Usually disabled by default in multiplayer matches.

The Temple is one of the training huts in the game. These huts train preachers, a unit capable of converting enemy troops to your tribe permanently.

The Spy Hut


Usually disabled by default in multiplayer matches.

The Spy Training Hut is one of the training huts in the game. These buildings train spies, a unit capable of infiltrating the enemy base and setting it on fire.

The Balloon hut


Usually disabled by default in multiplayer matches.

The Balloon Hut is one of the construction huts, and also the largest, requiring plenty of room, and 11 wood piles. If 3 wood piles are fetched, and braves are assigned to work there, a balloon will pop out. The balloon is a very powerful vehicle capable of flying over any type of landscape (both land and water). The balloon allows two passengers. A popular strategy is to transport your shaman or a group of firewarriors and attack the enemy. Because of how vehicles work, attacking the vehicle is quite hard.

The boat hut


Usually disabled by default in multiplayer matches.

The Boat Hut is one of the construction huts, requiring 5 wood piles to be constructed. This building must also be built on a location close to water. If 4 wood piles are fetched, and braves are assigned to work there, a boat will sail out. Though not as versatile as a balloon, boats give you the ability to sail over the sea. A boat can transport 5 troops and is usually used to attack the enemy from sides, when they least expect it.

Spells panel

The spells tab is where you see your arsenal of spells - which spells you can charge, which spells are charging, which spells you currently got ready to use, and which spells you can still find on the world.

A spell is divided in different aspects:

  1. An Icon to represent the spell (for instance, the blast spell icon is a fireball)
  2. The amount of charges available (blue/red dots under the spell icon), and the max amount of possible charges
  3. The Charging progress (to show how much mana is still required to get the next shot of that spell)

For more information about spells and mana, read the spell and mana pages.

Learning when to use spells, and when to charge them, is essential to becoming a good player - this takes time and experience. Usually, unless your mana income is extremely high, the best players only charge 1 or 2 spells at once!

Followers panel

Under this tab, you can find ways to micromanage specific troops, and check what they are currently doing.

You can select units on each row's category individually by just left clicking, or select 5 by 5 by CTRL + left clicking, or select all followers from that category by holding SHIFT + left clicking.

Take as example the follower's panel on the right:

  • On the very top left, you have your population bar (excluding the shaman). You currently have 50 followers (braves + troops). Because the green bar (Population Bar] is not even half way, this means new braves can still be born from existing huts of yours. If the green bar was on top, no more braves could be born (unless you build more huts to support higher population).
  • Side to the population bar, there is your follower's count. Out of the 50 followers, 34 are braves, 4 are warriors, 4 are firewarriors, 4 are preachers and 4 are spies.
  • Below that, is the mana bar. You will have more mana the more followers you have - and even more mana incoming if most of the population are braves, since they give more mana than troops (warriors give very little, etc)... This mana bar will be lower is either the population is mostly troops, if your population is low, or if you are charging too many spells at once/charging big spells or training many troops. On the other hand, the bar will flash red if you are wasting mana - meaning you should be either charging at least one spell, or training followers (see the mana page to learn about the mana distribution).
  • Finally, the follower rows start. They divide into different categories. The first row means currently selected units. As you can see, you have a total of 3 selected followers: 0 braves, 1 warrior, 1 firewarrior, 0 preachers and 1 spy currently selected (see row + column). You can opt to deselect any amount of followers by clicking on it.
  • The second row is the idle followers. They represent followers that are currently doing nothing, having no task. Don't forget, idle followers grant less mana than followers doing something (inside buildings counts as "doing something"), so be sure to assign tasks to everyone!
  • The third row represents housed followers - followers that are inside huts. You currently have a total of 15. By looking at the rows and columns, you can see that you have 11 braves inside huts, and 1 of each troops inside huts as well.
  • The fourth row represents busy followers. This can be units that are patrolling, moving or braves that are building. Out of a total of 24 busy followers, 19 are braves, and 5 are troops.

Two more rows of categories exist (for boats and balloons), but they are not shown on the image, as the player had no vehicles build yet.

Micromanagement (especially on the follower's panel) is very important, and it's widely used by the best players - although it's something to focus later on, as you get better at the game, because it's one of the hardest things to do in Populous.

The game

The game is where you can see what is happening. There are a few important aspects to this and ways to change this screen.

  • The Notifications Column, where you can see recent events happening. Each box represents one event, and the boxes can reach the top. If a player clicks in a box, he gets teleported (the camera) to the location of the event, and then the box disappears. Boxes can contain message or information events, war symbols (two swords), or specific units symbols (such as a preacher or a firewarrior).

Below each box, there is a color (either blue, red, yellow or green - never the same color of your tribe). This color represents the tribe who is threatening you.

Note that, if a box is a red preacher (for instance), it does not mean there is somewhere a Dakini preacher attacking you - it can also mean there is a blue preacher attacking the Dakini.

You can also change the way the screen looks: Keyboard Shortcuts (using + and -) or (using « and ?)

  • Normal View (widely used, this view is the camera used by most players)


  • Birds Eye View (some players prefer to play in this classic RTS view)


  • Close View (probably not regularly used by anyone, as it limits the view by alot - but can be used to see from a close point of view)


  • World View (Whichever of the 3 views you choose to play with, pressing ENTER or SHIFT + ENTER will lead you to worldview. Many players switch between their normal view and this one to check the world much faster.



Getting all the controls under control is essential to become a better player. For a summary of all controls, see this page. A few of the controls are used by pretty much all the good players:

Control Keys Description
Patrol Ctrl+alt To make patrol points. Mainly used for your shaman and troops to guard places and to keep moving.
Camera to Shaman . (dot) Swiftly moves the camera to the shaman's location.
Worldview Enter/ Shift+Enter Moves the view to worldview to get a better/faster approach to the level.
Example Example Example
Example Example Example

Ways of Playing

Adapting and getting used to your own settings will make your own individual style of playing Populous.

There are various ways to play the game. Try them all out and pick something you feel comfortable with.

Resolution and View Type

The player-base mainly consists out of people playing through the normal camera view. This is the authentic Populous: The beginning experience. However, if you're used to other strategy games, you might like playing in birds eye view. The view is a main factor at which controls are useful to use.

Note that most people play on lower resolutions when playing in normal view, while birds eye view becomes more useful on higher resolutions.

Arrow keys + Mouse

Most players play using the arrow keys to move the camera around and utilizing shift to move it fast. Many of the controls Populous uses are near the arrows keys. When playing in normal view, the arrow keys work quite well.

Scroll wheel button + Camera view points + Mouse

This is actually not used a lot, however when you hold the scroll wheel button, you can move the camera around quite fast. Combined with using camera view points ( Shift + Z X C V to set camera view points, Z X C V to use them ) you can quickly cross the map. When playing like this, the hand will be placed on the left side of the keyboard. This way of moving the camera is useful in birds eye view.

Minimap + Mouse

Although this is not used a lot by players, you can click on the minimap, at the top left, to move the camera around the planet.

... explain basic controls essential to becoming a good player ...


Mana in this game determines whether you get that earthquake spell at 2 minutes or at 4 minutes. Even though it might only be a 2 minute difference, in multiplayer you try to get the advantage over your opponent as soon as possible. Higher mana also means training troops faster, and usually being able to afford more troops.

How to optimize your mana gain

TODO: Stub

Spells & tactics


Converts wildmen to get braves. Use this on the biggest groups early-game to get the highest gain from it. You can also use this spell in combination with blast glitch.



Main offensive spell to take out enemy shamans or troops. To improve the efficiency, learn blast glitch.



Cast it near a type of unit ( shaman, braves, warrior, etc ) to create a replica of this. Used in generaly to create groups of braves or warriors to take guard tower of firewarrior damage. Can be used to target guard towers to drag out enemy troops. Use it on your own shaman to create a replica of your shaman. If done correctly, you can confuse the enemy by attacking from another side or to attack with your replicated shamans.



Usually disabled in multiplayer.

Gives your troops a shield. They will be untargetable by spells. Patrol your shaman to make your shaman untargetable.


Makes enemy troops run in random directions when a swarm is near. Use it on enemy defenses or when you want to scatter their troops. Cast near buildings and not on them if you want them to actually go inside the building.



Main tool to kill shamans or to take out specific buildings. Don't click on a shaman but click on the ground where you think the shaman will walk to, as the enemy can dodge a light when you directly click on them.


Tornado (torn)

Great tool for destroying enemy buildings. Has many other capabilities such as defending a chokepoint ( no one will try to pass it ) or to attack a fortified place ( think of nubrimir palace center hill ). Due to it being unpredictable where the tornado will go, there is a random chance you can take out the enemy shaman or troops using this from afar.



Usually disabled in multiplayer.


Hypnotise (hypno)

Usually disabled in multiplayer.


Earthquake (EQ)




Volcano (volc)


Angel of Death (AOD)




Landbridge (LB)






Good spells early-game


Populous Seperator.jpg

Troops fulfill the vital role of attacking and defending. Even though they generate less mana than braves, they are stronger followers - but they require the player to build training huts.



Your unit, untrained. Even though they aren't better than other troops in fighting, they fulfill the vital role of building your base and generating the best mana (more than troops). They are worse than other troops, but, with correct strategies, even they can be used effectively. They are also the fastest unit in the game.



Warriors have high health and high damage. These are the people you train to tank firewarrior blasts and to destroy your enemy base. One warrior can take up to 6 braves in 1 on 1 combat.



Similar stats to a brave, yet has the ability to fire blasts with an area of effect damage. Firewarriors are mainly used for defensive purposes, placed inside towers or on hills, and for taking out the enemy shaman. Don't be fooled by them - a group of firewarriors strategically placed can virtually take out any army, if they're clamped together because of the area of effect damage.

In multiplayer, some players also attack regularly with firewarriors, which can be very effective.



They're not good in fighting, but with words. They can hypnotize any type of unit with the exception of shamans and other preachers. Because of these capabilities, they can take out an army of braves and warriors single handedly. However, they still can be beaten by the enemy shaman, enemy preachers, a spy disguised as the enemy tribe, or well placed firewarriors.

This unit is usually not part of the regular online restrictions - although, some levels have them included, and some players like to play levels with them on.



They can take on the form of an enemy brave to infiltrate enemy bases and burn down trees and buildings. If you succeed with doing so, you can cripple down an enemy base. Click on suspicious braves to disguise enemy spies trying to invade you.

This unit is usually not part of the regular online restrictions - although, some levels have them included.

Beginner - Basic tips and tricks you should do

Recommendation for Beginners:

Play all levels from the Singleplayer, and maybe try some of the other easy campaigns, and play some multiplayer matches (and watch streams) Read some guides and maybe try the Noob's Guide to Multiplayer.

This chapter has tips and tricks divided in numerous chapters, depending on what you want to improve.


Building mechanics

In order to understand why the best players do what they do, it is important to understand the mechanics behind it. Basically, building has multiple phases (after placing the building plan and sending braves to build):

  1. Flattening the land. - Every brave assigned will help with this
  2. Fetching the first wood. - One brave will always chop wood from a nearby tree (before helping with the flattening phase), - note: he will not grab chopped wood from the entrance of that building plan!
  3. After the land is considered flat enough, the Building phase gets started - In the building phase, some braves are assigned the builder role, while others are assigned the wood fetcher role.

Builder role

The builder role is for aesthetics only. These braves are basically doing nothing.

Wood fetcher role

These are the real MVP's. They are the ones who fetch and chop wood, and are also the ones who construct the building.

Below, you can find a simple chart of the number of assigned braves VS the amount of braves per role:

Total braves Wood fetchers Builders
1 brave 1 Wood fetcher 0 builders
2 braves 1 Wood fetcher 1 builders
3 braves 2 Wood fetchers 1 builders
4 braves 2 Wood fetchers 2 builders
5 braves 3 Wood fetchers 2 builders

As you can see, at 1, 3 and 5, actual useful braves are helping building. Note that the other braves do help a lot with flattening the land, which is why it is usually more useful to assign 2 braves than 1 brave for building huts.

Building huts

To build huts, one effective way is to:

Firstly, place the building plans.


(if the GIF does not start, click on the image)

After this, select 2 braves, hold CTRL to queue commands and select on a tree, and then on the hut's plan (after that, you can release CTRL). Let the 2 braves finalize building the hut.


(if the GIF does not start, click on the image)

Repeat the process for all hut plans you want to build.

Manual upgrading huts

On the left we can see a ready to be upgraded small hut. On the right side, a hut that is not ready

Instead of letting your braves cut the wood (for upgrading), you can also command them to do it for you (before the upgrading red bar of a hut reaches the top).

Every time a hut wants to upgrade, it requires 3 wood piles to be at the hut's entrance. Even though only 2 wood is actually used, it takes 3 for it to actually execute the upgrade, after the upgrade bar is on 100% or almost at the top, blinking. Manually upgrading has some advantages:

  • You control which trees are cut, so you can prevent trees from being totally cut.
  • On the automatic upgrading process, only 1 brave will fetch wood at a time, so it is quite slow. By doing manual upgrading, you save plenty of seconds per hut - and many minutes per base!

Hut alignment for faster upgrading

Groups of 2 huts facing eachother to share upgrading wood

A hut requires at least 3 wood at the doorstep before it will execute upgrading.

However, there is a way for huts to share this wood. When placing huts, make sure to make pairs of 2 huts facing their doorway. This way, you only need 3 wood for 2 huts and at least one of them will upgrade. Of course, it will still take 4 wood in total for them to upgrade.

Side note: This basically means that for both huts to upgrade once, you only need 5 wood, instead of 6 wood, because on the first upgrade, 2 wood will get used, and 3 wood will be left, meaning there is still enough wood to upgrade the second hut. This saves you 1 wood!

Building training huts and guard towers

The same rules apply for training huts and guard towers when it comes down to the building mechanics. Guard towers don't take up a lot of space, so braves don't have to flatten the land as much. Therefore, using one brave is enough if you don't require it to be done as soon as possible.

For training huts, if you need to be fast, it is a good idea to harvest all the wood yourself - each requires 8 wood piles. You could do the following:

  1. Place the training hut somewhere (a safe location is key for this important buildings).
  2. Select one brave, harvest one wood and assign him to the training hut (2 wood: One wood is brought, one wood will be chopped by the brave)
  3. Select three other braves, make a queue: harvest 3 wood, place it near entrance of the building, harvest three wood, work on the building ( 6 wood, meaning you've brought a total of 8 wood )

How many training huts to build

Generally, you want the first training hut to be a firewarrior hut, and you want to build this relatively fast. The exception on this rule is when you're either playing very small maps or when you want to rush. In that case, go for a warrior hut. However, rushing is quite risky in Populous, as failing the rush will make your early-game weak as your population will not be as high and hamper your ability to train firewarriors, as this building will have been built later. The consequence of that is that your defenses will be weaker.

After this point, there are some things you can do to decide when to build warrior huts:

  • On bigger maps with multiple points to attack with, such as pressure point, warriors becomes much more useful. This is because warriors are good at helping you to attack from multiple sides at the same time. In that case, you will want to build a warrior hut relatively fast.
  • Keep track of the enemy base from time to time. If you see he has more warrior huts than you, then that's a good moment to build at least as much warrior huts as the enemy. This way, you're able to keep up with the race of getting more warriors than your enemy.
  • If you notice the enemy is starting to fall behind a lot and unable to keep up with your attacks, then that is a sign that you should start training more warriors to keep up the pressure. If you had no warrior huts, then it is a good idea to get at least one. If you already had one, try to get 2 or 3 (depends alot on map size, trees, population, and game situation).

Building basics

So now you know how many braves you should use to build you base, and how to build and upgrade your huts correctly. However, to prevent your base from falling easily because you're placing the huts at the wrong places, you can follow these guidelines:

  • Generally you want your training huts to be placed somewhere else than your front line. This is because one well placed earthquake (tornado, or other spells) can cripple your ability to train troops. The consequence of this is that you are unable to keep your defenses in top shape and have less troops to attack with.
  • Between you and your enemy, place huts and guard towers. The more there is between you and your enemy, the harder it will be to get to your main base. You can use firewarriors in both the guard towers and huts as a way to defend your base.
  • When playing a map, take a look at the amount of trees there are. If there are not that many, you will want to prevent building huts on top of the trees whenever possible, such as is the case in the map Nubrimir Palace. Also, don't build too fast, as this increases the chance of your braves chopping the trees themselves when building or trying to upgrade huts. If there is a high amount of trees such as in the map Pressure Point, you can instead build as much as you want.
  • When building huts, try to upgrade the huts that are the furthest away from the front-line, as the chance that these huts get destroyed is lower. Keeping that in mind, note that it is a good idea to combine this together with where you are placing training huts. If you have fully upgraded huts but it takes them a long time to walk to the nearest training hut, that can be disadvantageous.
  • Try not to build training huts next to each other. If the enemy does get into your base, it is a shame if one EQ will destroy 2 or more of your training huts.

Those were some guidelines to guide you. Every level is different, and thus you will need to play slightly different every time - the key is adapting to the current situation. However, this should give you a general idea of what is important to keep in mind.

Combat basics

While building is a very important aspect in this game, another important aspect is the combat. Even if you're the best player when it comes to building, if you fail in combat, it will be only a matter of time before your base gets destroyed. This guide will give some tips and tricks you can use to become a better attacker.

When you start playing the game, you'll notice you will be in favor of either mainly fighting with troops or using the shaman. However, if you want to become an expert at this game, you'll be needing to master both.

Utilizing troops

Using troops is one half of becoming a great player. Even though your shaman is the strongest unit in terms of raw power, once she is dead, she can't do anything. For troops it is a bit different. You don't have just a single unit, you will be using dozens of units and you're making them consistently.

There are some rules to keep in mind in general when utilizing troops:

  • Although they're easily made, they're also killed just as fast. Don't just send them somewhere to die (such as standing near water), but make sure to effectively use them. If the enemy does take care, he will get a bigger army than you, making it harder for you to defend against it.
  • Spread out your troops. Spells are very powerful. Spells such as tornadoes, earthquakes and firestorm can take out a whole army with almost no effort at all. However, when you spread your troops, this becomes a lot harder. If your troops are harder to take out, they become much more lethal.
  • Troops have the advantage that you can have dozens of them. Use this to your advantage and attack your enemy from multiple sides.
Using firewarriors

Firewarriors are mainly used as a way to defend your base and kill the enemy shaman and incoming troops - they can take out armies of warriors and firewarriors easily (one reason is because firewarriors attack with Area of Effect damage. This means that troops that are close to friendly troops who get shot will also take damage. This is also why a group of firewarriors can be very threatening when defending).

Against shamans, you will want to use groups of 2-3 firewarriors. By using the force button (SHIFT + CLICK on target while having the firewarriors selected), you can make them ignore any other unit. Because of the way fall damage works in this game, you want them to hit the shaman at the same time (so that she flies high enough to take fall damage). You can do so by moving your firewarriors and shift-clicking the shaman when they're in range to shoot.

Against troops, if there's a place where enemy troops need to pass through, you can place them there in huts or guard towers to take them out. If you have 10 firewarriors in 2 huts near such a place, they will take out almost any warrior army, as long as the army is not spread out.

Using warriors

Warriors are really good at killing firewarriors, braves and taking down guard towers. Because of this, you'll want to use them quite often. One warrior can take out 10 braves when fighting them 1 on 1 (or 5-6 at once), meaning that if you have about 10 warriors inside your enemy's defenseless base, you can effectively take out half of his population.

When fighting a heavily defended enemy, only using your shaman usually doesn't work out that well. The enemy might camp with their shaman and light your all the time, while making you fight to kill the shaman and destroy the guard towers. This is where warriors will help a lot. By sending one warrior to each guard tower, you'll be destroying their defenses in no time.

Of course this only works if:

  • You are actually spreading out your warriors, else they will all take Area of Effect damage from firewarriors and die horribly
  • The enemy doesn't have warriors defending the guard towers

Because of the strength of warriors, they are hard to kill by shaman and firewarriors (unless they get blasted to water!). This is why they work quite well against a weakened enemy. A weakened enemy will have to spend most of his population on firewarriors and preserving braves for mana. Because of this, the continuous pressure of warriors attacking will mean the defenses will keep crumbling and forcing the enemy shaman to defend to prevent their base from falling. Combine this with your own shaman, and you'll most likely be able to weaken the enemy further.

Using braves

Braves are not that strong, however they are very useful at destroying buildings. Do you see an undefended place? Can you afford attacking with some braves? - if so, send braves to destroy those (damaged) guard towers, huts, training huts, etc. Every building your enemy loses is a building they can't use.

When defending, you can use groups of 1-2 braves and send them to the enemy shaman to keep her far away from your base (delaying her). Combine this with firewarriors, and it will become even harder for the enemy. Braves can also be used to defend the frontline from ghosts and defend huts filled with firewarriors against enemy warriors. They will keep the warriors busy so they don't kill the firewarriors.


This is by no means a full guide on all the playstyles that are there, however this should give you a general idea of how someone can play and what the advantages and disadvantages are.

Balanced ( normal play )

In this playstyle, charging an eq or tornado is done with the idea to get it charged as fast as possible to be able to break someones base before the enemy has enough defenses to do anything about it. The player still focuses on building defenses but there is a good balance between charging and training offensive and defensive spells/troops. This type of player plays with the mindset that the weaker the enemy is, the stronger they themselves can get if they are able to successfully defend their own base.


In the advanced chapter of this guide, there is a more detailed explaination about this playstyle.

In this playstyle the main focus is to pressurize the enemy as much as possible and destroy their base. The idea behind this is that if they take more casualties early on, you can secure the win. Depending on how aggressive the rush is, the risk and what you can gain from it becomes higher. Usually this type of playstyle means that there's less focus on defenses early game.


Turtling is a specific playstyle in which you build heavy defenses that are hard to destroy. Usually, defensive spells such as light are charged in favour of offensive spells and the shaman is used to defend the base as well. This kind of playstyle means that you will initially have weaker offensive capabilities and you are unable to put a lot of pressure on the enemy because of this. However, due to increasing your defensive capabilities and making sure your shaman can defend with lights, the chance that an enemy attack will succeed is lower. Usually these types of players have good skills in terms of being able to light the enemy, as this is essential in trying to defend the base.

A player that is turtling will resolve into counter-attack after the enemy shaman or forces that were threatening the base are dead. When the enemy shaman is dead or a lot of troops died by trying to take out the turtling player, the chance for the turtling player to break through the enemy defenses increases. However, as said before, this playstyle does mean that there are less offensive spells charged and less warriors trained early game, so counter-attacking only becomes more lethal as the game goes on and the population increases.

Basic tips and tricks to improve.

Advanced - More advanced tips & In-depth strategies

Recommendation for Advanced Players:

Have played a couple of the unofficial campaigns, many multiplayer matches (vs higher ranks), and watching streams from the best players. Reading some in depth guides, and maybe trying the Noob's Guide to Multiplayer, as it also contains some advanced information.

Building things you should do

This is a continuation on the building tips in the previous guide. Even though you might already know these things in theory, you should try to put them in practice. That's why they're mentioned here. Any small advantage you can get is something that will move you towards victory.

  • Make sure the safest huts are upgraded first. Use the most vulnerable huts for dismantling, or designated huts if you don't have such huts yet. Move all bred braves into the safe huts afterwards. This is the best way to upgrade huts if you're using dismantling.
  • When starting a game, actively dismantle huts until your population bar (small green/white bar near your population count) is on top (red). This means that you should also do this on high population levels such as Pressure Point, as this will give you those extra few braves that you'd otherwise not have gotten. More braves means more mana, faster buildings and upgrading, and the possibility of having more troops.

Don't waste mana / Maximize your mana

  • When you're converting, patrol the new braves as soon as possible, to prevent mana waste. Alternative to this is to point them towards building right away. Don't let them idle for too long!
  • When charging spells, only charge those you will use, and do not charge too many at once. Do not charge 4 lights, if 1 or 2 is all you actually require. Any mana you're not charging for these spells can be used for spells that are actually useful for winning the game - or for training troops faster.
  • Additionally, do not use spells just for using them, as you will only be wasting mana which could've been used better. If you can spend the extra time using ghosts and swarms to get inside a base instead of lightning or tornado'ing towers, you should do that and save those spells to use them on shamans and training huts.
  • When you require a spell but don't have the required mana, depending on the situation, you might want to stop training men.

- Think of being cut off on the map Nubrimir Palace. When that's being done and both enemies are still alive, there is a high chance that your ally will be doubled. Getting a flatten ( or two ) as soon as possible is then the highest priority (stop training men, so that all the mana goes to obtain a faster flatten) - after all, you won't be of much help if you are not connected.

-The same can be said if your shaman is dead, and having a few extra men can help with preventing your base from being horribly destroyed. In that case, stop charging spells (and train faster troops).


You might not yet think about it but pacing is everything in this game, or any game in that regard. If you control the pace and know what's happening, you control the future of the game.

Think of a map with 2 lanes. You can place pressure on the enemy by simply moving towards one lane. The enemy can then decide to do nothing or counter it by moving there himself. If you are a big threat or simply because the enemy thinks you are one, he will prioritize defending that lane, resulting in you having decided what is happening, thus controlling the game.

Split pushing

Split pushing means attacking from multiple sides at once. Let your enemy decide what he is going to defend. The army of 20 warriors coming from the left or your shaman on the right? Depending on the defensive capabilities your opponent has, he might or might not be able to successfully protect both sides, resulting in him losing the defenses or even having you break through it and losing part of his base.


You can define rushing in multiple ways in this game:

  1. Hard Rush - When you start the game, use anything in your disposal to attack. This means basically attacking the moment the game starts with your braves and shaman. At this point, you're playing a very high risk and high reward battle to win the game. Generally, people do not like this kind of gameplay.
  1. Light Rush - When you start the game, you will be focusing on getting an initial base suited to rush with. You will for example make a warrior hut and train a few warriors as soon as possible. This way of rushing is more accepted by the community, but not done by many, as this is still a high risk high reward type of rush.
  1. Late Rush - A relatively late-game rush, which is basically playing the game normally with building a high population in mind, but combining it with offensive spells ranging from lights, tornado'es and earthquakes. The risk and reward on this isn't as high as the previous two, but will give you an advantage or disadvantage for a little while.

This chapter will mainly focus on point number 2 (Light Rush), where you're attacking earlier than basically anyone who isn't playing with rushing in mind. This means you'll be attacking while the enemy is still busy building their defenses, thus making it impossible for them to stop your warriors. What is very important is to mitigate the risk you're facing when you fail, while keeping the reward as high as possible. To do so, you should be focusing on altering the way you begin, and building towards how you'd normally play.

Some general guideline I would suggest you to do. This is based on the level Pressure Point:

  1. When you begin the game, play as you normally would, with converting the highest groups of wildmen to your advantage.
  2. The first building you're making should be a warrior hut. Make sure to harvest the wood as good as possible, to make the building finish really fast. You could technically put everyone on it, but to mitigate the risk when you fail, you should be making sure you use any available men to build huts and such.
  3. You will want to build a firewarrior hut as soon as possible, but you do not want to place it next to your warrior hut. The reason for this is that an enemy will be able to cast one spell to destroy both huts. This is very detrimental early-game, where your defenses will be very weak - but can also be a real annoyance later in the game, when you lose much of your potential of training troops. To build this firewarrior hut, I suggest building a guard tower somewhere in the back of your base, and placing a firewarrior hut there. Make sure to align it properly, so it's not taking up unneeded hut space, as this will put you in a disadvantage. If you're doing this correctly, you should have a firewarrior hut relatively fast, and are able to also focus on training firewarriors to make some defenses.
  4. From this point onward, you will want to train warriors ranging from 3 to 5, and use these to attack together with your shaman. Train a few more in case your attack is successful. If your attack fails horribly, that's probably a good reason to stop the rush altogether, and focus on playing the game normal (as you are probably now handicapped).
  5. Since you'll be losing men, chance is high that you can dismantle a bit, so make sure to do that to compensate for the lower population you'll be facing as you're losing men and building huts slower than the enemy.

In terms of your shaman, you will want a light to get rid of the enemy shaman. If you can kill the enemy shaman, you'll have a high chance at delivering high casualties to the enemy. Keep in mind that warriors that are grouped are far stronger, as this will prevent braves from grouping up against a warrior - however, you will want to split them up before the enemy shaman reincarnates.

If the enemy has warriors to counter yours, use your shaman to get rid of them (with blasts), assuming you've killed the enemy shaman.

Because you're making troops relatively fast, the enemy will not have sufficient defenses to counter you, unless he's actively preparing for it - which also hurts his game. As you're separating your firewarrior hut from the warrior hut and making a good focus on playing the game normally, a big part of the risk is gone. This does not mean you are not at a disadvantage if you fail, because you will be - but the disadvantage should be smaller, especially if you can prevent the enemy from destroying your base.

Moving your front-line / using your front-line as an offensive tool

One strategy when trying to push your advantages to the next level, is to move your defenses closer to the enemy. When you know that the enemy cannot take out your troops anymore, you simply select all your troops that are currently defending and let them patrol on vital points inside the enemy base. Think of the map Pressure point where you have all your firewarriors housed in guard towers or well-placed huts. You would move these to the enemey base on the hills where the enemy would normally place their guard towers. By doing this, you're effectively pinning down the enemy to their own base as they cannot move out unless they clear out your firewarriors. If you notice you have a clear defense, you can closely push small groups of firewarriors and braves to destroy enemy buildings until there is nothing left.

The main disadvantage to this strategy is that if you fail to assess the current situation correctly, most, if not all of your men will die leaving you with an undefended base. Depending on the resources of the enemy, it might result in your base taking heavy damage or even turning the game around in the enemies favour.

Specific strategies that go in-depth.


Recommendation for Expert Players:

By now, you should have played many multiplayer games, and reached the top ranks. Most singleplayer levels should be easy, but you can still try the hardest unofficial campaigns. Watch streams from the best players regularly (especially Nici). At this stage, you will only improve by actually playing games (and learning some strategy from the best players in streams). As information is vital, you should still read the most detailed guides (such as the following) and include some of it to your gameplay.

How to become #1

Train, train, train!

If you play without trying to get better, you'll eventually reach a point. Think of it like this: If you didn't learn any of the above tips and tricks, the chance is highly likely you cannot even come close to the best players of the game. This is because these tips and tricks make you a better player overall. What this guide cannot teach you is when you should do what in every situation possible. Even though it is certainly possible for a guide to note hundreds of situations, it is far better to learn these with your own experience. You will remember it better that way and you might figure out something that puts you above other players. Do don't forget: You don't become #1 within a few days, it will take many days improving yourself.

So keep training, keep learning something new and try to always improve yourself.

Sub focus

If you focus too much on the actions you're taking, you won't be able to do more at the same time. For example, when you're attacking with your shaman, don't just keep looking at her, but try to do other things while your shaman is walking. Like, send troops and split push, build a few huts, train a few men, etc. It is all actions through the whole game that solidify your current position. You usually hear someone say: "It doesn't matter if my shaman dies." What they mean with that, while their shaman died, they did a lot of other actions to fortify the overall strength, thus that shaman death doesn't matter as much as it would to someone who would've done nothing (still, try not to die :D). Try to incorporate this in your playstyle and you'll notice that you're much harder to beat overall.

So keep in mind, it's not necessarily about that attack with your shaman that should absolutely succeed, it's about every single action you're taking that is going to higher your stakes at winning the game.

Matchmaker: MatchmakerEnabling BetaCoop vs AISubmitting MapsUltimate Populous Guide
Map Making: Creating a SP LevelCreating a MP LevelMaking a Map
AI Scripting: AI ScriptingCreating a SP Level
Mod Making: Sprite EditingTexture EditorTox Sprite Editor
Misc: Installing a CampaignSupport