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VS
historical
by bubba on Jul20

A beginner's guide to Thirty Kingdoms





In this short guide I am going to list some of the things I learned while playing Thirty Kingdoms, the MMO by Bytro Labs.

How to start - early days

There are a few things you have to keep in mind at the start of your first game; and after a couple of games, they will just become natural.

  • Market: As soon as you join a game, and especially if it's already at day 2 or 3, immediately visit the common market and make sure that the AI did not put on offer most of your resources (which happens very often). You can easily do this by hitting 'show market' at the top of the screen, and then selecting the 'my trades' tab.

  • Study the land: The first thing to do is to look at your position in the map. You might be on an island, in a peninsula, or in the middle of vast flatland. This of course has an impact on the strategy you will have to follow, and the sooner you start thinking about the future the better. If you are on an island or along the coast, this will give you an almost absolute natural protection for the first days, and reduce the number of provinces you will need to defend.

    Example 1 : For instance, in one game (screenshot above) I started in a peninsula, which gives me a huge defensive advantage at first (journeys by sea are very slow, and as other players will need all their troops in the first week, nobody will attack me there) but also a logistic disadvantage (look how silly is the road network between cities)

    Second, take note of forests, mountains, plains: the first two are easier to defend, as ranged units will get bonuses while the attaching troops will be slower and with various malus. However, you will need to have a good and fast network of roads to move your troops in case of emergency or just to keep the realm going, and plains will be your friends. Third, observe you own land and the resources it produces. Remember also that not all provinces producing a certain resource are the same: some a more productive than others (open a city screen than click on 'production and tax').

  • Plan the expansion: This will give you a hint about the resources you will be in need soon. Keep in mind that you'll need tons of stone at the beginning, then more and more wood and also grain -to upkeep the troops you will have at that point-, then iron and only later mythril (this doesn't mean you don't need anything other than stone at first, but mostly stone). This brings us to the main point: potential enemies and allies. In most of the games, depending on the chosen settings, there will be several barbarian camps around you (each of them is independent, and they don't help each other), so depending on the resources your land produces, you will need to plan the expansion to (a) secure your land -that is conquer strategic points which allow you to protect your entire country by defending as less as possible provinces-, and (b) balance your production. If possible, stay away from other players (see later).

    Example 3 : As an example, in the screenshot above the best idea is to conquer Whitebarrow as soon as possible, as this will give me a defensive stronghold towards the south and west, and a base to launch my expansion plan towards north-west, reaching Wolfmarsh as soon as possible.

  • Example 4 : Look at the screenshot below. This situation is more complicated: on one hand there are more independent tribes around us (it's easier to expand our dominion) and also the human neighbours are not so close to our own borders, but on the other the land is mainly forest (slow movements, so difficult to defend against sudden attacks) and the road network is intricate (not easy to draw a defensive line with only a few cities). I decided to expand following a priority order as shown in the picture, so that the circled villages will constitute my initial defensive border. The priority depends on how 'competitive' on that area my neighbours are: I need to grab them first!

  • Initial buildings: start by building garrisons in all provinces; it takes just a couple of minutes to complete and it will give you some more militias (after 18 hours, so in day 2) to defend you land and conquer the first barbaric villages. Then build blacksmith in all stone provinces, farms in all grain provinces (unless you have a lot of grain being produced already), and marketplaces in the rest. Remember that blacksmiths have no use in grain provinces, as farms in non-grain ones. After the initial buildings are completed, keep building marketplaces and city councils to boost your taxes and unlock the king's roads. In case you have to choose (and you'll have to) build first in provinces with higher max (not current!) production (enter the city screen and hit the info button): upgrades grant percentage bonuses. Finally, if you are lucky and there is a defensive bottleneck (a place that, alone, will protect most of your land) then build a palisade there (in the first screenshot above, you shouldn't build one in Starryley, but conquer Whitebarrow instead and build one there).

  • Holding conquered lands: as you're probably at your first game, this deserves some explanation. First, don't attack with less than 4 militia units. Best with 5 or 6 at least, unless you are time-pressured by the expansion of others. After conquering one village or city (it can take a while) you might want to conquer the next with all your conquering troops. The point, however, is that at the end of the day, and only once, -in the news windows, check when exactly the day ends by clicking on 'game info'-, all newly conquered provinces will roll a dice to see whether there is an uprising.

    Newly conquered provinces automatically get a morale of 25%, and anything less than 35% will trigger the uprising roll. The outcome of this roll is of course influenced by other factors affecting the morale, and the most important of these is the presence of occupying troops. Moreover, when an uprising does take place, it can only be stopped by troops currently in the city. Conclusion: do your slashing, sacking and conquering, but at the end of the day all your cities and villages with the little fist icon next to their morale score will need to have a garrison of at the very least 4 troops. 4 sometimes is not sufficient either, especially if it is far from the capital, so better have at least 6. If you fail to follow this basic rule, new provinces can kill your occupying forces and even join another lord, which will make you give them land and troops, and give both a reason to declare war. So don't say I didn't warn you.

    It is a good idea to immediately conquer your first barbarian camp as you start the game unless you start with another human player next to you: move 5 troops on the most convenient camp, using the little clock icon to synchronise the attack and reduce the casualties to zero.

    Example 5 : Look at the screenshot below: see how I conquered Caerleon, Snotengaham and Lincolne before anything else (and before others would): this will give me a clear border and defence line towards south, before conquering the rest. But I could not do this in one day due to the chance of an uprising, so I had to take Stotengaham first (while recruiting 6 more militia regiments), then on the next day attack Lincolne and use the fresh troops to take Caerleon (I selected all new troops -by holding the shift key- and made the move just outside the village, then ordered to attack in group).

  • Early diplomacy: at most at day 2, you must write a message to all your neighbours to make a non aggression pact of at least 3 days -specify this-. Don't give shared vision but at most the right of way. Try also to agree on how to expand and divide the barbaric villages among you. Avoid expanding right to the border of another lord, as this will generate attrition and eventually a war, but do it in case this will allow you a defensive bottleneck as mentioned before. Players that agree on pacts won't normally break them; that's why you should be clear about their duration. If you don't trust somebody, make an agreement with their neighbours, possibly on the 'other side' in the map, so if they'll attack you then the other player will be tempted to take advantage of the situation and attack as well. Don't waste gold on spies for now.

  • Using basic units: there are several kind of troops in the game, and much more ways to use each of them. However, as you start your first games, there are obvious advantages of following very basic guidelines. First, each kind of land (plains, forest, mountains) have an effect on troops. Plains make units move faster, mountains and forests slower. You'll start the game with militias and scouts, and the scouts will also get a combat malus in forests and mountains and a combat bonus in plains. Also, they will get more range of sight in mountains and less in forests. So the lesson is this: use scouts as scouts (wow!) in forests, and in combat when supported by militias and on plains (scouts get a combat bonus if supported by other kinds of troops, and an attack bonus on plains). You may leave only one to guard a city (better if on the border, in the direction of a potential enemy), and be ready to reinforce with foot soldiers from other cities if needed. Also remember that the combat system in Thirty Kingdoms is not the same as Supremacy 1914, so have a look at that section. Most importantly, every day your militias will gains morale depending on the province in which they are stationed, and morale has a huge impact on combats. A good idea is thus to send back troops with low morale to high-morale provinces and replace them with fresh men.

Units and Combat

  • Strength and combat: The total strength of a group of regiments is simply computed as the sum of each individual unit, which is equal to the strength (max) multiplies for their current health (for instance a group of 2 militia regiments at 100% health has 2.2, but only 1.1 if at 50%). However, during a combat it's not necessarily the side with more strength the one which will prevail: different kinds of troops are involved in the fight differently: archers stay at the back, and don't suffer much damage until the front line is weakened enough. Conversely, militias, pikemen and soldiers are used mostly in the front so they'll take more damage. This is why soldiers are better suited for attacks (they stay forward and deliver a lot of damage) and pikemen to defend and hold the position (their armour absorbs more damage). Scouts are particularly effective when fighting together with other troops, and carracks can survive much more ranged damage if grouped together with militias. In conclusion, have a look at the description for each kind of troop in Thirty Kingdoms: those are not just random texts.

  • Morale of cities: morale of cities has a fundamental importance in Thirty Kingdoms, it affects the production and tax collection in each province, and it is affected by many factors. Depending on the current combinations of these factors, it can increase or decrease, at a variable rate. In normal circumstances, this value can reach 100%; however, some of the aforementioned factors are the influences, and these can also decrease this maximum morale attainable. For instance, a city distant from the capital gets some negative morale influence (say -10), thus if there are no other influences it's maximum morale is 90%. So influences are not just morale modifiers, as they affect the maximum possible morale value. Other modifiers that are not among these influences, and thus directly affect the morale score and not the total, seem to be the presence of troops in the city and the morale of surrounding provinces (also a influence), the stockpiles of goods (expecially grain), probably battles, and finally buildings such as city councils. The actual effect of all these factors in unknown, but you can see the morale of your province increase and decrease all time although, as already said, their current score is not calculated as 100-(total influences).

  • Health: this represents the current condition of each unit. As it reaches 0, the unit dies. Health is recovered at each change of day up to 100%. With recent changes and patches, the game mechanics governing health have been unified among all units, with the exception of the fact that, while all other unit starts from 100% health and if left alone recovers it up to 100% again, militias is created with a morale dependent on the province and his health grows towards that the morale of the current province. This is supposedly done to convey the idea that militias are made by peasants recruited among the population.

  • Automatic grouping: when you attack the same target with 2 distinct groups of units, and from the same 'direction', these units will merge. This means that they will make only one attack, all together. So if you are in a hurry and don't mind losing 1 or 2 units more, you can assign different moving orders to those two groups (for example moving to different locations behind the enemy), so that they won't merge and they will perform (and receive) 2 attacks instead of one.

  • Landings: It's extremely easy to defend a coastline against enemy landings. All you have to do it to wait until the enemy troops have been disembarking for at least the time that your troops will have to march to reach the landing spot, then order the attack. Since landing troops suffer a huge morale and strngth malus, even a small group of militias can defeat a landing army of 5 or even 10 times their size. However, remember that the 'disembarking countdown' won't stop because of the fight. Keep a small defensive force as close to all your landing spots, and if you want to deter these then move a scout right to the beach.

Buildings

  • Blacksmith and farms: This can't be stressed enough: don't waste your resources and gold on building the wrong kind of structures. So farms are good for grain provinces, blacksmiths for the rest. The same of course applies to more advanced techs. If you have to choose, build farms and blacksmith (and so on) on the most productive provinces. Look at the 'production and tax' button in each city to see the maximum rate. Usually, most productive resources are those with higher population (which doesn't grow), so they are very easy to spot. Good to know: to find out which provinces currently produce the most for each resource type, you can just open the 'province administration' tab (right edge of the screen) and order the list by resource type.

  • From Marketplaces to Banks: If you can, build a marketplace and a city council in every province, as these unlock the construction of roads. However, follow a similar approach as above for further techs. So use the 'production and tax' tab of each city to find those with best tax income (again, these are usually the most populous).

  • King's roads: They give a speed bonus of 50%. To defend your land and keep the kingdom growing, it's important to create a main route across the entire land. Build a single line first, then further ramifications. Always ask yourself: 'in case I need to, how many hours will it take to reinforce this province?'. Good to know: unlike railroads in Supremacy 1914, roads can not be disabled, so you won't be able to slow down enemies. Remember this when building roads on outer provinces.

  • Ports: Embarking and disembarking are faster with ports, and you also get a production bonus. So better to build a port in non-grain provinces. Remember also that the disembarking bonus will apply to enemy troops, so when they approach you can disable the port (see below).

  • Military Academies: These give a clear advantage, but they are very expensive and slow to build, so build them first in those provinces that will produce carracks, archers, trolls etc. Plan in advance. As a consequence, always build these in the capital.

  • Orders: Which one? Trolls are good in combat and you can build the Order of the Rock quite fast (not many prerequisites). However, dragons and mages give a huge strategic bonus at the price of building either all the 'economy' techs or all the 'military' techs first.

  • Disabling buildings: disabling building will reduce the upkeep, and save you a lot of gold and resources. It's very tedious (although you can use the 'administration' tab at the right edge of the screen to do it faster) but it's convenient in those days when you are not recruiting new troops or need to prevent some resource stock to reach 0 (and suffer a huge morale penalty on troops and cities!).