Age of Wonders 4: Tips for Beginners

General tips and race setup suggestion for beginners


About this Guide

If you have not played similar games before, it is easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of information the game has to offer. Here are some basic tips to help you get started.

The Tips

1. Play the realms in order, as they are sorted by difficulty.

2. Do not be afraid to use the easy mode and then increase the difficulty as you get better.

3. Pay attention to several aspects, here are some hints

– you can queue build orders, but it is better not to; this way the gold is not “reserved” and you have a better overview
– level your hero with easy prey, as you would in a MOBA; seek out the easy NPC enemies for early levels and loot
– heal your troops and hero properly by letting them rest in your (friendly) domain
– focus on a playstyle as a beginner; do you want to go with spellcasting, strong units, summoning, undead and so on – the idea of how to play is important while you enjoy creating your race
– overwhelm the enemy in numbers; it is less about a 1:1 army, and more about placing multiple armies next to each other and then attacking strong enemies or picking on weak enemies.
– manual combat gives better results in difficult terrain where auto mode would fail; you can also learn a lot by watching the PCs replay.
– being a “good do-er” can make some scenarios easier; having NPCs on your side instead of having to fight through everyone.

4. My take on recommending you a beginner race setup

The race itself does not matter, as it is purely cosmetics and the gameplay relevant traits can be changed as you like. Noble High Orcs who wield magic and made out of peaceful diplomats? You got it. Cannibalistic Chaos Dwarfs with super buff astral bodies? Possible. Pick any “race skin” you like and pay attention to these gameplay traits.

Body: Keen-Sighted (+20% Accuracy for ranged physical attacks)
Mind: Overwhelm Tactics (+20% Critical Hit when units standing next to each other)

Feudal origin: great synergy of Standing Together (+20% Damage when units standing next to each other) with Overwhelm Tactics – this is easiest as you can pair archers/rangers and defenders/shield bearers well for straightforward combat

Ritual Cannibals – free healing during battle by eating corpses
Gifted Casters – great pick for beginners as spells are very strong during battle and can change the tide
alternative choice for Ritual Cannibals (if you dislike the evil alignment): Adapt Settlers

Good starting tomes
Tome of Roots (allrounder)
Tome of Enchantment (good unit focus)
Cryomancy and Pyromance – strong, but depending on enemies

I have seen some suggests the Tome of Horde, which I do not recommend for beginners. It can be good, but asks for a certain specific playstyle. Hence my more general/allrounder recommendations for beginners.

Tome of Roots, Enchantment and the elemental ones are great for unit enhancements while they also offer powerful offensive magic. You might be surprised how strong a weapon with poison, fire, freeze damage can be!

Whether you choose Champion or Wizard King is of little importance at first. Champion is more beginner friendly, but both are quite strong, with Wizard King being much more powerful in the offence.

Weapon for your hero
Sword and shield, spirit orb, bow – avoid crossbow and the rest as a beginner. You can still have fun by recruiting more heroes or changing your weapon.

Reason for choosing these weapons: they have multihits, which makes them more friendlier in regards of accuracy overall, especially as a beginner when you need to get used to which weapon type does what and how it works.

5. Last but not least, remember the advice you were given at school every day: read, read, read.

Take your time to read. The game will explain everything to you at a very comfortable pace, as long as you follow the “progression path” and take your time to read what does what.

In fact, much of the tutorial mission is so basic that you may even recognise some tips from other games such as Civilization.

Good luck and have fun!

Increase City Cap

Want to expand your empire? Not sure how to do it with a 3/3 city limit?

There is an Imperium perk that is often overlooked, called Expanded Governance.

Often overlooked is not because people simply miss it. People overlook the fact that they can use it more than once at an increased cost to the empire.

You can see here with its increased cost for a fitfh city.

Whispering Stone Extra Usage

Wondering what to do with a Whispering Stone when there is no Free City to convert?
Well, they are not entirely useless. You can use them bring happiness to your cities!

Auto-explore is Your Friend

It is highly recommended that you have at least two scouts. Not only will they help you with intelligence, but they can also collect resources lying around the map for you. Best of all, you do not have to do anything. Just leave them to their own devices with auto-exploration!

On larger maps it is recommended to have more scouts.
The resources they collect will make up for the investment in them.

Harbor for Naval Units

The very first coastal province (sea bordering land, not vice versa) your city annexes will have a Harbor. Every other gets a Fishery.

A Fun to Play Beginner Scenario


– relaxed allrounder playstyle with sheer unlimited time
– challenge can be adjusted by changing AI and world threat difficulty
– enough space to explore and expand
– overall plenty of time to learn the basics while also facing a challenge fitting for beginners

I named the realm Zetsugara – you may name it whatever you like

Realm Traits
Overgrown Realm
Rampant Undeath – works great with Curse of Undeath to give a challenge by hostile NPCs; alternative: Megafauna
Wonderous Past
Hostile Houses – alternative: Bannerlords
Regenerating Infestations
Curse of Undeath – alternative: Gigantism

Realm Settings
Player Distance – Far
Players – 4, you and three NPC rulers
Difficulty – Custom, set by your choice of NPC rulers which I recommend is made of 2 normal and 1 hard AI

I recommend you create all factions, as part of your starting fun! You can also choose that “Rulers are generated” Random.

Game Flow
World Threat – Normal; can be adjusted to high if you like, but Curse of the Undeath is a great compensator, keeping aggressiveness of independants “normal” while also giving a good challenge

Victory Conditions
Disable everything – that way you can play “last ruler standing”. You still get to do the content of the other victory conditions. They just will not trigger victory. That way you can get a feeling for e.g. how long it takes to build for Magic Victory.

Do not shy off of giving yourself as many retrys as you want while learning the game.

This realm setting is especially fun since you have three significantn difficulty sliders, which are world threat, AI ruler and Curse of the Undeath – while at the same time you have plenty of room to build and some sort of “geographical borders by sea”. Give it a try and have fun!

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