- The Strategic Map shows the world which the player must explore and conquer. It is here that the player founds and manages his or hers cities, and plans out strategies to conquer enemies.
When the game starts, the Strategic Map is mostly unexplored, which is indicated by the clouds hanging over the area. The player can reveal the map by exploring with armies, and by collecting Cartographer's Tents or capturing Watchtowers or Reflective Pools.
The Strategic Map is also represented on the mini-map on the bottom right of the screen. This map can be used to navigate the strategic map more easily. Zooming out with the zoom keys reveals the overview map, essentialy a bigger version of the mini-map.
Both the Tactical and Strategic map are divided into hexagonal tiles, known as hexes. Each hex on the Strategic map can contain one army of six units, terrain, a single structure and a sack of items
- Each hex on the strategic map has a terrain type that influences its movement point cost and a clime that influences the morale or happiness of your units and cities. Some types of terrain cannot be crossed easily like mountains or water and some types cannot be crossed at all like walls and impassable mountains. Terrain within your domain can be converted to a different type by using terraforming skills. Clime can also be changed with certain skills. Note that Machines and Elementals are not influced by terrain/clime happiness penalty/bonus.
Adjacent Hex Rule
- When your army engages in combat with another army, the combat will include armies from both parties that are located on a hex adjacent to the hex on which the combat was initiated. Additionally, armies from players that are in an alliance with either side will also participate in combat.
State of Vision: Fog of War
- Hexes covered in Fog of War are hexes that have been explored, but are currently not in sight range of your units or structures. Fog of War appears darker than visible hexes, but the terrain and structures on those hexes are still visible to you. You have no information on any units that might be present in the area however. When in an alliance with another Leader, you share vision with them, meaning you can see their current state of vision as well as their explored hexes covered in Fog of War.
State of Vision: Unexplored Hexes
- At the start of the game a large portion of the strategic map is unexplored. Unexplored Hexes are covered by a thick layer of clouds. When unexplored hexes come within the sight range of your units or structures, they become explored hexes and the clouds disappear.
State of Vision: Visible Hexes
- Explored hexes on the strategic map that lie within the vision range of your units or structures are considered Visible. A hex must be visible for you to be able to see units that belong to other empires moving across it. Note that units with concealment abilities are able to remain hidden from other empires or independent factions even within vision range. When two or more leaders have an alliance with each other, they have shared vision. This means that whenever a leader within the alliance has vision on a hex, all leaders within that same alliance also have vision on that hex.
The map is divided three different layers: Surface, Underground and Depths. Surface is mandatory while Underground is optional. The depths is rarely seen in the Campaign.
- The Surface is all of the terrain that lies above the ground. It is typically connected to the underground layer by use of cave entrances. Using these entrances to move from the surface to the underground does not cost any move points.
- The Underground is the first layer beneath the surface. It is the home of Goblins and Dwarves where they excel with faster Movement from the ability Cave Crawling (-2 Movement cost Underground) and extra vision from the ability Night Vision (+2 Vision in the Underground). Orcs also have Night Vision. Most terrain on the underground is Subterranean which suffer +2 Movement cost, so technically it is every other class that has slower Movement in the Underground.
- The Depths is every layer beyond the Underground. It is the home of Draconians with the clime fixed at Volcanic and has a lot of Lava Pools which is the prefrerred terrain for Draconians (+300 Happiness when units are on prefrerred terrain or clime). Note that Movement in the Depths is like the surface and does not suffer +2 Movement Cost. Also note that all clime changing spells won't work in the depths (only on Surface and Underground).
- Subterranean is the default and majority of the Underground layer. It does not have any effect on the happiness of any class. However it costs +2 Movement.
- Mountains are a rough terrain for most walking units and cost a lot of move points to travel through. Units with Mountaineering, Flying, Floating can easily travel over mountains however. Note that all Dwarves have Mountaineering as a racial ability.
These Type of Terrain determines the limits of the map
- Exist on the Surface and can be distinguished with dark clouds over them. Units cannot cross Unpassable Mountains.
Rock Cavern Walls
- Exist on the Underground and Depths. Can be easily identified with their black color. Units cannot cross Rock Cavern Walls
Dirt Cavern Walls
- Exist on the Underground and Depths. Can be easily identified with their brownish color. You need at least one unit with Mountainering in the army in order to dig them. Dug hexes are automatically changed to subterranean barrens and become passable by all units. Most noteable units with Mountainering: Big Beetle, Dwarf Prospector and any Builder. Note that Goblin Builders and Dwarf Builders are the best Builders at digging Dirt Cavern Walls simply because they have Cave Crawling(-2 Movement cost on the Underground).