A turn based strategy game by Strategy First, Disciples allows you to play one of four factions:

The Empire
The "good guys" - focused on life and healing
The Dwarves
RuneLords in the mountain peaks
The Legion of the Damned
Infernal hordes of demons and devils
The Undead Horde
Exactly what they sound like

Resource gathering occurs by owning the terrain on which a resource generator sits. Armies are squads of up to 6 units led by a hero. An interesting game, although the player-cast spells tend to make for stalemates.

I recently went on a glut of Fantasy Strategy games, buying Age of Wonders, the complete set of Heroes of Might and Magic (all the game except 4) and Disciples. Out of them Disciples is probally my favorite for some odd reason.

Part of it is that it is the simplest game out of the bunch, fighting merely involves clicking on an enemy unit to attack, and healing if you have the right troops. The hardest part is "stacking" your troops so that they are effective.

But I am getting ahead of myself. Disciples is a turn-based, fantasy strategy game like "Heroes of Might and Magic", in it you fight on different sides and kill your enemy. As cordelia pointed out there are four different sides, each providing different strengths and weaknessess. I have yet to play them all in any detail, mainly the Mountain Clans and the Empire. But the concept is the same for all; defend your main base, build buildings, research spells, build parties to kill your enemy. Army builing is simple, go to a town, recruit a party leader, and fill out the ranks with different troops. Unlike "Heroes" your party leaders fight in the battles, and can die, however you can reserect and heal any units, including the party leaders. Battles many consist of clicking and attacking your enemy, no real strategy except who to attack, as there is no moving.

There are two ways of playing the game in single-player; Quest, and Saga. Quest is like the single-missions in "Heroes of MM 2" you select a mission and select your side, then play it out. Saga has you play through a campain on one of the sides. The enemy can be annoying, but it can also be very very difficult, I'm still stuck on the second mission of the Empire saga. The story is interesting however, and the setting is very different, with a religious feel. It's really light against dark, with the Mountin Clan the Undead as extras with their own plans.

Over-all I highly suggest this game to fantasy-strategy game fans, and new-comers, as it is addictive, and very good.

I've played through all the campaigns, although I'm still working through the Quests and I've come to conclude that the Disciples series is one of the best Hero-based Turn-based Strategy-games I've played. Opinions aside, the game does things differently than Heroes of Might and Magic (HoMM).

As stated above, you capture resources by expanding your race's unique territory over the resource. The Empire have green, fertile land. The Mountain Clans have snowy tundra. The Legion have molten wastelands. And the Undead have dry, gray, and dead lands.

The number of resources are fairly simple. Buildings cost gold and spells cost mana. There are four different types of mana for each race. Life (for the Empire), Death (for the Undead), Chaos (for the Legion), and Runic (for the Mountain Clans).

Each race has a 'rod-planter' hero who has no offensive weapon and can only carry one other unit. Well, the Mountain clan rod-planter has a weapon, but he's the exception. The only real purpose of the rod-planet is to, obviously, plant rods into the ground. These rods expand the territory of the race that planted it. They can only be removed by another rod-planter. This requires the protection of rod-planters as they move into the front-lines to steal resources away from the enemy, since they are physically weak.

It's almost impossible to 'lose' in the traditional sense. Each race has it's own starting fortress which is guarded by a super-unit Guardian that can never leave the base.

While I haven't tried with some of the other races, it seems unlikely that any race except the Undead and the Legion can defeat one of the Guardians. The Undead might because of their ability to paralyze enemies. The Legion might because of their ability to change enemies into harmless Imps. The Empire just has healing and the Clans have damage amplification. Both of those are useless because of a Guardian's devestating attack, which he will usually get off fist due to his higher initiative, and his high armor level, which will deflect 90% of damage. My Empire hero only beat Guardians easily because of his artifact that granted him the ability to paralyze those he hit. Of course, a hero's party still needs to withstand the opening attack by the guardian, which will kill any ordinary and unprotected unit in one hit.

While this Guardian is unlikely to be defeated in a single game where heroes start at level 1, it is possible to cripple the enemy player by controlling every resource and defeating every hero. What's the use in playing when your hero is level 1, there aren't any neutral monsters left to kill, and you're out of mana? The only option is to resign.

Most multiplayer Quests have a specific objective to be reached, not 'destroy all other players'. So once your ability to play has ended, you can either concede or let the other player get the final objective.

- Every player has the ability to summon monsters, via scrolls or magic, to fight for him. These monsters can be summoned to any place that the player has already explored (this also includes all other spell effects). So, if an enemy rod-planter from a nearly-defeated player leaves his base, his opponent might simply summon a monsterto kill him. Chances are, the enemy player controls enough mana such that the spell is quite affordable to cast.

All in all, Disciples and Disciples 2 are very innovative and hauntingly beautiful games.

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