For my next game of Master of Magic, I went for the default all Arcane mage, Jafar, and turned the land size down to ‘medium’, so there were lots of separate landmasses to deal with. My initial continent just had one neutral city past my own (I eventually set up three more, but it was a tight fit for all of that). And I could just glimpse one other land mass. The ultimate irony is that my capital wound up building an alchemist’s guild despite having the alchemy skill, because of an adamantium deposit next door.

I managed to nail down most of the stuff on my continent (there were two nature nodes within the area of my home city, and I was worried that I’d get wiped out by wandering monsters…). Took out a tower of sorcery, and found a three square island on the other side; not a lot of help. I also started setting up the High Men city I took as a naval yard before remembering that it’s only actual outlet was on an interior lake. Well, time to warm up the Flight spell….

The land I could glimpse turned out to be a two square island with another tower. But past that was a larger, mostly desert landmass with Oberic on it with three cities. I took out a sorcery node there, and melded with it, but didn’t garrison it, so Oberic melded his own summoned spirit with it. So, I took it back and garrisoned it, but then he wasn’t happy that I had troops near a city of his….

So war was inevitable, as neither of us was happy…. I slowly trimmed away at him, ferrying over new loads of mixed troops and my heroes in the process. I met Merlin just as the war started, and then Horus and Sharee both showed up as it ended. I had already cast Aura of Majesty, so there were no immediate concerns, but I know that patch 1.4n will drive the AI to attack as you gain more power. At that point, the other two were at war with Horus.

While all that was happening to the west, I found more (empty) land to the east. I colonized one and took an existing Barbarian city on the same landmass. The next decision was to explore more of the world, or find a better way into Myrror. Since the two square island with the second tower was in between most of my army and the area I wanted to explore, I ended up opening the second tower with my main hero/flying galley stack, and started exploring. Shortly afterward, Horus cast Planar Seal, leaving them stranded on an alien world….

That should have been a hint, but I didn’t take it. Though it was an interesting strategy for the AI.

I conquered a few scattered cities on Myrror after that. My main possessions continued to develop, and I cleaned up a fair amount of corruption in the newly conquered area (Oberic’s capital had been hit by a meteor), and my second city developed enough to start building warships, which were then granted Flight to serve as the exploration corps.

The ocean to the west (where I’d seen everyone come from) was large and empty, but directly to the east was a large continent with Horus. Sharee was interlocked with him to the east, and there was still no sign of Merlin.

The natives were unhappy as I poked around, and then I found a new hamlet of Horus’… on Myrror. He had gotten there and colonized, and then sealed the planes so no one else could follow! I eliminated the hamlet… which meant war.

Shortly after that, I ran into a pair of well-defended neutral cities on Myrror that tied up my forces for a long while, as I didn’t want to leave them behind, but I didn’t want to lose heroes taking them. So the war was fought on Arcanus, and went fairly smoothly.

After a little while I took his capital… and Horus started casting Spell of Return. I mopped up the rest of his forces, and started sorting out all the new towns I had, and started cleaning up a fair amount of corruption scattered about, presumably as a result of fighting with Sharee.

Horus returned about the time I finally broke the two neutral towns on Myrror, and I decided it was time to be able to bring more force to bear. I Disenchanted the Seal, and started ferrying troops over.

Horus had a lot more on Myrror than I had given him credit for, but he just couldn’t match the high-level heroes or powerful units I had. As I was finishing that off, Merlin told me that I’d gone too far and declared war; which left the question of finding Merlin. He turned out to have a continent to the southeast of Horus and Sharee, which was swarming with lots of units. I got a foothold (mostly thanks to a sky drake), and then spent a lot of time barely beating off counterattacks.

But then his forces were exhausted, and many of my better units were just arriving, and his remaining four cities didn’t take long to fall. Sharee then declared war, and taking her two cities didn’t take long.

Arcanus, right before finishing off Horus on Myrror, and the collapse of Merlin.

Final score: 1382 (17%) actually my lowest winning score.

I was much stronger on the magic side of things than is typical for me this time. A large part of that was realizing that you have to work through the research buildings in order to get to banks. I was actually in the middle of researching Spell of Mastery at the end of the game, and at one point was wondering if I was going to end up using it.