Monday, December 7, 2009

Beginner’s Blog #1

Welcome fellow Zatikon Players

This is a beginner’s blog. A beginners, as in that I’m a beginner to Zatikon. A beginners, as in that this is my first ever blog I have ever done. A beginners, as in that the people I expect to read this will be beginners to Zatikon too.

Being that I’m a beginner to this game, I don’t really know what I’m talking about. But what I will do is create an illusion that I do know what I’m talking about. If for some strange reason you don’t fall for that illusion then please visit one of my fellow Zatikon blog team members, who are all very well informed on Zatikon and should be able to give you very good advice on the game.

OK, let’s begin beginners:

sgainford vs AI (level 25)

Playing the Artificial Intelligence is a great way to start off and learn this game. First off, you will begin playing the AI in its lower levels, which means you can make many mistakes, which you probably will, because you’re a beginner, but will still be able to win. But don’t get too confident. The more you play the AI the stronger it gets. The AI also has unlimited units and actions, so you need to reach its castle as quickly as possible because it won’t run out of units.

Playing the AI is also good because if you lose to the AI you don’t feel as bad as losing to a human player. If you lose to the AI you can just switch off the computer so the damn thing can’t even think anymore and go grab a beer and watch some TV. However if you lose to a human, he can go grab a beer and watch TV also! And he will probably have a big fat smile on his face and do some big belly laughs, which the AI can’t do; or at least I hope my computer is not laughing at me.

On my side of the ring I have the following units:

Fire Archer

The first thing you will have to do in this game is deploy your units. How you deploy your units is very important. You are limited to how many units you can deploy each turn, by only having 5 squares to choose from on the board, and how many commands it cost to deploy your units. In this particular game I deploy first my Tactician, which means by next turn I will no longer have just 5 commands, which is what you start off with, but will have increased my commands to 6 because of the Tacticians ability to increase my commands by 1. It would have been a blunder to deploy my Tactician last on the board, for then I would miss having 1 command advantage each turn that he was on the board. So any time you have units that will increase your commands when deployed, make sure those are the first units you get out on the board (please see the blog article ‘Gaining More Commands Every Turn’ by my fellow blog team member Mongo for more information on the importance of commands).

I next deploy my Archer. Using an Archer will quickly help you gain an understanding about range in this game. Range is of vital importance and if you ever want to improve your rating in Zatikon you will need to get down what range the units have. Zatikon helps you out with this: click on a unit and information about the unit pops up. In a highlighted blue box you will have what range the unit can move to and in a highlighted red box you will have what range the unit can attack to.

There are some really ugly beasts in this game, which probably smell very bad also. The last thing you want is to have your opponent's disgusting looking units close up to you, and you definitely don’t want them walking around in your nice clean castle. I like to have my opponent's units as far away from me as possible. I find the best way to do that is to stick an arrow right through their skull. It might not be a very polite thing to do, but I think the beasts shouldn’t be getting up all in your territory, especially without taking a bath first!

The Archer has a nice attacking range of 4. And the Archer doesn’t just have an attacking range of 4 diagonally, vertically or horizontally like some units have, but can attack any square within 4 squares of himself. To see who you can attack with the Archer, just click on him and a red boxes will pop up to show you what squares you can attack. What is also great with the Archer is that if you have a clumsy ally that foolishly stumbles in front of you, you can still attack your opponent’s units -- unlike some units the Archer cannot be blocked by his own units when attacking. The problem with the Archer though is that he never listened to his mother when she said "Don’t go out of the house unless you have your armour on.". So the Archer might be happily shooting arrows at his opponent’s units, laughing away, and then he gets a little scratch from an arrow himself and he falls down dead because he doesn’t have any armor on. To try to equal out this weakness you can put a stronger, more protected ally in front of the Archer so that he can give the Archer some protection. And again, the Archer can just shoot right over the Ally unit in front of him and still attack the opponent’s units.

I then deployed my Fire Archer. This unit has one less attacking range than the Archer (3 instead of 4) however makes up with that by having every square within one range of the original attacking square explode for a power hit of three points. This is brilliant when your opponent’s units are close together holding hands. Shoot your fire arrow at them and their hands will blow off, and hopefully their heads too. But again, this unit has no armor so tread carefully.

The AI releases his units and I release the rest of mine. He charges at me with his Paladin and his own Fire Archer. They both foolishly step into my Archers territory. His Fire Archer is quickly extinguished with an arrow in his skull by my Archer. I take a few shots at the Paladin as he approaches, weakening him, and then finish him off with my Dracolich. Many times your Archer will not be strong enough to kill your opponent’s unit right off, however a good strategy is to weaken the unit first with your Archer and then finish it off with one of your stronger units. Also, take heed of the AI’s blunder and learn the following principle: don’t go charging into battle unless you have the necessary backup!

The AI then released a Magus on me, which makes it the first time I have ever played against a Magus. My first impression was ‘what can this old man do to me, with his gray beard and cane? I mean the guy can hardly walk, with a 1 square move to target location and only 1 action.’ Then this old man transforms himself into a Spirit. And the Spirit is indestructible! Then the scenario became "Everybody run for your life! There is some nut case running loose who can’t be destroyed!". Luckily this Sprit’s range is quite low, only having 1 move to target location range and 1 attack enemy unit range. It was a bit strange though, because I was completely beating the AI but at the same time was still running away from him, because of the Spirit. The Spirit definitely made me make haste to the opponent's castle.

Once you get your Archer units within attacking range of your opponent’s castle, there is no reason to go any further with your Archers. This will only put them at risk. The AI released a few more units from his castle, but as soon as he did I just killed them with my Archers. I then took shots at his Gate Guard until he died, then cruised into his castle.


Summary of things discussed and learned in this game:

• Archers are great range units but are fragile, so be careful.
• Don’t rush into battle unless you have the necessary back up.
• Just because a unit has a gray beard and cane, doesn’t mean he can’t kick ass!
• Get your archers within attacking range of your opponent’s castle, then go no further. When your opponent releases another unit from his castle, just put an arrow in his brain.


  1. Great job on your first post. The screenshots help alot. It's great to hear the perspective of a new player. Even in your analysis, it's clear how confusing if not hopeless it is to be a new player and figure everything out. On the other hand, people hate reading tutorials, so a game like Zatikon needs something to help ease the stress of learning it all at once.

    I think as a veteran player to Zatikon and as a top player, it's definately far more enjoyable to play on a team or anything against the AI. With the very difficult game like this, it's easily off losing in random/constructed no matter how much i love them. Perhaps if another version was out with less types of units (simpler) it could be easier to grasp for new players.

  2. Great opening, but, err.. some of that is my job XD