Mosteller's Battle Tactics for Hyborian War


Basic, fundamental tactics and strategies of real combat can serve the Hyborian War player well, if adapted to the game environment and game rules.

One of my favorite tactics is to utilize a "divide-and-conquer" tactic. If executed properly, it can effectively alter the existing balance-of-power for a given kingdom, compared to that of its enemy.

The shortest distance between two points is a straight line, but the best path to conquering your enemy's provinces is not necessarily a straight line at all.

The "divide-and-conquer" tactic is an extremely valuable tool to include in your tactics arsenal. You do not have to be a master tactician in order to understand how to employ this tactic against your enemies.

Why "divide-and-conquer?" Consider the following:

(1) You can use this tactic to effectively disrupt and impede your enemy's supply lines. If you succeed in severing your enemy's "line-of-reinforcement," by cutting his nation into two or more distinct groups of provinces (geographically speaking), you are able to then deal with the enemy on terms far more reasonable than otherwise would be the case.

(2) If used to encircle or cut-off the enemy's capital, the effect can be particularly devastating. Only your enemy's armies in provinces adjacent to, or which have an unfettered line of reinforcement from, his capital can be reinforced, once your armies succeed in cutting the enemy in two.

(3) If "divide-and-conquer" is employed successfully to encircle the enemy capital completely, then a side benefit is that your enemy's treasury will begin to see a sharp increase in troop encampment costs, which will result if new troops raised have no place to go for assignment but to the enemy's capital. If the enemy's capital is not completely cut-off from his outer-lying provinces, the ability to damage your enemy's treasury via "forced encampment costs" will correspond directly to how few additional provinces your enemy has which border or are connected by alliance or additional conquests to his capital.

(4) If the "divide-and-conquer" tactic is used in conjunction with timely placed peace treaties, the end effect will be that you will limit and impede your enemy's ability to expand at his leisure, by effectively disrupting his ability to expand. Sever his supply lines (lines of reinforcement), and then slap him in a peace treaty, to effectively consolidate your position.

(5)Successful implementation of the "divide-and-conquer" tactic forces your enemy to alter his existing strategy, by compelling him to now endure a forced change of plans. Barring your enemy being willing to effectively "cede" a given portion of his still-owned outer-lying territory to you, a situation where no hope of future reinforcement of outer-lying armies is possible swiftly becomes an untenable situation to any player who finally ultimately realizes his fate. Empty imperial armies do not invade additional provinces, nor do empty provincial armies. Even full (30 troop strength level) provincial armies in outer-lying provinces will cease to be of use in an offensive capacity, if an outer-lying imperial army needed to initiate an invasion, whereby those full provincial armies can be "added to" the imperial army in question, has less than 8 troops in it. In effect, if successfully carried out in a timely manner, the "divide-and-conquer" tactic can result in your using your enemy's own military strength against himself.

(6) Once outer-lying provincial armies are cut-off from reinforcements from your enemy's capital province, the option of "raiding empty" your enemy's provincial armies can then be implemented (depending upon circumstances, troop types, and troop ability disparities) at your leisure and convenience. In effect, a "war of attrition" tactic directed against enemy outer-lying provincial forces can be useful to whittle enemy forces down over an extended period of time, effectively making your enemy's outer-lying provinces
just ripe for the picking.

(7) If employed in a timely manner, and you succeed in cutting-off multiple enemy imperial armies from reinforcement, particularly during the turn they are fighting battles which deplete them of existing troops, you may very well find yourself in a situation where your kingdom can effectively rip the fangs out of your enemy, even if his kingdom is bigger and militarily stronger.

(8) If you miscalculate, and simply assume that your enemy's outer-lying imperial armies do not have 8 or more troops in them, following successfully cutting your enemy's kingdom into two or more distinct parts, your miscalculation may be your own undoing. A timely and accurate military spy report at just the right moment can remove the "element of doubt," where this matter is concerned. Also, even if you succeed in cutting off some of your enemy's imperial armies from reinforcement, always be very aware of the disposition and strength of any of his remaining imperial armies which are not cut-off from additional reinforcement from his capital. If your enemy has imperial armies of strength available to him following your cutting his kingdom into two or more distinct parts, then those very same enemy armies can then be resorted to by your enemy to "re-establish the line-of-reinforcement." In this case, what you don't know very well can hurt you. Indeed, your ignorance can cost you dearly. Again, I stress the value of timely and accurate military spy information on the current location and strength of his imperial armies.

(9) If you are successful at employing the "divide-and-conquer" tactic, and if you follow your success up by using peace treaties to stabilize the status quo, be on guard against enemy taunts designed to irritate and anger you to the point where you will invade him again, thereby breaking the peace treaty you have against him.

(10) Few things are more satisfying than to humble an enemy in Hyborian War to the point where he cannot invade either yourself or anyone else. Even if your enemy's outer-lying imperial armies still possess sufficient strength (8 or more troops) to invade his other neighbors, though you succeed in slapping a peace treaty on him, the more battles he fights thereafter, even against kingdoms other than your own, benefit your kingdom, by virtue of the fact that, once your enemy's outer-lying imperial armies start losing troops in other battles, once they fall below 8 troops in strength, those imperial armies effectively cease to exist as a force to be reckoned with. At that point, your enemy could use those outer-lying imperial armies to raid you with, but again, do not allow a raid (a form of taunting) to goad you into doing something stupid, such as invading the outer-lying provinces where his imperial armies are stranded. Even a loss for your enemy, in this case, is to his advantage and to your kingdom's disadvantage, because if his defeated imperial army retreats to his capital, he will then be able to reinforce it, and by extension, use it against you again.

(11) Be especially aware as to what other kingdoms (player and non-player) which your enemy is allied with. Remember - an alliance your enemy has with another kingdom or kingdoms can be used as a path to reinforce his outer-lying armies. Mistakes on your part, in this regard, can prove fatal to your kingdom.

This tactic has served me very, very well over the years I have been playing Hyborian War, ever since my first game in Hyborian War game # 85. I trust and hope that you - my fellow Hyborian War player - will find this piece of game advice to be of use to you in your future conquests and wars. This is probably the single most effective tactic I have ever used to do well in the various games I have played. The first kingdom I ever used it on was Aquilonia, and it worked like a charm. Let me know if it works for you.

- Charles -


One of the more useful tactics I have employed over time, as well as one of the more annoying ones to my enemies, has been to invade the enemy's capital - _WITHOUT_ the intention of conquering it.

Usually, to effectuate such, I will invade with the bare minimum number of troops an imperial army must contain in Hyboria War to invade with - 8 troops.

By using the least number of troops you can to invade with, you are automatically limiting the maximum number of troops you will lose during the invasion in question.

The conquest of an enemy's capital province is always a very satisfying experience. However, such is not to say that it is always wisest to conquer and subjugate your enemy's capital.

When an enemy's capital province is conquered, their capital will simply move to another province. While the enemy's capital is worth bragging rights, and additional victory points according to RSI's victory ranking system, bragging rights can be very short lived if they must ultimately give way to your enemy's bragging rights which will inevitably follow any successful comeback by your enemy.

When invading an enemy capital, my primary intention is usually not to conquer the province in question. Rather, my primary intention in invading an enemy's capital province is to lock any characters located there into the defense of the province - preferably in a set piece battle.

This tactic is particularly effective when used in conjunction with Battle Tactic # 1, which I wrote about in a previous article on this web site. Battle tactic # 1, for those of you who have not read it yet, pertains to "divide and conquer" tactics.

Locking your enemy's characters down en masse, as often occurs when you are successful in invading the enemy's capital and locking it into set piece battle, is the equivalent of a temporary mass assassination.

When an invasion by your imperial army (or navy, if the invasion is into a coastal province which serves as your enemy's capital) is successful in locking the forthcoming battle into set piece battle, this tactic is maximized, by ensuring that your enemy's characters located in their capital will - effectively taking them out of action for two turns.

The best diplomats in the world of Hyboria are useless, from a diplomatic perspective, if they are all swept up in the defense of the province in question.

This tactic has the benefit of helping to off-set the advantage which inheres in the alternate tactic which some players employ, whereby they move all (or most) of their characters to one province, so that they can then protect more of their characters with one character which they assign to protection duty.

This tactic of locking enemy players' characters into set piece battles can be utterly devastating to your enemies, if employed in a timely manner.

My personal experience with this particular tactic has been that this is a much more effective way to neutralize an enemy's court than by reliance upon the uncertainty of assassinations. It is always a pleasure and a joy to assassinate an enemy character, but to lock down most (or if you're lucky - ALL - of your enemy's court) in a set piece battle, just to keep them out of the way during a crucial invasion or invasions elsewhere is, indeed, a most auspicuous occasion.

This tactic is also appealing if you just want to annoy a given enemy to death. While having a peace treaty slapped on you by an enemy's character is a most unpleasant experience, being unable to issue orders to most, or even all, of your characters in a turn is an even more unpleasant experience, and particularly if this happens to you during a most critical stage of the game. If carried out repeatedly in succession, this tactic can utterly demoralize your enemy.

Even if used only occasionally, this tactic can prove instrumental in enhancing your kingdom's prospects. This tactic is especially useful for silencing the arrogant, brash, and ever-bragging veteran player who has grown far too big for his or her britches.

In my judgement, this tactic is both a military tactic and an anti-court tactic. Employ it as your particular circumstances dictate. In the hands of a new Hyborian War player, this can prove to be a very useful tool in their war arsenal. In the hands of an experienced veteran, it can become a malevolent instrument of doom. In the hands of a fool, though, like virtually any tactic or strategy, it will ultimately prove to be an exercise in futility.

I hope that this tactic proves helpful to those who play Hyborian War, and especially to the new or unsuccessful players of the game.


Contrary to what some veteran players would have the inexperienced and novice Hyborian War player to believe, the most powerful army in Hyboria is the 8-troop imperial army or navy.

Yes, it is a great feeling to have an overabundance of troops in a game of Hyborian War, and particularly if they come in great varieties and of excellent quality. Of course, odds are, you're not playing that kingdom. Rather, odds are that you are in need of troops to fill your imperial armies or navies.

It is natural to feel a certain degree of apprehension (if you're a veteran player) or fear (if you're a new or veteran player), when you learn from spies or other avenues that your enemy has three 30-troop imperial armies sitting on your border, just poised to cross into your territory and subjugate your "peace-loving" people.

For some odd reason, the thought of an 8-troop imperial army sitting on your border, or even more than one 8-troop imperial army sitting on your border comes across to the unacquainted as less intimidating than full strength enemy armies. One of the great strengths of the 8-troop imperial army lies in subtlety.

The disadvantages of an 8-troop "minimum strength" imperial army is self-evident, in my considered judgement. The advantages of a 8-troop imperial army are not always so evident, and particularly to the new, novice, or unsuccessful Hyborian War player. So, what are the advantages of an 8-troop imperial army on active status?

(1) It has the potential to invade any province in the game, as long as it has access to the target province's border through conquered or allied territory.

(2) It is often times taken for granted as being not a threat. However, I have taken many provinces with 8-troop armies from bungling fools who have over-extended themselves or are otherwise occupied with other hostile powers. To an inexperienced player, the prospect of throwing 8-troop imperial armies at your enemies may seem, at first, to be a daunting - if not impossible - possibility. In the hands of an experienced player, though, 8-troop imperial armies are the Hyborian war equivalent of surgical knives - knives which slice through enemy territory with an almost uncanny degree of precision.

(3) As I explained in the article I wrote titled "Battle Tactic # 2," also located on this web site, an 8-troop imperial army can be used to lock-down an enemy's characters in set-piece battle. This is true whether the target province in question is an enemy's capital, or an outer-lying province where he/she has characters located.

(4) An 8-troop imperial army on active status makes an ideal tool for "feigning attacks." To distract an enemy from your true conquest objective, distract him/her with feigned invasions elsewhere. An 8-troop imperial army automatically limits the maximum number of troops you will lose in such an invasion. Ideally, the feigning attack will pursue a course of trying to lock the enemy into set piece battle, whether the enemy has characters located in the target province or not. A feigning attack is not concerned with enemy characters so much as it is with militarily distracting the enemy. The objective of a feigning attack is NOT to conquer the enemy province in question, but rather, simply to distract the enemy into responding to this attack, thereby resulting in a division of enemy military assets available for responding to your true target(s) of conquest. Feigning attacks by 8-troop (or larger) imperial armies are most often, though not always, best to launch one turn ahead of your invasion(s) directed at the true object(s) of conquests. When launching feigning attacks, particularly with a feigning attack by an 8-troop imperial army, send 8 troops to patrol, in the hope that they will be late to battle. It is very possible, depending upon circumstances which vary from game to game and battle to battle, to actually end up losing zero troops during a feigning attack. Declaring light losses is also a good supporting tactic to utilize, when carrying out feigning attacks.

(5) An 8-troop imperial army, accompanied by a select character or two with force march, rains, or other similar "movement" spells, is often times useful for invading enemy provinces for the sole purpose of tying-down large quantities of enemy imperial troops or armies stationed in the target province. By locking numerically superior enemy forces into battle, you employ a "delaying tactic," one which is designed to slow your enemy's rate of progress. By "helping" your enemy to gain set piece, instead of open field battles, his/her rate of progress deteriorates. This is true, regardless of whether you invade the enemy outright, or whether both you and the enemy invade a 3rd-party's province. If you can't win this battle for a 3rd-party's province, then there exists the option of forcing the battle into set-piece, rather than allowing it to go open field. If you can't stop your enemy's progress entirely, then you should seriously consider slowing it down as much as possible. This is one way to go about doing that.

(6) An 8-troop imperial army stacked with many characters of various talents will often times defeat a numerically superior enemy force, though many variables affect the battle's outcome, such as troop types, troop quality, character spells and talents, terrain advantages/disadvantage, and other variables. The battle does not always go to the largest army, but to the best army.

(7) As an enemy army or armies invade your provinces, it is possible, if you have planned ahead with the necessary intents-to-invade, to counterattack your enemy. As he/she invades your provinces, by invading his/her provinces at the same time, you hold the potential to cut his/her forces off from future reinforcement, depending upon variables such as alliances and other provinces owned by yourself and your enemy. Even if the enemy is successful in conquering your provinces, he/she may find that their armies fo conquest have become depleted, and you can then counter-attack them and send them retreating at a later date. Some players will over-extend themselves, and at the end of a long string of conquests, their imperial armies are cut-off and or depleted, and much like Nazi German's failed invasion of Russia during World War II, they will reach the point where they can no longer sustain their rate of conquest. 8-troop imperial armies can prove to be particularly useful in retaking provinces from an enemy who has over-extended himself/herself.

(8) An 8-troop imperial army is often useful when serving as the lead element of a major invasion, one which is quickly followed by a second invasion by additional forces. The 8-troop imperial army is sent-in, with all 8 troops on patrol, and tries to lock the enemy into set piece battle. A second intent-to-invade issued on the turn following the initial intent-to-invade of the same province will allow you to bring additional imperial armies into the coming set piece battle. The 8-troop army will absorb the worst of the enemy's battle magic spells, such as firewall. An example of how to issue the necessary intents to invade now follows:

Turn # 4
(I)ntent to (I)nvade (241)

Turn # 5
(I)ntent to (I)nvade (241)

(9) Kingdoms with naval capabilities also can utilize 8-troop imperial navies on active status to launch amphibious invasions of enemy coastal provinces. These amphibious invasions (which require an intent-to-invade to be issued in order to successfully invade a coastal province with an imperial navy) can be full-fledged stand-alone invasions of enemy provinces, which will not be supported by your imperial land armies, or they can act in unison with your land armies to carry out an invasion of an enemy's coastal provinces. An amphibious invasion by an active imperial navy can either spearhead the invasion, as described in item # 8 above, or the amphibious invasion can be the main thrust which was preceded by a preliminary lead element invasion of a land army. Likewise, if your kingdom has more than one 8-troop imperial navy on active status, the possibility arises that you can utilize one imperial navy to act as the lead element of your major invasion force, with the second imperial navy acting in a support follow-up invasion role.

The 8-troop imperial army tactic is best used when the army is on active status, rather than on defensive status. The options outlined in this article are in regards to the use of 8-troop imperial armies on active status, not in regards to their use on defensive status.

I have tried, in this article, to highlight some of the major options available for employing 8-troop "minimum strength" imperial armies to your kingdom's advantage. I trust and hope that the new, novice, or unsuccessful Hyboria War player will find this battle tactic to be of use to them in their future wars in the world of Hyboria. Just remember - good luck cannot always be relied on. Good tactics can!


When a kingdom has plenty of money in its royal treasury, players often times feel that they have more options at their disposal than when their kingdom goes broke. This battle tactic is for use when your kingdom runs out of money. If you implement it when your kingdom has money, your treasury will soon become depleted at record speed.

Once your kingdom reaches a NONE treasury level, at that point in time, you should begin issuing an inordinate amount of intents-to-invade and/or intents-to-raid. In past games, there have been times when I would issue 100+ intents to invade.

The objective, of course, is to maximize your kingdom's ability to respond to all potential situations. This is done by issuing intents-to-invade for every province which you border, as well as every province that you own. Furthermore, if you are invading enemy provinces or locked in set piece battles, issue intents-to-invade for those respective provinces, also.

The proper time to reduce the number of intents to raid is the last war season turn in a given set of war seasons. Why? So that you will not end up paying war faction bribes for being unable to carry out excess intents-to-raid which you issued in the last war season of set of war seasons in question.

The intents-to-invade are automatically cancelled when peace years turns arrive.

Also, when issuing the excess intents to invade, be sure to toss in a few extra ones for provinces you do not border. Most players never have spy info in a timely manner, or they get only a partial military spy report. Make your enemies "think" you're planning an invasion from an unexpected quarter. Even if they have a full military spy report on your armies' current locations, you lose nothing.

By issuing intents-to-invade everything you own, as well as everything you border, your imperial armies will be able to automatically re-invade a province which you lose, expectedly or unexpectedly, with the shortest amount of time wasted.

When your treasury dies, you actually gain an increase in flexibility, by employment of this tactic. Use it wisely, and it will serve you well. Abuse it, or implement it at the wrong time, and your treasury will dry up in a flash.

While this increased flexibility is not a replacement for having money in your treasury, which directly affects your ability to raise troops, it is better than being broke and not having the flexibility, in my book.

When your enemies spy you, sometimes they only get a partial spy report of your military, without the locations of your imperial armies. By having intents-to-invade at the ready for all possible contingencies, you simultaneously minimize the effectiveness of your enemies' spies, even as you increase your own military's readiness and strike capability.

World prophecy reports will, many times though not always, reveal to you the number of war seasons which you will have to endure before the next peace years turn arrives.

I hope that you find this tactic to be useful to you in pursuit of your future conquests throughout Hyboria!


A great distinction exists between communicating and communicating effectively. Hyborian War is a game that allows for multiple methods of communication, and learning _HOW_ to communicate is far and away more important than _WHAT_ you are trying to communicate.

Learning to communicate effectively with your fellow players - allies, enemies, and neutrals alike - can often prove crucial to your kingdom's fate in a game of Hyborian War.

Communicating effectively does not mean running up your phone bill by calling every player in the game after you receive each turn. While it is true that talking on the phone with those in the game with you can be a great deal of fun, it also can prove to be cost prohibitive. If there is any one piece of advice I would offer to new players of Hyborian War, it would be to steer clear of long distance telephone calls to those in the game with you. It is far too easy to get addicted to the game, and if you are not careful, things can get out-of-hand, where your personal finances or family's budget are concerned.

E-mail is a very useful, and cost effective communication tool which is widely available to the masses at this point in time.

A good old-fashioned letter written and delivered via the U.S. Mail can still be the most treasured form of communication many players will receive during a game of Hyborian War. It's always nice to receive a letter, and particularly if there's no bill attached from bill collectors. This is particularly so, when the letters are written with a flair for the game, and penned in an "in-character" sense.

Propaganda is a valid tool of war. Hyborian war is no exception to this rule of thumb. On occasion, I have been known to use it, myself. Want to add a touch of clever deception to the game? Early in the game, send a letter supposedly signed by another kingdom's king or queen, and if you have a friend in the same state where that player resides, mail it to that friend first, if you want to have an actual post mark lend a sense of greater credibility to your message. Players should take note, though, to distinguish between a message signed by king so-and-so, and a letter signed using the player's actual name.

Regardless of what particular medium of communication you use to convey your messages to your fellow players, don't forget that in the end, it is all just a game. Do not hesitate to communicate with enemies in a game, also. You might just find that they will turn out to be future allies in future games, and also, you might just make a friend in the process. Many players, though, and particularly newer ones, will often times overlook the opportunities which enemy-to-enemy communications allow.

Over the course of time, there is no greater tool available to players, where communications with others is concerned, than honesty in your dealings with them. That's not to say that back-stabbing is not a part of the game. Of course it is! It's never the most pleasant thing in the world to have a trusted "ally" in a game of Hyborian War betray you, but there are worse things in life. At times, the betrayal can makes things more interesting, though as a general rule of thumb, back-stabbers are loathed by their fellow players. As a reminder, though, it simply is not possible for an enemy to back-stab you, as they are already your enemy. You can be the most straight-forward person who ever played the game, and ultimately, you are destined to learn that there are those who can - and will - back-stab you. Learn to take it all in stride, and at the first opportune moment, crush them with a note of deafening finality! At times, even your enemies will work to assist you in crushing a back-stabber, if you can validate your claim against the person you so accuse.

Many times, even if you cannot reach common ground over a given province which yourself and a fellow player might both need, there exists the opportunity to fight it out to the death over the province in question, and once the winner is decided, an alliance can be forged in favor of mutual cooperation. Learn to discern, when communicating and negotiating province dispositions in the game.

Particularly for newer players, if you're going to communicate, it's best to start as soon as possible, and maintain communications from that point forth. Breakdowns in communication tend to strain alliances, and often times result in excuses from your fellow players to the effect of, "Hey, I thought you must have dropped out of the game. Otherwise, I wouldn't have invaded your provinces." Such words bring little comfort to the ears of a player who has just been attacked by kingdoms in their game whom they felt to be friendly toward them, based upon prior communications long since forgotten.

Some unfortunate souls, though, simply are so utterly lacking in diplomatic skills that, even if they have the best of intentions and deal with their fellow players in a forthright manner, end up alienating the people they speak with. It may be a twang in the voice, or an arrogant tone of conversation. In such instances, it is usually best to not communicate by telephone, relying instead upon the written word to carry the day for you.

Sometimes, though, not communicating at all can be an effective strategy, as long as you are consistent in following that tactic, once implemented. Few things can be more surprising than encountering an active kingdom which you had long felt to be non-played. This tactic is best implemented if you also play the game with your address unavailable. Even with your address unavailable, though, your game actions can betray your kingdom as being played, if you opt for aggressive game-play over passive game-play.

Even a threat of full scale nuclear war in the real world is still, technically, an act of diplomacy, and not an act of war. The threat of war can often be a useful tool in exploiting your neighboring kingdoms in a game of Hyborian War. Tact is a very useful tool to employ when using the "direct threat" tactic of communicating with your fellow rulers.

Regardless of which method(s) of communication you opt to use to assist your game-play, just by communicating, whether you are successful or a failure at it, your game-play experience and fun factor can be greatly increased.

The United States Marine Corps says that the key to success in battle is effective communications. Remember that axiom, and it will always serve you well. Forget it, and it may very well seal your doom! Just remember: When in doubt - communicate!


Hyborian War is a game that rewards momentum. No two kingdoms are the same, so that helps to increase the diversity element of the game. However, it is always important, especially for newer players, to remember that momentum, once achieved, should be maintained, if at all possible.

While RSI's victory ranking system leaves a lot to be desired, I have found from experience that it is far easier to maintain your standing in the victory rankings in the end game stage, than it is to make progress near the end of the game. That's not to say that a strong finish is impossible. Rather, it has been found to be easier to make progress early, and then try to hold on to it, than to build up your forces over a considerable period of time, and then try to expand.

To maintain momentum, I recommend the following:

(1) Always try to raise at least 100 troops per turn. Odds are, you won't get them, but it should max-out the amount of troops you will get each turn. The exception to this, of course, lies with mercenaries. If your kingdom can hire a large number of mercenaries in one turn, you must learn to gauge your needs. Where possible, use mercenaries to fill your attacking armies, because if they die, you won't have to pay them. Great characters are always nice to have, but only armies with troops in them can actually invade and seize control of enemy provinces, which will allow for your kingdom to grow. By maxing-out the number of troops you can raise each time, again keeping in mind the rule regarding mercenaries, you will maximize your ability to achieve and maintain momentum.

(2) Always pay attention to issuing intents-to-invade. You want to have 1 or more intents to invade in each turn, so that momentum can be maintained. If you are not worried about your treasury, then it is also a good idea to re-intent-to-invade a province the turn after you initially intent-to-invade it, so as to be prepared in case your invasion fails. It is also a good idea, at times, to intent-to-invade the province you own, and are attacking _FROM_. This helps to ensure that your ability to maintain momentum is maximized, even if the province you are attacking from is unexpectedly invaded and conquered from you in the turn you are attacking elsewhere. Such an option allows your invading army to turn right back around, and invade the province you owned but now have lost. An example of how to do this now follows:

Example: You own Afghulistan (195) and you want to invade Iranistan Steppes (241). You are about to fill out your turn orders sheet for turn # 5.

Turn # 5 (Issuing of original intents to invade)
(I)ntent to (I)nvade (241)
(I)ntent to (I)nvade (195)

Turn # 6 (Issuing of follow-up intents to invade)
(I)ntent to (I)nvade (241)
(I)ntent to (I)nvade (195)
(I)ntent to (I)nvade (212) (This last intent sets the stage for a further invasion in turn # 7 of the Ilbars Mountains, so that you can maintain momentum.)

(3) Turns in which your kingdom sits around not invading are turns in which your kingdom stagnates and does not grow nor maintain momentum. In the initial stages of the game, it is vital to maintain momentum, to gain victory points early on. As the game progresses, if your kingdom's military resources become depleted, you might want to pause for a turn or two to re-build your forces and revise your strategies and tactics. However, in most instances, I recommend against this. Timely spy intelligence can assist you in making the proper determinations for your kingdom, since circumstances vary from turn to turn and from game to game.

(4) Some kingdoms, such as Kosala, do not have to conquer much in order to make considerable strides towards victory. Other kingdoms, such as Turan, have to conquer far more provinces to equal Kosala's victory points when Kosala takes a province. So, obviously, momentum is not as important a consideration when playing Kosala as it is when playing Turan.

(5) The veteran player has the advantage of experience, whereas the new player has the advantage of being more open-minded. Most veterans have never won a game of Hyborian War, and new players would be well served to keep this in mind. Forgetting about, or trivializing, the importance of momentum can very well play a determining role in whether a player wins his/her game or not.

(6) Non-player kingdoms usually, though not always, pose relatively easy obstacles to overcome. Momentum against non-player kingdoms, particularly early in the game, can help your kingdom to grow, thereby gaining additional imperial armies/navies for your kingdom. These additional imperial armies/navies can then be utilized to give your kingdom even more momentum than it already has.

(7) Open field battles are more conducive to maintaining momentum, as a general rule, than open field battles. There are instances, however, where you will want to opt for a set piece battle over an open field battle, in order to maintain the greatest degree of momentum possible. How so, you ask?

For instance, if you have a firewall spell available to one of your characters, you might find wisdom in locking a battle into set piece with that character in your imperial army, to help you knock the wind out of a known or feared numerically superior enemy force. If your imperial army gets an open field battle, only to get wiped out and lose the battle, your momentum is less than if you get a set piece battle and win the battle.

Sometimes, no matter what you do, and no matter how good your tactics and strategies are, you might find yourself in a position where you are stymied for a turn or two, resulting in diminished or stopped momentum. What do you do in such a scenario? You immediately should set about the task of reestablishing your momentum with new intents-to-invade and the raising of more troops.

In any instance, momentum, while important, should not trump wisdom, when making your kingdom's decisions. If you know beyond doubt that your enemy is going to crush you into oblivion, then your focus should not be on your momentum, but on your enemy's momentum. In such instances, momentum doesn't become unimportant, rather, the focus of momentum changes.

When the enemy has momentum, the objective is to delay, impede, or halt the enemy's momentum. Peace treaties, disrupt warpact, black death, firewall, tribute, allied defending armies, and delaying tactics are all tools available for players' uses in effectuating such. At times, you will not have all of these options available to you. The wise leader will not fret over what tools they do not have at their disposal. Rather, the wise leader will make the best use of whatever tools - few or large in variety -they have at their disposal to deal with the situation at hand.

The war is more than the sum of individual battles. Momentum is no less important to waging a successful war than tactics or strategies are. It has been said that the best defense is a good offense. To have the best of both worlds, learn the value of momentum, and such knowledge will serve you well!


The Art of Assassination can be used as an effective tactic to assist and facilitate your kingdom's chances of success in a game of Hyborian War.

The key to being effective, when acting in the role of assassin, lies in understanding _WHY_ you are earmarking a given target(s) for assassination.

To be a truly effective assassin, strive to assassinate with some semblance of _PURPOSE_ in your targeting scheme.

Understanding _HOW_ to prioritize potential assassination targets is crucial to maximizing the impact of assassinations on your enemies.

A list of various "purposes" for assassinating now follows:

(1) To launch a pre-emptive "first strike" against an enemy's royal court, taking out the enemy's court before the enemy's characters can be utilized against your kingdom.

(2) To serve as an element in a campaign of psychological warfare against your enemy.

(3) To launch a "surgical strike" against an enemy's royal court, focusing on key targets while ignoring less crucial targets, to achieve a specified end.

(4) To inhibit an enemy's ability to provide effective rulership of his nation (monarch) and/or his provinces (provincial rulers).

(5) To destroy or inhibit an enemy's capacity for magic.

(6) To put the fear of God in your enemy.

(7) To demoralize your enemy.

(8) To incapacitate or destroy an enemy's spy capability.

(9) To impair or destroy an enemy's ability and capacity to respond to, or retaliate for, your own court's activities directed against him/her, and/or to impair or destroy an enemy's ability and capacity to respond to, or retaliate for, similar court activities of allies, friends, or other third parties.

(10) To diminish your enemy's ability to make adequate preparations for his/her wars, whether in regards to their offensive operations, or in regards to their defensive operations, or both.

(11) To diminish or destroy, to the degree possible, an enemy's ability to assign military commanders to their armies, resulting in a decrease in effectiveness of your enemy's armies, and a decrease in your enemy player's morale.

(12) To act in support of allied military operations.

(13) To enhance the effectiveness of non-player kingdoms, and their ability to respond to, and deal with, military actions of your enemy directed at said non-player kingdoms.

(14) To diminish or destroy an enemy's diplomatic corps, thereby reducing or eliminating your enemy's diplomatic options.

(15) To impair an enemy's ability to coordinate with other kingdoms, to the detriment of your kingdom.

While the above list may not be total and conclusive of "purposes" for targeting enemy characters for assassination, it is a list of the major and most-often-resorted-to purposes for ordering assassination missions.

How to _PRIORITIZE_ your assassination attempts depends on many factors which can vary from turn to turn, and from game to game. Priorities can - and do - change from turn to turn. Recognizing the need to reprioritize your targeting list is an important part of game play, in order to become a truly effective player of Hyborian War.

If your primary desire is to avoid being placed into a peace treaty by an enemy, then your focus should be upon an enemy's characters which possess high skills in the area of diplomacy. A secondary consideration is to focus upon enemy characters who possess the spell DIPLOMACY.

If your desire is to maximize the sheer number of assassinations you inflict upon your enemy, priority should be given for eliminating any enemy characters which possess the REINCARNATE spell. Otherwise, your enemy will simply resurrect the characters your assassins successfully eliminate.

If your desire is to minimize the effect of enemy wizards and other spell casters, focus your efforts on enemy characters which possess FIREWALL and BLACK DEATH spells. Concentrate on other spells, to a lesser degree, and if an enemy's characters' actual spells are not known, then focus your attacks first upon those characters who are in position to inhibit your actual military operations already underway, and secondly, focus upon enemy characters who have the highest skill levels in the area of magic. Another consideration is whether a given enemy character possesses multiple spells. To inhibit an enemy's strategic movement ability, focus your assassins upon enemy characters who possess strategic movement spells, such as FORCE MARCH, FAR SIGHT, SUN BANE, and RAINS. To inhibit the enemy's ability to gather spy info on you via arcane means, focus (during war seasons turns) upon enemy characters who possess FAR SIGHT spells, and focus (during peace years turns), first, upon enemy characters who possess PROPHECY spells, and secondly, upon enemy characters who possess FAR SIGHT spells.

As a general room of thumb, particularly after you have been placed into a peace treaty by your enemy, I recommend the following priority listing for targeting of an enemy's characters:

Enemy characters which possess the REINCARNATE spell.

Enemy characters who possess a high level of DIPLOMACY skill.

Enemy characters who possess the DIPLOMACY spell.

Enemy characters who possess a high level of INTRIGUE skill.

Enemy characters who possess a high level of MAGIC skill. (Note: Priorities listed in # 4 and # 5 can be interchanged, depending upon your particular needs at the moment).

Enemy monarch(s) and then enemy provincial

Enemy military commanders.

Assassinations tend to be more effective, if carried out in close coordination with other players. Mass assassination campaigns against a given kingdom's royal court can prove either devastating at worst, or extremely irritating at best. Speaking from experience in a prior game, even the royal court of such widely "feared" kingdoms as Zamora can be eliminated through concerted and coordinated efforts, and this is particularly so when this is effectuated by multiple kingdoms, instead of just relying upon your own court's assassination attempts.

Assassinations, even if the desire or commitment does not exist, to eradicate a given enemy's entire court, can prove crucial to turning the tide of single battles or regional campaigns.

In the first war season turn following a peace years turn, if you already know the last character which an enemy had at their disposal (Example: AQUI-20), then you can launch "blind assassinations" at newer characters (Example: AQUI-21), by dispatching your assassin(s) to your enemy's current capital province, since all new characters will report for duty at a player's current capital province. This is particularly an option when you definitely want to carry out an assassination, yet you don't know the current locations of an enemy's existing characters.

Knowing _HOW_ to prioritize assassinations, and _WHEN_ to assassinate enemy characters, is of far greater importance than having the best agent-equipped court in the game and not having an appreciation for how to turn the tool of assassinations into a formidable weapon in your kingdom's arsenal of destruction.

Timely spy information on the location of enemy characters is crucial to implementing an effective assassination strategy.

The primary skill to assist your character in successfully carrying out an assassination is INTRIGUE.

Players without characters who possess decent intrigue skills should look to their characters that possess high skills in the HEROISM area.

Personal combat skill is _NOT_ required to successfully assassinate enemy characters, and at times, even characters with a NONE personal combat skill can successfully assassinate. Personal combat skill helps to enhance a given character's likelihood of success in escaping, regardless of whether the assassination attempt, itself, is successful or fails.

New players and veteran players alike should not fear an enemy's court, simply because the enemy possesses the potential to carry out assassinations. Rather, a healthy respect for your enemy's court, combined with a healthy understanding of _WHY_ and _HOW_ assassinations should be prioritized, will serve you much better than a policy of unbridled fear for your enemy's unseen agents.

The single best agent I have ever seen was not a Zamoran character, but a Keshani character. The underlying lesson of this point is that you should never underestimate your enemy, and likewise, you should never overestimate your enemy. Your perspective should embrace a sense of _PROPORTION_. Some of this sense of "proportion" comes from actual experience in the game, while much of it is nothing more than a reliance upon common sense and a good understanding of game mechanics.

Agents, if used effectively, can be a great source of frustration for your enemies. Once your enemies assassinate all of your court members, there remains nothing to fear from assassins, until the next peace years brings you new characters.

Agents do _NOT_ win wars. Great leadership does. In my first game, I played 47 turns without ever getting a single agent. Some of the best assassins are _NOT_ agents, but rather, priests, nobles, heroes, generals, and even wizards. Sometimes, the best fortunes of war come disguised. Focus on what tools you have at your disposal, rather than worrying yourself to death over what tools you do not have at your disposal, and even when you lose a character from an assassin, or a battle to enemy armies, try to learn from your mistakes, so as to not repeat them ever again.

It is said that Conan makes a great assassin. Don't hesitate to use him as one, accordingly. Likewise, even the great Conan can be successfully assassinated.

Many times, even if your assassination attempts are not successful, your enemy will learn to respect - or even fear - you, if you are persistent and demonstrate competence in your selection of assassination targets.

Your will always have a chancellor and an adjutant-general. One way of looking at things is that these two characters can always be used to assassinate. If they get captured, they will automatically be ransomed, even if you have a NONE royal treasury. If they get killed trying to assassinate your enemy's characters, you will automatically get a new chancellor and/or adjutant-general, as the respective case may be.

A weak court in the hands of a strong player is a better bet for victory in the long run over a strong court in the hands of a weak player.

Being new to the game does not mean that you have to be a weak player. Let the wise take heed and beware!

If the choice is between having your entire royal court of characters killed off by enemy assassins yet retain all of your kingdom's provinces intact, or having all of your characters intact yet lose all of your kingdom's provinces (but one) to enemy military forces, which is really the worst situation to be in?


The Ice Age is a phase of the game that can occur at the end of a game of Hyborian War. What follows are advice and tactics that you, the player, may find useful to enhance and improve your game play during the Ice Age phase of your Hyborian War game.

(1) Prophecy spells are a useful tool for finding out when the Ice Age will start. Often times, you can find out well in advance when the Ice Age will start for your particular game. Regardless of whether you are playing a barbarian nation during the ice age, defending against one or more barbarian nations, or both, the first step to preparedness is knowing when the Ice Age will start, so that you are not caught completely unaware when it does actually begin.

(2) For the purposes of the Ice Age, the following kingdoms are considered "barbarian kingdoms:" Asgard; Vanaheim; Cimmeria, & Pictland.

(3) Once the Ice Age begins, no kingdom will, at that point, have any chance of success in attempting to negotiate peace with any of these four barbarian kingdoms. The barbarian kingdoms, however, will still be able to negotiate peace with non-barbarian kingdoms, but not with one another.

(4) Once the Ice Age begins, barbarian nations' active imperial armies will be able to move into any kingdom's provinces, be they the provinces of allied or non-allied positions, both player-kingdom and non-player kingdom provinces, alike. This provides the barbarian nations with much enhanced mobility on the battlefield, and can be difficult for uninitiated to deal with, at times.

(5) One of the favorite tactics of players who play barbarian kingdoms during an Ice Age is to move their active imperial armies into their enemy's provinces, and on the same turn, issue intents-to-invade for other enemy provinces bordering the ones they will launch their invasions from. This has the end effect of a player's kingdom being attacked from their own provinces. When this happens, this can often result in feelings of frustration and hopelessness by the targeted nations so affected by barbarian invasions during the Ice Age.

(6) The key to dealing with multiple barbarian invasions during an Ice Age is to not freak out, but to remain calm, so that you can effectively plot strategy and tactics to repel such invasions, and failing that, to enable you to minimize your losses to the barbarian aggressor(s) invading you.

(7) While peace treaties are 100% pointless to attempt against a barbarian nation during the Ice Age, Disrupt Warpact can still be used to impede or stop one or more invasions by barbarians during the Ice Age. This, of course, depends on the fact that there is an actual warpact attack occurring against your kingdom in the same turn your diplomats are successful in seeking to disrupt warpact. If you are only getting attacked by a single kingdom during a single turn, even if it is in multiple places, that does not qualify as a warpact. A warpact occurs any time you have two or more nations invading a given kingdom during the same turn. Even when successful, a disrupt warpact may not always be 100% successful, but only partially successful in stopping some, but not all, invasions by barbarians during the Ice Age. You may want to try to disrupt warpact multiple turns in a row, if a warpact continues to threaten you with invasion. If you are successful in disrupting warpact, the success of that order only lasts one turn. Be certain that you understand that aspect of how disrupt warpacts works.

(8) Remaining mobile is advantageous to the barbarian player. With proper planning, a barbarian kingdom during the Ice Age holds the potential to deal a staggering blow to one or more enemies. Issuing intents-to-invade in rapid succession, turn after turn after turn, helps barbarian kingdoms to maintain this much needed mobility. Mobility lends itself very well to the achievement of momentum, something I have spoken at length about in another tactics advice section.

(9) Conversely, if you are facing invasion by barbarian kingdoms during an Ice Age, one of your primary objectives should be to reduce, if at all possibility, the barbarians' mobility, and especially once they invade your interior, or poise themselves to cut your capital off from your outer-lying provinces.

(10) It is important to remember that elimination of a barbarian kingdom's mobility during the Ice Age is impossible to achieve. Thus, don't waste your time worrying about trying to figure out how to pull that off. Instead, the goal is to reduce their mobility, not eliminate it. One of the keys to doing this is, since you can't stop them from invading, to try and slow their invasions down. Seeking set piece battle is one way of doing this, as is making sure all of your province defense orders are already set to "Set Piece" before the Ice Age strikes.

(11) If barbarians are successful in getting nothing but open field battles against you, then every single turn after they invade, your kingdom is going to face them in battle, in all likelihood If you managed to do nothing but get set piece, instead of open field, even if you still end up losing the province, at worst, you could only lose every other turn, where the same barbarian army in question is concerned, compared to that same barbarian army succeeding at getting open field battle every turn. In a 7 turn war season during an ice age, a single barbarian army can engage your forces in open field battle no less than 7 times. That same army, forced to fight set piece instead of open field, at most, can only engage your forces in 3 times. The difference is that you will end up fighting less than half as often, resulting in less troops being lost, as well as losing less provinces to the barbarian invaders.

(12) Using strategic movement spells is a good way to enhance your kingdom's chances of getting set piece, rather than open field, when you are fighting against barbarian nations invading you during an Ice Age. Remember, every little bit helps. If you have Force March, Far Sight, or even Rains, cast them all as strategic movement spells. The worst you can do is fail. You have nothing to lose. The great object is to force the barbarians into set piece battle, where possible, rather than face them in open field.

(13) All four barbarian kingdoms fight at heavy losses before retreating, during open field battle. This is another reason most other kingdoms are better served to not engage them in open field battle. They already have an advantage in open field battle, so, if at all possible, you should try to negate that advantage, by doing everything you can to get set piece battle.

(14) Checking the option to Decline Battle, during the strategic movement phase, is also another way to assist you in getting the set piece, instead of open field. Exercising this option might even help the enemy gain the terrain of preference that they seek. However, the terrain type that the battle will be fought in is immaterial to the core fundamental objective of trying to slow the enemy's invasion sequences down. The best way to do that is to tie the barbarian invaders into as many set piece battles as possible. Again, they may still win, but at least they won't win nearly so many, because there won't be as many battles occurring during the same timeframe, if the battles go set piece instead of open field.

(15) If an Ice Age starts in the middle of a set of war seasons, if your kingdom can successfully negotiate peace with the barbarians BEFORE the Ice Age starts, then that treaty will continue to hold until the following peace years, which should also be the last peace years of the game. This is yet another reason why knowing exactly what turn the Ice Age starts (learned through prophecy report information) can serve you well, when fighting against the barbarians during the Ice Age.

(16) Circumstances vary from game to game, and from kingdom to kingdom, but more times than not, players allow their fears to get the best of them, and begin doing irrational things, effectively costing themselves the war against barbarian kingdoms during an Ice Age. Again, remain calm, and don't lose your cool. Think calmly, rationally, and if you find yourself in a situation from which you can't seem to find a way to extricate yourself, ask other players of Hyborian War for advice. They may not know what to do, either, but there is also a chance that one or more of them will, and will be able to help you plan a way to counter your barbarian enemies.

(17) The barbarian kingdoms' characters can still die during an Ice Age. Continue spying their court and military. If you have limited covert assets at your disposal, opt to spy their military over their court. By knowing where all of their armies are each and every turn, you can better prepare an effective response, and possibly, even find opportunity to counterattack. By knowing an enemy's army locations each and every turn, at a bare minimum, you can know the extent of what their targeting opportunities are, where your provinces are concerned. Knowledge is power, and this is also true during an Ice Age war against the barbarian kingdoms.

(18) If barbarian kingdoms are allied to other kingdoms, and you have an opportunity to break their alliance, this can often times result in the barbarian kingdom's armies getting attacked by their allies, and then retreating away from your borders. Some barbarian players retain alliances formed during the course of the game, as they go into the Ice Age. This is to the disadvantage of barbarian kingdoms, because it leaves them with a window of vulnerability which a diligent, watchful opponent could possibly capitalize on, to the barbarians' detriment.

(19) If your kingdom has a number of imperial armies, ideally, you will want to deactivate a few. How many depends upon a number of factors, and upon a wide variety of situations that can vary from game to game, and from kingdom to kingdom. By deactivating several imperial armies in a timely fashion (prior to barbarians actually invading you), barring a depleted troop base, you should have more troops available to respond to barbarian invasions, even if they attack you from your own provinces.

(20) When deactivating imperial armies to help defend against barbarian invasions, remember - you are trying to drag the battle into going set piece, rather than open field. By staggering the placement of your defensive armies, ideally, you will want to place them in such a way that more than one defensive imperial army can cover any of your provinces. This way, no matter where you get invaded, you will have that province's provincial troops, as well as the troops in 2 or more defensive imperial armies, available to intercept and respond to the barbarian invasion.

(21) If you get a chance to attack a province that an active barbarian imperial army is located in, seize that opportunity. A minimum strength invasion army (8 troops) is the bare minimum needed. You will want to assign a capable military commander, if you have one, and try to get set piece battle. The longer you can tie that barbarian army up in their own province, or in someone else's province, the less you have to worry about defending your own province when it invades you. Any single barbarian army can't be everywhere at the same turn. Whether you win or lose the battle, that's irrelevant. Your primary object is to inhibit and impede the barbarians' mobility, and by doing so, it will have the end result of degrading the barbarians' ability to conduct offensive operations against you.

(22) If possible, try to persuade any allies that you might have to assist you in sending one or more active imperial armies of their own to help tie the barbarian invaders down. It is irrelevant whose troops tie the enemy down. What matters is that you hamper their ability to move against you. In order to achieve that, you must lock those barbarian armies into set piece battles. That is the best way to hold on to as much of your territory during an Ice Age against the barbarians, as is possible. By locking them into set piece battles, and especially where the barbarians want open field battles, you also gain the benefit of screwing up their planning and timetables.

(23) Taking the barbarian nations out, or keeping them reduced in size, over the course of the game leading up to the Ice Age is another way to limit the damage one or more barbarian kingdoms can inflict upon your kingdom, once the Ice Age hits. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This axiom is well worth heeding, if you expect to possibly fight the barbarian kingdoms during an Ice Age in your game of Hyborian War.

(24) If you can persuade one or more barbarian kingdoms to ally with you, your headaches may be over, or at a minimum, severely reduced.

(25) If you can persuade the barbarian kingdoms to go somewhere else, and attack someone else, then that is less that you have to worry about. The single best diplomat available to your kingdom is you - not any superior diplomacy diplomat characters.

(26) If you can persuade the barbarian kingdoms to fight each other, then that will
leave them with less resources and armies available for attacking you.

(27) Barbarian kingdoms can assign troops through anyone else's provinces, during an Ice Age, regardless of whether they are allied or not to the kingdoms controlling the provinces between their capital and their outlying armies.

(28) Successfully fighting and defending against barbarian invasions during an Ice Age is rarely a hopeless cause. Give credit where credit is due, but do not over-exaggerate a threat from barbarian kingdoms. Of course they will threaten you, and try to kow you. Once you are scared of them, half of their job is already done. If you surrender without a fight, you've lost, already. If they want to take your kingdom from you, make them earn it. Who knows? You might just surprise yourself, and them, as well! They can't take a single kingdom with all of their words, combined.

(29) Take a closer look at that barbarian blowing all of that smoke, and you may just find that they are a paper dragon, and not the monster they might at first seem to be.

I hope that you find these Ice Age tactics helpful to you, regardless of whether you are playing a barbarian kingdom during an Ice Age, or whether you are trying to defend against one or more barbarian kingdoms during an Ice Age period.

HYBORlAN WAR is owned and operated by Reality Simulations, Inc..
©1985, 2006 Reality Simulations, Inc.

Back to Home Page