*** WARNING: if you like to discover everything yourself, please stop reading ***
DON'T WORRY: because of the random Locations layout and the changing of conditions each Turn and the unpredictable Shadows, even though you know everything inside-out (like me ), IMHO it is still a challenge to find the best route each Turn (and to beat your opponent) !
Basically, AoD is a race game to reach a 5 on one of the Stats (STR/AGL/INT), then enter the Tower of Death to defeat Elzoof the Chaos Wizard to win the game. There are 2 parts of the game: first to reach a 5 on one of the Stats, then second to prepare and enter the Tower of Death.
FIVE IS THE NUMBER !
Your main goal is to reach a 5 in one of your Stat. Items and Skills are secondary targets but will help you a lot, so it will be better if you can get some Items/Skills on your way.
There are 2 ways to rise your Stat: through Locations or through Events. So each Turn it is always: "find the most profitable route to reach the main goal, and if you can find some Items/Skill on the way", each Turn it is always: which Events or which Locations to pursue?
Tips: as in real life, always be flexible. Something may happens in your way (because of the Shadows or you lose in that 80% chance of winning Event!), and you have to change your plan.
THE GUIDE TO LOCATIONS
- The 3 Masters Locations (Forest of Rune, Mountain of Proph, Swamp of Talis): always a good way to rise stats, but they costs 3 specific cards. Compare to Events, where you can rise your stat using only 1 card (or sometimes 0 card if you get the replacement). On the other hand, Events are rejectable and discardable, but Locations always there, waiting for you (unless covered by an Event, sometimes a nasty one!).
- Lake of Hope: can help you cycle your cards to get the card/s you need! Resting here means you can CYCLE X at your next Turn (but here the Danger Level is 2, that's your call whether it is worthy or not, depends on the condition).
- Village of Dawn: if you have excess cards and enough INT, you can learn Skills here. A good place to Rest too.
- Village of Dew: almost tied with Castle of Light as the best place to Rest. You only draw 7, but you can Teleport to your destination on your next Turn! A good bargain...
- Garden of Mushroom and Castle of Light: a powerful combo, but you need 5 upgrades to reach a 5 on one Stat (rise 2 stats, get Mushroom of D, rise 2 stats, Tell a Hero's Tale, and rise the final stat), meanwhile you only need 4 upgrades to reach a 5 if you don't use this Combo. Sometimes only the Mushroom of D is enough to win you the game!
Tips: it's always better to rise the final stat first (example: becomes 2-3-2 first) before Tell a Hero's Tale, because if you Tell a Hero's Tale first (example 4-2-2) your opponent can block your final needed stat!
In a multiplayer game keep an eye on your opponent, because he can take the Mushroom of D or Tell a Hero's Tale first if you wait too long...
- Plain of Sorrow: not really useful in solo games (because you can control Events easier, and Events are cheaper), more useful in multiplayer. Yes, the cost is expensive and maybe you end up Resting here (Danger Level=3!), but this can be the tie breaker on a tight multiplayer game if your opponent/s keep giving you unfavorable Events and you don't have the access to those 3 Masters!
- Woods of Mana: the Fairy Dust is always a nice bonus if you can visit Woods of Mana.
Q: I have a Fairy Dust from last Turn. Can I Catch a Fairy this Turn (I want to cycle my INT card)?
A: Yes (remember that you can Catch a Fairy once a Turn). Catch a Fairy: play an INT card to get a replacement, you get a Fairy Dust, but you must discard the last Fairy Dust because you can only bring 1 Fairy Dust.
- The Great Chasm: nothing here, just a blocker to make finding the route to Locations more interesting. If you are the Amazon (or already learned her Skill) you can go here (get a safer route), and this is a good place to Rest for her, other than those Villages and Castle. For everybody else, you can only go here via Teleport.
- Tower of Death: you need to enter the Tower to win the game. If you enter the Tower and fail to defeat Elzoof, this means giving your opponents a great advantage, so be prepared!
Tips: some Items/Skills can help you here, example: Knight's Armor Skill can absorb the Trap damage with 50% probability, you can use Fairy Dust to bypass the Guardian Shadow, etc.
A GUIDE TO EVENTS
Events play a huge role in this game, because Events are cheaper to rise your (or your opponent's) Stats.
Both Reveal a New Event on the start of your Turn is very important. Should you reject this Event because your opponent will get that Event and will get the Mushroom? Or do you accept this Event because counting his HP, you are sure that he will not be able to reach the Garden of Mushroom, and you will get the Mushroom first! Well, that's really depends on the condition on each Turn.
Rejecting too much and your HP will be low on your next Turn, but accepting a "wrong" Event can put you far behind.
Some Tricks with Events:
Remember that you can pay 5 MP (or discard Power Cards with total Power=5) to Reveal a new Event, and pay 8 MP (or discard Power Cards with total Power=8) to discard an Event on the board. And one more thing: there must be at least one Event on the board, so if you can complete or discard that lone Event, a new Event will be revealed ! (of course your opponent can still reject it)
MUSHROOM OF D + TELL A HERO's TALE COMBO
My 10 solo games show that 20% of the solo games won without that combo at all, 20% won with only the Mushroom of D, and 60% won using the combo. In multiplayer I think the percentage number will almost be the same with solo games.
This is a powerful combo, but many times the one who get the Mushroom of D (or even Tell a Hero's Tale) still lose the game !