The walkthru is written in the form of a story. As in any story, liberties have been taken with the actual events, and some fictitious elements were added for dramatic effect. Some interpretation is necessary to use it to play the game. A detailed walkthru is rather difficult to write for this game because of all the variations that can occur. Timing is very important in Sword of Aragon'. Certain events can only happen within a certain time frame. If you try to perform the event before or after that time frame, it will not be the same. For example, you must march on Marinia as soon as you hear of the old Duke's death. If you march before, you will find the Duke in control. If you march later, you will find Malacon in control.
It is only when the rabble is in control that you can win Malacon as a vassal. The walkthru contains hints as to when something is timing-dependent. While there is a definite order in which the program would like you to play the game, you can play it in any order you want. However, the nature of the game changes depending on the order in which you play. If you attack Zarnix first, you can make Tentula a vassal. If you attack Tentula first and make it a direct-rule city, something interesting happens when you conquer Char that otherwise would not. The walkthru only gives one path through the game.
You can play a different path and get some very different results. You can get a game sufficiently different to render large segments of the walkthru useless. For example, you could go for Tetrada directly, bypassing Estallah and Sothold. Eventually, you will need to conquer those cities as well, but the battle for them is different when you control Tetrada. I finished the game with only 450 of 500 points, so obviously there are things I did not do. You do not get points for conquering cities unless it is necessary for you to capture the city. For example, you get no points for capturing Nuralia, but you do get points for capturing Gernok. In general, vassals are nice, trouble-free sources of income. Given the choice of conquering a place or making it a vassal, vassalage is clearly the better choice.
The only exception is Malacon in Marinia; however, Malacon does periodically increase his vassal fee as a result. During battles, watch the M' (morale) number. When it is 1 or less, the unit is panicked and will run away if you try to move it, even though it's not Dispersed. If you try to move it with a stack of units, it will panic the other unpanicked units. If a unit has a morale number of 2, it can still attack but will be Dispersed no matter what the outcome of the attack. You will usually be fighting at 5 to 1 (or worse) odds. The key to winning is having better equipment and higher levels. Casualties cost money to replace, and reinforcements lower the level of the unit.
Levels can be restored by training which costs money, or winning a fight which can cause more casualties. It is better to fight smart and avoid casualties in the first place. This means softening up targets with missiles and spells before the attack. You do have to attack. Except for Disintegrate, no missile or spell inflicts the hit points that an attack does. A high-level infantry or calvary unit can destroy enemy units in a single attack, whereas missile fire can take several rounds. It is sometimes better to have two units of 50 men than one unit of 100. Each attack reduces Stamina. One unit facing ten enemy units may tire out before killing them all.
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