Guide to Seven Kingdoms
Hints to Carving Out Your Perfect Kingdom
by Martin E. Cirulis
The road to ultimate victory in Interactive Magic's Seven Kingdoms can be as
complex and varied as the game itself. Depending on your style of play - be it
as empire builder or as crazed warlord - the game can take many paths, but
there are some fundamental techniques that are useful in almost every game no
matter what role you take.
Included here are some good hints, tips, and advice that should give your
empire a good march up on the competition.
Let's Get Growing
The key to survival in any game is to grow as quickly as possible. The larger
the population under your control, the higher your income and the larger the
armies you can field. Apart from keeping everybody fed and splitting people
off to form new villages once a community hits the 60-person wall, your next
highest priority is to build two or three inns and use them to recruit an
ever-growing number of skilled mercenaries. In the early stages of the game,
hiring mercs until your money starts to get tight (never go below 1000 if you
can manage it) is a crucial part of quick growth. Not only do you get skilled
individuals to perform specialized tasks, but they also add to your population
base and help diversify your culture.
Regardless of your other needs, soldiers with a high leadership rating should
be bought as soon as they become available. Sooner or later you will need
them. As your empire grows, you will want at least two forts serving each of
your villages to allow you to form a large expeditionary army without leaving
your towns undefended and unhappy.
Spy Early, Spy Often
With the large number of espionage options offered in Seven Kingdoms, it pays
to train six to ten villagers in the ol' spy game very early on. Let them
improve their skills to 60 or 70 by acting as internal security in your own
villages before sending them out into the world. While inserting spies into
enemy empires might pay off someday with the grand prize of espionage of
having one of your agents promoted to king, don't neglect the use of spies to
lower the resistance of neutral villages. Since spies will only lower the
resistance of populations of the same nationality as they are, it is a good
idea to keep an eye out for high talent mercenary spies from all nations in
Since infiltration from outside can be a problem, it is a good idea to set up
one town as a spy trap. Pick a relatively big village, usually your home
village in most games, and pack it with your own spies - at least two in the
village center and one in every outbuilding and fort. These internal security
agents should all be skill 60 and above. As "innocent" villagers from other
nations begin to defect to your side, direct them all to join the spy trap.
This tactic will allow you to safely process actual defectors into your
general population while acting as a killing field for enemy agents.
They Will Be Assimilated
Never try to conquer neutral villages by sheer military force. All it does is
wreck your reputation while reducing a ripe target to a nearly empty ghost
town. In a game where your population base is so important financially, you
just can't go around killing potential money like that. In almost every case,
slow assimilation is the only way to go.
While most leaders know the value of building a fort and staffing it with a
high leadership general, many underestimate the effects of giving jobs to
neutral villagers by building nearby factories and markets. War factories and
science towers are usually the best choice for showing your good will, as you
can never have too many of them anyway. Add a few spies of appropriate
nationality, and villages will topple into your grasp and begin benefiting
your empire through research and construction of siege engines.
Diplomacy? (Sure, whatever you say)
Until I-Magic patches the computer players' diplomatic routines, it is best to
take anything coming from them with a grain of salt. In general, agree to most
treaties or cease-fires unless you are about to pounce on them, agree to back
a close ally in war but don't pay out any funds, and do not, above all else,
do anything to harm your reputation. If you can maintain a higher reputation
than your neighbors, the whole diplomatic game falls into place without you
having to do much yourself.
Computer players usually go crazy in their dealings and will generally butcher
their own reps, declaring war on you and breaking treaties every other year.
You rarely have to bear the stigma of declaring war yourself; just be patient
and the enemy you wish to abuse will get around to attacking you first,
especially as you rise toward being the most powerful player.
In the later stages of most games, it pays a great deal to agree to every
computer request to purchase food. They tend to run out fairly often and will
offer large sums of convenient cash for your excess foodstuffs, allowing you
to expend a much larger army and infrastructure.
The Ancient Art of Armored Division
If your opponents allow you the luxury of enough time to build it up, the
deadliest force you can field is a large formation of mixed siege engines. An
armored division should be made up of 12 to 20 engines, a third of which
should be spitfires. In these numbers, their firepower reaches a kind of
critical mass and can destroy a fair-sized village complex in a minute or two
while butchering enemy soldiers. An armored division with even a mediocre fort
squad as escort is a devastating force and the Seven Kingdoms equivalent of a
Frythans - Get your money for nothing and your scrolls for free
A wise King will look upon Frythans as a natural resource instead of an actual
threat. Basically, once you build an armored division and have one or two
crack forts, you can start harvesting Frythan lairs relatively effortlessly
and reap a mother lode of money, reputation points, and those all-important
As in most successful attacks, positioning is everything. First, surround a
lair on all sides with your armored division, three to five spitfires parked
in close, and catapults, ballistas, and cannons in a ring farther out. Once
this is set up, send in a high-skill fort squad (two for those really ugly
lairs that have gone untouched for five or six years of game time) to disturb
the nest and cause the hordes to rush out into your withering artillery fire.
Using your infantry and spitfires to hold the monsters in place, have your
heavy weapons dispatch them and their lair with ease. Often, the treasure
reaped by one or two of these maneuvers can fend off bankruptcy in the crucial
middle-part of your empire building when your military and infrastructure are
temporarily outdistancing your tax base. Basically, as soon as your treasury
starts dropping below 1000, it's time to start hunting Frythans.
While this is a surefire way to fame and fortune, one should never attempt it
without siege engines in quantity, and an eye should be kept on sneaky neutral
or allied players who might just have a unit standing around the fight,
waiting to scoop up your hard-earned treasures or scrolls.