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Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic

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Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic is a turn-based, strategy game in a fantasy setting.

Shadow Magic is the third incarnation of the Age of Wonders series, and is a direct sequel to Age of Wonders 2: The Wizard's Throne. All three games were developed by Triumph Studios, a Dutch game developer.


The game features a world on three different levels, the Surface, the Underground and the Shadow World. Scenarios may take place on one or more of these levels. The game can either be played in a simultaneous mode, wherein players move their units at the same time during a turn, and in a traditional turnbased mode. Note that both modes are still turnbased. The game is played both in an overworld mode, on which parties are moved and raised, structures are built and heroes are contracted, as well as a battle mode.


The key element of the game are the Wizards. Wizards are very powerful at magic, but rather weak at close combat. Every player has one Wizard, each with a sphere of magic (Life, Death, Fire, Water, Air, Earth, Cosmos and finally Chaos/Secret), which decides which spells the Wizard can research. Some Wizards have multiple spheres, but can only learn less advanced spells. Spells range from passive spells (for instance, blessing a unit with additional strengths), to direct spells (i.e. healing spells or attack spells), to summoning spells. Wizards are the only units in the game who can't level up or gain medals. Instead, they improve by researching new spells and skills.

Wizards have a domain, which is the area in which the Wizard can cast his spells. When a wizard is inside a wizard's tower, the radius of his domain is increased by several hexagons, and in addition a small domain is radiated around each hero, so it is usually best to keep wizards inside a tower at all times. Every village, town and city can build a Wizard Tower, and the Wizard only has to be inside one Wizard Tower, the other towers will also increase his domain.


Wizards can also attract heroes. Heroes are the men and women who (preferably) lead your troops into battle. Heroes, unlike Wizards, can level up. When they level up, the player can choose between three abilities for the hero to make them stronger. For example they can fire at range or improve the party morale. At a low level, they are rather vulnerable to other units, especially high tier units, so it is suggested to keep them a bit out of harm's way, for at a high level, they can become strong assets to a party, and can even destroy parties on their own. Their maximum level is 30.

When a Hero dies, you can only bring it back by using the reanimate or resurrect spell. When using the reanimate spell, the Hero will return to your Wizard's Seat as an Undead hero.

Heroes can join you either by applying at one of your cities or parties, by being recruited at an Inn or similar building, or can be attained through the use of the "call hero" spell.

Regular Units

Regular units represent the majority of the units in the game. These units can be divided in four levels, based on the various buildings that are needed for creating them. Units can also be awarded medals, which are given independent of respective levels. The medals represent experience and give bonuses to unit statistics.


Like both its predecessors the game was designed for single-player as well as multi-player, and while the graphic engine is the same as in Age of Wonders 2: The Wizard's Throne, gameplay is improved and some important features are added. While every existing race in the game received at least one new recruitable unit and new buildings, 3 races are completely new. Much requested from the fans (and referred to in the forums as the "random map cult"), the game now offers a "Create Random Scenario" option.

Settlements and other structures

There are many kinds of structures on the World Map. The most important ones are the cities and the structures that generate either gold or mana.

Cities come in four levels. The lowest level is the Outpost, which can only construct a Wooden Wall and the race's basic unit. The next stage, the Village, can build many more buildings. The other stages are Town and City. The stages differ in how fast they can build, and the income they generate.

Races and their Units

There are fifteen races in the game and these races are divided into three groups; good, evil and neutral races.

Good Neutral Evil
Tier Type Archons Dwarves Elves Halflings Syrons Draconians Frostlings Humans Nomads Tigrans Dark Elves Goblins Orcs Shadow Demons Undead
1 Basic Militia Axeman Glade Runner Peasant Prospector Hatchling Snowscaper Halberdier Spearman Shredder Night Guard Grunt Impaler Larva Zombie
Melee Legionary Berserker Swordsman Swordsman Spellbinder Charger Swordsman Swordsman Barbarian Hunter Warrior Swordsman Axeman Spawn Swordsman
Range Archer Crossbowman Archer Slinger Lightning Catcher Flamer Archer Crossbowman Horse Archer Fire Cat Archer Darter Archer Bombard Archer
2 Mystic High Priest High Priest High Priest High Priest High Priest Monk Monk Monk Monk Monk Black Priest Black Priest Black Priest Black Priest Black Priest
Cavalry Paladin Boar Rider Scout Pony Rider Rider Slither Raider Light Cavalry War Elephant Cat Master Executioner Wolf Rider Heavy Cavalry Stag Mount Death Knight
Specialist Avenger Engineer Nymph Rogue Shadow Runner Crusher Frost Witch Swashbuckler Djinn Prowler Blade Dancer Butcher Abomination Skimmer Vampire
3 Unique Unit (usually cavalry) Chariot Mole Iron Maiden Sheriff Giant Warrior Flyer Mammoth Rider Knight Chieftain Manticore Spider Queen Big Beetle Warlord Harvester Bone Horror
Unique Unit (usually mystic) Pegasus Rider Runemaster Druid Eagle Rider Changeling Elder Frostdrake Rider Herbalist Slaver Mystic Shade Wyvern Rider Shaman Brain Spectre
Expansion Unique Saint Gargoyle Treeman Centaur Astral Sprite Hydra Yeti Chaplain Pit Guard Beholder Succubus Troll Doom Bats Spirit Necromancer
4 Ultimate Titan Steam Tank Fairy Dragon Leprechaun Forceship Red Dragon Doom Wolf Airship Roc Sphinx Incarnate Karagh Glutton Shadow Lord Dread Reaper

Summonable Units

Level 1

Black Spider, Dire Boar, Hell Hound, Lurker, Parasite, Unicorn, Wolf, Zeyphr

Level 2

Chaos Spawn, Dire Penguin. Dragon Hatchling, Efreet, Fairy, Magic Servant, Minotaur, Northern Glow, Water Dancer

Level 3

Air, Earth, Fire, and Water Elementals, Bone Dragon.

Level 4

Angel, Black Angel, Basilisk, Black Dragon, Chaos Lord, Gold Dragon, Great Wyrm, Ice Dragon, Phoenix


Shadow Magic was probably planned as an expansion pack for Age of Wonders 2: The Wizard's Throne, but was published as a stand-alone game instead.[citation needed]

The game was unofficially developed further [1] by a fan-community. There is a further update planned.

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