Age of Wonders

aka: AoW, World of Wonders
Moby ID: 634
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Description official descriptions

Age of Wonders is a turn-based strategy game set in a fantasy scenario. The campaign can be played on two sides and tells a tale how the humans come to a new land and destabilized the peace between the races, throwing the land into war. The game also features several stand-alone scenarios. There is an extensive diplomatic matrix which structures the relationships between the 12 races and their respective leaders. There are global-spells which can be cast on the strategic map, outside of tactical combat.

Creatures can move around without being led by a hero, so the map eventually crawls with all sorts of strange beings. Neutral forces are not always static, most of them move around and sometimes attack the 12 races. The automatic tactical-combat mode shows a somewhat detailed overview of the combat simulation: it is a worthwhile substitute for impatient gamers, especially in multiplayer encounters.

As in Heroes of Might and Magic III: The Restoration of Erathia and Master of Magic, heroes are very important. They reach new levels of skill and power with experience and can be equipped with artifacts. But they do have limitations that usually do not allow a solitary hero to overrun a city-garrison all by himself.

Pre-game customization allows the following choices: 5 levels of AI skill (with the 1.2 patch), 5 AI personalities (from very violent to defensive), "classic" turn-based moves or simultaneous turns, incarnation of the player as the main hero (if he dies, it's game over for that side), selection of the main hero's name, face, and bonus sword-and-sorcery attributes, etc.

The map editor allows the gamer to create new maps, which can have up to 3 geological levels (one or two can be placed underground, with a cramped and dark tunnel-design).

Spellings

  • 奇迹时代 - Simplified Chinese spelling

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Credits (Windows version)

56 People (52 developers, 4 thanks) · View all

CEO
President
VP of Marketing
CFO
Corporate Development
Director of Media
Sales
Operations
Administrative
Online Support
  • Tempest Digital
Concrete Support
Authorship
Design and Printing
  • Mars Publishing
Mars Publishing - Publisher
Mars Publishing - Managing Coordinator
Mars Publishing - Graphic Artist
Mars Publishing - Project Editor
Design
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 78% (based on 41 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 58 ratings with 6 reviews)

Warlords 3.9 meets Master of Magic - what could be better?

The Good
1) Very pretty graphics, in 16-bit color, which look even better in 640X480 resolution (That's rare...and you can change the resolution-mode from within the game itself);

2) 12 distinctive fantasy-races, which means a diversified lot of weird creatures running around and more sides to compete against (You can reduce that number below 12 if you feel that a scenario is too crowded);

3) A great map editor which allows to create new maps or to modify and expand published maps (Two underground levels can be added: they look like dark, labyrinthine tunnels, and you can put enemy home-castles there if you feel that the surface level is too crowded to start with);

4) Lots of pre-game customization options;

5) The option to incarnate yourself directly into the game as a "leader" hero: if he gets killed, you "die", and it is game over for your side;

6) A lot of spells, some of them creating spectacular audiovisual special-effects when cast on the main strategic map (Such as a huge lightning-bolt striking a city);

7) The possibility of moving creatures without heroes, so the map progressively becomes infested with annoying pests harassing your weaker armies, cities, and territorial possessions (The strategic gameplay thus becomes more complex and the computer-players gain more options to harass the smarter humans);

8) Cities are more difficult to capture: if your hero does not have a special talent to breach walls or if your army does not have siege-engines, city-garrisons protected by walls made of wood or stone simply cannot be attacked (This poses logistic problems: you often have to produce siege-engines and to pull those slower machines to the target-city);

9) Cities can be immediately razed, or looted (then razed), or even better, you can eject their populations and migrate your own race into the conquered cities;

10) The diplomatic matrix is the most sophisticated in any strategic game because it not only takes into account your relationships with the other leaders, it also keeps track of the quality of your relationships with the various races (For example: you can be at war with the leader of the Elves but at the same time be in friendly terms with the Elves! This forces you to take care of how you treat the population of a conquered city: if you hurt the Elves in one city, you negatively affect your relationship with all of the Elves...including your own Elf mercenaries);

11) The automatic combat-resolution mode is not simply a general outcome-summary, it displays enough tactical details to make it a worthwhile substitute to spending time playing out the battles from start to finish;

12) Units can have many special abilities which render combat more complex and sophisticated (For example: some battles end up in a stalemate because your army is not equipped to fire on flying units or on spectral units which are immune to physical attacks!);

13) There are many options which favor multiplayer encounters;

14) The musical score is very good and the particular sounds associated with the various units and situations are exquisite in their diversity and weird effects;

15) I'm sure I forgot something: it's a great game.

I'm a fanatic of the "Heroes of Might and Magic" (HMM) series, and I wasn't very thrilled with the two versions of "Warlords 3" (1997 & 1998). I must admit that there are many interesting features in "Age of Wonders" which make it a more sophisticated game than HMM2 and HMM3, even though I find the latter visually more beautiful, especially during combat and within cities. It is difficult for me to admit that: I hope the designers of an eventual HMM4 will integrate elements of the superb "Age of Wonders".

The Bad
1) The inner cityscapes (layout, buildings) are simplistic and just plain ugly (far from being as beautiful as the ones in HMM2, a 1996 game, and not even as pretty as the cities of "Master of Magic", a 1994 game!)That's an odd weakness in such a sophisticated game that took so much time to develop;

2) There are not enough maps, especially extra-large ones, included on the CD (build your own!);

3) Even though it is interesting to have units move without a hero, it is annoying to see solitary, low-level enemy units scrambling to capture resources, and even cities (by financial negotiation) from the very start of the game (I've even seen a lone battering-ram used as scout for those purposes!)Those kinds of operations should have been limited to certain types of units, and this problem can be reduced by editing the maps so that most resources are solidly guarded and that cities which can be bought (because of racial affinities)are not placed near a side's starting forces.

I can't find anything else!

The Bottom Line
If you enjoyed "Master of Magic" and the "Heroes of Might and Magic" series, if you found "Warlords 3" and "Disciples: Sacred Lands" unsatisfactory, you will enjoy the intricate challenges of a long game of "Age of Wonders" on an extra-large map. Oh, by the way, Hasbro has recently announced that a "Master of Magic 2" has been slated to be released in 2001...

Windows · by Jean-Paul Cardinal (16) · 1999

This game reminds me of Master of Magic without the replay value.

The Good
Solid construction, nice design. Generally, good graphics.

The Bad
There was no quality engaging enough to want me to replay the campaign or any of the scenarios again.

The Bottom Line
Worth buying, but not a classic.

Windows · by Jeff Watts (18) · 2001

Not only does it match HoMM and MoM, it surpasses them.

The Good
This is my absolute favourite turn-based strategy game. With a balance that makes the races equal, even though you have to play them differently, it ultimately comes down to who's the better strategist. The units are easy to learn and you'll pretty fast start noticing different combinations that works better than others. But it takes a lot of playing to learn all the good combinations. Furthermore, the different races have different relations to the other races which adds a strategic element where you can combine armies across the races.

The Bad
The computer AI is at times a little to easy, some spells are somewhat unbalanced. Also it's at times a little to easy to only use your heroes.

The Bottom Line
Heroes of Might and Magic, add Master of Magic then work out a few original things and remove any annoying things, voila that's a game pretty close to perfection.

Windows · by atrahasis (68) · 2005

[ View all 6 player reviews ]

Trivia

Extras

The UK edition of the game is said to include a novel by David Eddings 'worth 6.99£'. Either most people didn't like it and threw it away or it never was there; anyway it's definitely pretty hard to find.

Getting off a boat

Most people playing the game for the first time faces the same problem: How do you get units out off a boat? This is not covered in the manual, and the words "How do I get off the boat?" is probably the most posted and joked about in the AoW-forums.

Highmen Theme

The song "Highmen Theme" seems to be remix of Journey.umx which is played during the Nagomi Passage level ('day' version) in the Unreal mission pack Return to Na Pali.

Information also contributed by Grov, MDMaster and toothbrush

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  • MobyGames ID: 634
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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Jean-Paul Cardinal.

Additional contributors: Tomer Gabel, PCGamer77, Unicorn Lynx, Grov, Patrick Bregger, MrFlibble.

Game added December 30, 1999. Last modified February 13, 2024.