TAG Primer for Olyimpia G2 players.

First off, if you have played Olympia G2 then you already know the most important fact of learning TAG. READ THE RULES! READ THEM AGAIN!! If you are like me and play both, READ THEM REGULARLY!!!

As you can tell there are some major diffrences between Oly G2 and TAG. Most of the diffrences are very obvious but can still cause you problems.

First off and probably most important is when you join TAG. There are three options you can use for your starting city. If you leave that field blank you will automatically start in the capitol of the country you are joining (in TAG game 4 the capitol is Imperal City and is in the heart of a major alliance). Or, you can specify the city you start in, this is the best choice, the city must be garrisoned to a castle that your Nation controls (in TAG game 4 this is any garrisoned city), to determine which city to start in you should go to the game page and go to the list of current players, if you are joining game 4 pick players at random and start sending e-mails asking which city you should start in (best choices as of turn 80 are myself, Carlos, a minister of the DragonLords or Doug, a leading member of the Independant States of Olympia) in game 6 you should pick one of the players in the Nation you would like to join. The third choice is Random, this is not suggested in TAG game 4 as you may start in a city where the controling faction is hostile to you or a city where there is nobody to teach you basic skills for within several turns travel.

1. Noble Points:

Unlike Oly G2 if a noble dies or is lost for some reason, you do NOT get the noble points back. There is no NP recovery in this game.

2. Wilderness:

In Oly G2 wilderness only means that you collect very little in taxes. In TAG the wilderness is dangerous. There are wandering monsters and bandits that prey in the non-civilized provinces (as of turn 80 most were Wilderness). These random dangers can and do kill and capture nobles. The best way to prevent that is to not wander out alone, always take troops with you when you leave a city.

2. Learning Skills:

Very large diffrence here. To date about 10% of cities found teach a skill. The best way to learn a skill in TAG is to have another player teach you that skill. Currently the best source for skill instruction in TAG is other players.

Also, you cannot study a catagory skill for 1 day then go elsewhere and finish that study without instruction. You must have instruction for all the days (mostly 7) required to learn a catagory skill. Once you have learned the catagory skill you can study most sub-skills anywhere at any time (the exception to this being Guild Skills (see below))

TAG has Study Points, these are very diffrent from Oly G2's Fast Study Days. Study Points allow you to study a basic catagory skill (Combat, Shipcraft, Construction, Forestry, Mining, Ranger, or Trading) without a source of instruction. You start with enough study points to learn 2 or 3 Catagory Skills so use them wisely.

There is a penalty for too broad of learning in a Noble. It will cost you a Noble Point for catagory skill beyond the third learned. To counterbalance this there is also a "forget" command that allows you to forget a skill. This can get very costly with a skill that already costs a Noble Point to learn. For instance, there are 5 magic skills, each one past the third you learn (assuming you have either not learned or forgotten any other non-magic skills) will cost you 2NP instead of 1.

You no longer have to reasearch skills. There are three types of sub-skills under each catagory skill, teachable, unteachable, and guild skills. Teachable skills are exactly that, they can be taught to you by another noble using the "teach" command, this allows you to learn the skill at an accelrated rate (2X or 4X). Unteachable skills are skills that cannot be taught, all that means is that you cannot learn them at an accelerated rate. See below for Guild Skills.

The final major diffrence in learning is Guilds. Every catagory skill has some sub-skills that are only available to Guild members. To become a Guild member you must know ALL of the non-guild skills, then you enter or form a guild hall and become a member of that guild. You must be inside a Guild Hall to study a Guild skill, and you must be in the guild hall for the entire time you spend studying the skill, you cannot begin study then leave the guild hall and study elsewhere (except another guild hall). A noble can only be a member of one guild, and once he joins a guild he/she/it is forever bound to that guild.

3. Combat

The combat mechanics in TAG are little diffrent that Oly G2. There are, however, some major diffrences in training and controling men in battle.

The first, and most obvious, is that there are more types of combat troops in TAG. Most combat troops require a diffrent subskill of combat to train.

The second, and most troublesome for Oly2 vetrans, is that one noble is limited in the number of troops he/she/it can control. The days of the untrained noble controling hundreds of troops in battle are over. A noble starts with the ability to control 10 men when attacking and 30 men when defending. There is a sub-skill under COMBAT called Control Men In Battle, it allows you to control more men in combat. However, it costs 3 gold and 3 or more days for every additional man you can control in combat.

Use Beasts in Battle has been moved to the Combat catagory.

SFW, Defense, Swordplay, and Archery are now under other catagory skills.

There is a new Combat related Catagory Skill. It is called Heroism. Heroism is concerned with all of the skills required to turn your noble into a one-man/woman/it army. This is where Swordplay, defense, and SFW have been moved to. In addition there are several other skills here that can increase the effectiveness of a noble in combat. Most skills in this catagory are only useful when the noble is fighting alone (although he/she/it may be stacked with other nobles.)

There are now combat spells in all magic catagories.

For each missile troop in the rear there must be a melee troop in front.

You no longer go directly from peasants to soilders, there is now an in-between step called a skirmisher [36]. You must also have a sub-skill of combat called Instill Combat Discipline to train soilders.

Troops can "break". This has to do with non-combat men and skirmishers, but when one of them dies there is a chance that all of them will run away. the more that die in combat the better chance that the rest will run away, leaving your noble standing there alone.

Every terrain except for Plains can adjust the defensive rating of the defender. These defenisve bonuses (in swamps it is a penalty) only apply to units in the outer province or in cities but not to other sub-locations.

An interesting sub-note to combat here. In TAG you MUST close the borders of a castle with a specific order. If you do not issue the BORDER xxx CLOSE command for your castle any noble not specifically on your HOSTILE list can walk right into your castle, thereby attacking your army inside its own walls and eliminating the benifits that come from fighting inside a castle. You can also make your castle impervious to missile troops by building a moat around your castle.

3. Religion.

Religion has been greatly altered in TAG. Instead of being a single catagory skill there are nine catagory skills dealing with religion. There is a base religion catagory skill that is automatically learned when you learn one of the other religion skills, this is almost identical to the Religion skill in G2. The reason for most of the diffrences lies in one of the fundamental diffrences between G2 and TAG, Mage/Priest Antipathy. Most TAG games are closed-ended (you can win them) in these there are three nations, The Imperial Empire cannot use magic, the Mandor Confederacy cannot use religion skills, The Pen can use neither. because of this split, Religion has been greatly expanded into eight Churches, each of which has a speaciality.

Nobles can only be raised by priests of the church they are "dedicated" to.

Mages cannot be deditcated to a priest (makes necro cruicial for mages).

Religious abilities require "Piety" (simaler to Aura in use but very diffrent in other ways).

A priest is limited to one church (school of religion).

4. Magic.

Very little has changed in magic. The largest change to magic is the addition of combat spells. The loss of an easy SFW and removal of a heal spell from magic have increased the importance of Alchemists (as the Religion heal cannot be used on a mage).

A recent change has been made to Appear Common (the magic skill that surpesses the MAGE tag in a charachter description). It is no longer an automatic skill. The mage must actually cast the spell expending one point of aura for each turn he wishes it concealed.

A very impotant note to those who play G2. Weather Magic is now a priest skill and is not available to mages.

5. Sailing.

It is unwise to set out beyond coastal waters without having a ship captain who is a Shipcraft Guild Member. Sailing "beyond the sight of land", which means not being adjacent to a land province, can subject you to storms or being lost at sea (literelly sailing a diffrent direction than you intended). There is a Guild sub-skill of shipcraft called Navigate Deep Seas that allows you to avoid these dangers.

8. Beastmastry

Beastmastry has ceased to exist as a catagory skill in TAG. The summary below was written by Doug Christensen:

The G2 Beastmastery skillset has been divided amongst three category skills: Combat, Ranger, and Church of Dol.

All an army commander needs to learn is 1195: "Use beasts in battle", a Combat guild skill.

The Ranger category inherited the horsemanship skills. Catching and training horses are Ranger unteachable skills.

Finally, the Church of Dol governs the detecting, catching and breeding of wild beasts. Upon re-reading the rules on the Church of Dol for the fifth time, I finally understood that wild beasts cannot be captured in combat. (this doesn't apply to horses held by wild beasts). A priest of Dol wanders the countryside searching for wild beasts, aided by Detect Beasts. Upon stumbling upon some, he prays that Dol will charm some of them to follow him. No combat is involved. When fighting a stack of wild beasts or a stack in which a noble possesses wild beasts, the beasts in the losing stack are always lost; they are never placed in the victor's inventory.

7. Other.

You MUST specify the ID you wish to use when forming a new noble.

Quest is gone.

There is a use for Spiny Root, and Petrus Bones.

The chance of sucess for Pursuade Oathbound Noble has been increased from 2% to 10%

There is no Pledge command. MOST of the functions once covered by Pleadge are now covered by using ADMIT. However only the castle holder gets the garrison reports.

The PROMOTE command behaves diffrently. As well as promoting the specified character to the top of the stack it will also UNSTACK the character that issued the command. If you use the promote order you must re-issue the stack order to reform the stack.

I would like to include a statement from Graeme Anderson (who plays both games) I have to agree completely with this statement but play both because I have not reached that pinnacle of power in Oly G2:
I think TAG really encourages teamwork between factions and it is slower to get going or to build up a 'powerful' or wide skill based faction.
On the other hand it has the potential for a longer lasting game since nobles can be permanently killed and wandering monsters regenerate themselves eventually and hold a much more intersting variety of magical items. This aspect of Oly2 I find quite boring: OK I have all the skills and land I want, what now? Nothing changes unless you are at war ;)

I'm sure there are many others, and as soon as I come across them I will let you all know.