Oh heck. It's been quite a while since I actually played this game; here's hoping I can remember it well enough to do it justice.
Having finished up the 'Secondary' gods - Isis, Thor, Gaia, and Poseidon - it's time to move onto the 'Rulers'. For simplicity's sake, we'll be going through the civilisations in the same order as we did last time - which means our first major god is Ra of the Egyptians.
Egypt, for reference, is the 'low quality but cheap' civ. Egyptian workers are slower than the other nations', and their soldiers are weaker - but their buildings don't use wood, and in fact, wood is a fairly low priority overall. The way to offset the low quality is to use the Pharaoh to 'empower' buildings and make them run faster - but you only get one Pharaoh.
Enter Ra. One of Ra's bonuses is that priests can empower too, and I would make extensive use of this, having a priest on every one of my resource-gathering buildings. Ra also grants higher increases in speed/gathering compared to the other gods, so overall, I could run faster and stronger than before.
Egypt was a total failure under Isis: we were crushed by Vikings early on. Let's see if the Sun God can do better.
As ever, we set up our resource gathering pretty quick. You can see a priest already empowering the gold mine (the light show), and our lumber mill going up to the right. We actually built a temple before bothering with wood at all - with no need to pay for buildings, it was much less important.
The Egyptian army was raised fairly quickly. Uniquely, Egypt has no cavalry until the third age: its anti-archer units are the Slingers at the back there; cavalry and infantry are both taken care of by infantry. I also made sure to get a few myth units in place: the Wadjet there has a ranged attack, and helpfully, is apparently made from wood - which I'm not otherwise using.
Of course, having an army meant I was soon attacked, by...
... the Egyptian! Uh, yeah, I messed up a bit on selecting the enemies. But still, it was gratifying to see my army performing exceptionally well against their peers - and with priests on hand to provide healing, I'd come back to full strength pretty quickly. (The animals with weird swirls above them mark our foe as followers of Set, with enchanted beasts fighting for them: pretty cool, but not all that useful)
It wasn't just our fellow Egyptians - the Atlanteans were out for our blood, too. I love this shot of my labourers running for cover - and the priest merrily continuing to empower the granary, ignoring the attacker entirely.
By this time we were starting to fill out the map. It looked like we had a central sea, with our nations spread equally around it. I knew the Atlanteans were to the south, and the Egyptians to the north - that meant the dreaded Norse were all the way across the sea. Phew!
You can also see that I was once again trying Poseidon's failed 'build walls and block them out' tactic (the straight blue lines to my north). This time, though, I wasn't hoping to wall Egypt off entirely; my plan was for the enemy to have to run all the way along my northern border to find the open western end, giving me plenty of time to react.
And it worked beautifully. ^_^ The Egyptian Horde was growing now, kept in good health by our priests, and--
Oh Ra preserve us it's the Norse!
Yeah, apparently the Norse had decided to walk entirely past Set's Egyptians to come and attack me instead. Those are Einherjar - myth units with the power to increase their allies' attacks. You can see the rubble to the right where the Norse have already torn down my wall.
But we beat them back. In fact, we beat them back easily. I think in part that came from having priests on hand - they're pretty good against myth units in any numbers - but also from my 'human wave' tactic: I was churning out soldiers whenever I could afford them. It helped that Atlantis had been fairly quiet down south, letting me focus on the north.
Oh, and don't think that the Norse coming through meant Egypt stopped! I was seeing repeated forays by beast-supported Egyptians, but again, they had a tendency to focus on my wall, and that meant I had them just where I wanted them. I built a lighthouse to let me see them coming, and the northern army had a field day. I don't think either Norse or Egyptian ever set foot in my base.
But what about Atlantis, you ask? Well...
I had a plan for Atlantis.
(Yeah, I'd reached the Mythic Age without using a single God Power. I know, right?)
So here was the plan: the siege units - two towers and the giant beetle - would wreak havoc among Atlantis' buildings while the soldiers kept the enemy at bay. I wasn't particularly aiming to win on my first try - I already had a new army building up back home - but I figured I could make quite a mess. So how did that go?
Yeah, quite well.
The Atlanteans took my army down eventually, but by that time I'd smashed a lot of their production. More importantly, I'd focussed hard on taking out all their towers, which are the bane of any fleshy warrior types. With them out of the way, my next army would have a much easier time of things... and I'd had quite a while to continue stockpiling resources.
Yeah, I don't think the outcome of this one was ever in question.
Once again I had multiple types of siege unit. The towers were back, because I just can't resist them. I'd left the beetles at home this time, and brought in the catapults - great for knocking out armed buildings - and a few elephants. The elephants... really impressed me, actually. I controlled them as if they were regular troops, but let them loose on buildings when they wanted. It's really nice to have something that can both defend itself and tear down walls.
Atlantis fell. I had workers waiting just behind the lines, and immediately set about conquering it for myself - taking over the settlement and building a forward base. I also brought my Pharaoh to the front, and used the Son of Osiris God Power on him; he's now a lightning-wielding death machine, whose only flaw is that it's impossible to heal him.
(You can also see on the minimap my northern army, still in place on that repeatedly-broken wall. Yep, no-one ever got through them)
The Norse didn't have any more luck than the Atlanteans - in fact, they had less, because they didn't even take down my first army. By this time I had both Camelry and Chariot Archers, and the high-speed murder of them, combined with the crushing power of my elephants, meant I was on a roll for victory.
Wait, hang on - those aren't my elephants! Set's Egypt, perhaps sensing the coming defeat, launched another attack on my base. They took down my wall and northern army - but I'd built a fortress just behind them. My soldiers kept coming, and the enemy pachyderms went down.
Two can play at that game.
The Shifting Sands God Power teleports a group of your units wherever you want them. I sent one Chariot Archer in to scout our landing, then dropped my entire army - fresh from the Norse conquest - into the heart of enemy Egypt. Catapults, Elephants, soldiers of every description...
... yeah, that was inevitable, really.