Black & White 2: Battle of the Gods Tips

Things I wish I’d known* when I began playing the Battle of the Gods expansion to Lionhead god game Black & White 2

(*Of course, part of the fun is discovering things for yourself. If you dislike spoilers, read no further.)

At the moment, this is a loose collection of notes. If the Black & White and Black & White 2 pages are any indication, I’ll rewrite this to be more coherent as I progress through the game.

As usual, I play a primarily good but pragmatic deity. Survive first, be nice later.

General Notes

  • These lands are harder to take over by impressiveness than those in the original Black & White 2. This means you’ll have to build more. For this reason, ignore the two-building rule. Following it would make winning difficult, if not impossible.

  • Casting a Life miracle on a storehouse holding some grain and ore will fill the storehouse to capacity with those resources. This should help alleviate your resource needs. However, the Life miracle doesn’t multiply wood, which makes it the bottleneck resource. Get into the habit of replanting trees in fertile regions. If wood’s trickling in slower than you’re using it, make some disciple foresters.

  • Build hospitals in heavily-trafficked places, so people will be healed as they go about their daily activities. Between fields and a nearby storehouse is good.

  • Be conservative about spending tribute on building & embellishment templates. On the last land, you’ll be given many of them free (tavern, baths, lamps, manors, mansions, etc).

  • Finding and clicking on special statues on the Japanese, Norse, and Aztec lands will unlock a bonus land. You don’t have to finish the Aztec land to start it; clicking on the third statue gives you immediate access via the menu, where a new “Bonus Land” choice will appear.

Land 1 (Japanese)

Establish yourself quickly on this land. About ten minutes in, the enemy will launch a major assault on your town, with catapults and rank upon rank of skeleton troops. Miracles will be your best defense, so build at least one more altar for redundancy in case your first altar is destroyed. Make many of the women in town into disciple worshippers, and distribute them among your altars. Buy an offensive miracle like Fire or a defensive miracle such as the Verdant miracle.

When the attack comes you won’t yet have armies, so defend yourself as best you can with your creature, rocks (of which there are plenty), and miracles. Don’t worry about being good; you’ll have enough of a challenge just to survive by any means necessary.

Once the initial onslaught is over, you’ll have a breathing space in which to build your city. Build a wonder and other high-impressiveness buildings to speed the conversion of the first enemy city. Then build, build, build, including several more wonders. You’ve got the ore, so use it!

Taking the first city triggers the unleashing of the enemy’s undead ape creature. It’s ugly, but not a big threat. When it enters your influence, repeatedly drop a huge rock on it to kill it.

The rest of the land should go quickly, with a few minor enemy attacks but nothing major. Build away.

Silver Scroll Challenges

  • The Dancing Skeletons: We could solve this with simultaneous equations, like we did Black & White’s tree puzzles, but where’s the fun in that? Let’s use graph theory instead.

  • The Four Statues: This logic puzzle is straightforward. Here are the clues:

    archer axeman
    swordsman spearman
    1. One statue faces the axeman, but the axeman does not face it.

    2. The swordsman faces the direction opposite that of the axeman.

    3. The spearman faces a direction no other statue faces.

    4. The archer faces the same direction as the statue pointed to by the spearman.

    Time to put on our thinking caps.

    By (1), one statue faces the axeman, which must be either the archer or the spearman. Assume it’s the archer. By the second part of (4) the spearman faces a statue, but it can’t face the axeman since the archer already faces it (1). So the spearman faces the swordsman. By the first part of (4), the swordsman must face the spearman. But by (2), the axeman must face the archer, which violates the second part of (1). So our assumption is wrong, and the spearman faces the axeman.

    By (4), the archer and the axeman face the same direction. They can’t face right; the archer would face the axeman, resulting in two statues facing the axeman in violation of (1). Nor can they face up; the spearman already faces up, and this would violate (3). They can’t face down, either; the swordsman would face up by (2), and this violates (3). Hence they face left. This leaves only the swordsman, who by (2) faces right. This satisfies all conditions. So the swordsman faces the spearman, the spearman faces the axeman, the axeman faces the archer, and the archer faces away from the axeman.

    ← archer ← axeman
    swordsman → spearman ↑

Hidden Statue

This land’s statue is one the northernmost promontory near the Whack-a-Skeleton silver scroll challenge.

Land 2 (Norse)

For a good god, the Norse land is a long, slow slog of building. Whereas most lands require around 30,000 impressiveness to win, this takes about 55,000. That means a lot of building, particularly impressive buildings like wonders and amphitheatres. Build a second altar early, and staff it with at least a dozen worshippers. You’ll need constant access to miracles on this land. Convert many of the remaining villagers to disciple builders.

Partway through the land an emigrating town will bring 40,000 wood. Between that and the Life miracle, you should be set for resources.

The bluffs offer nice location bonuses, so build siren wonders at their bases to bring the bluffs within your influence. Build lots of homes and small buildings on them to earn multiple location bonuses. In general, build high-impressiveness buildings on the edge of your influence. You’ll need the extra room for expansion. Try “chaining” siren wonders to expand your territory: build one siren wonder at the edge of your influence, then build another at the edge of your newly expanded influence. It’s not unreasonable to build more than half a dozen wonders just to expand your influence. Why not? You’ve got the resources. While you’re at it, build some extra walls.

The enemy god will send constant sorties against you. It’s easy enough to destroy catapults that stray into your territory, but when there are four skeleton legions attacking simultaneously, it’s a little more hairy. A simple way to deal with them is to first get them in a group, then polish them off. Three strategies that work to group them:

  • Close the town gates before they enter. They’ll sit around outside the gates.

  • Open the town gates and let the enemy ring your town center.

  • Let your creature attack them.

Once the enemy is in a nice group, drop a Life or Verdant miracle on them. Ooh, (formerly undead) bunnies! Cute!

When you convert the penultimate city, your opponent will send his wolf creature against you. Drop a rock on it until it keels over. I found that after dying a third time, it didn’t return to harass my city.

Silver Scroll Challenges

  • The Two Torches: You must swap them without either touching the ground. Try balancing one on another, or giving one to your creature to hold while you transfer the other. (What kind of god has only one hand?) Your reward is two platoons.

  • The Wolf Sliding Puzzle: Getting pieces 1-3 in line at the top will put you very close to a solution. Solving the puzzle temporarily distracts the enemy’s wolf. You can solve this puzzle multiple times. A warning, though: after I started the puzzle but didn’t finish it, it wouldn’t respond when I returned to it later. So I recommend finishing it if you start it.

Hidden Statue

This land’s statue is on the ice shelf by the Wolf Sliding Puzzle.

Land 3 (Aztec)

You start with a city on this land, but within minutes the enemy god unleashes a hurricane which will wipe out much of it. You’ll have time to get your creature to the enemy’s nearby hurricane wonder, but it’s protected by the enemy’s undead gorilla. Boost your creature’s “attack enemy buildings” behavior to 100%, and create at least a dozen worshippers. While your creature takes on the undead gorilla, cast Fire on a tree, then hold the burning tree over the hurricane wonder. The damage it will inflict will prevent the wonder from firing.

You’ll need constant access to shield miracles on this land, so build several altars and temples, and create many disciple worshippers.

Use a Life miracle to fill the storehouse near your altar, then build a siren wonder outside your east wall. This will give you control of the isthmus that is the enemy’s only approach from that direction. Build a wall across the isthmus well within your influence. This provides a defense against enemy foot soldiers; building a decoy wall outside the first will give you time to take out attacking catapults before your city’s defenses are breached.

Pay attention to what the undead god says, and whether his hand is nosing around your city. When it is, he’s about to cast an offensive miracle against you. In defense, cast shields. The enemy god targets only your city center and other civic hub, so you can get away with shielding just those parts of your city. You’ll want to keep these shielded almost all the time.

When you impress the second town, the undead god will fire an earthquake at its gates. You don’t have to worry about it.

In the calm moments between attacks, create lots of disciple builders, buy some impressive buildings, plop down dozens of blueprints, keep your storehouses full, replace the homes and hovels with more impressive dwellings, and buy and build more wonders. And keep an eye out for that pesky undead god!

Whew! Is that enough to do?

Last updated 1 May 2007
All contents ©2006 Mark L. Irons