Much strategy depends on which race you are and even more on what other races are available to be taken. However, the following strategy is one that tends to be what I follow in most medium to large size games.
1. Heroes - The basic enchantments (enchant weapon, stone skin, bless, dark gift, haste) are so valuable that without heroes, an army will be much, much weaker. Hence, there is a need to acquire and upgrade heroes.
- Try to get some way of capturing AI heroes. This can be done in a variety of ways...essentially need some kind of seducer/charmer/dominater and then if possible some sort of unit that is able to disable the hero (web, entangle, stun, freezing).
Seducer units: nymphs, ladies of pain, spider queens. The mypmhs and ladies are cheap to make and therefore expendable. Disadvantage is that seducers can not take over female heroes.
Charmer units: saints, satyrs, charlatons. Saints are good units for their healing as well. Charlatons are too expensive...not a good unit to go for (the opportunity cost: cavaliers).
Dominating units: doom priest, yaka avatars. Doom priests are only useful for evil races and without healing...not always the best - using ladies is often better for evil races. Yakas rock and being a neutral creature - all but highmen and undead can use them.
Means of disabling: entangle spell (long range, no counter-attack), lightning bolts (stuns for only 1 turn...ranged, high success rate), entangle strike (elf priests or nature elementals) - can be difficult against good heroes/units, web (spiders, spider queen) - low success rate. Frost bolts - low success rate.
Overall, if I have earth magic, I get entangle right away...otherwise, if I am evil or neutral aligned race, I try to pick up storm priests if possible.
If no good means of disabling an enemy hero is available, then I will often try to use holy bolt or black bolt or whatnot to vertigo and/or curse the hero - hence lowering their defense and making the capture much easier.
- Upgrading heroes is also important, hence I seek out all the possible dungeons/crypts and so forth for the heroes. In addition, use the heroes in tactical combat and give them easy kills...soften up the enemy with archers, or kill some of the enemy - but go out of my way to get early experience for the hero. The first few levels are key - after their defense is maxed, then I am more daring with them and they gain experience much more quickly.
2. 4 Hex cities. In a game that goes for a long time, the level 3 and level 4 units will be key. And the number of 4 hex cities that a person controls, the more powerful stacks they will have at the endgame.
1. Plan ahead! It is important to plan ahead with regards to relations. If I am dark elves and another human player is humans, I will make sure that I migrate some good aligned cities to human so that I have a buffer when I go to war. The worst possible thing is to have your units rebelling right when war with another human player is declared.
2. If Highmen/Undead plan on which neutral races you would like to have good relations with. It is even harder with the pure good and pure evil races to get good relations a neutral race...however, it is often worth it in the long run. Capture some cities and build walls...as soon as relations hit neutral (only need 10%) then start migrating opposite aligned cities. You still need to be careful not to produce neutral Creatures...the yaka avatar, djinn, basilisk, ice drake, wyvern and so forth are all neutral creatures and hence will have poor morale regardless of your relations with the lizards or so forth. Highmen already have good relations with humans and as Undead, it is often a good idea to do this as well - since the air galley can be a very powerful unit...and it have NO alignment...meaning that it will never have bad morale, so Undead can use it freely.
What to produce:
1. In one-hex cities, I often migrate them and build walls...rarely produce units. They are the cheapest to build walls and you lose the least income when migrating...yet they give the same benefit to relations. If hard pressed and possessing a huge treasury, will use them to produce some level 1 units.
2. In two-hex cities, I usually pump out the level 1 units that I need. In general, this will be archers. The only exception would be pony riders, hell hounds, nypmhs or ladies of pain. I *never* upgrade two-hex cities, if I capture one that is already upgraded, then I will often use them to produce cavalry or priest-class units.
3. In three-hex cities, I generally use them in the beginning of the game to produce level 1 units as above, as gold permits, upgrade them to level 3, install and produce level 3 units. (Almost never use a three hex city to produce level 2 units.) Generally producing tank-type units (see below) or flyers of whatever is available.
4. In four-hex cities, I generally attempt to upgrade as soon as possible. Early in the game, I will often stop at level 3 and produce level 3 units every other turn. However, in particular the dark elves, I will stop at level 2 and just produce storm priests the whole game at some 4-hexes. Try to get to Air Galleys and Yaka Avatars if possible along with the flying 4-level units as well. Really, there is no need to produce some level 4 units like the dwarven first born...if your starting race is dwarven, you can easily suffer the relations penalty to migrate your starting 4 hex to human and produce air galleys. Migrating your own race to something that can produce a better level 4 unit is often down.
1. Archers. Archers make up the core of my army early in the game...they have great advantages in stacks over almost anything you will run into early in the game.
2. Cavalry. Cavalry begins to appear in my army to support the archers...elephants if I have Azarc cities...some but not much...for the most part it is only archers and....
3. Tanks. A "tank" unit is something that can have a very high defense but not too expensive (i.e. level 3 unit) and allows it to eat up an incredible number of archer attacks. A unit that has a base 6 defense is best (human cavalier, orc warlord I think are the best two)...+1 defense if you have bless, +1 defense at silver medal, +2 defense if you have stone skin. Getting defense 9 or 10 units means that archers are only going to hit 10% of the time. Meaning that a stack of 8 archers firing 16 arrors a round will only do an average of 2.4 points of damage. A silver-medal cavalier has 13 hit points...so by itself it could not take down the archers, but a cavalier with 7 archers against 8 archers - the cavaleir and 7 archers win with no losses.
3(b). Flyers. Whatever is available...they vision and movement is needed. Usually not in battle as much as flanking, raiding and scouting.
4. Heroes and killer stack. My heroes with the best units possible...usually the level 4 units - waiting with towngate ready to appear in the middle of the battle and crush the main enemy stacks.
Archer supported troops move out to capture and fight...when main enemy resistence is found, hero stack towngates in to destroy them. Roughly that is followed.
Anyway - that is just a brief overview. It depends on the map and the players MUCH more than the race I am playing...access to units from other races are usually easily available.
Seduce and Charm only work on humanoids. Seduce also works on all male heroes
(including undead male heroes). Charm works on all heroes.
- So charm and seduce work on all the same units...charm's only advantage is being able to get the female heroes.
Dominate works on all humanoids and creatures.
Nothing can capture a machine.