Shadow Empire - Mad Max meets Operation Barbarossa

The thing about Shadow Empire is those are the AARs. :)


Truth. :)

Does anyone have some guidance for a new player on things to prioritize and be thinking about at first? For instance, I’ve learned that the Economics council (or whatever it’s called) is pretty much a no-brainer as the first council to go for, as far as I can tell. Then I add a Military design one and then… I don’t really know how important the other 6 or so are. Should I be getting those ASAP or waiting?

Early on, do you guys build Battalion-sized formations or fewer Regiment-sized? On a Medusa world, I typically first build a Metal mine and then Industry, should I be prioritizing something else? In most games, I find I get swarmed from all directions and feel like I don’t have enough troops to hold them all at bay or risk getting my troops cut off. Perhaps I’m grabbing too much territory? It’s hard to tell what these little towns do for me. I know they’re important for population, but is it a land rush where I should grab them ASAP or stay small and consolidate and only expand once I have the manpower to hold the front?

Anyway, would love some general guidelines on how to start out. I’m having fun with the game so I’m engaged, but having a hard time getting traction and getting better so far. Mostly just some entertaining and interesting spinning of wheels. :)

Well, you don’t really have a choice, since the prices go up with each one. ASAP won’t be very S. The price increase kind of “gates” the number you can have as the game progresses. As for which ones you pick, it’s situational. You’ll need to refer to the manual to see what each one does for you, how it helps. It’s also largely a matter of which strategem cards you want. One of the main uses of your BP (bureaucratic points) is to be funnelled into the different organizations to draw the different strategem cards. Understanding that card distribution is partly the key to deciding which organizations to implement.

Alternatively, just choose the game start where you already have all of them. :)


I usually have all majors start with 2 armies. It makes the game more about conflict between majors and less about resisting agressive minors.
I also take the 4 main organizations at start, as I find the game to be too slow without any, and having 8 means an unecessary strain on my early resources (you have to fund them from the same budget, and pay the directors).
I usually raise units that are as small as possible, because more sub units means an easier time encircling the opponent, and are more flexible when it comes to protecting your own supply lines.

I usually try to get a few light armors or rovers out ASAP (independent units, as you cannot wait forever for the relevant OOB to be available).

These are awesome at cutting supply, scouting, and destroying infantry in the open.
But you’d need to first upgrade the base designs:
The stock rover has virtually no armor. 50mm would go a long way to make him good at punching infantry.
The stock light tank has an awful engine. I usually replace it with one that has the best possible engine, and the same everything else.

I usually go for Military research ASAP, unless the planet seems poor in metal. In this case, I will go Economy first and try to aim for Serpentization (the tech that allows getting metal everywhere).

Getting good leaders early, and assigning the best ones to the most relevant positions makes a huge difference.
Assigning leaders with low loyalty or bad stats to infantry units is usually a good way to get them killed relatively quickly.

Thanks, Tom! I do need to circle back around to the manual now that I have some play time under my belt. Documentation just does not stick with me until I have some hands-on experience and context to frame it in. I’ll review sections of the manual again prior to jumping back in, that should help me a lot. Also helpful to think of the councils in terms of access to strategems, thanks for that. I’m not much of a card or deck building gamer so the reminder is good.

The price per council drops each turn…so just let a bit of time pass before you call the Assistant to setup a new council if you can’t afford the initial PP.

Other than the economic first i have had some situations where picking a different 2nd council early was very beneficial. For example i had a game where i noticed one of my starting leaders had 35 Covert Ops skill (plus a good War score). I immediately setup the Spy council and started carpet bombing the world with spies. Every attempt was a guaranteed success with about 75% being critical successes (2x spies). By turn 20 i had about 80% of the world completely mapped showing all the hex assets and units. I cannot express how important/useful this was.

As a general rule, the council in the top left of the decision screen is a decent recommendation for what to set up next.

For build orders (n.b. I’m an explorer type, so always start with just militia and a shrouded world), I go for the bureaucracy building most of the time as those BP are what power all your councils including your PP generating Supreme Command. The other option is to raise a buggy formation for some early speed and aggro.

Then it’s about finding nearby free folk towns, ideally grabbing ones from pliant minors and then peacing them out, and preparing to respond to whatever the game has decided to throw at me.

I get the councils going usually in time with my secretary’s hints, and I’ll try to do what I can to bootstrap metal income (via production or spending all my early game credits at the market) until I can justify starting the Industry 1 building.

If possible, I’ll hold off raising my first OHQ of light infantry until I’ve got an upgrade researched and developed, but circumstances don’t always allow that!

I between all that, it’s just about opportunities really. What fate cards did I get? Have my scav teams found any GR gear? Is there an opportunity to grab a second zone early if I up my soldier recruitment and zerg rush my neighbour?

One of the reasons for loving the game is that I’ve not really found a perfect build order for all starts!

WadeStar has gameplay from the past few days, using the current game version.

He is not as authoritative sounding as DasTactic, but I have found him very helpful.

For one thing, he tends to be mystified over the same things I am, but he is better at working out solutions onscreen. Sometimes that means slow gameplay, but I can see all the places he looks, and how he handles stuff.

Also, he has some very different strategies. Many of the “Of course” things that DasTactic and people here do, he does them differently. For example, he does not start with Economic Council and has interesting stuff to say about some of the councils I was downlplaying.

I usually end up building Batallions at first, because I need resources (especially metal) for other priorities, like building industry and infrastructure. Eventually I build primarily regiments. By mid- or late-game I can afford Corps, which have the advantage of packing a lot more power into a small hex. This has nice benefits, like more concentrated offensive power and simpler logistics, but it also makes it harder to cover a long line. By mid- or end-game, though, I’m ready to go on offense, so that’s okay.

As for diagnosing what supply you need: click the little “barrels” icon on the unit display in the lower-left to see precisely which thing you’re missing – food, ammo, fuel (if motorized), or energy (if using lasers etc). Usually it’s just one of these, and then you can look at your SHQ supplies of that item and then track down your supplier and yell at them. :)

I didn’t notice I could check the unit itself to see what it was short on. Thanks!

So I raised some troops. I raised a light infantry brigade (only at about 50-60% due to manpower available) and it created a light infantry brigade with 500 privates in it, and 5 light infantry batallions. However now I have to move the units seperately. Is there a way to combine them into a single ‘chit’? (Sorry I am not versed in wargame lingo).

Not really. The closest thing you can do is put them all in the same hex and use group move mode to move them all at once. Generally speaking, more units is better since you can control more hexes with them and more easily surround stuff to wipe it out.

You can also make an independent unit division or regiment and that contains one unit with a lot of guys in it. However, you lose the OHQ bonus unless you attach it to an existing one.

You can hit G for Group Move, but it sucks. Your new brigade is sitting on the same hex as the SHQ, which can’t move. G doesn’t work. You have to give them their own hex.

I’va already suggested being able to shift-click select the units in the bottom left screen, to give that G key a reason to exist.

Several weeks in, I’m still utterly fascinated/obsessed/frustrated/enthralled by this game.

Help me out, please: with all the reports and data available, I can’t find the simplest thing: a list of all my units, whatever their size. Surely I’m missing something obvious. So for example, if my 'Urgent Issues" reports this…


…what’s the fastest way to locate those units and study what’s going on (rather than cycling through all the units)?

Pretty sure the OOB button in top right is the fastest. It would be nice if that screen had a check-box for the HQ Power info (at the bottom) to speed up the search. I’ll post a suggestion for Vic to add it.

There is an OOB (Order of Battle) button that has an extendible tree of all your military units in your hierarchy. Clicking on the units will take you to them on the map.

I think low HQ power means that those units are outside of the range of your “Operational HQ”. They will receive fewer or no combat benefits from their HQ. The SHQ has infinite range, the OHQs do not.

Yep, I use the OOB to quickly find a unit. Look under the INF branch.

And yes, HQ Power simply means a unit is too far from its OHQ. The maximum HQ Power range is about 5 or 6 hexes. You can see if an individual unit is out of max Power range by clicking on its unit details button. One of the little windows is an OOB-like org tree. Click on this and it will tell you how much HQ Power the unit has.

Thanks folks for the reminder of the OOB button. That’s the ticket!

Regarding HQ Power, is there a solution beyond moving them closer to their OHQ? Put another way, how do I boost the HQ power of an OHQ, and would that boost its range to units that are too far at the moment?

BTW, the full 350 page manual can be perused here:

Well the idea is to move the HQ with the units and maybe keep it a few hexes in the rear. It’s supposed to represent a field headquarters after all.