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Strategy - 3 Player Maps


Linked Isles
Avenging Angels
Sandy Castles

Linked Isles
    Shakey's map

I've been waiting for a long time for a strategy for Linked Isles, which is the most popular of the 3-way maps, and now Kurtangle has filled the gap with some words of wisdom:

Ok - this is a good 3-player map. It is the same basic map as in "Building Bridges" in the single-player levels, but this has some adjustments:
The heads give mana and are not that important to get so quickly; wait till you have about 14 people.

Starting off
There are wildys everywhere on this world. Turn off blast and charge convert. Slap down 3 hut plans and a firewarrior hut. Put towers where necessary. Convert all wilds in your path and start building unbuilt plans. After you got a firewarrior hut, start training about 2 or 4 and put them in your towers if built yet. Then charge up two lightnings to deal with any rushing shamans. Start praying NOW (6 people for the heads and your shaman for the obelisk) and charge earthquake! During the worship, place down a warrior hut and a ton of hut plans. Now you should have about 50 people and 2 earthquakes. If the others are fighting, let it be. Kill the one that wins out of them. If they try to attack you kill them with firewarriors. Charge blast and lighting at the same time now. If you're the one in battle and the other is camping (smartly) you're in trouble. Fight the camper before he gets bigger and bigger.

Here are a few more tips: Good luck if you are using this strategy.

Do you have any alternative strategy ideas for this map? Why not email me?

    Shakey's map

This map usually results in a long game, as the approach to the enemy villages is easy to defend. All players therefore tend to camp and build, until eventually someone's patience snaps and they attack one of the other players, and they slug it out for a while. The secret of success therefore is to be the one who is sitting on the side, watching the fun. When the warring parties sit back to lick their wounds, that's the time for you to attack the stronger of the two and try to take him out altogether. If you can do that, you too will be weakened, but you will have the advantage of a whole heap of new building land (once the embers have cooled) which should give you a decisive advantage over the remaining player. So rebuild your forces, and then go get him!

From the above, it is clear that your first priority in the game should be to secure your defences, and maximise your rate of building. Your building will be limited on this map by the shortage both of trees and land, so you should be using landbridge to make more land at your village as soon as you have exhausted the available land. It is also worth sending some braves to harvest the wood in the central region early in the game, in the hope that the other players are not looking that far afield yet. Send your shaman along as well though, just in case they are, otherwise your braves will get fried. And don't build on trees - harvest them first.

Finally, watch for backdoor attacks. It is easy to be so focussed on repelling attacks from the front that you miss the danger of an attack over a landbridge from behind. Put some towers (with fire warriors) at the nearest points to your enemies bases (across the water) so that you will at least get some warning, and watch out for enemy use of landbridge or flatten, which could spell trouble - always investigate! Of course, an approach across the water may be just what you need for your first attack as described above - a quick and easy route into the heart of the village where you can drop those Earthquakes and Tornados you've been charging.

Do you have any alternative strategy ideas for this map? Why not email me?

    Shakey's map
A new guide from Belgian1:

The map looks like this: Three big islands and an island in the middle, with a stone head that gives mana. When the game starts, start with converting wildmen and building as many huts as you can (turn off fireball to get convert faster, if you want). Once you have got 4 or more huts put on landbridge to link to the island in the middle (this is not necessary, but you can get some handy extra mana off the head). Preferably wait until you have 4 landbridges before u link to the middle, because if your enemy(s) are interested in the middle too, they might think u don't know about the head and therefore wait some time before using landbridge and work on building their camp.One thing though, do NOT link to the middle when your enemy is landbridging to the middle and you don't have at least a firewarrior training hut (and preferably a warrior training hut) because if your enemy has linked to the island and sees you have no defence, he might get the crazy idea of attacking you and taking you out as well. If you managed to get hold of the island, build watchtowers on the hill that surrounds the head...and put firewarriors in them of course and put guard posts of warriors and priests (if priests were put on by host). This is also useful for extra building space, (if you are a fast builder and your island is already nearly full). Remember: don't stop building until you have 199 men (even then it's good to build more huts).

If You Captured The Island In The Middle:
Although this is definitely a good position, the other two players will think you're strongest (which you probably are) and, if they are smart, will try attacking you. Therefore, try to attack the strongest player as soon as possible (with the added advantage of the mana from the head), but not too soon, still be well prepared. Preferably link from the island in the middle (!) to your strongest enemy's base. If he has linked to the island in the beginning of the game already, you might want to take that road. If he's any good, he will probably have defences there already...and, of course his shaman will be on the island. You can try casting the ghost spell on your shaman until you have 6 shamans or so. Spread them a little, and walk to the enemy's base with your ghost buddies. When you get near enough try to take out the defence (lightning for the towers, swarm/fireball for the men) and the shaman if you can. Make sure you have at least one earthquake ready (the more advanced spells like firestorm, volcano are harder to get in this part of the game). When you cast an earthquake, look out for any training huts and try to cast near them, so they get damaged (or if you're lucky destroyed). If you can get further in the base without your shaman being killed by firewarriors or enemy shaman (you should have them loaded by now) cast tornado's on the training huts so they are most probably completely destroyed. If the enemy shaman is still alive, definitely try to kill him. If all this succeeds, send in troops of warriors to wreck the base. Meanwhile, spawnkill (ie. kill her as soon as she reincarnates, with lightning) the enemy shaman and wait until you get earthquake or firestorm and cast them in the base...After ten minutes or so this player should be dead.

Meanwhile, the weaker player will likely to have tried to attack you. CONSTANTLY watch out for him attacking. Have troops patrolling around your base (more to scare him off than real defense). If he leaves you alone until you have killed the other player, you should win. If he attacks you while you're killing the stronger player, try LINKING from the stronger player's base and attacking him then(WATCH OUT! Keep killing the stronger player or he might come back and you have two enemy's! Keep sending warriors!). If the weaker player kills off most of your base you can always build on the base of the player you just killed (or are busy killing), when the land grows back fertile. That way, you should have 3 bases (build warrior and firewarrior training huts on each one, because the ones in your original base might well be destroyed). You will probably win now.

If You Don't Have The Island In The Middle And You Are Strongest:
In this scenario, your best bet would be either allying the weaker player (whom you can kill off later ) or attacking and trying to kill the other player. He will probably try to attack you first, so get a really good defence. If you attack the one who has the island in the middle, don't attack the island in the middle (this might seem like the best thing to do, but it's not). Try getting to his original base (especially when his shaman is still at the other island). Watch out, though, the enemy shaman might not bother to come and help defend his base, but think his is the perfect moment to attack you. So, when you are attacking, keep an eye on your base, and if he attacks, try to hold him up as long as possible (send some braves at him). If the shaman manages to destroy or get past your defence, chances are, you're screwed. If, however, the enemy shaman dies you can try conquering the island as well, (providing your base is linked to the island) send a large group of warriors besides the ones you sent to the enemy's original base. If you succeed in conquering the island (your enemy will probably have sent most troops to defend his original base), u can give him a deciding blow.

For what to do when the weaker player attacks, look at the end of the "If You Captured The Island In The Middle" story.

If You Don't Have The Island In The Middle And You Are Weakest:
This is a very though scenario and chances of winning are small. You could go for allying the stronger player (but if it's not a nice player, he will probably kill you at the end of the game anyway). You can also keep a low profile and wait till the best player has almost killed the other player. If you attack, MAKE SURE you have full spells on your first attack...You need good luck to succeed in the task of killing your enemy.

Do you have any alternative strategy ideas for this map? Why not email me?

Avenging Angels
    Shakey's map
Here's another great strategy from Walhalla:

As far as I am concerned, Avenging Angels gives good 3 player games. The playing field is a triangular island of variable altitude, with a mysterious head in the valley in the middle. In the corners of the island, the three players are sitting relatively safe on their hills, literally staring at each other at dangerously close range. In the paragraph Taking Positions I will shine a light on the political aspects this situation brings and give some helpful hints of dealing with this precarious situation, in that way that you can increase your chances of survival. I cannot give one single successful strategy for this map, as (like we say in my country) 'there are many roads that lead to Rome'. Pretending to be complete in describing the roads would be foolish and misleading towards the reader, and especially the 'newbie' reader. But I can try to outline elements that a player will often encounter in this map.

Start: As stated before, the map in this level is a triangular island with a valley in the middle. In this valley, there is a small hill with a Head on it. This Head, which is close to never successfully worshipped by any of the players gives Teleport, which you could use to quickly relocate your Shaman to a distant island with a Totem. This totem makes, if successfully worshipped, an AoD appear in all of the CoR’s. The idea behind it lies somewhere between the thought that it tickles both enemies and the thought that both enemies, after being decimated by the Angels’ wrath, will throw themselves at your feet, begging for mercy. More likely is the scenario that will occur as I describe in the Taking Positions paragraph. The lands that are more or less assigned to you are far from perfect and difficult to use efficiently. Most of the land is easy defendable though. As soon as the game starts, make your Shaman run for the valley and convert as many wildies as possible before your opponents do so. And believe me, they will!

Building the village: As in all maps it is extremely important that you have at least a miniscule form of protection soon after the game starts. My advice in this is to immediately build about three towers on the valley side of your land. One as high as possible for maximum range and two just on the edge to demotivate a potentially rushing opponent, or instantly kill accidentally disoriented wandering priests. Of course these towers are going to be filled with the highly motivated fire warriors that have just been trained in your brand new fire warrior Hut. After this, it is time to relatively sit back and relax. That is to say, that you immediately start using all the land to build as many huts as possible. And once again: not on the trees and don’t forget to build the other training huts, and if possible don’t build them next to each other because then they would be quite vulnerable to sudden earthquakes.

Taking positions/Political aspects: This is probably the most important part of the strategy. In three player maps a lot of politics comes round the corner. Oh, I could write a book about this, but I have to limit myself to some sensible core comments on this topic. Generally, three player maps are extremely balanced compared to 2 or 4 player maps. That is because if one player is stronger, and it becomes known, the other two will concentrate on the stronger rather than on their weaker opponent. The result is increased survival chances for them, instead of heading towards a certain death if they let the stronger live. For example, send six braves to worship the Head, and count the number of opponents that would wipe your men off the Hill if they got a chance. Most likely to be TWO. This effect is also seen in the battles. When two of the contestants attack each other and one is clearly being crushed, it is not unthinkable that the third will come to restore the balance by casting preferably a volcano on the stronger opponents village. Some people start moaning about the apparent ‘double teaming’ that is happening. I would advice such people not to play 3 player maps again as they clearly don’t grasp the concept. 3 player doesn’t mean 1v1 first and 1v1 between the last two. This also implies that successfully worshipping the Totem is more likely to spell Doom for you and your village rather than to bring you any closer to the so desired victory. This thin balance can account for extremely long but fun games.

Hints for Winning/Political Aspects: Let's divide my hints over the four different possible circumstances. As the great Sun-Tsu already taught us: '(if you) know your enemy like yourself, victory is assured'. It is important that you estimate your opponents skills precisely. Having done that, there are (roughly) four different political situations one can be in.

  1. When both opponents are stronger than you. This is definitely going to be a very difficult situation to win. There is a chance though, if you manage to stay low-profile and the stronger start attacking each other. If you manage to build your village and grow stronger, you might get a chance when the dust settles. Better don't wait too long then, for a stronger opponent needs little time to recover from the battle and will then turn his hungry eyes on your village. Another option is to try to lure one of the stronger opponents into an alliance with you, preferably without the third party knowing. However, chances that you will survive this alliance are rather limited, as the readers of Macchiavelli's 'Il Principe' already know. But you can also consider accepting the idea that you will lose and use the time you have to learn and test new ideas or strategies.
  2. When one opponent is stronger and one is weaker than you. This is an equally dangerous situation. It is rather likely now that the stronger opponent will turn his attention to you, as you are his greatest threat. If you somehow can win from this stronger opponent, then the weaker one is not likely be a problem too (unless he studied this guide carefully, and finds a way to sneakily attack you when you least expect it) There are multiple roads to victory here. One of them is to lure the weaker one into a deadly alliance (first your mutual opponent's death, then surely his) Another option is if the stronger miscalculates and attacks the weaker instead of you, in which case follow the strategy as described under 1.
  3. When both opponents are weaker than you you are in a comfortable position. At least, you think you are. That is true, unless both other players see you as the strongest and decide to team up sneakily (strats 1 and 2) So the tip here is, don't show off too much. The credo is 'Act Weak, Be Strong'. Try to weaken the opponents one by one using brutal force for one, and the 'cheeseslicer-method' for the other (as long as both are alive, be 'helpful and nice' to at least one, don't betray him unless it is by 'accident'). Conclusion - victory is assured as long as you succeed in preventing the rise of an anti-YOU alliance. In love, war and populous, everything is allowed, threatening and bribing included. Not allowed is quitting of course, but you knew that!
  4. When all players are equal. This is the scenario that demands the most of all the players political skills, as all of the previous strategies are possible, in every possible (changing) combination. Especially if the game is heavily restricted, this could last and last. I cannot advise anything more than I already stated under 1-3. This is really the moment to open your magical box, utilize all your political skills and GAME AWAY!


Do you have any alternative strategy ideas for this map? Why not email me?

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Sandy Castles
    Shakey's map
(See also the strategy on Zach's site)
The following guide to Sandy Castles has been kindly contributed by Sai-Tanko - one of the Populous online master players. Read - and learn!

General tips:
If you make the first attack on sandy castles, for example you earthquake part of the enemy’s base, you put yourself at risk because the victim will want revenge. This attack could be bigger than you expected, so be careful. Instead wait (if you're not rushing) for the enemy to attack the other player. This means they will both fight it out, while you stay un-scratched. You could take advantage of the situation and attack one of their bases. This means two players could be taken out with only one attack made by you. Think about it, be patient, eventually players will try to get revenge on each other. THAT is when you strike. Sandy Castles is one of my favourite levels, it provides plenty of building space and wood for towers and huts, which can be used to your advantage.

First take off fireball and only charge convert. Send your shaman towards the pool of water in the middle of the map, here there are around 30 – 40 wild men waiting to be converted, so get there quick. While convert is charging build your firewarrior, temple then warrior training huts. By the time these are constructed you can have anything between 30 – 60 braves depending on how many converted. Charge either earthquake or lightning spells

I wouldn’t normally say this but now is the time to rush at least one team, assuming you know how to rush, but make sure you have a few spare firewarriors for counter-attacks and shaman attacks from the enemy shamans and make sure your building hut upon huts at the same time. The reason for this is sandy castles can last Hours upon Hours, even with volcano and firestorm spells, because of the amount of rebuilding space you can gain, I have been in a 3 hour sandy castles game, eventually we all allied or quit, because no matter what we did, no-one was dying. Now one team are gone (assuming a successful rush) you have the other to deal with. Personally, I try to rush the person of most threat, which will make the second battle much easier for you.

I find the best way to defend is to put guard towers with firewarriors in them, all around the raised land, but the problem with this level there are so many places to get around defences, normally they just walk around the back with no problem… So here’s what I do: In a line I hold CTRL & ALT and patrol the grounds leading to the back of my base with firewarriors, lots of them! Then around 5 or 6 preachers running back and forth behind the firewarriors, followed by 5 or 6 warriors, this can breached with a firestorm but it’s a waste for the enemy so seeing these defences will cause them to back off and charge full spells. When your done with defences and rushing the first enemy, kill the second before he has chance to charge all spells, I find a few firestorms followed by a huge amount of warriors and preachers kills them off, get around 10 firewarriors circling the enemy CoR to stop the shaman interfering with your plans.

It is up to you whether you build defences before attacking or not, but if you don’t want to spend hours on this level, rush the first team, defend and build, followed by the final attack on the last base.


And here's another take on the map, contributed by Metallica9785 (aka Breadfan) who is w-a-y too modest:
I'm not that great of a player, specially 3 way play, but I'll give this a shot :)

  1. Start: Start by turning off blast. (I always do, but just my preference.) Lay down a FW hut and tell all 6 men to chop wood then build (using ctrl-left click on a tree, then the FW hut plan). Then immediately move your shaman to the high ground near the middle and cast convert til all those wildmen are gone!! While doing that tell those just converted braves to chop some wood then carry it back to the high ground near the middle, where your shaman should be standing. Might as well bring back some wood for those towers! Then obviously lay down some tower plans on the high ground, these will prove ABSOLUTELY VITAL if the game turns into a long one, which on SC, happens a lot.
  2. Build big, build fast: Well, a good part of SC is the land, lots of it, and good for building. My opinion on this level is to build spread out, and behind your base. You can try to build in the middle, but usually the enemy range is so large due to the hill, its usually a disaster. So steer clear of building in the middle, unless you think you can get away with it. And of course, tell some braves to cut wood from the middle and bring it back to your base to build (using ctrl-left click). The middle lake is a gold mine for trees, so make sure to take advantage of it!!
  3. More Defense: Of course, by now you have towers on the high ground, and maybe where you started a new settlement elsewhere. If you don't have them full of FW by now, DO SO IMMEDIATELY!!! Since you don't have time to fill towers 1 by 1, select the FW you want to place in towers, then click on the buildings panel, then hold shift and click on the tower plan. All the FW you selected will then rush to fill all empty towers!! (This also works well with idle braves that you want to get into huts for that mana). Now on SC, another threat is the back attack. You could do it yourself, but always be ready to defend against it. I like to put huts, (spread out a bit, of course!) on the back coast of my settlement where back attack is most likely to happen. KEEP THOSE HUTS ON THE COAST FULL!! You need them to upgrade quickly to large huts, (5 man huts) to stick FW in them. This works well because of course, your FW can't be seen by the enemy shaman walking in without a worry in the world. She thinks shes got it made!! Then your FW either knock her back and kill her, or knock her into the water. And make sure you have about 2 preachers and 2 warriors in front of those huts on the coast. Thats your defence, make sure you keep it running smoothly.
  4. Offense: If you you've been sitting back the whole game letting the other two go at it you should definitely have full spells. If not, charge destructive ones, earthquake, firestorm, volcano, in that order. And of course, other spells like swarm and ghost are good to break the defense of an enemy. Now decide where to attack, either back door or right through their main gates. Either way, take your shaman in, knock out the towers, and the shaman, then let the fun begin!! Don't forget about the other enemy of course, he may notice your shaman out of base and try to make an attack on you, so have some FW in huts and some preachers, warriors, and FW patrolling as well for added defense. After you knocked out the defence, send in the troops and wreak as much havoc as possible. Hopefully since the other two tribes have been fighting they will both be weak, so after you take out one, the other tribe should be weak enough to take out also. So build back up your men, and spells, then do it all over again!

Now of course, that's all easier said than done :)


Do you have any alternative strategy ideas for this map? Why not email me?

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THREE PLAYER MAPS (Undiscovered Worlds)

Canyon (UW)
Angels (UW)
Three Crabs (UW)

Canyon (UW)
Could you write a guide for this map? Why not email me?

Angels (UW)
Could you write a guide for this map? Why not email me?

Three Crabs (UW)

Three Crabs is a good map for those who like to have a building phase before they get stuck in to battle. Check out the Two Crabs strategy for some ideas, and then have a look at Kurtangle's tips on how to come out on top:

To start off, like on all maps, turn of blast and charge convert. I like this map becuase there is no rush at the start - a break from Face Off. Place 4 hut plans and get your braves to build. Now get your shaman and convert the wildies. Then pray at the obelisk, which will give you the Boat House. Place the Boat House in the 'U' of the crab. There is a little offshore island with a Totem on it that gives you the Balloon Hut but don't worry about it; it is not important. Now place a firewarrior hut and 3 more huts and about 4-5 towes on both sides of the entrance to the crab's main bay. Send one brave for each tower and start charging Lightning or Swarm in case of an attack. (If you didn't know, Swarm will make followers jump out of their boat and drown, but not the shaman.) Now Place 5 more hut plans and a warrior hut. Once those are built you should have Lightning or Swarm charged or even both. Half the towers should be built also. Now get 4 braves to cut wood and bring it to the Boat House and then make them build boats while you charge Earthquake. Once you've got 2 Earthquakes, at least 2 Swarms and 4 Lightnings - attack! Bring about 2 boats full of firewarriors and a boat with your shaman and warriors. Earthquake away the enemy which seems to be weakest, but don't lose sight of the defence of your base. A well-known tactic in 3-way games is to attack an enemy while they're attacking the other enemy. I usually say "don't attack" but this map is different. Once the enemy you have attacked is weakened, finish them off with your followers and bring your shaman out. While attacking you should have continued to charge earthquake, so now you can attack the other tribe. They will be stronger, so you probably won't kill them with one shaman attack, but you'll be making them get weaker and weaker. Keep doing this to the other tribe too, to stop them rebuilding. Now they should be on the verge of DEAD! Now is the chance to attack with Earthquake (which you shouldn't stop charging when attacking) and your Followers. Finish them off with Earthquake and, if you have a lot of mana, Tornado and Firestorm, just to show who boss :)

Do all that and you might just win :) Kurtangle

Do you have any alternative strategy ideas for this map? Why not email me?

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