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Total Annihilation: Kingdoms ("TAK") is a real-time strategic fantasy war game. It is a game on which I have wasted a considerable amount of time in the last 6 months or so. The basic aim of TAK, in a nutshell, is to work together with your teammates to outwit your opponents on the battle field so that they are reduced to staring in dismay at the screen and clicking their mouses frantically in futility and frustration as their best plans go to waste and your unstoppable forces roll over theirs.

Not unlike chess, TAK is a well balanced game that rewards the intelligent and creative player. During the time that I wasted playing TAK, I have learned a few things about this game and I share my wisdom with you below.

The following is intended as an advanced guide to playing the Taros kingdom forces in TAK, one of the four kingdoms in the world of Darien in which TAK battles are fought. I have chosen Taros because that is the kingdom with which I am most familiar. It is not intended as a game instruction sheet, for that please consult the game manual. Nor is it intended as a comprehensive strategy guide to TAK or a guide to playing any of the three other kingdom forces in TAK, though they are mentioned in my review. If you are interested in reading a more comprehensive strategy guide, a fairly good one can be read or downloaded here.

I have assumed that you, the gentle reader, are familiar with the basics of TAK and my notes are intended to go beyond the basics and offer some hopefully helpful notes and insights into the Tarosian forces, an evaluation of their strengths and weakness, and the tactics which I have found successful.

The first part of my guide discusses in some detail each of the Taros units. The second part includes a more general discussion of strategies, and the guide ends by offering a few comments about learning TAK and interacting with other players.


A Tarosian army is composed of Humans, Demons, Undead and some Monsters. The Tarosian troops are spawned from Cabals, Abysses and Temples. The following offers some comments on the troops types available in Taros, their strengths and weaknesses, their spells, if any, and some comments on tactics that I have found useful with each of them.


The Cabal creates your basic infantry and builders. Rather than hiding all of your Cabals deep in your base, I sometimes like to set one up a bit further afield or along a likely route of attack, so that it can serve as a shield and an additional buffer between the enemies and your mana and the main base. That way, if the enemy is pressing you hard, the Cabal can serve as a shield from behind which your troops can fire and the damage that it soaks up can give you more time to organize your defense and mount an effective counterattack. Such a strategy naturally exposes one of your buildings to an earlier loss, but I find it preferably to the alternative of hiding all of your buildings deep in your base. Ofcourse, you shouldn't do this with your first Cabal if the game host asks the players to build at mana.

The Following troops types can be summoned from the Cabal:

Zombies: Cheap and easy to produce in large numbers, Zombies are painfully slow, don't do very much damage, do not recover quickly between blows. As such, they are cut down easily by enemy units but they are good at stalling an enemy advance by causing confusion and disarray among the enemy ranks when produced in numbers and may even overun enemy positions if produced in great enough numbers before the opponent is able to complete his or her defenses, a strategy known as the "Zombie Rush". Just make sure that you have some more powerful units to deliver the coup de grace, because Zombies alone will almost never be able to finish the job. Zomnbies are good at hindering a sudden rush by quick units and they are great to use as cannon fodder when you are making an assault in the face of Aramon Cannons. Zombies are also good if used in conjunction with Liches because a Lich's area attack does not damage them very much or with Weather Witches because their numbers can help to cover a Witch's advance. Another alternative tactic with Zombies is, instead of ordering them to patrol, you give them straight marching orders into the enemy line. Although they'll get mowed down, they may help to push the enemy back by penetrating deeper into his ranks, rather than stopping to fight, at which they are kind of useless anyway.

Executioners: Have glaive, will travel. Executioners are good tier 1 infantry units, and they are rated "best bang per buck" by the Stratos Strategy Guide to TAK among all Taros units. They are generally better than Zombies, unless you are really going for quantity over quality. Although, in my opinion, they are better than Aramon Swordsmen and Zhon Trolls, they are not as good as Veruna Warriors because they are slower. It's good to use them if you have a Dark Hand or Dark Priest around performing reanimations since, unlike Zombies, they leave a corpse and that way you can possibly eventually get 2 units out of an Executioner for the price of one. I have noticed that they do 'splash' melee damage to closely adjacent units with their glaives, which is nice if those adjacent units are enemies and annoying if they are your own.

Black Knights: Somewhat expensive and quite ineffectual in combat, they have short range with their bows and do laughably little damage. They are however, the fastest and most nimble Tarosian land unit. However, because they are ineffective fighters, their uses are somewhat limited. They are decent on spread out maps as scouts or to harass remote, illdefended locations and mana stones, and their maneuverability allows for flanking attacks to distract your opponent. It is also possible to use one to head off advancing infantry and run them around in circles giving the missile troops more time to pick them off. I have also sometimes used them as a rushing unit at the beginning of the game to try to pick off a builder or two, but they often don't do enough damage to do even that. Overall, they are capable of delivering little more than a pinprick so I wouldn't rely on them too much if at all.

Gargoyles: Give important sight to your missile troops and act as scouts, warning of advancing enemy. I sometimes let one fly to scout before I create any other troops, just to serve as an early warning system. They are critical if you have Fire Demons to enable the Fire Demons to take full advantage of their long range. They only take one shot to kill however and, like other tier 1 sight flyers, they give much too much exp to the enemy unit that kills them.

Ghost Ships: Their primary role is to carry and drop troops and they are the unit that I turn to when I want to deliver Weather Witches into the enemy base. When they are flying, they are invulnerable against melee attacks, so they can help against an enemy that is using all infantry troops, though they will never really do that much damage and they tend to have the annoying habit of wasting time by circling around their target in between shots, though they are decent enough at shooting down sight fliers such as Aramon Spyhawks. I sometimes use them to unload missile troops on top of a berm or other height not otherwise accessible from the ground or to ferry Dark Masons to a new building location. They are also handy to have around if your monarch is being hunted by Blade Demons or Knights, since a Ghost Ship can quickly whisk him out of trouble. It's good to have at least 1 or 2 around for these reasons. I usually build 1 or two at the very beginning since they are quite critical for delivering Weather Witches to their target or just in ferrying troops around, but I don't really rely on them to be a main combat unit. They give fairly wide vision and they are sometimes better than Gargoyles for this purpose since they do not die as easily. An important tip for dropping Weather Witches: the Weather Witch will be facing roughly the same direction that the ship is facing when dropped.

Dark Masons: The Dark Mason is the basic Taros builder. He is defenseless so keep him out of harm's way. Once your base has been established, it is good to keep them around to heal Gates. Be careful when healing other structures however. Typically buildings and Towers require a lot more mana to heal so making the Masons heal such structures can drain you quickly of mana.


The Abyss is typically best used to spew out missile troops as your main troops, or as a support for your Cabal-spawned infantry. Usually Fire Demons and/or Skeleton Archers are the best choice, though a Weather Witch or two is also very important to have around for their game breaking power. Sometimes, specialized units can also be produced such as Dark Hands, to augment troops production on low mana maps or Rictus to provide fire over walls or from water.

Fire Demons: Their fireballs have long range and are guided, enabling them able to hit even flyers. Their long range means that they need sight to be fully effective which is best provided by Gargoyles, Sky Knights or Ghost Ships. Once the enemy positions are revealed, it's possible to be selective about targets. Some players swear by Fire Demons, insisting that they are the best troops to deliver the victory for Taros, however, in my opinion they have considerable weaknesses and they are somewhat overrated.

Here are some important limitations that should be kept in mind when making the decision to spawn and deploy Fire Demons, especially if you intend to use Fire Demons as your key unit: