Age of Wonders: Planetfall beginner's guide

New to Age of Wonders: Planetfall? Here are a few beginner's tips and pieces of advice for new players just starting with the game.


Like many modern games, Age of Wonders: Planetfall can be pretty unforgiving for newcomers. Even players familiar with strategy games may get lost in the dance of balancing battles with societal progression. Fortunately, there are a few tips and tricks that can help beginners get a proper start or give familiar fans a look at how Planetfall has tweaked the Age of Wonders formula.

Age of Wonders: Planetfall | What is Planetfall?

Age of Wonders: Planetfall is the latest turn-based 4X game from developer Triumph Studios and publisher Paradox Interactive. Like many strategy games in this genre, Planetfall tasks players with completing four main tasks: Explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate.

Given that these four elements serve as the foundation for the entire genre, they'll similarly form the primary focuses of this guide. Players will need to carefully consider the needs of their people, their heroes, their land, and their overall strategy in order to win.

Age of Wonders Planetfall Beginner's Guide What is 4X

For beginners, this means starting small, with a single hero and a single colony. From there, they'll be tasked with taking command of the entire map, which often means allying with or declaring war against other factions.

To accomplish this task, players need to keep three things in mind: Keep colonies producing, keep heroes moving, and keep a close eye on enemy movements. Now, let's dive into the details.

Age of Wonders: Planetfall | Colonies and outposts

Every map or world in Age of Wonders: Planetfall is broken into separate sectors. Each of these sectors can be set to one of four conditions: Neutral territories (unowned), owned territories (by you or another faction, typically annexed), Forward Bases (again, belonging to you or another faction), or a Colony.

Age of Wonders Planetfall Beginner's Guide first colony

The first thing that must be done in any game of Planetfall is to place a Colony. At the start of the match, this is usually a given. However, players can later gain the ability to craft the Colonizer to place new colonies onto the map.

Once a colony is established, it will serve as a home base for the production of units (troops), structures, and sectors. Colonies can only support the production of one thing at a time, so players would be wise to place new colonies where appropriate.

Age of Wonders Planetfall Beginner's Guide Sector Production

One of the main considerations of a colony is its people's happiness. If happiness goes down, riots can ensue. To make sure the citizens stay pleased, player can navigate to the Structure Production menu and build structures like Botanical Gardens. Otherwise, they should be focusing on either exploiting the land or producing troops.

Age of Wonders: Planetfall | Research

It won't be long before Planetfall players realize they can only produce the same types of units, which at the start of the campaign would be Vanguard Troopers and OWLs. To produce different units, players need to first research them.

The Research menu can be pulled up by pressing either the Military or Society research buttons at the top-left of the screen. From here, players can spend Knowledge (the purple icon) toward different research efforts. On the Military tree, the top branch usually contains new troops. To research units for a different faction (for later in the game when the player eventually gains control of a separate faction), use the drop-down menu to the left.

Age of Wonders Beginner's Guide Research

The Research menu also has a Society section where players can spend Knowledge to research doctrines or concepts that can vastly increase the efficacy of their sectors. It's possible to research buffs that increase the move speed of troops through owned areas, or to enhance the exploitation of any given sector.

Like with structure or unit production, Research takes turns, with late-level researching taking upward of 40 or more turns to complete. As always, players need to be careful and deliberate with what they choose to research, lest they suddenly find themselves surrounded by enemies with far more advanced weaponry.

Age of Wonders: Planetfall | Exploitation

When looking to expand into new sectors or place new colonies, players should zoom out on the map to view the sector's available resources. These will appear as one of four icons:

Age of Wonders Planetfall Beginner's Guide Exploitation Map
  • The yellow icon is Energy, and it's used as a currency to produce units, structures, and more.
  • The green icon is Food, and it's what keeps people alive. A true essential.
  • The orange icon is Production, and it's used to build units, upgrade colonies, or specialize sectors.
  • The purple icon is Knowledge, and it's primarily used for research.

All four of these icons will show up on the map for any given sector, usually as a single icon or as a set of two. Together, they represent the resources available in that sector, and players will often find that nearby sectors will share particular resources.

Once they know what type of resource is abundant in any given sector, players can begin Exploiting that particular resource. To start exploiting, annex a sector for a nearby Colony. Once annexed, a menu will display saying Upgrade Sector. From here — or from the Sector Production menu for the relevant colony — players can choose various upgrades to exploit the sector.

Age of Wonders Beginner's Guide Exploitation Sectors

It's pretty straightforward: If two sectors in a colony have two Food icons, players would be wise to choose options like Agriculture Exploitation or the Agricultural Export Center. Similarly, for sectors exploiting Production, players should choose options like the Military or Civil Engineering Guild.

Age of Wonders: Planetfall | Unit production

Finally we arrive at structure, sector, and unit or troop production. Given the final X of 4X (extermination), players will spend a fair amount of time fighting it out with their various troops and heroes.

Heroes are fairly easy to come by: One or more is given at the start of the game, and others will come around as the colony becomes advanced enough. Troops, however, must be produced manually.

Age Of Wonders Planetfall Beginner's Guide Unit Production Troops

Before different or more powerful units can be produced, players must research them — see the Research subsection above. Given the base turn requirement, players will never be able to produce the strongest troops at the start of the game. Through time, however, they'll be able to produce faster troops, stronger troops, and even vehicles for their heroes to use.

With that said, it's worth remembering that any colony can only produce one thing at a time. While it's wise to make sure there are enough troops to continue expanding or fighting, colonies need to make sure they produce enough food and happiness to keep the populace placated. If not, they'll soon find their workers rebelling, their production halted, and their empire faltering.

There is a whole lot to learn about Age of Wonders: Planetfall, but hopefully these beginner tips and strategies will help newcomers on their path to glory. Be sure to keep it tuned here to Shacknews for more coverage of the latest Triumph Studios release, and stop by our Age of Wonders: Planetfall home page to stay fresh on the hottest news and guides.

Guides Editor

Kevin Tucker is a core component of Shacknews' powerful guide development team. For questions, concerns, tips, or to share constructive criticism, he can be reached on Twitter @dukeofgnar or through e-mail at

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