Victory Conditions in Age of Wonders 4 are like various paths to victory that you can take for making each playthrough a unique experience – from conquest and diplomacy to technological advancements and secret quests.
The 4 default victory conditions: Military Victory, Expansion Victory, Magic Victory, and Score Victory are designed to guide players to objectives, allow different playstyles, and end the game when a player has achieved mastery over a particular aspect of the world. Let’s take a closer look at all four.
A Military Victory is achieved by eliminating all opposing empires (human or AI). To defeat another empire, their Ruler must be in the Void, and their Throne City must be conquered.
This severs their connection to the world, banishing them. There are two methods to accomplish this: direct conquest or vassalization. By vassalizing an empire, they admit defeat and become a subordinate, unable to engage in diplomacy independently. Military Victory often synergizes well with Chaos and Materium affinities.
Expansion Victory is a more peaceful approach to winning, focused on controlling a certain number of provinces based on the map size. Once the required number of provinces is controlled, players must build three Beacons of Unity in three different cities.
After lighting the Beacons, a 15-turn countdown begins, during which rebelling forces attempt to stop the unification. Expansion Victory is well-suited for diplomatic playstyles and synergizes with Nature and Order affinities.
Magic Victory is a defensive victory condition that doesn’t require direct interaction with other empires. Players must build three Affinity Province Improvements (Seed, Root, and Heart) dedicated to a specific affinity. After constructing all three, a 15-turn countdown begins, similar to Expansion Victory.
Hostile armies spawn during this period to try and destroy the provinces. High knowledge income and mana reserves are beneficial for achieving Magic Victory. The Astral and Shadow affinities are well-suited for this victory condition.
Score Victory is triggered when the game reaches a stalemate or a set turn amount (default: 150 turns) without a clear winner. The player with the highest score wins, based on their performance in five categories: military, diplomatic, economy, expansion, and research.
Each category tracks specific actions taken in recent turns and assigns scores accordingly. Score Victory is a fallback victory condition when other victory conditions fail to determine a winner.
Related: List of all 54 Tomes in AOW4
Traits & Realms
Alongside Victory conditions, Story Realms and Traits are special features that add variety, unique challenges, and narrative experiences to Age of Wonders 4 offering alternative paths to victory.
PRESENCE TRAITS: Presence Traits introduce specialized Rulers with unique challenges. Some Presence Traits come with a special victory condition that can be achieved by completing a quest. For example, the Pretender Kings Realm Presence Trait adds three powerful Rulers locked in a war with each other.
This trait includes a victory condition that requires either allying with or defeating all three Rulers. Other Presence Traits may involve simpler quests, like the Demon Prince trait, which necessitates defeating the Demon Prince himself.
REALM TRAITS: Realm Traits can affect your usual path to victory by introducing specific conditions or challenges. For instance, the Megacities trait restricts players to only a single city, making Magic or Diplomatic victories impossible and pushing players towards more aggressive strategies.
Another example is Crystalline Abundance, which increases the number of Mana nodes on the world map, allowing players to build more Research Posts or Conduits for mana to create armies of summoned units.
STORY REALMS: Story Realms provide a distinct narrative, offering alternative paths to victory. Often, these paths serve as shortcuts to victory once the story reaches its conclusion. The conditions for victory usually involve defeating a main rival, but the methods may differ.
For instance, you might receive quests allowing you to forge alliances with a rival’s vassals, encouraging rebellion against their overlord. Story Realms do not necessarily exclude other victory conditions (except Score Victory), allowing players to pursue different objectives as they progress.
Story Realms narrate the events of the Fourth Age of Wonders and the comeback of the Godir, powerful beings in the game world. The first chapter requires playing with a Champion Godir, and only the difficulty setting can be adjusted. In total, there are five Story Realms to unlock and experience, each presenting unique challenges and narrative elements that enrich the game’s overall story.
More Victory Settings
Additional victory settings allow players to customize the game experience by enabling or disabling specific victory conditions and adjusting various game settings to suit their preferences.
Disabling victory conditions: Players can choose to disable the Score, Magic, and Expansion victories entirely. This feature enables you to tailor the game to your preferred playstyle or create specific challenges by limiting the paths to victory.
Game Speed: This setting adjusts the pace of the game, affecting how quickly players can achieve victory. The Slow Game speed, for example, increases the knowledge cost of research skills and the food cost required for city population growth. This makes a Magic Victory harder to achieve while allowing more time to maneuver armies and settle disputes through wars.
Allied Victory: This setting determines whether players can achieve victory by forming alliances. In team games, Allied Victory is enabled by default. In open diplomacy games, players can create or break alliances at any time. When Allied Victory is enabled, players can achieve victory if any of their allies achieve victory. For Conquest Victory, this means that allies are excluded from the victory condition, and both players win if they and their allies are the only ones left standing.
There are multiple paths to victory in the game, allowing you to focus on specific goals or adapt to emerging opportunities. When creating your faction, you can design it with a particular victory condition in mind, or create a balanced faction capable of pursuing any victory type.
Victories earn experience points (XP) for your Pantheon, which can be used to unlock cosmetics, society traits, realm traits, and more. Additionally, you can ascend your Ruler into your Pantheon after a victory, regardless of the method used to achieve it.
Related: List of all Units (200+) in Age of Wonders 4