I completed the main single-player campaign last night. I kept waiting for all of this repeating of levels and false-endings that I had heard about to come up, but it never came to fruition. Then again, for the first time in all the years I've been playing videogames I didn't watch a single minute of cinematics in Culdcept SAGA. That's right, I skipped my way through the entire story component of the game so it's pretty safe to say, I had no idea when the game might finally end. Although the final board's name "Stairway to the Heavens" kind of gave it away. I won the final match handily and, in fact, won all but 3 or 4 matches on my first try.
Oh, but I'm far from done playing this game!
Now I'm tackling each of the Achievements. I designed a special fire-only deck last night to go after the "Kin of Fire" and "Surveyor of Fire" Achievements. The former requires you to win a match using only fire-based creature cards and the latter demands you to transform every square on the map red. Similar Achievements exist for water, earth, and wind elements as well.
The way to go about earning these Achievements is to head to Versus Mode, design a deck geared completely towards one of the elements, then set up a match on Santana Village map, since it's the smallest. You have to play to at least 10,000 magic in order to unlock the Achievements, but I recommend setting it to no less than 11,000 or 12,000 so you can give yourself enough time to make the land transformations. I completed the task this morning after retooling the deck a bit and it came down to the wire. I almost accidentally won before transforming the last territory.
Here are some tips for trying to earn these color-specific Achievements:
1) Pick your opponent wisely. Just play against a single AI cepter in Versus mode and try to find one that likes to use the same color you'll be using. Part of my downfall in my opening attempt was that my opponent placed several Yeti creatures on the board. Not only are they immune to damage from fire-based creatures which my deck consisted entirely of, but Yetis also have a 60% chance of inflicting instant death against fire creatures. I almost killed one of them with reflection, but it had too much HP. In contrast, this morning's attempt was against Flammefleur, a fire-user, and I wiped the floor with him and won by over 8,000 magic.
2) Don't level up your land too early. Santana Village is a small map, but it will still cost a lot of magic to transform the 12 squares not initially red. And it will cost even more if the opponent starts leveling them up before you get to them. Because of this you have to make sure not to level up your own properties too soon. For starters, you'll need that extra magic to cover the 300+ magic transformation costs, but also you don't want to accidentally win the game too early. Level up one or two properties just to keep some magic coming in, but focus your efforts on deploying as many creatures as you can and quickly transforming the land once they're on it.
3) Use the movement commands in the territory command to move a creature off a red square onto a non-red one. You can't guarantee that you're going to land on every square and be able to place a creature on it so go ahead and move creatures around. Remember, the goal isn't to have a creature ocupying every square. The goal is to change every square to a particular color. Once you change one square, move the creature to the adjacent square and change it next. You only have to pass over a territory to access its territor commands, but you have to actually land on it in order to deploy a creature.
4) Build a deck with more enemies and item cards and fewer spells. I found the going pretty easy when using a deck consisting of nearly 60% creature cards (I typically play with just 52% creature cards) and roughly 26% item cards. This of course depends on what cards you have access to, but i suggest including as many powerful duplicates as you can. For example, in my red deck, I included several Magma Armor cards and several Magma Hammers, and anything else that benefitted fire-based creatures. Also, look to include as many cards like the Coaloid as possible. These creatures get ST and HP boosts depending on how many like-element creatures you have deployed. Let me just say that there was nothing that could have killed my Coaloids by the end of the game, when I had over a dozen red creatures deployed.
5) Buy yourself some time by allowing the opponent to take some of your properties. I almost accidentally won the game too soon this morning, but I was able to salvage the effort and transform the final square by not using any items and allowing the the opponent to take two of my properties on the final lap. This kept me below the 11,000 magic threshold when I passed the castle and bought me time to go around the lap and turn a final yellow square red. Had I not have moved a creature onto that yellow square (hostile takeover) on the previous lap I would have needed to go around again.
6) Don't rely too heavily on expensive uber-cards. I didn't include any Volcanic Dragons or Fire Giants in my deck because they simply cost too much magic to deploy. Remember, going after the various "Surveyor" Achievements is going to require you to waste an awful lot of magic transforming territories. Don't compound the challenge by relying heavily on super expensive cards. Instead, I used a lot of Fire Ogres, Minotaurs, Creeping Flames, and even a couple Phoenixes.
Hope these tips help. I'm going to try my hand at earning the water-related Achievements later tonight. Hopefully, I'll be able to build a good blue deck and accomplish the feat with the same ease I had this morning.