Dungeons 3 is a really excellent game, but it's by no means easy to win at. You might find yourself weathering a few defeats or making a few colossal mistakes before you get the hang of things. Alternatively, you can read our guide below, take note of all the tips, and use them to wreak terrible fury on the forces of Good. Bwahahahaa!
Just like the game, we've separated our tips into two categories - Dungeon and Overworld!
Tips for Dungeon Management
1. Protect The Dungeonheart
Seems obvious? Not if you haven't played these games before, and even I lost a few times because I forgot about it. The Dungeonheart is the big red crystal at the centre of your Dungeon, and the goal for every hero to attack. It's generally very powerful and takes a lot of hits to bring down, but if, say, you take your entire army to attack the Overworld and leave it undefended with no easy way of getting back, you might find your campaign comes to a grinding halt.
2. Save Often
This also should go without saying but it needs stating. You may think you have things well in hand, but they can go wrong in an instant. I've had Thalya and a bunch of my forces cut down by a bunch of wandering Heroes coincidentally walking by just as I was recovering from an assault on the main Good Base, and watched in horror as they went straight to my Dungeonheart while I didn't have the Gold to resurrect Thalya or hire new minions. In short, Save Often, because defeat could be round the next corner if you're unlucky.
3. Make Gobbler Farms Huge
Apart from money, the one thing all your minions need is food. Gobbler Farms are the only source of food, and before you find ways to boost their efficiency you'll frequently run out. Consequently, you'll want to dig out a gigantic area for them and plop it down, so your guys will be well fed at all times. You'll still run out, trust me.
4. Manage Your Gold Resources
For the longest time, you'll have ample amounts of Gold. Simply ask your Little Snots to dig out any Gold deposits you see, and massacre a few Good campsites, and you'll be overflowing with the stuff. Then, suddenly, you won't. You'll have dug out everything you can dig, you'll have destroyed all the feasible camps, and suddenly you'll start running low on Gold as Payday keeps coming around - and if your demons don't get paid, they go on strike. There are a few blocks of near-permanent Gold (or Diamond) reserves in the far corners of the Dungeon map, but otherwise you'll simply have to be aware. Further tips: Try not to let Thalya die, do not max out your demon army or Little Snots if possible, and you might not need to upgrade everything to max!
5. Beware Big Gold Deposits
Yes, you need the money, as per point number 4. But be cautious: if something's too good to be true, it's probably a trap. If you spot a big area covered in gold deposits ready to be mined, it will almost certainly be hiding something nasty. Dragons, Spiders, or even Dwarf Heroes might be hiding there. The good news is that most of the time they won't attack and will wait for you to attack first... most of the time. Sometimes however they'll immediately go around your Dungeon slaughtering the inhabitants. If you see a big patch of Gold, be ready to deal with some enemies.
6. F2 All The Way
This one's essential for defending your Dungeon, and we're shocked you're never told it - we only noticed it when browsing the controls. Which is this: pressing "F2" will immediately pick up every demon in your Dungeon, including Thalya but not including Little Snots. If you get attacked, simply press F2, aim behind or in front of the attackers, and press and hold Right Mouse Button to quickly drop your entire army on them - who should make short work of any invader. Note: this only picks up demons in the Dungeon, not on the Overworld.
7. Doors Are More Useful Than Traps
I know it's tempting to do that old standby of making an eccentric death-corridor of traps to lure Heroes to their doom, especially as it was near-essential in the first Dungeons. In Dungeons 3 however, I very quickly stopped using them. They're tricky to produce, since there are a lot of prerequisites in their way in terms of Research, Boxes, Cost, Minions and more. You can't make a windy death corridor since there's already a direct path from the entrance to your Dungeonheart for Heroes. And once you learn that "F2" thing (above) you can simply throw your entire army at any invaders, which should stop them. All you really need is Doors to slow them down a bit, but you can stick a few Spike Traps behind them if you really feel like it.
Tips for Overworld Invasion
1. Get At Least One Evil Essence Pool First
Evil Essence areas are marked as little pools on your minimap, and there's usually around two close to your Dungeon entrance. The very, very first thing you need to do upon leaving your Dungeon is make for one of these Pools, slaughter the guarding Heroes, and claim it for your own (it'll happen as soon as they're dead). Why? Because it's your other resource, along with Gold, that allows you to unlock Research and Upgrades. Without it you're stuck with the absolute basics and you won't last long at just that level. And there's a more specific reason to do it fast...
2. Get Nagas Quickly
Nagas are Snake-Ladies and the only demons, other than Thalya, to have their own Research Slot (just above Hideout). And for good reason - they're the most useful demons in the game. They only have a little offensive capability, but their main purpose is: they're Healers. Simply keep them close to your attacking demons on the Overworld (but behind them so they don't get hit) and they'll automatically heal anyone getting hurt. They cost 100 Essence to unlock, and after that you should get 2 as soon as possible to add to your war party. With them on your team, as long as you've got a few fighters too you can attack pretty much any force and beat it - then just wait a few seconds and they'll heal your team (Thayla too) up completely. Essential. Note: They don't heal Undead, however.
3.Take A Mix Of Units To Raid The Overworld
You never need many, but never rely on one unit type - having a good mix is what wins the day. Your invading Evil force should consist of a) Thalya in the lead since she's the most powerful and self-heals, b) at least 4 Melee fighters of various types, like Goblin, Orc, Banshee etc, c) at least 2 Ranged fighters like Imps, and d) 2 Naga healers. Anything else is optional, and you certainly should try to have at least 2 of everything. I've got by on some maps with a lot more Ranged fighters, but you do need several Melee fighters to take any attacks at least. Don't try to get by with just Orcs.
4. Group Units For Easy Raiding
New to the Dungeons franchise is the essential ability, much requested as it's seen in every RTS ever, to Group units to the number keys. Select your units you want to group, press Ctrl + a number key, and now every time you press that number key you'll select all of those units! Furthermore if you press that key when they're in the Dungeon you'll pick up all those units! This makes getting your demons back to the Overworld a heck of a lot easier. My advice? Create four groups on keys 1-4 for each of the unit types I mentioned in the last point - 1=Thalya, 2=Melee Fighters, 3=Ranged Fighters, 4=Healers. That'll make organising them a total picnic.
5. Remember To Level Up Thalya
Sounds silly, but with everything going on and all the things you have to consider in both your Dungeon and the Overworld it's very, very easy to forget the crucial Research Upgrade of levelling-up Thalya. Do so. Not only does it up her damage and health, here's the thing - it'll also give her the crucial ability to temporarily summon three Shadows, immediately gifting you with 3 additional and totally expendable minions you can use as cannon fodder while your more valuable troops stay safe. Awesome.
6. Remember that Heroes might come from off the map to raid your Dungeon.
The first time this happened to me, I was so dumbfounded my Dungeonheart got destroyed. I'd sent my army across the map, destroyed everything in my path over the entire region, and was camped outside the only exit from the Good base. And then I got the warning, "Heroes have entered your Dungeon!" "HOW?!" I screamed back. As it turns out, Heroes don't have to be sent from the enemy base, or pass any roads that you would travel on. Sometimes there is a road leading off the map, next to your entrance, that seemingly has nothing for you, but in actuality is a direct path for Heroes to spawn into and immediately get down into your Dungeon. So even if you control the entire map, you can still get attacked. Beware. So to that end...
7. Warp Portal Is The Most Important Spell In The Game
This single spell is the reason why Traps aren't important and why you rarely need to be worried about your Dungeonheart being destroyed once you get it. As long you've built an Arcanium and researched Simple Spells you can cast Warp Portal, after selecting it on the Spells menu on the left, anywhere on the Overworld at any time. Then simply command your armies into it and they'll appear right by your Dungeonheart, ready to protect it. Then after you slaughter the interlopers just pick up your army (using keys 1-4 if you grouped them, see point 4!) and throw them back into the Portal, where they'll reappear at the point they entered. Quick, easy, cheap, and instant defence. And the Portal will stay there for a good long time, too.
8. Evil Essence Is Collected Automatically And Doesn't Run Out, But Can Be Attacked!
Unlike Gold, the Evil Essence resource will get automatically collected from the Overworld and will continue to flow forever, which is awesome. However, there is one way it can be stopped, and that's if a group of Heroes set out to retake the Essence Pools! Unlike the Dungeonheart there's no easy warp spell to get to them, so you'll just have to get to them manually before they attack! Fortunately the Narrator tells you when they're about to attack and you can see their route on the map, so ambushing them is easy. You can always retake it later, anyway.
And those are the basics! With this information you should sail through half the game at least with ease. Things get more complicated later, but you'll have learned enough to cope with the game by then, right? 'Course you will.