STARTING A GAME
Every race is designed to excell on a particular map type. Map size, amount of loose resources, number of mines and towns, and terrain layout are some of the major features constituting a map type. I will look at three categories, which will be based on map size, but will discuss other variables as well.
On such kinds of maps, it is important to have strong and versatile basic units, because you can expect early encounters with the enemy. Basic unit strength is also useful in gaining an immediate advantage through casualty-efficient battles with neutral camps guarding map sites and items. Another advantage some towns may have over others is the ability to mount successful rushes in the first week of the game. The infamous Master Gremlin rush is an example of such an offensive strategy. Hence, the Tower would be a good choice for smaller maps, if you like concentrating on an early attack plan. Another town type which can have similar success on small boards is the Castle, because of its strong basic melee units (Pikemen) and excellent basic range units (Marksmen). Castle heroes tend to concentrate on unit specialties, so there is an immediate bonus in that regard as well. The Necropolis has a chance to amass a skeleton horde with the aid of the skeleton transformer, but Skeletons tend to be of limited use due to their inadequate mobility and the lack of early ranged units for them to protect. For the Rampart, Elves and Centaurs can be a very good starting combo, especially with Ivor (the elf specialist).
Since small maps have a tendency to contain less resources, it is important to look at town's resource requirements as well. For example, if the map is very rich on resources, towns such as the Fortress and the Stronghold can start producing powerful units very fast and quickly gain the upper hand.
The mid unit tree plays a huge role in maps where all sides have a chance to upgrade a little bit before engaging in serious combat. Necromancers are an obvious choice, since their armies are very strong at this stage. If they get a chance to upgrade, this advantage will double. Skeletons will also have time to become a serious threat by the mid game. In addition, most undead heroes do not require too much development to start utilizing their specialties well. Rampart armies are equipped to deal with mid game conflicts pretty well, too. Their low cost, excellent stats, and versatility make them perfect for quick invasion campaigns. Dungeon and Inferno armies are strong in the mid game as well, with the Inferno having an advantage on low resource maps because most of its units are reliable even without their upgrades. The Castle is good throughout, but its mid tree units really need their upgrades, which could prove costly on a short notice.
Might heroes tend to do better in the short to mid run, so it is advisable to pick towns with strong might heroes (like the Rampart and the Castle).
Towns that gain the most from their unit upgrades will do best on larger boards. Strong 7th level units also come into serious consideration during long games. Titans, Arch Angels, and Black Dragons, to name a few, are all worth climbing the unit tree. However, they require lots of time and resources to get to.
Towns such as the Tower, the Stronghold, and the Fortress, which excel on the strengths of their upgrades, may require bigger maps to build up. Also, the Tower relies heavily on its magic so a high-story Mage Guild is a must, while both the Fortress and the Stronghold need to find and upgrade Mage Guilds of alternate town types. The Necropolis also thrives on unit upgrades and if the map is low on resources, it'd better be bigger so the undead have the time to gather the necessary building material.
Thanks to The Nether Gods team - the author of this article is Maneater.