Horror is the most aggressive genre, with no buildings to defend, a combat bonus on the attack, and an arsenal of offensive spells to debilitate opponents. Horror has few local requirements: each turn horror can desecrate any province it controls and build any unit types there that have been researched. Horror requires corpses to create units, which are generated primarily by fighting. Horror also generates bonus resources when killing enemies. Each turn horror has the opportunity to perform a rite, which can be used to make a new unit type available or cast one of a few particularly powerful spells. Other horror spells cost brains to cast which can be generated by sacrificing units. Horror units can be researched in any order, since there are no tech prerequisites.
In exchange for offensive power, horror has weak scouting, and slow units, which can make it diffcult to respond quickly to changing conditions. The need to generate corpses makes executing a more passive strategy difficult. Horror also only has one air unit, limited air counters and most of its units are large, making horror somewhat vulnerable to shredding units.
Pros: Powerful units and spells on offense; no local requirements.
Cons: Weak scouting; slow units.
Fantasy combines a wide variety of units with an strong arsenal of spells. Many fantasy units fill multiple niches which can make them more difficult to counter, but making available the most advanced units requires significant investment in the form of buildings. Fantasy therefore places high priority on defending its developed territories. Losing key territories can cause a serious disruption to unit production.
Each turn fantasy gets 100 mana with which to cast spells. Many of fantasy's spells are geared towards improving its own position, rather than weakening opponents as with horror spells. However, fantasy is still rewarded for killing opponents in combat with experience points which are used to learn new spells and more potent ranks of existing spells.
Fantasy is highly dependent the terrain types of its territories. The functions of fantasy buildings depend on the terrain type where they reside, including the unit types that can be built there. Each unit type has its own native terrain type, and receives bonuses when fighting on that type of terrain. Fantasy has several ways of manipulating the terrain types of its own territory as well as the terrain of nearby opponents.
Pros: A unit for every occasion; powerful and flexible spells; can manipulate terrain.
Cons: Highly dependent on terrain type; takes time and resources to develop territories.
Between a wide variety of unit upgrades and the ability to freely shift units into one another, science fiction is the most immediately customizable of the four genres. Any unit except the mech can freely shift into any other unit that can be built in that province which, coupled with their strong specializations, allows science fiction armies to completely reconfigure themselves to counter current threats.
Science fiction units are each tied to specific buildings and can only be built in territories housing those buildings. In exchange, each of those buildings has an effect beyond simply providing a unit, allowing for more customization of provinces than for any other genre. Similarly, each building requires a specific technology, researched with beakers, the unique science fiction resource.
Pros: Highest army flexibility; powerful and diverse buildings including strong defenses.
Cons: No spells; units of similar sizes makes them easier to counter; tech and building requirements limit unit selection.
Almost completely nomadic, adventure cares very little for the specific terrain they control. All adventure units ignore movement penalties from terrain and adventure only uses two resources: food and luck. Food is converted from the principle resources and is used to recruit normal units and luck is gathered by units and used to upgrade operatives as well as to provide specific benefits. Rather than having 3 operatives with global powers, adventure relies on special upgradable hero units to both provide buffs and to allow the production of units. One of these heroes appears at the start of each turn and is invincible: when it dies it comes back to life at the end of the turn. To support these heroes, adventure players gather luck from their units which can be spent either to upgrade heroes or to increase the offensive or defensive strength of the army. Each point of luck spent increases the effectiveness of the army, though later points of luck are less effective than earlier ones.
Additionally, adventure units are adept at raiding, doubling the effects of the raid. This ability to nibble away at stronger opponents coupled with their invincible heroes makes adventure the most difficult genre to eliminate completely. On the other hand, as the only genre to start with a unit and the only genre that can develop independent of terrain, adventure has a distinct early game advantage.
In exchange for this flexibility, however, adventure units are the weakest in the game per cost as well as the least varied. This means that adventure needs to rely on its speed and automatic scouting (at the start of each turn, adventure players automatically receive scouting reports on all adjacent provinces) to choose its battles.
Pros: Fastest units; very strong raiding; no specific resource requirements; automatic scouting.
Cons: No means of improving provinces; no global operatives or spells beyond luck.