Feature image for gmae guide on Northgard, showing viking on a throne

Players Guide to Northgard

This post: circa 8,700 words, estimated reading time, excluding videos: 43 minutes.

A guide to easier progress in Northgard

What is Northgard?

I’m assuming you found this page by Googling for help, but you could just be browsing Ackadia, so maybe this is something for you to get into. Basically, it’s a RTS like Warcraft, Age of Empires or Total War, but with Viking mythology. It can also be surprisingly challenging, even at the normal difficulty, because the randomly generated maps can be in your favour – or very much not*.

I lifted the following from Northgard.net:

Northgard is a strategy game based on Norse mythology in which you control a clan of Vikings vying for the control of a mysterious newfound continent.

After years of tireless explorations, brave Vikings have discovered a new land filled with mystery, danger and riches: Northgard. The boldest Northmen have set sail to explore and conquer these new shores, bring fame to their Clan and write history through conquest, trading, or devotion to the Gods.

That is if they can survive the dire Wolves and Undead Warriors roaming the land, befriend or defeat the giants, and survive the harshest winters ever witnessed in the North…

You start with a handful of Clans when you buy the game (e.g. Stag, Raven), but since release, they have added new clans over time, such as Dragon and most recently the Eagle clan. At £4 each, these added DLCs can add up, but there are bundle offers from time to time, making it a lot cheaper. Still, 88% of reviews on Steam are very positive. Northgard is available on Steam, but also all other major platforms and loaders, including GOG, Epic store, Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox, and on mobile via Googleplay and the Apple App store.

The game supports nearly a dozen languages and has a sophisticated A.I. There are times it feels like you are playing a human. Maybe not a hard-core PvP type player, but a regular person, yes, absolutely. The way it uses the emissary, the hit-and-run tactics, coordinated attacks, then the odd incident that makes you go, “Hmmm”.

Like one time a clan was neutral towards me, then started trading food. A minute later they stopped and were burning down one of my farms, and my brain was, “Oye! But… Wait, what? Huh?” Naturally, I chased him off, put the fires out and burnt three of his zones to the ground to send a message. It’s the sort of moment when you imagine the game gaining sentience and the AI, chuckling, pushing out Norse runes reading, “I know where you live, bro.”

 

* Procedural hell?
One of the campaign maps is ‘Greed’ – and it’s just annoying. It’s micromanagement hell. You have to find and kill a large boar. However, all gold earning except salvage (which kills the scout) is disabled. So, as soon as you start building, your starting funds rapidly drain away and – lacking maintenance gold – your buildings begin to catch on fire. They will catch fire even in the middle of a freezing blizzard so fierce you can barely see the buildings.

The more buildings you have, the worse it gets. Need a new house, a forge? Well, that costs gold so have to salvage and build before the gold is gone. Not so hard. Upgrading a town hall? That’ll cost 50 krowns and it’s gone before you can click, so you must time salvage on two places simultaneously.

Obviously, you’ll want a war chief. For most clans, that costs 150 krowns, so you need to time it for four scouts to explore areas at differing distances apart to get 200 gold so it’s not gone before you can hire your chief and get back to putting out fires. You putting out the fires, that is, because the villagers and workers will just stand around chat about the weather while the town burns to the ground – even the pub! No, you have to tell the villagers to fix it.

Meanwhile, wolves and undead will be harassing you, and you are competing against three other clans who may also target you, so they get the kill first.

I’ve done one where the boar was on the far side of the map: I had to play for domination (battling 3 clans simultaneously) while clearing everything else, timing explorations, and putting out fires. Took hours! However, in another, I had a map with plentiful food and gold nearby, with the giant boar just 3 zones away! I cleared the area with a war chief and then killed the boar with her and just 3 warriors. It was all over in ten minutes or so. Wish I’d recorded it!


Reasons to recommend this game

Well, the rating on Steam is very positive, with 88% of some 38,000 reviews being positive, so there’s that consensus.

It’s sometimes on offer; always nice to have a bargain.

There are PvP seasons, and there are skins (transmogs) for units, buildings, ornaments etc – but there are NO micropayments.

If you want to unlock a town hall with a waterwheel, play the game. That’s it. Progress, as well as achievements, rewards your account with chests of silver to buy them.

In a toxic world that gives us EA’s predatory Fifa Soccer and Activision’s egregious and commercially unholy Diablo Immortal, this is a breath of fresh air.

OK, the music is available as a DLC, which I don’t agree with, entirely, and there’s DLC, which I do agree with. It’s fresh content, only fair and right to pay for their work. Also, each new DLC release comes with updates and additions to the game, which are to the game – and not with the caveat “provided you buy this expansion”.


First Steps

It took me longer to work out than I care to admit, but there’s an optimal way to start. I was going to do a comparison video, but meh, you can try it yourself and see the difference.

Normally, I’d straight up build a woodcutter, a house and a scout. Fast start. Huzzah! But you are down to about 12 food by then, so are waiting around, ‘cos you can’t do much else without the food to expand. Building incrementally is far more efficient! Simply colonisation another tile can swing your villagers from unhappy (say -0.5) to upbeat (say 0.2 happiness). Zero or negative happiness means no more villagers, which is bad for business.

Before anything else, save the game! Then save at regular intervals. So ‘New save’, 800, 801 March, 801 October…

That done, build the woodcutter and as soon as it’s finished assign one villager to it.
You do not want your wood pile to be negative!

Next, build the scout hut, starting looking at the closest resources.
(This though does depend on your clan and starter village.
For instance, if you have 4 villages and 2 warriors, you need a house immediately, but normally you begin with only 4 villagers, so can build the scout tent first. There are arguments for exploring early, but I’d say food to expand and to avoid any starvation trump them, given the few seconds difference.

Finally, start the house, ideally when you have the 5th villagers, so there’s no pause for the 7th.
While it is under construction, pay attention to the nearby zones.
Does it appear heavily wooded? Having a 10% bonus for woodcutting is great, but food and gold and other resources will be more important.
Can you see deer? Definitely food, but are there wolves?
A plain? Could be fertile land, or it could be salvage possibilities, ore, stone…

Note however that you must modify this start for a few of the DLC clans.

Ox
It costs 250g (and a massive 15 iron!) to release the Ox leader, so here you want to start with a trading post. Having one or more ruins close would help too. Strong once they have their leader, it’s a slow start for this clan.

Lynx
For the Lynx clan, you want the leader’s big cats, Brundr and Kaelinn, released first, for protection and exploration. As these are cheap to release it makes more sense to have them as soon as possible, so start with the archery range. Also, in conquests, you have deer on your town hall tile, which changes things. So, here you want an archery range, scouts, and probably a healer as you see what the surrounding area is like and where best to place woodcutters and houses, etc.

Horse
Horse clan leaders don’t require iron to release (and cost 150g each), so again the focus is on an early trading post. Also, they are the clan’s miners, summoned from the forge; these also generate lore by mining. As such, you want the Volund forge as soon as you have the first 150 krowns.

Now, instead of around 12 food, you should have around 36 food. (This figure varies with the clan and accumulated bonuses). That’s one zone ready to grab and on the way to a second zone. This is a much better head start.

It shouldn’t take much exploring after that to decide if it’s a good or a terrible map. If the nearest iron is protected by four wolves getting your war chief recruited will take an age. If you had two wolf dens adjoining your base camp, or within a tile, you are going to be slaughtered in winter. Most maps are decent enough, but for everyone that’s amazingly in your favour, there will be another that you are better at walking away from and restarting.

What is required next depends entirely on the campaign challenge. Regardless, before October arrives you ideally want to have 3 food sources (grain has poor yields in winter, so start that early), two woodcutter camps, an ore mine and a stone quarry. The way I do it is to build one, then the next… and as soon as you have enough villages add a second to the woodcutter, and so forth, so the resource values are always positive. You also need to be thinking about gold for your chief, relic, etc.

Upgrading buildings and forging tools can make a substantial difference in productivity. If you are starving in winter, having up to 60% more produce per zone will help change that. If you need gold for your army, give the merchants the equipment they need first. Wiki: Improve tools.

For a commercial centre, it’s 55% more gold per month as upgrades affect all merchants on the tile. Other bonuses such as clan lore or campaign options stack on top of this.

For example

With a trading post on one tile and a marketplace on another, no synergy, but upgrading tools gives all merchants +15%.
With a trading post on one tile and a marketplace on the same tile, without upgrades, no synergy.
With an upgraded trading post on one tile, a marketplace on the same also gets a 20% bonus (+20% +15% for tools).
With both the trading post and marketplace upgraded, the bonus to each merchant is now 55% (20+20+15)
With two marketplaces and two trading posts on the same tile (via lore) it is now 95% (20+20+20+20+15)
Other bonuses such Coinage lore (+20%, plus 100% to trade route earning) and Trading Caravan (+20% to trade route earning and relationships) take it well over 100%.


Show and (don’t) tell video

I’m an introvert, not a streamer, so there’s no speech overlay, sorry. This is simply a play-through guide to the interface, clans and an example challenge as snake clan versus AI teams.

0 to 2m point looks at the ‘Treasure’ which you can read as available reskins or transmog options. It should be noted these are unlocked by simply playing the game, NOT microtransactions. Completing challenges rewards chest which gives silver, which you can use to ‘buy’ the new looks.

2m to 3m looks at the user interface and match options, finally setting up a 1 vs 3 match on ‘hard’

3m to 12m explore all the various clans, allowing you to pause and read some of their abilities.

The rest of the video sets up a custom battle vs 3 AI clans, on hard mode.

Not the best of examples as I got owned by a Rat clan zerg attack that followed a debilitating plague of actual rats, but a real introduction all the same. It was a decent map, but lack of food was a problem. Deer or fish is better than grain, for one thing. Plus, I forget I set it as hard :D


Earning Kröwns (gold)

You need to be building this up as soon as possible, whether to hire your war chief, fund great trade, or whatever.

Sailors
Ships are good, as they also give lore (0.8) or Fate (0.1) as well as gold, but they do need a beach, and the Kraken will destroy the ships, and harbour. (The lighthouse protects one harbour). However, the off-side to this is if you need extra villagers to gather wood or food because you are freezing, starving, or are being overrun and need soldiers, well, it takes time to return to shore, and it might be too late by then.

Merchants
By default, the marketplace and stalls bring in gold. The more villagers you have working on them, the more you earn. If you have trade routes with clans or factions, this can increase by varying amounts and adds to your reputation with them. It should be noted that merchant bonuses (and penalties) are additive and stack. So, if you have a 20% bonus to stalls and to merchants and they are both in the same zone you create a commerce centre each merchant now gets 40%.

Like all villagers and workers, if they are sick or injured productivity drops, so keep your supplies up against harsh winters and have plenty of healers against disease and attacks.

If the stalls are upgraded, earnings rise again. If you have two stalls and two merchants in the same zone, it will double up again. There is an achievement for this too: Megastore (have 10 merchants working in the same zone). Requires the ‘shareable’ lore, either by playing as the clan of the rat or getting this lore via Mimirsbrunn.

Stalls can also turn the tide of the game – if you have the gold to spare. Starvation can be avoided by buying food. Fame can be accrued by buying stone and upgrading buildings (which also improves productivity). Iron can be bought to upgrade your workers’ tools, further improving productivity.

Salvage
Having your scouts explore salvage will boost your gold and wood (or lore), and denies the advantage to your opponents. Particularly important for a fast release of your war chief or a head start.


Tactics

It depends!

For instance, in the challenge to defend and befriend the Jotunn giants (before any other clan) rather than protecting or defending them, just get the job done. Clear a path straight to them, gather stone, put down offering wells, build a market or two and trade food to them. Relics, warriors, lore, none of that greatly matters, here. You can be friendly with them and win before any other clan gets ready to do anything more than make a feint at one of your outer zones.
(Or you can have the Dragon clan wipe them out before you get past a bad winter!)

There are 30 conquest maps scenarios in all, most of which can be won through domination, though some are either time critical, or get progressively more punishing. The world tree quest, for instance, needs 2,000 food to acquire the zone, which means several upgraded silos. And having that much food available before 806 to win. I hoard sheep and get a stall early, so start hoarding supplies. Sheep give something like 70 meat each, a life-saver if your clan is starving, but if you have 20 sheep, and a stall to buy food from, if necessary, that 2,000 target is so much easier.

Another is to kill an undead warrior on a central tile, but he’s untouchable while his undead giants live. Plus you have to try and keep the other 3 clans alive to help with the fight, so there are complications. Like over time ever great number of undead attack you. Also, if your warriors die while attacking the boss, they turn into undead and attack you, so losing even one warrior is bad. So here the tactics are early on clear and colonize paths to the other clans and to the boss. Then use hit and run to clear the undead giants one at a time. Befriending Jotunn early on is a great help. If you are Dragon (or another clan is Dragon), the undead Jotunn are a great help. Having a really tough war chief who can solo the undead giants long enough to wear one down with hit-and-run tactics is great.

Another great idea is just to use the Mjölnir relic, and nuke the zone! Alas, no, you can only use it on enemy clans, only once a year (normally) and it costs 150g to use. Not the best relic, all in all, and completely unusable in this particular conquest challenge. Also, in any case, it damages rather than destroys buildings, so it’s more of an annoyance than anything.


Commerce

Another challenge is commercial influence. Here nothing matters but a lighthouse and gold, lots of gold. So, before your warriors, your chief, or anything else, you want a harbour and ships out, gathering lore. If your villagers can gather lore, do it. It’s a race to the first lighthouse and having 5g plus per tick to cover the great trade routes. If you are slow, the other clans will attack once they get close enough, or orchestrate coordinated attacks if you are winning. If you hit the ground running, you can win before they get close enough to be a problem. Even if they attack your outer zones, you can still have enough resources to ignore them and focus on the last few points. Jumping up from 5g a tick to 60g a tick will deplete your gold fast, but you will surge ahead, so it’s a win.

Here, to get a further advantage, as a priority you should upgrade your merchants and sailors at the forge; the extra percentage will make a difference. This applies to other events like dwarves’ gemstones and the bonfire.

The Bragaful relic is almost a requisite for this challenge.

I’ve added an example video to Youtube, showing the last 5 minutes: Commercial influence with Ox clan


Fate

As with all challenges, some have a natural advantage, like the Stag clan for fate, while others fair not so well. Regardless, focus on what you need, not what the leading clan is doing. If you are at 85% and another clan is ahead with 95%, you can’t catch up, right? Well, if you take that moment to attack their least guarded zones, this can significantly drop their fate, while giving you a small boost. Going from 10% behind to 1% ahead and you can surge ahead by tactics such as using all your gold to buy stone from a stall and upgrading buildings.

The Altar of King is an obvious choice as the more Fate you have, the more Fate it generates.

(Sailors opting for Fate instead of lore is an option, but it’s slow progress, I reckon the lore gives you a better advantage).

Once encountered, you can see what other clans are doing to produce their Fate, like scouting (first to encounter a dragon or volcano, for 50 Fate), colonising more areas, upgrading buildings…

Playing dirty works too.
Killing a dragon is worth 250 Fate. I like to clear a path to the dragon and keep an eye on it. If another clan attacks it, you attack them, assuming you have the army for it. The AI certainly do this, often!

If you have the army and no opponents in sight, make feints at it. Take it down 10%, and retreat before you lose a single warrior. Or fight and retreat individual warriors as soon as their health starts to fall – ideally before it turns yellow as it may be too late by then. Safety retreating when red rarely works, even for your war chief as they are often still burning from the dragon breath and can lose health faster than the healers can patch them up.

I like to fight at the edge of the territory, if possible, then retreat injured singly and return to the fight when partially or fully healed. Killing the dragon or enemy war chief is a win for you. If you kill an enemy chief, they need time and resources (like iron) to bring them back. Similarly, for you, running away early is better than dying.

As suggested at the start of this entry, stone for upgrading buildings is a major key. If there’s a zone with 4 or 5 nodes (100+ stone), you need to acquire it. Even one node in a swamp can make a difference. At a push, you can visit a stall and buy stones for 40g each (200g for 5). Seen in this light, 4 nodes of stone are worth 4,000 krowns!

Denying your opponent’s Fate helps too. If you decolonize a zone with their Altar of Kings you not only take fate for the decolonization, you take away the Fate it was generating, and they must incur the time and cost to build another altar. If they are spending another 300 krowns on this, they are not spending it on warriors, eh?

Don’t forget that feasts grant Fate too; this is especially good for the Squirrel clan.


Domination

There are obvious advantages to the zerg method, as favoured in PvP, but I find battles of attrition can make a difference. Run in, kill a few villagers, farmers or healers, then run away. Works well versus the Dragon clan as they have to keep sacrificing villagers as it is.

The snake clan is particularly good for this tactic as their scavengers can steal resources (e.g. gold from markets and stalls, food from farms, hunters and fisheries) and set fire to them, costing the target wood to repair or replace. Also, the snake clan war chief, Signy, once levelled, is possibly the most powerful unit in the game. 10% dodge helps, but with compounded bonuses, she can hit for 79 damage or more (with scorched earth) and can kill the Dragonkins’ undead giants and other war chiefs with ease.

The Kraken clan are also particularly efficient at domination (including protecting a weak clan). I’ve won with these several times without making any soldiers. Focus on lots of Norns to have wyrd building up as fast as possible, with one (or later two) Valkyrie for tile clearing and predator protection, get the town hall and scout hut upgraded as soon as possible, and then send wave after wave of spectral warriors to attack town halls.

Similarly, the Raven clan can hire waves of mercenary marauders and even giants to attack enemy shores.

Done early enough in the game, these attrition attacks can destroy a clan. One game I played (for achievements) was Kraken vs 3 Goat clans. Took hours to wear down and defeat the first clans, but the other two fell fast after then. In all, I sent over 200 spectral warriors to attack their town halls. (I could have simply won a lot sooner, but some achievements can take ages)


Lore

This varies with each clan as some have a natural advantage. For instance, the Kraken clan get lore from trade, the Boar clan’s healers produce lore instead of gathering food, while the Horse clan get lore from mining. Meanwhile, in a win-win-lose tactic, the Rat clan get lore for killing enemies – or getting killed by them.

The generated map makes a difference, so exploration by scouts and colonising in a beeline for the best resources is key. The Ancient Graveyard gives 50 lore, for also summons a couple of spectral warriors which (unless you are Kraken, with caveats) drops your happiness by 10 as long as the otherwise friendly undead remains in your territory. Ruins will give at least 50 lore, while healing the scout bird Vedrfolnir rewards 100 lore.

Beyond these, some factors are equal for all clans.

Population size affects lore acquisition, thus:

+1 with 1-5
+2 with 6-9
+3 with 10-19
+4 with 20-32
+5 with 33+

Loremasters generate 3 lore at Runestones, Carved Stones or Ancient Graveyard, with a further bonus within the Circle of Stones and Relic of the Gods. Upgraded tools add 15% to this. The Erudition lore adds a further 40% to this. Dropping a Carved Stone on the Relic of the Gods tile would apply the tile’s 100% bonus to that stone.

Choosing Jörmunr as your relic generates lore based on the amount of territory you have colonized, though the Northgard wiki advises that it is not an additive formula. The relic also allows you to buy land with lore instead of food, which is sometimes useful but slows lore progression as an offset.

As a guide:

The first 6 zones produce +1 lore

Zones 7 through 11 then increment by +2, give +11 by your 11th colonised zone.

It increases faster after that, so +14 by the 12th zone, +30 by the 16th, +60 if you could get to 20 zones.

Finally is the Altar of Kings, which additively provides +1 to lore, food, wood and gold for every 200 Fame you have acquired, plus a single boost of +1 happiness.


Greed

The snake clan start with their war chief available, and she gets stronger year on year. That’s 150 gold you don’t have to earn. It makes a difference!

Kraken clan are good for the ‘Greed’ campaign too. You can kill the colossal boar with the war chief and two valkyries, so no soldiers are needed. If you see any clans expanding on the coast, one wave of spectral warriors will ruin their day. Also, the Valkyrie are a lot tougher than their war chief and don’t cost gold, so that’s a big plus.

For the horse clan, there are two war chiefs making it twice as expensive, but in conquest one of the bonuses greatly reduces the cost of the chiefs, so that’s negated. Also, the horse clan don’t have miners. Instead, their war chiefs mine. The advantage here is no building and maintenance costs for mines. When every gold coin counts, it makes a difference!

As mentioned earlier, this challenge is all about timing (and exploration). It is not fun, I find! I leave it until the end, so I have as many bonuses as possible from the rest of the campaign, so as to make this map easier.


Volcano zones

Stone for upgrades (improved productivity) is especially important here, given the smaller zones and lack of resources. One good source of building stone is the molten rock that drops on you. However, you have to mine it fast before it turns into an aggressive rock golem. Space is a priority, so you can’t simply place a mine in every zone (but I would strongly recommend a defence tower in every zone.)

As just mentioned, the horse clan don’t need a mine for this, so they have an advantage here. What to do? Get friendly with the dwarves as fast as you can! As explained in factions, below, dwarves also do not need a mine to gather iron, stone, molten rock or gems.

(There’s also a bug where the spawned lava golem is reduced to 10% health but is neither alive nor dead. It won’t attack, but you can’t kill it. However, the zone is still treated as being engaged. When this happens, workers can’t work, clan members can’t be healed, nor can you destroy buildings. It’s basically a dead zone. All you can do is load an earlier save and hope it doesn’t reoccur. I don’t really do much PvP, but if it happened in PvP, you would be playing at a major disadvantage.)


A word on relics

Some relics, like Bragaful, are really conquest-specific, or strongly favour some clans and tactics over others.

Some clans have great, even game-changing relics. The Bear clan’s Scabbard of Gram is a must-have, as is the Dragon clan’s Skull of Hrungnir.

For other clans, it’s more, “yes, handy, but I’ve more important things to be working towards.” At least until you fully understand them, then it’s like, “Oh wow!”

The snake clan’s Gungnir is like that. OK, we get stealth. Stealthy units won’t get attacked by Defence Tower (unless or until they hit the tower). The general tactic (as with all clans) is take out lightly or unprotect towers first. So what?

I’ll have to do a video, but you’d get the idea fast. With this relic, you send in the war chief solo to clear the workers, then send in a couple of skirmishers to attack the buildings. If it’s a market stall, they’ll loot gold until there’s none left (say 50g worth), and they set fire to it. Farms and the like reward food, loggers give wood and so forth. Then you retreat and look for the next zone to target before the guards arrive. (I have added a short video under clans to give you an idea of the looting aspect). You can’t decolonize the zone with the tower still standing, but the attrition takes its toll, while you profit.

Don’t underestimate the destruction power or a double or triple whammy, it’s a clan killer. For instance, Raven clan with the Mjollnir relic can hit a townhall with lightning, clearing the tile and setting fire to the buildings, then follow up with giants or 8 mercenaries and, if they have cleared a path, attack themselves. If not, they can attack another area as a diversion.


Factions

Friends in high (and low) places

Hmmm? Befriend, or wipe out? Why not both!? Not how I would play, nor what I’d would ever recommend, but AI in challenges is quite ruthless for befriending factions like the Dwarves, then wiping them out. (You lose Fate betraying like that).

For all factions, peace and passage through their territory are a benefit, but there’s more.


Jötunn (Giants)

Befriending these gentle giants rewards you with a powerful Jotunn warrior, which swings many battles in your favour. Try not to get him killed. Or them! It should be noted that it is possible to befriend two or more Jotunn clans, each of which would give you a giant ally.

Will reward one clan, the first to befriend them.

In Northgard diplomacy can stack too
{ In Northgard diplomacy can stack too }

Dwarves

Trading with them via your merchant will give you stone and iron for a while, so there’s that, but the real reason is getting two of them to join you.

For a start, they can forge and mine faster than your villagers, so that’s a bonus.

More importantly, Dwarves do not need a mine to harvest stone or iron!
No cost and no inconvenience to leaving (or clearing) space for a mine. This is particularly useful in the volcano zones where you have a short time to mine the raining magma (gaining stone) before it turns into a raging lava monster.

Will reward this for any clan that befriends them. As with the giants, if the map has more than one Dwarf clan or camp, you can befriend each, getting multiples of 2 Dwarves to join you.


Kobold

They are very aggressive if you expand next to their territory, but less aggressive if they expand to your borders. I tend to be ambivalent towards these annoyances. Yes, they can expand fast and hoover up territory you may have your eye on, but they can also put a barrier between you and other clans that may want to target you.

Once befriended, they will sell you their lands for gold.


Myrkalfar (Dark Elves)

They are a thoroughly annoying lot. Still, if you befriend them instead of trying to wipe them out (not an easy task) they are much more likely to target your opponents instead. Like the Jotunn, they only give this loyalty to their first friend.

I prefer to wipe them out (because they are annoying rather than the resources you gain), but having them (or multiple camps of them) on your side, harassing your enemies, that works too.
(The enemy of my enemy is my friend).


First past the post

There are three main ways to gain this friendship: selling them the resources they want via the market, offering wells, and trade Lore. However, these can stack up, greatly speeding up the process.

Varies with clan, but trade lore can give substantial bonuses to speed up friendship, typically 20%, but Goat clan get 50% bonus with Jotunn.

Selling NPC factions resources food will generally get you 0.1 per tick.
However, you can have several markets, selling stone, food, wood, iron and or gems, so the 0.1s stack up.

Putting down an offering well is a much better option as it gives 0.5 friendship per tick. You can normally* only place one such well per zone, but if the map and your expansions allow it, you can place additional wells in other adjoining zones, so the 0.5s also stack up.

*However, as Rat clan and taking the ‘Overcrowding’ lore (or getting it via the Mimirsbrunn tile) you can double up again. This gives you +1 per side on top of and trade. Cover 3 sides, you get +3 (to 18 per month) instead of 0.1 for just trading. This allows you to quickly befriend 3 or more factions (and also get the ‘Friendship is Magic’ achievement).

When looking at the resources bar, you can see the number of resources you have as well as the + income (or consumption) of the resource. The income amount is per tick, and each month consists of 6 ticks. So, if your food income is +6, that means you will have 36 more food each month.

Northgard wiki: Calendar: In-game Time and Real-time

The wiki talks in terms of 1 to 6 years, which about fits. In terms of time, every in-game month is 1 minute in real-time, which means a year in the game is 12 minutes.

.1 per tick is .6 per month, so it’s going to take a while like that. A market and an offering well (0.6) would be 43 months. Put down 3 wells, plus 2 merchants trades, that’s 1.2 per tick, 7.5 a month, just over 13 months. Having a Jotunn and or Dwarves on your team before the end of 802 is a game changer.


Growth

Negative growth

Going back to the start, with those ticks adding up, it’s easy to understand how having low or negative values for food and wood can seriously impact your growth and expansion.

And then there is Happiness!

Happiness is affected differently but this can be huge. Can’t remember precise growth figures, but if your happiness is 0 or less, you get no new villagers at all. At 0.1 it’s something like 1 every 72 days (crippling for Dragon class), but jumps to 1 every 24 days with happiness of 3.


Standard Clans

I’ll probably expand this at some point, but you can read the Northgard Clans page for more information, though it does favour sending you to Steam instead of just telling you, in which case the Northgard wiki might be a better option, though it needs upgrading.

Included with the base game are:

Stag clan
The stoics. They start with +75 food, wood and kröwns, and +40 Lore, and have lore more focused on Fate.

Goat clan
Survival experts and sheep herders. The hippies of the game.

Wolf clan
Hardy berserkers whose war chief can colonize zones for free, and who gain meat from animal kills (like wolves and bears).

Raven clan
Merchant focus and are able to hire mercenaries and marauders to attack your coast.

Bear clan
Stalwart protectors of the frigid land, have no winter penalty. Also, that bear of theirs is brutal. He can tackle a couple of bears or a pack of wolves with relative ease. Hard to beat.

Boar clan
If the goat clan are the hippies of the game, these are the druidic, tree-hugging hermits. They can colonize neutral zones with wildlife for an extra cost. Wolves and bears in the colonized zones become friendly and won’t attack them, thus acting as extra militia. Each additional territory gives +2 max population.


DLC clans

Snake clan

You start with your war chief. And she grows to be hard as nails. Do not underestimate. Probably the most fun class to play, I think.

The short clip below shows skirmishers from the Northgard Snake clan (DLC) employing the ‘Under Pressure’ lore to steal food and gold from a rival clan’s house and market. I’d previously destroyed the defence tower in an earlier attack, so I can’t show that aspect, but as I had the appropriate relic crafted, the tower would have ignored them, as would other traps.


Dragon clan

Slavers that need to sacrifice frequently or sink into depression. The level of micromanagement is annoying! This is the least enjoyable clan, but if you manage happiness and get the villager regeneration speed up, it’s more bearable. The key then to playing is getting your happiness constantly as high as possible so you can keep throwing the villagers into the fiery pits as they arrive. This clan does not have to endure the ‘Greed’ challenge in the campaign, be very glad of this! The dragonkin fighters are at tough as the war chief, which is good for a fast start, but you really need to have the relic ‘Skull of Hrungnir’ up and working as fast as possible so you can acquire one undead giant a year. Try not to lose them!


Horse clan

Have two leaders, Brok and Eitria. A crafting-focused clan that doesn’t require mine; the clan can grow fast.

Forging focused clan.

The sibling war chiefs are summoned from the Volund forge. Do not require iron to summon, but do cost 150g each.


Kraken clan

No sea trade and penalties as they move away from the shore, which can be countered by their wyrd. However, with several Norns generating wyrd, they can send wave after wave of spectral warriors to harass opponents, simultaneous dropping their opponent’s happiness by 10 points until dealt with. Also, early in the game, they can upgrade a Norn to a Valkyrie, who is actually tougher than the war chief.

As Kraken, getting 600 Wyrd for your first Valkyrie should be a primary focus.

Lore-orientated clan.


Ox clan

Their mighty leader, Torfin, only gets stronger as he gathers artefacts to equip. (You do not need to colonize zones to acquire the pieces, but you do have to clear them of active threats). Civilians and workers are harder to kill than other clans too. Self-destroyed building returns their original cost, which is great for moving buildings to better places. Also, Torfin has a ‘ram’ ability that unlocks with 500 fate; with it he can ram into an enemy building and destroy it, harvesting the cost (value of that building). You can’t destroy a town hall, but an altar is rewarding, but knocking down towers helps too. Can only be used once a year though.

HOWEVER, against that, it costs 15 iron and 250g just to recruit the war chief, which is a lot at the start. The first mission in the conquest is to be the first to kill 3 dragons. Given – on top of the cost – he also needs to find 3 artefacts to buff up, it’s all over before he’s even killed he is even close to killing his first. Tried four times, and finally managed with a decent map that gave just enough food but connected to Jotunn on two sides. I won by domination, going for the clans with dragon kills.

Buildings only take 1 worker, so if you wanted to win say a merchant event, you might need to build two trade stalls. Scouting is the same. If you want to have 2 scouts, you need two scout huts. The Greed challenge – campaign bonuses aside – you’d need SIX scout tents and as many ruins colonised to recruit the war chief – without Torfin to clear zones! Fortunately, one of the campaign bonus options is to reduce the cost of Torfin by 60%.

The key to this clan, I’ve found is to build a market second, to build up towards the krowns for the war chief. Once you have him and a few fighters it gets a lot easier.

The war chief is summoned from his throne.


Lynx clan

Beastmasters. I have so much hassle fighting these. The leader, Mielikki, is weak, but she has two big cats and can summon up to 6 more spiritual animals like bears, wolves and lynxes. One minute it’s a little old lady attacking your undefended farm, the next you are retreating as all these wild animals appear to attack you. The clan employs archers instead of axemen; they can do a lot of damage to opponents when upgraded. Note also that unlike the usual column-based military paths (e.g. focus on towers) these have a hunting trophy board to fill.

The war chief, Mielikki, and her cats are summoned from the archery range. They do not need iron to summon.


Squirrel clan

Foodies! If this were Middle-earth, they’d be Hobbits! Not big on fighting, they can win simply by cooking and feasting.

The war chief and head chef can be had free (first time via Lore), which is a good early start. Against this, they are the weakest clan in the game and suffer massive penalties in winter, needing 15% more food on top of winter and blizzard penalties. Without question, they are the least fun and most frustrating to play. They are weak at attack and pathetic at defence and basically grumbling if they haven’t had their second breakfast before elevenses!

To cook the feasts, click on the recipe, then the cauldron below.


Rat clan
Outcasts and scavengers, their zerg-style shaman attacks are not to be underestimated! ‘Shareable’, on their lore tree, can also give them a considerable advantage, particularly when food sources are sparse as they can double up workers (as with the Megastore achievement mentioned near the start). e.g. Have two hunter cabins in the same zone, both taking advantage of the silo boost to productivity.

They are, it seems, sadomasochists and most happy when they are miserable and are willing to work themselves to death to get productivity. The associated sounds when they are overworked is inspired. well if you your inspiration is Russian gulags and dystopian factories. Funny to play ‘cos they make me think of Skaven.

“Fire-fire at the man-things”
“Die-die, quick quick”

Rat clan do not have houses to build, or healers, which makes things easier. Shaman will heal civilians if they have nothing better to do, but be aware that doing so can prevent you summoning the clan war chief.

The war chief requires just 150g to recruit, but she wants to see a ten units hurting first!


Eagle clan

Explorers, scouts and scavengers, these survivors can harvest outside their own territory. Their hidden caches yield resources such as food, gold and iron. Can explore ruins and shipwrecks twice.

Eagle clan use an aviary instead of a scout camp; this doesn’t use up a building slot. Their scouts – falconers – can’t get hurt when exploring, gain lore when exploring new terrain and, importantly, can explore ruins and shipwrecks without you having to colonise first.

Their first challenge in conquest is Greed though! Took me about 5 attempts before I got a map I could make any real progress with. Needless to say, I had to find one with lots of ruins close to unlock the war chief. (That Greed challenge, I tell y’!)


Cheating to win, sort of

You can’t do this with PvP, obviously, but in campaigns and challenges, you can save at the start, build two scout camps and then send out four villagers to map all they can. Then go and do something else for a bit! This way, you see where the resources are, the opposing clans, friendly factions like Jotunn – or the giant boar. Honestly, between battling an unplayable map and doing this while you go off to eat your dinner, it can save a lot of frustration, sometimes.

I’m all for the extreme experience as a challenge but constantly micromanaging some of the maps just is not fun. Also, though extremely rare, it can happen that the map generates in such a way that the challenge is unbeatable! I had one challenge where you had to dominate the map and control the central zone. However, the lakes and cliffs were positioned in just such a way that you couldn’t attack the last Clan. To make it worse, the last clan was the Kraken and while they could and did enthusiastically send wave after wave of spectres to harass you, you couldn’t retaliate.

I haven’t tried harder settings yet, but here’s what one neutral reviewer wrote:

If you want to play vs hard or extreme AI, be prepared for some absolute ????????. There is zero balance, the AI can and will cheat at everything (resources, cooldowns, population) in order to try and beat you by absolute brute force, and the Conquest mode is borderline unplayable IMO, even on easy difficulties with co-op, without lucky map generation.

The AI, well, yes, it’s brutally sophisticated. Impresses the heck out of me!

Conquest mode, meh! He should read my guide; he’d find it easier! ;)

The map generation, yes, to a point. In PvP and custom matches you can set the map to be equal and balanced. However, in the default ‘as it comes’ random generation, it’s all over the place. If I spend too long on a map I will just restart a new one. Occasionally you will get a map and within a few minutes of exploration decide, “OK, only one food, no iron, this is a bust” and walk away. But sometimes, it may turn out, you had a number of great resources within 3 or 4 zones to make up for it.

And sometimes you don’t. RNG is RNG, always.


Hard to achieve Northgard achievements:

Most achievement are simply a matter of happening on them in play, or endless grind (50 wins as… 1,000 wins total), so not really hard as such.


Custom solution

The easiest way to get them is by setting a custom game in your favour, picking the map, challenges, allies and opponents that give you the best advantage (or not?).

For instance, custom map, dual, set yourself as Raven, set the challenge as trade commerce, and your opponent as Kraken. What happens? Kraken can’t have ships, so can only win by domination, but they can’t easily colonise inland, so make the map large. They can harass with undead, but you can return the favour with giants and mercenaries. As long as you protect your townhall and harbour, easy win.

Mostly I go with the Goat or Squirrel clan as the opponent as they are the weakest and least aggressive. Zerg across the map, batter them before them can get established, own the map. Done. Or corral them and play for your achievement.

You could consider this gaming the system, but if the achievement is “get 1,000 wins” you just are not going to play endlessly on extreme, you just want it done. Playing for one win a day is 3 years to achieve. You could do it in 3 or 4 months with 10 wins a day, playing all day. (Even Zerging on a small map, it’s up to an hour a game).


Seasonal

Some are seasonal events such as the Christmas/winter event, “Do you want to build a snowman?” (requires an idle villager, and the event, of course).


One rewards treasure (silver bars) but not a Steam achievement (as yet), this being the Halloween event, Spooky.
Along with this came a spider, or not, in the form of the option to turn spiders into “Not a Spiders” (sic).


RNG achievements

Others are a mixture of luck, observation and perseverance, such as the economy expedition mission, ‘Cold War‘ (maintain “eavesdropping” rivalry for two years with a clan doing the same as you).
I suppose you can ‘cheat’ this one with an invite only PvP multiplayer map, playing against a friend.


Mass purification‘ is similar, as it needs 8 sick people at once and the healing tile to Cleanse colonized. Mostly you only get 4 sick, but I’ve had 12 or more, so it can be engineered, probably by starving them and or manipulating a rat plague. Save, drag all the healers and providers away to idle and watch them suffer. Cleanse, then, achievement done, reload.


RTFM, perhaps?

Spygames

Another strange one is ‘Spygame‘ (‘Send a scout to spy on 3 different clan’s Town hall in a single game’).
As I don’t have this one yet I assume the wording is precise, so just have the one scout and don’t let them die. The game does like to be precise sometimes, so assume the Lynx clan cats scouting doesn’t count, nor Eagle clans falconers, because it asks for a scout. This would make it similar to the Boar clan’s 12 mender achievement, so getting 12 healers with another clan does nothing, as it is Boar and Mender specific.

Oh! Right, spy on the actual building! Got it! I’d assumed the tile rather than the building. Obvious, when you realise. D’oh!

Northgard spygame achievement - spy on the townhall
{ Northgard ‘Spygame’ achievement: spy on the actual Townhall }
Northgard spygames report
{ Northgard ‘spy games’ report }

It’s free real estate

Then there is the Rat clan’s “It’s free real estate” (House 10 villagers in neutral faction houses).

I shouldn’t have, but if I’m honest, I struggled to get this because I wasn’t paying attention! All you need is Invasion lore* and THEN have at the neutrals. One Myrkalfar camp was enough for me to get the achievement.

*(When killing neutral faction unit, you gain some of their tradeable resources. Neutral faction buildings can house additional population.”)
Literally a case of… Smiley says you need to read the manual


Great Defence

One or two however are a tad confounding, such as the Horse clan’s “Great Defence” (control 5 double upgraded Great Towers).

This is either bugged or it’s working as intended(!) as it cannot be achieved with the Guardian Military path. To me and clearly others as I had to find the solution on /reddit, this is very counter intuitive. This is a tower challenge, the Guardian path is a tower path, so obviously, that’s best, right? Well, no. I assume it’s because this path give 5 free upgrades, saving you farming 25 stone, but seeing as you can just buy it, I have to assume it’s either a bug or, arguably, a poor decision by the developers.


Eagle achievements

Airdropped supplies

Leave 200 supplies or more in loot pouches to be collected by your allies in a single game

The way to do this is 2v2 in a large map. (I went with Eagle clans vs Goat clans, domination to win). Rather than focus on your own expansion or the Goat clans, build up a small army, fight your way to your ally and clear all around for them. They collect the resources as they colonise new areas, so you want to be clearing the way for them. Takes quite a while but you can get there in the end.


Don’t kick the eagles nest
Blind six enemies or more in a single fight.

This achievement seems at first ridiculously challenging to get. It’s simple when you know how, but it’s tricksy.
Smiley Ummm
(Yes, /reddit helped )

You need the Blood Eagle lore for this:
(Falcons protect allied units in Boneyards by using Blind. A blinded unit will miss all its attacks for 3 seconds).

Ideally and in general, you want three aviaries, upgraded, doubling the number of falcons.

However, this not so straight-forward as you need to progress the lore and learn Rapine lore as well, or it won’t work. Strange, eh.
(Rapine: The Boneyard effect is applied to enemy decolonized zones. All your hawks gather resources from enemy buildings in the zone).

So, Blood eagle > (training field or military strategy) > Rapine.

THEN attack and DECOLONISE an enemy zone. Crucially, an attack that triggers a response.
Clearing any zone will cause a boneyard, but this achievement requires you to blind enemies in the triggered boneyard. So, you need the falcons circling and more enemies running in to respond with a counterattack.

NEXT, with the hawks circling, run away!
(The A.I is not completely stupid, it won’t always attack an army with a peasant and you want them to rush in and recover the tile.)

FINALLY, just send Grif in to taunt them and when they respond, run around the zone until you get the achievement. (Grif has her own hawk, effectively giving you up to 7 hawks)

Here’s the key: You need them alive, so no attacking, leave your falcons to blind them. Just use Grif and kite them around the zones until you get the achievement. :)

I can’t show the achievement popping up, as I already have it, but this is how:

{ How to complete the “Don’t kick the eagle’s nest” achievement }

If you watch, the boneyard is active for 2 minutes and in that time the warrior was blinded at least 20 times; you only need 6 times.


Extreme mode

I don’t have time to devote to this at present, but I have started doing the story in extreme mode. The first few, you can barely tell they are extreme. As you progress, and face enemy camps, it starts to get more challenging. Then you get to mission 6: Intervention, and it all unravels.

On normal, the enemy are not that hard, though beating them without a harbour takes longer and has Liv constantly nagging to build her port.

On extreme, the constant requests of the excessively needy Boar clan tears at your nerves!

Allow me to set the scene:
They have an established camp, while you have barely landed on their shore and are surrounding by a score of hungry wolves.
Do they come round with a roast stag and barrel of mead to welcome you to their land? Do they heck! They moan about what a hard time THEY are having: “Down on me luck, guv’, help a fellow Viking out, eh.” Wheedling done, they begin rattling their proverbial tin cup, begging for help and supplies. Naturally, by help, they don’t want a groat for a flagon of mead, oh no, they want 100 food, then 100 logs and then 100 krowns. And if you are dumb enough to do so, next year they will want 200 of each, then 300, then 400.
And if you don’t, if you let them down too often, you fail the mission. So, it’s not a request, it’s an unconditional demand.

Oh and they want you to destroy their enemy too, please.

So, you need to progress in the EXACT order, micromanaging almost every single second.
If you focus on town building and or expansion, you fail. If you focus on his unrelenting demands, you fail. If you focus on the enemy camp, you fail. Needy bastards! Push one way, the wolves take you from behind, push another you starve and the Boars still want their pound of flesh. Try to balance it and they are being overrun anyway because of how aggressively the enemy camp expands in extreme mode. It’s like banging your head against a brick wall!

It’s not that I can’t get there, eventually, but I have more important things to do and this is simply not fun. It’s not extreme in that it’s like PvP challenging, it’s more like being hounded by the tax man for year-end records and “why haven’t you completed form 1724c.1.12”? (What, declare all dragon eggs!? Huh? What dragon eggs? We carve grommets for longships!)

I gave up after a day of this and looked for a guide!

Funnily enough the guide suggests all the same things I do in general, but it more detailed and precise for these extreme challenges. There are one or two minor errors in guide, like suggesting Liv learns mining lore (which she doesn’t have), but otherwise it’s exceptionally helpful. I gave him ‘Take my points’, ‘Clever’ and ‘Extra helpful’ awards for his detailed work.

In the end I diverged from his guide, focusing on maxing the mercenaries at the forge before beginning raids and looting all the available ruins to fund the raids. Then I hit them with 3 or 4 attacks, one on first farm (explored via the harbour), then kept up the pressure on the town hall.

Due Norse: Comprehensive Extreme Mode Northgard Guide, By Mortified Penguin.

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