Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic is the third entry in the award winning fantasy strategy series. This fan-favorite enhances the series' praised fusion of empire building, role-playing and tactical combat with the eerie Shadow World and battle with races never before seen, across new and diverse landscapes.
User reviews:
Very Positive (162 reviews) - 87% of the 162 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Oct 2010

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About This Game

Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic is the third entry in the award winning fantasy strategy series. This fan-favorite enhances the series' praised fusion of empire building, role-playing and tactical combat with the eerie Shadow World and battle with races never before seen, across new and diverse landscapes.
Combined with the option of creating a totally unique environment with the map generator and rewriting the history of this world through the enhanced campaign editor, you are ensured a constant stream of completely new game experiences.
Key features:
  • Features a full new Campaign with 5 episodes and 16 scenarios, with new characters and a new unfolding story. 19 stand-alone scenarios are included.
  • Revisions to the original 12 Age of Wonders races. Each race has a new city upgrade, which comes with a new unit. For example, the Elves can build a Secret Forest, which cloaks the town and produces Treemen.
  • Three entirely new races: The steppe roaming Nomads, the sinister Shadow Demons and the otherworldly Syrons.
  • Use diplomacy with your rivals as you see fit. Lay siege to enemy cities with a careful balance of tactical guile and magical augmentations. You might just be destined to become the greatest Wizard-King of all time.
  • Confront rivals in Multiplayer via a LAN or over the Internet for up to 8 players - options include Play by Email, Hot Seat, and the exciting Simultaneous-Turn System allowing all players to move at the same time!
  • Design your very own scenarios, heroes, items, and even new Wizards with the enhanced scenario editor, challenging others to triumph over your creation.
  • Use the random map generator to create new scenarios or multiplayer challenges at the click of one button!

System Requirements

    • OS: Windows 95 or later
    • Processor: Intel Pentium 300+ CPU
    • Memory: 64MB RAM
    • Graphics: DirectX compatible graphic card
    • Hard Drive: 500MB hard disk
Customer reviews
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Very Positive (162 reviews)
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123 reviews match the filters above ( Very Positive)
Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
114 of 120 people (95%) found this review helpful
6 people found this review funny
74.7 hrs on record
Posted: October 4, 2013
One of the best strategy games of all times if not the best. A turn based game that is nearly perfect at all levels. The game conquered my heart with its great ambiances and environments, magical songs, beautifully animated 2D units, great scenario, original playable races, badass characters, well-made dialogs and difficulty level. I consider this as the hardest strategy game that I have played. Custom scenarios were amazing and the editor tool was so easy to use. I ended up crating new maps although there were no one to play with. Imagine Warcraft III and Civilization IV combined.. No you don't need to imagine, because this game exists!

Cat humanoids called Tigrans, out of this world creatures Syrons, Dragonians, Arabian and Turkish inspired people Nomads, arctic hobbits, evil bug like creations Shadow Demons... Even goblins had their own race... All these original races are so remarkable and unforgottable and playing with them is still fun and intense even after a total of ten years.

Be whoever you want to be, add a character bio, put your photoshopped picture on it, create new heroes and lead them to fight... Fight aganst good or evil, it does not matter, because you don't always get to play with good leaders. Be an evil Elven wizard or be a heavenly good Orcish shaman. Summon beholders, elementals, dragons and crack the earth under their feet while you separate their army with your tornados.

Go deep in the woods, find camps and ask them if they want to join you. If they answer "No" then kill all of them and take their money. Get ready for more adventure, visit old ruins that are full of zombies and skeletons, steal baby dragons from their mothers, hire a drunk Dwarven engineer from tavern to protect you and improve their fighting skills in arena. Explore sunken shipwrecks and kill pirates, or just simply be a pirate!

Visit beautifully made underworld to catch some outlaws and find new allies, like Goblins, Tigrans and Dwarves. Trade spells with their leaders and expand your empire. Banish terrestrial beings from their homes and get extra money from it. Be a bad person for once in your life! They'll hate you, they'll talk about you and they'll fear you and your undead champions! Raze cities and loot them! Destroy empires and rise yours!

Open the doors of engineering schools and buy some flame throwers and baloons to fly over the mountain. Order them to build up a tank for you! Move your army into the tank and raze enemy's wall and ruin their buildings over their head, because you know that they deserve it!

Teleport to the Shadow world, exterminate all evil and good spirits! Stamp big insects, larvas and feel the beauty of this place. Help Syron giants and occupy demonic cities with their power. Enjoy the game, enjoy the gameplay, enoy the song, enjoy every step you make, every unit you kill and every hero you hire, every city you conquer, every mountain you climb, every cave you explore, every turn you make... Enjoy it!
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65 of 68 people (96%) found this review helpful
63.2 hrs on record
Posted: December 19, 2013
Insane fantasy 4x game with great multiplayer options!!! Random scenario generation and MODs make for tons of fun but beware, it's is quite difficult. Scales well to 1080p despite being ~12 years old.
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50 of 53 people (94%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
18.5 hrs on record
Posted: April 25, 2014
I have to say, this game is the end all, be all for turn based strategy games for me. As a long time fan of Heroes of Might and Magic 3, as well as other less well received TBS games, this one continues to shine and take up space on my hard drive. This purchase marks the 3rd time that I've bought the game. One hard copy, once on GOG, and now the steam version, almost soley so that I can review this bad boy. First of all, forget the campaigns. Games like these were MADE for the random maps. The campaigns, while entertaining, are really just long tutorials to ready you for the random map generator, which is where this game shines. 12 races, multiple combinations of magi, and a multitude of play styles lay before you. That enemy city before you just a little too tough to take? Scorch their lands and transform them to deserts and watch their populace riot from their discontent at their new, inhospitable world. A mountainrange in your way? Level the terrain and march your troops across it, backdooring your opponent into new depths of discontent. That being said, play it with your friends to elevate this game to the height that it deserves. This is the ultimate multiplayer strategy game. Get your friends together and LAN this game. You won't regret it.
After purchasing AOW III, I have to admit, while that game IS awesome, I still make time in my day to go back to Shadow Magic. It's well worth the time. Every ♥♥♥♥ing time. Stop reading this now and go buy this game. If you're a turn based strategy person, or just a strategy gamer at all, you owe it to yourself to play this game. Good luck, and may your wizard towers provide you all the spell range you require!

Disclaimer: I have literally played hundreds (and I don't mean one or two) of hours of this game and expect to play hundreds more. Buy it. you won't regret it.
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41 of 45 people (91%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
40.8 hrs on record
Posted: January 17, 2014
I would recommend anyone who enjoys turn based games to give Shadow Magic a shot. It is a of game that superficially seems rather simplistic with its movements and hex board, but upon closer inspection a plethora of various elements are revealed. This game can give several tactics, such as creating an amphibious army of dwarves, a flying army of leprechauns, and explosive goblins. The balance between unit production and economic policy focus is just right. The only downside that I could say about this game is the possibility that, due to how attacks and damage rolls are done, luck can ruin your day. That and heroes are arrow and bullet magnets because of how powerful they can be if they aren't restrained. Needless to say, these do not detract from the possibility of fielding an army of flying hobbits that can rain havoc and drop flaming meteors on fiendish skeletons. If that has any sort of appeal to you, pick this game up. And do note that there is a sequel, Age of Wonders 3, in the works.
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34 of 35 people (97%) found this review helpful
61.9 hrs on record
Posted: November 16, 2014
This game is as fun as the old Heroes of Might & Magic series or Disciples. I think it's very underrated. Deserves much more popularity...
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36 of 43 people (84%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
27.0 hrs on record
Posted: October 31, 2014
In this game, I spent my childhood and I really happy that this legendary turn-based strategy is in Steam.
All lovers of old-school strategies, join it.
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37 of 47 people (79%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
0.9 hrs on record
Posted: June 15, 2015
I have nearly 500 games in my Steam account, and the vast majority of them are still unplayed. So now I'm dedicating an hour to each of these games and writing a series of One Hour Reviews.

One Hour Reviews - Game 4
Age of Wonders - Shadow Magic
Purchase Date: 5/22/2014

I got this game, along with the original Age of Wonders in a Humble Bundle. I didn't warm up very well to the original, so my hopes were not very high for this one. So I was pleasantly surprised to find that none of the things that annoyed me about the original game are present here.

I jumped right into the tutorial. Compared to the original, the tutorial in this game is vastly improved. The tutorial, like the original, starts by covering the basics of movement around the map and claiming resources, but then proceeds into a lot more detail. I felt like I had a much better sense of what my options were and what I needed to be doing.

When I played the first Age of Wonders, I actually had to restart the tutorial because I died. What I appreciated about Shadow Magic is, it gave me a good sense of the difficulty right off the bat, but I didn't have to start the entire tutorial over. The very first fight I got in, a giant beetle ended up stomping my entire party. But the tutorial was written to expect this, so rather than having to start over, the tutorial used this experience as a teaching lesson on what to expect. I really appreicated that.

The graphics in Shadow Magic are better, but that is to be expected given the length of time between the games. I didn't care for the animations in the original, but here the units move more naturally. Also the game provided all the resolution choices I'd expect to see. I played at 1920x1080, and didn't have any problems with menus or reading text.

The actual gameplay itself seemed much like the same turn-based strategy from the original Age of Wonders, which itself brought back memories from the old Heroes of Might and Magic games. I have a feeling that I'd probably enjoy the original more now that I've played this tutorial and have a better grasp of the game.

The only thing that really annoyed me about Shadow Magic happend when I was trying to back out of a command that I was issuing to my party by hitting the escape key. This brought me out to the main menu. I then hit the Continue button, except this command will actually load your last saved game. I didn't have any save games yet so it ended up not doing anything. I wanted to resume my game, so I hit escape again thinking it would close the menu and take me back into the game, but instead it dumped me out to the desktop. And thus, my review ended about 8 minutes early.

I really didn't expect to like this game given my impression with the original. So in this case I am glad to be wrong. I'm looking forward to coming back and spending more time in the campaign.

Overall Recommendation: Keep
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25 of 29 people (86%) found this review helpful
216.1 hrs on record
Posted: August 18, 2013
A Civilization type game with Tolkeinesque races, such as Elves, Dwarves, Undead etc. Despite being ten years old, I still find it to be the best of its type.

Very similar to most other turn based strategy games, although the difficulty can be a barrier for new players. You control a race, build\control cities, produce armies and buildings and spend time either allying or destroying other races.

You control a Wizard on the map who acts as the races leader. Should the Wizard die without any means to revive, your race is defeated.

You can take over mines, mills, farms etc on the world map to give you gold per turn. You can use that gold to build and train units, however you have to be aware of how much your spending. Once you've trained units, you also need to pay them a wage per turn. If you don't have enough gold, they may get disgruntled and leave you - possible joining up with your foes! I like this because, rather than just duking it out on a battlefield, you can work on removing your enemies resources and forcing his army to dwindle without ever facing open war.

Bad points: the AI often makes nonsense moves, and the diplomacy towards AI is irrational - often they will offer an alliance, before instantly breaking it and declaring war against you. The Steam edition doesn't come with the MASSIVE manual that came with the CD version, so it's worth flicking through an online wiki to get to grips with the game. A tutorial is there, but it's pretty brief.

Best played against humans. There's online options, as well as a play by email function which I prefer and tend to be quite active on. The community is still going strong after so long, and maps can still be downloaded. Age of Wonders III is due in 2014, so if this looks too dated for you, might be worth holding out for that.
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21 of 25 people (84%) found this review helpful
35.6 hrs on record
Posted: May 27, 2014
Props again to my friend Red for gifting me this game. I'm actually going to make this review for Age of Wonders II, and this game as well...

The Age of Wonders series is a classic all-time favorite of mine in the case of the two, a challenging and enchanting strategy 4X game with spells, dragons, warriors, armies, everything. It allows you to personalize what kind of wizard you want to play as, how hard the enemies are, the setting you want to fight in, etc.. Haven't played through the campaigns fully for either, though. Nontheless, Age of Wonders II: The Wizard's Throne, and it's expansion-turned-sequel, Shadow Magic, are games that Fantasy and Strategy fans alike will be spellbound by. Shadow Magic also definately took what AoWII had, and did some improving touch ups on it but still made sure not to fix what isn't broke. But still tried some different things with new additions for bonuses and tactics. Such as looping the limited production queue if you want to build an army even when it's filled.

For both nostalgia and quality related reasons, an impressive 9/10 to both games.
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11 of 13 people (85%) found this review helpful
228.1 hrs on record
Posted: February 14, 2014
Age of Wonders Shadow Magic is a relatively unknown gem of a game. The entire game is turn-based, with the action happening at the strategic and tactical levels. As was normal for games of years past, this is a game where you will spend the vast majority of time poring over the hex-based maps; this holds true at the "world" level as well as the "battle" level.

A few things make it stand out of the pack. At it's core the Strategic level plays out VERY similar to a "civilization-lite" style game; establish cities, build and upgrade various structures, research "tech" (in this case various spells), and expand your empire across the map. On top of that, your faction leader can direclty influence gameplay through the casting of spells; some of these are "global", affecting the entirety of the map (or targetable upon an opponent), others are "permanent" (enchantments upon units), and yet others are direct-combat use (more on this later). Adding to this is a (VERY LIGHT) diplomacy and alignment component that can affect your race's interaction with other races; some races will ally with, some will tolerate, and others will outright rebel. The resoureces are limited to two; gold and mana. Both are generated through your settlements as well as from capturable nodes.

On top of a pretty good strategy-level is the tactical battle level. Rather than moving a stack of your units into a stack of enemy units and hoping you win (by the way, auto-resolve is available, but NOT recommended), the battles take place on another hex-based map. The terrain of these battlefields is directly based on the "world map" terrain as well; one of the weak points is the limited amount of maps that are available (a city map is the same for each person, with cosmetic changes based on the race of the owning city). However, environmental factors can impact the battles; for example, fire nodes will inginte all units dealing damage over time. Army stacks are limited to 8 units (8 individuals) per stack, but with proper placement (FLANKING) you can bring 2-3 stacks to bear at at time. Once the battles start, they play out very similar to a game of chess (or Final Fantasy Tactics, if you prefer). Each unit has movement allowances and various actions. Hero units up the ante on this with additional abilities, and ALL units can advance with experience earned (a couple racial units depend on levelling to "grow" into stronger units). Additionally, once engaged in battle, you can cast spells directly against units (or on your units to heal/buff/etc). Ultimately rather than relying on abstract stacks of units playing number wars, this game allows for a player with small unit tactical proficiency to shine.

The game comes with several campaigns, a couple dozen one-off scenarios, and the gem of it all; a pretty customizable random map generator. One can make an extremely large map with nothing but deserts and mountains (if so inclined), or a small forest map, or anything in between. Additionally, the random map allows for additional "layers" (underground and shadow realm) that maximize on some of the races' inherent abilites, adding more options and replayability.

AOW:SM is an older title, and one that will probably slip into obscurity. However, if you see it on-sale give it a go; for 5-10 bucks, you could do FAR worse and get MUCH less playability from a title.
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Recently Posted
149.5 hrs
Posted: October 2
This game crashes whenever I try to start a game. Please fix!

It works on capatability mode however
Helpful? Yes No Funny
78.4 hrs
Posted: September 17
Helpful? Yes No Funny
78.0 hrs
Posted: August 12
I love this game. I keep coming back to it. I only have about 80 hours on record because I had the CD for a long time. It eventually got too scratched to play. Finding this game on steam made me so happy.

This game is mod-able and there is still a community of people making maps for it. Check out "Age of Wonders II Heaven" for maps and mods.

I highly recomend this game.

And screw you Artica with your Ice Age spell! I worked hard to get the map looking good and you go and cover it with snow.
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0.6 hrs
Posted: July 4
Understand, my no vote is largely due to being mislead by Steam on this one. This game was NOT released in 2010, it is from 2003 (I hate when Steam lies about the release date!). My bad, I didn't dig deep enough. What this means is, it's VERY dated at this point, and unfortunately did not hold up well in my opinion. However, very few games do hold up for me after that long, so if you're a fan of old games, this is absolutely worth a look. For me, the outdated graphics and gameplay along with it only enlarging not scaling up to fit today's screen, and the audio balance issues (if you can hear voice over sound effects blow out speakers, and if sound is sane you can't hear the talking), just made it a non starter in my book. I have turn based games from this era that are still great, but this one isn't joining them. Had I played it a decade ago, I almost certainly would have spent days on it rather than minutes.
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56.2 hrs
Posted: July 4
Never trust a frostling.

Never hunt a dark elf.

Make sure to fill your cities with archers trained from a war shrine.
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0.9 hrs
Posted: July 1
i wish i had people to play with
:( but 5/5 love it. makes me not wanna off myself unless i lose
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9.4 hrs
Posted: June 3
This standalone remedies the errors made in AoW 2 and plays a lot more fluently. Some might even say it's better than the first one.
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201.7 hrs
Posted: May 16
Hi Steam. My computer won't let me play this game any more and I'm devestated. It says I'm logged in on another computer (which I'm not) and refuses to open. Please can you help me with this issue? It's one of my favourite games in the whole world.
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Brother Alpha
0.1 hrs
Posted: May 5
Ignore the lack of playing time with this review. I bought this game when it first came out and got this copy for free when I pre-ordered Age of Wonders III. Frankly, Age of Wonders is the best fantasy 4X series I've played. Shadow Magic was the best in the franchise, until Age of Wonders three came out. This is one of the best, "One more turn." games. The developers even put in a clock in the UI, because so many fans requested after playing for many hours longer than they intended.

If you like the genre, then this game is worth the $10. However, I would recommend spending $30 on the latest game.
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66.6 hrs
Posted: April 25
If you like Strategy games, than this is the ONE!
It is like Heroes of Might & Magic and Disciples 2 combined!
Those who played 80-90's games may know Master of Magic and I can say Age of Wonders is reincarnation
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