A few guides for some of the custom maps we play in the group, written by our members:

A guide to SWAT, courtesy of nooblade:
Useful links:

A guide for Parasite 2 courtesy of Slaanash and Darth Mario.

A guide to Castle Fight, courtesy of Darth Mario:
Castle Fight

The basics of gameplay are simple. You control a single worker, who constructs three kinds of buildings and can purchase items. The three types are: Unit Spawn, which create units that run at the opponents base and attack; Towers; which fire at attacking units; and Special Buildings, which have various effects to buff your units and hurt/debuff your enemy's. Castle Fight is played with two teams of workers facing off against one another. You win when you destroy your opponent's castle, although usually this is just a formality: a win is obvious before the castle comes under fire.

General unit information:

Units come in three types: Melee, Ranged and Air. In most cases, melee units can only attack other melee or ranged units, and ranged and air units can attack anyone. There are three major weapon types and three major armor types. These work somewhat like a game of rock-paper-scissors:

Normal damage is great against Medium armor, decent against Heavy, and poor against Light.
Magic damage is great against Heavy armor, decent against Light, and poor against Medium.
Piercing damage is great against Light armor, decent against Medium, and poor against Heavy.

This dynamic is probably the most crucial one to the game. Memorizing and following this chart is essential.

There are a few other types of damage and armor.

Chaos damage does it's full, normal damage against armor types. It is best used against Divine armor or as a poor man's siege unit, though is a good choice against anything.
Hero damage deals slightly increased damage to all three major armor types and Unarmored armor, and slightly higher than normal against Divine, but is poor against buildings. This is the best damage type in the game, only three units possess it (the Human Paladin, the Undead Skeleton General, and the Mechanical Adamantine Golem).
Siege damage is most often used against buildings. It deals reduced damage to all armor types except for Fortified and Unarmored. It should be used once your army is about to break into your opponent's base, since it is offensive in nature. It can also be used effectively against Unarmored enemies.

Unarmored armor takes slightly increased damage from all attack types except for Chaos. This is the usual armor type for casters, though a few other units possess this type. These units are weak, and should be protected, since any unit can kill them with relative ease.
Divine armor is the best in the game. It takes dramatically reduced damage from all damage types except for chaos (though it is slightly vulnerable to Hero damage). It can be used against almost any unit, especially units from the Orc, Human, High Elf and Corrupted races (these races either lack affordable Chaos damage or have none at all). Only three units have this armor type: the Undead Banshee, occasionally the Chaos Blood Fiend, and the Mechanical Adamantine Golem.
Fortified armor is the armor type of all buildings. It takes reduced damage from all damage types except from Chaos and Siege.


Humans are a good all-around race with cheap units.
Strengths: The Paladin is alternately known as the Imbadin. There is a good reason for this. Warlocks are excellent against swarms of enemy units. Defenders will essentially shut down ranged attackers.
Weaknesses: Despite what it says on the label, Warlocks deal spell damage, not chaos damage. This means that Divine armor units cannot be countered by humans. The human tower is poor.

Orcs, like humans, possess relatively cheap units. Their buffs are considered the best in the game. Orcs are a primarily ranged race.
Strengths: Buffs, buffs and more buffs. With Shamen, three different kinds of Kodo Riders, and Ceremonial Altars (name? I'm writing this without the game in front of me), Orcs make their teammates flat out better. They also have great debuffs, with the Wyvern's Slow Poison, the Serpent Rock, and the Troll Trapper's net.
Weaknesses: A lack of melee options. Orcs, like humans, completely lack chaos damage. Their tower is vulnerable to ground units.

High Elves, have the most expensive units in the game, but also have some of the strongest units.
Strengths: Power. The High Elves do everything well, from the Blademaster, a fast-attacking high damage melee unit, to the Master Archer, a ranged unit that does high damage and occasionally stuns an opponent, to the Sorceress/Wizard, which casts chain heal and chain lightning. Also, the City of Magic will disable 2-3 of your enemy's units at any time, and is extremely cost effective. Don't leave base without one. Or five.
Weaknesses: If you mess up, it's hard to recover. Since their units are so expensive, your enemy will outnumber you and will be able to respond to your builds faster than you can to theirs.

The other 6 races to come.

Building placement
The layout of each castle is as follows: From the castle go two lanes, one on the top, the other on the bottom. Between them and on their sides is area where buildings can be built. On their way to the enemy castle, the lanes pass through two walls; at each of these gates, the terrain subsides, so that ranged units that attack along the lane have to shoot up (and hence, tend to miss) when attacking targets more inside the castle.

So where is the right position to place what types of buildings?
Obviously, due to elevated terrain and the protection from melee units granted by the walls, the only two positions eligible for setting up the defense are the inner sides of the two walls. Since there are several reasons speaking in favour of setting up the defense as far back as possible (including: better protection for the castle itself, a more central position within the castle making it easier to reach coins (if any are in play), and more time for the troops to turn the battle on their own without endangering the fragile towers), the position to defend should be the inner wall.

Hence, towers should be built along the inner side of the inner wall. Always start building the towers at the middle of the wall, and go outwards from there - towers have enough range to protect both lanes easily even from the middle, and this way the big investment of a tower will be helpful no matter along which lane the danger approaches.
One very important thing to note about towers: They always draw the attention of all enemy units within their range upon themselves. If your team has a tower, other buildings will be attacked only if they can be attacked from out of the tower's range (or if the enemy has splash damage and targets normal units). Usually this also means that the tower gets absolute priority for repairing, as it will be the only thing attacked.

This also means that nothing must ever be built in the area between the inner and the outer wall - it won't be protected be the towers. There are no exceptions to this - building something outside the inner wall is practically suiciding it.

Creep spawning buildings can basically be placed whereever, there are a few things to note about them though:
  • Firstly, they obviously shouldn't be built along the inner wall - that place is reserved for towers.
  • Secondly, it is usually a good move to build some buildings along the inner sides of both lanes, starting right at the inner wall, so that these buildings make the way to the towers longer for melee units. The units need to be able to get out though, and since units appear below the building that spawns them, if the bottom line of buildings happens to be much shorter than the one on top, path-finding of the units on the top lane can be confused, causing them to march along the bottom lane, unnecessarily weakening the top lane, so ideally just have about 4 buildings built side by side from the wall to where the two lanes start to curve towards the castle on the inner side of each lane, and build the other creep-spawning buildings elsewhere.
  • Thirdly, buildings built at the outer side of the lanes, right at the inner wall, are just barely within tower range. This means ranged units can be able to attack them without entering tower range. Since the towers should, ideally, protect the entire base, if you are going to build on the outer side of the lanes, do so a few spaces away from the inner wall.
  • The middle, between the two lanes, right behind the towers, is where buildings helping with repairing go (like Naga Coral Statues or Goblin Spare Part Yards). Note there must be enough space for the builders to fit in so they can repair. Further back is a good place for air units, as from there they will be sent along the middle and engage whatever targets they spot first on either lane (meaning they will always help the lane where the battle is taking place closer to your castle, i.e. the one where things are going worse for your team, which is generally desirable).
  • Since units should arrive as soon as possible, creep-spawning buildings should ideally be built as much to the front as possible without endangering them.

Special buildings are usually rather costly and valuable, so they should be built as far in the back as possible, where they are save.

Since a lot of special buildings can deal area damage to the enemy base, it is usually best not to cluster up too much, especially not to cluster up the most valuable stuff too much.

(more to follow)

A guide to Island Defense, courtesy of u-gotNOgame.