All races have their own quality's, as well as flaws. While the playable races (Human, Elves, Dwarves and Orcs) have the same overall strength, the "Unnamed Race" is much more powerful.
Each one has it's own soundtrack and graphics (different borders, mouse cursors and so on) depending on it's culture.
The Humans are all-rounders: They don't have very powerful units, but they can build them in accurate time. Humans are a trading folk, the only race for which it makes sense to build cities near the water. They are famous for their buildings and their cities grow fast. They deeply religious, so most of their special abilities depend on white magic.
Humans get 5 food from water squares. In each city built beside the water, they get 1 gold per turn for each city built beside the water.
The Elvish race is exclusive: Their units are expensive and therefore rare but powerful. Elves life long but their cities grow slowly. They are an old and mysterious folk, living in the forests and earning mana right from their population. There special abilities are very powerful and based on nature and elemental magic.
Elves receive 1 mana per turn for every 2.000 people living in a city. They receive 2 food from forest and forest cost them only 1 movement point.
The Dwarves are true warriors: Their fighters are feared by the enemies and their treasures are legendary. They live in small cities in the mountains and work hard. There smiths are well known for their magic weapons and artefacts, so there special abilities concentrate on the creation of magical items for their heroes.
Dwarves receive 2 food from each mountain and 1 extra production point for every 1.000 people living in a city. Their movement cost on mountains is only 2.
The Orcs are a cunning race: They grow even faster than the humans and if nobody stops them they can overrun the others with their moderately powerful but very cheap units. They can build strange war machines and they live near the swamps were they draw mana for there dark magic rituals. All others hate their special abilities: From spying to sabotage they know all the dirty tricks.
The Orcs receive 2 food from each swamp field and movement in swamps cost them only 1 movement point.
The Unnamed Race:
The Unnamed Race is something really special: Controlled by the Dark Lord they are a mighty army. They are undead and demons so they don't need to eat, this allows them to grow quickly and build lots of units. They don't have any heroes, but some of their "normal" units are nearly as powerful! Their special abilities seem to be devastating spells based on black magic.