04-08-2012, 01:16 PM
Lesser Hivemind Node
I just went to process the turns and it looks like you've both set yourselves to AI?
Well fought, and it was nice of you all to keep playing past the point where others would decide they've already lost (when in most cases they can still significantly affect the outcome of the game!)
Bandar Log I never encountered, although they did ask me to jump on Man's back, several turns after Ulm, Man and Van had formed a sort of triumvirate. Late-game Bandar has mind hunt and some decent summons so I honestly was relieved they got stomped so early on. Actually, given how weakly they start maybe they could have been allowed to live for another few turns instead of another nation. Some earlier diplomacy might have helped. Unfortunately they started next to three non-compliant nations (Ulm and Man were allied, whilst R'lyeh hates everyone on the coast) and I could tell Man was looking to come out of the gates swinging based upon past experiences with their player.
Jotunheim was aggressive beyond their reach - they started by claiming a province in a foreign cap circle, then ignored my warnings to leave me some room to expand, and had multiple raiding parties set to make them the biggest nation in the game. However, they did not understand the strengths of their nation and tried to stop the werewolf apocalypse with a mix of PD and cheap giants when it is their expensive giants and goblins that are combat effective. The cheap giants and PD have trouble with independent infantry, let alone units with 11+ attack/def. The problem was, I think, that the expensive giants were SO expensive (and so few in number) that the sheer number of skinshifters and (later) vanir panicked their leadership.
The war with Jotunheim gave me Const, Conj and Ench sites, though I took quite a while to find the Ench site. The Conj site was on my border with Man (and basically won that war for me by letting me summon huge numbers of monsters after their armies started sieging the castle).
R'lyeh went AI too early, they ended up as the second most powerful nation when the game was called, and if they had allied with Man and Pythium would have given me much bigger headaches. They have some very powerful sneaky units and assassins so that would have been a real pain to deal with. Alternatively, if they had allied with me we would have seen a very different East vs. West endgame, which R'lyeh would probably have won by virtue of superior mages and it still being such a pain for me to go under water. That's why I have longships!
Ulm was never quite on-target - at first they ceded land in their cap circle to another player, and then they tried an unprepared assault on a nation with mind hunt, whilst ignoring the fact that they were basically pinning another nation into a corner. Yes, I did some duplicitous diplomacy and was the first one to take a territory under the control of the Triumvirate. However, I was pinned and Ulm had picked up a province I told him I wanted, so...
The last crusade was an interesting move, but was ultimately countered by the preparations I'd made for the inevitable war with Man. I didn't realise that Arrow Fend would work so well against Ulm when I rushed for it.
Shortly before the War with Ulm started I managed to find a site with astral casters, or else I suspect we'd now be praising some Fountain instead of the Grand Enchantress.
Man got caught up in the pace of other players. He played fairly and well (despite my initial misgivings about him wanting to stick stealth units everywhere in my territory he didn't actually do so with particular enthusiasm or without warning) but wasn't able to leverage his stealth and missile fire advantages against me, partly due to interference by R'lyeh and partly due to my paranoia-driven research and lucky sites.
Meanwhile I found a site with astral casters, or else I suspect we'd now be praising some fountain instead of the Grand Enchantress.
Pythium is an absolute powerhouse of a nation if used correctly. Hydras and Mind Hunt are an extremely potent combination that let them pick off raiders or mop up big armies at will. The only surprise was that they didn't do better - early wars with R'lyeh stunted their growth just enough that by the time we came to blows I was that fraction of a step ahead. Butterfly effects followed on. I was worried for a while about the Angels, and their potential for simply flying over my armies and raiding my rear territories, but that never actually happened. After some VERY lucky battles on my part it came down to economic warfare, and by that point I had more than half of the land provinces on the map.
(Also yes, I think it's pretty obvious by now that I tried - and succeeded - to get Pyth and Ulm to fight so they'd be weakened enough for me to eat the loser. Which I was 85% sure was going to be Ulm due to Mind Hunt. The Ulmish armies were actually much tougher than I expected, just not tough in the ways they needed to be.)
Have some screengrabs:
(Estimated Territories circa turn 20ish)
(A few turns later, with mark up of key sites - but several are guessed. I never did find R'lyeh's capital).
(What the last few turns have looked like. Lots of money, large monsters, huge armies, Death Himself)
(One of my Elemental Royals kitted up, who got to fight in all of one battle)
04-08-2012, 10:25 PM
I have somewhere an AAR up to turn 13, most significantly it includes my thoughts and plans for my side. But I can't find it.
In brief summery then:-
My build was centered around my sacred units, the knights of avalon are, in my original estimation, double hard bast**d's, I used my pretender to help fix their weakness of fatigue which also bumped up their protection and morale.
I fully intended to have squads of 10 to 20 knights with their monk leaders blessing them infiltrating everywhere but R'lyeh! happened and I ended up massing them to counter him in the early stages which was a bad side track which kept extending.
Early game was on track, I squashed Bandar Log but was then hemmed in by my alliances, my original plan focus on construction 6, get in the water and take over R'lyeh, with that territory that (hopefully) others weren't equipped to conquer i'd then turn on the other land nations.
In reality I only really recruited the mother casters for research, having been put off by my very first crone coming out the door diseased, I badly lagged on research and ended up relying on ulm for magic items to get into the water which of course was never going to turn out well but after a point the plan had inertia.
I think it's entirely possible that if vanheim and man had swapped places and the need to defend against R'lyeh then I'd be victorious here as it is I just couldn't justify starting a second war given the troops I needed to defend against him.
Last edited by Jarvis; 04-08-2012 at 10:27 PM.
04-08-2012, 11:08 PM
Lesser Hivemind Node
I don't think I saw a single Knight of Avalon in any battle where they could have made a real difference, but the Wardens seemed reasonably tough against thrice their number in standard troops or ~1.75x in national specials (Skinshifters). Which was about right for their cost. In most situations a lack of shield would have been ruinous for them, but you had the mixed fortune of facing nations that couldn't really use that against you. They weren't tough enough that I would have gone for an Earth 9/Dom10 build when I could have had something like a phoenix giving flaming, wind guided longbows everywhere, but that is a strategy shut down by anyone with air access for Arrow Fend or Storm/Fog Warriors. Which would have been me and maybe a percentage of Pythium's Arch Theurgs.
Ironically I was originally going to go for a similar stealth strategy - all my Vanir (including Van cavalry, Vanjarls, Vanherses and Vandrotts) were stealth capable but I only launched about two sneak attacks and recruited some 30-40 Van in total. Between my Dom7 and the high cost of the Van I coudln't really justify heavy investment for a unit of just four worthwhile rounds of attack (a spear and three javelins - no swords!), even if being mounted meant they dealt really well with fatigue and most units would never have hit them back due to obscene defensive scores. Instead, by the time I went to war with Man I was pulling in 40+ skinshifters a turn and had at least twenty Van commanders on the fronts purely to summon lightning bolts and winds.
Meanwhile I use the ships ability of my commanders (move through one sea province to another land province with your army) only once because I was landlocked. Even after I'd captured most of the coast. It might have helped in a defensive war against R'lyeh, but I'm not convinced the terrain was ideal for that. It would have required a lot of feinting and trapping.
When I first went to war with Ulm I was terrified it would get me killed. I knew Man had to attack me as part of the original informal alliance, because Ulm had you choked up in the middle and because holding R'lyehs water territories is nigh impossible for non-amphibious nations. Almost all of my troops were down south under the pretence of pressuring Pythium. (I got away with stacking up a decent number on Ulm's borders by claiming I had lots of Carpets, which was both a reasonable claim for my nation's paths/gems and made sense from a logistical point of view given the terrains and distances involved.)
Basically what I'm saying is we each played the others starting location and ideal strategy (me: troops, you: sacreds), but it worked out better for me after that One Battle At Gipha With The Summons.
I had a lucky starting location, lucky sites, and was luckily next to one of the nations that couldn't effectively choke me with PD or blockers.