War!

week3
I can see or have seen pretty much all of the south half of the map now. The only player I don’t see is Caelum, who is in the north, probably on top of the very tall mountain, and may or may not be getting rushed by Niefelheim. I have the greatest scout coverage of Yomi, and can see his entire nation. That’s not an accident.

Turn Sixteen

Yomi decided to go to my fortress, as I expected. Unfortunately, he has enough troops to breach the entrance of the palisade in one turn, my hastily recruited defenders weren’t enough to prevent that. Too bad, since I would have a bigger army to fight him with if it took just one more turn, but I think my throne-takers can handle this. My province defense1 fought him and so as a god I was watching over them and got a look at what we’re dealing with.

siegers

There’s nothing special here. Just troops. They can be incapacitated by a substantial number of olms and cleaned up by pale ones, with the olms picking up the slack if the pale ones break. Olms, with their life drain attack and the bonus defense and protection from E9W9, are actually pretty competent front-line troops. My mage support is scattered and it’ll take me another turn to get them into place, but I don’t actually expect to need them for this fight. That’s if I fight him now, mind. If he gets into the fort and butchers my sages, I’ll be sad but it might be better for this war, because my men will then sit outside and wait for their mage support to arrive with plenty of newly researched spells and gems to have fun with.

For tactics, I’m keeping more or less with what I’ve been doing, but with more magic. First of all, I’ve got a witch doctor lying around, so he’s coming with the army to cast Enlarge. It costs gems2 but I think it’s worth it, because my front-line boys have a poor attack score but if they can hit hard enough to kill in one attack then one is good enough. And it boosts HP as well. I think this will prevent enough casualties to be worth the gems, especially since I’ve got a pretty decent nature income now, without any particular outlet for it.
I’m “wasting” a good E2F1 mage on just H1 spells as well. It’s not what I’d like to do, but I need somebody to bless my olms, to avert possible casualties, and onis turn into ghost onis when they die, so somebody needs to banish that shit or they’ll just come right back. I wish I had an H3 handy.

relieftactics

Something that I’m more worried about, less because it’s dangerous in the long run and more because I don’t understand it, is some independent recruitment in Birth of Brothers.

indies

First of all, these guys are weak and (for their power) expensive, so unless Yomi’s a total scrub he didn’t recruit them just because he wanted troops. I think it’s most likely he didn’t realize my fort would give way so quickly, and wanted more warm bodies to throw against the walls. But now he knows he didn’t need them, and I don’t know what he’ll do with them. Throw them against my fort anyway? I think the army I have headed there would do okay even with that reinforcement, though I’m a bit worried. Nothing I can do about it though. Garrison the province to prevent me from raiding? That would be fine since I’m not going to raid anyway, which makes it the best case from my perspective. Or is he going to do some raiding of his own? If he raids, he’s liable to interfere with my reinforcement train. There’s an army coming through there, which should catch him, but it’s a small one. Good thing the bulk of my combat mages are also coming through.

cantrekthis

Turn Seventeen

I’ve received a token of support from Abysia.
funding
Unfortunately, it seems I’m going to need that luck.

Losing

I don’t want to lose my throne, especially since it’s just two more turns until it’ll have a fortress, so I’m moving my army there. He could take out my army without mage support, largely because my olms had trouble beating his magic resistance, so let’s see what happens when real mages get involved. They’re going to spam earth meld to keep his superior troops from engaging mine, which should give the olms plenty of time to do their job, and should also split his forces up allowing my pale ones to gang up on them in small groups, which should offset the fact that his troops are more skilled. I’ve also recruited 15 province defense there, which should help by providing more chaff and including a bunch of archers, who will increase the utility of my delaying tactics by making it rain on the enemy. I think I can win this, but I thought I could win the last one too. We’ll see. But the army in question here is much smaller, a bunch of goblins, and his big army would take longer to reach the throne. I think they’re going to go through the south towards my capital, but I’m going to let them take that province. In fact, if they want to walk right up to my capital I’ll let them, since that’s a more advantageous place for me to fight. But I’m recruiting troops in my capital while they march, and if that big army heads downstairs, what’s left of my surface-side army will be able to attack them from behind.

bakemonos

To help ensure that I actually can prevail in the caverns, as well as to ensure I’ll have some troops to draw on which can take out Yomi’s tougher units, I’m having my Earth Readers summon magma children and earth elementals.

Turn Eighteen

He didn’t attack Upper Wormwood this turn. He’s reinforcing his goblins in Lower Wormwood, presumably with intent to hit me harder next turn. This is a little bit bad because I want to benefit from the PD archers. In order to do so, I’m assigning my army to patrol3 instead of defend the province. The downside is that I’m putting all my eggs in one basket here. I could have my mages hide in the fort, and march up more mages from my capital, with earth elementals and magma children to help them out. But judging from how long my last fort took to fall, I doubt they’d get here in time. And it seems like if I can wipe this army out, I can push back to Swamp of the Caul pretty easy and have the momentum in my favor. So I’m going to wait for him to attack me, which in addition to the PD gives me the advantage that my turn comes first, which will allow some spells to get off quicker, although this matters way more in the late game than now.

Unrelated to the war, I had a scout check out the province with the powerful throne next to me. I’m not actually going to do anything about it for the foreseeable future, but here’s what that scout saw:

neterofkings

Turn Nineteen

Well, I intended to force a battle on the throne province, and sure enough:

Let’s see what happened then. He brought to the fight… Well, it’s the same army as before. I brought what I brought to the last fight, but I also have a bunch of archers, an earth elemental, and most importantly, five skilled mages.

readytorumble

The fight starts out with my mages self-buffing in order to get higher level spells as planned.
buffcycle

The province defense units (aside from the archers) decide to charge forward, and wind up doing a good job tying up enemy forces.
lemmings

That fight is then locked into place with earth meld spam.

earthmeld
Note the grey onis: the ones without visible eyes are just paralyzed but if they have red eyes it means I killed them. When an oni is killed, it becomes an oni spirit, and if the spirit escapes the fight, it comes back.
spiritseverywhere
These aren’t going to escape though, because besides the earth meld, my olms are paralyzing everybody. This leaves my troops free to kill fairly easily, and my mages, who are also priests, free to banish. The battle is essentially won.

battlewon

Yomi’s forces quickly realize that the day is lost, and everyone not currently paralyzed runs for the hills.

cowards

The mages, who are cowards and spent the entire battle far from the action, taking ineffectual potshots at my front line, are first to leave and it saves them. The others aren’t so lucky. My forces quickly chop through the paralyzed onis, and then delight in a victorious rampage as they drive the onis from the field, catching and killing almost all of them.

rekt

As for my own troops, well, front line fighters died. That’s to be expected, though my province defense absorbed a lot of it. And my stone hurlers, who ran to the front again, were killed. That was the last of them, which means that particular experiment is a failure, but it wasn’t particularly costly and I can hardly bring myself to be sad about it after such a nice victory. Speaking of ramifications of the victory, it’s time to press the advantage. I lost two other provinces which were basically undefended (note the crossed swords in the image) but I’m ready to take them back.

provinceloss

One of them contains the rest of his army (the bakemonos are clearly just an expansion force that I could eliminate at my leisure) so I think it’s a good idea to get rid of it quickly. It’s possible that I’ll lose, and risking my hero is bad, but everything else can easily be replaced by the army that I’ve been growing in my capital. I think I have a good shot though. I won’t have the advantage of the PD, but I’ve refined my scripting a bit since the last time. I don’t need quite that many earth melds, so I’ll add an earth might to the end of the cycle. Flame bolt didn’t seem to do that much good, so instead I’m switching it up for magma bolt, which shoots three blasts instead of one and does more damage, but has a smaller range. Hopefully they’ll actually be able to make the shot.

revisedmagery

The commanders, by the way, aren’t really there for any reason. One is the architect of the local palisade, the other I hired to move some troops Lower Wormwood just before Yomi came to take it, and he escaped and fled to Upper Wormwood.

Turn Twenty

Well, I’ve once more successfully engaged in battle right where I wanted to. His force is mostly the same but he’s added some wights, presumably with the intent to not lose again.

wight

They might actually be enough to foil my initial charge and dig through my pale ones without breaking. He also used his bless. It turns out he has an E9 bless (reinvigoration and protection) but unlike me, he has nothing else. Also unlike me, he doesn’t have a lot by way of sacred units to use the bless, there was only one in this battle. The first thing that happened was a lot of magma bolts, which worked well. They killed onis in one hit, most of the time, and lit a fire which burned their spirits to death shortly after. I’m definitely going to keep using it. Unfortunately, five turns of scripting4 isn’t enough. My mages soon fell back on easier spells and the onis make headway, meeting my front lines. They deal some damage, and the wights do as well, and casualties begin to rack up on both sides.

bloodbath

In the end, the majority of my pale ones are wiped out and the few remaining flee, but the battle is nearly one anyway, and the olms finish showing the onis why they cost fifty gold each. Their defensive bless helps a lot too, incidentally. Olms are normally considered ranged troops but I’m wondering if you couldn’t build a bless around making them front-line fighters since besides the +5 protection, which brings them up to a roughly average 10, they only have a very light bless applied to them now. Anyway, despite taking a few losses of their own the Olms quickly kill the remaining onis and chase their spirits off, finishing a few for good as they do so.

cowardlyghosts

Well, in the end it was a close battle. I gave better than I got and won the day, but it wasn’t like the last fight. I took far too many casualties, and far too many of my enemies escaped to fight another day.

slightlypyrrhic

I didn’t lose any mages, or many olms, but what troops I have, in many cases, fled. Some fled north to Upper Wormwood, some fled east to Pale Devil’s Cup, and some stuck it out and didn’t lee, and are now in Falterwood, basking in glory. Only one mage went north to Falterwood, so I’m going to have him chill for a turn, and recruit a retinue for him, and then he can take them around to reclaim territory in my backcountry that currently is currently under oni control but not secured with any significant force. As long as my main army keeps Yomi’s main army further away, that should be a safe job. As for my main army, it’s in dire need of reinforcements. Luckily, I have them, but it’ll take some time. I’m going to have the troops in Falterwood, victorious though they be, fall back to Pale Devil’s Cup. That will bring them into the company of those who fled, but I can also move troops to there directly from my capital. In my capital, I have a pretty nice set of summoned units (in addition to the recruited sorts I’ve been using) to form an army the likes of which Yomi simply can’t stand against.

fallback

I’ll be abandoning Falterwood to do this, but that’s a small matter. I don’t think Yomi will try to take in this upcoming turn, in which case I can be back before him5 in the following turn and to meet him with a defensive advantage6. If he does take it, well, I’ll have lost that but I wouldn’t have been able to beat a proper army with this tired one anyway. Once I have a potent army here, I’m going to march it into Swamp of the Caul, and retake it. Having seized that palisade, Yomi has three strongholds to my two, and I don’t want to let that economic advantage build up for too long. Especially since I paid for that fort and the lab in it, dammit.

Turn Twenty-One

So, it looks like Yomi’s trying a new solution to his economic troubles, which apparently he does indeed have despite a huge realm to draw from.

panicmode

Well, I’m Agartha. I have more earth gems than anyone. And his wights did do some damage to my boys. So I’ll apply some diplomacy to this situation. Well, it’s not exactly sweet-talking but this is an arena I can afford to engage Yomi in, and I could use some gold anyway.

happymerchant

While we’re on diplomacy, Lanka attacked me for no apparent reason in a province that makes no sense for him to attack. He lost, too. I’m inclined to forgive him on the logic of “no harm no foul” plus I can’t really fight him since Berytos is in the way. He can’t really fight me either.

why

I don’t get it. Did he just want the one province, and thought that antagonizing me would be fine since I’m playing with Yomi now? It’s not like he could mount a real force against me and I think he’s an experienced enough player that he shouldn’t be running on bad intel. Probably figured he could get it from me easy, I guess. I’m going to try to catch him in person before next turn.

Now then, back to the ongoing war.

losingground

Yomi did assault Falterwood, with what looks to be his main force. He also assaulted Pale Devil’s Cup, though I’m not sure how he got troops there. It didn’t matter, since it’s just his bakemono squad and was easily destroyed with no losses by my reinforced army. His third squad went to Upper Wormwood again, but they’re a small squad and they caught the army I made inside the castle, and so it has tons of defenders. He’s not going to be able to breach the walls. As a result, I’m thinking that after I send my main army to retake Falterwood, which is necessary as it’s a chokepoint, I’ll send it to the Swamp of the Caul instead of to Upper Wormwood. If I can push ahead, I can build a second army to liberate Upper Wormwood, and everything else behind the front lines. And I need to wrap this up as fast as I can because I’m falling way behind in the score graphs. We’ll see how things look next turn though. Here’s my army as it marches to Falterwood:

army

Turn Twenty-Two

Let’s see how the second reconquest of Falterwood went.

negroes

This force looks more or less like what they’ve fielded against me before, except for the addition of some PD. Perhaps they thought that wise after seeing how well it worked for me in the past?
The magma children are way up front, mostly because I don’t want them lighting my own troops on fire by accident, and they rush forward. This works pretty well, because they light the enemy force on fire right away and enemy casualties mount. Plus, Yomi has put his Aka-Onis on ranged instead of melee this time, and they throw fire which doesn’t really hurt magma children. But… Being up front, they’re still dropping like flies. They have low HP and their protection and defense are at the low end of average.

extinguished

Both the magma children and the Ao-onis are eliminated. Aka-onis and pale ones move forward to meet in battle.

another engagement

In the end I do win, but because they attacked earlier I’ve lost all of my summons. I’m continuing the trend of winning at a high cost.

deadchildren

I wanted to go straight to the Swamp of the Caul, but more enemies have been moved to Upper Wormwood, and at this rate the fort will fall in two months. So we’re going there first, then traveling through Lower Wormwood to the Swamp of the Caul. I’ve got a new army brewing in my capital again, and if necessary it can travel through Falterwood to reliberate that. This war is going to continue being costly as long as I don’t hold both Upper Wormwood and Swamp of the Caul, but once I do I can use the latter to head off Yomi advances. At least, that’s the plan.

doubling back

With 70 troops there, and so few of my own around, it’s possible I won’t win this. They’re militias and Ao-Onis, and seventy of the latter would defeat me. But I think they’re mostly militia, in which case I should be fine.

Next turn I will finally finish researching Evocation 4 which will give me access to Blade Wind. That’s a powerful spell that cuts right through poorly armored troops and should shred onis better than anything I’ve got going on right now. After that I’ll research Construction some more so I can finally delve into that area better. I especially want Earth Boots to power up my mages.

Turn Twenty-three

Well, that battle didn’t happen. I met no resistance at Upper Wormwood. I suspect Yomi rused me to keep my army away from Swamp of the Caul, letting him reinforce it. There’s now 80 units there, and the 80 that were sieging Upper Wormwood are marching to join them. With 160 defenders, the siege will be long and arduous. That means that in addition to a siege, I should prepare some troops to raid. I’m deploying a small army from my capital to do so, though it is lead by a single mage and won’t win a fight against a real army.

My scouts found something fun to the north:

busy

It looks like Abysia is at war with Machaka. This is very good for me, because it means Abysia is very unlikely to attack me. If he were to attack me now, I’d be screwed. It he leaves me alone, there’s nobody else who really can attack me so I should be fine to conquer and rebuild for a good while. Though I should still expedite things as much as possible. This also explains why Machaka stopped expanding in the sea: He had bigger fish to fry.

Turn Twenty-four

My advance was very successful.

invincible

The blade wind didn’t even achieve its fullest effect, since his troops were spread out, and it still wiped out the majority of his onis before the reached my front line. In addition, it seems my olms have reached the critical mass required that they can destroy enemies pretty efficiently just with the one damage that mind blast does. I think this army is bigger than it needs to be for this purpose, but we’ll see what happens in the future. On a less positive note, Yomi has sent an army to Falterwood again.

elites

He’s got a higher focus on the elites than on the smaller units (really sort of medium) that I’ve been chewing through with ease. Since his previous strategy wasn’t working, it makes sense that he would mix it up a bit, but more elite troops is a poor strategy against olms since it means that their attacks will be focused. Still, this is the biggest army of his I’ve seen. My main force could defeat it, I think, but the little raiding party I sent out from the capital can’t. Back they go.

I don’t know if they’re headed to Upper Wormwood or to my capital, which is a problem. If they go to my capital, well, it’s a better place to fight them since it’s a place of order, and I can accrue more summons as my armies weight for them. If they go to Upper Wormwood that’s even better, since I don’t actually really need or use it for anything besides breaking Yomi against. Either way, my main army is still headed for Swamp of the Caul, but I recruit some militia in Upper Wormood to slow down Yomi’s invasion if they go that route. If not I’ll pick them up eventually and add them to my army.

Final Thoughts

It’s late winter in year 2 of the ascension wars, and next month will be the beginning of year three. This year has been characterized by war, and as all wars it has been characterized by death and suffering. This war in particular has been bloody and hard-fought, with little progress made despite several major victories on the battlefield. If I can’t victoriously end it soon, my nation may be too weakened to stand against others.

endof3


  1. Province Defense (PD) are troops that are on permanent garrison in a province. Their cost rises exponentially as you buy more, but getting just a few is very cheap. For this reason, it’s customary to have one in every province, so that you can see enemy armies as they advance, but it’s rarely worth it to buy a lot. They replenish for free after battle (provided they win) but since they can’t be moved around, their utility is generally fairly limited. 
  2. Enlarge requires N2, the witch doctors have N1. However, mages can spend a gem to cast a spell of higher level than they normally could. 
  3. When an army is told to defend, and there’s a fort in the province, they’ll defend the fort. This has the unfortunate side effect that enemy armies can run rampant through the province, with only PD to stop them. Setting an army to patrol means that they’re out in the province itself. They search for brigands and political dissidents, which is the main function of patrolling in many cases, and it an enemy army appears, they engage. 
  4. In Dominions, you never control a battle directly, but can only issue tactics before battle. You can only give a commander specific tactics such as individual spells for the first five, and thereafter they get a general standing order, like “spells” in which their choices are often less optimal. Units only get the standing order. 
  5. The order that things happen during turns is sometimes important. Moving into territory that you control always happens before moving into territory that an enemy controls, so if I still control Falterwood I can get an army there to engage him from one province away before he invades. 
  6. In addition to having access to province defense, a defender in a battle gets the first turn. This doesn’t matter much for purely conventional engagements, but with mages and spellcasting it can allow a quite substantial advantage. 
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