Another AAR: StaleWarriors

I’ve started another game, and this time I’m going with an awake expanding Earth Snake. It’s still Agartha. The gimmick of this game is that it’s huge.

1225 provinces
overallmap

25 players
playerlist

And more errors than you can shake a stick at
errors
Seriously, it took the admin all day just to get the thing to start.

So yeah, welcome to Stalewarriors.

Pretender

rockhardbaby
As before, I need money so I have order and growth. Growth in particular is going to be good this time around because it’s a big long game. Misfortune burned me last time, so I’m trying luck this time. And I’m taking less magic because really, getting more researchers will be a better solution.

Now, rather than taking a blessy olm or a lategame casting oracle, I’ve gone for an early expanding snake. An early game pretender may seem like a dumb choice on a map like this, and maybe it will turn out to be one. My thinking, though, is that the expansion phase will go on a long time (there’s 49 provinces per player) so every edge I can leverage there will repay itself many times over. And with a lot of land and time, fixing late game weaknesses won’t be a problem. It becomes proportionately less exorbitant to empower a high caster the bigger your empire is. But if I have a poor expansion, I’ll have a problem similar to Big Blog Club, where I can’t attain dominance in the midgame due to a poor early game. I might be going too far in the other direction, but we’ll see.

Turn One

Pretty standard. My commander becomes a prophet and my scout is sneaking to the surface to see what he can see. My earth snake could blindly expand against normal indies just fine, but this map has an adventure version and that version has special indies, some of which would be a problem. So for the first turn, he’s researching while we see what we’re up against. I’d like to get that surface entrance secure and then work on dominating the caverns, as is Agartha’s right.

Turn Two

I now see what’s near me.
capring

Mostly perfectly safe, but there’s a whole ton of troglodytes to my south. Those are dangerous to my Earth Snake, so I’ll wipe them out with a whole bunch of olms, at some point in the future. You’ll note that there’s a connection going off the edge of the screen. On this map, the caverns are drawn to the side of the main map, so that connects to my exit to the surface.

exit

My snake actually doesn’t see as well in the dark as the Agarthan natives do, and I’d like to get my doorstep secure – most nations start out above ground – so I’m sending my sneak that way. Plus there’s some really profitable-looking farms not far from there, and I should have plenty of time to claim them but it would be cool to have that whole little valley as an above-ground foothold since the mountains there all connect to my underground backyard.

backyard

With properly placed forts, I can spew olms and mages all over that area at a moment’s notice, and there’s big impassable ridges around it to three sides, with only circuitous paths, and a sea border to the north which I can enter but few other nations can.

Turn Five

So I’ve been busy in real life, and didn’t put a whole ton of effort into the blogging and testing, I just took my turns. Well, it’s come back to bite me.
FUCK
Turns out Bone Tribe Beast Hunters, with 18-damage spetums and 12 morale, are a match for an earth serpent even in fairly moderate numbers. Looks like my expansion gambit was basically a waste. Too bad too, it would have been awesome. Now I need to try to bring back my snake and also put out as many expansion parties as I can.

But hey, on the plus side, my normal expansion parties are doing their job well, taking the caverns with very minimal losses. And I did find a gold deposit. So if I can just get some more of those going, that’d be nice. Unfortunately, I need to make my new one a bit tougher than usual to replace the snake. I’m using the same strategy for expansion as I usually do with Agartha: Two turns worth of olms (fire closest) and pale ones (hold and defend in a line) for my usual parties. Here’s what that normally looks like in a fairly minimal version:

littleparty

I’ll need to pop out a three-turn version for the snake’s old job.

The snake’s old job, by the way, was to encircle the northeastern open part of this valley, in dark purple:
expansion plan
If I sent a party along that route, and another on the route in the west, then all I’d need is those three southern chokepoints to encircle the area. Between that and the generally reduced mobility of the mountains, it’d be really hard to raid this area. So I still want to take it.

Turn Six

My big snake-replacing army is ready, but now needs to make it to the front lines.
not a snake
My first army (which is prophet-supported) is tearing through indies easily and will be taking care of the western arc soon, so that just leaves a third army for the southern parts (scouting has shown no sign of foreign nations yet) and I’ll have my aboveground holdings. Thereafter, I’ll focus on consolidation and expansion through Agartha’s true heartland, the underground. Though of course, that’s already underway.

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