Diplomacy?

Turn Seven

My cunning plan is undone:
oh well

That means I can’t properly encircle the valley and close it off. However, since I’m taking the eastern half of the valley and plan to expand further into it, Pangaea might well be a good target for a first war. But I’m not nearly ready for that, it’s not in my best interests to go to war until I can’t help it, and I’d rather take underground stuff before messing about on the surface, where I have a relative disadvantage.

I guess I should do some diplomacy though, eh?
diplomacy
Those words aren’t particularly honeyed, but it sets forth my expectations. He has no real reason to be apprehensive or alarmed by them either, they’re sort of the expectation for Agartha so it’s more or less what he’ll have expected when he saw my banner in the cave.

Turn Eight

I'm not the only want wanting diplomacy.
pangdiplo

I have little interest in his western forests – they would grant me access to that little sea and its throne, but it’s not worth going to war for, or at least not for quite a while. I don’t really like him mucking about in the hills above my head, but I think I’ll just have to accept it. Since we both proposed a similar deal, I’ll leave it at that for now. I’m still going to expand in his direction, though. Speaking of expansion, my new plan:

expand2

expand3

Turn Nine

The first throne has been claimed.
thronecap
That’s Tir na nÓg, presumably rolling with another Earth Serpent, unless he’s being deceptive in his naming choice. It’s only a level one throne, so there’s nothing really noteworthy or surprising about this.

Expansion was a bit of a toss-up this turn. For the first time this game, I took three provinces in a turn. So thats’s cool. Not so cool: the armies that did it were pretty much shattered. So much for that expansion plan I had. Those three armies need to regroup and reinforce.

And something kind of important has happened:
firstblood

Now, this could well be an accident. Xibalban units can fly three provinces, meaning they can expand further away than they can see, and this looks like a typical expansion party. And he may well have wanted to get underground; though Xibalba gets no special benefits for being underground, they can see in the dark which means they avoid the penalties most things get, and is thus a defensive advantage. And having the underground cave network for his mapmove 3 units would give him a huge benefit in his ability to insert troops up other nation’s assholes, which is already Xibalban specialty. So it makes sense that he’d come this way.
What’s more, he probably doesn’t have much interest in starting a fight this early, since there’s a big map to expand into and fighting before expansion is done is a good way to fall behind other nations by the midgame. The idea that this is an accident is further bolstered by his behavior elsewhere:

missed connection

Sadly it seems that the pain of timezones (also I have a busy schedule these days) has prevented our paths from intersecting in real-time.
Being near Xibalba is somewhat inevitable but still quite bad. We both really want the same land, and he has an advantage over me: He is a good raider with largely valueless troops and summons. I’m good at winning a stand-up fight, but I’m not so good against raiding and my units, especially olms, are kind of tough to replace. I need my stuff to stand up to his initial rush, but presumably his magic and bless should all be designed to counter that. Seems like I’d better start amassing earth elementals as soon as possible, since they’re cheapish and can at least take a hit.

Turn Ten

Xibalba apologized and offered me my province back, which could be a cunning ruse but I’m pretty certain it’s not. I’m taking it. Not much else happened, just troop movements towards eventual reinforcement and renewed expansion.

Turn Eleven

So, I’ve got some halfway decent scouting out now and…
bats everywhere
Bats everywhere. I’m glad that initial clash was resolved so peacefully. Hopefully someone else fights him first. He seemed to be on less polite terms with Pangaea earlier, so it might happen there? Anyway, I’m gonna keep my eyes open for an opportunity to undermine him, because I really don’t want him to fight me on even grounds.

Turn Thirteen

This turn, a random event took an important province that was keeping my western half attached to the east. That’s a lot of income lost this turn and next.

annoying

So I need to send a party there. Good thing I have a big one just ready, I guess. But my expansion is dismal right now.

pathetic

I need to get more forts up, and soon. For now though, I’m throwing up a temple in a cave. That’ll at least let me churn out more olms and basic troops there, even though I’d also like to get more mages going. I just need more gold. More and more and more gold.

Turn Fourteen

Something very unusual happened this turn: Literally nothing.
nothing

I’m just moving scouts about, accruing gold, and sending out armies. There’s three that will attack next turn, and since nothing big is happening, I’m going to do expansion vignettes of them.

seal the valley

Due to errors and dilly-dally, sealing the valley for my personal use has become a race against time. If there’s a good expansion army in Exag, strong enough to move to the Mounds of Dawn next turn, then I’ll have lost the opportunity to do so. If not – and Pangaea has had some expansion inefficiencies of his own in the past – I’ll take Mounds of Dawn next turn, then go north to prevent him from coming in even if the passes clear up. But otherwise, I need to focus on completing the ring around Schwarzenbruin, because it’s high-gold and thus I’d like to put a fort there. That means going south. I’ve got scouts at the ready to watch this closely.

Underlake

I’ve got my original army – the one with my prophet – headed into the lake finally. This is the army I’m most worried about, because it doesn’t have many troops at all. There’s eight olms and a scant dozen pale ones, at assorted equipment levels. Normally, I’d never treat this as a remotely viable expansion force, but in this case the enemy numbers are very low – scouting reports ten units, consisting of tritons and sea trolls plus a huge kraken. I’m hoping my olms will be enough to win this. If they don’t, I’ve completed a temple in Mush River that will allow me to reinforce from local recruits in a couple turns.

retake

I’m retaking Underquag. This army probably shouldn’t have any trouble but I don’t have much experience against vine things, so I’m always aware of the possibility of failure. That’s why the big mage – recruited mostly to site-search – is along for the ride. Assuming success, I think that army is going east for another try at the Clatspurs. I don’t want to leave them too long, although I’ve actually been given grace by Xibalba:
Clatspur treaty
As a show of good will, he decided to leave those to me, and I reciprocated by leaving him the forests. It’s all very friendly. Xibalba’s friendliness isn’t to be trusted, however, since he’s a nation of stealthy fliers. And he’s been friendly with other people in general. He can see Berytos’ capital apparently, which is interesting since Berytos always starts on a coast and there’s only a few places that could leave him, and he’s got a deal with Pangaea. Here’s that deal:

panxib dilpo

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