There were a few false starts, but now we’re underway.
The province I started in is wasteland, which reduces income and that sucks. It’s also border mountain, which boosts resources, and that’s good. And it seems I have an okay amount of income anyway. Actually, there are issues with two province modifiers being applied to the same province so it could be that I’m only getting the modifiers from the border mountain, which reduces income less. There’s a lot of good gold-generating provinces in the neighborhood, those two farms to the south, and the city-farm on the other side of the pond there. We’ve got 300 provinces for 18 players so I may be able to get them. I hope so. I’m sending my spy out now and propheting my starting commander, for blessed expansion right out of the box.
Here’s what I’m doing for recruitment:
Longbows are great for ranged units, and they’re cheap, and if the enemy has shaky morale by the time our front lines meet, that’s good for expanding against indies since they often flee quite readily. My sacreds there are reasonably cost-effective even before the bless, and they’re good solid troops with it, they’ll make a nice front line. Of course, this is just one turn to supplement my starting army anyway. Future turns of recruitment will have two turns worth of pretty much the same thing. The mage I’m recruiting is destined to sitesearch. This game starts us with two provinces, so I already have a destination for him.
I can now see the indies around me.
Lots of generic troops everywhere but east. They’ll be easy enough to chew through with nothing special. The sea trolls and krakens in the water aren’t on the menu any time soon, but they wouldn’t be anyway, because I don’t have a great way to get underwater besides summoning the dead (which don’t need to breathe). Speaking of the dead, the last provinces is 50 units of mainly soulless and longdead horsemen. It’s also a border mountain province, meaning it will grant more resources to my capital than the other choice would. There’s not many of them and they’re not tough, so I’m not too worried, but my prophet (who was going along anyway, to bless) will now be on banishing duty. Here’s my tactics:
These are specialized anti-undead tactics, I expect them to be defeated before (or shortly after) they reach my ranks so everybody’s just chilling in the back while the archers and prophet do their work.
In response to typical diplomatic bluster and theorycrafting, someone’s done some test battles to see how well Seor’s sacreds work.
Diplomatically, Seor was brash and braggartly about this. Janvaldorf made a half-hearted attempt at arranging an anti-Seor coalition. That’s an endeavor doomed to failure, at least in the immediate case, because nobody knows if they’re near Seor yet. But poisoning public opinion against Seor is good for Janvaldorf, both because he really does have a lot to fear from those sacreds, as well all do, but also because previously, Janvaldorf was being referred to as an especially overpowered nation due to his diversity of strong options. Shifting the attention to someone else thus allows Janvaldorf to expand in peace, a bit further from the public eye.
Well, on to the turn itself.
This is the first battle of the game, and although my strategy worked as intended, it went worse than I hoped. I mean, still pretty good, but I had hoped to win without casualties. I probably would have if the wight mage hadn’t been there. Oh well, ultimately those casualties aren’t important.
Anyway, that party moves on to the next province, which has 30 militia. Rather than go into the city/farmland province, I’ll probably go around it. I imagine it’ll be well defended, so encircling it will secure it for me until later. without slowing my expansion. Also if I time things right, my first and second expansion parties could converge on that throne there, which should be enough to take it if it’s a level one throne.
My scout is headed off north since I already have conquest going southeast and intend for my next to go southwest. Annoyingly, neither of the provinces I have outside my capital have indie scouts yet. One has indie priests, which is nice, but I can’t spare a priest yet to build the temple which would allow me to recruit those priests.
There’s also a candle in my neighborhood which turned out to be him. Here’s the map:
Here’s the diplomacy:
I did as he asked and sent him a message suggesting that the entire round valley I’m in should be mine. I phrased it in such a way as to imply that I’m more or less in the middle, because if he thinks I’m nearby he’ll conceive any threat he might pose to me as consummately more dire, and I doubt he wants an early war with someone who hit 54 kills on turn three and may or may not be lying about it being a fluke. It is though, the kill number is only because a prophet happened to run into a bunch of undead, any nation could have done it if things worked out that way, and he’s unlikely to stay in the hall of fame for long. Not that it would matter if it did, he got heroic precision which is totally useless for someone that’s neither an archer nor a mage.
Since Waen said he wasn’t expanding into it now (implicitly allowing me the privilege) but wasn’t willing to definitively say that I can have it, I’m taking Ba’an Kish, the province in question. It may annoy him but if it was in his cap ring he’d have defended it more aggressively, and he’s far from the worst matchup I could have for first war, though he seems like a fun guy to play with so it would be a shame to take him out early.
I also want that, because I’ve decided my second fort is going in Flower Meadow Forest. It has 43 resources before forting and six (!) connections to land provinces, half of which are border mountains, so there will be a ton of resources available there. The downside is that to start it next turn I’ll have to reign in spending a bit or make it a palisade only.
My site searcher found nothing so he’s moving on, and my second army is ready so it’s moving out too. Here’s what’s in that army:
My second expansion party had zero casualties. It also revealed Waen’s expansion party.
Based on the location of his expansion party, the red-bounded area denotes where his capital is. The orange line isolates the area where it would be if he expanded on the first turn and moved this army further away from his capital each turn. I’m assuming that this army is his very first army for these purposes, which it might well be, as the unit types are correct for that. If it is, he’s had an admirably low level of casualties because he doesn’t start with that many troops. The purple lines are the shortest routes whereby his candle could have come into my land from his capital. In the top one, my dominion would have had to push out and replace his in Solian (the city) very quickly, which is possible but unlikely. In the eastern route, his dominion would have had to go through the Fields of Gold (throne province) and then been erased by an event.So that’s the even less likely possibility. Either way though, he threatens to come up to my realm through the Fields of Gold if I’m not fortunate. I’m going to send my expansion party there, because it looks like the guardians of a level one throne and I have a decent chance at success. If I fail, well, it’s not a huge deal.
Back on the west side though, I have to decide where I’m going. The visible movement order would put me in a province where my army and Waen’s would clash. An unplanned meetup in an indie province results in a battle, but is generally seen as an accident and not hostile. If I go there now and win, it might be my only chance to claim that province without war. If his forces get there first, fight the elephants, and then mine arrive, I stand a pretty good chance of wiping out his party and getting it. But if mine get there first, take casualties to the elephants, and then he arrives, it’ll be worse on me. And either way, I won’t be very well able to pretend I didn’t know there’d be a clash. I suppose it’s safer to go slightly to the north of that. Waen is definitely looking like my first war just because of proximity, but I want to research Horde of Skeletons first, and I haven’t even started on research. So I talked to him and he said he’d take that land, and I let him have it. It’s always better to make it sound like you’re doing someone a favor when you let them have something you wouldn’t have taken anyway. I may have accidentally implied I’d let him have the eastern throne, which I won’t, but I’ll apologize for that misunderstanding after I take it, or if I fail to take it then what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him.
In exchange he tells me that Janvaldorf is to my east and Panani is south of them. I don’t know how accurately he knows my position, but he has a whole lot of stealthy units. I hope that he’s wrong and Janvaldorf is southeast of me, because if not one of his borders will be the sea and I will look like an appealing target, and I will look like a good target to Panani as well. That would be bad, because I don’t have a good easily available counter to them other than the Guard Commander order, which will work but will result in long costly battles – potentially winning the war for me, but likely costly enough that neither I nor they would be in a good position to win the game afterwards. Janvaldorf also has easy access to Rain of Stones which, if he can use it well, will cause me a lot of problems. I hope he goes to war with Seor, like someone else has been trying to arrange.
Because my conquests brought in a nice 150g income, I’ve started my fort in Flowermeadow Forest this turn, and it’s a fortress rather than a palisade.
Bad turn for expansion. My risk on the throne province didn’t pay off. It’s full of heavy cavalry and wizards, so at least I know that for next time. My other expansion party succeeded but lost the infantry – which are my sacreds, so that bodes poorly for their future utility. It was a fir bolg province, but still.
I’ve encountered Janvaldorf to the east, which reveals that Waen wasn’t mistaken about our relative positions. And I can see Lieneck’s graphs, he’s more or less on par with me.
Nothing too exciting this turn. Here’s the world as I know it:
That’s Janvaldorf to the east, they’re expanding worryingly fast – first appeared there last turn, and now there’s three provinces I can see. That means either they’re intentionally pushing up against my border, or they have very efficient expansion. Either way, worrying for me. More problematic, those provinces they took all border the one where my fort is going up; they’re draining its potential resources. Perhaps Janvaldorf will be my first war. If so, they may well win.
You may also notice my expansion in the northwest. Assuming both of those are successful, that fortuitous mountain placement will allow me to encircle three provinces which I may then claim later.