Surprise! War!

Turn Eight

So, last turn I said that Janvaldorf looked worrisome. Well, turns out they were a far more immediate danger than I thought.
invasion
Normally one would wait until there aren’t more indies left to do this, but apparently he doesn’t see me as much of a threat at all. Well, he’s probably right at this point. He has sacred deer with a W9 bless who can plow through what I’ve got pretty well, and I don’t have the research I need to tarpit them with the undead, meaning I’ll have to do ti with expensive units instead.

Also, Durholm won a clash against me, preventing me for encircling those provinces. That was probably accidental though.

Turn Nine

Durholm keeps expanding into lands I wanted, but it can’t be helped.
Janvaldorf tried to keep expanding into my land but couldn’t because I had an army there. He got two of my sacreds, I got three of his (which are 30 gold to mine at 23) and three of his infantry; I lost 46 gold to his 108. A nice showing for our first engagement, but not enough to really matter. Certainly not enough to counter the fact that he took a province I was building a fort in, that’s 800g from that alone. I can’t show the battle accurately since there’s a bug in Dominions where sometimes the battle you watch won’t accurately match the results, and that happened. It was sort of a skirmish anyway.

Turn Ten

I launched a proper offensive and was immediately swarmed by hobbits on birds.
fug

Turns out they’re not that tough.

yey

His deer successfully flank me though. Well, I say successfully, I didn’t really do anything to stop it.

deer

They kill some archers, but actually do surprisingly poorly at inflicting casualties there. I mean, they don’t really do that poorly, but for sacred cavalry with three attacks and a W9 bless they’re not doing nearly as well as one would think. My sacreds beat the pack of his sacreds that went for them, but take significant casualties. Part of that’s probably because the birds already softened them up. Oh, and I didn’t mention this but Janvaldorf apparently thought it would be a good idea to blow a bunch of gold on building up PD in this province. So those guys have entered the fight now.
why even
It doesn’t take long before my men have had enough.
results

In the end, it’s my loss. Now, I put a lot less resources into this fight, so a loss makes sense. And I have plenty of gold. The problem is, I have only one fort up now, and my worthwhile stuff costs a lot of resources, so I won’t have an easy time building up greater forces quickly. And until I can beat him decisively, it’ll be tough to take anything from him, especially since he’s willing to pour large amounts of gold into PD.

He caught me by surprise by using actual tactics, but I could fight this army with the one I’ll have shortly. On the other hand, with how much he spent on PD, maybe I should just go around. If I can make him do it more places, I’ll really be messing up his economy, and I’m probably going to be at this for a while, and I’ll be at a disadvantage at first. Though… With flying and stealthy units, he can out-raid me so maybe that’s not the best route either.

Turn Eleven

Janvaldorf took another minor province from me. I recruited some dudes, who I’ll inevitably show you in combat in a few turns. Nothing else of interest happened.

Some insight into thought processes: Janvaldorf spent enough gold on PD that he could have bought a fort with the gold. It won him the battle though, and inflicted substantial casualties on me, so I guess it was a good deal for him? It’s not a trade I would have made, but I guess he’s better off taking a gold-for-gold loss and trying to defeat me before I start hitting research goals, since mine come first and once I get there he’ll be at a substantial disadvantage until he hits Rain of Stones. Rain of Stones is not that great for him, since his mages that cast it aren’t that likely to survive it, but it will hurt my mages too. Probably. But Janvaldorf is definitely going for the fast approach anyway. I didn’t anticipate that, which actually screwed me fairly hard. Him taking my province where I was building a fort not only deprived me of the 800 gold invested, but also of having a second recruitment center, making this war much harder. It was important enough that I should have defended it more. The reason I didn’t is because the only one threatening it was Janvaldorf, and his nation has such a solid and varied array of troops that it didn’t occur to me that he would go for the (risky) bless rush strategy instead of first getting his income base sorted out.

I also think I probably should have been expanding with my abyssians rather than archers and sacreds. I think that they would have been able to get expansion parties out substantially quicker.

Here’s the map:
losing ground

Turn Twelve

spoopyI want him to attack me, rather than the other way around, denying him the defensive bonus of first turn action and, perhaps more importantly, those expensive PD he bought. I’m going to leave my army right where it is for now, and send some raiders along the north way. He’ll either have to attack, divert forces in a different direction to catch my raiders, or let me take back provinces. I can’t do this for too long, since he’s in a stronger position than me, but doing it for a turn or two may be enough to encourage him to attack. Otherwise I’ll reinforce a bit, then I’ll have to accept that he’s got a lot of PD, and attack.

Turn Thirteen

Good thing I waited, he had more coming.
more

In far brighter news, it seems I have an ally. And by “ally” I mean “someone who finished his expansion and is looking to expand into someone already at war”: A practical ally.

friends maybe
Naturally, this is in my short-term interests (and surviving is in my long-term interests) so I accede.
friends hopefully

Turn Fourteen

He has built a fort, right where I wanted to.
fort
This has three benefits to me. The first is that, when I take it, I will get a fort. The second is that when I take it, I will be denying him a greater amount of gold. And the third is that I very well may fight his units and his PD separately. The benefits to him are small. Since it’s near my capital, sieging it is not difficult to me. That will prevent him from recruiting anything. And once I hit Enchantment 5 (I’m at 2 now, as I’ve only been working at it for a short while) he will have very little recourse against me. Even now, I may well be able to beat him despite his greater numbers and his more exclusive unit gimmicks, simply because I have good armor and longbows. I’m going to move my army in to give it a shot now, anyway.

In other news, my raiding efforts to the north see (but have not encountered) his raiders. I’m anticipating a potential escalation on that front, but I think I have time before it becomes a real concern.
raiding
I’m not worried about the Lieneck forces to the north, if only because there’s nothing much I can do about it either way. I’m having to devote my full might to the war I’m in, two wars would end me.

Turn Fifteen

A bunch of things happened, one of which was very significant.
more raidingRaiders from my and his sides failed to meet each other, so we’re just trading provinces for now.

Waen says that he’s been blocked off by “multiple mages” in province 179 (fields of gold, with the throne) but will help me shortly, and he asks about their bless, which I tell him.

I also gt a little note from Durholm, who has been invaded by Lieneck. It’s written in the form of a SadPanda doujin description. I don’t think there’s a diplomatic purpose to the message other than that he thought it would be fun to write, but what he means by it is that he got cucked hard. He had to give up provinces to no gain.
ntrThis news is good for me because it means that neither of them is likely to attack me.

Now, the big event of the turn: I’ve sent my little army to besiege his fort. Here’s my forces:
kinda wimpy
As I suspected he might, he had his defensive force patrolling in addition to the province defense units.
how to fight this

pd burdsLike last time, his PD bird riders immediately engage, though the recruited ones hang back, presumably set to “hold and attack” to avoid them attacking too far ahead of the main forces and getting wiped out quickly. My Abysians should have been further away from my archers to counter this. There also should have been more of them. Anyway, the birds inflict light casualties, and then their reinforcements come.
many burds
A goodly amount of killing goes down, so much so that one of his bird squads actually flees – just in time for his deer riders to meet me.
deers now
Even my brave men must flee eventually.
fleeing
de feat

I lost by rather a lot. I need to come up with some kind of better strategy, because the one I’d want to use – just ramp the scale of my armies up – isn’t really viable while he controls more fortresses than I do. Problem is, what he’s got is a lot more versatile than what I’ve got. I’m worse off in every meaningful way.
He’ll likely use his victorious army to advance now – at least he’d be foolish not to – so I’m moving some more troops into place to receive them, but I expect an only somewhat less dismal result. It may be that I can no longer win this game. My best bet will be to hold out while Waen runs rampage on him and bide my time for an opportunity – assuming the trajectory of the game doesn’t change a lot very soon.

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