I guess technically this is a better start, but not by much.
Since it’s very unlikely that I’ll be able to take a throne right away, I still functionally have two border provinces. And despite appearances, neither is a mountain or border mountain or anything. That’s a big problem, because I need the resources from adjacent provinces to power my cap-only sacreds, which I need in order to deal with any provinces that have powerful indies.
For now, there’s little to do. I set a Sequani stargazer to recruit, because I need as many of those as I can get, and queue up a batch of javelineers. My testing has indicated that they’re the most resource-efficient against typical indie troops, though they struggle against anything much tougher than militia. I set research to Evocation. The first level of that gives me Star Fires, which isn’t that great but it will give my Sequani a productive combat thing to spam if they need to before I’m ready to do what I really want them for. After getting that first level, I’ll switch to Conjuration, which I want mostly for two reasons: At level five is the Boar of the Carnutes, which domsummons expendable sacreds, the reason for my bless. And at level four is Light of the Northern Star, which lets one of my big druids spend two pearls to add 1S to every astral caster on the field, changing my S1 Sequani into S2. The next thing I need is Evocation 5, which has Stellar Cascades and lets me fatigue pretty much any enemy out, making them weaker than my boars and eventually outright killing them. After that I’ll split my time between Construction, mostly for boosters, and Alteration, which has a number of useful spells in N and E. Earth has good stuff to deal with armored combatants, including the Curse of Stones which is a fatigue thing and thus synergizes well with Curse of Stones. It’s even conceivable, though not likely, that I’ll get Mother Oak, because although this is pretty late for a game where it’s rushed, there’s not really a big nature power like Pan in the game, Yomi and Niefelheim have native N access, but it’s not higher and Caelum has high N but only on a summon that comes latish in the research, so they’re not likely to make it a major strategy.
Of course, this is all way out in the future, so it’d likely to change before I get there. For now, I move my scout, prophet my starting commander, and that’s the turn.
Damn. One of the provinces is Barbarians, which will take several sacreds to beat, the throne is more barbarians (which isn’t terrible – if it was a level 3 throne, I might not be able to take it until early midgame) and the other has heavy cavalry. That said, I think it has a few heavy cavalry, because it lists militia, then light cavalry, and only then does it mention the heavy cavalry. Based on my testing, I should be able to make them rout using these tactics:
More cavalry than expected and the heavy cav made it right to the front, rather than letting me kill of the militia first. My troops broke and ran and were largely cut down as they did so. Looks like I’m going to have to spend an unfortunate amount of time building expansion parties.
Well, as long as that candle isn’t Helheim, it should be fine.
Completed evocation one, switched to Conjuration as planned.
Now to set out in search of that loftiest of goals: Actually expanding into my cap ring.
Well, at least it finally worked when I overdid it to this extent.
The battle wasn’t that exciting, I pretty much just overwhelmed them with a massive alpha strike. More rough to expand provinces have opened up, including more horses and one with 80 barbarians. I’m sending the mercs to the 80. There’s also a little province with 20 light infantry, militia, and archers, so I’ll sent a little squad of boar warriors to take that out.
In terrible news, that black candle and everything around it has cold scales now, so chances it’s giants and I’m getting rushed to death soon.
It’s cool though, because it got me a border province. Here’s what my map looks like now:
Notice that the Niefelheim flag is just where it was two turns ago, with no giants present. That’s good. It means that he’s not expanding this way, and is probably busy rushing someone else. As long as he’s occupied with that for a while, I’m safe, because once I get Stellar Cascade spam going, I’ll have a substantial advantage over him. Of course, right now he has an even bigger advantage over me than everyone else does, so I’m just gonna ignore him and hope he doesn’t decide I’m an easy snack. Because I am.
To the south you might see the word Helheim, that’s the capital and my scout found it. Nothing else interesting to say there, but I now know the approximate locations of Helheim, Nieflheim, Yomi, and Caelum. Because I haven’t yet conquered an indie province where I can hire scouts, I only yet know what’s in one direction.
This turn I’ve now started construction of a palisade in Lithia and a temple in Duh Vale. I’ll start another palisade in Helmshire soon, and that priest will wanted around building temples. Once I’m done needing the resources from my cap ring, I’ll start a palisade in Duh Vale too, and hopefully by then I’ll have Worshin, Andoria, and a few more provinces. Right now, the thing limiting my fort production is not gold but provinces, so I need to keep to work on that.
As an aside, you might see a little pale one sprite on the map. He popped up due to random event, and is an Earth Reader. While cool, this is of little practical consequence as all he has is two earth (nice, but I already have it on elder druids, with a chance of more) and one fire, which is new to me but still only one. Site-searching in fire is cool but is unlikely to change much in the grand scheme of things.