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VBM wins 5204
#1
5204 ended today and my dreams of a podium finish in this one were dashed. Though Budapest may be the most invaded area in history, it holds nothing on 5204 Alamaze.

1 GN Vball Michael 17,820 21,890
2 LI Canticar 9,830 12,910
3 DW Lord Moontree 7,555 11,929
4 DU DuPont 8,680 11,885
5 SO Son of Conan 8,055 11,727
6 AT Holding For Player 2,700 5,145
7 NE Eregnon the Black 3,000 4,475

Oakendell (1) Druid
Northern Mists (2) NA
Talking Mountains (3) NA
Torvale (4) Gnome
Amberland (5) Gnome
Eastern Steppes (6) Lizard Men
Runnimede (7) Gnome
Arcania (8) Gnome
Synisvania (9) Lizard Men
Southern Sands (10) NA

Months ago, I began this campaign, developed, struggled, defended, attacked, researched, studied and ultimately succumbed. Too sad my story, though it needs be told.

There I was, a starry-eyed youth of a ruler with a dream of conquering Alamaze as the leader of the unparallelled sorceror kingdom. But first, I would have to take Torvale. With only 10 kingdoms in the world, I had no worries of some dispersed kingdom interfering. Sadly, though, as I looked around, I realized I was surrounded by kingdoms with veteran leaders (DuPont to my north, IT to my east, VBM to my south). This would not be easy. Right away, the intrepid Atlantians took the first council seat while I stayed low and moved to my city. With a slow start, I only found 2 villages and a town. I took my usual rewards of influence, governor and gold. Thus began our quest.
The Nomad took the second seat while I started conquering (accidentally capturing a Druid agent - serves him right spying in my region). I found enough towns and villages to conquer Torvale, but it would take a couple of turns. In the third month, a couple of over-achievers took their regions (Druid and Sacred Order) and the Gnome took the third council seat. Most of the rest of us took our regions on turn 4 (Necro, Dwarf, Atlantians, Gnomes, Lizards and of course the unstoppable Sorcerors) while the Illusionist took the fourth seat. I found my first unusual sighting and it was time to start working on my early objectives (17 influence, 2 princes, own a region, and 3 level 7 agents) - all within my control, all achievable by turn 10. Then the Lizards take the fifth council seat and the Illusionist and Nomads take the two final regions and all is set for a campaign.
In the sixth month, I secured 100% of my region, found a weird magical Plow, and tried to find cool ways to entertain my bored peasants. At the first counting, the Dwarf and Nomad are out in front and I am around the middle. Enemy declarations begin in the seventh month, while I am just laying low, granting titles like a madman, funding agents and mages, and generally just hoping people forget we exist for a while. I did find a cool portal to Synisvania, but covered it with weeds and left it alone. Found a beautiful maiden who wanted to be a priestess, but had to lock her up to protect her from my troops. My first foray into the world was finding a Druid Duke and trying to bribe him. But he had no skeletons for sale, or maybe he just didn't like me. From the declarations, it looks like Illusionist and Nomad are fighting, and maybe the Dwarf and Sacred Order are both bothering the Necro. Found a nice ring of protection and I scared away a youthful looking male at a mysterious pond. Month 9 and my early strategics are ready to go. Claim my usual in month ten of gold twice, influence twice, and an adept. Also grabbed a P2 wizard from that mysterious pond. My wizards seem slow, so I need to move along. Not surprisingly, Northern Mist goes neutral. Torvale has been peaceful under my wise rule so I start looking around for towns and villages in neighboring regions. By the 12th month, I am still in the middle of the pack, but I like my 6 princes, handful of agents above level 10, and 6 wizards Power 4 and above. Dwarf and Gnome are leading the pack. The next few months are boring, but I do find a hot princess, arrange plans to invade the leader (Dwarf in Talking), and located the Sacred capital at Avalon. In the meantime, there are enemies declared all over the place, rulers getting captured, cities changing hands, arcania uncontrolled, dwarf taking northern mists and begging to be put down like a rabid dog, and I in the meantime just finding staves and spears and crap like that while important stuff is happening elsewhere. With 8 power 6 wizards and 7 princes, it is time to move. In the 16th month, I move all of my princes to an Amberland stopover point on my way to Talking, and send 3 invisible groups teleporting there. I find the Atlantians and Dwarves battling, so I stupidly decide to hit both. I make some progress, but there are just too many groups, emissaries and agents and I quickly find myself just holding on while losing princes. And my little stop in Amberland had an effect. The Sacred Order must have figured I was invading. Declared me an enemy, denigrated me, and showed up at my city with an army group and at several of my towns or villages with emissaries. Wow, how to exit Talking gracefully and get back home? So I teleport groups home and send my remaining princes to Amberland towns owned by the Sacred Order. Oh, it's on, bitches. The Illusionist got kicked off the Council so I jumped into that august body only to be ousted by a stupid skeleton that wasn't even true. Found a weird Rod that kept burning my hands when I touched it. Oh well, maybe good for battles. The Sacred Order made slight progress in Torvale (city, town, village), but invasion is over now that my groups are back with Domes and Demonic Visions and rock golems. The 18th month arrives and I have moved up to third place behind the Dwarf and Gnome. Visions are dancing in my head.
While punishing the Sacred Order with regional spells, I learn that the Druid has come visiting with three groups. In the meantime, the Gnome is taking over regions and keeps obnoxiously announcng the promotion of wizards to level 7 (maybe 8 times). By the 20th month of the campaign, Druids are still in my region, so I plan an attack on Oakendell and move 3 princes and 4 invisible groups in there in the 22nd month just as the Gnomes take their third region (Runnimede, then Arcania, then Amberland). The Nomad disappears, though he owned all of the Sands, and the Sacred Order disappears. The Druid is everywhere, owning Oakendell and Northern and attacking my remaining villages in Talking and still somehow has a group or two in Torvale. Since the Gnome took his third region in the 22nd month, I figure I have a turn or so before I have to get home. Wrong. On that same turn, he apparently invaded with 4 invisible groups and 6 disguised princes because he took Torvale from me in one smooth move with no notice in the 23rd month. And then, sadly, I don't even stay in the top 3 spots. Alas, alas, and alas.
Well played fellow Monarchs and congratulations to VBM, Canticar and Lord Moontree, leading 3 non-mage kingdoms to the podium.
Okay, time to focus on two remaining games and on the cool new Maelstrom.
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#2
Learned some interesting things playing the NE this game.

1) The Sacred Order is completely immune to the spell Summon Death. I know the setup says they are 33% resistant, but that is a lie. I threw 3 summon deaths on 3 successive turns, and they all failed.

2) The spell Wall of Flame is nearly useless. The description says attackers will suffer significant damage crossing the wall, but it's really only about 10%. Also, even though they need to cross the wall to initiate combat, even that damage won't affect the attackers if the battle ends before the magic phase.

3) Nobody likes the Necromancer. I had barely taken my region when I was invaded by the SA, DW, DU and AT. I stayed in until the end because I'm stubborn that way, but I really wasn't much more than an annoyance. Still, even being an annoyance can be fun.
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