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Full Version: Game #106 - Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow
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Steel Game #106 just completed. A robust, 30 turn game that saw lots of interesting twists and turns throughout, new kinds of diplomacy and quasi-diplomacy, changing alliances, a determined cadre of players, and a somewhat unexpected victory for Nikodemus, leading the Underworld.

Let's hear how it all went down and whether you found it to be a little different than other games you've been in and why.

Final Standings:
1 UN Nikodemus 4026 5518
2 GN The Gray Mouser 3981 7597
3 SO The Wise One 3493 5909
4 TR The Deliverer 2159 4036
6 EL Wynand 1717 3575
7 WI Helix 1215 2722
8 RA Valtteri the Bludgeon 1298 2548
9 AN Lord Thanatos 490 1676
10 WA Cargus10 555 1657
11 RD Harry O 271 1556
Alamaze 106: Gray Mouser Perspective

Yeah, I rule the Gnomes.

It’s not easy being the best looking Gnome of all time, and also ruling an empire. I say that because I see (Palantir, duh) hundreds of you, laying on your couch, saying, “I could rush for 2000 yards in the NFL. I could score 20 goals a season in the EPL. Of course I would take on Wynand head-to-head when he is the Elf and I am the Gnome. Hell, I could win in Alamaze as the Gnome.”

Pre-Game. Gnome diplomacy is a priority. While diplomacy is important for all, I believe it’s more important for a few, such as the Gnomes, than for some. So by T1, I had had constructive (if not always positive) communication with the Red Dragon, Troll, Ancient Ones, Underworld and Demon Princes. Channels were otherwise open with other kingdoms.

Essentially, we were able to come to good terms with all except the Ancient Ones, but had no formal NAPS, terms, or even expressed understandings, let alone official declarations. I guess I’d say this was kind of like USA wild-west diplomacy, mutually with those kingdoms: You mess with me, I mess with you. Added a bit of an edge of uncertainty which enhanced the overall experience.

Early Game. Turn 1 I bid for the first HC seat and put in an order to raise the first issue. While that could have been a waste of 2 important first turn orders, it worked out. The Gnomes are an economically advantaged demographic, and our bid of 37,606 (Gnomes are good at working out the fine details) got us on, and our issue put forth, and won the next turn. So, I like that move for the Gnome: Raising Influence via order #480 is 15k gold, so 30k for two raises. Getting on the HC T1, getting a 500 gold issue to raise is a 2 point Influence raise for in this case 37.606k, plus “seniority” on the Council, meaning mainly not speculating on if you will get on, but able to negotiate with the 2nd member, naming future issues, etc. This HC business is how the Gnomes came to have an unusual understanding with our natural enemies, the Dwarves. Our alternating HC issues would net us each a +0.7 Influence gain each turn. Cheaper than a solo king order while preserving that ability to Enamor or act otherwise, and building trust and relationships.

The Elves of Wynand took Oakendell, and The Ancient Ones gained control of Torvale at the end of Turn 3, especially impressive for the two-city Torvale. The Ancient Ones also declared me an enemy. Runnimede (GN), Arcania (DE), and the Northern Mists (DW) were all controlled on Turn 4. So five regions controlled at the end of Turn 4.

<To be Continued>
Sorcerer here who came in 3rd place (2nd in point total). Wizard kingdoms are usually my favorite to play since they have more options to consider when strategizing one's position in the game (e.g., how far to develop wizards, to pay troops or not, build emissaries/influence instead with support from low level wizs, ...etc.).

In game 106, I wanted to play a more laid back role and allow others to dominate while I stayed back doing other things. Since I wasn't going for early control of Synisvania, I made an agreement with the RA player (Valtteri) who was willing to work with me since he had some bad luck in prior games that didn't go well.

I split up region 9 so that he would have control with me just under 50% which ended up being a very close split of the region (more later). However the RA never attained control since he allowed other kingdoms to retain their initial ownership of their Synisvania pop centers so the region remained neutral for most of the game.

Anyway, we moved early into the Southern Sands which went quickly since the BL player dropped out after a few turns. I also contacted the WA during this time who mentioned that he was fine in disregarding the usual "you're my natural enemy so I must kill you" mentality. Besides, being both wizard kingdoms we were going to spend our gold for building up our wizards so the influence adjustment between natural enemies wasn't really an issue for us.

While we were busy in the Sands, the TR came strolling into Synisvania with an attitude that he can do whatever he wanted there. He threatened the RA saying that his accidental landing on the RA capital will allow him to take it at anytime (big scary troll). I told the RA don't worry because the TR group is too weak to take it and in a turn or two, I'll have a dome spell ready for him. So by the time the TR rolled in his reinforcements and other groups, I had two wizards ready for domes with more on the way a couple of turns later. The domes nullified the TR's attack every time. The RA and I also denigrated the TR so his groups wouldn't be able to threaten/parley (to get around the dome problem) which further emasculated the mighty TR.

So I just needed a patrol of wizards in Synisvania to deal with the TR while the RA and I moved our forces into the Sands to clean up the region. The TR eventually got frustrated in being ineffective and left our region. A few turns later, I had wizards that could destroy towns/villages so I teleported them into Torvale to weaken the TR-AN. I destroyed the AN capital and weakened the TR capital so the RA could take it without loses (since the TR had some RA prisoners and the destroy spell would automatically kill those prisoners). I also destroyed some Torvale villages just for the heck of it Smile

Back in Synisvania, my highest wizard summoned a demon that assassinated the TR king in Torvale. Also, since the UN was hurting the WA, my wizard sent a demon to assassinate the UN level 15 agent (I think his highest or second highest agent at the time). I would have killed more but we didn't know where the UN hid his agents.

We were in the process of splitting up Torvale when the EL was attacking the WA in Amberland and the TR-AN against the DE. This was probably my biggest mistake in allowing the TR to continue in the game while the RA and I pulled back to help the WA-DE in their regions.

Anyway, the GN (The Gray Mouser) informed the DE that the AN moved a group to Triesa which was a fortuitous divine for the DE since the AN group was invisible. The DE was a new player so I recommended for him to cast chaos on the AN group since the AN thought he had the upper hand in having an invisible group there and didn't expect an attack from him. The battle was a total destruction of the AN's group and his highest level wizards. Ouch!

Several turns later, the TR-AN actions in Arcania made it frustrating for the new DE player so he eventually dropped out. During this time, the RA improved his defenses of his capital and the loss in census allowed me to gain control of Synisvania. Which is a really unusual way of gaining control of a region (census drop from increasing defense is a mere 500 out of something like 400,000 total census for the region). So it was a pretty amazing way of gaining control of a region and probably a first in the game.

The TR made Triesa his capital so that his reinforcements would be within range of Synisvania/Sands. For some reason, the TR left a group just waiting at the city so the WA and I moved invisible patrols of wizards there the following turn to take him out. Actually, we had a debate on whether we should take out his troops with death spells or kill off his leaders/wizards. Death spells would destroy all his troops but would leave his warlords and wizards intact. We ended up killing the group's figures instead since they were more valuable but our pwr-7+ wizards rolled badly and the TR's warlord and wizard survived. This caused us to switch to casting death spells the following turn and my two death spells wiped out 8 TR brigades but the WA missed his turn so the remaining TR forces survived yet again.

Several turns later, I was in process of cleaning up the Sands after the DE dropped and had a small force there and the TR and I finally had our first battle. I won the battle but didn't destroy his group with my magic (which should have happened so there may be a problem with the software in not calculating combat spells correctly) so the TR turn 20 reinforcements survived.

Around that time, I was considering to end the game in a turn or two but I wasn't really interested in winning the game (or any game actually) so I decided to go for the level 10 wizard achievement instead. This took several turns but I got the pwr-10 on the first try which was pretty cool.

I think I also set the record for the most spent on attaining a high council seat: 500,000 gold (yes, that's half a million gold). I was that rich towards the end of the game Smile

Since the game was running a little long, I changed directions and decided to end the game but I needed more pop centers in three different regions than Synisvania/Sands. So I moved against the EL and WI with the WA allowing me some in Amberland so we could finish the game. However, the UN beat me too it and was the victor after 30 turns.
(10-11-2013, 09:09 PM)unclemike Wrote: [ -> ]Sorcerer here who came in 3rd place (2nd in point total). Wizard kingdoms are usually my favorite to play since they have more options to consider when strategizing one's position in the game (e.g., how far to develop wizards, to pay troops or not, build emissaries/influence instead with support from low level wizs, ...etc.).

In game 106, I wanted to play a more laid back role and allow others to dominate while I stayed back doing other things. Since I wasn't going for early control of Synisvania, I made an agreement with the RA player (Valtteri) who was willing to work with me since he had some bad luck in prior games that didn't go well.

I split up region 9 so that he would have control with me just under 50% which ended up being a very close split of the region (more later). However the RA never attained control since he allowed other kingdoms to retain their initial ownership of their Synisvania pop centers so the region remained neutral for most of the game.

Anyway, we moved early into the Southern Sands which went quickly since the BL player dropped out after a few turns. I also contacted the WA during this time who mentioned that he was fine in disregarding the usual "you're my natural enemy so I must kill you" mentality. Besides, being both wizard kingdoms we were going to spend our gold for building up our wizards so the influence adjustment between natural enemies wasn't really an issue for us.

While we were busy in the Sands, the TR came strolling into Synisvania with an attitude that he can do whatever he wanted there. He threatened the RA saying that his accidental landing on the RA capital will allow him to take it at anytime (big scary troll). I told the RA don't worry because the TR group is too weak to take it and in a turn or two, I'll have a dome spell ready for him. So by the time the TR rolled in his reinforcements and other groups, I had two wizards ready for domes with more on the way a couple of turns later. The domes nullified the TR's attack every time. The RA and I also denigrated the TR so his groups wouldn't be able to threaten/parley (to get around the dome problem) which further emasculated the mighty TR.

So I just needed a patrol of wizards in Synisvania to deal with the TR while the RA and I moved our forces into the Sands to clean up the region. The TR eventually got frustrated in being ineffective and left our region. A few turns later, I had wizards that could destroy towns/villages so I teleported them into Torvale to weaken the TR-AN. I destroyed the AN capital and weakened the TR capital so the RA could take it without loses (since the TR had some RA prisoners and the destroy spell would automatically kill those prisoners). I also destroyed some Torvale villages just for the heck of it Smile

Back in Synisvania, my highest wizard summoned a demon that assassinated the TR king in Torvale. Also, since the UN was hurting the WA, my wizard sent a demon to assassinate the UN level 15 agent (I think his highest or second highest agent at the time). I would have killed more but we didn't know where the UN hid his agents.

We were in the process of splitting up Torvale when the EL was attacking the WA in Amberland and the TR-AN against the DE. This was probably my biggest mistake in allowing the TR to continue in the game while the RA and I pulled back to help the WA-DE in their regions.

Anyway, the GN (The Gray Mouser) informed the DE that the AN moved a group to Triesa which was a fortuitous divine for the DE since the AN group was invisible. The DE was a new player so I recommended for him to cast chaos on the AN group since the AN thought he had the upper hand in having an invisible group there and didn't expect an attack from him. The battle was a total destruction of the AN's group and his highest level wizards. Ouch!

Several turns later, the TR-AN actions in Arcania made it frustrating for the new DE player so he eventually dropped out. During this time, the RA improved his defenses of his capital and the loss in census allowed me to gain control of Synisvania. Which is a really unusual way of gaining control of a region (census drop from increasing defense is a mere 500 out of something like 400,000 total census for the region). So it was a pretty amazing way of gaining control of a region and probably a first in the game.

The TR made Triesa his capital so that his reinforcements would be within range of Synisvania/Sands. For some reason, the TR left a group just waiting at the city so the WA and I moved invisible patrols of wizards there the following turn to take him out. Actually, we had a debate on whether we should take out his troops with death spells or kill off his leaders/wizards. Death spells would destroy all his troops but would leave his warlords and wizards intact. We ended up killing the group's figures instead since they were more valuable but our pwr-7+ wizards rolled badly and the TR's warlord and wizard survived. This caused us to switch to casting death spells the following turn and my two death spells wiped out 8 TR brigades but the WA missed his turn so the remaining TR forces survived yet again.

Several turns later, I was in process of cleaning up the Sands after the DE dropped and had a small force there and the TR and I finally had our first battle. I won the battle but didn't destroy his group with my magic (which should have happened so there may be a problem with the software in not calculating combat spells correctly) so the TR turn 20 reinforcements survived.

Around that time, I was considering to end the game in a turn or two but I wasn't really interested in winning the game (or any game actually) so I decided to go for the level 10 wizard achievement instead. This took several turns but I got the pwr-10 on the first try which was pretty cool.

I think I also set the record for the most spent on attaining a high council seat: 500,000 gold (yes, that's half a million gold). I was that rich towards the end of the game Smile

Since the game was running a little long, I changed directions and decided to end the game but I needed more pop centers in three different regions than Synisvania/Sands. So I moved against the EL and WI with the WA allowing me some in Amberland so we could finish the game. However, the UN beat me too it and was the victor after 30 turns.

Wow. I got a lot of mentions in here. Not bad for a guy with 8 influence for half the game! Great game played, UncleMike. The domes were annoying, the summon death cost me 40k a shot to replace my orcs, and the wights were a (not so) pleasant surprise!

I can only hope that my random wanderings had something to do with you not being able to attempt a second victory check. More to come later, but after some horrendous errors in both tactics and communication in the early game, I had managed to take myself out of all but a spoiler role by about turn 10.

PS. My capital moved from VO to a village in your region (PZ) somewhere around turn 18. Thank you for not blowing it up "for the heck of it". That would have killed my Ranger prisoners and possibly caused me to finish below Wynand, something I swore would never happen again.

XOXO,
Big Scary Troll,
Village Destroyer,
Wizard Survivor,
Killer of the Demon Princes, and
Scourge of the Bludgeon,

The Deliverer
Folks,

This was indeed an interesting game and my most enjoyable to date.

I played the peaceful elves and developed initial arrangements with most of my neighbours, including the UN, AN, TR, DW, RD and WI. Although we had no formal agreement, I had actually planned to be at peace with the GI and WA as well and move through region 2 to attack my dark cousins in 6 as soon as soon as I had stabilized my position. However, the GI began attacking PCs in 1 which in induced me to move politicals and military into 5. I was unaware of the split negotiated between the WA and GI, but ended up in several WA PCs. He and I had some back and forth; he attempted to distance himself from the GI's actions and I was sympathetic, but ultimately decided I had was committed to the invasion and so began a long, long conflict that lasted most of the game.

The WA was able to pull the DW into the conflict against me and soon, there were dwarven troops in region 5 taking back WA PCs from me. I enlisted the UN and TR, as I was concerned about the potential aggression of other kingdoms (namely the DE) who had already been declared allies of the WA-DW coalition. As I suspected, the DE made a move on 1 while I was engaged in 5, however the TR and WI were able to draw him back into 8 to defend. I executed a Demon Prince that was accidentally incarcerated on the same turn he lost his entire first group, wizards and all, to the TR....I believe that was when the DE withdrew from the game.

In the meantime, the war in 5 continued, with me gaining control several times only to lose it the turn after. Fighting off the DW and WA proved very time consuming, even with the UN whittling down wizards and emissaries. The WA king was an early casualty. In addition, I captured his count rendering his political abilities relatively limited. However, he was iron-willed and continued to take PCs back with his groups.

There was point where I saw the possibility of victory (a few turns before the DW dropped), but then my ancient forest homelands were invaded a 2nd time, by the GN, a third time, by the RD (who apparently had decided to terminate our NAP) and then finally again by the SO. This meant that a significant portion of my orders and politicals were spent defending and reclaiming my starting territory. Although I was able to hold to my region, it meant my ambitions of expanding my domination of Alamaze would be ultimately thwarted. The EL-WI-AN-TR-UN alliance quickly shifted our attention to others that might be able to claim victory; the UN seemed well positioned and so we did what very little we could (not much was really required at this stage) to support Kirk. My purpose at that point was to ensure that the GN and SO would be unable to claim beforehand by obtaining substantial in 1.

All in all, a fun contest. I appreciate the ferocity of the GN and SO attacks; I hope the GN appreciated losing his three top politicals on one turn. Smile I hope the SO appreciated being unable to hold on to his gains in regions 1 and 2. I certainly appreciated having my capital, Lorethane, attacked by an invisible GN group and then blown up in the turns to follow by a cadre of SO wizards.

A final comment...the UN was a tremendous ally and selflessly supporting my march towards victory when we thought it was our teams' best option. I couldn't be happier that he was able to claim successfully in the end and would happily work with him again in the future.

There was one thing about this game that does leave a bitter taste.
Dusi finished ahead of me (that's two in a row now), which means I will have to hear about it for the foreseeable future as we collaborate together [/i]against LT and Will in 14. Smile
This was a very fun game but one that I never figured I would have a shot to win. I started the game by talking with just about every kingdom in the game. It's interesting to note that as the UN people were banging down my doors to work together/have NAP's more than for any other kingdom I have played. This kind of made diplomacy a bit easier for me and its a part of the game I am weak at usually. I worked NAP's and other arrangements with the AN,GN,DE,and DW in exchange for a town in their regions. This gave me a decent starting economic base with zero conflict. I used the first couple turns to capture as many sea based PC's as I could. I rolled into turn 5 with 6 total PC's on the sea. I used these to park my emissaries and agents to avoid getting rolled by some random passing army. Worked pretty well for most of the game. I also raised agent training ASAP to 10,000. I wasn't sure what impact this really had on the game but it didnt seem to hinder my agent training at all.

It was around turn 6 that the EL approached me about working together in his taking of Amberland. I agreed to help as I had no formal deals with either the WA or GI. I helped nail agents and emissaries as the EL scooped up a most of the region. This is when the DE and DW became involved on the side of the WA and our attention turn to them as well. This was also around the time the WI and TR also became involved on our side. After the DE went down the EL and I refocused on securing r5 and starting to look at the Talking Mountains as the next target. Wynand was fairly close to winning around this time. I told him I would do whatever I could to help him secure the victory.

As turn 20 started I was significant in only 2 regions and no where near being in the victory discussion. Hell I never even managed to get my ESO. I was perfectly happy to play Tonto to Wynand's Lone Ranger and help him win it. This was right around when the GN made a move on Oakendell and threw that plan out of whack. Wynand halted his efforts in r3 to go back and defend his homeland. I couldn't help as I had agreed before the game to not oppose the GN in any way in exchange for a similar agreement with him. I should say that the Gray Mouser honored this admirably as I am sure he was being pressured to move against me often by his allies. So I kept moving on r3 with the thought that if Wynand could blunt the GN advance quickly he could come in behind me and pick up the pieces for a victory. That didnt quite happen and I ended up securing r3 for myself a few turns later.

Around turn 26 I was looking at my SVC and position on the board and was surprised to see I was a lot closer than I thought .. I controlled 1 of the 2 regions needed , I had 20+ influence , a PC producing more than 16k gold , 2 agents lvl 12+ , and 3 of 4 agents needed as prisoners. Since I was significant in r6 already I decided to start picking up the remaining DW PC's he had in the region. I figured if I could find one more agent to kidnap and sneak r6 from the RD in a 1 turn blitz I had a shot to actually win this sucker. This is when the WA , I assume , blew up my old capital in Runnimede which was my only PC producing 16k+ gold. Damn!!!

I decided to go for my SVC anyway on turn 28 and was hoping I could 171 Gurisek to meet my 16k+ gold PC requirement. I blitzed r6 with emissaries , tried to 171 Gurisek , traded w/ the TR for an old BL fanatic he held captive, and declared my SVC!!!! Victory would be mine!!! .... but ... I unbelievably forgot to cancel a standing order I had that preempted my 171 spell. Aarrggghhh!!! So I failed to 171 Gurisek and to make matters worse I had moved my group off the city and it would now require 2 turns before I could try again. There was much sadness in the UN kingdom after also seeing the SO's failed victory check. I wasn't sure I would get those 2 turns. Things though shuck out my way and I was able to capture Gurisek and claim the victory on turn 30.

Special mentions for my game long ally Wynand for being a great player and taking the time to work with me. Also to the Deliverer for the agent swap at the end that helped seal my victory.

It was a ton of fun and I would happily work with all my allies again.

Kirk/Nikodemus
WA checking in here.

This was my attempt to introduce some new players to the game, and try to mentor them through the process. As such, I really had no intentions to be aggressive at all. The new players were the DW, GI, and DE.

So, the initial agreement was that the GI should get Amberland. But that player just couldn't get "into" the game and dropped early. I was totally unaware he had attacked any EL holdings - I knew he had attacked a neutral pc in Oakendell early on, but that was it. Anyway, with his drop, I had to do a 180 and scramble to get control of Amberland, something that I had never planned to do. But I had arrangements with most of the other players, and things were going well enough. The DE was, I think, grabbing BL locations by then, and the DW was moving into DA territory, as both of those players had either dropped or were playing very intermittently.

Then the DE turned his attention on the AN and (to a lesser extent) the TR. The DW was busily engaged with helping out by sending cash, when the bottom dropped out of things. I was all set up for my ESO when the EL decided to invade Amberland, possibly with help from the UN as I lost all my good agents (not that I had many) in the first attack. The attack was developing slowly and I had plans to counter it when Real Life ™ intervened in a big way. I had undergone a fairly routine medical procedure, but over the 4th of July holiday I developed an infection that rapidly turned into sepsis, so into the hospital I went. Alamaze was way down on the list of my concerns at the time, as I was a very sick puppy. The DW tried to send in a "scratch" set of orders for me, but it was a mess, and this was just as the EL was hitting me good. I had 2 very unproductive turns while I was in hospital, and by then, my positions was in real trouble. The EL/UN probably didn't know it, but I was down to a single emissary left alive and uncaptured, the former Duchess Ivanova. I had no emissaries, no agents to speak of, and my Influence was a nice solid 8. About that time the DE decided to drop over anger at how the rules on spells worked (I don't exactly remember - something about why defensive spells had to specify a target maybe). At any rate, it caused him to lose a big battle with the TR, and while he was easily in shape to recover, he got discouraged and quit.

Thus began my existence as a guerilla force. The EL and I swapped locations in Amberland for the rest of the game - though no one ever tried to take my capital at Zarathon which I never did quite figure out. Anyway, I spent the rest of the game clinging to life. The DW dropped after a dispute on how his account worked (I think?) and so all the new recruits weren't. No new blood it seems Sad

I spent the rest of the game with 2 Power-7's and a Power-3 teleporting around blowing up EL and UN towns and villages. Hoping to kill a few of their emissaries and agents. Whether or not it made a difference I have no idea.

My one regret was that I did take a potshot at the TR, who I had an agreement with, but it was because I thought said agreement had expired - I had confused it with a different game it seems. I apologised and hopefully all was well thereafter.

The latter part of the game was me just lending aid as I could to the SO (of all people!) GN, and RA. Frankly, I'm surprised I survived at all, what with 3 different allies dropping out, and the whole black hole while I was in hospital. Might even have had a higher fishing had I not already given all my artifacts to the DW a few turns back.

On a final note, I think that maybe what put the UN over the top was his very late kidnapping of my Agent Stoat, giving him 4 agents held captive as the last bit of his ESO Smile Can't be sure about that though.
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