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Game 535 ends
#1
Rex victory by the Onyx Imperium of the Darkelves played by Devildog. On the podium as well was vball Michael (gnomes) and Titus (illusionist).

My initial game was a cautious one. I felt a bit constrained as my neighbors were great players. There is always the sense that one of your neighbors is waiting for you to go somewhere else so they can ransack your region while you are away. My southern neighbor was the nomad played by Dupont. I kept an eye on him and he was building a very impressive diplomatic stable but had yet to make a move. My northern neighbor was Drogo playing the atlantians. He had moved on a vacant amberland very early on and then took on the Warlock. With Drogo going for his third region, my only move at that point was to take the eastern steppes. Otherwise he would have turned on me and win in short order. The gnome was busy on the west side of the board and was threatening oakendell. As I prepared to move, there were a few recons of my southern pop centers which I judged to be an atlantian feint since the nomads were still suspicious in Synisvania. The atlantians managed to dispose of the warlock depressingly fast but I was able to take Eastern Steppes. By this time the Illusionist had moved on the nomads so at least my southern flank was protected for a while. I managed to make eastern steppes too hard for Drogo to re-take so the Atlantians moved into synisvania instead, coincidentally at the same time that the illusionist moved in. I let them fight it out while I moved on the talking mountains. With the Atlantians still trying to take synisvania I thought to weaken him further by moving into amberland. The illusionist took synisvania and must have been judged the primary threat as the gnomes moved against him. All the while the nomads were still active and would re-take southern sands whenever the illusionist focused elsewhere. Once I had amberland in hand I was able to re-take synisvania from the illusionist and declare rex victory. At various times the atlantians, illusionist, and gnomes had 3 regions and threatened the win. The elves did well to hold off the gnomes from taking his regions and winning the game.

There were 3 main factors in the win. One, luck with the other players' decisions. Two, a better understanding of other players' game styles nd being able to predict how they will react. And three, the darkelf kingdom with its multiple strengths and no real weaknesses.
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#2
Nicely played, Devildog. A well-deserved win on turn 33 by you and your Darkelves.

The gnomes I have played before and they are a very strong kingdom. I took Runnimede normally at the beginning, then had to decide on a second region. The Illusionist had left my town in Arcania alone, so I decided to not pick on Arcania (sometimes it is the little gestures that impact decisions). So, I went for Torvale. The Sorcerer put up a fight, but his forces were too small and his wizards too low. I sort of settled in and relaxed for a bit, just deciding where to go next. I even considered just sitting back with two regions as I was pretty far ahead in status points. But battles happened, people dropped, regions changed hands and it appeared that the game would not go to 40 turns. Thus, I invaded and took Oakendell (destroying maybe 1/3 of it in the process). I did not have a firm grip, and the Elf was not damaged much as he still owned Northern Mists and still had his groups, emissaries and wizards. But, I saw the Illusionist had 3 regions and I figured I had better go stop him. Just as I did that, the DarkElf took a 3rd region. Well, I cannot stop them both, so I continued my invasion of Arcania with the hope that someone else would stop the Darkelf. While I focused on the Illusionist, the Elf was able to reclaim Oakendell. On the final turn, I took Arcania and moved some guys back to Oakendell, but I was still probably 2 turns from being able to declare.

In the meantime, I had a very cool final battle with the Elf where we both had pretty small groups and I made his even smaller with a Summon Death spell and enlarged mine with Phantoms. His group won the battle mostly due to his nice wizard collection in that group, but he took 54% damage and my group retreated with 46% damage. Apparently, the Elf had taken enough damage during the final fighting (maybe even during my retreat) that his heavily attritioned and low morale group was eliminated and I picked up the artifacts the group had. Never saw that result before - kind of weird. 

Great game to all and congrats to 2 relatively newer players making the podium in an individual game.
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#3
Great win Devildog.
I played the Illusionist. After turn 10 this was a powerful kingdom. I managed to sit in the beginning and build wizards and emissaries. I sat and watched the AT take Amberland and quickly dispatch the Warlock. I decided to invade the Southern Sands. The NO had a large amount of emissaries at YU. It was his capital and he had his army group versus mine at YU. I decided to defend from his military group and cast wall of flame. It worked and I crushed his troops handily. I took the region but YU was a fortress and made plenty of gold to keep him around. I spent the next several turns capturing NO princes. I saw the GN and EL were fighting and the GN quickly took Oakendell. I decided to invade Synsivania. To my surprise I took it easily. But now I was embroiled in a fight against 4 kingdoms. I had to pull back at the end as I had a family medical issue that has taken my focus from Alamaze. But the game was great. The NO kept me honest the whole time. I managed to get a decent amount of artifacts and my wizards were plenty and mighty. I like the silent variant game as you have no idea whats coming as you have no allies. The game was fun and I was shocked to get a bronze.
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#4
This sounds like it was a fun game. I might have to come back and play again. Never played a 3rd cycle and it looks interesting.
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