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Buried To The Hilt
#1
Shocked 
First, the obligatories:

Victory By Lion's Share Is The Gnome Kingdom!

                           Game End Status Points

        Place Kingdom    Player                Results-40  Grand Total

          1     GN     The Painted Man           64,693     101,153
          2     HA     DuPont                    26,406      47,126
          3     SO     Windstar                  27,956      46,839
          4     NE     CosmicWizard17            24,934      38,789
          5     PI     Vball Michael             17,092      27,928
          6     DA     Wookie Panz               15,049      27,747
          7     DE     HabeusCorpus              11,804      27,658
          8     LI     Flevis                    11,015      26,189

And now, the tale, as told by Gnomish.

You can't have it all, they said. You can't dominate with a kingdom that's only "pretty good" at most things, they said. You can't take a supremely well-built legendary castle of a capital, they said.

"They" were right.

I set many goals for this game, absolutely zero of which were accomplished. So, by those standards, this was a colossal failure. The worst. And not only that, but my failures were due in large part to my nemesis from the good old days, DuPont. Oh how I hate those little Halflings. 2 major blunders were made, and both involved him. And, sadly, this led to my accomplishment of absolutely none of my goals.

What were those goals, you ask? I wanted every major city, and I wanted to have legendary castles on each. I wanted a Power-10 wizard, because in my time of playing the highest I have ever achieved, with any kingdom, was a Power-8. I wanted to make 1 million gold per turn.

In every way I fell.... short.

My theory was simple, and one that I've held on to with my love of the Halflings (damn you, DuPont): Economics makes all things possible in Maelstrom. Companions, recruits, fortifications, etc... all available to all kingdoms but at a price. If you can afford it, you can compete with anyone. So, let's take a kingdom that I enjoy and see what happens if I focus almost entirely on building for the first 10 turns or so, but economically rather than crazy wizard raising and massive army building.

A brief history of Gnomenomics:
Turn 5 - Capital Production of 74k gold
Turn 10 - 156k gold
Turn 15 - 300k gold

It slowed down after that. Final turn's production at my capital was 378k gold. Total production for my kingdom, 721k gold. So, failure #1. I never hit the 1,000,000 mark. You probably want to know about food. Who cares. You can't spend food. 

So how does one accomplish such a thing? Hidden ore at Power-2. 6 of those per turn and 15k gold increase without taking a single PC. You can have 9 wizards if you take the extra adept and then take a combination of 2 adepts and a Power-1 (or vice versa) with your ESO. I also got lucky with a coastal PC for my starting capital (allows for a port), so just had to bank on nobody attacking me long enough to build up defenses. I set standing orders to increase gold, food, and defense by 3,000 each turn on turn 1 and sacrificed troop payment and getting my region right away as a result. Worth it. The only times those standing orders didn't go through was the first summer. After that, clockwork. I also avoided doing a lot of bounty spells because I didn't want to invite the attention and, again, you can't really spend food. Sure, important for improvements and fortifications, but in a pinch you can trade gold in...

I had wizardless troops out beating up my own town and recruiting from it to get zamorans, leaders, and troop upgrades, and so by turn 10 I had a respectable army with some zamorans and war machines and took to adding in some undead over the next few turns. I won't bore with the details, but around this time I had a couple of p6 wizards and was ready to take to the road. First stop was Zanthia as the DW apparently was dropping. Because of my goal for all the cities I teleported to Destiny's End and took it. Mr. Lizard and Mr. Dead were both eying the region so I announced that I only wanted the city and, so long as they left it alone I would leave them to it. And thus the idea was born. I won't give up the person that originally suggested the post cards, but that also seemed like a fun idea, being that Gnomes like to travel and all...

We were allowed an ally, and I originally asked Mr. Prince. He said no. Quite politely, but it was still a no. I had enjoyed working with the Well Tanned Elf in prior games and he was amenable, as he too suffered from nobodylovesmeitis, and so we buddied up. Looking to expand, I saw signs that the Tyrant was either very noncommunicative or was also dropping, and so Blackfire - and significantly improved postcards - happened next. This angered the tiny-pinkied Mr. Prince and he was the first to break the loudly spoken rule of "touch not, lest ye be touched" by taking 3 of my villages. He owned Stormgate. I remedied that. He owned Bronze Canyon. Also fixed. Somewhere in there I stopped by Sirocco. I honestly don't remember when but wanted to poke as many people as possible to see what happened. So, by midgame I had all but Imril and Ramhorn. Life was good. 

Then Mr. Prince got a new friend, the Warlock, and he sent invisible groups to my region to blow up and/or further annoy my village people (even the ones at the YMCA), as well as a town. So... I had to break a rule and take a minor city. It was awful. I lost a p5. He lost a whole lot more and never really recovered... but it was my only wizard loss of the game and was quite a bummer. I had to go from 4 functioning groups down to 3 if I wanted to be able to teleport around. Quite tragic. 

Anyways, short version is I gave the Warlock about 19 chances to say sorry and leave me alone and he refused, so I took all his stuff. Mr. Prince had, for the most part, stopped being an effective adversary and so I just ignored him - except for the forums - and turned to deal with the new fun of the Sorcerer and Halfling both getting after my stuff.

Enter mistake #1: Stormgate. I had been watching the HA build up his army at Ramhorn and correctly guessed when he would show up at Stormgate. Awesome. He can't take it because I'm there. I have what I believe to be a superior force and so attack him. I attack at standard, he defends at standard, we take nearly identical losses, but I retreat... loss of morale on my side and he gets about 20 brigade promotions. Not joking, I think I counted and it was just about 20. So I had handed my adversary a significant combat boost. However, he left the area and I never saw the group again in combat, but I had to take a few turns to regroup, and this eventually led to mistake #2.

After that debacle is when I mopped up the rest of the War-ish-lock and he dropped, at which point the Sorcerer was making himself known by attacking mostly the WTE but did take a couple of my things, and so reprisal was necessary. I took a page from Mr. Prince's book and poked him in his villages to buy time and then met up with him when he came to Zamora. He sent a group to Python Cove and I figured he would take it and march on my capital, just south of there, so I sent my smaller army group and a division there to essentially run interference so that he couldn't take it. My main group was busy taking Imril and teleporting to Ramhorn. He opted to blow up 13k worth of defense at Python Cove and send two small groups to my capital (likely to do the same). They were invisible, but I had true seeing and so it was a non-issue.

Turn 39. Sorcerer army group at my city in Zamora. Two "invisible" Sorcerer groups at my capital against two much bigger groups of mine. My main group at the Halfling capital, which was the second best city in the land (though behind mine in every metric, to be clear), which was guarded by a division with crap wizards. I have all but Ramhorn in my collection. Enter mistake #2. I protect my city with a combination of ward PC and domes. I eradicate one SO group at my capital (other was a patrol) and the Halfling division protecting Ramhorn. I attack Ramhorn... and I fail. I didn't get beat, my troops simply ran out of juice and left the field exhausted. The real pain of it? I turned a bunch of Halfling villages neutral that turn in Darkover, and he lost control (and the 10% bonus to defense that comes with that). So I could have waited a turn and attacked the city that now had less defense with a stronger group that wasn't tired. Not sure I could have taken it, but odds would have been significantly better. 

Taking Ramhorn would have given me the resources to build a legendary castle at Sirocco, which in turn would have kept the mean nasty Pirate from taking it (pretty sure). It would have also pushed my production over the 1,000,000 mark (in combination with keeping Sirocco) and allowed me one final chance to raise the two Power-9 wizards in the 2nd Gnome to Power-10s. They had failed 5 times previously, but this could have been the one.

And so, I failed. At every single stated goal. And all because of the Halfling. Fitting, if you ask me.

So what did I learn from this failure? Economics is, indeed, king. It's a risk to build too much too quickly, but if you can get lucky and develop a "mostly" untouchable capital... that industrious trait more than pays for itself. 

To my friend, the Well Tanned Elf: You were the shield that Mr. Prince, the War-Ish-Lock, and the Sorcerer blunted their blades against. Thank you for taking not just one, but several, for the team. I know I didn't help much, but Gnomes are selfish and I did have a standing order in to send you gold and a hug.

To my enemies, all of you: I hope you enjoyed the postcards and the posturing. Of all of you, I was most jealous of the Halfling, most afraid of the Sorcerer, and most bored-to-death by Mr. Prince. All the Necromancer did was declare me and enemy and he was just as effective in the end. Mr. Pirate... I am much less upset than I would have been if you had ruined my city sweep, but I still hope you develop a bad rash. You know where.

May Go(l)d be with all of you, even the ones I hate. Which is most of you. If you visit my cities, be kind to the staff. They were once as pitiful as you are.
-Gnomish
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#2
May we all fail as badly as the Gnome and win by a ridiculous margin.

Ok, I will do a short write-up because I was in last place from turn 6 through turn 36, but somehow squeaked into 5th place right at the end.

There is little or nothing the Pirates can do against an early invasion by a military kingdom except hide and build up the invisible capital and sneak out at night to do little bits of damage. The Amazons decided to hit my poor Pirates right away, since he was scouting by turn 2 and seriously invading by turn 5. I was able to hold him off for a bit, but eventually lost my region to him on turn 14 and he took it over on turn 15. I also lost some emissaries in all this chaos and was down to 3 princes, 1 tiny agent, and 4 crappy wizards (though I did have a power 6 still not high enough for Dome). I went underground and developed my capital. (With 2 regions at the end, my capital was still producing about a third of my total food and almost half of my gold.)

Then the Lizards started talking about coming up to help the Amazons finish me off. With his taking of Zanthia, the Lizards coming north to help was a serious possiblity. I took my region back on turn 21 and started invading Krynn and hitting some Lizard pop centers in Zanthia to help the NE fight him there. Strangely, the AM dropped on turn 22 even though he still owned Krynn with tight control and had a solid ally in the Lizards. I had allied with the NE but we never really talked - just individually hit the AM or LI when we could.

So, I went after Krynn in full force (well, 1 small army and 3 princes full force), but had to contest with the Lizards moving in there also. The Lizards and my Pirates kept exchanging properties in Krynn, the Amazon hidden capital was never found, and the Gnome jumped in and grabbed the city and put a great castle on it, so nobody owned Krynn from turns 22 through 39. At one point, I owned all but the city and hidden cap, but still didn't take the region. Thus, around turn 30, I decided I needed to take the city. I had a few wizards and just started recruiting, trying to build an army that could take a legendary since I knew the Gnome was intending to make MY city another one of his collection of legendary jewels. But turn 39 arrived and I was still well short of taking legendary and the Gnome (per his write-up above) was a little busy and he put off making this one legendary. So, I went there on turn 40 so I could take one jewel from him and get my second region in the bargain. I had P8, P7, P6 along with a Warlord and 30 troops (including Minotaurs and Hill Giants and Vikings and Pirates and Rock Golems and Wildlings). I had so many troop types that my promotions from hitting the city at the end all failed for lack of slots. Anyway, I did take the city with only 13% damage, and no way I could have taken a legendary with that group. 

It was a fun game because I really had no chance and nothing to lose, so I just kept poking at the AM and then attacking the LI in Krynn and Zanthia, and eventually had the second most regions at the end since the Gnome had 3 and I had 2 and the NE and SO each had 1 (so 6 uncontrolled regions at the end). But of course my status points from being in last place for 39 turns were not going to get me on the podium - just happy to sneak into 5th by a couple of hundred points right at the end and I had built back up to 6 princes, 5 wizards of power 6 or higher, and was producing about 230k food and 290k gold.

Nice job to the mob boss Painted who had a monopoly on all crime but still complained when I tried to run a tiny side-business in Krynn. And congrats to my neighbor the HA on taking second by a hair.
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#3
DA - a.k.a. Well Tanned Elf

Early on I was offered the chance to ally with Gnomish, who has proven himself so many times in the past.  It was my role to be the nail rather than the hammer so I was Tonto to my Kemosabe (look up Lone Ranger).
I tried to get along with folks early on and especially left the newer players alone. 
DE with his Princes just barely beat me to taking Stormgate.  About the same time a new player playing TY in Untamed dropped.  I had a town in the region already and went for the region.  DE also wanted a piece of that pie but since he already had beaten me to Stormgate I decided not to share and he attacked.  That fight was to last the whole game.  Gnomish took his city as part of his expansion plan so DE recruited an ally in WA from Crown Coast.  It was about this time I suggested to GNomish that he send post cards of his travels to different cities.

WA came to visit but split his efforts between my DA and GNomish.  Gnomish spanked him and he was soon toast.  DE and I continued our joust and my agents had fun early on while his strong political game and hidden capital blunted my efforts.

SO had been left alone in Mythgar for 30 turns before he decided to become DE's 3rd ally and quickly did major damage with hidden groups and concealed emissaries.  He had build up such a powerhouse position by then he was hard to deal with and I had to resort to hit and run tactics.  Fortunately I had a sea capital with a legendary castle and other protections so while at one point I was down to about 4 pc's he could not take me out.

After seemly endless turns of searching I finally found the DE hidden capital on turn 34.  I developed a castle breaking group and landed on it on turn 39 only to make a major blunder.  I was thinking DE got dome at level 7 and knew he didn't have more than 2 of those so did 2 dispel dome spells.  Well.....he gets domes at level 6 and he had more than 2 so that nice group of mine bounced off. 

After spending much of the game in next to last place (thanks PI)  I climbed to finish one slot ahead of DE on the last turn.  Good fun and a major challenge from DE and SO.

Painted Man continues to be one of the most fun partners in the game and it's always an interesting ride.  I'm calling his GNomish character Little Big Man - not original I know but most fitting.
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#4
Super, guys.

The Pigmented Champion account of the Gnomish was inspiring.  Makes me want to strap on sword and helm and lead a cavalry charge!  One of the best post-action reports we have.  I know they take time to do well and appreciate the effort.  They are inspiring and great learning tools for everyone not yet a Champion of Alamaze.  BTW, these three write-ups are by three Champions.  Read and learn, young padawan.  

I also like the account by VBM as the dogged Pirate, persisting when things were not going well.  Another lesson: not everything will go perfectly, hang in there and adjust.

Wookie's persona is kind of the gentle giant.  Underestimate him at your peril.

I'd like some diligent soul to scour the archives here to assemble the best of the after-action reports and put them in a new forum category as a great learning device for not just new players but everyone.  Plus they are just fun reading.

From a design perspective, you can guess I am pleased both that players are selecting the former red-haired step children kingdoms and now winning with them.  The goal of course is that all the kingdoms play differently while still offering multiple strategic avenues and strengths, but any can win when guided by the right hand.

One observation: not that this is new, but seems more prevalent at the moment, is many players are following an exclusive build strategy because there are not many aggressive blitzers of late.  Military kingdoms might in their initial scan of the map determine which vulnerable wizard or specialty kingdom might be worth attacking early, rather than waiting for them to build their economy to their satisfaction or their arcane power, or both.  Taking over a region with those early economic investments by another is a cheap way to quick power.  Even just the threat would make the builders take some resources to guard against a blitz.


But again, great write-ups and it is a pleasure to hear the accounts of how players are getting the most out of what Alamaze has to offer.
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#5
Very nice writeups guys, way to go.  Must have been a fun game.
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