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Rites of Spring - 5591
              Victory By Lion's Share Is The Sacred Order Kingdom!
                           Game End Status Points

        Place Kingdom    Player                Results-40  Grand Total

          1     SA     Senior Tactician          82,901     122,839
          2     IL     Lt Gisgo                  75,615     106,914
          3     NE     Eregnon the Black         37,244      59,859
          4     SO     Brek                      36,664      58,781
          5     DU     DuPont                    26,730      47,688
          6     UN     Strongwill                17,192      34,654
          7     DA     Vball Michael             17,164      32,077

Nice game all, write-up to follow.
Win with the Sacred Order…. Check.

Special thanks to all those who made it interesting for me, especially Brek who was not going to make it at all easy. I should have known it was you for all the watch towers!

When I saw my turn 0 map, I was not at all happy. Playing the SA in Triumvia surrounded by hidden capitol kingdoms, I did not have high hopes of a good game. With the IL in Darkover, AN in Zanthia, AM in Krynn, UN in Sword, my first thought was to target the SO in Crown Islands while I was searching for hidden capitols. But the SO position was also particularly unassailable, at least by surprise. All three of his towns and his city were on the water, while none of his villages were, nor were they coastal, so zero chance of building ships without immediately alerting him, since his towns had watch towers already.  He would go on to quickly build legendary castles on all three towns and the city, so building ships there became impossible.  Later I managed to build 9 ships from a village in Krynn, but he came down and blasted that village, ending my hopes of a seaborne attack.

Anyway, back to the beginning.  My first goal was to get some production going in my region without bothering the neighbors while I searched for their capitols. I generally don't make a move early on unless I have a way in mind to boot them right out of the game, otherwise it's just an endless trading of PCs, benefiting no one. I discovered something very important many of you may have already known. A great temple reduces the cost of divination's by half. Unbeknownst to me, however, divination's include summoning angels. So, I summoned every turn on both my capitol and the city, while also raising all 6 of my wizards to level 3 for hidden ore and fertile fields. My capitol was coastal, so a port capped off my production there. This allowed me to quickly build a legendary castle there as well. 

I haven’t ever used the summon angel ability before, its actually quite powerful due to the census increase. If you summon on your capitol and the city, put big castles there, then recruit your other towns all the way down, you can concentrate most of your regional population there making it practically impossible for someone to break your regional control without taking a big castle. That was a big help since I was already constantly fighting against the infuriate spell.

Only when I was producing well, with a Great Castle on my capitol, did I start recruiting. First the zealots and war machines, then paladins until my towns were depleted. I found the AN capitol quite soon after starting my recruiting effort and moved into all his PCs politically concealed and on his capitol in a single turn, ending his game within about three turns. His capitol made a nice new home for my own.

With a great stroke of luck, I found the AM capitol after searching only 8 squares. Rinse and repeat with the concealed emissaries and a massive army on his capitol. But he saw me coming and he lasted a couple extra turns as a result. The AM decided to help my future game by popping a couple of my villages, which I know is satisfying but generally just helped me maintain control against the SO later in the game. Sometimes if I have no intention of trying to take someone's region, or they have cast bounty a lot, I might pop their villages for the hell of it, so I guess I get it.

Controlling three regions made me a target and prevented me from making further progress towards additional regions, three would have to do. The SO attacked me constantly for half the game, while the DU and DA made halfhearted attempts to break up my control. I considered going after Stormgate, but I didn’t want to walk all the way over there to grab it and walk all the way back… just to have someone grab it at the end. I didn't figure I'd need it.

In battling the SO for control of Triumvia, I noticed whenever he took a town, he built on it, all the way up to legendary, but at the same time he had failed to capture a legendary castle. So, I let him build, then walked over and sieged them. Siege engineering is awesome for sieging towns, only takes 2 turns. Eventually, the SO was able to capture one of my legendarys, but failed on two others. I never really got my army to the point I wanted, but I was able to recapture a small legendary back from the SO, I sieged three others.  I was probably being overly cautious.  I suspect my army could have easily captured the smaller legendarys (<165000) much earlier in the game.

All in all, I am a big fan of the devout trait now, previously I have pretty much avoided devout kingdoms. I think probably that will change in the future. The recent game changes which give the SA the riders trait, making paladins cost half to maintain, and making all castles susceptible to siege has gone a very long way towards making the SA one of my favorites. I don’t have to tell most players here they were previously one of the most avoided. It seems like they were small changes to make and with the wizard training cost the kingdom still might be somewhat undesirable, but these changes make them incredibly less frustrating to play. I still was not eager to hunt down the SO army due to his always stacking half a dozen power 8’s in the same square, but I think if we landed in the same square I probably would have come out on top anyway, it just would not have been fun if I had to walk through a fire wall, summon death, or have my wizards killed.

Good write up ST.
Well done Senior.  I think this is the first Maelstrom win for SA.
Good game ST.
It took me a while to realize you could take a legendary with the change to the siege rules. The first one I had just breezed through my turn and I missed it, the second I domed it all up, and nothing happened (I missed the fine print of you sieging and assumed it had been a trap to draw me in), domed it up again only to see it fall as a legendary, I was like WTF! Found the updates and realized I was screwed. I sent a horde of greater demons after all your wizards and leaders, again no luck didn't realize you were completely immune to the spell, my understanding is it acted as an agent not a spell Sad Needless to say at this point I knew I was TOTALLY screwed, rushed trying to get troops leveled and simply never got in the game, and got my ass whooped.
Curious does wall of flame scale with wizard level.
After the first time you sent demons, i put a high level fanatic on guard duty.  If i understand the spell, its actually a death spell AND an agent.  So, if you succeeded in passing my death resistance, you still had to overcome a level 14 fanatic.  since the demon acts as a level 12 agent, the odds of that happening were close to zero.  I kind of suspect it gave the resistance failure wording even in the event it was actually my agent which stopped the demon.  Either that, or 33% death resistance really means 100%.

I do not think wall of flame scales.

In any case it was a fun battle.  Nice game Brek.
This was the first game I tried building up one PC's production and protecting it with a legendary, and I'd say the tactic works quite well. It kept me in the game when I was attacked by both the IL and DU. I eventually managed to slide into third.

A note on demons - don't count on them. Over the course of the game I sent 5 demons against unguarded, slept emissaries, and every single one of them failed.

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