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Decoding Game #103, a Steel Game with Lots of Chatter
#1
Yes, Game #103 had lots of posts on its Active thread. Some posturing, some intimidation, some stuff scaring other female players from joining.

Still, now that the show aspect is over, let's hear what really went down.
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#2
I should start my story by thanking Wynand for not being in the game and therefore giving me a chance to win. Thanks, man.

Next, I would say that two strong allies in Yellowbeard (DW) and Dupont (WA) helped keep my position from being totally unplayable by turn 6. To anyone playing as the Red Dragon in the future... expand first in the SOUTH. My attempts in Region 6 came to a grinding halt early and if it was not for an early deal made with DW in exchange for leaving region 3, things would have come to an early end for my position.... DW in particular kept supporting and supporting, to the point that I felt guilty for having a short, hairy sugardaddy. Loric, playing the EL, and bluefile2, playing the TR, also deserve mention for helping me with various things throughout the game, whether it was sending food or coordinating attacks on the Ranger capital.

With help from DW and WA we finally managed to bottle up a very stubborn DA opponent and I had an opportunity to expand. My RD position skipped through region 9 and went into what appeared to be a largely empty Southern Sands controlled, at the time, by Jumbie (playing the RA). Using mostly military at first and buying governors to defend what I took, the Sands fell in a few turns and somehow the kingdom that was just about done on turn 6 was holding 2 regions. I spent a turn consolidating the region and was about to move west towards Runnimede when things went sideways in Torvale. Hearing that the Giant now controlled 3 cities (Evanon, Viperhead, and Meridon) and figuring he was close to declaring victory, I switched gears to invade 5 and go for my own win, which only needed 3 more cities (I only had Vanasheen at this point).

I arrived at Evanon two turns later with an army group worth around 150k vs. pop centers, took the city, split the group, and flew to Viperhead and Avalon to try to wrap up. No snafus occurred and I was able to claim victory.

This was a game where things started out going very poorly (on turn 6 I think I was dead last in points), but once the momentum shifted in my direction everything was golden. It actually felt like I didn't have a whole lot of resistance aside from DA early on. There was no evidence of RA or BL in 10 on defense, nobody home at Evanon, and only a very beat up brigade of veterans at Viperhead. I'd like to think that I was set to defend my territory from attack (wonderfully named governors in every town or city I owned), but that attack never came. I'm still not certain why.

This game helped me to realize that the Red Dragon position is not for me. The extremely expensive troops, spread out starting position, and lack of ability to pursue artifacts made things too far out of my comfort zone. Not to mention the adept in my 2RD that failed the Rite 4 times, I believe.

Pros: Governors galore, 4 warlords, the strongest group I've fielded to date in Alamaze, the most prisoners I've had playing as anyone other than the UN, and a lot of witty banter in the forums (Joombeh!!)
Cons: Horrible start, not a ton of resistance past turn 10, no artifacts, that damn adept in 2RD, and too much drama in the forums.

Congrats to everyone that played. It seemed there was a lot going on across the map, and a lot of strong positions. Again, a huge thanks to Yellowbeard and DuPont for keeping me in the game. They are great people to work with, and I'd happily work with either going forward. Valterri was a tough opponent that I'd love to work with in the future. Heck, I'd even work with Jumbie. Maybe.
-The Deliverer
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#3
I think the fact that you worked with bluefile proves you'd work with anyone, Kevin. (And I note you now admit to coordinating with him against me, which you denied in emails... I never bought your innocent act, but was relatively powerless to act against you from the start.)


--------------------------


I started this game all excited after reading all the old Oracle stuff and asking tons of questions in the forums to clarify mechanics of orders etc. So I had a plan.

Which promptly fell apart.

The plan was to eliminate the SO early before he could raise wizards and take Region 9. I was going to ask the Dark Elves for help with this. Simultaneously I was going to negotiate peace with the Black Dragons to share the South East corner of the board and we could fight with our backs to the wall, maybe coordinating against the Demons.


I could not find contact info for the Black Dragon or Dark Elf kings. However. I *was* able to open cordial communications with the Demons and the Sorcerer, so I decided to change plan. Since I did not know if the Black Dragon would be hostile, I decided to ally with the sorcerer against him.

Aiding this decision was my negotiation with the SO, which led to perhaps the biggest miscalculation of the game. My ESO called for owning a city but not a Region, so I proposed to the SO that I take Almaren. Unfortunately he needed a city for his ESO too.

Vanasheen was within range of my Princess and the way my initial PC's were set, moving into the Sands would not be hard.

So I told the SO that he could have Almaren, but I had to have control of Synisvania. He agreed.

This was my critical mistake. I was, cocky rookie, going to take *2* regions simultaneously!

I got the control of the Sands easily by turn 4/5 I think and then told the BL I wanted a truce and he could have the rest of the Sands and encouraged him to attack Runnimede. (This was a minor mistake since it left me with a slim margin of control over the Sands that was easily erased when I lost the city.)

Now I was all set to take Synisvania which I had ignored and which the SO had *also* ignored, since our agreement was for him to have only 'substantial' in the region.

The reason I now realize this was a critical mistake is that leaving all those PC's neutral for all that time was a waste of resources. It was lost income. I should have let the SO take it all. By the time I realized this at about turn 6, the SO was not interested, since I was telling him (stupidly) that he could have Synisvania 'temporarily' to capture its production and I'd take it back when I could to keep with the terms of our deal where I would own it. The SO told me he was more interested in permanent settlements and was planning to expand north.

End result: lots of lost production/income in Synisvania that could have been used to develop the SO into a stronger kingdom and also Synisvania stayed uncontrolled for a long time, prompting everyone to view it as a target for expansion.

In the west I was friends with the Demons, but the constant TR influence raises were annoying me. Plus the TR had a vendetta against the DE from a previous game and he and the AN teamed up militarily and with the HC to attack the DE. I had no great love for the DE but was afraid of my western flank collapsing, so I decided to lend support. I moved my main group to Arcania, since the DE intercept radius was poor and he felt that my group could take the TR.

It was at this point that I started to feel out of my depth. There was not just a distinct North/South division going on, but also there seemed to be a veterans vs Rookie situation created by the geography. By coincidence, the GN, BL, RA, SO and DA were all rookies and they were all in the south with only the DE as a friendly veteran player. The UN was taken over by a veteran but was already at war with the GN.

Still, the GN, DE and I decided we could fight the TR/AN/UN alliance if we could get the SO and BL to join in. the SO declined citing his own interests with the WA and other things. The BL accepted. So it was 4 against 3 and we thought we'd do well.

And we did. We focused on the UN since he'd gotten into trouble early and the first UN player had dropped, so we knew he was weak and we felt we could get him off the council which the UN/AN/TR controlled.

Before long we had combined to leave him with it seemed just the one PC in the Talking Mountains.

Intercepting the TR was impossible. The TR player knew the TR weakness was in Group to group battle and moved great distances at a time attacking pop centers and moving on immediately. I had *3* near intercepts with the 1RA though out the game where I missed by one or 2 squares on the intercept.

The TR realized I was a problem and my capital was right next to his main group near the Arcania border, so he did the sensible thing and sacked my capital.

Which was followed by the RD sacking my next capital at Vanasheen immediately. And the WA and DW shattering my control of Synisvania simultaneously.

From that point all my efforts were focused on survival and the TR. I kept failing to intercept the TR in Synisvania while he and the WA were pawing at the Sorcerer's glass dome of protection.

The Gnome seemed to be doing rather well by this point and he and the BL decided to move north to Torvale (further leaving the Sands for the RD). The DE seemed to be getting his grip back on Arcania, so I decided to continue with my alliance's main plunge against Torvale. I sent emmisaries there, while my group stayed in Arcania/Synisvania guarding my capital. I was very paranoid at this point since I basically felt there was a six kingdom UN/TR/AN/DW/WA/RD alliance working us over and feared a strike on my capital at any moment, so I kept my big 1RA out of the fight and just recruited while taking back the odd PC in Synisvania from the DW and TR.

Money was incredibly short by this point too, so I was depending on the GN and DE to front me money and that made me feel obligated to assist their campaigns rather than try to reclaim the Sands. Plus I also felt that hitting the TR/AN decisively would grant us the riches of Torvale so that we could then fight a one front war against the RD.

Just about this time there was one last interesting development.

The GI annoyed the TR.

The TR actually requested an alliance with me to teach the GI a lesson. I said no.

The RD kept asking me for peace (or surrender), but since I'd had him pegged as a deceiver from an incident with a village earlier in the game I never said yes, believing he would not keep his word or find a way to work around it.

Near the last turn of the game, I actually Intercepted a TR group that had wandered near me. 19 brigades against 3. I was going to slaughter them. Except the TR had captured my Duke in the Torvale campaign earlier. So he and I worked out a deal where he gave me my Duke back and I let his group go without combat.

And then the game ended.

To answer Kevin's question more directly, the RD had no resistance from me in the Sands because my main group was out of position in Arcania when you attacked with all my emissaries in Synisvania which I had just taken, then my capital was under threat from 3 armies (The 1TR, 1WA, 2WA and 1DW were all in Synisvania at the same time, 3 of them being army groups.), then I decided that since my allies were focused on the TR, I should help finish the TR off so that we would fight one enemy at a time together instead of a 2 front war.


---------------------------------

Closing thoughts:

-Don't leave neutral PC's to be neutral. If you can't take them, your ally should take them. Neutral PC production basically goes into the ether and is a lost opportunity.

-Don't fight with your neighbors. I've looked at it a lot of ways. But my conclusion is unpleasant for some who like to play this game mano a mano: This is an alliance game. You almost always have breathing room from your natural enemy so wasting resources to fight for a region early weakens you for the end game (trading PC's back and forth costs MONEY and TIME). Working out deals to share regions even if you don't get control puts you in a better position since you get TIME and MONEY to spend on DEVELOPMENT (wizards/recruiting/artifacts,etc) before engaging your natural enemies and others full force.

-Communicate. If you're not making friends early on, you're making yourself a target.

-Recon. Whatever I accomplished in the game (8th out of 15 ain't bad for the first time I suppose.) it was because I had info from using my priestess, using trail group orders (That's what helped the SO knock off the WA's wizards during the siege of his capital among other things) and trading info. I was very careful not to betray confidences, not to reveal info that could harm a friendly kingdom etc, but everyone was able to give me something I could trade for info I wanted somewhere else

-The veterans vs rookies dynamic was unfortunate, but I think it's a one off. Luck of the draw clumped the rookies together geographically this game. Moving forward, current rookies will gain more experience and more rookies will enter the player base so there won't be a stark division of experience levels in any game and the normal bell curve distribution will apply.

-My main regret is not having ANY significant combat the entire game even thought I played a military kingdom.
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#4
Very good, Jumbie. Fans, can you believe this was his first campaign? That's a lot of lessons learned, lots of new neuron connections we don't normally see in the first exposure. I was really looking forward to this report, and was in no way disappointed. One mention - don't try to predict too much what another kingdom's ESO is presently. For any given kingdom, it could be one of ten possibilities with multiple requirements. And even if you do, its going to change in the near future.
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#5
(07-02-2013, 11:56 PM)kevindusi Wrote: I should start my story by thanking Wynand for not being in the game and therefore giving me a chance to win. Thanks, man.

Next, I would say that two strong allies in Yellowbeard (DW) and Dupont (WA) helped keep my position from being totally unplayable by turn 6. To anyone playing as the Red Dragon in the future... expand first in the SOUTH. My attempts in Region 6 came to a grinding halt early and if it was not for an early deal made with DW in exchange for leaving region 3, things would have come to an early end for my position.... DW in particular kept supporting and supporting, to the point that I felt guilty for having a short, hairy sugardaddy. Loric, playing the EL, and bluefile2, playing the TR, also deserve mention for helping me with various things throughout the game, whether it was sending food or coordinating attacks on the Ranger capital.

With help from DW and WA we finally managed to bottle up a very stubborn DA opponent and I had an opportunity to expand. My RD position skipped through region 9 and went into what appeared to be a largely empty Southern Sands controlled, at the time, by Jumbie (playing the RA). Using mostly military at first and buying governors to defend what I took, the Sands fell in a few turns and somehow the kingdom that was just about done on turn 6 was holding 2 regions. I spent a turn consolidating the region and was about to move west towards Runnimede when things went sideways in Torvale. Hearing that the Giant now controlled 3 cities (Evanon, Viperhead, and Meridon) and figuring he was close to declaring victory, I switched gears to invade 5 and go for my own win, which only needed 3 more cities (I only had Vanasheen at this point).

I arrived at Evanon two turns later with an army group worth around 150k vs. pop centers, took the city, split the group, and flew to Viperhead and Avalon to try to wrap up. No snafus occurred and I was able to claim victory.

This was a game where things started out going very poorly (on turn 6 I think I was dead last in points), but once the momentum shifted in my direction everything was golden. It actually felt like I didn't have a whole lot of resistance aside from DA early on. There was no evidence of RA or BL in 10 on defense, nobody home at Evanon, and only a very beat up brigade of veterans at Viperhead. I'd like to think that I was set to defend my territory from attack (wonderfully named governors in every town or city I owned), but that attack never came. I'm still not certain why.

This game helped me to realize that the Red Dragon position is not for me. The extremely expensive troops, spread out starting position, and lack of ability to pursue artifacts made things too far out of my comfort zone. Not to mention the adept in my 2RD that failed the Rite 4 times, I believe.

Pros: Governors galore, 4 warlords, the strongest group I've fielded to date in Alamaze, the most prisoners I've had playing as anyone other than the UN, and a lot of witty banter in the forums (Joombeh!!)
Cons: Horrible start, not a ton of resistance past turn 10, no artifacts, that damn adept in 2RD, and too much drama in the forums.

Congrats to everyone that played. It seemed there was a lot going on across the map, and a lot of strong positions. Again, a huge thanks to Yellowbeard and DuPont for keeping me in the game. They are great people to work with, and I'd happily work with either going forward. Valterri was a tough opponent that I'd love to work with in the future. Heck, I'd even work with Jumbie. Maybe.

You're most welcome, Kevin. Smile
I found your thoughts on the RD very interesting and timely.
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#6
On the other hand, if you want to try your hand at the most awesome military power in the history of Alamaze, ah, I wouldn't put it off.
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#7
3 more things to add.

-I don't remember the details of the planning, but the strike against the TR reinforcements was something I felt proud of. I used the info I had gathered to conclude/guess that the TR had gone to sea with his capital, sacrificed half my orders to build and launch the fleet, got the GN in on the plan so that we could hit him twice and sure enough all three of those things came together to make a most satisfying operation.

-Early on, the DE made a great choice in the Arcania defense when we couldn't intercept the TR. The DE set out for the TR capital with plans to hit it and Meridon, 1-2 punch. This was good sensible strategy and had it worked would have altered the whole game completely.

However the TR capital had moved. I suspect just the turn before, though I hope bluefile can fill in the timeline on that.

-I think everyone in our alliance realized that the RD were the big threat to win the game by the time he took 2 regions, but emotionally we were so tied up in battling AN/TR the whole game, especially with the forum shinanigans and HC voting/booting that it was a significant factor in deciding to stick with warring against the TR rather than countering the RD.
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#8
The UN was fighting me early- I (AN) and TR were never allied with him from my knowledge. The 1st player dropped and then a standbye occurred (I think) and still no communication.
I think we were working loosely with the WA.
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#9
We tried to get the second UN player on our side. Didn't work. Plus both UN players voted with you 2 on the high council if I recall.

Of course, I know now that there was no alliance, but from our perspective we saw a 3 kingdom team.

Sad for us, because if the UN had even revealed his lack of alliance with you, then We'd have left him alone and gone after the AN early.
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#10
Playing the WA, my first call was to the GI. I was prepared to split Amberland with him and let him have control. I felt that this would make me much less of a target and I wanted to fly under the radar for a bit. It was a bit of a problem in that my ESO called for control of a region, but I figured I'd be able to score one at some point. I quickly realized the GI was in too many games to keep up and probably wasn't a good choice for a working ally, so I left it at a NAP with him and looked around for others. I fell in with the RD/DW pair and it was a great fit. They wanted to move down the eastern side of the map and that suited me perfectly as my enemy the SO was there.
I had some early contact with the RA and was also interested in working with him, but he was problematic. He seemed to feel that doing anything other than taking back the town in #9 that the SO had taken from me would be an act of aggression against him somehow. I couldn't figure out WHAT was going on in 9 (now I know) but him laying a blanket of protection over my natural enemy meant I couldn't work with him going forward. He had declared me an ally early on for a trade reason, but I just had to ignore that.
The DW/RD moved against the DA, but I was limited in my ability to help because I was hostile in the ES and was reluctant to spend the gold needed to make my emmys useful there. And the WA is hardly a military kingdom. So while I was helping them out with sleep and ward spells, I accepted an offer from the AN/TR pair to help in their attack on the DE. I did some damage there, but I realized I was getting spread a little thin and I teleported out my one decent group to take out a DA town. Then the TR and I (along with the DW) moved into #9 in force. While we did damage to the RA, the SO was quite clever with hidden groups and managed to take out two of my wizards; including a level 5 and killed about half of my army group with summon death and a few other nasty spells. The TR decided to break it off with the SO and we left him alone since he wanted to 'turtle' and I moved full force back into Arcania. I don't think the DE was prepared for that, but I wasn't as successful as I'd hoped. If anything, I make him bring his groups back home to defend his region.
I had long ago realized I wouldn't be winning the game and hoped that one of my main allies would, so I was happy to see the RD pull it out. I particularly enjoyed matching wits with the DE and SO and hope to be on their side in upcoming games to see how that works.
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