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Old March 15th, 2010, 07:14 PM

Micah Micah is offline
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Default Re: Rand-dom Dawn (pbem)

Atlantis: A study in frustration

So, time for the glorious AAR of the bottom-dwellers. What a game.

To begin, I looked upon the mighty forces at my disposal. After about 3 seconds I realized that the only thing the entire nation has going for it is the basalt kings, especially given the ability of my neighbors to rain down poison arrows or lightning evocations into the ranks of my painfully slow national troops. So, Basalt kings it was. They have painfully high encumbrance for a unit that really wants to be quickened, and obviously they want regen. So, a bless was in order. Looking at the national "magic" it was also painfully obvious that I would need a rainbow pretender, and thus my only choice was the lobster archmage.

I decided that I would need an explosive start to the game to leverage my early SC potential before counters were in place, and thus I settled on an awake pretender to speed my research to construction 4. There was a slight design point shortfall at this point, since I needed order since I wanted to make a king a turn from about turn 5 onward, and the gold was important, and I had gutted my other scales already. I was forced to choose to take death or drain. Drain won out since I didn't see the wisdom of nuking my nice underwater breadbasket with death scales, and I figured I would not be too impacted by magic scale either way since all of my researchers were high cost/high RP mages, so the magic scale was less important than with nearly any other nation. I was banking on using my pretender's early research to quickly bump up to construction-6 for lightless lanterns to offset Atlantis' abysmal research anyhow, so I figured that getting lanterns researched sooner by having an awake, 30 RP pretender would largely offset the drain penalty. This all went as planned, except for not having any F income to speak of. This would be my undoing.

The game opened as planned. I researched straight up to cons 4 with my pretender, popped out some gear, site searched the water with my basalt kings, lucked out and got a nice 1500g event and some pearls, along with the amazing luck to get the national nature magic hero with my misfortune-2 pick and rumbled on into the crippled Agartha (which had been my plan from the beginning, rush Agartha, kill his assumed SC pretender with 5 quickened BK's with fire brands and then get into the water on the far side of the map.) I start site searching in the water with my hero and get some nice income, but no free forts.

Agartha is crushed, as planned, but I had been planning to recruit traitorous pales ones in the caverns to siege the walls, as they are incredibly good at it and extremely low-resource troops. Luck was not with me in this, though, and all of the indy troop types in the 5 cavern provinces I had crossed were completely worthless for sieges. I was forced to recruit troops from back in the water and begin marching them eastward, ever so slowly.

At this point the endless, pointless harassment of my nation began. Arco tried seducing my attack force with several orieads, killing off many of my kings and losing one or two seducers himself, with nothing to show for it as far as I could tell...there was no followup attack or attempt to take over Agartha, just a large-scale screwjob.

Sauro decided to sweep into Agartha after I lost my siege from arco. I had no choice but to attack him, although I really didn't want to start a fight. Without Agartha and access to the water in the east, as well as a way to pay arco back, I knew the game would be a loss. I successfully mopped up sauro's army with my second wave of BKs, as the shields of gleaming gold I had outfitted them with shut down his poison archers almost completely, and the bless regen finished the job. I crossed my fingers and hoped that he would write off the loss as a failed poaching effort, especially since he had little to gain by attacking me (just two coastal provinces and the tunnel to agartha) and I didn't kill anything particularly valuable.

After re-securing agartha I took my revenge on Arco, pushing him back to his cap in short order, but then not being able to finish the job for ages since I already had one siege too many on my hands with Agartha's cap. I ended up getting gate cleavers before mustering up enough of an army to successfully bring down Agartha's walls. Just as I was about to break through Sauro attacked me, pushing me off the siege AGAIN, from what I recall. Things looked grim for the Atlantis timeline, although casualties had been light, only losing kings to the great Arcossian massacre thus far.

More to come in part 2.
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Old March 17th, 2010, 03:35 PM

Calahan Calahan is offline
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Default Re: Rand-dom Dawn (pbem)

Kailasa AAR
Some Luck, Some Luck, all the Monkeys in my Kingdom for Some Luck


The Overlooked Pretender

With the players found, and battlelines drawn, the Great Pasha did continue his series of RAND games by handing out the straws for the coming battle. And I got handed the novelty Monkey shaped straw. Not the best nation on offer, nor the worst, a good mid-nation for this game I felt. So Kailasa. Never looked at them in-depth before, but knew their uber Monkey troops were handicapped somewhat with half-decent sacreds and recruitable (blessable) capital thugs. Plus of course the well known and very nice, but Astral heavy, national summons. After a quick bit of play-testing, I settled for trying to setup a mass clamming base as soon as possible to leverage the National summons, and to that effect, decided upon an awake Mother of Rivers for maximum water gem income.

So, I was happily going about my expansion testing, forming and perfecting various mid/late game strategies, and getting used to the map which I'd never played on before (see Chapter 1). Then at the 10th hour, Proposition 164c was offered to the participants.

Proposition 164c - "Gem gens shall be made unique for this game"
(for the readers, this game started before the now standard unique gem gens that is part of CBM 1.6+).

For the record, I voted against making gem gens unique for this game. Not because I disagreed with the concept (since I totally agree with it), but more the fact that the decision to make gem gens unique for this game came after the drawing of nations. Which it not a great order of doing things really, since some nations are no doubt affected more than others by unique gem gens, and the option was there for this game to vote according to which nation you had, rather than voting purely on the idea itself.

Since as it turned out, I was guilty of voting against an idea I fully support purely because of the nation I was handed. Which was a decision further polarised due to the unfortunate problem of me already having used up 90% of the testing time I had available before the start date, on what was potentially threatening to be, a totally useless build.

The Chosen One is Found

Upon the clock striking the 11th hour, news came from above that Proposition 164c had indeed been passed. Trouble. Big trouble. Partly because I needed to re-think my whole strategy for the game, and almost entirely because real life wasn't going to allow me any time to do that, yet alone play-test what I came up with. So my build would be mostly done on theory-Dominions, and for the first time while creating a Pretender, I turned to the guides for some ideas, and eventually settled upon a heavy bless strategy for the sacreds with an imprisoned Oracle A5W6S9N4, which I seen mentioned somewhere (although not these exact paths). For the scales I opted for the extremes of O3S3F3D3L3M1 and Dominion7.

Sloth 3, Fire 3, Magic 1 were no brainers. As for Order3 Death3 Luck3....

My initial thoughts were that my early gold requirements would be higher than normal, due to expensive mages and sacreds, so Order3 to help that out. Also hoped to pick up some nice early gold windfalls with Luck3 (yeah right!), plus I imagined my gem needs would start overtaking my gold needs as I phased out the sacred troops, so again Luck3 for extra gems (ha!).

Another factor was that I felt the smaller map would increase the value of Luck, since less chance of hitting the four events limit (read zero event limit). And of course even though my Monkey PD could easily handle any and every Tart thrown at it, I didn't want to wear the little guys out, so thought Luck3 would again be useful for the Markata's to get some peaceful barb-free leisure time to practise their SC killing skills.

Death3 was more of a risk, but thought it was worth it since supplies weren't a problem with so many Nature mages on hand, plus a smaller map would likely mean a shorter game, so less time for income loss to kick in. I was also hoping to bag a Death Mage with the random event that triggers with Death+Luck (+ maybe Magic) scales. Also, there's an extra big cash event with the Death+Luck combo (dying Prince or some such), which would be really useful to get early on. Plus I'd heard good things about Order3 Luck3 working well together to maximise both gold and gem income. (I don't really want to say those are all lies but, those are all lies!!!)

In hindsight, almost this entire theory turned out to be wrong in this game. As Order3 Luck3 just doesn't, or didn't here at least, produce the events to make it work (maybe it starts paying off once you hit 30+ provinces, but that defeats the objective of trying to use it to get an early cash boost), and those sacreds are damn damn expensive!!!

Initial Thoughts and Planning

So with no real testing done other than expansion, the game kicked off. What testing I did do showed me that a handful of sacreds (4-5) could take practically any Indy apart from the special Pisachas and Ganas province which appears now and again. Since the ethereal Ganas slowed the killing down, and both have high morale to negate the Awe on the sacreds. The map suggested to me that my closest neighbour, C'tis, was going to beeline for (114) to secure all the East provinces, meaning that it was essential that I beeline for (107) to try and claim a chunk of provinces down the East side of the central mountain (95) (84) (74). Otherwise, I would likely find myself with just ~10 provinces, since expanding too far West was going to run into 2-3 competitors, which I wanted to avoid in the early stages, or at least until I knew what C'tis were up to. I was also apprehensive about rushing C'tis until I knew what Pretender they had. Since EA C'tis usually means an awake SC, plus skelly spam is a natural counter to my sacreds (although I could always turn to archers to deal with that, but harder to rush with Archers).

My tentative early-game plan involved hitting a few low level goals like Eagle Eyes, Blade Wind and Summon Earth Power for battles, after which I'd be happy to engage C'tis (with Blade Wind used to answer skelly spam, and as a substitute for Archers). Since I'd be sure to have, and need, a lot of mages in the field to both lead (as they're Magic Beings) and bless the Sacreds. Then Construction 4, and a trace of Alt/Thau/Ench for Thug buffs.

Further ahead to mid-game, I thought I had a chance to grab three early low-level globals with Gift of Health, Mother Oak and Dark Skies. The latter to supercharge the awe on my sacreds, and to be put up as soon as my Pretender awoke. Since I was sure to have 30 Air gems by then from events or the odd site (Dreeeeeeeaaaaming. Dream dream dreaming). Finally, and depending on what was happening, power onto either Alt9 for the "Army Of" spells and Wish, or Conj9 for the National summons and Tarts

I wasn't too happy about having two uncovered magic paths, Fire and Death. Fire I was intending to suck up the 50 gems (that never appeared) to empower. And Death I had some hopes of grabbing a Mage from a random event as mentioned, otherwise it would again be another suck-up empower job. But I figured I'd get a good Death income from the C'tis capital (since I'd either have captured it by mid-game, or I'd be dead) so I had less worry about where the 50 Death gems were coming from. Empowering a nature mage would also solve my Death mage problems by giving me access the Lamia Queens, which I could hopefully use to summon Tarts to leverage my Gift of Health. If everything went to plan of course :-)

(rhetorical question - Has anyone's plans ever once gone to plan?!?)

Chapter 1 to follow........

Last edited by Calahan; March 17th, 2010 at 03:44 PM..
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