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  #1  
Old February 7th, 2010, 01:58 PM
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Default Feb25 Update - Calling All Tourists! - MA Oceania DAR - Chapter 13

Hello, and welcome to the very first During Action Report!

What is a During Action Report (DAR)?
A DAR is precisely what it sounds like: a living AAR for an MP game that is continually updated each turn as the game progresses.

This DAR will be for MA Oceania in the Tophats MP game that recently started.

How does it work?
I will provide my .trn and .2h files to anybody interested in following the game ("tourists" - thanks for the idea Gandalf!), and give a brief rundown of each turn in this thread. These updates will surely be chock full of piercing insights & hilarious commentary ().

There will be a 2-turn delay, to keep outsiders from submitting unauthorized turns.

How to I participate?
You already are! All reports will be right here, possibly indexed if I have the patience for it. All files will also be here, if you really want to follow along at home [if you're new to MP, just download the files & unzip into a folder within your dominions3/savedgames folder; it'll then show up under your existing games]. If you don't yet have Dominions 3, don't worry, I'm sure some these fine individuals will get you a copy in exchange for money.

***TO VIEW THE TURNS*** you must unzip this file into your dominions3/mods folder:
Tophats Mods.zip
and unzip this file into your dominions3/maps folder:
Islands_and_Tunnels.zip

Won't providing all your files ruin the game?
This has been made possible by the gracious cooperation of the fine gentlemen of the Tophats game. These scholars, recognizing the need to encourage our younger generations of Dominions players to take the MP plunge, have all agreed not to glance at this thread or otherwise communicate with you tourists regarding this thread. Therefore the games integrity is intact, allowing me to divulge all the juicy details of my flawed strategies for your amusement.

Why are you doing this?
Lots of folks give back to this great community - some make mod nations, some make maps, some write guides, some admin MP games, etc. This is my own paltry attempt to give a little back. I figure this is a great way to show those new to the game, or those on the MP fence, what the MP game is really like without having to commit. Cause let's face it, volunteering for your first MP game is a bit intimidating. Hopefully this will take the Fear of the Unknown out of it, and encourage a few new faces to join our MP ranks.

Plus it's really ****ing cold where I live, so it'll give me something to do until Spring

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

So I invite everyone to sit back, relax, and enjoy the show. If you have any ideas on how to improve the implementation I've suggested, let me know!

I'll try to keep the updates simple for those new to the game, but strongly encourage vets to participate. If you have any questions, suggestions, criticisms, etc, please feel free to speak up. This is supposed to be a learning experience, at least for me

-----------

INDEX
Preface
Pretender Build
Chapter 1: Where do we begin?
Chapter 2: Meet the Neighbors

Chapter 3: The Annexation of Puerto Rico

Chapter 4: Who ordered the squid?
Chapter 5: Death of a Heroman
Chapter 6: Valentine's Day Massacre
Chapter 7: Slow News Day
Chapter 8: Vine Ripened
Chapter 9: The Best Laid Plans

Chapter 10: Coming of the Capricorns

Chapter 11: The Awakening
Chapter 12: The Calm before The Storm

Chapter 13: The Die is Cast

-----------

Last edited by cleveland; February 25th, 2010 at 11:49 PM..
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  #2  
Old February 7th, 2010, 03:52 PM
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Default Re: During Action Report! Calling all tourists! Everyone's invited!

Quote:
Originally Posted by cleveland View Post
Hello, and welcome to the the very first During Action Report!

What is a During Action Report (DAR)?


Plus it's really ****ing cold where I live, so it'll give me something to do until Spring

INDEX
(this space reserved for links to the various chapters)
C,
Winter Wonderland. It's a Winter Wonderland...

Interesting concept. Thanks for lighting it up.
-ssj (fellow midwesterner)
__________________
"I think, therefore I am" - René Descartes

"I yam what I yam" - Popeye
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Old February 7th, 2010, 05:09 PM
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Default Re: During Action Report! Calling all tourists! Everyone's invited!

Preface

Okey dokey artichokie, here’s the Grand Strategic Overview:

Tophats is an 11 person MA CBM game on an unusual map. The map is a planetary wrap-around with a bunch of islands connected by underground (cave province) tunnels. All 3 underwater nations are here. It’s a game for Gentlemen, so no lying, cheating, backstabbing, or other such fun is allowed.

The map, with start locations in red:
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I have, in my infinite wisdom, volunteered to play MA Oceania in this game. If you’re unfamiliar with the big O, it’s almost universally agreed upon to be the weakest nation in the game. Viable strategies have been developed, strongly recommend check out Baalz guide, but I’m not holding out much hope for victory in this one. Which is totally fine by me, as I hate late game micromanagement hell, and I want to be eliminated by Spring anyways Live fast, die young, that’s going to be Oceania’s mantra in Tophats.

But victory is surely possible. By the game’s rules, I only need 4 capitals to win, which is a relatively low number, and certainly achievable for me since all 3 underwater nations are participating. If it’s going to happen, it’ll be by the following gameplan:

1)
Take over the entire ocean as soon as possible.
2) Keep those landlubbers in perpetual war, so they don’t get too powerful.
3) Execute a swift and overwhelming attack on the weakest land nation.
4) Be extremely lucky.

All this before the mindhunt factories come online, and I get microwaved off the map. What could be easier?

Fortunately, as Baalz points out, Oceania has all the right tools for a strong opening, and is pretty tough throughout the Early Game. I’ll be following his advice here: ichtycentaur expansion parties followed by Kelp Fortress hunting mermages (which apparently are still common in CBM, despite advertisements to the contrary - thanks Frozen Lama).

But apart from that I’ll be taking an unorthodox strategy for this game. By unorthodox, I mean I won’t explicitly be following the rest of Baalz guide. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great strategy, but there have been 2 big changes to CBM since it was written:

1)
Capricorns no longer lose -1 from all paths out of the water. They now only lose -1 from their Water skill only. This is a HUGE boon to the overall capability of the nation, no longer completely neutered of the water without X-formation.
2) Blood stones are now unique. This is a HUGE loss for Oceania, whose paltry earth magic was already hampered by a lack of feet in the water. This change really takes earth out of Oceania’s playbook.

So without Earth magic and with the addition of capable terrestrial artillery, we can break the Alteration mold for some other, less predictable approach. Aha! But of course! The saving spell for Oceania, the one that’s going to put a big +1 in the Hall of Fame is none other than Foul Vapors! (crickets)

OK, FV sure doesn’t seem to offer much for Oceania at first glance, but consider the following:

1)
It’s castable underwater (surprise!), just like its little brother Poison Cloud.
2) It’s a pretty devastating spell – a battlefield enchantment that poisons a good deal of the battlefield each round – without any Def or MR checks to save.
3) It’s only level 5, which is very low for such a potent spell, meaning it can be brought to bear relatively early in the game. Certainly long before widespread poison counters can be developed by Oceania’s aquatic rivals.
4) It’s in the same research tree as Regeneration & Poison Ward, which can be used to effectively negate the poison damage on small groups of elite troops (i.e. ichtycentaurs). Regen will also cut the number of poison-related boo-boos, and my troops can recuperate any that still happen.
5) It’s also in the same tree as Claymen, which have 100% poison immunity. With Regen and Mindlessness (take that R’lyeh!) they’re an absolute steal at 6 for 3W (using my mermages). Speaking of poison resistance, this tree also has Skellispam…
6) Most importantly, with the new CBM change, every Capricorn can cast it, on land or in the sea.

So I’ll be shooting hard and fast for Enchantment. Since I’m going to ignore Earth magic, there’s no real need to break into the Blood game, so I can safely ignore Lamia Queens. Further, no Alteration means no Mother Oak. Taken together, there’s really no need to take Baalz advice for excessive Nature on my pretender anymore. I like the Death LQs would have brought to the party, so I’ll be sure to have D + W on my pretender to work the Streams from Hades angle, though. A strong Death pretender like a Lich would be a good choice for late-game, but again, I don’t intend to be around that long
Plus, it’s not very thematic, a bunch of fishmen worshiping some undead corpse…not even sure how that’d work with the whole burial at sea thing. But the Old Man of the Sea I like: a gigantic, half-man, half-sea-serpent rising from the depths to claim godhood. Yup, I’d buy that.

Last edited by cleveland; February 7th, 2010 at 05:34 PM..
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Old February 7th, 2010, 05:12 PM
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Default Re: During Action Report! Calling all tourists! Everyone's invited!

Pretender Build

With natural Astral & Water, the Old Man's kinda like the lord of navigation, guiding ships to safe harbor and whatnot. We’ll give him a bit of Death too, as he likes to send the occasional ship into the rocks (wouldn’t you?). But we don’t need a lot, as good scales are the priority thereby maximizing ichtycentaur output and my chances at an early game upset.

We’ll do a dormant Old Man with Dom9 and S4W4D2, scales at O3S2C3G2L3M1. His magic will let him cast Streams from Hades, Antimagic vs. R’lyeh, create a few Reverants to get the Death pump primed, and maybe even forge a few Astral Rings. He’s no SC, but in a pinch he can teleport in and send off a few water elementals at raiders. Maybe give him a D gem to cast Soul Vortex for the rare front-line detail. If he makes it the late-game (ha!) he can invite a few Abominations.

So I picture something like this:
1) Expand hard and fast with Ichtycentaurs, followed by mermage site searchers.
2) Launch a swift invasion of my closest enemy, preferably R’lyeh, pushing hard toward his capital behind a wall of Light Lances.
3) Bring his capital walls down fast with swarms of ichtysatyrs. I want his capital before the Old Man wakes up.
4) Mop up his remaining provinces, and start some serious Enchantment research. Start sending stealthy Capricorns behind my other underwater pal’s lines.
5) Hit him hard and fast with another Ichtycentaur charge, supported by a massive Capricorn sneak attack scripted for (Personal Regeneration)(Watershield)Attack against his 1PD provinces.
6) Win that war (easy!), then bide my time until Ench-5 & Alt-1 is completed.
7) Pick the weakest looking land opponent, and launch an all-out assault with Foul Vapors doing the damage. Research Conjuration to get Voice of Tiamet & Streams from Hades, just in case my brilliant plan somehow fails, laughable as that may sound.

Last edited by cleveland; February 7th, 2010 at 05:23 PM..
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  #5  
Old February 7th, 2010, 05:19 PM

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Default Re: During Action Report! Calling all tourists! Everyone's invited!

here's some help- Kelp forts are NOT uncommon in cbm qm forgot to add that part into the mod
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Old February 8th, 2010, 10:00 PM
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Default Re: During Action Report! Calling all tourists! Everyone's invited!

On your way to streams of hades, you will conveniently unlock the bog beast. In CBM you get 3 of them for 3 nature gems and it's castable by your capricorns. Now there's something to supercharge your foul vapor strategy Hear your opponent cry in agony as he succumbs to bog beast fumes protected by waves of skeletons.

Quagmire sounds like a goto spell too, to slow down fast units.

Don't forget that Dragon master is doable now that you keep your nature magic on land. You can make quite a drake factory with ice drakes, earth drakes and wyverns. The wyverns are poison immune and can fly in the rear and paralyze mages, and why not throw in a couple Amphiteres (with girdle and lycan ammy?) as well to further empower your poison angle?
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Old February 9th, 2010, 08:36 AM
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Default Re: During Action Report! Calling all tourists! Everyone's invited!

Chapter 1: Where do we begin?

Turn 1 file: Turn1.zip
(Note that you'll need to download the mods & map from my 1st post to open these files.)

At the beginning, of course.

Hello, and welcome the first in what's sure to be a pathetically few number of turn reports! To get things off on the right foot, we'll begin with a little mood-setting poetry:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfred View Post
"'Forward, the Light Brigade!'
Was there a man dismay'd?
Not tho' the soldiers knew
Some one had blunder'd:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred."
Yes, that about sums it up: a foolhardy charge by an outmatched yet proud nation into the Valley of Death.

But before we can get to the being eliminated part, we have some administrative details to sort out, like where we are in the world. Aha! We begin in the North:
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A good start location, plenty of sea neighbors. The Northern sea start is very easily defensible, with just 2 narrow causeways connecting it to the middle seas; though the same holds true in the opposite direction, and I plan being on offense. Plus I'm bottled up by capital-controlled provinces from my southern neighbor.

But I can take and hold the entire region quite easily, provided none of my foolish land neighbors venture to dip a toe in. I'll only have one aquatic neighbor, I hope it's R'lyeh so I can kill him before he gets Mind Burn/Soul Slay.

My starting army is too weak to send blindly into battle, so I'm going to raise a little extra cash by overtaxing the citizens a bit, and killing anyone who complains. Taxes to a modest 150%, not unlike here in America; while I could probably safely go higher, I want to minimize the risk of excess Unrest in the capital, which would be very bad for recruitment the next few turns. Captain Haon Door is in charge of patrolling detail, give 'em hell HD.

Usually I'd prophetize my scout, but Oceania has two compelling reasons to take an alternate route: (1) my starting scout is a Siren, capable of killing commanders in coastal provinces, and (2) I can recruit H3 Bishop Fish, which when prophetized become H4. Not that H4 is terribly useful, but I do plan on fielding some largish armies, so Fanaticism will be helpful, and it'll help with preaching up my good scales.

So with that said, I send my Siren off to the Ripewoods in hopes she can kill off all thier commanders, hopefully to get me a painless backdoor onto the land.

Recruitment consists of our future prophet Bishop Fish, and a pile of Ichtycentaurs. These bad boys, not to be confused with their incompetent and wildly overpriced Trident Knight big brothers, are damn fine units:
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20hps, 17def, First Strike Bonus, amphibious and a 5:1 gold:resource ratio, which allowed me to take Sloth scales (I'll almost always be gold-limited). We'll be recruiting these just about every turn from now on.

Not much else. No mercs I can recruit, not that I would. But there are a few amusing pretender names, I'll be sure to be diplomatically lienent with those who made the extra effort:
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Philbert the Round? Might be some kinda big scary Ogre SC. We'll see...

Last edited by cleveland; February 9th, 2010 at 08:46 AM..
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Old February 9th, 2010, 08:42 AM
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Default Re: During Action Report! Calling all tourists! Everyone's invited!

Quote:
Originally Posted by sansanjuan View Post
C,
Winter Wonderland. It's a Winter Wonderland...

Interesting concept. Thanks for lighting it up.
-ssj (fellow midwesterner)
Snow Emergency declared, SSJ! Don't get towed!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fantomen
On your way to streams of hades, you will conveniently unlock the bog beast. In CBM you get 3 of them for 3 nature gems and it's castable by your capricorns. Now there's something to supercharge your foul vapor strategy Hear your opponent cry in agony as he succumbs to bog beast fumes protected by waves of skeletons.

Quagmire sounds like a goto spell too, to slow down fast units.

Don't forget that Dragon master is doable now that you keep your nature magic on land. You can make quite a drake factory with ice drakes, earth drakes and wyverns. The wyverns are poison immune and can fly in the rear and paralyze mages, and why not throw in a couple Amphiteres (with girdle and lycan ammy?) as well to further empower your poison angle?)
Oooo, I particularly like the the Bog Beast part

Quagmire + FV is a potent combo, though I probably won't be able to bring it to bear before I get skellispam online, due to encumbrance issues.

I hadn't thought about the wyvern approach, excellent idea! I'm going to struggle with mobility, and so a few flying raiders should be quite valuable. Bonus points if I can trade for some winged shoes...
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Old February 9th, 2010, 09:15 PM
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Default Re: During Action Report! Calling all tourists! Everyone's invited!

Chapter 2: Meet the Neighbors

Turn 2 file: Turn2.zip

Quote:
From: Captain Haon Door
To: Oceania Chief of Staff
Re: Neighboring provinces

General,

My reconnaissance of the territories surrounding our Glorious Capital is complete. I've enclosed a map.
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I'm afraid we've underestimated the level of resistance our Glorious Armies will face pacifying these brutes.

For starters, the Sea of Mermaids doesn't have mermaids at all, but rather a 60-strong army of net wielding blue things.

The Typhian Sea is even worse, with a garrison of around 80 Triton Guards & Troopers.

But the worst is the Cerulean Sea. At first glance we thought it was just a rabble of Tritons, but upon closer inspection we discovered Sea Trolls and a huge Kraken towering over the army.

Lighter resistance was noted in Divine Ocean - 30 blue things - and Sea of Carassos - 10 Tritons.

Recommend taking Divine Ocean at the earliest opportunity, as the blue ones can walk on land and we're sure to find loyalists willing to join our ranks. Following that I recommend taking Sea of Carassos, then reassessing.

Awaiting orders,
Captain Haon Door
So the indy situation is a bit tougher than I'd anticipated. Bad news, as my strategy's really reliant on a fast opening. Oh well.

My first order of business is to prepare our future prophet for becoming our prophet. This is accomplished stripping him of his earthly moniker and granting him title. He shall hereby be known as Monsieur le Comte de Maquereau, Prophet of Oceania!

Up next, prepare the raiding party. I collect all the crappy tritons into one squad with orders to attack straight up the middle. The ichtycentaurs are put on the flank with orders to stike the enemy's rear.
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Recruitment is a mermage to get the Kelp Fortress search started, and another pile of ichtycentaurs.

Some VERY interesting information in the score graphs:

1) Atlantis has already captured a province, the only nation to do so. Plus his god Glug is now in the Hall of Fame. Plus the Dominion graph shows he's got strong Dominion. The preponderance of the evidence suggests he's following Baalz suggested build of a Dom10 Ancient Kraken. That's going to be one tough cookie, and may necessitate critical reevaluation of my research strategy if he's my neighbor. At least he'll be predictable.
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2) Vanheim has a huge research lead, they've obviously taken a rainbow for the research surge...probably to follow Baalz's advice for Helheim. I hate to disappoint, but he's going to have a very difficult time pulling the Skull Mentor trick off with Vanheim, they just don't have a way to prime the death pump in any reasonable amount of time.
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[To Newbies - let that be a lesson, always check the score graphs! They're chock full of intel if you pay attention.]
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Old February 9th, 2010, 10:04 PM

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Default Re: 2/9 Update - Calling All Tourists! - MA Oceania DAR

Vanheim, rather than following the Baalz Helheim plan, can go with something similar to the Caelum EK plan. It's more of a hybrid of the two actually, but with the right blessing you can rig Vanadrotts (or Eriu's Tuatha) to conquer provs solo or in duos using Resist Lightning and cast spells. Or he may simply be beelining it to an early research goal like Evo 4/5 for early war. I agree with you that I don't see the drain -> skull mentors implementation working for Vanheim.
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