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Wakshaani

The out Of Character Meta-Thread

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Most Interfered with... No one interfered with the Living Land Invasion! Well yes the French uprooted a stelae but I never thad control of the zones (another week and I would have brought them to task). Who else scuppered my plans! Come on own up!

 

Fair win to Mobius of course. I should have contested his invasion point of India from the outset..as I almost did. He would have outbid me, but it might have slowed the tide somewhat.

 

Key to Mobius's victory and the failure of other's was clearly the knowledge of what it took to win (coupled with the suprising rate of possibility awards). Expecing a longer term game, after initially targetting a soft power base in Western Europe, I figured someone had to stop the American's before they stopped being isolationist and lent aid to the rest of the globe. With high possibilities rewards the temptation to expand rapidly at high initial cost to reap rewards later just seemed to high.

 

In terms of the lack of infighting between high lords. Providing, I reclaimed France I was planning to invade Asyles lands in week 9...and have a suspicion that Asyle was thinking of doing the reverse!

 

I was playing that my spec forces (with limited transport options) would only operate in my immediate geographic area. So short of dropping bridges into India to contest Mobius, there wasn't much I could do.

 

On the other hand I was very happy with the bridges I dropped in Mexico and Dallas to dissuade Orrosh from invading in that direction and carving up the States. My last week's orders included dropping bridges into Colorado and Chicago.

 

Anyway's thats it for my post mortem so all that remains for me to say is a great thankyou to all the other players for making this so much fun. The quality of writing was superb. Now the games over, I'm going to re-read some that that I skimmed over. An even greater thanks to Catstacker for organising this game.

 

If Catstacker is mad enough to run another game in the future, please let me know.

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Your wife's expecting imminently? Wow, congratulations Catstacker!

 

I hadn't particularly set out to win, I was just trying to 'do what Mobius would do' and go for overambitious overextension until I got slapped down by Core Earth (or someone else). I was surprised by the first week's harvested energy, and was still surprised (and delighted) by the massive volumes recieved each week - almost too much but still never enough to do everything I wanted.

 

I could have happily continued, and was really enjoying it - there were a number of plots and plans set up for future weeks. My brain was struggling a little with the global scope, and can only imagine the mental workout Catstacker was getting - managing information from 7 realms and Core Earth!

I too felt like I was still in the initial expansion phase, I'd not done a good job of describing India, and hadn't even started on Egypt, Vietnam (and surrounds), Iran, and I was about to drop into Nigeria to offer a safe zone for refugees from the evil space aliens :)

 

A very enjoyable first run of an extremely ambitious game, thanks for running it Catstacker, and thanks to everyone else for the amazing posts. I'll work on the moon crashing post and get it up. I've also kept my orders for each week which I'll post at some point.

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Oof! I hadn't even gotten everything in motion!

 

I was plotting a long-term strategy, not short-term, myself, and finding out about the MASSIVE eneergy loads completely up-ended everything.

 

Biggest lack of information that killed me? Energy provided by zones. In standard rules, Pure zones give 3 possibilities, Dominant Zones give 2, and while you need at least 25,000 believers to generate energy, any number byond that makes no difference. Thus, Iceland, with a population of 300,000, generated more energy (In this form) than a triangle that held New York and Boston!

 

Unfortunately, this was NOT the way the rules worked for this. Once that was made clear, the Living Land dropped into my two major prizes of Texas and expecially Mexico City, and that ended that. So, I was playing under the wrong rules set the entire game! Makes my strategy look downright idiotic, now. :(

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A few additional Gaunt Man notes.

 

First and foremost, Mazel Tov! Can't wait to see you stack babies instead of cats. :)

 

Next, Haiti was chosen for a few reasons: An easily-subjugated populace with a compatable belief structure and an island base made for an area ripe for conquest, where residents couldn't really run away and where it'd be extra hard to try to root Orrosh off the map. Without planes to fly there and modern ships unable to get near, there was no help on the way and no armies marching to free it. In addition, I wanted to swallow whole countries where able, since a divided country would spend no limit on trying to reclaim a snipped section while a country gobbled would meekly aquiesce (in theory).

 

Cuba was the next obvious bridge and I was too cautious in taking it. I should hav eblitzed, but, as noted, I was expecting energy levels around 20-30 Possibility Units a week, tops. I couldn't handle the speed required for the larger levels! Cuba gave way to a crawl through the Yucatan and to FLorida, which would give a "Southern Pincher" move, where I planned on oozing slowly through each while the CYberpapacy kept the United States busy. Adding teh Living Land to the West Coast was a huge boon for this approach, then he went and messed it all up. :)

 

Hawaii was chosen for two things: First was a remote Gospog factory. I was working on getting about a dozen Gospog fields there... a pure zone, only reachable by air or sea but unable to support either's modern form, and nearly as remote as possible, with fertile soil and a native belief system that could be used (I was working on a Pele set of miracles last night!) made it perfect. I figured Pearl Harbor would be a hardpoint and moved to neuatralize it, but, my agents failed and it was able to inflict staggering losses. The long-term goal was to just ignore it, since the ships were useless past a certain range, then send in a wave of 3rd planting Gospog to finish it if the need was there.

 

The other reason, which is why I *tried* to get a bridge into Italy, and went to Iceland, was the dreaded Mechanicus Vulcanica, the Gaunt Man's world-blowing-up machine. Iceland would serve as a test bed (The island of Surtur of the southern coast, in particular), then I was going to try activating larger volcanoes in Italy, then a big one (Krakatoa?) in Java-Sumatra, and, finally, the Big One ... I would have been detonating Yellowstone National Park, which is teh Gaunt Man's "Birthplace" ... seemed fitting for a final ascenscion to Torghood!

 

Alas, alas, all my plans, now so much rubble.

 

I made it out with 450 Possibilities in the bank, tho, so not a huge loss!

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Curiously I thought Pure Zones brought little energy, with Dominant and mixed being best. I only pursued pure zones out of neccessity when dropping Bridges and pushed all my zones to dominant as fast as possible. That's also related to the living land realm rules (which I knew didnt really apply in thsi game as such) In a dominant zone I should have a massive advantage, whilst in a mixed zone Living land miracles simply can't compete with the mass destruction caused by guns.

 

I made an early descision to ignore Gospog (in the original game they caused much dissent in the Living Land forces) so when invading Core Earth realms with their weapons of mass destruction I generally sent one army to die in front of a hail of bullets whilst other armies 'snuck round the back' trying to bring enough numbers in to flip the zone to Dominant Living Land

 

I did not think there was a possibility income cap due to population, but didn't neccessarily target most populated areas in an effort to reduce native opposition and because I was also mainly going to geographical control (again on the grounds that even a pure/dominant core earth zone, should eventually flounder due to lack of resources if cut off from the rest of the world). With Aisle holding Eastern Europe and my stelae zones overlapping into the seas any support to Western Europe would be limited. The same logic applied to the American attack. Attack down the coast taking lands in Canada (solely as a buffer) then drop new bridges to cut off South America and to encircle the Western half of America.

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Wow, what a game. Hope we get another run soon with improved rules. I struggled a lot with the rules trying out how many armies were needed for flipping zones and fighting native armies but I had the feeling the ratio changed every turn. Maybe the resistance grew as Core Earth realized what happened.

 

As I said earlier I took this game as a means to test my ideas of a more interesting Aysle. Though most were only ideas that I never found the time to describe in detail. There were many adventure ideas I put into the stelae descriptions and I will use them for mini-adventures on Cons. There are so many possible eternity shards in europe it mad my mind spin just thinking about them.

 

My plans for becoming Torg (which I thought would be at about 10.000 points) was inlaid into the new world laws of Aysle. The various sects would compete in bringing about their individual armageddon. I had thought of a norse-style finish with the Fenris wolf eating the sun and the gods battling it out on earth in a massive Ragnarok.

 

Before that, Charlemagne had to be crowned with the iron crown of the Langobards in Milano and the roman crown in Rome. In the process aquiring a large entourage of light Aysle believers and filling the people with hope. After that his army would march through Aysle and hunt the dark Aysle forces. This would end with the freeing of Jerusalem (which I hoped to take this turn) where he would meet his end crushing all hope in an instant. This would initiate the run for armageddon.

 

Last week (7) I had lost impetus because my work overwhelmed me. I was going from PR-advisor of a huge art gallery (700 m² with regular events, live gigs and resident artists) to assistant manager of that gallery and have gained a lot of other PR clients in the process. And I thought this to be holiday season. So I basically backed up my stelae and made another attempt on Rome.

 

This week I am sure I would have taken Rome and the stormers in there together with their eternity shards and the pope as a bonus. My dwarven army had already tunneled into the city, 3 Gospog armies could fight Core Earthers with their own weapons, 3 Ravagons from Orrorsh (thank you for that boon) and lots of Special Ops (2 priests from Orrorsh among them). 2 other armies to back this up. So Rome was covered from every angle.

 

This week I also pushed the stelae zones to the limit. Catstacker, if you find the time anytime, I would love if you finished this turn. Just to see what happened. The growth was obviously too fast to manage for everybody in a week. And thank you for all the work you put into this. I hope this was only a beginning. It was a real enjoyment in the first run, it will surely be loads of fun with improved rules.

 

Oh, btw, Disco Derek, I was not planning on attacking the Living Land. I was waiting for you to attack first and strike back with all I have.

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I sent a small group to deal with Living Landers, in fact. I confess! It was me!

 

Two groups in all... the first was sent to Spain, to find stelae around teh SPanish bridge. We were going to slip this information to them via Mexico via my Mexican government mole... I tell him, he tells Mexico, Mexico tells Spain, the Stelae goes away, the LL bridge collapses, and the backlash, in theory, would deal enough damage to slow Baruk Khah down. I'd misread EUrope and thought HE had half of Germany, not Aysle, somehow, and I felt that he was leading in the race. Teh goal was to cripple him in Spain, cutting off ENgland, so that he'd push more into California, which I assumed would be a meat grinder, distracting the US government enough that my "Slow southern ooze" would take hold.

 

When he dropped into Texas, everythig fell apart.

 

When he dropped into Mexico City, I sent a force there to sneak in, root up a stelae, and collapse THAT bridge, even tho I knew that it'd likely lead to war. In no way, shape, or form could I have him on my flank, taking my biggest prizes!

 

Alas, it was for nought.

 

That was the only activity I took directly against another High Lord, by the by. I figured that the Faceless King had doomed himself by invading South America and Africa, thought the nile was countered by India and the US forceswest of him (And probably going to be scrapping with Marketplace), and I had no *idea* what Marketplace was up to, so, not on the radar.

 

As for Aysle, I figured I needed an ally who could blunt the LL, so, I tried to stay on his good side with the lend-lease program (Tho, admitedly, the COvOps guys had orders to loot and run if the Vatican actually fall).

 

I'm *terribly* curious what the two different bands of Storm Knights wree up to, and, obviously, I *really* want to see what Marketplace looked like and what all he'd been doing. Complete mystery to me.

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I'm very glad that everyone enjoyed this game! It was brewing in my mind for years, and worked out pretty well for a first run. 6 out of 7 players still involved in a play-by-post game after 2 months is pretty good in my experience. A positive way of thinking about the end of this game is that it gives us a chance to enhance all the things that we liked about it, and add new things for the next version. I'll post everything that I did in the game as soon as I get my head together, but here's some responses to your feedback so far:

 

The P-energy awarded was equal to the value of the populace transformed in each zone each week. This might have provided too many points, but it was the easiest thing to calculate out of all the things I had to do. For example, a Dominant zone with a population of 1 Million people (value 30) would transform 0.9% of the populace in one week (value 20,) which would be worth 20 points. Subtract 10; it's so easy! Pure zones would transform more, and so gain more points, but they would also run out of people to transform sooner, though this didn't happen because the game ended so soon.

 

I don't think that it was giving away too many points (more like I priced things too low,) because the logarithmic scale of the value chart only gave modest increases for zones with higher populations. A highly populated zone like England with a value of 38 only gained 8 more points than a sparsely populated zone like Vancouver Island. That's significant but not unbalancing. I think it would have been better if I had made the number of points equal to the value of the total number of transformed overall instead of per zone, so that it wouldn't have been as beneficial to add zones in very sparsely populated areas like Iceland. But then I would have had to track the populations as measures instead of values, and then I would have spent so much extra time typing zeros!:eek:

 

I'll chronicle the activities of the Storm Knights better soon, just now I want to tell Stormchild that he was never going to conquer Rome. Well, maybe if he sent 25 armies led by Charlemagne, but not with a band of dwarfs, three bushels of gospog and some rent-a-Ravagons. There was three Storm Knights there with two eternity shards, one of which loved to make hardpoints. So first-planting gospog wouldn't have any advantage over the Italians, and every week that they beat Aysle's armies, more men joined their cause. And it was only a matter of weeks before the stormers found the stelae and destroyed the bridge. It's an interesting playtesting point: Aysle was still collecting energy from Rome, which couldn't attack outside it's hardpoints because it was in a Pure zone. So Aysle could invade around Rome and leave it alone, but instead it broke it's armies on it like waves on the rock of Gibraltar.

 

Thanks for your kind words, guys, but today my baby was born dead, my wife is in the hospital, and I am half in shock and half drunk. It's a strange fortune that the game finished when it did, because I wouldn't be able to keep up with it anyway. Still I'll keep up with this because it helps to have something abstract to think about, and I hope that we can try it again after we've got better rules worked out that don't take so many hours to resolve.

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I'll keep discussing the game, I get what you mean about the value of having something abstract to distract you a bit when things are crappy.

 

The difference between more populated zones and less populated zones works well, I think, due to Torg's measure/value chart (which I'm always impressed by - it's a work of genius). I agree about the 'not too many points but pricing resources too low'.

 

Maelstrom bridges at least should probably be more expensive, or get more expensive the more you have (i.e. 1st costs 9 points, 2nd costs 13, 3rd costs ...). Whilst this would add bookeeping and possibly complexity it'd act as a brake on exponential expansion. Otherwise the most 'efficient' way of getting huge amounts of early energy is to cover your realm in bridges - pure zones transform much faster, and although you'd deplete the area sooner, the extra energy could quickly be recouped by spending on dominant zones and lots of armies to capture territory. It's also probably harder to defend against a new bridge than a visible army coming across stelae borders. If you can find one of the stelae they're both equally easy to defeat by digging it up before it's activated, so no advantage there.

 

Taking the value of the total population within the total area would narrow the gap massively - probably too much. If you had 40m people within your empire (val 38), and increased that to 4bn (val 48), that's only worth ten more points (+26%). That would *seriously* blunt exponential expansion, perhaps almost to the point of making expansion beyond a certain point not worth it. Which could have some merits, thinking about it...

 

That's really interesting about Rome - 3 stormers with eternity shards! Tough nut to crack but massively valuable if you could get hold of that prize. Stormchild, did you know about the stormers or soulstain that area?

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Yeah, most of the expendature values (Bridges and Stelae) are matched to the High Lord Point system, which used the 2 for a Dominant, 3 for Pure zone rate that I was using for my calculations. Mind you, High Lord Points also don't take into account buying armies, agents, or similar, but *do* charge you for "Interfeering with another High Lord's plots", which is odd.

 

If you wanted to use population, instead of Stelae triangles, you'd probably have to do some math based on how many triangles it'd take to cover the globe (I read somewhere that it was 140, but that seems awfully low), then divide the population by that number, to see what the average value per triangle was. That would tell you what the base "Drain rate: would be and how much energy you should get on an average area. Using that number, you could then work out how much you should get, and from *there* work out a new pricing scale.

 

But that's an awful lot of work.

 

You'll also want two additional metrics: One, a limit on how many armies a High Lord can draw from. and two, how many Stelae you can produce a month or week. I was working with a million men (40 armies!) for the first in my head, and three a week (12 a month) for the other, but, again, my head and the actual rules go poorly together, as can be seen by my "wonderful" performance out there.

 

Trying to make it a weekly instead of monthly pull is pretty much required for a real-time game with a year target, but, you have to be careful that it doesn't snowball like it did here. Too easy to blitzekreig at the current level.

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If you wanted to use population, instead of Stelae triangles, you'd probably have to do some math based on how many triangles it'd take to cover the globe (I read somewhere that it was 140, but that seems awfully low), then divide the population by that number, to see what the average value per triangle was. That would tell you what the base "Drain rate: would be and how much energy you should get on an average area. Using that number, you could then work out how much you should get, and from *there* work out a new pricing scale.

 

Very roughly it's about 1,400 triangles to cover the land mass. I'd already worked it out before we started for curiosity. :) That's just based on the raw area of land, and triangles of maximum size without any regard for placement and funny shaped coastlines.

 

World population is about 6.7bn, so average pop/triangle is about 4.8m (val 34).

 

I can understand having almost limitless troops waiting in the cosm, as the High Lords are veteran raiders and have many worlds under their control. China alone has a standing army of 3m troops, and it could get many more if it needed to. Doing that means that the limiting factor is the energy required to bring them down the bridge.

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I know there is nothing helpful an outsider can say on your loss, but it would seem rude not to say anything. So I can only condole and hope to keep your mind distracted by talking about the game.

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That's really interesting about Rome - 3 stormers with eternity shards! Tough nut to crack but massively valuable if you could get hold of that prize. Stormchild, did you know about the stormers or soulstain that area?

 

The fights against Core Earth armies were so easy that I never had imagined how hard fighting a cordoned-off metropolis with three stormers and eternity shards could be. In turn 8 I threw so much against Rome, covering every angle (I thought) that I was sure it had to work. But as I said earlier, I was guesstimating relative army strength by just throwing my armies into the fray.

 

Due to a soulstain I knew from the beginning of the siege that there were three stormers. Tristan was my agent who had accompanied Soren to Rome with orders to find out what the storm knights were up to and grab any eternity shard, maybe even lure the stormers into a trap. Instead Tristan was turned around and I lost contact. Another Special Ops, the female magician Hilriken was sent to subvert Tristan again. She was instantly killed. My dwarven army tunneled into the city, the Gaunt Man sent 3 Ravagons and 2 Special Ops disguised as priests and I burnt armies on the city like feeding fire with straw. And I thought my three armies of Gospog could fight the defenders on their own turf.

 

When the first hints about the woman with the torch were posted, I tried to cover every possible site. I thought this could hint to Rome, Athens, Ephesos, Paris or New York. As Paris was due to fall to the Living Land and New York was in the center of the Cyberpapacy, I tried to cover the other three sites in one turn. The others worked, but I never dreamed, taking Rome could be that hard.

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I figured that taking Rome would be a true Phyyric victory that'd tie you up for forever. You and Disco Derek were doing too good, so, the Ravagon Ambassadors had orders to get you two to burn off some resources ... directing you towards Rome (Which needed to fall, but would take a TON of resources) and him towards California (Where, with teh CYberpapacy out, I needed someone to do some heavy lifting to keep the US troops busy.) I figured that you two'd eventually win those fights, but, at the same time, it'd keep you from expanding as fast as you'd been, to give me a chance to catch up.

 

I asked the Nile to keep an eye on Marketplace as well, figuring that he was so tied up with native resistance and hardpoints that he'd take *forever* to advance and, ultimately, 3327'd move on him. Those two would keep one another in check, in THEORY, leaving just teh Faceless King, who I figured was frittering way too much energy on taking VAST swaths of land.

 

The Living Land pushing California over so easily, then jumping to Texas and Mexico City wasn't even on my radar. Threw *everything* out of kilter.

 

Then Mobius went and won. D'oh!

 

I had close to 500 Possibilities saved up at the end of turn 6, and would have had around 600 after the next turn's orders, I think, maybe a tad more. If I'd have known the target was so low...

 

Ah well.

 

Lessons learned!

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My general policy regarding hardpoints, was simply to ignore them and for enemy armies I generally threw one or two of my own armies at them, whilst pushing another couple of armies into the zone to try to switch the zone to dominant at which point the enemy armies were doomed anyway.

 

So I generally pushed one army into occupying zones I did not really care about, two into zones which I did, and 3+ into zones where I expected resistance. It seemed to work so well in England that I was a bit suprised by the resistance of the Spanish.

 

Although I expected the effectiveness of the core earth defence to increase as the the initial suprise of the invasion wore off. I equally expected the increasing impact of the invasion (disrupted logistics/communications etc) to counter this to a large extent. With this Logic I figured that If I pushed out in enough directions, the core earthers might stop most pushed but not all of them.

 

The way I saw it the resouces on Earth are fixed and at the start of the invasion Earth has them all. As the invasion continues and the high lords take more and more zones it follows that as their resources increase the core earth resources decrease.

 

In that sense I was not too bothered if I failed to take California. I might lose armies (but they were cheap), and whilst the Americans were fighting there my pushes to the less populated regions in land would take ground.

 

In my head I made the mistake of over-estimating the impact (and number) of troops in an army. 25K seems like such a large number until you stop to think about it properly.

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I had practically the same thoughts. I didn't care much about the armies I lost in Rome, but I desperately wanted to have those eternity shards and get my Tristan back for interrogation. After all, I bought 86 armies in turn 8, who cares about 3 armies in Rome (I think I lost that many to Rome in turn 7). Up to Rome 3 armies was allways enough to get a zone. So I thought with 3 Gospog armies who are able to fight the Core Earthers with their own weapons would be enough. I threw in 1 normal army just to be sure. After all, 3 vikings was enough to destroy a Core Earth navy. So I underestimated the effect of Hardpoints and stormers.

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First to Catstacker, my sincerest condolences for your loss and my best wishes for a speedy recovery for your wife, I will keep you an your family in my prayers.

Also, I would like to thank you for running the game despite all the things going on in your life, I appreciate the huge amount of time and work it must have taken you to run a game like this and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

 

As for the game, I was suprised that it ended so quickly, I had also thought we were just moving out of the basic expansion phase and then it was over. If only I had known the secret to victory...

 

I figured that the Faceless King had doomed himself by invading South America and Africa, thought the nile was countered by India and the US forceswest of him (And probably going to be scrapping with Marketplace), and I had no *idea* what Marketplace was up to, so, not on the radar.

 

I just have to say that I think you are underestimating the Faceless King's strategy. Although you may think I was overextending myself I was reaping in over 350 possibilities each turn, and the last turn that we would have taken I purchased 48 armies and 48 Stelae, as well as another Maelstrom Bridge.

I think my plan of rapid expansion was working very well, as I targeted areas of the world that not only lack very large armies, but also lack the sophisticated militaries of other nations. In part I had to do this, as unlike many of the other realms involved in this game, technology actually works BETTER in the Faceless Empire. If I had invaded an area like the US or Europe I would have had a much harder time of it.

I also planned to expand rapidly in order to grab as much land as possible before I had to compete with anyone else, which worked pretty well, though I was about to come into conflict with the Living Land in both Australia and Mexico. I have to say, dinosaurs versus genetically engineered war machines would have been an epic fight.

 

Overall I thought the game was great and I can't wait for the next one to start up. I especially enjoyed writing and reading about our invasions and I'm looking forward to writing some more for the next invasion. I'm toying with playing a different realm, though there is a lot more of the Faceless Empire to explore.

 

I'll be posting a story for the end of the game soon, so stay tuned!

Edited by Slayer Dragonwing

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You bought *Eighty* *six* armies in one turn?!

 

What shall I say, it worked out pretty well for me, but not good enough to win :o

 

I had gained about 540 Poss last week, with what I had saved, I was able to spend 588. Which resulted in 6 bridges, 29 stelae and 86 armies. I should have created 52 new zones. I was already looking forward for all-out war on Russia. Now I have only 17 Poss left with which to flee the planet.

 

And I had only begun describing my new Aysle. I hope, in the next game I can make another attempt on Aysle. There is so much unfinished in it.

Edited by Stormchild

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My wife and I appreciate your sympathy. I've been lucky enough to have everything to do while my wife heals, so I don't have to think about it very often.

 

I'll try to respond to everything that's been discussed lately. There's one thing that's certain in my mind, which is that we have to try this game again to try to resolve the various problems that the first version uncovered. I wish that I didn't have to cut everyone's plans short, but it was best to move forward toward a better version than for everyone to spend hours administrating hundreds of zones and armies and agents. I believe anyone could have won in a couple more weeks, but it would have been full-time jobs for all of us to see that through. It was even very likely that we would have had more than one Torg appear in one week, and there can be only one.

 

Aysle's invasion of Russia would have been met with massive retaliation. They saw it coming, and warned Charlemagne. Even if dozens of zones and bridges were landed across the country, they wouldn't flip to Dominant right away, and Mixed is sufficient to launch enough nukes to sterilze Europe. Seriously. I held back the nuclear option for a while, but Russia has a history of burning its own territory rather than let it fall to an invader.

 

One of the reasons Mobius won is because he deliberately avoided invading Pakistan or Israel. It looked like he was getting a little to hungry for China, but he didn't know that they had infiltrated agents into almost every one of his zones, and China had been building Tech 21 weapons for over a month to supply the Indians and Nepalese. It also looked like the Nile was going to extend over Mecca, and that would have meant Jihad.

 

The Living Land was about to lose some of it's territory in America, based on the "Don't Mess With Texas" philosophy. The Cyberpapacy's capitulation on the East coast meant that the Americans had Tech 26 research available to them, that could speed up the discovery of Tech 23 solutions to the invasion. The Americans were going to rain acid down on the Maelstrom bridges, and orbital lasers were coming up if Orrorsh didn't take Florida soon enough. And I think that there was a sonar solution to finding stelae underwater that would be possible at Tech 23 also, so Orrorsh's invasion of Hawaii was doomed.

 

Slayer Dragonwing was right that his invasion with its higher Tech axiom was better off invading the third world than the superpowers, but he underestimated the effectiveness of guerilla warfare and its tradition in the places he invaded, especially in the Congo. He could take the territory, but didn't hold it very well, and so had mostly Mixed zones that gathered no P-energy. Aysle in contrast made the most of its zones by keeping them Dominant (usually,) and so made a better profit, so long as it could resist expanding.

 

The fight for Rome might have been winnable if The Plague had sent a great number of armies against it right away, but he didn't realize how effective the Storm Knights and their Eternity Shards would be, and every week that they won against his invasion (overwhelmingly!) the more support Rome got from refugees and from other Earth forces. France sent technical help in the last week, and the Royal Navy was mainly untouched by the Living Land's absorption of the UK, so it was moving supplies into Italy. The Storm Knights were making a string of hardpoints so that they could fly in supplies also. Even if the game had gone long enough for Aysle to have third-planting gospog to empower their armies, the Storm Knights still had those Eternity Shards to give them possibilities for an edge.

 

But really, the forces of Core Earth weren't meant to be your competition, just resistance to the pace of your invasion. The game was designed with the competition coming between the High Lords, and that didn't really appear. If for no other reason, the next version of this game should slow down the invasions so that the invaders have more time to interfere with one another.

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I'd like to break up the discussion of what was wrong with this game into different categories so that I can keep track of them. The biggest problem in my mind is that this game is too big!

 

It might be an insurmountable problem, due to the scope of the setting. The game is interesting because it takes place all around the globe, and one of the virtues of Core Earth is meant to be its diversity. That means that the game takes a big map with high resolution. That means that this game can never be a board game, unless it abstracts things well with cards. I thought Google Maps would work, and I was reminded every day how wrong I was. The game takes way too many placemarks, and has to rethink its map every time you change the scale, or add a layer from a different map. As soon as there was more than one page of placemarks, the game became impossible to view quickly, and it took hours to move all the pieces around. I don't think that using Google Earth would have solved this problem, because it has an even greater resolution and tries to think about the globe three-dimensionally.

 

How much worse it would have been if there had been more definition to the units! I reduced the armies to as simple as I thought they could be made: uniform, worth a simple amount, good enough to flip a zone, irreducable. Every other dimension that an army could have, I thought could be described narratively so that they wouldn't take an upkeep of numbers or specialized icons, and if High Lords wanted better armies then Gospog would be available gradually.

 

Now I see that it would have been more interesting to have different kinds of armies, such as simple masses of population, static defenses, advanced weaponry, etc. The special ops units also need specializations to help their definition and usefulness (they weren't particularly useful, though only I who rolled the dice knew that, so in a way they were the only unit that was properly priced.) But adding statistics to the units, such as something obviously needed like the amount of damage taken, instantly multiplies an already large game.

 

Is this a solvable problem? We could abstract the the invasion even more, so that positions on a map don't become as important as the allocation of total resources, but the way that the High Lords played for the first round demonstrated that they like to move armies around, want specific targets, like definition to their units, and love to expand their realms.

 

Another possible solution would be to make the turn lengths longer, so that everyone would have a month (for example) to work out their orders. Unfortunately a lot can happen in a month, and it wouldn't really reduce the amount of work that falls to the GM, just space it out a little. The paperwork I do at my job is split into quarters so that I can do a large turnover 25% at a time, so if the orders were split into "The first week I will... Then I will... And if that works then..." given monthly and then staggered so that only some High Lords were giving orders on any given week, it might be easier to manage. Maybe. I worry that if the game was only updated once a month, the players might lose interest.

 

Another possibility is that there could be more than one player for each reality, so that the burden of orders could be split up. That depends on there being enough interest to gather double the players, and if a player dropped out, the remaining player for that reality would have his duties doubled. The next version of the game should have another player to play the defending forces, to reduce the responsibilities of the GM, and to keep GM omniscience from making the game work unfairly. I had to handicap the forces of Earth to keep this from happening since I was doing both duties, and they were pushovers as a result.

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Core Earth plans... Good grief!

 

Looks like I was blissfully ignorant in my arrogance that any resistance could be overcome with zillions of shocktroopers and lasers of ever increasing size. :cool:

 

Having someone play Core Earth is a great idea. It never occurred to me that China would be doing its own spying independant of Marketplace. I was mainly moving into China just to see if 3327 was actually playing, or if it was all a phenomenal bluff.

 

 

I did really enjoy moving the markers around, and zooming in to see the terrain and get ideas. My brain started melting between week 4 and week 5, so maybe that's the sort of level to aim to cap individual units at.

 

Week 4: 20 armies, 13 spec ops, 19 stelae

Week 5: 31 armies, 16 spec ops, 32 stelae

 

Of course, that would still get multiplied by 7 or so for the poor GM.

 

One idea would be just to make everything bigger - instead of 500km between stelae there could be 1000km, and scale up the cost by squaring it. Armies could then be 100,000 soldiers. Having said that, it's still just more efficient for High Lords to have two half sized zones than one full sized one, in terms of energy gained and area to hold (not that I did this; I went for maximum land grab).

 

As a theoretical upper limit on the degree of abstraction, we could take the Risk board - 42 territories. Each territory would cost a certain amount of energy to cover with stelae - and provide a set amount of energy in return. Armies/spec ops would exert influence across the entire territory they were based in. Then it's a 'simple' matter of finding a suitable set of rules somewhere in between the inflexible structure and the epic (but ultimately unmanageable) brilliance we played. :D

 

 

I think that a month would be too long between orders too, as a player I'd rather do a bit, see the effects, and do a bit more. But of course that means that the abstraction has to be greater to decrease the weekly load on the GM.

 

Different army stats would certainly be interesting. I wouldn't expect them to be balanced as that could be hard to do without lots of playtesting, but balance is less important as long as everyone's having fun.

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He could take the territory, but didn't hold it very well, and so had mostly Mixed zones that gathered no P-energy.

 

I didn't realize that, unfortunately, I thought that Mixed zones also produced P-Energy...

 

Also, although having two players controlling each realm is an interesting idea, I don't think it would really work, as the amount of communication and agreement that would be necessary could prove problematic.

 

I would also like to see different types of armies, but I think that would make the game even more complicated and hard to keep track of.

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At least this game could need 3 types of armies: land, naval, air. In the game we used it already, not only as a story element but also strategically (my vikings took too long getting their boats into the water from land, my flying units could cross the sea while the armies could not). Maybe we could need a fourth type - underground armies - too.

 

Though it would complicate matters, I think different army strength for different costs would be a good thing too. I would opt for generic difference like +1 to normal army strength to maybe +5 with increasing costs while the normal army strength is a troop of Rookies or a band of refugees. These differences could of course also apply to Core Earth troops. So we would face resistance in the early stage of the invasion from +0 armies meaning normal citizens that take up any arms they can grab (maybe +1 in a country like the US where weapons are easily available and +0 in a country like germany where practically no one except the police has guns). Later on we would face +2 reserve armies up to +5 elite armies (the SAS army, the Living Land was struck with).

 

This would of course only apply to the army's home reality. But it could also be included for armies not in the home reality but with weapons they could use in the other reality. I thought about including the Landshuter Hochzeit in my write-up of the battles that occured in my realm - a medieval festival celebrating a historical event in the city of Landshut. This festival happened to be held at the time my Aysle invaded the region. Landshut is also close to Ingolstadt were a great battle occured. So it would be fair to assume that all those medieval re-enactors that were gathered at Landshut who had practiced with medieval weapons for years would take up arms against Aysle under Aysle tech axioms. I think this army could have been at +3.

Edited by Stormchild

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