Another Saturday, another game of DIVINE RIGHT. The torch has been passed this week to me, HereAndNow. I'm an artist on the development team and, hope to do these write ups for the team game from here on out. This game features Jfburrell as the "Dwarven Clearwater Revival" alliance whose mineral subterranean origins have imbued them with the power of rock. Myself, as the "Trollish Khagante" alliance, who come to bait the unfortunate inhabitants of Minaria into giving them hegemony(and lulz).
The game turned out kind of quirky(as you can probably tell from the above) as both both kingdoms are distributed in small enclaves across the continent. This also meant that diplomatic efforts were focused on the middle kingdoms of Minaria, so as to allow distributed forces to convalesce. As well as avoiding the diplomatic penalty associated with violating the sovereign territory of neutral kingdoms.
The first few turns were largely calm, as the Dwarven ambassador-bards sung their siren-songs and the Trollish ambassadors trolled trollingly(with sufficient diplomatic gravitas, of course), to add members to their respective alliances. Troops slowly moved and gathered based on potential targets and plans. Before the major fighting began, the Trollish Khaganate counted both Shucassam and Pon as allies. The Dwarves had only the might of Muetar to call upon. What follows are the highlights of this Minarian war.
With the aid of the Shucassami forces, the Trollish royal army lays siege to Beolon on the downs in southern Muetar...
...and takes it! The shear numbers of the besieging force overwhelm the fort city. Seizing the initiative, the trolls split their forces. The Shucassami royal army riding to the relief of the Troll's Ponese allies at Crow's Nest, The Trollish King himself looking to stymie the advance of the Dwarve's newly acquired Hothorian allies, heads west to the river called "the Deep".
Unfortunately, the attempted relief of the defenders of Crow's Nest fails. The brilliant Muetarian counterattack results in the rout and annihilation of the entire Shucassami royal army, with the monarch himself narrowly escaping a similar fate.
Another set back for the trolls! the collection of hovels surrounded by rough palisades that formed the royal capital was plundered by the Dwarve's Hothorian allies. The fortified village was too remote from the main conentration of the Khaganate's forces to be relieved in time.
After several months of siege, Crow's Nest is plundered, with the siege being joined by the Dwarven royal army and associated mercs. The Ponese royal army that had been occupying the Dwarves in the east came just a turn too late to relieve the castle and, now has to contend with a combined Dwarf-Muetarian force.
Which utterly annihilated it, with the king as the only survivor. At the end of the game session, the Trolls have Rombune, Shucassam and Pon as allies and, the Dwarves, Immer, Mivior and Muetar. Repeated
trolling diplomatic insinuation of the Hothorian king's purported ganymedean inclinations by the Trolls, combined with an offer of diplomatic marriage to prove otherwise, have convinced the Hothorians to drop from the Dwarven alliance. The trolls are on the defensive and seem to be pulling back to the south with the massive Dwaven-Muetarian doom stack bearing down on them, fresh from the siege of Crow's Nest in Pon. Although the Rombunean fleet has just begun to advance from the sea to the navigable rivers of Muetar to harry the Dwarves. Ultimately, military strength in Minaria is fragile, as diplomacy can easily hamstring any advance as well as sword and steel. So the Dwarven Clearwater Revival shouldn't break out the victory strings for their axes just yet, the game could still go either way.
I've gotta admit, I had never heard about DIVINE RIGHT before this project but, I'm definitely a fan now. The game itself takes some getting used to and, I've been spoiled by the ease offered by computers with regards to strategy gaming but, it has a quality I happen to love in strategy games.
It's non-deterministic, it's never over 'til it's over, despite whatever setbacks may befall you. This is in stark contrast to strategy games like Master of Orion 2 where, all else being equal, whoever has the most planets will win. Simply because when that happens, their advantage in the game starts to snowball until it is overwhelming. Comebacks from behind are rare and, the game becomes deterministic and predictable at the point someone achieves a certain level of hegemony. Beyond a certain point, you know who is going to win, even if you still have a horse in the race. Whereas in DIVINE RIGHT you have a secondary level of action beyond the combat/sieges, diplomacy, which has the potential to completely disrupt the plans and power of your opponents. Ultimately, giving you strategic openings to exploit.
Outside of gushing about gameplay, I found this paragraph in the basic DIVINE RIGHT rules very interesting:
"DIVINE RIGHT is more than just a game. It is a work of fantasy literature, in which you, the players, control the destinies of nations. You organize the alliances, seek out the magical treasures, and lead your armies and fleets to battles, sieges, plunder, and (if you have been wise) victory." -Glenn Rahman, DIVINE RIGHT basic rules.
Like I mentioned above, the game is unpredictable. This unpredictability lends itself to some pretty interesting uses, like roleplaying. It makes a lot of sense to rationalize and explain your defeats and victories. Almost like you're playing a pen and paper RPG. This ends up giving the game a literary quality where you end up playing out a story in the midst of gathering victory points against your enemies. With the twists and turns of the plot determined by callous die rolls. This naturally lends itself to an automated chronicling system for the computer game, to help the player keep track of and retell the story that arose from their gameplay. It's on the team "wishlist", to (hopefully)be added once we finish with basics. Gotta keep the priorities straight after all.
In future write-ups, I hope to mention more of the insights the rest of team has had about the game during play. You can be sure I'm not the only one who has been inspired. Jfburrell, for one, has made a few observations about gameplay that were remarkably insightful.
As far as the game goes, Jfburrell is a pretty intense strategist and is tricky to play against. He managed to get the best of me here, despite some strong early moves on my part. However, DIVINE RIGHT is unpredictable and, it's not over yet.