The warhorns sound again in Minaria. This week there were two games again but, due some technical issues I am just going to go ahead and focus on the latter one. Which is a continuation of last week's game between Jared(as the Dwarven Kingdom), team coder Were-puppy(as Hothior), and yours truly(as Zorn).
At the end of the last game, Zorn was able to ally with both, Pon and Muetar. Whereas Hothior only had Rombune to call upon and the Dwarves only Immer. The war continues, what follows are the highlights.
Hothior continued it's campaign against Mivior. Who was driven into the Dwarven alliance by the Hothorian surprise attack on Colist.
Meanwhile in the east, the siege of Alzak continues to tie down the majority of the Goblin aligned forces. This time joined by reinforcements from Basimar in Muetar.
In the north, the move counter-move of the Immerian royal army and Goblin reserve forces reaches a head in a series of clashes in the cursed forest. The first of which ended in a slight loss for Zorn.
Before the next clash however, hastily recruited mercenaries join the Zorn defense forces. Both sides fight to a standstill with heavy losses.
In the end, Immerian reinforcements combine to eliminate the last defenders. Unfortunately heavy losses to the Immer royal army in the fighting render them unable to siege the Goblin capital.
Over in Hothior, the armies of Muetar have begun their siege of Tadafat on the River. The surprised Hothiorians are quick to recover however, planning a daring raid on the weaker half of the besieging forces. Unfortunately the attack fails but, this allows the relieving forces to make their way into the castle.
Meanwhile the Dwarves attempt another relief of the beleaguered Alzak castle. Attacking the weaker Muetarian stack which, suffers some losses, despite the defensive advantage of the Barriorr Mountains. These losses however are not enough to break the siege....
...and Alzak falls on the next assault.
The Minarian campaigning season is close to half over and, the current alliances stand as follows. Zorn is ahead in allies but, has a lot of ground to cover. Hothior has both Pon and Rombune to call upon and is using them to good effect attacking the Goblin alliance at it's undefended allied hinterlands. The Dwarves have had several setbacks this game but, they have proven themselves prudent. Despite the winds of fortune blowing against them, they remain a potent force in Minaria.
This was a pretty awesome game with lots of back and forth between the various kingdoms. One thing that stands out the most is how diplomatic actions by one player affected the later actions/strategy of the other players. I didn't go into detail above but, there were two cases this session where a strategic deactivation of an allied monarch allowed another player to swoop in and reactivate the ally for themselves. Shucassam was allied to the Dwarves for a short time before Hothior deactivated them, Zorn then took advantage adding them to their alliance. Also when Pon was allied to Zorn and was deactivated, Hothior swooped in and gained them as an ally.
Not only is this feature of the game only semi-predictable, it also creates a dynamic but, balanced minigame within the larger wargame. As these diplomatic reversals tend to be more noticeable with more players(in fact I don't think this sort of thing would happen in a two player DR game) but also, they allow weaker alliances to capitalize on their rival's attempts to weaken the current leader in allies/strength.
Besides the above, it is always great to be able to play with the team. You really can't learn too much playing this sort of game solitaire, particularly with regards to strategy. For instance, I tend to have a big picture kind of focus when I play the game. Whereas, Jared tends to be more detail oriented. This has tripped me up several times when his meticulous counting of the pieces ended up giving him a combat advantage that would have been unnoticeable if you had just been looking at the counters on the map. Also Were-puppy actually uses some really counter-intuitive strategies with his attacks on neutral kingdoms. You would think giving an opponent a free ally would be an adverse move to make but, this allows you to get a "Pearl Harbor"-like attack in on vulnerable castles and, helps to control the shape of an opponent's alliance. In the current game despite my two successful sieges to his one, Were-puppy is actually the overall leader in Victory points. This is because, he was able to get the drop on a royal capital without protracted battle.
Knowing the full extent of strategic options available to the players of DIVINE RIGHT will definitely help when it comes time to work on the AI for the game.
Overall, this game is halfway done. Despite being the strongest alliance-wise, Zorn is only second in plunder. Hothior and the Dwarven Kingdom maintain potent forces, who are posed to make gains in the coming months. Ten turns remain and, it's not over yet.