After having been ganged up on and beaten by 3 new players I had just taught how to play - I was out for revenge in the second game we played that night.
This time I had Black to my left, Blue across from me, and Red to my right. Blue had masterminded the alliance that defeated me earlier that night, and since he was operating under the "let's take out the guy that designed the game before he takes us out" policy, it was good that he was my most distant opponent, and therefore least able to focus all his attention on me.
My starting position was on a large land mass, and so I focused on developing mountain and grassland cities, to get land-based artillery and cavalry. Initially I placed far-flung towns out into the center of the board to lay claim to as much territory as possible. While cutting off Red from expanding to the middle of the map, it channeled him into building a grassland town 3 hexes from my capital!
I had been too worried about where I would place and hadn't thought about where he might place and didn't even see it coming. The worst part was that by Red placing where he did, he "ruined" three potential city spots that I could have built on, meaning that even if I did take the town from him, the land had already been developed sub-optimally, and I would be unable to make efficient use of it (efficient use would be all cities 2 hexes apart in a tight honeycombed pattern).
With an enemy town 3 hexes away from my capital, that immediately became my #1 priority - to take it!
The most difficult part was that it was 3 hexes away from all my other towns as well, meaning my infantry (I only had towns at this point) couldn't reach the town in a single turn.
I started upgrading my grassland towns to cities to provide me with cavalry, which could move 3 and reach Red's town in a single turn and began moving my infantry into position.
A series of skirmishes developed as we contested the town, but I was able to reinforce my attacks from 3 neighboring town/cities, and Red was only able to reinforce from a single neighboring town (it too was 3 hexes away). After three turns of building and positioning, the grassland city (it had been upgraded during this time) fell to my prolonged attacked.
Meanwhile Red was also fighting Blue, and Blue was also fighting Black (I thankfully had kept a little distance away from Blue and Black, so I was only fighting a one front war).
Along the perimeter of the map, on my back left flank was a forest town of mine. The turn after I took the grassland city from Red, I upgraded that forest town to a city, providing me with a frigate within range of Black's coastal cities.
In the middle of the board, Blue's cities were three hexes away from mine, making it more difficult for us to wage war against each other - and Blue was quite preoccupied with Black and Red. On my right side, Red was fighting both Blue and I. The only city I could attack of Red was well supported and because the grassland city that I had just taken from Red was 3 hexes away from all the rest of my cities, it was difficult for me to supply that front with forces. I asked and received a truce from Red, who decided to focus exclusively on Blue.
Now my hands were free to deal with Black and I had just built a frigate that was the key to making successful attacks against his vulnerable coastal cities in the rear. Engaged with Blue, Black was unable to defend his coastal cities and a key mountain city fell to a combined amphibious assault and cavalry strike across land.
Black was now just a shell of his former self, having lost a couple of cities to Blue already. Blue launched an attack against Black's capital, but was repulsed, though the attack did successfully weaken the city defenses. My main army immediately attacked, and took Black's capital. Blue attacked again to no effect. Spread out across a long frontier, Blue's cities were a vast array of potential targets. Avoiding the better defended frontier cities, I used my frigate to launch an amphibious attack against Blue's flank, taking another grassland city.
Meanwhile Red was tying down part of Blue's forces along Blue's left side, while I was making my attacks upon Blue's right side. Several inconsequential, though nerve wracking battles were being waged in the middle of the map, as each side fought for positioning and the upperhand.
I crushed the remainder of the Black cities on my left side and as Blue pleaded with Red to join him in an alliance against me, I moved a huge army into position in the center of the map.
Red's forces were completely focused on Blue though and he was out of position to be able to threaten me.
My armies smashed across the middle of the map, and by now no alliance could stop the inevitable. With my Green army at the gates of Blue's capital, and outnumbering Red and Blue combined by a factor of 3:1, they conceded the game.
This second game lasted an hour and half. The win was nice, but now I'm worried that history will repeat itself if I play those same three again, and that they'll ally together to carve me up.
To the VIKTOR goes the spoils!