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Subject: A history of racoons: 2-player Titan with an utterly non-epical final battle rss

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Pablo Klinkisch
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So last Friday Marc and I gave a shot to this wonderful game I still can't really grasp (not on a "I don't get how to play Empire of the Sun"-level, though), despite having played it a couple of times with my girlfriend.

My plan was to have my Angel stack go for the big jungle critters (I love those Serpents!) and act as a killer stack while my Titan should try to go for the higher stuff, preferably Hydras (those are cool too ).

We weren't that aggressive in the beginning and both were mustering around for a while, each in his corner. I did get a Warlock on my first roll but I have to admit that I don't yet grasp how to use them effectively.

My growth plans for my Titan weren't going that good: a couple of trolls but nothing more, whereas my angel was hitting brush after brush assembling a juggernaut of Gorgons (but no Serpents!).
Meanwhile, Marc was already getting his first Behemoth and seemed to be ready to go for Serpents any moment.

As I always do, I tried to keep my Titan stack in a fuzzy-grouping of armies protecting it, sending my killer stack (Angel + 5 gorgons) as an expeditionary force towards Marc's army.
While my titan waited for some good rolls, 2 or 3 of Marc's legions approached the southern border of my "secured zone" and positioning a rather threatening army _too_ near to my Titan stack (my Titan had just trolls and a Warlock...).
I had to start moving: I let a small centaur outpost and fled with my Titan to some higher ground... which wasn't that a good idea: with only trolls, my mustering chances where even worser than a couple of turns before...
A small battle ensued between my screening army and Marc's stack (2 Cyclops and 2 Gargoyles). This would have been the perfect moment to negotiate instead of fighting as my only objective was to kill one cyclops and slow his mustering. I didn't think about it, we fought the battle and I achieved my objective

I was feeling threatened and somehow was convinced to know where his Titan was... and it was in striking distance of my Gorgons!
After rolling a 1 on movement...
I managed to roll good enough to land on his "Titan-stack" (risking getting crushed afterwards by his behemoth-stack that was just behind me).
Just to get some points that would bring me over 100p, I decided to attack the other army that was on my secured area's periphery, specially since it mustered its first Ranger and I couldn't afford a Ranger army that close home.
First battle... and no Titan! Where WAS his Titan then???
Battle went rather well, although I lost one Gorgon.

So on to the diversion I created to get some points.
My stack: Guardian, 2 Lions, 2 Centaurs (more or less)
His Stack: Ranger, Lion, Centaurs and... Titan!!!

Yes: a potentially end-of-game battle with just... centaurs and lions

I blocked his Ranger with my bulky guardian that only managed to score 2-3 hits but survived for a while (interesting to see you can use it as a "sticky bait").
We were on plains so I had to act fast to avoid him mustering and to enable me to call an angel.
I killed one centaur and called my angel, while his defenses were crumbling: now I was sure. Even losing this battle I would win the game!
But we never made it to mustering: my Angel was able to slain his Titan the turn before mustering!

"The Epic Battle of Centaurs and Lions" not really that epic but, hey, the troubadours of my realm will have to work on that

We played for 3h (which is fast for us... or for me, as some people are starting to say I have AP: no I haven't, I am just a thorough player!!!) and we will certainly play again: what a great game!

Some things I still don't get:

- What do you do with just one Warlock?
- Behemoths/Serpents/Gorgons are really easy to get and quite strong: why not go for them exclusively? Specially compared to the rather crappy "middle" creatures (War-bear and Minotaur).
- What's up with the War-Bear and the Minotaur??? You need to invest quite a lot to get to them and still they seem quite bad! Sure, they open the gates to the Giant and the dragon but you might get killed by... rangers while trying. Why would one even _try_ to muster War-Bears? (I call them "Waschbären" in German [sounds a bit like "war-Bear] -> Racoons )
- Hydras are a bit more difficult to get but I am under the impression that their path is more strong than the racoon's one.

My favorite critters up to now: Behemoth, Serpent, Hydra, Dragon.
My "I just don't get you": the Racoon.
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Kelly Bass
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Sancherib wrote:
My plan was to have my Angel stack go for the big jungle critters (I love those Serpents!) and act as a killer stack while my Titan should try to go for the higher stuff, preferably Hydras (those are cool too ).
I never set out with a specific plan. I let the movement die and the board position determine my path.

Sancherib wrote:
I blocked his Ranger with my bulky guardian that only managed to score 2-3 hits but survived for a while (interesting to see you can use it as a "sticky bait").
I love how even a Cyclops can tie up 2 rangers for 2 strike phases.

Sancherib wrote:
"The Epic Battle of Centaurs and Lions" not really that epic but, hey, the troubadours of my realm will have to work on that .
I've played many games where the best stacks were not involved in the winning battle. I can see how some would see that as anti-climactic. But those powerful stacks certainly influence movement on the board.

Sancherib wrote:
- What do you do with just one Warlock?
- Behemoths/Serpents/Gorgons are really easy to get and quite strong: why not go for them exclusively? Specially compared to the rather crappy "middle" creatures (War-bear and Minotaur).
- What's up with the War-Bear and the Minotaur??? You need to invest quite a lot to get to them and still they seem quite bad! Sure, they open the gates to the Giant and the dragon but you might get killed by... rangers while trying. Why would one even _try_ to muster War-Bears? (I call them "Waschbären" in German [sounds a bit like "war-Bear] -> Racoons )
- Hydras are a bit more difficult to get but I am under the impression that their path is more strong than the racoon's one.

My favorite critters up to now: Behemoth, Serpent, Hydra, Dragon.

* Just think of a Warlock as a Super-Ranger.
* Serpents, Behemoths, & Gorgons are certainly strong and easy to get. A stack of even a few Cyclopes in Junble/Brush can ruin the movement of a same size non-Jungle/Brush stack. But they have a tougher time outside of their native spaces. This is not the only path to victory.
* I think of Warbear and Minotaur as "linking" creatures to get to Colossi (by "linking" through Giant/Dragon). I try not to fight with them. If they muster you a unicorn, hey that's gravy.
* Of Colossus, Serpent, and Hydra, the nice thing about Hydra is once you have one, there are 10(?) spaces on the board where you cannot roll and muster another, so they multiply fast.

Sancherib wrote:
My favorite critters up to now: Behemoth, Serpent, Hydra, Dragon.
My "I just don't get you": the Racoon.
My favorite: Archangel
My "I just don't get you": ogre

Edit: typo
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Kris Giesing
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Sancherib wrote:

- What do you do with just one Warlock?


In the early game (prior to Ranger acquisition), Warlocks are easily the best fighting recruits. One common tactic is to use the advantage Warlocks provide to ensure an easy kill in an otherwise relatively even fight, allowing you to summon your Angel into your Titan stack. This can tip the scales from the fight weakening your Titan stack, towards the fight strengthening it, which is a critical consideration in any early game Titan stack fight.

In later parts of the game, using Warlocks against an opposing Titan is more common, and then you're right that you'd prefer multiple of them. Even later in the game, though, a single Warlock can help tip the balance against a Titan that is otherwise relatively protected from attack. Consider a Titan hiding in a corner of the Jungle, with one adjacent empty space and a supporting Cyclops or Gorgon. An attacking Angel on its own will likely die, but with a Warlock providing extra hits, it's possible to take the Titan down even from its protected position.

Sancherib wrote:

- Behemoths/Serpents/Gorgons are really easy to get and quite strong: why not go for them exclusively? Specially compared to the rather crappy "middle" creatures (War-bear and Minotaur).


Note that the spaces on which Serpents and Behemoths (and to a lesser extent, Gorgons) recruit lie along the outside ring of the map. The outside ring has quite constricted movement options compared to the middle ring. If you go for Brush and Jungle recruits with too many of your stacks, they will wind up spread out along the rim of the map, with limited ability to support each other or interfere with opponents' recruiting options. Sometimes, this can become your best strategy depending on what else happens in the game; but I wouldn't recommend planning for it from the outset.

- Kris
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Bruno Wolff
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One of the uses of warlocks in the early game not mentioned, is that they allow you to go places to recruit that are too risky without them.

Also, I strongly recommend splitting gargoyles. It makes it much less likely that after splitting you won't be able to recruit for a few turns and then get scrunched.
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David desJardins
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The problem with recruiting Warbears and Minotaurs with Centaurs or Ogres, respectively, isn't that it's slow. The problem is that then you haven't made any progress toward getting Rangers in your stack to make it strong enough to have freedom of movement. Your stack with Centaurs and Warbears is going to get slaughtered by a stack with Lions and Rangers. Sometimes you have no other reasonable choice, but aiming to recruit third Centaur or Ogre in your main stacks in order to pursue this route often gives you legions that die before they can gain much strength.
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