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Subject: First War of Succession Hinges on Thira rss

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D Isaak
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Kenmore
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Yesterday was the first session of Warrior Knights for my 3-person gaming group. From our first look at the pieces and rules we'd been eager to play this game, and we weren't disappointed when we finally had the chance. A few details and lessons learned follow:

Setting up for run at the throne were Baron Raoul D'Emerande (thats me), Baron Mieczyslaw "Mikey" Niebieski (Doug), and Baron Heinrich Otto Zobel (Eric). I established my stronghold in the northwest corner of the border which proved effective, while Baron Mikey a central area near the riverbanks and Baron Heinrich built upon the site of ancient ruined Gedze in the southeast. The result was that Baron Mikey was trapped between his competition from the start and this didn't work in his favor.

The three young barons each struggled to find their path to the throne, unsure of what route might take them there most quickly. Baron Otto took control of the Assembly on the second turn and held it until the end of the game. Control of the church passed back and forth between all of us and in this First War of Succession seemed to have little effect - until the crucial final moments when Baron Otto seized it.

I focused on taking the neutral cities that had been generously distributed around me at Kovel, Froli, Monz, and Surat. I was on the warpath, which turns out to be expensive. After a single round of paying wages I learned to keep my most charismatic noble paired with one good in battle, so that the maintenance of that large force was free. Overall, I was low on crowns throughout the game, especially as our foreign expeditions stood about a 75% chance of being lost at sea. My military dominance in the West was only challenged once, when Baron Mikey sent forces on the north river banks but I quickly responded and sent them into a forced retreat. But Baron Mikey did manage to capture Semlik in the southwest and Izar and Roczak in the center of the kingdom, while Baron Heinrich took Bingen, Olbi, and Turan.

As the War of Succession reached its height, the Assembly was handing out charges and concessions (primarily in favor of Chairman Heinrich who often decided issues because no votes were cast at all) but my conquests in the west were alarming the other Barons and prompted their military expansion. They could see that I was seeking to take the needed 6 cities of the Kingdom. But before that could happen, it became clear that all the influence in the Kingdom would be distributed and the game would be won on influence alone. Chairman Heinrich approved an agenda to encourage overseas expansion and then sent his admiral to Acre to claim the city plus an influence bonus which left him tied neck-and-neck with me. Baron Mikey fortified his cities in the center to try and keep me from winning outright because he knew I'd need the last neutral city, Thira, and one of his to claim 6 in total.

When Heinrich's expeditionary forces returned, the stage was set for a pair of final climactic battles at Roczak and Thira. The kingdom was mine to win or lose... and that is when Heinrich also took control of the church and immediately send dire tidings my direction with news that a noble had died. Which one? Fate is never as random as it appears and of course my 400-point forces at Surat, poised to take Roczak, were suddenly without a commander for the final turn of the game!

Baron/Chairman/Head of Church Heinrich and I were now tied in influence, and each controlled 4 cities so unless I took another city the kingdom would be riven in two. Instead of a military victory I was forced to send all of my surviving nobles scrambling to Thira to take the city for the final distribution of influence. And in the final moment fate smiled upon me, for in the assault on Thira there were no casualties but I claimed a full victory and this bloodless conquest sealed my ascension to the throne. King Raoul D'Emerande was crowned at the end of the sixth turn. Too bad that this game was so fun that another War of Succession may be just around the corner!

Lessons learned:
* Buying a spot on the mercenary draft track hardly seems worth it with a small number of players. (I paid 8+3 for 150-point Lombards who deserted at the first round of wages came due!)
* The influence pool kicks in quickly for 3-players, and after the game we agreed that we'd prefer to play for 40 influence points next time (about one more turn). This also would give us more time and reason to fight each other for control of cities etc.
* Our first set up through take down took 6 hours but we think that we might do it in 3 hours next time and eventually tighten our gameplay to less than that.

Questions unanswered:
* Do razed cities still function as ports? (We voted no)
* Can influence be lost? (When it became evident that I might edge out the others and win the game from influence we all were consumed with this question)

Final thoughts:
A great game, with indirect and direct competition between players, lots of different game mechanisms to manipulate. And with a slightly longer game it appears that all of the routes to the throne might be possible. We agreed to rate this an 8 of 10 at first blush and it might go higher as we play on.
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Enon Sci
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donovani wrote:

Questions unanswered:
* Do razed cities still function as ports? (We voted no)
* Can influence be lost? (When it became evident that I might edge out the others and win the game from influence we all were consumed with this question)


I realize I'm answering this 2 years after the session was posted, but:

1) Razed cities still function as ports.

2) Influence can't be lost. However, taking out a stronghold can delay the acquisition of influence for a round (the stronghold gets replaced during stage 3 upkeep).

Again, I'm speaking more to other readers than the original poster. I'm sure, after 2 years of playing, he could teach a newbie like me a few tricks.
 
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