WARNING: those of a sensitive disposition should look away. This game has me fucking up some of the rules.
So I'd played through the tutorial, both players and bots, and was ready for action. I didn't want to continue the tutorial game, I wanted it to be a fresh experience with everything I'd learned.
Starting simple I went for the 52BC campaign, where Caesar has turned his attention to the Arverni. Per the game's recommendation I took on the role of the Arverni, choosing them over the Romans because I felt I had a better handle on how they should play.
My strategy was going to be relatively simple, just kick off with rallying the troops, then march over to the Romans and stomp their Legions into the ground, then use the rest of the game to prevent anyone else hitting victory. A simple plan that proved much more difficult than I thought.
I was playing using standard solitaire rules, so I can only win in the final winter, while the bots can win every winter.
The Aedui spent the first year rallying warbands and moving agents out. They didn't strike just yet.
The Romans marched into Gaul and at first met with some success, subduing tribes and getting their victory count into adulation. Then I moved to meet them. However, getting them to fight proved trickier than I thought. Caesar took one look at my horde and ran off to Germania. There the Romans crushed the Germans and setup a supply line back to Cisalpina, which they would use to slip back to Provincia at the end of the first year. The Germans were never a real factor in the game after this.
While I had little success in fighting the Romans, I was able to use an event to knock a Legion off the map, and had better success in rallying allies to my cause, easily putting me in a position to meet my allies objective. I'd also pulled a card to nullify Caesar's impact on battle, while the Romans had a card to lower the losses I could inflict.
But the Belgae were the truly sneaky ones. No one was paying them any attention because they're down and out, and they sat quietly rallying new warbands and not bothering anyone. Then they used War Ships to land to my rear, but I ignored it. Then they pulled Commius towards the end of the year and suddenly were a huge threat, poised to win the game.
NOTE: I misplayed the Commius card the entire game, treating it as giving the Belgica control of any territory they had a piece in rather than as is intended, treating the territory as controlled solely for the purpose of rallying.
The situation in the spring.
The situation with the Belgica meant I had to change my plans, I couldn't just go hunting Romans again, I was clearly going to need to go into the heart of Belgae and burn down everything to stop them sneaking the win.
I was saved from having to do this by Caesar, who marched straight into Belgae (leaving some Legions in Mandubii) to confront the Belgica and stop them scoring the win. I did like that the bot recognised the threat and moved to address it (though splitting the Legions was a mistake). He also tried to scout out the Belgica, but there were too many for the Romans to properly address.
The Roman campaign in Belgae did not go well, and they found themselves cornered on the coast by Morini. Another Legion fell, and in the winter one more would starve as Roman resources ran out. The situation was looking desperate for them.
NOTE: The Romans were actually a little more passive in the game than they should have been due to my misreading of the initial diamond, and not having them attack as often as they should.
I did not have a great year, marching into Nervii with a dual purpose: keep the Belgica down while also cornering the Romans and forcing their Legions to fight. Unfortunately I spent a long time dithering over how to accomplish this without letting them march past me and ran out of time to engage. In hindsight I should have been using Devastate more often to trim their numbers, and relying on my ability to Rally aggressively.
The Belgae didn't move to chase the Romans, they just rebuilt after battling the Romans and slowly tried to Rally back control of their home. Their specials were very much limited by having only the successor on the board.
It was the Aedui who had a great year. They spread like a virus, and pulling the Convictolitavis card their Suborn's were powerful and they had all, or all but one of their allies on the board by the end of the year. Suddenly they were looking in an incredibly strong position.
NOTE: And here I should mention I totally failed to have them properly help the Romans by passing them resources when the Romans had run out.
I failed to take a picture of the end of year 2.
So in the final year I was faced with the Belgae looking poised to retake their home territories, and an Aedui virus spreading over the board. The only thing not worrying me was the Roman force which was isolated and waiting to be destroyed. Then I pulled the Optimates card and suddenly victory looked easy, all I had to do was smash the allies of everyone else, and victory would fall into my lap.
Then the Aedui hit the peak of their power. They had all their allies on the board and started removing mine. I'd occasionally swept away their agents, but I had to do other things too and there were too many. In just a turn or two I found myself reduced to a mere four allies. Disaster!
Meanwhile the Belgica, the passive monsters that they were, setup a colony in Britannia and used it to take over the territory, once again putting themselves on the edge of victory.
The poor Romans just couldn't break out. Caesar was called back to Provincia, and his Auxillia were making very slow progress up the board.
With the end of the year approaching I made a last push for victory. I spread my warbands out across the map, replacing the allies I'd lost.
Then, winter came. In the dying moments of the game the Belgica took complete control of Britannia.
This led to this score:
1. Belgic (-1)
2. Arverni (-1)
3. Romans (-3)
4. Aedui (-3)
So close! I needed to subdue just more one tribe and I would have won!
By the end of the game I was moving through the bots' turns pretty fast, though even then I was sometimes a little torn on how to interpret certain priorities. The spreadsheets are like a mini-puzzle game unto themselves, though not in a bad way.
One mistake I made a lot was not using Limited Commands when I was the second eligible player. I got so used to the bots not having this restriction that I forgot I should have it.
Had a great time though, really liked the way the bots played almost the same game I was playing, and will be setting up for another game shortly. Maybe 53BC this time.
I loved the serried ranks of warbands in the first picture - I have to square everything like that when playing. Then you go and spoil it all in the second picture...
Thanks for posting that. I taught someone this game last week and they observed that losing to the bots must be particularly galling because you have lost to a piece of cardboard! She is right but they are well tuned for their job.
I have found that the Averni really need to devastate Aedui home areas early and that the Belgae quickly bounce back from a thrashing especially if they occupy Britannia.
It's a terrific game!
- Last edited Sat Oct 29, 2016 8:11 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Sat Oct 29, 2016 8:07 pm