Saturday, 13 January 2018

Dominions 5: EA Ermor, Caligula campaign, turns 2 - 10

Turn 2

Events were quiet, just me and one other declaring a prophet.

Recruitment. I love healers. Passively curing afflictions that would otherwise kill a unit on the march is a wonderful ability. I jam a healer in as this turn's commander build. Eventually I'd like 3-4 per active army stack, it really suits a strategy based around expensive combat units. The healers have some utility in battle too, especially against undead which I expect C'Tis to field. I get all the Sacred Equites I can afford which is 4 this turn. I have enough over to get a rookie heavy infantry, an Accensus.

To battle!

I have intel now on 4 provinces with respectively 20, 20, 40 and 60 troops in each. Naturally I'm looking to attack the weaker ones. Of the two weak ones I'd like to get the one which is due west as it gets me towards where I'd like to make my wall. However those 20 guys are heavy infantry and heavy cavalry which will be quite tough. I decide to hit the other weaker 20 man province, I invade Mireni.

Organising my army is going to be important and here the game rather throws players in at the deep end. I'd advise watching one of the excellent youtubers, perhaps MarcusAureliusLP, to see how he does it. I'll give you the basics here.

Always place your heavy infantry first. They are the anvil you want to break the enemy army on. For this fight I'm putting them to the right edge of the screen which is the front towards the enemy. They will advance and attack the closest, attempting to gum up most of the enemies forces. I've given them the standard to help their morale.



My cavalry are the hammer. I want these to come in a little late and then decisively smash the enemy archers. I place them deep so they won't get shot at before they're buffed and I hold a turn. It's very easy to have cavalry run out too early before the heavy infantry have tied the enemy troops down. You can set either attack archers or attack rear with this tactic. As I know I'm facing archers I select Hold Attack archers.

Pope Iconium will cast Divine Blessing which is a great level 3 Priest spell that hits the whole battlefield. Then he'll do a Smite then he can do whatever. They usually cast their morale buffing spell.

The Legatus will stay safe. Later on I might give him magic armour but for now his one and only job is not dying.

Here's my final army positions:



 And here's my army setup:




I move my scout west and that's my turn done I think. Army invading - check. Recruitment done - check. Research done - check (even though I have zero research). Scout moved - check.

Wish me luck!



Turn 3

Next up is a feature I absolutely love. In the screen that gives you the news for the turn it doesn't spoil what happens. You can click View Battle and watch the carnage with no idea who will win.



OK, we won. The tactics went a bit wrong. My Heavies chewed through the middle and were on the archers before the cavalry arrived and the cavalry decided to hit the flank of the few remaining infantry. They hit hard. So my infantry killed the archers and the cav killed the infantry but I think that was because a hole appeared in the enemy middle so quickly. I'll have a look in another couple of battles, I don't think it's correct to adjust yet.




There was a moment of comedy at the start. I'd positioned my cavalry very deep and my Legatus near the front. I'd told my Legatus to stay behind the troops. So at the start of the battle my general turns like a rabbit and races towards the back to get behind the cavalry. You can see in the screenshot he's halfway there! That's taking things a bit too literally.

Here's the scoreboard:



I'm very satisfied with this, the Leves are expendable units and in any event just losing 4 is very light.

My Bishop is now ready back at base. He'll stay there preaching as the army will come back to reinforce.

I drop 2 points of Province Defence into Mireni and move my forces back to the capital.

I recruit another Bishop, 4 Sacred Equites and 2 Rorarus heavy infantry. This time I did run out of recruitment points but I was also out of resources so I'm still not seeing the way I designed my scales as a limitation.

My scout discovers a problem. Actually a problem that's an opportunity. He can't go to the province westwards because there's a river. Perhaps I should use the river as my wall. It means enclosing a little less territory (but still a lot) but the tradeoff is the natural defensive barrier. I'm considering a wall along the 3 provinces Andoria Ralothia and The Forest of the Lost.



Turn 4

In the capital I reinforce The Legatus' army with sacred equites and more heavy infantry as well as two bishops. The bishops' healing ability is very useful to a battle group. I'd love to give these guys some items or some bodyguards but I can't spare the resources yet.

I recruit an Augur, my first mage, 4 Sacred Equites and 2 Heavy infantry. I send the battlegroup into Sentania where they will face Heavy Infantry and Heavy Cavalry. I adjust the order to my cavalry. I set them to activate sooner, although still from a deep start and target the hostile cavalry. What I hope will happen is that the bad guys will charge my heavy foot then get decimated by my cavalry. Cavalry can be enormously destructive units and I want them dead as soon as possible. Reflecting, I change the orders of the two foot squads to also target the cavalry.

Here's how we look now:




Turn 5



OK, so there's semi-spoilers. We know the priests survived because they cured people after the battle and we know someone made it to become a famous hero.

Let's View Battle




OK, the tactics worked well. My heavy infantry have stopped the enemy cavalry in the centre, my elite sacred knights have moved to flanking position and my leves are doing a decent job throwing javelins in from the far flank. Just after this moment my cavalry flanked in. At first they hit the guys at the very back, I guess because there's a couple of cavalry back there but they quickly killed them, moved in on the enemy cav from the flank and rear and utterly slaughtered the opposition.



In the capital an Augur has appeared. I stuck him on Research which is an order that automatically repeats every turn until I instruct him differently. He will passively protect the city from bad luck.

I plan to use Augurs to build my line of castles, one Augur in each. They can sit there protecting it from bad luck although they can only research if I also build a lab there.

I recruit Augur, 4 Sacred Equites and 2 Rorarus. This time recruitment points is the bottleneck but only just.

Andoria is looking weak, I adjust my army orders to deal with an infantry archer set up and invade.

Turn 6

My cavalry flank was only 70% successful as some of his infantry wriggled through to get in the way of some of them. They died and the rest of the cavalry got around the back to murder the archers. The infantry snarled up in the centre where 3 of his guys managed to get through the centre to attack the Legatus. He's quite well armoured and was fine but I should try to get some defensive items on him. He's becoming more valuable as he gains experience, particularly as he has just gained a Heroic Ability called Valour which gives more morale to him and his troops. It was a crushing win with only 3 Leves dying.



The priests were slacking a little as someone died of their affliction on the march. Might get another priest soon.

I load an Augur with troops from the capital and send him to Andoria. He will build my first fort expansion.

My main army under The Legatus moves south to invade the throne at Ralothia.

I decide to recruit an Archbishop as my third priest that will travel with the main stack as they have better battle magic and don't cost that much more than the vanilla bishops. They do take an extra turn to make but that's fine. The purse also stretches to 4 sacred equites and a Standard.

As my bottleneck for new units has always been either Resources or Recruitment points I've had gold left over every turn. This has now built up into a substantial fort-making fund. I have 614 gold in my treasury with a fort to start next turn.

My scout meanwhile is having a rough time of it. The map is super choked up with rivers. This is great because they're a natural defence.

Turn 7





I got a random event and it looks like my Luck scale paid off this turn. That's a very nice haul.

In the battle the elephants were pretty scary looking. They flanked my infantry heading for my Equites of the Sacred Shroud who charged into them, lances couched. Three elephants went pop on impact, the morale broke and the other two were cut down trying to run away. A very nice result against a powerful unit. In the centre my heavy infantry continued to hold and grind. I only lost 1 leve at the end of this battle which really surprised me as it looked nasty.

My scout found the C'Tis, they're in the North West corner. I really hope that they get emboiled with their southern neighbour who my scout is going to find next. I think the fourth civ must be on the Australia like island to my south.

So I need 4 thrones. I have just conquered one. I have a water throne province next door to my capital which I will attack when I can get some amphibious troops. There's a throne in the north between me and the C'Tis which I don't want to go for yet while I'm still hopeful the C'Tis will fight someone else. And my final throne could be a death stack march across the map to take a throne in the bottom left corner, in the south west. I am hoping to avoid the throne in Australia as the civ there will probably be really strong because he's had no one to fight.

My main stack will pause from constant invading. The prophet claims the throne, the priests with him construct a temple and a palisade, the augur constructs another palisade in Andoria and that's 1600 gold I just blew through.

Recruitment in Ermor: my archbishop is just finishing up, I paid for him last turn and I queue 4 sacred equites. I'm left with 138 gold.

My next objective is to get a palisade built in the Forest of the Lost and then I'll probably build some province defence for my 3 "wall" provinces. I can then backfill pretty easily which will give me 11 or 12 land provinces. I want to conquer the sea throne for my 13th. The map is based on giving people 15 provinces each so that would be about my quarter. If no one bothers me that will be enough to win from, if they attack me then they will find out why the world fears the mighty Emperor Caligula (Praise Him).

I'm a God you know.

By the way. Where's my triumph?

Turn 8

I got 3 positive random events. The best was a permanent +50 gold per turn to the income of a province.

This is another set up turn. Various troops get shuffled between heroes who are basically just carrying them to one central province where they will all get sorted out and assigned to The Legatus next turn. Palisades are underway now in two of my wall provinces, next turn I will conquer the final one and begin constructing its defences. The whole wall should be finished by turn 14, a line of 3 impregnable forts keeping all my enemies to the west and even more important dissuading them from declaring war.

Turn 9

My scout finds T'ien C'hi in the south west corner. C'Tis already has a border with him so those two should be at war soon. No one borders me yet.

Recruitment: Augur Elder. I need another Augur for my 3rd fort but what I'll do is I'll train up a better version to stay at the capital and send my original guy to do prophecy duty in the sticks. He can make a better array of items. Also 4 Sacred Equites.

I reorganise my army and send my invasion force into The Forest of the Lost, the last piece of my wall. I have 19 heavy infantry as my centre, 27 sacred equites as my hammer and I've assigned 1 heavy infantry as bodyguard to each of a Bishop, an Archbishop, a Centurion Prophet and The Legatus.


Turn 9

Another strong win. I killed 58, lost 3 heavy infantry and a sacred cav. My bishop picked up a fatigue recovery heroic ability which is quite nice.

Machaka has put in an appearance, most unwelcomely to the west of my wall. I don't know how he got there. He must have landed then started taking places between me and C'Tis. Either that or he started there and my scout missed him. I really want to scout Australia now.

I start a fort with my bishop. I now have just one healer with the army, the other two stopped to build forts.

I recruit 4 sacred cav at Ermor. I would have got 5 if I'd had more recruitment points so maybe I did lean too heavily on the Turmoil scale. I don't think it matters, soon I'll be recruiting elsewhere. The sacred cavalry are important because they're by far my best units once blessed but there's some merit in making other units and I'd particularly like to have an effective line of magi. Basically if I run out of recruitment points or resources there's other things to do, if I run out of gold I'm screwed.

I splash some cash on Province Defence. A lot of cash, nearly a thousand gold. Here's my thinking. If Machaka thinks I look weak he will attack and I will be in forever war with him. If he doesn't like the look of it he will attack C'Tis and those two will cripple each other. Of the three wall provinces I have 30 PD in Andoria, 30 PD and my main army approaching in Ralothia and 20 PD in The Forest of the Lost. My palisades in Andoria and Ralothia finish next turn. Machaka has the option of attacking either Andoria or Ralothia.



Turn 10

It worked!

He didn't attack. In fact the big army with all those elephants has vanished westwards.

I found T'ien C'hi with my scout in the far south west as I expected and now urgently need him to head back and scout my west flank.

I accidentally moved a guy who is meant to be building a Palisades in The Forest of the Lost so I sent him back. I've also got an Augur going there.

I moved my main force east, it's time to backfill. Now that the forts are up my forces will have a couple of turns to rush to the western front if anyone tries anything and I've got a bunch of juicy neutral provinces to claim.

My Archbishop picked up an affliction. He didn't fight last turn so I guess it's just from being old. He can't self-cure but I'm hoping one of the junior priests can fix him. Otherwise it was a bit of a waste of early game money if he dies from it.

So here is the state of the game at turn 10. Time for me to wrap this up, see you next time.




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