Dominions 5 - Pretender to the Throne!

You guys don’t sound like newbies to me!

I wont be around till late July, but after than I might have the time to participate in an EA game.

So, I’m not much of a writer, but I’ll try to post a bit of my first few turns, and see if I can go through the entire game.

The first turn put me far away from my preferred terrain. I had really wanted to be close to caves, but the closest caves had thrones in the way.

I went with a Nagaraja and a Markata as my first recruits, to save room for as many Naga as possible. Later on, I would get the more powerful naga warriors.

My first Markata, I made a prophet.

My goal was to stay out of any wars as long as possible. I had an imprisoned pretender, so it would be a while before he joined the fray. My plan was to rely on nagas to expand, and just to try get my magic going, since I was pretty sure I had the most powerful mages in the game, outside of Atlantis.

The only other thing of note for the first turn was looking at what my opponents had.

I was able to get a few clues from titles. Arco was had 4 titles, which should be 6-9 domain, but being Arco meant he got one extra title, so 4-7 domain strength. The fortifier meant at least earth 4. The Great leap forward meant order greater then 0, and King of Kings meant at least domain 5.

C’tis also had 4 titles, so his domain was between 6 and 9. Feeder of impurity meant 4, God of this World meant Domain 7 or above. But that was all I knew.

Atlantis only had 2 titles, so his domain was between 2 and 5, and the Rock meant Earth 4.
I checked others, but I don’t want to bore you of the details, but I did check my own titles.
3 titles, meant you could assume my domain was between 4 and 7. Messenger of the Gods showed I had at least 4 air. Reaver of the Skies shows Air 4 and Turmoil 3, and Lord of Insects meant Nature 3.

Turn 2 is less interesting. I got my Nagaraja, and I purchased the Sage to get my research going. Since I had Magic 3, my first goal was to just get everything up to research 1.

My goal was to role into the Swamps nearby.

Turn 3
Taking Fortune 3 and Turmoild starts to payoff. By the way, did you know the number of events is based purely on your capital? The number of dice rolls is based on the Capital Turmoil and Fortune scales. The types are based on the province they land in.

Anyway, a resounding victory in the swamp, and a few paths researched. Also, I got +1 order and +161 gold in my capital. So, that helped.

I decided to be greedy and cut off anybody that might be on that island. LIttle did I know that Atlantis would be just southwest of me!
At the same time, I was putting together a new fighting force!

Turn 4 - According top my notes, my goal was Legion of Steel, then Alternation, conjuration and finally Enchantment 3.

Victory was mine. - Construction three would take a bit of time, but would be worth it. The battle had cost me very little, because wastelands are usually weak, but the goal was carve out my borders early.

I was not yet ready to send out my second army, but it was going to be Naga heavy.

Turn 4 came with 2 events - First, +3 Domain. So, a nothing burger in Patala.
And the second is Sloth 2 in my swamp.

So, no help.
The next fight was still relatively easy so I kept moving foward.

I spent some money on Indie commanders, with the goal of see what was on the other side.
But, I was moving south with my first army, coming to reinforce my troops because I spotted some Pegasus Amazons that I really wanted. Air/Astral would be awesome for my forces. I was still working on Construction 2.

And I would send my forces over the bridge, into the island which would later be mostly controlled by Atlantis.

Finally, turn 6 (and I’ll wrap it up for the night after this) -
Three Events - Wold got +5 gold income. Small, but helpful.
I gained a Fire Sword - small but helpful.
And I gained 11 Fire gems. Not that I had any fire mages to use them.
Oh, and Construction 2 was finished, and my two battles were victories.
I also spotted Atlantis, and realized that I could not progress any further into the island he would claim because the forces were too strong.

Some general thoughts about the game before I go into more specifics:

The map was too large. Normally, this might even be a good thing - large map, more territory, more stuff, it’s all good! But i think it gives experienced players a large advantage in that they know more about how their forces will perform and rewards their aggressiveness. Then, there’s also the random capital locations which clearly benefited Arcos and Patala and severely restricted Bogarus. Atlantis and Vaetti have more interesting positions but both need to escape their geography quickly or risk getting hemmed in. As it would happen, Atlantis really never made it off of their island onto the mainland, and Vaetti was able to only able to barely cross its bridge, leaving the vast expanse of “the middle” in control of Arcos, Ctis and Patala.

Here is the game start positions:

and here is the map circa turn 32, just prior to every war going off:

I think this game might have benefited us selecting capital locations manually and/or picking ones specifically (least experienced picks first → most experienced). This gives the most advantage to the least experienced player at the cost of some of the joy of random starts and finding your neighbors, but i think would have allowed for a more fair game in this case.

Arcos, pretender builds/thoughts:


Zeus: A4E5 Dom10…discarded idea, but liked the chassis
Zoos: A4E4D4 Dom 7…discarded idea, death doesn’t do much for me
Au Zus: A4E4S4 Dom7…i love ES pretenders, there’s so much utility. Air became a must-have because, strangely, arcos is void in air(with the exception of heroes)

Hekate: S4D4N4 Dom 7…what a strange and wonderful pretender design!

it didn’t really work for me, but wow, i really want to try it. Fear, ambidextrous and then is a trinity(you have 3 pretenders but with lower paths). Plus you get 1d6 hounds and 2 lampads.

George(and Abrasax): F4E4S4. So apparently the great archon is a girant with a chicken head and snakes for feet? Who knew?! This design was all about the summons. I just about chose it, but at the last moment decided Air was too vital and besides basing my whole pretender on a giant chicken with a con7 summon was probably a bad way to go.

And so we get d34d2005 (it’s dead zeus, like deadmau5, but spelled consistently! Anyone get that? Well, i thought it was funny)…

Pretty simple design. The paths are pretty straightforward, but the one thing i really wanted with this design is the A4E4 - that allowed me to build staves of elemental mastery. Arcos has great rainbow mages, but no one with any substantial power. I felt the staff was the way to bridge the gap and was something that i needed for late game. I also took a heat scale, that was mostly to counter the 3cold nations who i thought would be pushing cold pretty aggressively, i used it to take an extra luck cause I really like going with lucky scales.

Oh, and Dilip? When i realized that Patala was likely to be my main opponent, i built what i thought was his pretender based off the information available. I even played out a couple dozen turns with it to see how it performed, what its strengths would be, it was from that playtest that I knew that i was in trouble. Arcos is a pretty strong nation; Patala is dominant. But more from that later. Here’s my best guess at Patala’s pretender, how’d i do?

Oh, and about the summons, here are the main ones i was thinking about:

I mean, those Khals, right?! 81hp, resistant to all weapon types, resistant to all elements, trample and fire breath! ya, it’s 30 fire,but what else you gonna do with fire?

Keres and hounds I did summon a lot of and they were pretty impressive, though the hounds didn’t really see much action.

The spartae i wasn’t really impressed with. I didn’t realize they were battle summons, and then they’re…fine, but for 1 earth, i’d rather have something permenant

My main ‘strategy’ was based on the 2 unique summons for Vaet, the Jotun Wolf and the Gloso, so I went with Enlarge (against the kind advice from Lego) and Blood Surge and tweaked the rest around what I thought were shortcomings. I had rainbow dormant pretender for high research, site search.


My basic strategy was to get to Mother Oak first (which I did), and then… The start was a little cramped for me, and, well, Patala was soon within 2 spaces from my cap. However, I managed to grab the Pegasus province, giving me some astral, and then had to work hard to stop myself from being Lego’s first target. So I had to set about making someone else his first target. Bogarus was fretting about Ctis, so that seemed a place to go. I made a 3nap with Bogarus, then Arco, then snapped the one with Patala, leaving Ctis and Atlantis as possible targets. Then the first war started, and it was just a matter of time till Arco attacked a stretched Patala. Atlantis had no choice (via 3naps) but to attack me, which changed the direction of the game, as I had to defend against him. By the time I came back to Ctis, Patala was dominating Arco. If I’d had my time again, I would have paid more attention to snagging a throne off Arco. Wouldn’t have made a difference, but would have extended the game a little. :)

Yeah, but why’d you send me this message, though:

This just popped up for me in the Steam client under screenshots and has nothing to do with our game.

thank gawd, i thought for a moment (till the text was added in the edit) that it was serious! :D

ya, i’ve seen that before and loled at it.

The paths are correct, but I went to with 5 or domain and I was imprisoned.

I really went 100% greed because I didn’t think there would be any early wars that needed my pretender.

Not while I had Nagarishi to back me up.

What if inexperienced players picked capital locations for all factions? They would get the most advantage and the experienced players would get the most fun.

Yeah. During pretender build there was some concern with all the cold nations. Cold blooded gets hurt by cold and my guys had terrible morale so I wanted to fight in my own domain. I went with a very high domain to try and spread warmth and keep my low morale troops fighting in my domain. In the end warmth wasn’t an issue and between the morale boosting snakes and the domain my guys didn’t route, they just got killed because they were crappy troops.

Arcos, turn 9:

Things are going very well. I’ve secured the provinces immediately around my capital and have two armies. My immediate goals are to capture whitecloud(red star) and Gray forest(yellow star). Whitecloud would lock up the druid land throne (the massive army to the southeast of whitecloud) and the territory within, allowing me to focus expanding my border before turning inward. That didn’t quite happen, and I would never capture whitecloud. At this point, seeing heavy and light cav and with my advancing army reduced to a handful of cerulean warriors and the arcos equivalent of militia, I decided to go elsewhere until i could bring reinforcements up. Patala and I later settled on a mutually agreed upon border that granted him Whitecloud and Arcos rights to lands sound and south east. That left druid land for me as well, but it would be a while before i attempted to crack that nut.

Meanwhile, my other short-term goal at gray forest was well within reach. This army was recently reinforced and was encountering scant resistance. Seizing that point would block off atlantis from moving westward(as you can see, i could see atlantis, but couldnt yet place their capital, i figured(correctly) they were on the island). After gaining gray forest, that force would move north until it met up with ctis(shown). And thus, the north borders of Arcos were planned…

My first fort was also under construction in Troban, the province to the southeast of druid land

Turn 7 -

Almost nothing happened, except, one of my provinces received 20 gold extra in income. I consolidate my army to take another province in my cap circle, and threw a commander at the nearby province. And met Rob.

This province had 4 wizards, and Rob was the best. I knew he would summon elementals every turn, plus that he would restock on gems every battle. Best to avoid Rob for now. I moved south to take my final non-throne province. Also, I saved some gold for my next castle.
I had also spotted the Army of Atlantis. I wasn’t too sure if I could hold him off if he attacked me right away, since my research wasn’t there yet.
Atlantis turn 7 army

Turn 8 - This turn Atlantis Claimed his throne. I had already previously discussed the island with Atlantis, and the Politely told him that I would not leave the island to him completely. I believe in a few turns he would understand why.

In this turn, I took 2 provinces and sent an indie commander to scout out a third through battle.
I grabbed up Burelk’s City Guard in case Atlantis came down, and I need more seige defense. My Golden Naga hero showed up, providing me with Fire Magic that I could hardly make use of, but always a Holy 3 hero.

And in Jome, a Lab with a bunch of goodies showed up unexpectanly.

The game had selected the next site for me, it seems.

Turn 9 -

Relatively Boring turn. I sent troops to start construction in Jome. Winder started, which wasn’t good for my Naga. I consolidated troops in Wesh in the north to move ahad. I spotted Vaite, and was annoyed that he took my Amazons, but looking at the map, I realized that 81 was called Vaettiheim, so I didn’t press him, since the Amazons were right next to his cap.
I moved south into the waste lands, and started site searching with my Nagarishi.
Only a single event - A High Priest joined me with some weak troops in Jome.
I started on my Castle in Jome, since there was a lab there already.
Turn 10
With construction 3 done, at least I had Legion of Steel for my troops.
With my troops in position, I was able to grab 2 provinces.
And I got some 60 Markata for free in Wesh.
I found the Capital of Atlantis a this time.

Turn 11

My first good look at Atlantis, as he attacked a province I had a scout in.

Two more provinces taken, but this time, I lost 42 militia. Probably not a bad thing.

This is when I made the trade with Arco.

Turn 12
Got Alternation 3 done which gave me access to Mossbody, a get point buff spell. The Dormant Gods where waking up, making my position a bit more risky. We took only two provinces this turn, although one was going to be in trade with Arco. I got my myself the Hidden Master, to start search for Air Magic!
Two events this turn - I dscovered a single Earth gem.
And this -

At the end of the 1st year I had been in contact with Altantis, Arco and Vaeti. I started on my second castle (I had a free lab, and had started on my temple and palasides). I had 16 provinces under my control and had started on site searching.

Looking at the graph, hat put me ahead of most of the other pretenders, except maybe Atlantis, although Alantis pulled ahead early in gems and thrones.

By the way, thoughts and ideas about the mods we used? Things you didn’t like? Things you think need to be improved? CBM is a balance mod, and is still being worked on after all.

no issues for me for cbm or heroes. I’m a bit mixed on the other one, and generally didn’t like it…

Lucid’s? The one that adds gem gens?

ya, that one.

My feeling is that its very much a ‘win more’ type mod: it helps players in front, stay in front. It also is more geared towards aggressive players and playstyles and rewards them. It may have cost me the game, but that’s on me for stupidly manufacturing things without thinking them through. I can definitely say that the game would have played out much differently if we weren’t using this mod.

I also think it’s also of a certain mindset about how the game is played (and in its mind, should be played) that values certain things over others. For instance, it values being able to sustain an aggressive force in the field indefinitely without as big a concern for logistics (and even that logistics in itself is something of a waste of time and not necessarily of value to the game).

I don’t really agree with these points and, personally, I wouldn’t play with that mod again.

hmm, the more i think about it, the more I probably dislike CBM as well. I dunno, it takes me back to something I think @Brooski wrote in the Dom3(?) manual(and i’m paraphrasing here): that not everything(items, spells, races, commanders) was designed to be “best of” and that many things were “normal”, if not “situational” or straight out “bad”, and the key to enjoying dominions was to find the things that worked for you, not because they were necessarily the best, but because they just happened to click with the way you either thought about/played the game. Wish i could find that passage now…

Anyways, with CBM, there’s a lot of that is discarded for the sake of “balance”: Patala starts of with inferior troops? Make them better! But that’s part of the brilliance of the way the game is made - for instance, Patala has big bones and can grow to be a very strong nation, but it starts out fragile and vulnerable. Its challenge is to survive and develop long enough to grow into its legacy. But a slight tweak to that starting formula, and well, it really changes how the nation plays out.

Except… Patala usual doesn’t win late game even if it gets there. The combination of Earth and Water is of little value. There are no spells that take advantage of both paths that are really that meaningful, and you usually are favoring one path of the other on your mages, so you might as well not have Water 3 on mages doing earth things, or Earth 3 on the mages doing Water things.

Also, keep in mind, the late game, Patala particular sucks because of everything is MR 7. Even with Antimagic, its MR 11, and all my troops are targets of Master Enslave or Animal Enslavement. The only units not vulnerable are cap or cave only. At least Kailasa and Bandar Log have recruit every sacreds that don’t suffer from low MR. I was really worried about the late game for Patala, because 1 good casting of Beast Mastery or someone casting Wildness could really hurt, as could go old Master of Enslave.

As for the items, I noticed that you forged the Air Cloak. It’s 30 gems to get 4 Air gems, so you need to have 8 or so battles for it to pay off. I don’t think any of my air mages did more then 3 or so each with the Cloak of Astral Storms, and that was in addition to having 2 or 3 scouts with each army, with tons of other gems (they could have easily carried more air gems with them, and I had Flying boots to help resupply them).

I don’t think the items added to the winning of the game, unless you planned on gem baiting me frequently by attacking by both teleport and mundane, hoping to waste all my gems as quickly as possible, but I had heaps of Air Gems, because I had so few air mages to spend gems with.