Dominions 5 - Pretender to the Throne!

I dunno, maybe in the ranks of the elite pros it doesn’t fair so well, but from my perspective it does all right.

No, i said it may have cost me the game: i stupidly blew a substantial portion of my air gems on trinkets that 1) didn’t return any value and 2) kept me from being able to afford strategically important things like the elemental staff. So the reason i only had 2 water royalty instead of 2 water, 2 fire and 2 air is…i blew my income on magic trinkets, lol…but that’s the story of another day…

That makes more sense.
The only items I was forging constantly was bracelets and lens, because I got several Water 1 mages in an event.. 3 Water gems seemed like a good price to summon water elementals on almost all my Water heavy Nagas.

I would have loved to have a Water 2 Gem Generator, that would have been perfect. (Oh, I just found it, the Frozen heart - yeah, that would have been not good).

I’ll tell you a bit more in my AAR later on.

Damn you and evil puppeteering!

Even I figured out allying first with someone named Evil would never not be a good idea!

Turn 16 arrives and Arcos is doing very well. On the eastern side, I’ve seized the cape ahead of Atlantis and even pushed north to border the throne by Ctis. This is far better than I had hoped and I’ve now a castle building and even some mounted archers recruiting. In the center, I’ve made a slight land swap with Patala and our borders are settled as agreed. The druid land throne still looms in the middle, but i’m still not ready for it yet - that will come soon because it’s an important piece allowing for my forces to move easily from east/west.

To my southeast, I’ve encountered Bogarus and we’ve just settled on a border, i’d take the throne at the blue star (since it was the throne of summer) and he’d take the oasis beside it - the remaining province to the west was mine as well, though i was in no real hurry to grab it. The same can’t be said about the throne, since Atlantis also bordered it and looked to be amassing troops. Atlantis never did attempt a landing and a few turns later I would have my first throne. The throne of summer wasn’t a particularly good throne - heat+1, 1 fire gem and mages of summer (F2N1) and it’s there that i would make my first strategic blunder of the game.

I’m not a fan of fortifying thrones. Yes, they help defend the throne, but the problem is that if the throne falls, it’s harder to recapture. With this thought, i’d have normally fortified the province west of the throne - this allows for easy support from both my capital and the fort to the north, each of which are one province removed. The problem is the province west of the throne was a wasteland and would scarcely provide any income and no resources. Meanwhile, the throne wasn’t much better, but it allowed me to recruit a mage (that wasn’t particularly valuable to mean since I already had fire and nature mages, and the combination doesn’t allow for many things). What i should have done was fortify the western province as I thought - it would have saved me about 2000 gold(since i did build a fort/lab/temple in the province beside the lake to the west too) and would have allowed me to counterattack when Patala swooped down to end the game.

Meanwhile in the southwest, I was delighted to find that neither Atlantis nor Vaettiheim had seized much of the territory there, and I was able to make a loop around and secure a south-western border that even touched on the throne there. In particular, i was happy to capture the province with the red star before atlantis to keep him on his island. The frost meant he could still cross the river though, but with my dominion expanding, and with patala’s too, we would hopefully push enough heat to prevent him from crossing (and we did). Eventually, i would gain the throne(autumn), a much more useful throne for me than summer(1E, mage of autumn(E2,D1)) which was found to have the Castle Arcanum(instant fort) +1E +1F gem, and the ability to recruit Wizards and warrior mages, as well as totem collection (+1S +1N gem) - so 5 gems plus a mage with paths that allow me to summon those hounds of twilight). Arcos can recruit ED mages natively, but there’s only about a 16% chance of getting one, and at that point, I hadn’t gotten one yet (later, i would manage to get one, but by that time I’d already recruited 4 mages of autumn).

You got it! Thanks for remembering. And yes, it’s in the Dom3 manual.

It is certainly a design principle of some sort.

Turn 25:

Arcos is clearly in a dominate position now. I wouldn’t need the score graphs to know that I had to lead in just about every category. I’ve set an aggressive schedule with my forts and have 7 up (and 3 more will come). My income is fantastic, though I’m not accumulating any gold - just spending it as i get it - and why not, it will never end! (Another mistake which will come to haunt me soon). My research is at 4 across the board (a little mistake, as I should be a little more focused). And I’ve searched out all of my eastern half of my realm - there’s nothing terribly great or noticeable, but it is late era, so that’s to be expected.

The red stars indicate where I either have forts or will have forts - and are all a strategic blunder. In the place of these 4, i should have placed the two at blue. This would have served me far better and save me around 5000 gold.

I managed to snag the throne in the corner before(yellow) before either atlantis or vaetti could get there - that was a bit of a score. My intent wasn’t really to do anything with it, but rather just keep it out of reach of them for as long as i could. But when, i found out that it not only had a valuable mage for me (Mage of Autumn, E2D1), which gave me natural access to summon hounds of twilight(E2D1), but also boasted a castle arcanum site (allowing for summoning of a wizard (F1?2) or warrior mage (?2)) and generated 5 gems, including 2 desperately needed earth gems, I had to fortify it and ensure it stay out of the hands of my neighbors.

Too late, i would realize this was another mistake i made. When the writing of the doom of arcos was on the wall, i should have given this to Atlantis or Vaetti - it would have shortened my defensive lines and would have meant that Patala would have to bring another nation into play to win - and they could have defended it far better than i did.

Diplomatically, it’s been quiet. C’tis…well, wait, i’ll come back to C’tis in a sec. Patala and I forged a border agreement that benefit both sides. The three provinces of Arcos around his southernmost fort were never supposed to work out like that though(the red star throne, the blue star woods and the waste beside the river) and in our discussions, at least one of them should have been his. I think he was focused elsewhere though, and seeing an opportunity to get them ahead of atlantis, i did that (though i did offer him the wasteland, which he refused). I’d have rather curtailed his eastern expansion a bit, but keeping him out of the water was going to be very difficult for me, so it was just something i had to live with. Speaking of atlantis, our diplomacy has been…curt. We settled on my eastern shore easily enough and later we agreed on my western border being the river except he singled out that the yellow-star throne wasn’t agreed upon(to be mine). I just ignored that and took it and we didn’t really speak after that - being uncommitted, i wasn’t worried about getting into a war with atlantis(more on that later, too). Bogarus, i haven’t talked to since we established my southern border equitably. Which brings us back to C’tis. My discussions with him have been…fine…but a bit terse. He warned me against any further expansion towards him with a bit of a threat. I didn’t take to kindly about that, but recognized it for what it was and ignored it - which was easy since i had no interest going any further to my north (my goal was to border the throne). Which leave Vaettiheim, of whom, i’ve probably been most engaged. He sorta just stormed into my southwest - one turn there was just a bunch of neutral provinces, and then next turn, Vaettiheim was ll up in them, lol. But, all that aside, i had no issues with our border and our discussions have been amiable. I’ve started to feel him out on joining me against patala, and he’s been understandably neutral.

So, it’s been quiet. The discussions which will rock the world have not yet happened - that’s a small handful of turns from now.

Which brings me to Atlantis and some feelings here. It’s probably around this time I realized I had a resentment to going to hostilities with atlantis. Atlantis, in the late era, can be a monster and, in particular, can be very difficult opponent to dislodge from the water. Excepting only patala, a war with atlantis would be most disastrous for me - not only would i have a hard time sustaining any force under water, but the logistics of keeping up both an eastern and western force would be very difficult for me (east to west, i’ve nine provinces, with my capital sitting in the middle). Atlantis, in contrast could shift forces from my west to my east with relative ease. I even know how i’d do it if i were him - i’d press on my west coast, and then emerge from the water and raid along my east coast. The east coast stuff would be diversionary - just a raid or two and disappear back into the lake. Meanwhile the force on my west would steadily advance along a narrow front. Ugh, it’d be horrible for arcos. But…I knew he was relatively inexperienced and likely wouldn’t recognize this. I also felt he would be more easily intimidated by my nation’s size and wouldn’t likely be the aggressor. So it’s here that I first felt I was treating my opponent differently because of the experience differential. It won’t be the last time in this game.

Sorry for the delay. Lots going on in my household.

Turn 13
I completed Conjuration 3. At this time, I had Conjuration 2, Alteration 3,Construction 3, and everything else at 1, thanks to starting with 3 Magic.

Conjuration 3 was my goal and I had taken Whiteport (it was a decent fight), and Arco finally took Tenvir. I was had crossed the river and hit the island on my west flank, surprised to see no one else there. I think at this time, Atlantis requested some provinces in the island, and I replied that if he takes it before me, he was welcome to it.

As you can see, the thrones were still untouched.

I did get my castle up in Jome. It was a reasonable place to have a lab/temple/fort. Turn 13 is not a bad time to have my second castle up, even if it was only a Palisade.

Turn 14.
I finally found 2 sites! I had been site searching with a Nagaraja, and not finding too much, but 2 sites!

I got into the lake near Arco. I knew it was a risk, but C’tis had already warned me away from his location. I also kept traveling west, hoping to take the bridge, and claim the island for myself. I’m surprised that Atlantis wasn’t there yet.

Both battles involved only Najas, and they did work.
My scouts reported back the battles of Arco in Blue Moss Forest and Tirannea, and I finally got a good look at his bless. I wrote it down in my notes (I try to keep track of these things)

Magic Weapon, Precision, Shock Resistance and Reinvigorate. So 4 Astral/4 Air/4 Earth.

I got three events this turn. +15 PD in my swamps. 5 Gnomes, and some unrest!
The gnomes were going to be great. If I could cast Gift of Reason on them, they would be 2 Earth/2 Nature elves that could summon Manticores for me. Or just be really helpful. In any case, they were great as warriors because they are incredibly expansive to maintain.

Next turn, I strike at the throne near me. I really need magically weapons because the enemy will summon fire elementals, but since I don’t have them, my best bet was to use my fire hero to summon Fire Elementals. Which I hadn’t summoned yet.

Turn 15

It was a costly victory. Not my finest work.

The gnomes I got, the ones that I was going to make into mages… they all died in the next fight.

On the plus side, I had managed to take the western island. It was mine to use as I saw fit. I was also encroaching on C’tis.

And I got Research 3 done and my fort done.

I had gotten enough gold together to start another castle on my throne. I was behind Arco, who had 3 castle up at this time, but I wasn’t too worried. I took an imprisoned God. The longer the game drags out, the more power my scales would have and closer I would get to my god returning.

Turn 16
I claimed the Brass Throne. It wasn’t great, just some gems. No scales, no bless, no cool recruits.
Since thrones have an extra high chance at having gem sites, I searched it as much as possible. I also built a lab, so my researchers could hang out.

Arco kept trying to give me the Lost Lands Desert, but I had already promised I would let Atlantis have it. I was hoping that the province would cause lasting conflicts between the two nations. Again, the game was to survive as long as possible, because my god was imprisoned. My scout network was starting to work its way through the game. I just needed amphibious ones to make it complete. My air mage merc had grabbed my cool Mirror armor when my Nagaraja dead at the throne. I was trying to figure out how to get it back.

The map looked good. My scouts were in key locations to see battles from Arco, and sitting on most of the major thrones. In the mean time, I sent scouts against the vampire throne. It was not something I could take.

But I had a cunning plan… it would just take a while.

Two minor events.

Turn 17
Construction became CHEAPER!

This turn, I found 4 sites!

So, I had to take advantage of it. I forged Clam of Pearls. Cheap, but useful. Owl Quil and a Pendant of Luck. Oh, and a Dwarven Hammer.

No fights, but I saw some with my scouts. I did get about a dozen gems from events, including 10 nature gems.

Jome had a Castle, and would soon have a citadel. Whiteport had a Palisade Completed. I was starting to catch up a bit on castles with Arco.

It looked like no major wars were in the works. I had no idea what would spark the fire, but I was moving troops closer to Vaetiheim. Seemed like he would be the first to fall to me. (I feel like I was at least twice the size of his empire. Maybe 3 times bigger)

** Turn 18**
A terrible turn of events - I lost my air mage. He retired! And he took my Mirror Armor.
My Pretender had Air 4, so I was counting on Air gems to help me with forging.
Although I was getting 6 air gems per turn now.

I was moving south of Vaeti, making my way to the fort. At the same time, I started moving troops south to Queen Forest. After 4 or 5 turns, Atlantis had made no move to that province, no made any comment about taking it. I didn’t want a Wyrm fighting me, but on the other hand, I was starting to get some research.

Turn 19

I found 3 Sites in Panuonia, the province that I traded with Arco. None of them great, but more astral, air and water gems for my bank.
I accidentally attacked C’tis with a scout. Twice…

I got my fort done in Whiteport and the palisades in Spring Spires. I started a fort in Urd. When C’tis took that throne, he would find a castle right next to him!

Arco had better forts, but we both had 4 set up now.
At this point, I didn’t know when War would get started. If it didn’t start soon though, I would take those vampires, but hook or by crook, as they say.

Turn 20
I started my move on the second throne. I tried seducing the Circle Master for some death/blood. Sadly, they failed, but I did kill a barbarian chief. Even though I had Swarm, the ultimate midgame assassin spell, it just wasn’t enough.

I did find a lot of sites this turn though.

I did have some good events, including some gems/gold and a moon blade!

It was time to take my second throne! Oh and I started my castle in Desert of the Cliff Dwellers. Just to hold that pass.

Turn 21
I was in the middle of building 3 forts this turn. In the Desert to my south. In the mountains to my east and on the throne to my North.

I would have the most castles and with it, my research would get somewhere.

I once again failed to seduce anyone, but I was able to kill a conjurer!

The throne battle would start with one fewer conjurer.

I also lost a province to demon knights.

It was a good turn. I will leave it at that. I was still looking at my next target at this stage. But if nothing presented itself, then the next goal would be Vampires. But I had a cunning plan for that.