The Dominions 4 Thread of Multiplayer Stabby Stabby Ascension - 2014 Edition

Sounds like Leprosy.


In looking at the nation, i saw it had magical issues. It’s mages often lacked punch, and critically, often lacked the skill to often get them to a critical booster. So I designed my pretender to best help them get that little push up they needed. Solid in Air, earth, astral and blood, with good crossover paths (in particular earth and astral), my pretender was designed to be able to forge all the assistance they might need.

Early game was horrible. I started on an isthmus. I sent my scout one way and it blundered into something pretty early on and got itself killed. Like Turin, I would find no regular scouts in my territories and through until mid-game, I was blind about the world around me. Even at the end of the game, i never did find out where the capitals of Lanka or Xibaldi were. I never saw Caelum once in its short life, and despite being right next to TC, I had no idea it’s capital was so close until its death throes. Late in the early game, i did find a site that allowed me to created those bat-scouts of xibaldi. They were expensive for a scout(90g), and overpowered (1D1?), but they could fly 3 and after investment in the site(lab), and at a considerable cost in free gold, i was getting some scouts out there(it wouldn’t help that probably over half the scouts I would fly into xibabli would get discovered, keeping xibaldi in the dark for me and discouraging any military adventures.) So, 3 events pretty much set the stage for Berytos: no scouts, the destruction(through turn event) of our first fort just before its completion, and the isthmus. The problem with the isthmus isn’t that the range of your forts is restricted to fewer provinces(well, thats a partial problem) - no, the problem is that you need to commit your army one way or the other, and in the early expansion, when the army going one way hits a barrier(like other nations), then it needs to turn back through territory already discovered to go the other way. When it finally gets where it needs to go, its lost a lot of a most precious resource: time. So, in the case of Bertyos, i had marched troops east and southward down the isthmus, and never developed in the north the way i wanted to, ceding much land to mictlan. The isthmus was also horribly tuned for travel, with a swamp in the key junction, and various other terrain almost designed to impede quick access. Realizing that Berytos could at least use the sea for its benefit, but then realizing that it can only transport size 2 troops in that manner, i limited myself to base Berytos troops for most of the game just so that I could move them efficiently if i needed to.
In short, the early game saw Berytos blind, hemmed in, and utterly convinced that it was so behind the power curve that this was going to be a short game.

As the blinders came off in the mid-game, focus was on how to stay alive and relevant, how to not look like a target, and how to try to cease a victory against forces that were so much more powerful. I have no idea why no one attacked me. I can only surmise that the campaigns of caelum and TC distracted the other parties from me. I invested in baubles that made my armies look bigger - maybe that paid off, i dont know. Still convinced I was way behind the curve, i decided that I should focus on trying to reach artifacts while everyone was busy attacking each other, and that as opportunity presented itself, i would grow where i could, and maybe, maybe, i could use artifacts to make Berytos relevant.

The plan actually started to work. Berytos was the first nation to get artifacts. Early (and full spectrum) site searching provided a pretty healthy supply of gems, and getting to artifacts first, I felt like a kid in a candy store…and I got all the candy. I’ll take a screenshot later, but the sheer amount of boosting and powerful artifacts I got was pretty staggering. Unfortunately, there was a huge flaw in this plan - with such a focus on getting to const 8, and then on using gems for artifacts, i totally neglected that i had no chassis on which to use them. I had a melquart (turin linked it), but after that…uh, not so much.

final days, later tonite…


Added 24 hours

Since the temptation to talk about ANON is at an all time high, I will instead, in my slightly inebriated state answer a mulling question of TurinTur. What you want is called BLITZ games. These are games where people commit to playing Dominions for X number of hours starting at GMT time Y. Everyone either submits to a quickhosted game on llamaserver, or some poor IP address.

I have done a couple of these, and generally its a couple sessions of 3 hrs or so at a time. Usually, for the first 20 turns or so there is a timer, obviously. But that might mitigate your boredom during the months of play when in SP you can do an entire game in one seating.


Machaka’s AAR:

This will be very brief as I really did very little most of the game!

I wanted to go strong in Evo magic using Bouda’s. I took a Neret of Many names with 4E3A4B to make Earth Stones so that my Bouda’s would be even more powerful in Earth magic. Most of my early and mid game was just research and gem farming. I found a crystal sorceress province which really helped increase my research output as I could produce more mages early without a fort. I targeted Evo 6 early for magma eruption just in case someone decided to attack me. Then from there I went for the globals that produced gems. My sub researched Conj 8 for me which was a great choice as I could take the earth and fire royalty. Then with Xibalba’s strength growing I could cast globals without anyone thinking of targeting me.

I figured that since everyone was leaving me alone I may as well go for Evo 9 to give me Flames from the Sky and Volcano (the latter would have been effective on this very low income map). Then I would launch an assault against the biggest player and take over the world. Unfortunately I had left it way too late. I tried to kill Xibalba’s disciple with my 10+ earth attacks and manifestation remote attack spells but most of them hit Sauro. I wish I had realised earlier how close Xibalba was to winning! Oh well, next time :)

Looks like this thread might go back into a slumber until Anon ends or we start another game!

I was thinking something along the lines of bumping up the gold and supplies, while keeping the research normal, or even hard. In theory, that would make for bigger armies, and mages would be very valuable, with the lower level spells being more significant.

At the very least, a map with more income is what I want.

I still need to dig up some notes from the QTHangman game and do a better AAR, but I really had to change the way I approach Dominions 4 with the nation I received. I initially picked Xibalba because they were new and seemed cool to include, but I had no idea nor was I prepared to actually play them! Much to my surprise it was turned right around and I was assigned Xibalba, heh.

I normally like to build strong front line troops that can survive quite well in battle and supplement them with Cavalry or missile units with some mage support. Xibalba really made me pursue other options and during my one short test game, I learned that going with mass swarms of really cheap low prot units and immediately doing Attack Rear was really effective. I just had to go into it that my units were expendable and I was going to just hire as many as I could and keep throwing them at provinces as fast as possible. I did learn approximately how many bats it would take to overwhelm each type of indy province in my test game so I still was trying to minimize losses and keep the bat horde growing, but I also wasn’t afraid to throw them at tough armies either.

I did have trouble with some provinces, though, and being in a narrow area made me stretch my lands far north and south due to water being so close on either side. I was also very discouraged early on to find all my closest provinces at the start had populations like 1250, 3100, 1750 and that certainly wasn’t going to help with the income or blood hunting. I also got one of the few large provinces bordering my capitol to have a good number 50+? of stone monstras, living statues, and a golem or two. My weak bats certainly weren’t going to beat down those through that 20+ protection that they had and that really messed up my expansion for a bit as I wasn’t sure what was on the other side until I could get up on my feet a bit and get some more scouts hired.

My high priority early on was to beeline for forests and caves as I could hire 1 resource bats in either of those and every time I captured a decent cave or forest, I could crank out a new expansion army in 2 turns. In my test game this allowed me to expand incredibly fast and even with my troubles, I was taking 2-3 provinces at a time, I believe, in the first year, which looks like it kept me in the lead most of the game as far as provinces go.

I had real good luck with site searching even though I wasted tons of gems with no good finds. I did manage to find crystal sorc and shaman early on that I started hiring early for extra research. I also wanted some masses of them for Mind Hunt protection later on and to get an Astral income up and going. Later on I added on some items and flying shoes to some to assist in Mind Hunt protection and casting of Antimagic or Arrow Fend as needed. The shaman were really promising as they would be my go to researcher since they were also sacred. Mid game I was pulling in 15-18 pearls a turn and had plenty of all gems going by mid game once I got all the site search spells up and running. Water took me the longest, but I did later find some Lore Masters (which never did give me water for like 15 turns!) and some enchantress that did finally get me into water.

I did have some somewhat major changes that Xibalba went through that I hinted at earlier in the game, but I figured out ways to fight through them. Costs changed and some went from being able to hire with or without temples which messed up my planning quite a bit early on. I managed to get my blood hunting up early and used my Onaqui from my capitol (once I had enough money to hire them, 565 gold a pop!) to do some undead summoning of some soulless to assist in patrolling my blood hunting provinces and summoned some Mound Kings to lead them. I was mostly able to keep hunting constantly and kept unrest managed near 0 while my Growth 3 scales kept the pops from dropping much at all each turn. I wasn’t afraid to hunt higher pop provinces either although later on I realized that the income the game showed me I had each turn wasn’t true… during turn resolution it appears it did the blood hunting, caused the unrest causing the income to drop, increased my reserves for the turn based on that income, then did patrolling which reduced unrest to near 0 again and showed a bigger income on the UI than I would get each turn. I also had Luck 3, though, which gave me a few 1000+ turn events which helped a ton and I offset that with Turmoil 3, which hurt a bit as I always wanted more bats, but was manageable.

After I got Darkness up at Alt 6 and enough Const to make skull staves for my Onaqui, I just tried to pair one up with each army and Darkness with my bats was pretty rough. Early mid game, there was like 3-4 months were blood rituals were cheaper and I cranked out like 5-6 castings of Ozelotls each turn where they only cost 9 slaves instead of 13 and those guys really carried the day for me in many battles. The only time I lost any significant number of them was in storming the throne from TC where the W5E chewed them up. For some reason I couldn’t get Darkness to fire that battle and I lost about 30+ Ozelotl that really bummed me out there. From there I pushed Blood to 7 fast to get the Arch Devils and Leech and then rounded out the rest of the schools to 6 for various reasons along the way where I ended up. I got 4 of the Arch Devils including Magoth (the 3 Astral 3 Fire one!) in 4 consecutive turns and kitted 3 of them for thug duty to assist wherever they could help out while Magoth stayed home to cast rituals and forge items. Leech was wickedly effective as I could pool together any number of my 1 Blood mages to assist in battles and throw 5 slaves on them and wipe out 5 groups of just about any creature including most of the types of troops Sauro was fielding. 4-5 of my mages casting Leech every turn with Darkness up and my bats and Ozelotl chewing up his back ranks and it was quite hard to counter. Even his cavalry was getting eaten by each casting of Leech 2 at a time so that made it a bit rough.

I was really worried about Agartha meeting him head on, so I used my flying (I didn’t stealth attack at all this game - just used map move 3 flying over provinces) to hit him where his armies weren’t. His mages and magma children and other summons had me concerned, but I did gain Purify Blood that my Onaqui could cast to give me battlefield poison resist for the Living Mercury. I should have been immune to Earthquake being native flyers, but I never did test that.

My heroes really helped me. I had one that had Earth, Death and Blood that was also a Holy 3 priest (that I didn’t realize at first and used on the 4th throne to capture it). One other was Fire and Blood and also a Holy 3 priest and I have another 3 Blood assassin that assisted in blood hunting in a pinch for armies and casting battlefield rituals like Blood Lust. I also had a Vampire that I summoned and he had a little army of 6-9 vampires he summoned along the way that I never did get a chance to use. I tried to intercept one of Sauro’s decently sized armies to see if he could wipe them out alone with 5 consecutive castings of Bloodletting. I really wanted to see that in action to see if it was effective or not :).

Oh, and the time Machaka came at me and sieged on that throne by original TC, that turn I used like 9 shaman and they all burned nature gems summoning Horned Serpents and I pooled blood and nature boosters to get off 2 castings of Improved Cross Breeding (Blood 8) which I had just unlocked just in time along with a few others like some gargoyles from a lore master. I also hired like 90 one resource bats so those 250+ units I hired/summoned put me over the top in defense strength to hold the walls up most likely :). Just in time to hold out for the win.

I guess I remember a bit more from memory that I thought :). That is about it for now.

Wow, that was a wall of text!

I learned that going with mass swarms of really cheap low prot units and immediately doing Attack Rear was really effective.

I could swear at some point there was a stealth buff to flying units. Maybe when they did the Caelum patch? Before most of times a group of fliers with the “Attack Rear” order would fail a morale check when flying over a enemy squad and fight them instead of reaching the rearmost part. Now they tend to reach the rear part much more easily.

Did you use the scorpions for something, or ignored them?

EA Xibalba is pretty powerful, as we observed. If the map would have more population their native advantage in Blood (40g Batabs blood hunters recruitable in and outside forts, 70g Ah Nakoms B2 for blood hunting purposes) would be even more pronounced.

I see you used more magic-searching, I usually site-search by hand (or should I say, walking to each province). I started early, in the first year, and paid well, though my research resented.

If war wouldn’t have started when it started for Agharta, I would have empowered my Pretender in Water 1. Then a cheap water booster and with W2, I could have casted Stygian Rains. Pity I couldn’t try that.

I initially used them for my first couple expansion armies to catch arrows at the front, but later on they were just too restricting being unable to fly around with my main armies. I was going to use more of the scorpion summons, but needed my mages researching and then was back to the crawling problem for movement.

I did a lot of both with all manual early on with a few flying searchers, but mid game I was using all of the site search spells each turn and most of my provinces (other than farms) were searched with all paths other than blood, which I mostly ignore now for remote site searching anyway. Very early on I had everything searched for Death which I knew I would need a lot of and didn’t get as much as I wanted, but was in a healthy 10-14 per turn range, I believe. The 2 air helmets that Lanka traded me were a huge help in this game and were constantly in use helping me forge flying shoes, site search, and boost for battlefield spells.

I have a story about Stygian Rains, but I can’t talk about that yet :P.

Mobility is very important when going for Throne victories it seems.

I found the same in QTFour, even though my armies weren’t that big (especially compared to Ermors 10k+ hordes), I had a serious mobility advantage which ultimately won it for me.


Added 24 hours

How many people are keen for starting up a new game? I am, though I’m also mindful of the patch in development. I don’t have any interesting ideas for a game, just asking the obvious question to see if there is any interest.

One part of thrones gameplay I believe is finding that sweetspot for number of throne points that require victory, against number of map provinces and number of thrones. Unfortunately, we seem to be hamstrung by Illwinter’s design with regards to Ascension victory because we can not have thrones in game, independent of the ascension victory condition, nor can we have I believe, an inhouse rule that stipulates a player must hold the thrones for x number of turns. Having features like that in game would be a nice inclusion.

I’d be interested in a game in the near future.

I’d be up for another team game. I’m too clueless about mid- to late-game strategies to go it alone. Also, I like having teammates.

I believe you can have thrones in-game and set throne points required to win greater than the throne points in-game (thus making it impossible to win via throne capture). Then it can come down to a house rule.

I’m good for another game, maybe pairs.

I think DireAussie is correct -you can also set win parameters by getting a certain number of research points ,or other settings.

I think pairs is a good suggestion as well, but make the aussies have to pair up with someone from europe :)

I’m in for another game, probably. Pairs sounds like a good idea…would the teams start out geographically near each other, I assume?

Alright, playing around with the game. and the Thrones:
You only get thrones if you decide victory by thrones of ascension. The win threshold has to be equal to or less than the total number of ascension points. So you cannot have a win threshold of more points that there are on the map.
The other parameters are Conquer all (only one god remains),
Victory by Victory Points (cumulative or not), dominion score (scale of 0-5000), provinces (0-500), victory by research ( 0-56800)

It turns red on the screen but it still allows you to click OK and play with the setting.

Excellent, then!