Realms Beyond Pitboss #2: War of Revenge

As India continued to bask in the warm rays of a Golden Age, we paused to assess our research capabilities and the state of our opponents:


We've nearly reached 800 base beakers/turn in GA mode, and research continues to proceed along smoothly as planned. As for our competing rivals and their research:

Here's a picture of the spreadsheet I've been using to track everyone's tech discoveries. I started it as soon as we got Alphabet and could begin seeing other team's techs. It's pretty easy to do, just write down what techs each team discovers each turn, and lets us work backwards to infer some good information about the other teams. For example, by seeing how long it took Dantski to discover Education (12 turns), we know for sure that he's not researching very quickly at all.

The row at the bottom is my (very) rough estimate of how many beakers/turn each team has been averaging recently. Both Kathlete and Nakor look pretty impressive here, but they're both a little overestimated from long turns of running deficit science. Right now, both have under 50g and will have to build up their funds again, or run some break-even science for a while. And Whosit's death means the end of his "sugar daddy" funding of the other teams, which cuts a sizable portion out of Nakor's income!

Three quick thoughts here:

- Nakor did discover Economics first and took the free Great Merchant. We were never planning on going this route, and he's welcome to the freebie. Getting to Constitution, Gunpowder, and Military Tradition are more important to our team currently.

- plako just discovered Optics, so they now have caravels. Shouldn't be a threat or anything, just bears watching. (Would be pretty awesome if we could scout out Kathlete's coastlines with a gifted caravel as part of our attack!)

- Dantski finally discovered Education; he spent 7 turns saving up 1500 gold, then 5 turns spending it down to 250g. I have to say, I don't understand this one. Why research an uber-expensive Renaissance tech when you barely have any Medieval ones? Dantski lacks Feudalism, Guilds, Banking, Philosophy, and so on. Very expensive non-Philosophical universities can't be that important...

The rough overall beaker count looks like this:

Nakor: 18,753
Killer Angels: 16,741
Kathlete: 11,066
plako: 9741
Dantski: 8750
slaze: 4650

So Nakor is basically ahead by one Renaissance tech, which matches what you'd expect to see. He should remain at least slightly ahead of us for some time to come, thanks to his Mausoleum/Taj Golden Age and the free Great Merchant. The big difference is that we're more or less running even with Nakor in research while supporting a massive army. (Leaving aside points from Technology and Population, our overall Power rating is roughly double that of Nakor.) As long as we can keep up right now, we'll eventually pull ahead due to our vastly superior edge in Food and Production

Clearly India and Holy Rome were far out in front of the rest of the pack; we had researched something like triple the beaker count of poor backwards slaze. Nakor and DMOC were actually a little bit ahead of us, thanks mostly to their gold-gifting and Taj Mahal + Mausoleum Golden Age combination. Fortunately one or two techs wasn't likely to make a major difference, and we still held a premium on the world's best military technology. Being down Liberalism and Economics was no worry.

We also looked at a quick comparison of our border cities captured from Greece against the Ottoman border cities which were gifted over. All of these cities had been taken away from Greece at the same time, and had started out at a similar level of development, making for a nice contrast in overall building capacity over the past 30 turns. The result:

Spotslyvania: size 9, walls + granary + forge + library + university + theatre
Cloud City: size 4, granary + library + courthouse + market

Chikamauga: size 5, barracks + granary + lighthouse + forge + theatre + courthouse + monastery + Globe Theatre
Ord Mantell: size 4, granary + library + courthouse + colosseum

Despite starting at similar points, our cities were vastly ahead in their development by now. It really wasn't even close. Ultimately, this was the root of our success in the Pitboss game so far, the ability to outplay our opponents on the economic side of the game. Then when it came to military matters, Speaker could out-fight anyone else here on a tactical and strategic level. We definitely had a nice partnership working.

Apparently so much so that athlete wanted advice from our team!

athlete to Killer Angels:

On that note though It's clear I really don't know what I'm doing tactically when it comes to waging a war. I'm a sub-par defender at best and on the attack I'm clearly brutal. If you didn't know that before I'm sure you would have figured it out sooner than later. So...I need some help, from somebody in the know. This game can be nothing but a learning experience for me now, I've completely knocked myself out of contention. Not that I stood much of a chance but I still had hopes. Now that they're gone, I need to take something from this game and hopefully by the end of it I will have learnt to be an OK warmonger.

With only 11 turns left on our NAP and your power graph through the charts, if you decided to come after me I'm a dead man. Especially if I could not secure peace with Slaze, which honestly I don't really want and highly doubt he would accept anyways. But I'm here asking for help from the experts. The help could come in a few different forms so if you want to cooperate we can certainly find a way. I'm sure we can find some compromise that would compensate you as well.

I need to find a way to get a unit lead on Slaze and then get help tactically speaking. So is there any way I could purchase units from you? Get a loan of them? In one way shape or form secure units from you? Is there any chance at all I could just bribe you into the war against Slaze? You can march an army through my lands and fight him? Another option would be that I would be willing to provide you screenshots of my cities and units and get MM advice on how to proceed. This last option would require a huge amount of work on either parties side, so might not be very efficient. These are just some thoughts I've had.

In terms of compensation, the best thing I can offer is money. At 100% cash I make atleast the 2nd most money in the game I believe, possibly first. I have a lot of cottages and my infra-builds have been pretty focused on markets and grocers.

There might be other ways I could help you as well so what do you think? Is there any way we can help each other?

Details can always be worked out.

All the best,

The Rebel Alliance

Which we found to be pretty hilarious, all things considered. Give out military advice to athlete, one of our chief rivals to win the game, and a longtime opponent? Uhh.... no, not so much. Our plans revolved around attacking the minute that our Non-Aggression Pact ended on Turn 205, and thus we had no interest in cutting the Ottomans any other kind of deals. We politely refused, stating that we didn't feel it was proper to give out tactical advice until after the game was over. I suppose it was worth trying on athlete's part, but his diplomacy was certainly all over the map in this game! The Ottomans appeared to pick up and drop allegiances almost on a whim, never showing much loyalty to any other team (aside from possibly Jowy). This was one attempt at spinning that was not going to succeed.

Turn 198 was the last turn of our Golden Age, which meant it was civic-swapping time: Hereditary Rule into Representation, Bureaucracy into Nationhood, Decentralization (default) into Mercantilism, and Organized Religion into Theocracy. We bid a fond farewell to Hereditary Rule and Bureaucracy, having served us well, and proceeded on to more useful lategame civic combinations. I expected that we would more or less break even economically from this move, due to losing foreign trade routes and the Bureaucracy bonus (this was a military play, not a research one). However, after going through and firing all the Spy specialists that the AI foolishly likes to hire, we ended up slightly increasing our research from 846 beakers/turn to 870/turn, still at break-even research. A net win for our team! (It became 630/turn at break-even rate after the Golden Age ended.) Even better, our new Great Person out of Spartansburg came out a Merchant, which could be useful for knight -> cuirassier upgrades. Excellent, it was all falling into place now...

Military plans for building the army:

We had the opportnity to draft 3 more cities this turn, so I popped our Globe city for another free musket. Before I logged in today, Speaker went ahead and drafted Atlanta and Spotsylvania... which was fine, except that they both had barracks due in the next few turns. I'm not sure why Speaker didn't just wait 2t and get the extra XP point for a free promotion on those muskets, but I guess he really wanted them right now. [Minor error on Speaker's part!]

Definite draft cities: Fredericksburg, Fort Henry, Spartansburg, Bull Run, Vicksburg
"Maybe" draft cities: Gettysburg, Antietam, Hampton Roads
Do not draft cities: Chancellorsville, St. Albans

If we push hard and draft all of the "maybe" cities, that's 8 muskets over the next 4 turns; add in a musket every turn from Chikamauga's Globe abuse, and that would get us a full dozen. We already have six muskets from the past two turns of drafting, which would give us a net total of 18 muskets to play around with by the start of the invasion. Yeah, that sounds about right. Let's work off of that assumption and avoid double-drafting for the moment unless we need it for emergencies.

We currently have 17 knights, and we should add about 4-5 more in the half dozen turns before our projected war with Kathlete begins. Thanks to our Great Merchant, we should have the cash to upgrade every single one of those units to cuirassiers; I'll assume that we will have ~20 cuirassiers to work with. My initial instinct would be to distribute the forces like this:

Western Island
3 cuirassiers (2 knights present currently)
1 musket (drafted from Vicksburg)

This should be enough to take out Alderaan in the initial alpha strike with two galleys. There's a single archer in there right now; this overkill shields us from bad dice rolls and/or nasty surprises.

Center Island
4 cuirassiers (1 knight present currently)
2 muskets
2 maces (both there currently)

Since Nakor has all those cities over here, we don't want to skimp too much on forces. My feeling is that we get another three knights/cuirassiers over here, and bring over a pair of drafted muskets to anchor the cities. If we make ourselves look strong, Nakor's less likely to get frisky.

Main Force
15+ cuirassiers
14+ muskets
??? catapults and old maces/spears for garrisons

Basically everything else we've got. This should be a good start. Really the question is what we send to the islands, because everything else is going to be hitting the Ottoman border hard. I hope Speaker will post something on his war planning thoughts here, rather than just tweaking the players in the PBEM #4 game where he designed the map.

Here's the one troubling thing about our southern neighbor:

Dantski's defenses in Kumbi Saleh, his frontline city, are all skirmishers and axemen. No, he still doesn't have Feudalism yet. If Nakor ever got serious, he could roll through Dantski while barely breaking a sweat. The good news is that Nakor doesn't have Military Tradition, so any attack force of his would be very slow moving. Having Dantski here is a nice buffer zone for our team, letting him take the initial pounding and then setting us up for a counterattack.

The only dangerous moment will be when we hit Kathlete with our initial attack. But given what we've seen thus far, I expect that Nakor will choose to continue teching rather than make a move, and by the time he has Rifling and enough units to be dangerous, we'll already be through shredding most of the Ottoman military. Hope it plays out that way, anyway!

The one downside to our plans was having to split up our forces to cover our separate island holdings. We could not leave things to chance and risk losing our toehold on the center island to Holy Roman forces, if they would choose to get involved. Likewise, we hoped to be able to poach the Ottoman island off to the west of Gettysburg, which had been a thorn in our side for ages. Everything else would group together and form a huge battering ram with which to blast through the Ottoman front door. If athlete was struggling so much with outdated Incan forces, how would he do against Indian muskets and cuirassiers?

We were a little bit worried about Dantski, who was painfully exposed to attack from Holy Rome. Nakor and DMOC had an entire age worth of technology over Romali by this point, and they could likely wipe out Dantski if they really tried. Still, we didn't care *THAT* much about helping Dantski out, and thus this was more of a secondary concern. If the worst should happen, at least it would take Holy Rome some time to chew through Romali, giving us plenty of advance warning before our own cities could be threatened.

The attack plan on the center island involved roading through two jungle tiles to hit the Ottoman city of Dagobah on the first turn of the war. We were concerned that otherwise the city would be gifted away to Nakor, in a denial of conquest as we had seen twice before previously. Frankly, our biggest concern was athlete doing a mass gifting of cities away to some other power. Nakor was getting close to Rifling tech; what if the Ottomans sent all their cities to Holy Rome, and then they started whipping out rifle defenders? We hoped we wouldn't have to find out.

Using our Great Merchant, we thumbed our noses at the rest of the teams in the game for an unconventional trade mission:

Unfortunately the turn rolled over in the middle of the night local time for Speaker and me, which was a bit of an inconvenience. But just shy of 3am here, we could do our End Of Turn Hijinx with our Great Merchant:

As the text on the screenshot demonstrates, the two factors in a Great Merchant trade mission are distance from the capital, and the size of the target city. We looked over the whole map, and Kathlete's capital of Endor was the best such location in the entire world. Remember, because of the Toroidal worldwrap, the furthest distance lies in cities halfway around the world from Gettysburg - right where Endor happened to be. And at size 15, Endor is one of the largest cities in the world. (Nakor actually doesn't have any cities above size 14, last I checked.) So this was really the perfect location for us, and that huge payout of 1500 gold reflects our logic.

Of course, we're sort of in a hostile war buildup mode with Kathlete at the moment, and I doubt he would approve of us moving a Great Merchant through his territory! That's why we moved at the end of Turn 201, and then again at the beginning of Turn 202, Endor lying 10 tiles from our border and therefore just close enough to be in range of a double move. And naturally Great Merchants are one of the few units that can move through enemy territory without an Open Borders agreement. Anyway, this is obviously a cheese move, but given all the cheese we've had to endure from Kathlete at various times during this game, we're not feeling sorry or apologetic, and those of you reading this will just have to deal with it!

Great Merchants also make pretty good scouts...

Speaker: note that Kathlete has a small knight reserve in Dantooine. We have to keep in mind that he's planning to counter-attack when we move in. We'll have to make sure that we have enough units on hand to prevent our catapults from being Flanked by these knights. Should be doable. This should info help us with our planning quite a bit.

With the money from the trade mission, we upgraded our knights to cuirassiers. All 17 of them, for a cool 850g. The idea was to disguise somewhat the fact that we had used our trade mission; with 1500 gold in our treasury, it would be really obvious, but with 600 gold, we could have just run a turn of 0% science. Not that it really matters here... Anyway, now all the knights have been upgraded, and we still have funds left over in the treasury for an emergency situation. Given that our income is going to plummet when we send 50 units into Ottoman territory, having some extra cash on hand to keep running 50% research would probably be a good idea.

This was a dodgy move from a fairness standpoint, moving at the end of the turn and immediately again at the start. It wasn't against the rules, which only prohibited that sort of move when at war or when involved in a settling race. Still, it wasn't exactly done in good faith either, and I doubt athlete would have been too happy about us using a Great Merchant to scout out part of his territory. (Most people don't know that Great Merchants are like caravels, and don't need Open Borders to move through rival territory.) Why did we make this move, when we could have just as easily gotten the same amount of gold from sending a Trade Mission to Korea? It was partly for the novelty factor, to show off what you can do with Great Merchants, but more as a way of showing our irritation with athlete. There was some serious bad blood between our teams, partly due to the earlier war declaration, and also from athlete's insistence on never ending his turn after playing. While I understand that athlete's explanation was that he could only play the turn at a set time each day, and had to ensure that he would always be able to play at that time, athlete also used this "rules loophole" to get in extra whipping of his cities after his opponents had played their turns in war. I'm still not entirely buying this explanation, since athlete seemed to have no problem logging into the game four or five times daily to check on how things were going. In any case, words were exchanged on both sides, and tempers were running high. We wanted to thumb our noses at athlete, and so we did. Many of the lurkers disliked this action - I leave it up to the reader to decide how they feel.

In any case, our army was just about ready to attack:

We topped 1 million in Soldier count points, and were enormously out in front on the graphs. Nakor was in second place with 636k Power. Then as for the actual units:

There were 60 units on the staging tile there: 18 muskets, 16 cuirassiers, 16 catapults, 9 maces and 1 horse archer. Speaker and I talked about different attack options, and we decided to use catapults to hit both Bothawui and Corulag (since both cities had 40% cultural defenses on hills). We planned to send most of the stack NE towards Bothawui, but divert about 4 cats to drop the defenses at Corulag, along with some muskets for garrison purposes. In other words, the current plan was to take Cloud City on the first turn (there were no defenders inside!) and then Bothawui/Corulag on the second turn. Obviously that was subject to change on where athlete moved his units next turn. He knew we were coming, once we told him we would not be renewing our Non-Aggression Pact a little earlier. Whether athlete could do anything about it was another matter.

One last pre-war picture of the Ottoman Empire:

As I said at the time, I wanted a "Before" picture to compare against later!


We've gone over our attack plans on previous pages, so I won't repeat it here. Unfortunately Speaker had to head out during the evening, forcing us to play the turn earlier in the afternoon, with several hours remaining on the clock. I'll talk more about some of the results this entailed.

We started out on the center island, moving the workers and cuirassiers as planned to take Dagobah without issue. It's one of Speaker's pictures he emailed to me, which is why you get the treat of widescreen for a change. We have no idea what that pikeman was trying to achieve, but it's dead now. Kathlete was obviously expecting us to attack - why else would he whip a pikeman? - so it was weird that the unit moved OUT of the city. Probably didn't think we would move the way we did, heh.

Next, we moved our Sentry horse archer and saw that Cloud City was empty once again. For the second time this turn, a horse archer walked into an undefended city:

Both size 1 after being whipped down, blah. Anyway, all of this went pretty much how we expected it. Because of the many defenders in both Bothawui and Corulag, we moved up our slow-movers next to each city without attack. They'll have to fall next turn.

That's where we took our break, with about 4 hours left on the timer. On the western island, we saw that there was a janissary along with a longbow inside Alderaan, so we decided that I would log into the game at the end of the timer and move our units off the ships and onto the land. (We could not attack directly off the boats, not with a longbow and janissary inside the city.) During those 4 hours, Kathlete logged into the game and did a storm of whipping: something like 11 pop across 5 different whips! While this is legal according to the clock rules, it seems somewhat unfair. It goes like this:

Kathlete moves units
Killer Angels move units
Kathlete whips/drafts
Kathlete moves units

He gets an extra half-turn in there, essentially. Now we *CAN* avoid this, but only by playing just before the turn ticks over, in extreme cheese fashion. I'm not blaming Krill for coming up with these rules, but I do feel like there has to be some kind of better solution.

The one advantage of not landing the units off the ships was that it looked like our turn was done... thus Kathlete did NOT whip another unit in Alderaan! I unloaded our units with seven seconds left on the turn:

Here you see the two units in Alderaan at the start of the new turn, nothing else inside. Kathlete could have had another janissary in here, but instead it's 3 cuirassiers + 1 musket against 1 janissary + 1 longbow. We should be able to win that one...

However, I should point out here that I think Speaker mis-moved the galleys. They started on the tile SW of our horse archer; once we decided not to hit the city directly, we should have moved 1 tile SW, unloaded onto the tile north of Alderaan, then moved back 1 tile NE again, to load up the Sentry horse archer (and possibly the musket in Vicksburg!) again. That would allow them to hit from the ships on Turn 207, in case we had to last hit a redlined defender. Hopefully it won't come to that. If it does, you can use the weed smiley on our team!

Reeeeeeally hoping there isn't another janissary on this island in the fog somewhere!

Here's the center island at the start of Turn 207. Due to the peak tiles, I renamed Dagobah after the battle of Kennesaw Mountain. The only building inside the city was a granary, which did survive capture. That'll help the city get up and running nicely... I queued up a theatre after we get the initial border expansion with Build Culture. It's a cheap building, and then we can run a free Mercantilism Artist to get out to 100 culture quickly. That's very important with Nakor right on our doorstep. (We also probably want another city to the east by those barbarian city ruins, once we have time for it.)

Next turn I think we'll have the A and B workers road the tiles in white, for easy transportation between our cities over here. Remember, you never want just one road link if you can avoid it. In the north, you can already see Kathlete naval units wrecking havoc on our fishing boats, but we'll deal with that next turn, after they finish moving. Going to be a while until we can gain control of that inner sea though...

And here's the main show, the war on the eastern front. I'll break down our three stacks.

Red (Bothawui): 13 muskets, 11 catapults, 6 maces, 4 cuirassiers [promoted]
This is the main attack force, designed to punch through Bothawui next turn and proceed on to Hoth, our main target. The cuirassiers are promoted so that they will win against knights and/or janissaries that choose to attack.

Yellow (Corulag): 5 muskets, 5 catapults, 3 maces, 4 cuirassiers [promoted]
Similar idea, only this smaller force is just designed to take out Corulag. Now this group of units might seem insufficient to destroy these fortified hilltop cities, but that's leaving out our last group...

Blue (Staging Tile): 11 cuirassiers, a couple horse archers [unpromoted]
We kept our real striking force back here, where they are safe from being hit by collateral damage catapults. Based on what defenders are in each Kathlete city, we can send them wherever needed, so there's no need to worry about coming up short of taking Corulag. Two-movers are awesome units - so much tactical flexibility.

At the start of Turn 207, the defending cities had:

Bothawui - 4 janissaries, 2 longbows, 2 catapults
Corulag - 4 janissaries, 2 longbows, 2 catapults

And we'll have to see what changes as Kathlete moves his units this turn. I'll probably do a fancy cut-and-paste job once we can see that tomorrow. Cloud City was renamed to Sunrise City (enjoy that play on words?), and it survived with a granary, courthouse, and market intact. Nice! Once it grows up a bit to a larger size, it'll be a pretty solid commerce city. And with those grassland tiles, we should be able to add some grassland workshops for excellent production.

This first turn went about as well as expected, two cities taken with no losses. Next turn will actually be the critical one, so stay tuned for more bloodshed tomorrow...

The first turn of the war went down more or less as we planned, taking two undefended cities and especially getting control of Dagobah before it could be cheese gifted away. (I don't know if athlete ever thought about that, his spoiler thread is silent on the subject.) We also landed units next to Alderaan in preparation for taking it next turn... or so we thought. As it turns out, we had run afoul of one of the more obscure rules written by Krill:

Krill's Ruleset:
Declaring War

For the purpose of movement, declaring war will count as movement. Once war has been declared, the party declaring war has to finish moving all of their units and end their turn before half of the remaining turn time has elapsed since the declaration of war, or within half an hour, whichever is longer.

In cases where a war declaration occurs and the side declared upon (the declared) still has units to move, the declared may still move these units, and this counts as a move for the purpose of which party gets the SWP in all subsequent turns.

ALL DECLARATIONS OF WAR, AND ENDED TURNS, SHOULD BE DOCUMENTED via screenshot. Also, please send an email stating you have declared war. This isn't a rule, it won;t be enforced, but as said below it is good manners.

In other words, our landing of the final four units outside Alderaan was in violation of this rule. Evidently so, but at the same time... well, why was it against the rules, anyway? All of the Ottoman units had already been moved on this turn, and we had claimed the second half of the timer, so athlete could not move any of his units by rule. The only thing he could do was whip units, and indeed he took his chance to do so. Was it our fault that he chose not to whip Alderaan with a galley right outside of it? Now I wouldn't object to this if the ruleset were easy to understand, however Krill's list of rules was over 2000 words in length, and becoming increasingly byzantine in complexity. We were approaching the point where you needed lawyers to understand what the damn thing meant! That wasn't exactly what we had signed up for when we asked Krill to mediate our initial dispute.

What made this case truly maddening is that we were only in violation of the rules because Speaker had had to leave for work, and we chose to make our moves with four hours left on the turn timer rather than do everything with 30 seconds left in ultra-cheese fashion. Yes, the *LATTER* scenario was the one that was in compliance with the rules, while the former one (in which athlete could see our movements and whip in reaction) was the one that was illegal. I appreciate Krill's desire to take on the thankless task of writing a ruleset, but this one simply didn't work. It pretty much forced you to act like a complete jackass, and penalized you for trying to play fairly. Our mistake here was not pushing the clock rules to their utmost cheesiness.

Fortunately, we did work out a compromise solution here, in which the units landed on Alderaan simply didn't move for one turn, as penalty for their "illegal" move the turn before. However, that gave athlete time to whip out additional defenders, and reinforce from his other city on the island with more janissaries, with the net result that we would have no chance to grab this city at the start of the war as we planned. Speaker and I continued to grow more and more frustrated with the rules situation for this game, which was severely curtailing our enjoyment of an otherwise fun game.

Anyway, that unpleasantness aside, we prepared for a major battle at Bothawui or Corulag the next turn. But instead of fighting, athlete chose to withdraw all of his units deeper into his territory. Ummm, OK?

Another day, another turn, another 2 cities captured, abandoned by the Ottomans. We'll provide better stewardship than they ever did, that's for sure.

Note that Horse Archers have captured all four cities so far. And Sullla mocked me for including them in our war party!

Whoops, I meant to raze Bothawui, but in the excitement of the moment, didn't think about it, and installed a governor. Oh well!

Here is the tactical situation at the end of the turn.

I made a tactical mistake with my Guerrilla II Musket. I should have moved him through the hills to the tile SW of Hoth, and included a couple Cuirassiers for additional beef. This would "clear a path" to the city, and ensure that we could safely move to it next turn. Unfortunately I thought of it after I had already moved him into Bothawui. It shouldn't matter either way, with our overwhelming force, but it would have been the slick, awesome, l33t play. And I'm sort of annoyed by it because that's exactly why I built a single musket, for the double promotion! General Sunrise and General Regoarrar will get free promotions to become two-move Rifles in another 2 turns. That will open up some interesting plays for us, combined with Cuirassiers. Or combined with Cavalry, if we decide to spend a few turns worth of income on that.

Notice in the south, where following the capture of Corulag, we had the ability to move 4 Cuirassiers deep into Ottoman territory, and found 2 empty cities. Now it looks like they have already been slaved, but this is exactly what I was talking about earlier today. Kathlete has been caught with his pants down over here, leaving us two undefended cities. He has ended his turn. Should he be allowed to log back in, say "holy shit, I didn't realized they could get to those cities!" and then slave them? Does that make any sense? His turn is over! In any event, he did slave them earlier (I think), so I'd expect to see a unit in each next turn. I'd be happy to just capture Ord Mantrell.

Oh, and it wouldn't be a war without some cheese right? We are pretty sure that Kathlete is gifting all his gold per turn to Nakor, who continues to run 100% tech. To be clear, it is the second turn of the war, and he is already giving up. Sorry, but gifting away your gold for a bunch of turns, while the enemy kills you is almost as cheesy as gifting your cities. So Nakor basically gets to run his tech at 100% for 10+ turns as Whosit dies, and at least 10 turns here, probably more, since Kathlete has such entrenched culture, and a bunch of island cities. Does anyone think this is acting in good faith? Personally I think it's horrible sportsmanship.

Speaker did a good job of explaining some of the dodgy implications of the turn order rule, with athlete getting to watch how we moved our units and then whip cities in response afterwards - despite it not being "his turn". And of course he could always do this so long as he refused to end his turn, which was what the Ottomans had been doing for the past 50 or so turns. It was very frustrating to us, although not nearly as frustrating as watching athlete run 100% gold and gift away all his income to Holy Rome. Seriously, in a No Tech Trading game that was just a mockery of fair play, letting another team run 100% science at no cost for many turns on end. I don't whether there was an official rule against gold gifting or not, this kind of chicanery should not have been allowed. As Speaker pointed out, if we started up a new Pitboss game and each of us were in charge of different empires, then on Turn 100 Speaker suddenly gifted all of his cities, gold, and units over to me - would that be fair to the other players? We were approaching that point in this game, players making no effort to win (or even survive!) and simply throwing the game to other teams. Bull. Shit.

Nor was Holy Rome sitting back and twittling their thumbs. Flush with Ottoman cash and in possession of Rifling technology, they were making their own move:

Dantski to Killer Angels:
War with HRE is imminent. 3 turns left on our NAP and they have now closed borders without any communication. Unless they screw up horribly I will likely be losing cities as I only have a few muskets and catapults vs a Rifle led attack.

Any assistance would be massively beneficial.


A smart play on Nakor and DMOC's part, much like what we had done against Jowy earlier when the Ottomans and Rome were off attacking Inca. With our army committed in the east, there wasn't too much we could do immediately. We told Dantski we'd send some units down to the border and try to provide some tactical advice, but for the moment he was going to have to deal with things on our own. (Not that we were crying too many tears over Dantski getting attacked. We would have been fine with a scenario where Dantski was crippled and Holy Rome took damage in a war of attrition.) We asked Korea if they were interested in helping, but they wanted no part of any conflict against Holy Rome. Could be rough seas ahead for Romali...

We would finally see some combat on the following turn:

Speaker and Sullla:
[Sullla] Kathlete attacked our units on the hill on his half of the turn. Sent in the catapults first, then attacked. (Read the results from bottom to top):

Oops, looks like maceman Darrelljs bit the dust there. Sorry!

We lost a total of five units (most of them losing at 30-40% odds. Kathlete was a little lucky here, although he was taking quite a few low odds shots, so he was going to win some of them.) Kathlete lost 4 knights and all 6 of his catapults, so that was pretty much an even exchange, maybe a little in our favor. Here was the situation when we started playing:

No defenders at all in the south!!!

[Speaker] Another day, another 2 cities captured. The pain train keeps a-rolling.

Oops, in taking the screenshot, I forgot (again) that I was going to raze the city. To which Sullla asks, "uh...why do you keep doing that?"

Dunno. I'm stupid? Sorry 'bout that!

Sullla will post some more screenshots in a bit, but Kathlete hit our stack on the hill with 6 catapults, and then all his Knights and a few Janissaries. He won 5 or 6 battles, all of them with <45% odds. I should have built a couple more two-promo Muskets, and then he wouldn't have had any chance to attack us on the hill. He has also won 2 naval battles with 30% odds. Kinda lame, but whatever. It won't matter. I killed all those units before they could get into the city with our Cuirassier in Bothawui. They now fork the two cities.

Here's the units Kathlete has left.

Kathlete's capital is empty. We could have moved some Cuirassier up to attack it next turn, but meh, we'll wait until we have enough force to hold it.

[Sullla] We forgot to mention that we generated a Great General this turn:

He spawned in Gettysburg, and is heading off in the direction of the front lines. Looks like it all might be done by the time he gets there though! We can either use for a Medic III super-healer, or add the General into our Heroic Epic city for even more experience. Both good choices. I'm leaning more towards the Medic III unit, just because having one of them along does so much to speed up your offensive pushes. Speaker can talk me out of it though if he feels strongly otherwise.

This picture also shows some of the Ottoman naval units in the central sea, which are tearing up all our fishing nets. One caravel, one trireme, and one galley - we don't have enough ships to stop them. Sigh. Well, only 2 more turns until we get to research Optics, and then we'll be able to whip some caravels and clear the mess up.

We also lost 2 triremes this turn (one to a caravel, the other in a 30% toss of bad luck, blah) and killed a Kathlete galley with one of our triremes. At least a battle of attrition favors us in the war at sea.

Because Kathlete moved his units to cover his second city on the western island, we left our units in place over there and didn't attack. We're moving some catapults (and some rifles after this turn) over, and then we'll be able to attack and capture Alderaan.

Overall combat results for this turn. We lost:

3 cuirassiers
2 muskets
1 mace

And we killed:

8 knights
6 catapults
4 janissaries

That's 18 to 6 in total units, and 146k to 62k in Power rating. Considering how much harder it is to attack than defend, that's darned good.

Here's the situation on the main front:

What we do next turn depends on what Kathlete does. If he moves the 6 defensive units on the hill into Hoth, we'll probably just let our Mounted units rest up and heal for a turn while moving the rest of our cats next to Hoth. (A lot of these units are injured, and would really benefit from a turn of rest. Too bad we don't have that Medic III unit right now!) If Kathlete keeps his stacks separated, or moves to defend Dantooine (which has only a single knight inside on defense), then we'll probably go ahead and kill Hoth before it can build more units. Not really any good choices Kathlete can make here...

The south is very empty! Already cleaned out just about everything down here. Note that Kathlete has no more cities on the inner sea, so no new naval units to deal with in there. Just have to clear out the current ones.

If Kathlete continues to leave his capital empty - - we might send our cuirassiers up there and try to grab it. Depends what he does again. Wonder if he realizes that we can see inside with a Sentry horse archer (?) Love those Sentry units!

Regardless, this shouldn't take too much longer. Thanks to slaze, we know that Kathlete isn't hiding any units. Once that stack at Hoth is dead (and we killed about half of it already this turn), that's basically the end of this war. Sorry if it wasn't that tense or exciting.

On the other hand, Kathlete continues to gift all his income (300gpt) to Nakor every trurn, and there's no way we can keep up with Nakor when he can run 100% science every single turn for free. So we will be behind him in tech for the immediate future, and that impending showdown should be something to watch. Don't write off this game just yet.

This was a very strong turn for our war effort, despite the unfortunate combat losses at sub-50% odds. The one and only place we were vulnerable was at sea, where the Ottoman edge in Optics technology allowed their caravels to sink our triremes and galleys. If he had been more determined to play on, athlete could have pushed on to Astronomy tech and really made things difficult for us. On land, about half of the Ottoman army had already been destroyed, and athlete's decision to concentrate his forces around Hoth meant that we were walking uncontested into his southern cities. I still think that was a mistake; not that athlete could have held everything against a determined attack, but even one or two jannisaries in those southern cities would have slowed us down significantly. Corulag and Tatooine were both on hills, and could have made good spots for a determined stand. At least make us move up the catapults before attacking, right (?) But it seemed like athlete had more or less checked out of this game, and simply wanted to get it over with. Very unfortunate to see that happen yet again in this game.

As we advanced into the Ottoman core, athlete's armies simply melted away, allowing us to walk uncontested into his cities:

Well, the actual "fighting" for this turn took approximately 2 seconds.

No screwups here. We wanted to keep both cities.

With the discovery of Rifling, our general mace gets a free upgrade to a Rifleman. General Sunrise, badly wounded, is getting a brief furlough at a safer location, to heal his injuries, but was also upgrade to a Rifleman.

Here is the tactical situation. Kathlete has pulled his units back toward Mos Eisley. Anyone see anything interesting in this picture?

Our army.

All of the Ottoman units were retreating back to the capital, apparently to make one last stand there. As I said at the time, it was a valiant, glorious, and thoroughly stupid defensive strategy on athlete's part. Aside from going to sea and making our life miserable there, he also could have teched to Nationalism (instead of gifting away all that gold to Holy Rome) and drafted jannisaries like mad. Drafted janissaries plus lots of walls/castles (forcing us to take ages to bomb down the defenses) could have stymied the progress of our war effort. Instead, athlete was just rolling over and giving up without much of a fight. We took eight cities in four turns, and half the Ottoman core was already gone.

Meanwhile, Dantski wasn't doing all that much to prepare for war. We told him to whip like mad in preparation for invasion from Holy Rome, and he responded by whipping 3, 5, and 3 population on successive turns. Uh, not quite what we had in mind there... Those Holy Roman rifles were about to come pouring over the border, and then the fields to the south were going to become a bloody mess for someone. Probably not Nakor and DMOC!

Let me introduce you to one of the broken Beyond the Sword "additions" to Civ4: the coastal blockade.

Why is Vicksburg starving?!? Oh wait, it's "coastal blockade", the single worst feature added in the last expansion. Kathlete's dinky little galley is able to deny us from working TWENTY-FIVE coastal tiles, and cut off all of our resources from this island. Vicksburg has basically been crippled completely, due to the presence of two little galleys. It's even more absurd up at Big Bethel: despite the fact that we have a trireme parked on top of a crab resource (1 NE of the city), the Ottoman ships can prevent us from working that tile by instituting a coastal blockade. They don't even have to attack our own defending ship! Coastal blockade overrides everything in this game. It's literally impossible to defend your own sea resources, since the blockading ship doesn't even need to control the tiles to deny access to resources.

I'll just stop here by pointing out that Alex Mantzaris (alexman) put this into the game over vehement protests by Speaker, and that he's a farking idiot who had no business directing Beyond the Sword. Good thing he no longer works for Firaxis....

Speaker, it's not quite as bad as it looks here. I roaded our rice and wheat which added +4 health and helped mitigate the starvation a lot. We also get +3 happy back next turn as a draft penalty wears off, and that along with a whip on the caravel to bleed off some unhappy pop should get us into a safe zone at Vicksburg. Doesn't change the fact that this game mechanic is stupidly broken though.

athlete made use of his naval advantage to "coastal blockade" our cities on the island to the northwest. While I think the idea is sound in theory, it's completely flawed in practice, as demonstrated by the dinky little Ottoman galley being able to blockade tiles that it can't even move to! (How can a two-move galley stop you from working the sea coast four tiles away?!) Even more absurd was the Ottoman caravel denying us a clams tile that another ship was defending, without even having to attack or gain control of that tile. Yep, this is pretty laughable. Fortunately we had captured almost all of the Ottoman coastal cities, so there wouldn't be any more reinforcements once we swept the seas clear of these current ships. We were pushing for Astronomy ourselves, to be followed by a determined shipbuilding program of galleons and (especially) frigates. Controlling the naval lanes would be paramount if we were to go to war with island-heavy Holy Rome next.

Over on the main front, athlete gave up his other two northern cities without a fight (Mos Eisley and Clakdor), then sacrificed most of his knights to recapture Hilton Head from our units. He first moved some longbows into the city, then abandoned Hilton Head and allowed us to walk right back into the city again... ummm, OK. That was kind of weird. Updated map as we went in for the kill:

athlete would attack out of his capital with all his catapults as we moved up next to it:

Sullla: "But all of that was totally useless, as you can see. Our forces were barely even scratched, to be honest. Catapults are the wrong unit to use on the attack against cavalry, let me tell you! (50% cav bonus on top of the crazy 5 vs. 15 strength difference.) His knights did absolutely nothing too. Thanks to our Medic III horse archer, every single unit will be right back to full health next turn, with the one exception of a single cavalry who will be at like 13/15 health. This attack was totally pointless. Well, actually it did have one effect: it let us move up some of our cavalry defending captured cities, because Kathlete has no more knights left to counter-attack our conquests!"

Of course, there was one more cheese play left for us to deal with. As our navy prepared for an invasion of Alderaan, the island city off our west coast, athlete responded by gifting it away to slaze. Yes, SLAZE, his mortal enemy of all people! We found out after the game that athlete had tried to gift his entire core of cities to slaze, who had wisely refused to avoid provoking our wrath. Speaker was not amused:

One last FU from Kathlete on his way out. He signed peace with Slaze and gifted him the two island cities that were the cause of the reload controversy earlier, and we still had units around, and were about to send over enough to finish the job. Sorry, but you have acted like a total scumbag this entire game Kathlete:

*Constant turn timer manipulations during the 5v1
*Complete refusal to end your turn for the past six months
*Taking cities and units from Jowy during our war just so we couldn't have them, even though they were rightfully ours as the attacker
*Backstabbing Slaze with gifted units
*Refusal to even try and defend yourself and instead gifting enough gold to Nakor so he could upgrade his army and run 100% tech
*Signing peace with Slaze two turns before you die and gifting him cities that we were about to capture

Your conduct makes me so angry, I don't even know what else to say. Why couldn't you just play the game to the best of your abilities, and leave it at that? Why do you have go give the other teams advantages just to spite us? Just because we have played well? Despite having numerous opportunities to do so, we haven't smacked anyone publicly. We haven't sent any taunting emails, posted any insults in any of the public threads [note: this is probably debatable], have been respectful of the other teams in the game, and been a good ally to those who cared to work with us.

I will never play another game, Pitboss, or otherwise with you, nor will I play another Pitboss game where such blatantly cheesy gifting tactics are allowed. Who cares about sportsmanship, huh?

It was messages like this that caused many of the lurkers to dislike our team, and call us out for our arrogant play. (Oh, we'll get to that soon enough! Just you wait.) But I stand by Speaker's comments, and for those in the peanut gallery who called us out, I think you might have felt differently if you had actually been in our shoes. Whatever.

All that was left now was the mopping up:

Speaker and Sullla:
In the face of our impending attack, Kathlete decided to pull their troops from Hilton Head back to Endor. I'm not sure why he didn't keep them there to begin with. In any event, they lost their fortification bonus, not that it really mattered.

Credit me with one more empty city captured.

Here was the real fun of the turn:

After suiciding 8 catapults, we had nothing but 85%+ battles, most of them better than 92%. All we lost was one weak Cuirassier at 88%, and to be honest, we'd rather not have his weak bloodline in our military anyways. General Sunrise won his battle convincingly. General Regroarrar gave me a scare, dropping to 1.4 health when attacking at 99% odds, but he did win.

The couple minutes I spent on this part of the turn was cathartic.

So long, Kathlete, and thanks for all the fish.

And the turn timer rejoices.

* * * * *

Adding on to Speaker's posts above, our turn went like this:

I know it's a repeat image, but I took the same picture, and darn it if the whole thing isn't worth showing twice! Net total for the turn:

We Lost
8 catapults
1 cuirassier
52k total

We Killed
8 janissaries
12 longbows
1 knight
1 pikeman
160k total

Better than 3:1 in our favor, despite being the attacker. (OK, we did have an advantage in tech!)

And that was the end of that!

Thus the Ottomans entered the dustbin of history, and based on karmic retribution alone, you'd have to say they deserved it for the way athlete treated poor slaze. It was quite a fall for the civilization we viewed as our main competition just two dozen turns turns earlier. The collapse of the world's #3 power in a mere ten turns was a surprising turn of events; we expected to win, but neither Speaker nor myself thought we would emerge victorious quite so easily, or at such a tiny cost in units. athlete, you played a great game at some points, but you simply gave up much too easily at the end. While I don't think you could have won the war, you could have (and should have) put up a better showing than this. Although it probably reflects poorly on me, I stand by my comments that athlete's decision to retreat everything back into his capital was a case of "noobing it up" rather than showing good play and good sportsmanship. So be it.

Now the focus shifted to the war between Romali and Holy Rome in the south, where Dantski was having a rough time of things:

Dantski to Killer Angels:
Yep KS [Kumbi Saleh] is doomed to fall. I am interested in your input on how I should handle my defence though.

My first thought is to promote my catapults with barrage, suicide them all into the stack and then hit the stack with everything I have. On the plus side I can attack slightly wounded units with full health units as opposed to hitting the stack with catapults then letting him hit me with far more collateral. Anyway if I don't hear from you, I'll be throwing the kitchen sink at his stack.

Oh and my score decrease was HRE taking my furthest away island city. I was scared they'd boated my Statue of Zeus city as I'm hoping that will hurt HRE considerably.


What was our next move here? We still had much to think about moving forward in the days ahead.