Realms Beyond Pitboss #2: Versus Holy Rome - And The Lurker Community

Holy Rome declared war on Romali on Turn 213, three turns before we completed the conquest of the Ottomans. Nakor and DMOC had a slight tech lead over our own civilization; militarily, they had Steel for cannons while we did not. They were also in Nationhood civic and drafting rifles at a rapid pace, much as we were doing ourselves. Here's what their attack stack looked like moving up against Dantski:


It's a strong attacking force: 15 rifles, 9 maces, 8 cannons, 9 catapults, and a bunch of assorted older units. The real danger there comes from the siege units, which can take down just about any city if they all hit it together. Nakor's weakness here is the lack of mobility - that's a really dangerous stack, but it is also very slow moving. All one tile units, no ability to fork multiple enemy cities at once and blitz through weak defenses in the back lines. Hopefully that will limit the damage that this wrecking ball can do.

To oppose those units, Dantski has 2 rifles, 11 muskets, 5 maces, 10 catapults, and a LOT of useless outdated junk. He gifted us gold enough to upgrade two more skirmishers to rifles, which we did, and we gifted him another 2 rifles and a musket, which were three tiles north of Kumbi Saleh in the above picture. Can those three units do much of anything to stop this attack? Uh, no. But hopefully it will slow Nakor down just a little bit, and help keep up Dantski's morale. We want him to defend like slaze, not throw in the towel like Kathlete.

We had been working with Dantski earlier in terms of some unit upgrades: he would gift us one of his units and some gold, then we would upgrade it to a rifle and gift it back to him. That allowed Dantski to accumulate some units that he couldn't build himself - Dantski had Gunpowder tech but no further, and was certainly nowhere close to Rifling. Our biggest advantage here was the slow nature of Holy Rome's force; try comparing to our own cuirassier and cavalry force that destroyed the Ottomans. Nakor and DMOC had never researched Horseback Riding tech until right before this current attack, meaning they had absolutely no Mounted units and no stables for extra promotions. Their stack could only threaten one city at a time, and moved very slowly. This is the drawback of the Stack of Doom, and any Multiplayer veteran worth their salt knows that it has as many weaknesses as strengths against competent, non-AI defenders. (The designers of Civ5 were so locked into their Single Player focus, they apparently were not aware of this.)

Of course, that wasn't going to help out the Romali citizens of Kumbi Saleh, who appeared to be thoroughly boned. Dantski asked our advice, and we concurred with him that attacking out of the city to do as much damage as possible seemed like the best play. Sitting back and defending just meant that his units would be chewed to pieces by those cannons. The results:


Nakor's Units Before:
16 rifles
8 cannons

Nakor's Units After:
11 rifles
6 cannons

Unaffected (Mostly Outdated)
2 Praetorians
3 Axemen
9 Macemen
1 Spearman
2 Landsknecht
1 Longbowman
9 Catapults
4 Trebuchets

Overall, not too many units killed, but that Nakor stack has a lot of injured units now. You can see on the right side of the screen in the box how Dantski's own units were decimated in the fighting as well. It's a shame that our main stack wasn't in the area, as we could have hit with our cavalry and flanked every single one of those siege units out of existence. Maybe we'll be able to set up something along those lines before this war is over.

At the very least, other teams are fighting and killing each other's units, which can only be a good thing for us.

Nevertheless, the Holy Roman army was able to walk into Kumbi Saleh and capture the city. First blood to Nakor and DMOC:

They renamed Kumbi Saleh to Bas-Tyra, in accordance with their Midkemia naming scheme. The border cities of Tadmekka and Tekedda appeared to be next up on the Holy Roman agenda. Nakor would have to wade through some of Dantski's culture to get there, but after that the two cities were defended by a combination of skirmishers and axemen. Uh, not the most fearsome defenses. We began thinking about declaring war on Holy Rome sooner rather than later, hopefully hitting their army in transition somewhere in Romali territory. If we could get in a "first strike" and wipe out much of that slow-moving force, we could then dominate the rest of the conflict. Just needed to get the army back across our own massive empire from the Ottoman front!

Some of our thoughts at the moment: "Because of the collateral damage posed by cannons/catapults, any force that tries to engage across the main front along our southern border is going to take horrible, crushing losses. Therefore, the best tactic is not to engage in that sort of combat: defend along the main border, and go on the attack elsewhere. We'd really like to take control of the center island if possible, where Nakor has six strong cities (two of them cheese gifted from Whosit, remember...) If we could make some progress there, while simultaneously picking apart Nakor's many island cities using a combination of galleons, frigates, and the broken "coastal blockade" feature, we could do a ton of damage in a hurry. Make the game one of Nakor's core cities on the main island against ours, and he can't possibly win (we'll outnumber him something like 25-10 in that category after this war is over).

After Chemistry tech, we're going to try to go right to Communism for State Property civic. (That means passing up Steel temporarily, which may be dangerous, so this could change depending on what Nakor does.) With State Property, Nakor's one great edge over us disappears: his tiny maintenance costs from Rathaus spam. But with State Property, every city costs exactly 6gpt in mainteance, reduced to 3gpt with a courthouse. Add in the economic benefit of workshops and the straight +10% production boost, and we'll have an ungodly production advantage to go along with massive research from reduced costs.

From there, we keep killing, killing, and more killing until we win by Domination or everyone else is dead."

While Holy Rome's initial stack healed up and recovered inside Bas-Tyra, a new stack began pressing on Dantski's southern holdings. This one was very heavy on cannons, and we were actually pretty impressed by the amount of forces they had managed to conjure up. Dantski abandoned Gao without a fight, trying to save those units to fight elsewhere. The one weakness of this group was again its slow movement: no Mounted units present for a quick assault. We reassured Dantski that our army was on its way back from the Ottoman front to help out, although I continued to be rather vague in promising what we would do once we arrived. It was important to keep up Dantski's morale, and not have him throw everything away in a Jowy suicide assault.

We were quietly assimilating our Ottoman conquests into the rest of the empire:

All of these cities had been badly whipped down by athlete before capture (with the one exception of Hoth, his Heroic Epic city) but with very fertile terrain they would recover quickly. We used one of our two Great Artists for a Culture Bomb inside Paris, immediately bringing it out of resistance and securing our borders against slaze's Inca to the east. That was an incredible city, with something like eight mature towns, many of them riverside. And yes, we restored the ancient name "Paris" to the city in a tribute to the departed Byzantines. In another 25 turns, all of these cities would be size 10-12 and producing massive amounts of production/commerce for our civilization.

We also completed the Sistine Chapel in Chancellorsville, adding culture to all of our specialists (great for Mercantilism civic!) and further pumping up our super-temples. Jewish temples now produced 1 happy, 2 shields, 2 beakers, and 6 culture/turn. Not too shabby. While Sistine is usually associated with Cultural victories, it's also tremendously useful for Domination, letting you pop the borders of recent conquests more quickly. It was relatively easy for us to build it with marble, so we did. Not that we really needed it by this point in time...

Back on the southern front, Holy Rome razed the city of Tadmekka, allowing our own cultural borders at Shiloh and Bull Run to expand forward. We had enough culture here that our cities were not really in danger, plus castles for +100% defense against all outdated units. It was Tekedda and Dantski's other cities which were dangerously exposed. I added a yellow dot to highlight a tile that we were sending our own workers to chop; Dantski had left a number of forests in his core, which the Holy Rome units were moving onto for defensive bonuses. That's a major no-no in Multiplayer! Notice also our archer scouts giving us visibility throughout the region. Gotta find a use for those old units.

The Holy Roman mainland was very well defended, and there were also plenty of rifles over on the center island. However, the island cities in the outer sea looked to be much more vulnerable:

These islands were much more poorly defended. Margrave's Port really wasn't far away at all from our cities, directly north of Big Bethel across the worldwrap. We had been planting old units (spears, axes, etc.) on some of the little uninhabited islands as sentries, to provide first warning of incoming attackers. After dropping off the last sentry unit, we planned to pull this galleon south to Big Bethel, where it could pick up three cuirassiers. We also had another galleon heading to pick up three drafted rifles near Hampton Roads, and frigates coming out to guard them. In about 5 turns, we would be able to hit these islands with two full galleons and frigates to bomb defenses/provide protection. The idea was to keep hitting Nakor from all angles, using our superior production and naval edge. He could fight us to a stalemate along the main front lines, at least temporarily, but what happened if we started picking off his island cities and coastal blockading all of his port cities? We'd try to find out.

Dantski was able to capitalize on a mistake made by Holy Rome:

Dantski to Killer Angels:
Ok they split their southern stack a bit stupidly (trying to garrison + advance simultaneously) so I hit the smallish stack

I lose 6 catapults (thats all my cats) and 7 Muskets and I killed 5 Rifles, 6 Cannons and a catapult. I would say they are unlikely to waste units attacking survivors as they must know I have troops nearby.

On the other hand you've likely seen their stack E of Timbuktu heading that way. Without catapults and a few more 'modern' units I'm fairly sure I won't be able to hold off for more than 3 turns so any Indian assistance ASAP there would be appreciated. I'm going to whip a couple of cats out and possibly you can soften the worst of the stack with Cavalry after I do a little bit of damage?


That was really well done by Dantski! Now he needed our help to avoid complete destruction, and we would soon be in a position to enter the war. That prompted a strategy post on our end:

However, despite the valiant counterattack, Dantski was still pretty screwed by the dozens of Holy Roman rifles walking around in his territory. If we were actually going to work to save him, we had to do it right now, before his capital went down. This raised three important questions that Speaker and I had to decide:

- Do we intervene at all to save Dantski?
- If we do intervene, do we attack right away or wait for more units to arrive from the Ottoman front?
- If we attack right away, how do we do it: save Dantski's capital, or destroy Bas-Tyra?

Here was the situation on the eastern half of the front. Our big stack was located on the yellow dot tile, and the Nakor units highlighted are holed up in Bas-Tyra. Without cultural borders around Bas-Tyra, we had the option of attacking there and capturing the city for sure. (Well, probably razing it, since it would be tough to hold!)

Alternately, here was the situation near Dantski's capital. The smaller stack in the south is the one that Dantski mostly took down. (It was double that size previously.) The more immediate danger, however, was provided by the units on the yellow tile, highlighted on the left side of the screenshot. There was more than enough force there to destroy Timbuktu with ease, once Nakor moved next to the city.

This was what Speaker and I had to discuss in some detail, and decide what to do. I'll admit that there was a slight temptation just to sign an NAP with Nakor and go conquer slaze, which would get us more land very easily. But we never seriously considered it, mostly because we're still hungry for revenge against Nakor for backstabbing and attacking us earlier. (Remember the flow chart!) We figured we probably weren't going to get a better chance to hit Nakor's exposed units and simultaneously help Dantski out. We had to take it.

Now our preferred desire was to hit Bas-Tyra and take control of that disputed area for ourselves. But here we ran up against the double move clock rules for this game. Nakor had already moved his units before we could play our turn on Turn 220, so we could not attack and declare war on Turn 221 because that would be an illegal double move. (The order going Nakor, Speaker, Speaker, Nakor clearly wouldn't be fair.) Here's the relevant example from Krill's ruleset:

"X turns later while Civ M [Dantski] and Civ P [Nakor] are still at war, Civ N [Killer Angels] wants to declare war on Civ P. Civ N may declare war on Civ P at any time, but must declare war during Civ Ms' turn if Civ N is to move any units. If Civ N declares war during Civ P part of the turn, Civ N may not move any units until the following turn until the phase of the turn belonging to Civ M."

In other words, we had to use Dantski's half of the turn window, the first 12 hours, and we could not illegally double move in declaring war. This effectively meant that attacking Bas-Tyra was out, as the borders would expand before we could get our units in position to attack. Instead, we decided to go over and save Dantski's capital, reasoning that we could probably still get Bas-Tyra at a later date. (I mean, it's pretty exposed to attack out of Dantski's or our borders!)

We needed to get on Dantski's half of the turn timer, so when Turn 221 started, we immediately logged into the game and moved all of our units, including doing all of our drafting and slaving. That means that currently, we have linked up with Dantski's half of the timer, and we can declare war at the start of Turn 222 in legal fashion. (If that's not the way things work, then I don't know what to say! )

So where did our units move?

ONTO the hill tile with Nakor's stack! This grants us a number of benefits, such as defensive cover from the hill tile, the ability to hit either stack, and finally "teleportation protection". If Nakor declares war on us, his own stack will be teleported back to his borders. That means he can't get in the first strike by attacking us this turn, on Turn 221. And even if he would move his units out of the way and pillage the hill tile, we can rectify the situation by restoring it with our pair of Fast Workers brought along, thus giving us access to Dantski's road network again.

I really have no idea what Nakor's going to do here. Will he retreat back to the forest tile? That would probably be the smartest move (darn you Dantski for not chopping that tile!) If Nakor retreats, we don't even have to declare war next turn, and can simply keep playing in the first 12 hours to leave the option open. Guess we'll just wait and see. (It's possible that Nakor might not even see our units until it's too late. I mean, look at how jumbled up those names are!)

Here's the situation on the center island, with the two Nakor cities highlighted. This is pretty good positioning, as they can each reinforce the other city if it comes under attack. We don't have enough units to go on the attack here, at least not yet, so for the moment we'll just defend at Kennesaw Mountain. When the Ottoman cities are ready to contribute military, that's when we should be able to start advancing in the center.

Here is a wide-angle picture of the northern seas, the third front we intend to open up. The yellow dots are sentry units, old outdated trash like spears and axes pressed into service as our eyes in this empty region of the map. We have very good visual coverage here, stretching through the whole region west of Korea's borders. (We have to assume for the moment that Korea will stay our ally and not attack us. Not entirely happy about that, and it's a bit of a security risk, but one that we have to take at the moment.)

Meanwhile, we have three galleons (boxed in red) which are loading up with units and about to head north. Nakor's cities in this region are very lightly defended - we've been scouting them out with caravels, and it's all one axe or one longbow or one archer. We should be able to capture or raze several of them, when we sweep out of the fog with rifles and cuirassiers in galleons, with frigates providing cover and coastal bombardment!

This was the turn where we were forced to decide our course of action, and we chose to throw ourselves into the Romali/Holy Rome war. There wasn't going to be a better chance to harm our biggest remaining rival than this, and simultaneously help save Dantski in the process. I believe it was Speaker's idea to move onto the same tile as the Holy Roman stack, which was a really clever idea. Because they were in enemy territory, Nakor and DMOC could not move their stack and then declare war on us. Our free use of Dantski's roads via Open Borders gave us a gigantic edge here.

We had no idea how Holy Rome would choose to play this. Their reaction was to come out firing:

Nakor to Killer Angels:
Dear Sullla,

We declared war on you this turn. It was our way of trying to save the stack you probably were going to attack next turn. The stack has retreated.

We are not interested in a war with you. We do want both of our civilizations to reach the end of the game and battle things out peacefully for a victory (you'll probably win, but what the heck). But I guess you're not interested in that.

Should you be interested in such an ending, we're still willing to sign a pact.

Kind regards,

So. They decided to declare war on us, pre-empting our own declaration by half a turn. I'm sure that Holy Rome would have liked nothing more than to sit back and compete in a building competition with our civilization, but we weren't exactly going to throw away our major edge in production just like that. No dice - it looked like war for both sides. Time to decide the outcome of this game right here and now.

Yeah, so they declared war on us. Not totally unexpected, but still a bit of a bold move. The email is also more or less what we thought they'd say, stating that they have no real desire to fight a war with us. Well tough cookies - we're not planning on going anywhere.

After declaring war, Holy Rome whipped 14 cities for 25 population. That's not gonna help the economy!

The teleportation rules that everyone was discussing yesterday turned out to be more than just an academic exercise. Nakor declared war with his units still on the same tile as our stack, and they immediately teleported into Walata. (The units are highlighted in the picture above.) Was that where they were intending to go? We have no clue. Probably not, since Walata looks like a Stalingrad-esque pocket with no escape for Holy Roman soliders. Our units moved southwest next to Timbuktu, and further cavalry reinforcements have also managed to reach the area (both indicated with the blue dots). So Timbuktu has been saved for the time being, and that stack in Walata should be dead meat next turn. The single cavalry is the only unit that has any chance of escape.

I admit, I have no idea how the teleportation rules work. Why did the Holy Roman units go to Walata (4 tiles away) rather than due east, into Nakor's borders (3 tiles away)? That's got to be some strange algorithm at work...

Things are quiet (for now anyway) on the eastern half of the southern front. Bas-Tyra came out of resistance, and that darned lake tile to the northwest shields it from immediate attack. Honestly, we're pretty unlucky here - if that was any other terrain type but a lake or peak, we could hit the city through Dantski's borders and it would be totally indefensible. Ah well. Should have good odds to take it sooner or later.

Our superior naval power is having some fun further east in the central sea. The single frigate there can sink any Holy Roman ship with ease, or coastal blockade, or bombard city defenses. Those three galleys are toast next turn unless they retreat inside Land's End (which they likely will). We actually have no galleons on the inner sea yet, so this is a pure harrassment mission rather than a prelude to invasion. If we could tear up all those fishing nets and institute some coastal blockades, that would be a good result.

I'm less sanguine about our longterm prospects here though... Nakor has more cities, and better developed ones, on the inner sea compared to us. He can probably outbuild us in a naval race here. We're going to have to crank out frigates without fail from the few cities that can build them to avoid a counter-invasion down the road.

We're in better shape up here in the northern seas. Margrave's Port whipped a rifleman at the end of last turn, and appears to have gotten two other units landed by galley as well. But now it's size 2, and Speaker killed the galley with our caravel (you can see the damaged unit NE of the city), so probably no more units will be appearing in Margrave. We can land 9 units here in 2 turns, and bombard the defenses with frigates. Should fall without much trouble, and then on to more destinations further north. (We may as well keep cities like Margrave's Port and Jonril if we capture them... with State Property, distance is meaningless, and every tile does count towards Domination, after all.)

Speaker, I propose moving our three galleons to the three red tiles indicated above. Then we could offload our ground troops onto the forest tiles with the white Xs on the following turn. (The furthest along galleon would also have the option to hit Jonril directly off the boat from this position, should we choose it. Let me know if you see another tactical way to play this.

The magically-teleporting Holy Roman stack ended up in Walata, which I very much doubt is where Nakor and DMOC expected those units to go! This was a major victory for our side, as now Dantski's capital had been saved and those poor Holy Roman units were hopelessly trapped inside the city. No Dunkirk-style evacuation for them, which meant there were completely doomed.

In both the inner sea and the outer oceans, we were starting to leverage our edge in naval power. All game long we had been backwards in terms of ships (since we had moved our capital inland right at the start), but now we had flipped the tables and were wielding the power of Neptune's trident. Holy Rome had made one critical error in their technology progression, ignoring Optics/Astronomy for superior naval units, and now we were making them pay dearly. We had frigates and galleons, and they had only just discovered Optics - most of their navy was made up of galleys and triremes. Our frigates started tearing up all of the Holy Roman fishing nets on the inner sea, blocking reinforcements to the center island and sending the cities into starvation. Out in the great blue depths of the outer rim, our galleons and frigates could strike without warning out of the fog against the lightly defended island cities. And everywhere we went, Speaker made sure to implement those totally broken "coastal blockades" to further choke the Holy Roman economy. Given time, we hoped to cripple their economy by sending it into total stagnation mode.

Mopping up the units in the Walata pocket:

Nakor's stack remained in Walata, since there was really nowhere it could go. Speaker hit the stack with 10 catapults, and then we sent in the rest of our units. Everything died. For some reason, the event logger doesn't show most of it, but rest assured that nothing escaped from the trapped pocket of Holy Roman units.

Our losses
10 catapults
1 rifle
1 cuirassier
1 axeman
Total: 67k

Nakor's losses
8 rifles
6 maces
4 cannons
3 catapults
1 cavalry
1 trebuchet
1 axeman
Total: 255k

We had some axes along to clean up redlined units, which is why we lost one against a catapult. I also enjoyed the "axe defeats mace" result, although sadly we did not get an axe defeats rifle combat. We expected all of the Holy Roman siege units to be destroyed through flanking by our cavs, however apparently flanking does not apply if the defending units are in a city. Neither Speaker nor I knew that, actually. Because of that rule, Dantski actually took the city on his turnset (we made sure to play before him for this reason). That allowed Walata to repop its borders:

Our units are almost all on the rice tile, and will need a couple of turns to heal. Great General Medic III Clara Barton is on the scene to administer first aid. With Walata's re-expanded borders, Gao should be a cinch to recapture as well once our units are healed up. If Nakor is smart, he'll simply abandon Gao and not even try to defend it. But maybe we'll get lucky and be able to smash another exposed stack of units there too. One thing we do need now: more catapults. Most of our southern cities are building them at a pretty good rate. Several can get 2t cats (20 shields/turn base, then the forge takes it to 25/turn.)

Also, we have a caravel resting inside Timbuktu, which our Great General Medic will also be able to heal! Speaker, our next two frigates out of Hampton/Vicksburg probably need to come down here and patrol this channel. You can see the two Holy Roman triremes prowling around, and beyond that we might be able to push on and coastal blockade Nakor's capital, which would be a lot of fun.

Further north (or south, haha!) our galleons are pushing up to Margrave's Port. Holy Rome did something really clever here, chopping a forest tile to produce a trireme and sink our damaged caravel from last turn. Of course, maybe they should have saved that chop for some defensive units, but hey, it was still a nice move!

Next turn, we'll want to move the caravel first into position, which grants us sight into all three cities in the area. I've laid out my thoughts on unit moves, such that we can land all 9 units next turn and also hold the option of attacking Jonril straight out of the boat. (If there's just one defender, we'll probably take it.) Depends on what we see, but at a minimum, Margrave's Port is likely to fall to our team.

Nothing much going on at present on the center island. We have cats in place to blunt a stack if it tries to attack us, but not enough to go on the offensive ourselves there. The one thing we've achieved is forcing Nakor to whip or draft a lot of his cities... they are significantly lower in population now than they were a little while ago. And it's taking them forever to get to Astronomy, so we've achieved our basic goal of slowing down their teching progress.

The next few turns were a necessary period of resting up our injured units, with the goal of pushing on to Gao next. We were getting dangerously close to Nakor's capital of Rolan; perhaps if we threatened their capital, we could get Holy Rome to pull some units away from Bas-Tyra and open that up to possible invasion. Meanwhile, Speaker's frigates were inflicting horrible damage on the Holy Roman cities of the inner sea:

Every single tile outlined in white has been denied to Nakor and DMOC due to the ridiculousness of the "coastal blockade." They were completely denied the inner sea! Poor Stardock and Land's End were helplessly starving down in population size, their citizens unable to work any of the water tiles for food. Holy Rome was slowly limping to Astronomy in research, but we had plans to go on to Military Science and ships of the line, which would re-open our naval tech lead. Indeed, once we completed our current goal of pushing for Communism/State Property civic, the lid was going to come off our research, and even Combustion for destroyers wasn't that far away. We could simple strangle their civilization on all sides and pull further away economically.

Thanks to our frigates and galleons, the Holy Roman cities on the outer islands started to fall:

Our island conquest continues with the loss of just 1 unit. Over the next two turns, we should be able to blockade most of the next island, which is a good deal bigger and has 3 cities on it. Sullla and I discussed whether we should keep these cities or just raze them. The bottom line was that if we kept them, we'd give Nakor something else to think about because he'd want to get them back, so it would force him to expend more troops over here.

Here's the current situation around Gao. We should be able to recapture it next turn. I'm not sure if it would be better to keep or raze it though. We'll see what Dantski wants to do I guess.

At this point Nakor was willing to concede the game and grant us a victory (which was fine with us!) but slaze of Inca and Korea were still interested in continuing. We kind of wanted to keep developing our monster civilization, as Speaker pointed out: "I don't blame them [Holy Rome] for conceding, if that is what they decide to do. Nakor's economy is severely crashing now, due to his over-slaving, his huge unit numbers, and our coastal blockade. I think his GNP is now less than half of ours, and of course ours is improving every turn as the Ottoman conquests grow onto towns and villages, while his just gets worse and worse as his cities starve and he continues to slave and draft more units. The rest have no chance to win. Conceding when the game is clearly over is a very common aspect of multiplayer. There's no sense in making the other players waste hours (or in this case, months) when the outcome is already clear. I am just sad that we may not get to see our tech rate up to 70 or 80% and how amazing our 2-2-9 river towns will be with Universal Suffrage + Levee + Free Speech Town. And how beautiful our 2-4 grassland workshops would be with State Property + Caste System + Chemistry. That's like a grassland Iron on any tile we want! Oh well."

For the moment, we continued playing the game. That meant doom for the small Holy Roman garrison inside Gao:

I asked Dantski to play before me and he bombed down the defenses of Gao and hit with the remaining 4 catapults. This gave us great odds and turned the fight into a slaughter. We lost our first Cavalry at 65% odds, and then everything else was 85%+ and we didn't lose a battle. Our cavalry are getting pretty highly promoted, with most of our main stack (20 or so cavalry) having 3 promotions. I held off capturing the city to allow Dantski to do so, and pop the culture back out. After he does, I may be able to kill a half dozen (or so) cannons that are stacked behind the city...or push on to Crydee. Hmmmmmm. I think I like that idea better.

Here is the situation on the inner sea. I almost feel bad doing this because coastal blockade is such a stupid, broken feature. But oh well. At least in this case, we do have real, actual control of the seas, so the blockade makes some sort of logical sense. Still, sea combat has many issues, namely lack of units so there isn't a real rock/paper/scissors effect like on land. Also, boats in enemy territory get full movement, while land units can only advance one tile at a time. In any event, these poor cities are starving at a frantic pace.

Here is the action in the outer sea. Again, we are blockading his cities, and have already taken two islands. I doubt we'll be able to do anything on the big island. Those cities are all big enough to draft/slave enough units to defend. But we'll keep the pressure on and force him to draft and slave.

Here's the current state of our army. It's pretty substantial at this point, especially considering 2/3 of the cavalry have 3 promotions.

[Sullla] Updated situation in the south:

This probably comes as no surprise, but we are hurting Holy Rome badly. Their Soldier count has fallen all the way down to 1493k, when it was flirting with 2000k before. It continues to drop despite them building military nonstop in every city. More seriously, Nakor's GNP has fallen down to about 900, which doesn't exactly compare with our current 1911 rating. (We are #1 by a wide margin in every Demographics category that means anything, but I'll spare the picture here to save time.)

This turn didn't seem like anything special, and indeed the players in the game continued going forward as usual. However, after the fact one of the lurkers posted that we had broken one of the game's nebulous rules:

Krill's Ruleset:
Joint attacks

If two players want to attack a single target i.e. a city belonging to a third party, Civ C, then they must move sequentially. ie Civ A attacks with all of its' units, and then Civ B attacks with all of its' units during the phase of the turn belonging to them. Civ C must wait until the phase of the turn belonging to it before it may counter attack or promote any units etc as proscribed above.

According to the wording, we were in violation of the rules because our attacks had been interspersed with Dantski's during the capture of Gao. (Dantski bombarded the city with his catapults, then we killed all of the units, and then Speaker allowed Dantski to capture the city when there was a single redlined unit remaining.) Using the expanded borders from Gao, we then killed a couple of extra Holy Roman cannons. Speaker had done the gifting because he wanted to give Dantski the honor of retaking his own city as a friendly gesture; while this technically was in violation of the rules, it didn't mean anything because we could have captured the city ourselves and then gifted the city to Dantski, and then gotten exactly the same result. We had already seen the other teams gift cities around even when it was not their turn to play (the cheesy Jowy, Whosit, and athlete city gifting), which meant this was a pretty trivial incident. The rule in question itself had never been enforced in any previous war, including the 5 vs 1 conflict against us and the Ottoman/Rome attack on Inca. We honestly were not even aware of this rule, and it seemed such a minor thing, we thought it would be best just to play on. None of the five teams playing the game (including Nakor) had any objections - we all agreed it was no big deal. And that should have been the end of the whole situation.

However, Krill chose to insert himself into the game. Even though two turns had since passed in the game, with hundreds of units moved on every side, and with no objections from any of the players, Krill demanded that the game be taken down off the Pitboss server so that he could determine whether to reload back to the Gao incident in question. We all thought that this was silly, not just Speaker and myself:

err.. how were the rules broken?

No really I don't have a PB2 rulebook to hand so I'm genuinely confused

Hi guys, I have no idea who or how the rules have been broken. From my perspective we can play on.

* * * * *

As I said before, from my perspective we can play on. Just see this as a learning case. If we have rules, we should use them. But we've also played for a long time with each other and I think we can trust each other to not break the rules again.

Personally, I thought the whole situation was absurd. The goal of an administrator is to mediate disputes between players, not to dispense summary judgment as they see fit. If none of the five teams playing in the game had any desire to reload, and didn't feel any transgression had taken place, then why was there any fuss at all? Nevertheless, Krill was determined to enforce a ruling of some kind, eventually settling on the following:

Jabah pointed out on the 29th that India had broken the rules. It sets a very bad example that if you can get a way with breaking the rules for a few turns, you won't get punished for it. That is not acceptable, anywhere, especially after you gained a large advantage from breaking the rules.

So reload the turn. That is none negotiable

* * * * * [After all teams insisted that they did *NOT* want to reload the game.]

OK, as the rules were written back in January, India and Dantski broke the turn split rule by moving several times. This was caught within 24 hours by lurkers, queried, and posted in the Indian thread, but everyone played on.

"If two players want to attack a single target i.e. a city belonging to a third party, Civ C, then they must move sequentially. ie Civ A attacks with all of its' units, and then Civ B attacks with all of its' units during the phase of the turn belonging to them. Civ C must wait until the phase of the turn belonging to it before it may counter attack or promote any units etc as proscribed above"

Because a reload is not wanted by any party, other measures required to correct the rule breakage are needed, as included in the rule:

"in which case the Game Administrator reserves the right to have the offending units deleted from the game."

Hence India are required to delete 7 Cav, and Dantski to delete 2 Muskets for breaking the rule. There is no excuse for not following the rule, as it has been posted for several months, and the Game Admin has been available to answer any queries about the rules which several others players have done.

The cav that are to be deleted are the following:

Cavalry, 7.5 strength, 12/10 XP, C1, C2, Pinch, in Goa
Cavalry, 15 strength, 10/10 XP, C1, C2, Pinch, in Goa
Cavalry, 15 strength, 10/10 XP, C1, C2, Pinch, in Goa
Cavalry, 15 strength, 10/10 XP, C1, C2, Pinch, 1NW of Goa
Cavalry, 15 strength, 10/10 XP, C1, C2, Pinch, 1NW of Goa
Cavalry, 15 strength, 10/10 XP, C1, C2, Pinch, 1NW of Goa
Cavalry, 14.6 strength, 10/10 XP, C1, C2, Pinch, 1NW of Goa

For Dantski the following muskets are to be deleted:

Musket 1NE of Walata,
Musket 1NW of Goa

I would also like to point out that while this issue was not immediately discovered by HRE, it is not up to each individual player to make sure that fellow players are following the rules, it is for each player themselves to adhere to the rules as written and understood. I have only been involved when players are not able to do this.

After taking the game down from the server for five days, Krill's ruling was that we were to delete seven of our cavalry, and for Dantski to delete two of his muskets. To say that we were angry and outraged would be an understatement. Speaker's initial response of "lol that is not going to happen, sorry" succinctly summarized the mood on our end. This touched off a massive firestorm of controversy within the community, with individuals agreeing with or disagreeing with Krill's ruling. Angry words were thrown around on both sides, especially between Speaker and Krill who were not at all pleased with one another. There was an incredible amount of legal wrangling over whether the proposed city gifting of Gao back to Dantski (which didn't even take place!) would have been a legal move. Even though this was not addressed at all in the ruleset, Krill's interpretation of the ruleset was that gifting a city counted as "movement", and so therefore gifting Gao back to Dantski would not have been legal, and thus our cavalry had to be deleted as punishment for destroying the Holy Roman cannons.

I'm not going to go overmuch into the whole controversy; instead, I'm going to include two lurker posts from their own thread that succinctly encapsulate the dispute:

Reminder that that post was constructed by several lurkers acting in concert to interpret a rule, which is really no better at all and undermines the crux of the pro-Krill argument, namely that the game needs a neutral arbiter to enforce the rules. When the justification for the rule enforcement is provided by a person who has no actual role in the game, what does that say for Krill? Do you honestly think that that post adds legitimacy to Krill's ruling?

The fact that some random lurkers wrote the defense of what seems like the make-or-break decision of the game is also ridiculous in light of all the panty-twisting everyone was doing earlier about lurkers not impacting the game. Seems like a pretty big impact to me.

Now, Spullla's argument rests on the fact that they could have achieved exactly the same ends with only minor alterations to how the turn played out. The fact that you guys had to dig into a sub-example of a rule and extrapolate it out to say something that it plainly does not say in the text itself further hurts your case. I'm no Constitutional Constructionist, but I do feel like your case is really really weak. Add in the fact that Krill is now taking it personally, and I think the only actually reasonable thing to do is for Krill to step down and for Spullla to pay some minor reparations.

No offense Krill, but it's clear that you're taking this personally. I can't blame you - I would have blown up at Speaker and Sullla a long time ago based on the inflammatory nature of their posts. However, your role must be neutral if you want anything you say to be taken seriously, and you are clearly not neutral right now. Sorry, but that's the way it is.

By the way, this whole stupid situation could have and should have been avoided. Y'all should be pretty embarrassed about all the things that have been said over a game that no one has any real stake in. Take things less seriously for god's sake. It won't kill you.

Did you even read their proposed alternate way of getting the "same" result? It completely ignores dantski's catapult bombardment (which obviously means it would produce a different result) and STILL requires a cheesy city gift. (This is all just reading the obvious and indisputable interpretation of the rules.)

Their problem is they
1) Broke a rule,
2) Were informed of this by a lurker,
3) Completely ignored that,
4) Have not yet admitted they did anything wrong,
5) Have generally attempted to avoid any kind of punishment.

For punishments to be effective, they have to be scaled up in proportion to the amount of effort expended by the rule breakers to avoid punishment completely. Otherwise, it becomes smart to contest everything, and do stuff like turn hits into hit-and-runs.

What they're doing is like not showing up to court, or arguing with the ref in a soccer/football game. That's bad!

Personally, I am pretty amazed that they found a way to lose, even while their victory in the game is certain.

I understand the perspective of those who disagreed with us, namely that the players contesting a game cannot be allowed to choose whether or not to follow the rules, or the result will become chaos. That was a very strong argument, and it carried a lot of weight with me. Nevertheless, Speaker and I could not accept Krill's ruling on this matter, which was completely unprecedented in this game or any other, and (from our point of view) egregiously out of proportion to the actual incident in question. This was not a fun period for me personally: I had longtime friends viciously attacking me, and posters calling my character into question left and right. Lots of people were calling us "rule breakers" and "cheaters", which was painful to read. Many people were putting pressure on us to give in to Krill's ruling, "for the good of the community" or something like that. However, we had already put up with a massive amount of cheesy play from the other teams, between the city gifting, the gold gifting, and so on. Everyone kept saying, "you're winning the game, so just put up with it". We were sick to death of biting our tongue and giving in. The order to delete our cavalry was so absurd, we weren't going to give in this time. This was our line in the sand, our Rubicon.

Just how far was Krill's authority supposed to go? We had only asked him to resolve a dispute on turn order earlier, not turn into tinpot god of the Pitboss game. The ruling in question was based on an extremely narrow interpretation of the rules, not to mention enforcing a rule that had been ignored in every previous war, and relied on a new understanding of city gifting which had never been posted previously. We simply did not feel the ruling was a just one, and that Krill should not have the authority to delete seven of our units on little more than a whim. It didn't help the fact that Krill was defaming our reputations, calling us all sorts of names in the Lurker thread (which we couldn't even read!) and generally trying to make us look bad:

If one team doesn't want to change the current system though, then the others are effectively breaking their word by trying to force a change in the rules, when they agreed to be bound by the admins decisions. So why should it be that Nakor now has to agree to a different punishment? If Nakor gets bullied now to accept something different, then all it shows is that at RB, all you have to be is an awkward bastard and break your word, and you don't have to follow the rules.

* * * * *

*shrug* don't cheat in the first place, or don't cheat and then throw a tantrum when you get called on it.

* * * * *

*shrug* perhaps cheating isn't the right word, I'm trying to think of how best to describe breaking ones word. Lying? Backstabbing? What would be the best way to describe that?

I'm not talking about the rules arguments here, but the way S&S [Speaker and Sullla] spoke with the rest of the players in the emails, when they refused a reload, to delete or exchange units, and offered that hundred gold.

We didn't think Krill was neutral, and we didn't think we would ever get a fair ruling out of him. With posts like that, can you blame us for feeling that way? Krill had been harassing us in our spoiler thread for some time, and we hadn't been on good terms even before this whole situation broke out. I would have been willing to compromise on some kind of solution (maybe paying Nakor gold or something like that), but no, that was shot down because it was another example of "players determining the rules", which couldn't be allowed. We were in a perfect Catch-22 here, handed a ruling that we felt was extremely unfair, and painted as the villains if we made any attempt to change the conditions. What a mess.

Ultimately, we stated that we would accept the ruling only if Krill were removed from his position as administrator. That was a terrible condition to add, and I still feel bad about it, but clearly things couldn't continue in the same state. One of us had to go. When that vote failed to go through, and with the momentum of this game irretrievably damaged by two weeks of bickering and rules lawyering, we resigned from the game. It was no longer fun anymore. The other teams concurred, and brought the game to a conclusion. So... I guess we win? Yay. Woo.

Concluded on the next page.