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Empire Deluxe Tournament 2018 – Week Two Finale

I’m a little late posting the outcome of the final game of the year.  Unfortunately, as we approached 1200 turns, it was clear we weren’t going to have a winner before the end of the holiday.  On the final day we also decided to look back on the saves from earlier games and reminisce.  One thing I noticed was we ended that first game prematurely.  Lobradia was in a far stronger position than we realized at the time, and could have been the most competitive finish of any game we played.

Round Four Finale – Inconclusive

For our final game, Belloria kicked it off by concentrating on the Savage Hills and the Remnant Isles, attempting to defend against the strategy that wiped him out last game.  This was the first game where an Infantry Slog was not sent against the Beljedian Mountains.  As a result, Belloria became a nearly impregnable fortress, as we would see later in the game.

Rythia focused on Trant and Haart then made a sneak landing near Laer Sor to effectively cut off the sea route to its cities in the north.  The opening move would see it expand into the Temple of the Dragon God before ultimately stopping and preparing its navy.

Demora went East this time and left Thlea to its own devices.   It captured Norsomm and reached the Anrioche Mountains just as Rythian forces landed across the Trant Straight.  This would be the scene of most fighting throughout the campaign with no clear victor.

Lobradia did an island-hopping campaign but chose not to land in Maeora in its opening move.  Instead, they went for the Obsidian Toawer and into the Gulf of Mar Loth.  The majority of naval combat would be seen in the south this time as a result.

The action really started at around turn 300 when Trant attempted an amphibious assault on Norsomm only to be repelled.  A large infantry force was sent into Maeoria only to encounter nonexistent resistance.  Those that tried to board transports at Esh Ahm were dispatched, and once again Lobradia declared itself king of the seas.

The Lobradia positions in Darsen would come back to haunt all three opponents.  In an impressive display, Lobradia defended two concurrent amphibious landings in Sorres to take Norsomm and Thlea.  Lobradia would not lose a single ship, sinking 130 points worth of shipping without a single ship lost.  A fleet of crippled battleships and cruisers slunk back home to Darsen needing repair, but decisively victorious.  This was followed by their own amphibious landing taking Thlea and the Citadel of Light after 20 turns of back and forth fighting.  Until finally it was clear that Lobradia owned the day.

The loss of its invasion fleet left Belloria crippled.  Still impregnable, it would take another 100 turns before a similar sized fleet and troops could be created and moved again.  But this time the waters in the center of the map were infested with Lobradian destroyers.  Rythia secured all known chokepoints in Kalyah, including the one around Shan Naj.  Effectively stuck, Belloria instead prepared an all-out assault on Darsen, it’s only remaining option.  Victorious, it was costly.

As for Rythia, the loss of its invasion fleet meant a slow battle of attrition over the Trant Straight.  It’s beachhead held on, but it couldn’t make progress.  A carrier fleet defended Laer Sor from a cruiser assault, but the lack of strong naval cities on Kounora meant it took 300 turns to capitalize on it’s strong position there.  Norsomm would see armies constantly battling back and forth through its jungles all game with no victor.

As for Lobradia, their impressive naval victory meant they were solely in charge of the seas.  As turn 1200 came, Belloria had successfully invaded Darsen, ending their bid for victory.  Lobradia dispatched their fleets based in the Obsidian tower, who were planning the invasion of Trant, to counter attack Darsen.  It became clear that this game was going to grind on for a while longer without a victor and we no longer had the time to finish it.

Concluding Thoughts

We spend the final day reflecting on the four battles played.  We reviewed the first game, with all the lessons we’ve learned about this map, and determined that we would rather leave it as a three way tie.  We took scenario shots of each game and discussed as well as some key moments from each play through.  While Lobradia never won a single game, we jointly determined it was the best played of the four.  In two of our games, Lobradia directly played kingmaker through alliances and use of its navy to determine who was in the strongest position.  It was also the only nation left standing in all four games, including it’s strong defensive position in Game One.

So that is where we left it.  A three way tie and an MVP nomination to the one nation that held on in every game.

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