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Empire Deluxe Tournament 2019 – Finale

This is the final and conclusive game of our 2019 tournament.  This was the longest and hardest fought of the three, requiring a solid three days to complete.  It was the only one to result in no capitals being taken by another player.  It may not go down as one of our most indecisive or most memorable, but it was certainly interesting.  It was also a deciding factor in naming this year’s MVP.

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Empire Deluxe Tournament 2019 – Week Two

Week Two saw an equally competitive game with all six players opting to participate in the follow up.  There are some minor changes to the starting locations.  This game would see air power become the deciding factor in victory as well as the return of infantry slogs.  In the end it didn’t matter who chose what, as the game would be a lopsided win for one player in particular.

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Empire Deluxe Tournament 2019 – Week One

Our opening session saw six players attempting to take control on the Meer Sea.  This is the first time in several years we will have every playable slot filled with a human opponent.  We all expected turns to be longer as more players means more time per round. Moreover, we learned during the preliminaries that there were several mapping errors which had to be accounted for prior to game start.  We also opted to allow for a wider selection of starting spots to facilitate better competitive play in the subsequent rounds.

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Empire Deluxe Tournament 2019 – Preliminaries

It’s that time of the year again when we play the annual Empire Deluxe tournament. For those unaware, this is a tradition started 11 years ago by a few of us tech geeks that were scheduled to work in a data-center with no access to an outside network.  To pass time we played a game that wouldn’t require setting off alarms, and thus the annual Empire Deluxe Tournament was born.

The years of us taking the holiday break in a locked down bunker watching over servers is gone, but the tournament remains.  The tournament will last an entire week and will not end until we determine the true winner.  Yes, we take out Empire Deluxe seriously.

In anticipation of this year’s event, here is a bit of information on what is changing this year.

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Meer Sea Uploaded for Empire Deluxe

The Meer Sea is a fairly new addition to the Empire Deluxe collection and is now available on EDIBLE.  The world itself is known to us as the Besaren Campaign.  The campaign takes places after the leaders of the great houses are killed under mysterious circumstances during a global conference.  Now six of the lesser houses must rise up to fill the void before the entire region descends into anarchy and chaos.  The map features a horizontal wrap, efficiency adjustments to stagger starts, two large continents, and a total of 200 cities placed based on locations from the campaign setting.

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Fighter Planes In Progress

I’ve finished a first pass for all of the fighter planes I intend to put in the next update.  There is only one more I need to update (F-18) and once that is done I will be ready to update this site.  I expect that to be uploaded on Friday if I’m able to get a bit more free time tomorrow.

One thing that may disappoint for this update is a lack of usual scrutiny around the squadron/regiment insignia.  Usually, I try to pick a famous unit/insignia and use that on the unit icon.  But the truth is that I came across far too many options for some of them, which in the past meant I do some research and justify the one I picked and why.  However, because I do want to try and have all aircraft done by end of June, I cut some corners here.  If it really starts to bother me, I’ll post an updated unit in the future with a new insignia.

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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.

Empire Deluxe Tournament 2018 – Week One

It’s that time of the year again (Christmas) where we take on the yearly Empire Deluxe tournament. For those unaware, this is a tradition started 10 years ago by a few of us in IT that were scheduled to work between the holidays with no access to an outside network. To pass time, we played a game that didn’t require setting off alarms, and the annual Empire Tournament was born.

The years of us taking the holiday break to sit in a bunker watching servers are gone, but the tournament remains. This year it’s the four-player map of Adallia which I posted back on EDIBLE earlier this year. In week one, we completed three games, the shortest of which required 596 turns to complete.  Yes, we take our Empire Deluxe seriously.

Round One – Belloria Wins

The first game saw the Haart Federation bow out after the strongest opening performance yet.  They fell victim to the ever present threat of an infantry slog through their territory and made several mistakes at the various chokepoints scattered on the map.  Notably, they sent armor to the Temple of the God Dragon which is closed to all but infantry.  They were flanked by Belloria while fighting Norsomm forces in Trant.  Belloria closed off the Beljedian Mountians in one of the most impressive infantry slogs I’ve ever seen.  Norsomm then made the same mistake of counter attacking through the Temple of the God Dragon with Armor thinking it was a route into Belloria.  This cost them the victory, as Belloria closed it behind them, captured the Laer Nes ports and made a transport dash through the surprisingly navy-free seas of Mar Loth and Zerraniskin.

Throughout all of this, Lobradia was absent most of the game.  Apparently engulfed in an island hopping campaign, it never became relevant until only Belloria remained.  They would resign without a real impact to the game once it was clear the continents were united under Bellorian rule and a long drawn out war would not end in Lobradia’s favor.

This was a learning experience for all of us.  This map is dominated by strong island positions and the ever present danger of infantry slogs is a threat that has to be countered in most of the continental sub-divisions.  However, my original belief that this would be a map only for infantry is turning out to be a bit overstated.  We all agreed there were going to be stronger navies and tighter control of enemy infantry in future games.

Round Two – Demora Wins

In Round Two, Norsomm moved their start location to Demora and Haart moved to Kalyah.  Both moves were predicated from lessons learned in Round One.

Lobradia opened with the strongest opening move by taking Darsen, but under contest from Belloria.  This led led to a series of naval battle with Belloria that lasted most most of the game.  These engagements showed that whoever owned Darsen would maintain a strong naval presence throughout the game due to its strategic position and high qualify cities.  Lobradia and Belloria would end up draining themselves in costly naval and air combat for hundreds of turns without a decisive result.  When the war in the east was decided, they both ended up resigning within turns of each other.  This is because neither of them gained a strong foothold and had no easy avenue of advance in other areas.

Belloria’s early advance east was completely stopped at the Beljedian Mountains when their infantry slog strategy failed against a power armor and air force waiting on the other side of the mountains.This led Belloria to declare a truce with Kalyah who both suffered encroachment on other fronts.  The truce would last most of the game.  Belloria sent it’s forces south in an attempt to take Darsen, and Kalyah sent troops south to Trant.  Both moves turned out to be futile and costly.

Kalyah and Demora would fight a bitter battle at the Trant Straight.  Neither side gained an edge and the warzone was a stalemate on all fronts.  Kalyah capitalized on a key naval victory by Belloria near Laer This to launch an amphibious landing.  A beachhead was created at the Cloudrest Spires, threatening to encircle the Demora units in Norsomm.  But due to Demora’s strategy of circling clockwise around the Solas Sea, the area happened to be coated with a backlog of stuck Demoran Armored units and the beachhead forces were utterly annihilated.  Demora responded with a naval counter-attack, capturing ports at the Obsidian Tower and Green City of Zerra, and eventually the Forge of Balah which cut off Kalyan troops at Trant.  Kalyah had been outmaneuvered and surrendered just as troops approached it’s capitol in the north.

Lobradia and Belloria resigned shortly after, their depleted navies were unable to prevent Demora from gaining ground.  In fact, Demora had already established a beachhead at the Green City of Zerra and were marching 10 – 15 new infantry per turn up Meora by this point in the game and it was only a matter of time.

Round Three – Rythia Wins

In Round Three, Kalyah moved their start to Rythia.  All other players remained in their same locations.

Lobradia opened with the same move, this time taking Darsen Isles without contest.  Belloria attempted to take Kalyah, which worked well in round one but had some setbacks this time due to unlucky odds and proper countermeasures to the infantry slog.  Another key reason for the failure to capture Kalyah was the decision to split forces to west in the opening turns instead of focusing on a full eastern move as Belloria had done int he past.

As a result of these setbacks, Belloria stopped it’s advance after capturing the Temple of the God Dragon.  This was mainly due to threats in Maeora where Lobradia had succssfully landed troops before Belloria arrived int he area.  This battlefront once again became a stalemate, with constant landing attempts by Lobradia and counter offensives by Bellora.  The only interesting move was a Lobradian assault at Droh Aedor, which would see the city remain in their hands despite almost being constantly surrounded the rest of the game.

Rythia worked quickly to capture Trant and secured a beachhead at Droh Trant-Soutre using Laer Trant as a jumping point.  Then, in an interesting move, Rythia decided to hold the position on these fronts despite being constantly surrounded.  The defenses were comprised almost entirely of air units flown in from northern conquests.  This presented a huge setback to Demora who expected to focus on knocking out Lobradia early and use the full power of the southern continent to overcome a stalemate at the Trant Straight like last game.  The early beachheads meant Demoran forces were divided on two fronts.

Rythia used it’s early advantage to secure a second beachhead at Majud, and then finally one at Sol Aum.  The decision was to build an Armor blockade to the west and leave the Cloudrest Spires unmolested.  This decision meant the armor clustering there was unable to make an effective defense as it had in round two.  Holding this position, Rythia struck north and captured Haart and Kalyah and chose to build a navy to capture every island it could on the northern side of the map.  The end of the southern war came when two cruiser fleets (10+ each) met.  The Rythian navy won a decisive naval victory at Laer Norsomm, eventually wiping out every capital ship in the Demoran fleet.  A double encirclement followed, from Sol Aum and an amphibious assault at Laer Norsomm. The assault saw an impressive 100+ bomber fleet flying across the Trant Straight, obliterating the Demoran troops in Norsomm.

By this point, Lobradia was finally pushed out of Maeora by Bellorian troops.  In their homeland of Lobradia, Demora had captured their capitol and all cities on the mainland.  Theit last stronghold remained in Darsen.  They made an alliance to remain neutral against Rythian naval units, effectively giving Rythia command of the seas.  At this point, the players expected another 200 rounds (already over 600 turns in at this point) but a decisiv blow was dealth.  Belloria was wiped out when Rythian forces operating from the islands in the north, and through clear seas in the south, flanked the continent.  The strong naval presence at Darsen defeated a joint Bellorian Darsen fleet on their way to defeat the Rythian convoys coming from Norsomm, effectively securing the center of the map. Belloria resigned shortly after it’s capitol was destroyed.

Darsen, still in command of the southern half of the map, including mainland Lobradia, resigned after the player determined there is no clear path to victory.  The forces in Darsen followed shortly after.  The longest fought battle ended in Rythian victory.

Round Four – In Progress

Due to the holidays falling on a Tuesday this year, round four is likely to be the last round played.  Already we are in turn 291.  No player changed their start location this time.  This proving to be one of the most challenging ones for me, despite two losses being directly attributed to me already.  I’m pleased to see the infantry slog strategy has only worked once so far.  Every other attempt has been repelled.  But the dominance of air power is already showing its influence by all four players this time.  And navies, especially capital ships, are showing up everywhere, presumably due to high efficiency rates of island cities.

We will see if this round is completed before the holidays close.  Because, as of now, we do not have a winner.  We have a three way tie.

Adallia Released for Empire Deluxe

The map of Adallia has been uploaded to the Empire Deluxe library.  It is based on the map created by Danis Saidann al Suwadi in 2015/16 and is one of the 2016 tournament maps for Empire Deluxe.  I’ve made some minor tweaks to help with gameplay on my uploaded version.  The map featured here first appeared on a role playing website where you create and lead nation.  It features ten nations that rose from the ashes of an undisclosed cataclysm that destroyed the empire that once existed here.  In the Empire Deluxe version, you are explorers from one of four foreign nations on another continent on your way to claim this as part of your empire.

Personally, this isn’t one of my favorite maps.  Every game I played turned into an infantry and fighter slug fest.  The mountainous terrain, high efficiency cities, and cluttered points of interest made a long game a lesson in micromanagement.  Also, half of the map is water with no interesting features which led me to personally turn on map wrapping to give navies a reason to exist.  Then there is the fact that most of the locations are not in English so it can be hard to become immersed or storyboard your game if you are into that.

Still, it proved to be fairly evenly balanced due to number of units players can produce each game.  When this was a featured tournament map, good players, regardless of their starting location, demonstrated good maneuvering through terrain and tie breakers did show there are a lot of strategic elements to it.  The games were very long though.

I uploaded the tournament version in case anyone wants to relive that experience.

The EDIBLE Library Is Coming Back

 

I’ve decided to use this website to re-create the EDIBLE repository from my old website.  This was my personal repository for Empire Deluxe and the maps I’ve created or collected over the past few years. I maintained this primarily for map transfers between PC’s but it hasn’t been needed in recent years, so I let it lapse.  However, I’ve experienced a resurgent interest in Empire so I figure I might as well get a new one up and running.

Right now, it only has one of the maps available.  Yes, this is a far cry less than my previous 400 map repository.  Unfortunately, it’s terribly inconvenient to get these non-standard file formats off the PC where I build them, so I won’t be doing this often.  I plan to copy only commonly requested ones for the time being.