Game One of the Empire Deluxe Tournament started on December 23rd and was cut in half by the Christmas holiday. Normally, games are played through the weekend, but due to this unique calendar anomaly, the game was paused until it’s completion Wednesday morning. That puts us slightly behind our usual schedule for the tournament, but we are still on pace to complete it before the end of the first week of January 2023.
Game One Preliminaries
Game One started with no issues reported and all modified unit sets loading properly. The decision was made to adjust the value of flying unit speeds, and add ranged fire to most units. The positions were as follows:
|Player Name||Empire Name||Location on Map|
|Dalian (Teal)||Wuk Wana||Northeast Islands|
|Dyn (Orange)||Krur||Northern Island Chain|
|Holak (Red)||Mun Korsami||Central, Eastern Mountains|
|Itzi (Blue)||Skolt||Eastern Archipelago|
|Keiren (Yellow)||Chevsky||Central, Southern Mountains|
Order of Events
Below is the battle map showing the order of major events. Stars indicate main locations and capitols. Lines indicate movement of major forces. Explosions indicate a major set match battle or a decisive victory with color representing the winner. Two parallel bars represent an inconclusive engagement, culminated front-line, or an inconclusive set match.
Mun Korsami and Skolt both had rapid expansions in the early game with the intention of capturing the Hrothgursin Valley as quickly as possible. Korsami’s strategy was an Infantry Slog through the mountainous terrain while Skolt adopted the hail mary. As expected, this became a conflict zone during the early game, a rare occurrence in tournaments because of the implication on long-term scores.
Chevsky opted to move through the Borcallica Valley and through the Lukic Pass, allowing for unimpeded access to the entire western side of the lower continent, a potential advantage for the rest of the game, except for expected incursions from Mun Korsami, if they decided to expand west, or from Krur if they were to expand northward.
The northern territories saw limited growth in the early game. Wuk Wana was slow to expand northward, and instead opted to capture Neirkroz. Krur used the opportunity to capture Kaniquk and start an expansion towards Iaar at the same time. However, this area of the map would see far more adventurous engagements than in other maps, mainly because of the expansive terrain that allowed for fewer potential enemies to engage them.
The Battle of Steinskursin started with Mun Korsami assaulting the Skolt positions in the valley with artillery hidden within the mountains, causing a retreat, followed by a counter attack at Hallsvertsin from freshly arrived troops. The battle would continue between these two strategic points for most of the mid-game, with Korsami finally winning a breakthrough at the Battle of Otkil Pass where they were able to force a surrender at Hrothgursin.
In the south, after Korsami crossed the Dorsa River, it would encounter stiff resistance from the vanguard of Chevsky’s First Army. In the Battle of Dorsa, Chevsky maintained control of the bridgehead and agreed to a peace deal that included stabilizing the front. This was an important concessions for Korsami who desperately needed to withdraw its troops to the Hrothgursin front. Chevsky used the opportunity to consolidate its position to the west, allowing it to build up a fortress nation that would be next to impossible to penetrate.
As the expansion west continued, the vanguard of Skolt’s eastern expansion reached Chevsky’s shores at Reavstone. The small straight became a point of contention between the two belligerents who opted to exchange constant artillery barrages. The back and forth better fire was so intense that the navies of the two empires would not meet in the mid-game for fear of annihilation, with Chevsky remaining on the interior sea, and Skolt remaining on the western shores.
In the northern war, Wuk Wana would discover that Krur had already captured Kaniquk, significantly limiting their ability to mass produce the badly needed infantry units for expansion further north. Moreover, holding the territory proved to be a costly experience for Krur, who had to divert it’s invasion fleet to convoy additional troops to the area. This significantly limited the expansion and impact of both nations on the war to the south and largely eliminated them from contention on this round.
Exploiting the momentum gained with the capture of Hrothgursin, a fleet or warships escorting a transport force, made an attempted amphibious landing at Kagul Beachhead. Despite a submarine screen knocking out Skolt’s cruiser screen, and the successful landing, constant aerial bombardment and the lack of a safe airstrip in the area forced the beachhead to be abandoned after 50 turns of attrition warfare. While this would effective end Korsami’s hope of capturing the Skolt home islands, the amount of artillery force that was build up on the eastern coast meant Skolt would be unable to do any further expansion to the west.
To make matters worse for Skolt, Chevsky finally built up a significant naval force at Briradock and made a breakthrough attempt at the Battle of Hildar. The battle saw the complete silencing of Skolt artillery, as any attempts to attack the naval fleet as it passed through were answered with bomber attacks on locations that were revealed. This would lead to the largest naval battle of the round, at the Battle of Kragh where Skolt lost two thirds of its fleet, including all five of the battleships that participated. The remaining fleet limped home to defend against a suspected assault from Korsami on its home island which never came.
Instead, Korsami set its sights on Wuk Wana in the north. The remaining fleet that survived the ill fated attack on Skolt replenished its numbers and set of for the Invasion of Savanar. Initially successful, it fortified the island and was able to fully occupy it. Wuk Wana, depleted from it’s war against Krur, could not respond with ground forces since its naval forces were fighting elsewhere and instead resorted to bombing runs. Once it became clear that Korsami was positioning itself to launch a further invasion into the northern island, Wuk Wana opted instead of nuke the island, ending the threat to its homeland, but at a significant cost to itself.
Krur would send a toke force to the north in a vain attempt to capture additional resources to the north. This decision was made after rumors suggested that Chevsky had been depleted by wars with Skolt and Korsami and may not have fortified the coastlines. However, Krur quickly found this information to be false, and wasn’t even able to approach the shoreline before the entire invasion force was annihilated in a decisive victory at Drek.
|Player Name||Points Earned||Tournament Standings|
|Dalian (Teal)||6.88||4th Place|
|Dyn (Orange)||5.95||5th Place|
|Holak (Red)||13.85||2nd Place|
|Itzi (Blue)||6.99||3rd Place|
|Keiren (Yellow)||17.78||1st Place|
This game was Holak’s show. After being wedged between two expert players, Keiren and Itzi, she used the terrain of her starting location to fend off attacks on two sides and actually crippled Itzi’s chance to come out on top this round. Keiren’s decision to play a quiet game, capturing an entire continent practically unopposed, left them in a strong strategic position which allowed for the two end-game decisive victories that led this to runaway victory.
With Holak and Keiren in commanding leads, they will have to be prevented from winning Round Two at all costs. Keiren has already accumulated more points than three of his four opponents, meaning even mediocre performances in the next two games will allow him a point victory. Holak’s lead is still within reach of other players as long as she is not able to complete another stunning performance like Game 1.
Let’s see where Round Two will take us.