Empire Deluxe Tournament 2023/24 – Game Two

Game Two starts with a review of the events from Game One. The result was a decision by all players to choose an island start for Game Two. The expectation was a more naval focused game since players would be moving troops via transport, but the game showed the strength of air power instead. The majority of players also started at the north side of the continent, which caused some early skirmishes.

Game One Preliminaries

Game Two required four re-starts as players had issues with islands that were locked due to pathfinding issues.

ColorPlayerEmpire NameLocation
REDHazel*BantraNorthern, Island
BLUEItziBelidNorthwestern, Island
PINKDalianCabelCentral Northern, Island
YELLOWKeirenKartoolSoutheastern, Island

Order of Events

The battle map below shows the order of events. Lines represent location of major advances. Stars represent Set Matches (i.e. major engagements where points are scored) with the color representing the eventual winner. Dotted lines represent the locations of stale front-lines or post-war borders based on terms agreed to by players.:

Battle Map showing major player movements and key locations.

Early Game

The game starts with an expansion by Bantra who moved to both the north and south simultaneously. The main push was to the continent north of their starting location, hopping from Geni and into the Forest Horn. This was largely unopposed, whereas the expansion to the south led to an early discovery of Cabil who was expanding in the direction of Walk. Despite this, no major confrontations would occur until mid-game as Cabil was focused on moving towards Delanss rather than capture the various islands to the east.

In fact, Cabil’s strategy involved bypassing the Ice Fields, using it as a buffer rather than an expansion area. This is contradictory to what most other players assumed Cabil would do, given their position near the main continent. As a result, Belid assumed expansion to the south was safe and instead moved to capture the islands to the north. This led to a brief naval confrontation at Delanns before the decision was made to withdraw and re-focus their effort for a push south.

Kartool was largely unopposed for a second start in a row, having picked an island on the Bloor Sea. This location was considered undesirable by other players due to low efficiency cities, but the slow start worked well with the Hail Mary strategy, which focused heavily on crossing the Bloor Sea and taking Unta. This high production area allowed them to catch up quickly and end the Early Game at an even score to others when this phase of the game closed.


The Mid-Game was started at the Battle of Walk in which an expeditionary force from Bantra invaded the southern end of Walk Island. At the time, Cabil had a small contingent stationed in the area and was attempting to consolidate their position. The invasion was repelled, but alerted Cabil to the threat in the area and they began an advance towards the northern part of the island. This was already under the control of Bantra.

Shortly thereafter, Belid moved on Delanss. He spent most of the early game building a sizeable naval fleet and would be the unopposed master of the sea for the entirety of this game. Unfortunately, naval power wasn’t enough to land troops and take the whole of Delanss, as the defenses at the Battle of the Delanss Landing saw an overwhelming number of artillery units rebuff the invaders.

Rather than continue the attack, Belid withdrew his invasion force and opted for an encirclement maneuver instead. He landed the force unopposed on the Wickan Plains and moved south. This ultimately brought him into contact with Kartool who quickly agreed to a truce. Unfortunately, this would not work for Belid as they were trying to beat Cabil in a race southward. Instead, Belid offered intel to Kartool on what was taking place in the north in an attempt to use his forces to defend the area while he worked towards assaulting Belid directly.

Cabil was facing a problem on another front. It had successfully bypassed the Ice Fields without making a landing and had taken Quon Tali when it made contact with the northern forces of Bantra. They risked fighting a war on two fronts, one which could not seriously harm Bantra since it’s island cities would require a naval assault, whereas Cabil had forces on the main continent under direct assault. At the Battle of Garal, Cabil stopped an advance into Quon Tali. Kartool also won the Battle of D’avig putting Cabil’s eastern landing at Voron in jeopardy.

Late Game

The Battle of Aska occurred for control of the key city of Cawn and ended with Bantra winning and threatening this last area of Cabil’s push towards the Bay of Nap. The city of Cawn would would up heavily fortified for the remainder of the game, but no further Cabil advances would occur in this area. This is because Kartool launched a major offensive across a wide front line. After a slow and steady retreat, Cabil finally stabilized a line that ran from Voron to Bloor.

Belid took this opportunity to launch a two pronged attack as their two main opponents were engaged against each other. Unfortunately, their land attack against Kartool fell far short of their goals at the Battle of Bakan. This effectively became a Kartool decisive win, as there would be no further serious threats from Belid on this front.

The second prong of their attack was a massive naval invasion in the Action of the Strom Sea. Despite Belid gaining naval superiority, Cabil was able to make an attempt at landing during the Battle of Strike Island. Belid intercepted the naval fleet supporting this invasion, and instead of chasing it off, turned around and engaged the landing ships before they could reach the shore. This forced Cabil to turn their fleet around and engage in a decisive loss that saw the invasion completely fail. Moreover, a relief force was destroyed in the Battle of Strom Straight, leaving Belid in sole control of the seas.

In the north, the Battle of the Cragg Neck had reached a stalemate. Bantra would finish out the game in sole control of the northern half of the island while Belid would control the rocky southern end of the island. This effectively ended the offensive actions of Bantra for the remainder of the game, as they were on the defensive on all fronts. Similarly, Belid was now in control of the seas but could not capitalize on any front due to overwhelming air power available to both Cabil and Kartool on the continent.

The final act of the game was an impressive air assault by Kartool, bypassing the naval forces of Belid and making the Invasion of Destry. Moreover, an air bridge was created between Destry and Bakan, allowing them to reinforce the bridgehead that was created in the mountainous region behind Cabil. This effectively meant the entire southern half of Cabil’s thrust to the Forest Horn was in jeopardy. While it might have been interesting to see the conclusion of this, with two other players effectively stalled out, it was decided to call the game here.

Final Review

This game saw another dominant performance by Kartool. Despite only fighting a handful of battles, all of them were decisive wins. Moreover, Kartool was able to win by outmaneuvering his opponents similarly to Game One. By the end of the game, there were no serious challenges to his authority in the eastern half of the map, and his air invasion on Destry was likely to lead to capitulation on that front as well.

However, the game itself goes to Cabil who mounted the most aggressive and effective strategy of Game Two. His focus on air power to support his land invasion allowed him to secure his defensive lines, even when he took crippling losses at sea and in the north. In fact, his air power was an important part of why he didn’t lose the Walk Island to the numerically superior Bantra forces, eventually halting them at a choke point that he could hold indefinitely.

This effectively means we end Game Two with Kartool in a healthy lead in points. Bantra and Cabil now each have one win apiece, and Belid is still looking for his first win of the series, but is in second place for overall score at 34.76 points accumulated. The players will meet later today to determine if a third game is required in order to crown this year’s winner, or if this is where we will inevitably call the series.

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