October 2006 You were destined to rule!! October 2006
Lord Diamond sparkles bright in the Epic Game contest!
Alaric

1. Was it crazy controlling six kingdoms in a single game?  What would you compare it to?

It was crazy at first, but a great deal of fun. Lord Thanatos did a much better job of coordinating early on and it really showed. By turn six or so I felt like I was getting pummeled. I had chosen the central kingdoms specifically so that my kingdoms could better support one another and I failed at that task simply because I had sent most of my legions and nobles outward into LT's regions while he moved in towards mine. That placed his forces much closer together than my own. I learned from my mistakes and his example and I believe that I turned it around by the fourth quarter.

2. Did you try to gear the other five kingdoms around the chance for victory for one kingdom?  In general, how much coordinating did you do among your kingdoms vs. each fending for themselves?

No, my intentions were to give as many of my kingdoms as possible a chance at victory. At one point my Alamanni, Lombards, and Visigoths all controlled two regions each and had a realistic chance at winning.

For the most part my kingdoms were split into different teams. The Norse were supposed to tie the Teutons and Huns down as long as possible simply by surviving. My Lombards took on the Ostrogoths and the Alamanni moved against the Saxons. The Franks and Visigoths locked horns with the Celts and Vandals while my Thuringians helped where they could, but spent much of the game fighting over Raetia. It got scrambled up towards the end, but for the most part I was playing six different games. 

3. You are the top 2 ranked personas in Fall of Rome’s Valhalla – congratulations to both!  How much did your knowledge of your opponent impact your strategy?  Can you provide some examples of how you changed your approach given your knowledge of your opponent?

You may want to rephrase this, as 'Lord Thanatos' is actually ranked about fifth. :)

Thanatos is usually a very aggressive player. He tends to develop complicated plans that often lead to a dramatic victory. I knew that I would come under attack early and that I would have my work cut out for me if I hoped to survive the opening turns intact enough to strike back. Knowing that the opening game would go to Thanatos, I chose to play for the end game instead. My primary goal was to kill as many of his nobles as I could manage. I also made it a point to do the unexpected whenever possible. With luck, I'd be able to throw a wrench in whatever master plan Thanatos had concocted. Thanatos knows my style as well and I didn't see any reason to play into is hands. He's good enough that he doesn't need my help!

4. What were some of your favorite moments from the contest – specific results, a trap that worked, that kind of thing?

The game was filled with many satisfying moments, but Thanatos managed to lay more traps than I did, I think. I learned a great deal from him that I will be sure to use in the future.

King Alaric of the Visigoths personally killed the Celt king on Turn 8 and the Vandal king on turn 10. I believe that the loss of two kings made a huge difference as it prevented Thanatos from taking complete control in the west. The Vandals never really recovered diplomatically and it stalled the Celts just long enough.

Finally eliminating the Ostrogoths and Saxons felt great. I was feeling a little blue after Thanatos had destroyed my Franks and Norse and I really needed the morale boost. I couldn't let this most epic of Epic games end without evening the score!

- Lord Diamond -





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Campaigns of Centurion Unleashed!

Our long-awaited Campaigns of Centurion has been made available to all regular customers! This is our lightning game – eight minutes a turn, 15 turn game, so you complete a game in two hours. Unlike regular Centurion, all the Fall of Rome orders are available. You get to customize your position setup, and you play on a new map called the Spine of Italia. Up to five players per game. AND, with your successes and experience accumulates, you earn “mod” points to permanently enhance your Cohort – it becomes more powerful and deadly. We’ve launched new Valhalla pages for both Centurion and Campaigns to keep track of who can lay claim to being the best players in these formats. Play is unlimited in both Centurion and Campaigns of Centurion for all our customers with established Fall of Rome accounts. Centurion remains a good place to gain familiarity with the game mechanics and test out battle tactics, Campaigns is a challenge even for our top Fall of Rome players. Create your own cohort and give Campaigns a go today!


- Lord Diamond -
Lord Thanatos fights to the death in the Epic Game contest!
Atilla

1.  Was it crazy controlling six kingdoms in a single game?  What would you compare it to?

Controlling six kingdoms was not too difficult as I am experienced at playing Epic Alamaze contests with six kingdoms to manage.  It was time-consuming updating the maps for all six kingdoms, but only for the first few turns.  After that, things worked smoothly.  In normal contests I will usually enter my orders and then check back at another time to review my orders and read all new messages.  This generally keeps me from overlooking orders.  With six kingdoms to manage and no true messages being generated I found myself entering orders once and then not returning for a final check.  Ultimately this cost me an outright victory when I failed to verify that the Celts were attacking the Franks capital, which would have eliminated them and given control of the region to the Celts.  Oh well; live and learn.

2. Did you try to gear the other five kingdoms around the chance for victory for one kingdom?  In general, how much coordinating did you do among your kingdoms vs. each fending for themselves?

Each kingdom was very coordinated from the start.  I mentioned to my friend that Lord Diamond usually coordinates well with his allies and many of those who have teamed up against me in the past were well coordinated.  Thus, I felt prepared to face six opponents from turn one.  I also believed that Lord Diamond has rarely faced the type of coordination that was in store for him.  I believe the first four or five turns shows that I was correct.  Of course, this will never again be the case.  Starting at about turn five Lord Diamond’s level of coordination among his kingdoms increased significantly and our Imperator Champion absorbed the lessons for all time.  Still, I would imagine that Lord Diamond would give me high marks for coordination among my kingdoms.

I did have an overall strategy for a Celts victory, which included slowing losing control of the Vandals region to the Visigoths and forcing a stranglehold upon the Franks from turn one.  I believe the strategy worked perfectly until I blundered.  Had I controlled Aquitania and eliminated the Franks when I failed to issue the attack order I would not have spent the following few turns finishing off the Franks and would have been able to directly attack the Visigoths before the Alamanni could disengage in Belgica and while my Vandals were strong enough to assist.  Instead, the wasted turns/orders enabled Lord Diamond to effectively respond.  He is a masterful player and one cannot make key errors against him or they will be fatal.  J

3. You are the top 2 ranked personas in Fall of Rome’s Valhalla – congratulations to both!  How much did your knowledge of your opponent impact your strategy?  Can you provide some examples of how you changed your approach given your knowledge of your opponent?

Lord Diamond and I have almost diametrically opposed playing styles.  My style is fast and furious intended to wear down an opponent before he can marshal his resources against me and/or beg for help.  Lord Diamond is much more methodical and does all the right things early to be successful late: hoards artifacts, builds rulership, trains agents, improves popcenters, and increases military leader ranks.  All of these orders are exactly what are needed to dominate the endgames.  There was no doubt in either of our minds that I would dictate the vectors of battle and make deep advances into my chosen territory.  Lord Diamond’s task was to remain nimble enough to exploit the inevitable weakness that would exist from my aggressive style.

While Lord Diamond did not want me to have the vaunted Thuringians on my side I did not want him to build this kingdom to a mighty level and so elected to target it early.  Usually, I do not worry about any particular kingdom (as they are all roughly balanced) and, instead, focus upon what I know about the player.  In this Epic contest I knew beyond any doubt that I did not want to wait and see what Lord Diamond would do with the Thuringians.  So, in this regard, I guess I adjusted my style a bit (see the answer to the next question for further details).

4.  What were some of your favorite moments from the contest – specific results, a trap that worked, that kind of thing?

From the initial turn I recognized the ability of the Thuringians to become a powerful force.  Much like the English had to sink the Bismarck, I was forced to deal with the Thuringians.  I devised a plan whereby each of the neighboring kingdoms divided their attacks.  The Huns and Teutons would target the Norse with only their legions (worked perfectly!) while the Ostrogoth did the same against the Lombards (failed miserably).  These three kingdoms would all issue Enamor orders for the first three turns and then move all their nobles into Raetia on turn three.  It was a brilliant success!!  Lord Diamond was surprised and the Thuringians lost control in a single turn.  They regained control for a turn or two but lost it and never again came close to controlling a region.  There were never any major battles involving the Thuringians (except when the Huns sacked their city – twice – in Raetia) and they were reduced to merely raiding villages most of the contest.  The Thuringians did manage to garner three or four artifacts but they were of little to no (let us say – limited) use since the Thuringian military only fought against villages.

I also appreciated the fact that until after about turn 16 I never lost a legion to legion battle.  Even though I had far fewer artifacts than my opponent I still always won these battles.  Of course, I lost the occasional character; but this is routine in my contests and doesn’t bother me.  In fact, even though the Celts lost their king twice I nearly won with this position.

The Epic battle was a marvelous success in terms of sheer tactical and strategic intensity.  The positions were balanced because the players were balanced.  The coordination was perfect and both players honorably followed the rules we agreed upon, even though constraining.  Lord Diamond is a mighty adversary and a wonderful ambassador for Fall of Rome.  I “technically” won the contest and I know this eats away at my friend’s soul a little bit each day.  Muwahahahaaa.  We have already agreed to a new contest and have completed the draft.  Stay tuned for future bloody battles and feats of splendid daring!

- Lord Thanatos aka Rick Ghan -

Design of Kingdoms of Arcania Underway!

Rick McDowell and the Enlightened Age design team has turned attention to the design and development of the initial release of Kingdoms of Arcania! The first release will feature six brand new kingdoms situated on the Realm of Scythia. Kingdoms of Arcania will feature the state of the art processing and game play of Fall of Rome enhanced by an absorbing fantasy setting replete with spellcasters of many classes, a robust character system that allows for multi-class characters, more individual combat, castles, wizard towers, great heroes, and much, much more! We’ll keep you advised of progress. Intentions are to have the game ready to launch by Christmas!

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