Before listing my bone-headed mistakes in game 679, I tip my cap to the Eldacar/Rebels player in this one. I don’t know who you are and don’t need to know. You and Rhovanion (who I think took too much time building up forces instead of deploying them early) kept the combined forces of Castamir and Elendin out of Rhovanion and Mirkwood (for the most part).
Game 679 was the first KS GB I signed up for. Around the same time, I signed up for a KS with neutrals game, g676. I knew very little about KS, especially NPCs. So I didn’t know what kind of emissary it took to recruit one, and I didn’t know they could be traced via spells like LAT and Reveal Character True. I assumed NPCs were like dragons in 1650, and to my knowledge, RCT doesn’t work in locating dragons.
Major Mistake Number One:
So, mostly out of ignorance, I entirely skipped the project of finding/recruiting NPCs. Castamir had ZERO npcs; Elendin had ZERO npcs. Throughout the entire game. Gulp Now I recognize that as a big mistake. It’s obvious why: 1.) unlike characters you can name (create) at your capital, npcs, in terms of gold cost, are FREE to recruit; 2.) they are better skilled than any character you can name, some are even champions; 3.) they often boost the skills (multiple) of the player character recruiting them. I read the KS rulebook closely and none of this is even hinted at. In order to make the game exciting to explore through the act of playing it, much about NPCs is hidden from the first timer. I like that aspect. However, reticence about wasting orders, wasting time, wasting resources in a war might keep 1st time KS players from exploring the NPC dimenstion of the game.
Major Mistake Number Two:
Assuming my ally, the SK, would take care of Amroth down at 2137. I didn’t have reveal pop center and didn’t want to spend the resources trying to get it and fighting Amroth’s army to keep him bottled up. After taking the Quendi village at 2136 alongside Orf B’s army, I assumed SK would finish the Quendi off in this area and sent my forces to take Minas Ithil (3124), which the Rebels had improved to a City. The combined might of Castamir and Elendin armies had just enough strength to route the defending Rebel army and take his city. Next, I took 3224. Earlier I had threatened away 3 Rebel villages, so I felt the damage done to them would stunt their growth for a while. Meanwhile, Amroth grew like a cancer down in Umbar. He took several pop centers before he was turned back. The Havens of Umbar and 2339 never fell, but basically everything else did and it cost Castamir dearly.
Major Mistake Number Three:
Forgetting to send the turn 11 diplo. Information in GB games is like lifeblood. I just got busy with RL stuff and forgot it was diplo turn. I would have warned my allies about a deadly Rebel agent by the name of Needle. He must have been gifted with very good stealth when he was named. And perhaps given a stealth artifact or two along the way, because he was blowing up bridges, blowing through 40-skill guards to assassinate Regent army commanders. And all of that by about turn 11.
Here are a few words about the possible mistakes I saw others making. On the Castamir set up, I chose to double Morlaen’s best agent, Caramir. I figured it was one way to get some frequent, reliable information about undisclosed events in the game. Through 16 turns, I never saw Caramir attempt one kidnapping, not one assassination. In my opinion, the only way to give Angmar a fighting chance vs. Arnor is to have Morlaen lead the world in kidnappings and assassinations. Rebels should be a distant 2nd place. But Morlaen has to have about a dozen capable agents up in Arnor/Angmar kidnapping those Arnor commanders to slow their military campaign vs. the Witch-realm. No way Angmar can stand up to Arnor without it.
I just read Rob’s response about this game in another thread and he took the words out of my mouth regarding another potential mistake. As the Southron Kingdoms, if you sit back and build turn after turn as a nation, you will be super powerful and lose the game when all your allies die. I think you’ve got to deploy your forces early to keep your enemies hemmed in. It seems like a general strategy for winning KS is to focus power on ONE enemy nation, trying to knock them out. If you do, chances are the player will resign his other nation, giving you a 2-for-1 knock out blow. Once one duo goes down, the rest of the allegiance is likely to quit as well.