This is the state of play on turn 41.
With my prestige income slashed in half after losing the Gates of Hell, I’ve been steadily losing ground to both Speedo and Quinns ever since the war with Sponge and they’ve just overtaken me. I’m actually kind of impressed with the way Speedo is playing this: he only has one legion, which wouldn’t be much of a speedbump to anyone who did decide to invade him, but he’s somehow contriving things so that no-one ever does. Hopefully now that he’s taken the lead the arch-fiends bordering him will take him a little more seriously.
I need some way to make up the shortfall in prestige income, and then take a look at narrowing the prestige gap itself. Judging by the number of conclave tokens drawn I reckon there’s about 20-25 turns left in the game – just enough to win, in my estimation. To this end, I formulate a three step plan:
1) Get more order slots.
2) Snatch the closest PoP, the Pillars of Malebolge, from Quinns. This will weaken him and strengthen me.
3) Goad Sponge into a serious of wars in which I beat the shit out of him and win huge amounts of prestige.
Unfortunately step 1 is taking a lot longer than I thought it would. By this point I’ve recovered from the constant looting and have large stockpiles of artifacts, praetors and resources for rituals. None of them are attached to my legions, so I appear deceptively weak; this makes people more likely to refuse a demand allowing vendetta. Last turn I drew an event that will be massively helpful to me in a military conflict. I reckon that I can win a war against any power in the game if I play it right, but I can’t do it with only two orders per turn.
Finally, Quinns mans up and does what he should have done ten turns ago: declares war on Speedo Demon.
Sadly for the rest of us he chooses the dumbest possible way to go about it. Instead of attacking across the broad border between their strongholds, which would have no material benefit but would allow him to maneuver freely and set himself up for a future vendetta, he guns straight for Speedo’s PoP down this narrow channel of territory between the chasms and Sponge. To my battle-hardened eyes, this is madness. All he can do is keep moving up towards the PoP (which is pretty tough) so all Speedo has to do is stick some kind of attachment to it the turn before Quinns gets there and he’ll be fucked.
(Incidentally, that unclaimed PoP there? That’s Pandemonium. Anyone attacking it gets excommunicated instantly, which is why it’s remained untouched so far.)
Hey look Speedo stuck an attachment to it the turn before Quinns got there. What were the odds.
In preparation for a war with Sponge I start assaying his forces. He’s got three legions: his Infernal Crusade guys, a legion stuck all the way back at his stronghold that probably won’t be relevant, and this.
Not only are their stats pretty nifty but they can fly, raising the possibility that while my battle legions are facing down the Infernal Crusade vets on the border they’ll be jumping around my backfield like crazy snatching PoPs and cantons and eliminating any stray legions. Fortunately I have a plan to deal with them.
Quinns’ vendetta fails miserably. KG has more luck; while it cost him dearly he’s managed to take a small amount of territory and kill Speedo’s single legion.
FINALLY. Both Cunning and Wickedness are at level 4. It’s time to rock and roll.
I send off the demand to Sponge that will give me causus belli. However, events then take an unexpected turn.
“Oh,” I think. “That’s nice. My two biggest military threats are about to kill each other.”
I couldn’t have been more wrong.