I’ve set this blog post to auto-post, so by the time that you read this, the game and my plans will be long underway, and on the road to glory…
I’ve had to be VERY quiet about my wargaming plans, even keeping it from my mailing list (sorry) as I could not take the chance that any of the players might be lurking on my blog or email list, as remote as that may or may not be.
First a brief about the game- think Game of Thrones meets Holy Roman Empire. In Imperial Ambitions players are part of a noble house looking to take control and influence an ever changing empire. Each team has three players- a noble of the court, ambassador, and general. As a real time role playing and strategy game it is played out over a number of turns. With each team planning real time, making alliances, using spy-craft and taking to the field of battle.
Yours truly, being a wargaming enthusiast is playing the part of the General for the noble house of Essen, returning to the same role I played in the first game.
This is the second game in the series, with the first leaving House Essen weak, and ripe for take over by the other Houses.
At the start of the first game a few months back Essen had one of the strongest standing armies- a full compliment of knights, infantry, and archers. The other houses would be pressed for a few turns to raise the coin needed to build armies, and at the same time it was going to cost Essen a good amount of gold to upkeep our army.
The dead cost nothing.
As the general my plan was to immediately take the field and blitzkrieg into one of the weaker neighboring houses. Fall Weiss was the inspiration, roll in and take the entire house in two turns. See if we could hold it, if not loot what we can and fall back to our lands destroying the main bridge on the way back.
Pay some coin to the church to gain an indulgence, and pay off the Emperor of the realm to look the other way.
The invasion was a success with none of the other houses expecting an attack, I crushed my way in capturing all the territory short of the main noble citadel which was going to be attacked next turn.
Unexpectedly ALL of the other houses turned on us, I figured a few would, but most would sit it out and see what other opportunities were created by our action. The Emperor ordered us to halt, and stop creating instability in the realm, the church had the audacity, and arrogance to accuse me of war crimes, and our “allies” to the north invaded our territory.
Pulling back to our lands I dug in and worked to push out the other houses while our team ambassador and noble in court pushed our agenda of conquest through diplomacy and other means. Continuing to be attacked by all five houses, we petitioned the Emperor to halt the attack, that we had paid the price, and swear to do no more harm to the realm.
I even offered to put our armies at the command of the Empror to subdue the pagan lands to the north as a way to keep our armed forces intact and buy time.
What choice was I given?
What would you have done?
With our military battered, but still strong, House Essen would march on the capital and replace the Emperor (below) with our own noble lady, crowing the first Empress of the realm and taking control of the realm as “advisors” until things could calm down a bit…
On the diplomatic side we first had to establish cause to remove the Emperor and protect the realm, and being a real-time game, our own ambassador had a BRILLIANT plan. We wrote up some fake letters, signing them from some of the other houses in the game, talking about plans to move on the Emperor and how he was illegitimate and part of a pagan cult, stealing gold from the church, and all that. Fold the letters up, and when nobody was looking leave them in the hall and other place for the other teams to “find”.
Others found them, never suspecting us, and began to doubt the Emperor and church.
Our lady to the court also stopped paying taxes to the Emperor in defiance and I marched on the capital laying siege to the walls of the palace itself- very Horus Heresy stuff.
But in the end, with literally everybody in the game against us, we just couldn’t pull it off. Retreating back into or lands, having our rival houses take key territories, and decimating our military.
We dealt one last blow by sending an assassin to kill the Emperor, and at least removed him from the throne to the great surprise of everybody.
NOW, twenty years later we begin the second game with the following briefing to start: (PDF)
Essen is weak, gold poor, one of cities and citadels taken from us by our “friends”, and reduced to a back-water power.
Returning as the general with the same team of players, I have a NEW plan of conquest on the wargame side of the game.
First is raising the GOLD to pay for an army- buying it and up-keeping it. We don’t have the land resources to sell grain or other natural goods, and naturally the new Emperor will want his due in taxes.
What does that leave for rebuilding our military?
First order of military business is to establish a school in our domain to begin a MASSIVE counterfeiting operation: drilling out coins and filling with lead, shaving off gold, plating lead, and all that good stuff. Taxes, tithes, and upkeep will come from this, diverting the REAL gold to the military.
I’ll keep my starting units “as-is” on the map, but secretly build up more knights and heavy infantry, but keep them hidden, from the other generals on the map. Essen will look weak, but in one turn can field overwhelming might.
Second order of business is to send word to the pagans in the north and hire their choicest alchemists and practitioners of the black arts and set up a secret biological weapons program- black plague, rat-flu, and the like.
Being a real time game of only X number of turns, when we move into the end game and there are not so many turns left to act and launch an effective counter attack, I will unleash our biological weapons onto the city and citadel taken from us last game before marching with my now revealed army to take them back in the name of what is rightfully ours and restoring order. I also plan to unleash it on the noble house to the south who lied to me in the last game, never coming to our aid, despite diplomatic ties as payback in kind.
What happens on the diplomatic and noble court side of my team I’ll have to let you know…
…full after action report sometime Monday when everything finally sorts out.
Essen WILL rise again!