Part 173: Hinnom - T'ien Ch'i Post-Mortem
T'ien Ch'i Post-Mortem
Oh Feinne, this was your first and biggest mistake. Why, why, why? Why would you play a nation you don't like? At least I know I like blood and thug lyfe, even if fuck no cross paths and +unrest and pop eating. You could have been somebody. You could have been a contender. You could have been... C'Tis.
So if you're watching along at home (I know you are, and you can stop hiding it from your girlfriend. She's watching too and it's just silly to have you both be like "oh hey, uh, I have to work late." "oh, that's ok I was going to spend some extra time at the gym tonight." "cool, I'll eat at work. I know you like to get a protein shake after the gym." "ok, that sounds good. I'll see you later tonight. Good luck at work! Love you." "have fun at the gym! Love you too." and then you both go and read these updates alone in the dark. It's cool. Embrace the weirdness. It's just like that time she came home and found you jerking off with your snorkel and fins on. If you hadn't totally overreacted you would have discovered that she has J. Cousteau fantasies too and you could have taken turns exploring the underwater world.) remember to play a nation you like. This is a ridiculous fantasy game of pixel mans and there aren't any nations that are so bad that they literally can't win. Have fun! If you like to burn everything just play Abysia. If you have a giant robot-jew-work fetish, play Agartha. You'll have more fun playing a nation whose fluff you enjoy and whose play style you enjoy than playing the most best, most powerful nation every time.
Anyway, next time just play (C'Tis) a nation (C'Tis) you love (it's C'Tis, next time play them) Feinne. We're all cool with it.
Feinne chose a sleeping Nataraja and Order3, Production 2 and Magic 1.
I really like this choice. The Nataraja got increased in price, but before that I thought an S9 Nataraja was a no-brainer for EA TC. It starts with high Dom, high astral to easily get to S9 and it has four arms! What's not to love?
T'ien Ch'i has solid sacreds with good attacking power but relatively poor defense and the S9 bless helps them survive. Then, they have sacred mages for whom the S9 bless is pretty big. It's like a get out of jail free card for all your mages when the enemy brings really big evos to kill them without going through your blockers (like rain of stones). On top of all that, an S9 SC pretender who can cast wish, master enslave and just ruin fools with magic duel right out of the box is pretty great.
Feinne's scales are pretty good. He's gone with money and production for his resource intensive troops. I probably would have gone for even more money, a little misfortune and no magic. Then he could have had Order 3, Production 1, Growth 3, Misfortune 2 and Magic 1 and heat scales. His PD is good enough to survive barbarian attacks and the growth would net him some serious cash later for what his real plan was: turtle up and research and gemgen like mad before rolling out some serious blasting power. He doesn't need the magic though and could easily go Order 3, Production 3, Growth 3, Misfortune 1, Drain 2. That would have netted him serious cash and his fantastic researchers could have eaten the hit to his research from drain 2. All that said, his scales are quite solid.
Feinne's expansion was good but not great. He had a tremendous amount of room into which he could expand but he made two mistakes that stopped him from really taking advantage of it.
First, he got pushed around by Dexanth a bit in negotiating borders. Second, there was the clash with TheDemon. Both of those hurt his expansion and, if handled differently, would have resulted in improved expansion. That said, for what Feinne was, I think, trying to do, he didn't need to be leading in provinces. Expansion was decent but not stellar and really this is part of a larger theme you can see in Feinne's play: not enough aggression.
Diplomacy and War!
In Feinne's case, diplomacy and war are inextricably linked. Feinne fought three real wars.
1. TheDemon. This ended quickly, but shaped policy going forward. Here, Feinne initially committed to a three way alliance to eliminate TheDemon and then bailed after taking losses in his first fight. This was both absolutely brilliant and shoot-yourself-in-the-foot bad. It was brilliant in that it left three of the other six players embroiled in war and locked up the southern borders. He was free to frolic and expand and research to his heart's content. It was terrible in that it set the tone going forward. If either of Hinnom or Sauromatia were able to win the war quickly it would not have been good for TC. That didn't come close to happening, but from a long-term diplomacy perspective, continuing the fight in exchange for two long term allies would have been a better deal.
Still, all this would have been worth it if he'd embraced isolationism and just cranked out research and gemgens. Which brings me to the next war.
2. irony or death. I'm one of the very few that think that Feinne's reaction to iod's sacrificing was reasonable. When you're one of the few nations that can't sac, you get understandably nervous when your neighbor starts to push Dom. The issue here is that Feinne was getting involved at all in the world's wars. He should have been hunkering down and researching and making gemgens.
"But builds! You just said he should have been more aggressive!" I hear you saying in my head as I write this. Sure, but Feinne's game isn't super aggressive (yet!). He seems to prefer to play sim city until he can just roll fools and researching and making gemgens fits that model a lot better than aggressively pursuing some sort of pact with Lilli in exchange for attacking Dexanth/Arco (what could Dexanth have done about it?). As it was, he ended up getting seriously bogged down in a war with iod that ended up stopping either from running away with this game.
In war with iod, Feinne was really hurt by his dislike and, frankly, misunderstanding of EA TC. Once his masters of the way start raining acid on Maenads, things really started to change.
EA TC is an interesting nation because they have tremendous diversity and great communion and forging potential, but all their mages really want a communion and/or some boosters to really become effective. But, once you have those set up they're incredibly difficult to stop. They're always going to have more research than you do and because of their diversity they'll be able to counter whatever it is you're doing. But, and this is an important point, you have to appreciate that and plan for it and if you discover it halfway through you're really going to be hurting because you were planning for something else entirely! With the right player and the right plan, EA TC's midgame is terrifying. Feinne was neither. But, he was persistent and, as you've seen from me, that's like 40% of a war. Just hammering the other guy until they give up. Unfortunately for Feinne, by the time he'd figured out his mages, there was a new problem.
3. Lilli. Let's be honest about what happened here. Lilli did wonderfully against two overmatched players who panicked and then gave up. Feinne was geared up to fight irony or death's maenad hordes which were the opposite of the Zmeywaffe. But he still had tremendous research and I would have happily traded him a staff of storms if he'd asked. And a staff of storms and The Biggest Poppa casting enslave mind could have easily turned the Zmeywaffe into a petting zoo. Lilli couldn't have used magic duel because The Biggest Poppa was S9 and anything she brought would have had to slog across the battlefield getting enslaved to get to him. If she ended up reverting to armies of jags supported by blood magic then Feinne could have used the forces he'd deployed against iod. Either way, Feinne should have put up far more of a fight than he did.
Of course, all that is in hindsight and here is where the diplomatic situation really plays in again. Feinne had been committed to killing iod while supporting Dexanth against Lilli. He was doing that because giant Dexanth-killing Lilli is a scary idea and when she went from locked in stalemate to feeding mystic-snax in under 8 seconds, he was, understandably discouraged. I think he was convinced that Lilli had already won the game and there was no hope for the rest of us. That turned out to be wrong but this is an incredibly common thing in dom3.
Every single game, everyone thinks that they're on the brink of defeat while their enemies have hundreds of gems in the bank and are churning out Stampy the flying zombie elephant because they're bored of winning by so much. If Feinne had sided with Lilli and iod to kill Dexanth in exchange for a last-three-standing pact, abandoned Dexanth and sided with Lilli once those two were at war or ignored iod's blood sac and kept churning out research and gemgens he wouldn't have been in this situation, but TheDemon has done a great job showing just how long you can hold out with minimal resources, even when things look really bad.
Back to diplomacy, Feinne actually made the same mistake twice. First, (arguably, I'm still a bit torn on whether this wasn't pure genius) with Hinnom and Sauro and then with Lilli's alliance against Dexanth. In both cases he ended up making long term (this-game-only, of course) enemies and when there are only seven players you don't want to know that four of them have it in for you.
Feinne's last diplomacy mistake was not reaching out to me, irony or death and Schneeble more when Lilli first turned on him. At that point he'd basically given up and wanted the game to end.
After re-reading this whole post it's clear to me that you can ignore everything I wrote except the part about playing a nation you like
Next time? Relax man and keep the snorkel on.