Part 2: Turn 2: Around The Corner, Elephants Are Made
Every day you get a message log containing the important events that you should listen to. Today, our message log is filled with new prophets.
Nine prophetizations today, including two Scouts, one Forester, one Ninja, one Commander of Ulm, one Tribal King, one Abysian Commander, one Snow Captain, and one Voivode. The Forester and Ninja are both Scout variants. The rest of them are war commanders of various types. Presumably the remaining five nations are waiting to get a more powerful combat commander or mage to prophetize - you can only have one prophet at a time, and once you kill off your old prophet, it takes a few months to be permitted to make a new one.
Also, our patrolling troops killed people in the process of keeping the peace. That actually reduces my home province's population, which means long-term slightly lower income, but it's worth it for the huge boost in the first turn.
Obviously I didn't get that mercenary mage I was hoping for - we'd have a message otherwise.
Let's check on my intelligence reports.
Could be better, could be worse.
To the north, near a probable fire site, are archers, heavy infantry, and militia. Luckily for me, most of my units are sufficiently armored that I don't have to worry about archers much. The exception is my elephant, who might be torn to pieces by them.
(I'm not going into sites and gems for a while yet, but just take it on faith that claiming a fire site would be a good thing.)
To the northeast is Heavy Infantry and Light Infantry. They should be flattened by my elephant easily. I'd much rather have two elephants, but we don't always get what we want.
To the southeast are Barbarians. Now these guys are a pain. They hit hard and they don't die nearly as easily as you'd like. (Future Me: I'm partially wrong on this. Turns out they die incredibly easily. They do, however, still hit really bloody hard, which means they're still a significant threat.) On top of that, my scouting reports 50 of them. That is a lot of Barbarians. I'm going to avoid that until I have a few more elephants.
My dominion has spread south and southwest, and as a result I should have more accurate reports on those locations. The south is Light Infantry and Heavy Infantry. Again, shouldn't be too much of a problem. The southwest is a special province - it's full of Lion Tribe Warriors and Lion Tribe Archers. If I manage to defeat them, I'll probably be able to recruit them. This sounds more exciting than it is - I went and looked these guys up and they're actually kind of wimpy. The good news is that it'll be an easy province to take, the bad news is that I won't ever want to recruit them.
Meanwhile, to the northwest are Crossbowmen. These are interesting because I will probably be able to recruit them as well, and I can use some mildly competent ranged. Unfortunately it's also right next to my capital, which makes it a bad idea to build a fort there.
Let's Learn About The Game: Recruiting, Resources, and Forts
Here's my recruit window for this turn. At the top are the units and commanders I can recruit, at the bottom is a blank space for the units I'm actually recruiting this turn. There are several limits on recruitment ability. First, all units and commanders cost money - 7 for a crappy Slinger, 100 for an Elephant, 240 for a blessed priest magess called a Sibyl (the rightmost unit in the Commanders list), and even more for some troops on other nations. Giant nations can expect to fork over 500 gold each for their biggest and toughest commaarnders, for example.
Gold works like you'd expect - you tax it from provinces, you spend it on stuff.
Holy is a limit on blessed units. It doesn't count for mages, only for large blessed armies, and the fact is that I'm not going to be using any of it, so I'm going to pretend it doesn't exist.
(Future Me: I actually skipped this because I hadn't really looked into it much and knew it wouldn't matter. For the curious: you get a number of "Holy" based on your nation's global dominion strength, and each blessed Unit - not Commander - costs one Holy. Each Fort has its own supply of Holy, so if you're really bottlenecked on Holy you can build a bunch more forts to spam units from each one. You can also build a ton of temples to increase Holy across your entire nation. None of this matters for this game, though.)
Resources, however, are important. Resources represent your production capability for armor and similar heavy equipment. Each turn you have a certain number of resources to spend in each province. If you don't use them, they don't stack up, they just vanish.
Forts have a few nice properties involving resources. First, by default, you can only use half the resources each province produces. Forts get rid of that limit for the province they're placed in. Second, forts pull resources from adjacent provinces, allowing you to use them for production in that fort. The upside of all this is that building a fort results in a huge boost in resource production for that province, but a drop in resource production for adjacent provinces. That's why you don't want them too close together - to some extent, they interfere with each other.
(Future Me: Hey why don't I just skip one of the main reasons for building forts. Okay, you see all those units up there? Most of them are racial Arco units, which means that anyplace I have a fort, I can build those units. No fort means no units - I'd be limited to the independent troops that province can recruit, and those usually run the gamut from "worthless" all the way up to "crappy". Of course, if I'm trying specifically to recruit an independent province's units, that's somewhat irrelevant, but being able to build your armies in more places never hurts.
Additionally, forts are tough to capture and so unsurprisingly work as defensive structures, but I'll go more into that later.)
The spot I really want a fort is west of here, at the very northern tip of the mountain range to my west. It's actually adjacent to no less than eight separate provinces, four of which border mountains, which is a big resource boost. On the other hand it's also kind of far away from my capital and I may not be able to grab it. However, if I can grab it, I'm in a fantastic defensive position, with fortresses guarding the only two ways into my swampy center.
Unfortunately, more than anything, I currently need resources in my capital to mass-produce more elephants. That means grabbing adjacent forests ASAP.
After consideration I decide to send my army north to hit the archers. I unfortunately don't have dominion there, but with luck I'll only lose a few units, and not my elephant. With lots of luck I'll even find a fire site and start pulling in fire gems. Meanwhile, my scout heads southwest to check out the mountain pass and then see if anyone's already occupying my intended fort site.