I was going to keep my peace until Rob had finished, but I would like to make a few comments. First, the trivial:Seriously, like an outhouse caught fire and exploded.
I don't know why, but now I really want to see that used as a Dirtamancy trap during a city assault. Yeah, I know, I'm strange sometimes. Onto the more significant:Crush actually did know roughly what Squashcourt should be doing: a classic double cross. Scrofula should negotiate with the Union to plan an ambush. If Squashcourt broke alliance and turned against Bullyclub in the middle of a key battle, then the four Union sides in concert could wipe Bullyclub off the map.
I actually feel wiping Bullyclub off the map, in the sense of wiping out their side, would be a suboptimal course, although wiping their army off the map is exactly the thing to do. The Union reminds me of a very early Roman Confederation, perhaps as early as the Latin League. It has great potential for expansion. During the early days of the Roman Republic, over half of Rome's armies were made up of allies, known as the socii
. When Rome defeated an enemy, occasionally they'd annex them, either making them citizens with or citizens without the vote, but usually they forced them to become socii
. Sure, some allies would defect during the next war, such as the Etruscans during the Pyrrhic War or a chunk of southern Italy during the Second Punic War, but more stayed loyal. In fact, Hannibal's strategy during the Second Punic War was to cause the Confederation to splinter, but he only had limited success, since their was no way he could match the Confederation's manpower reserve. After the war was won, the defectors would be accepted back into the Confederation. They may have some land confiscated, and a Latin colony might be founded nearby to act as a watchdog, but they were still welcomed back. It was a brilliant system, that worked until it expanded too far and the patricians got too greedy, then they began establishing provinces.
Which brings me back to Bullyclub. Conquering Bullyclub poses some significant problems for the Union. I assume there is a balance of power within the Union, with each side controlling about the same number of cities. If Bullyclub is conquered, what does the Union do with their cities? They could simply raise them for schmuckers, but eventually someone will claim the sites, and sooner or later they'll be back to square one. They can divide the sites among members, but that would lead to sides owning cities disconnected and isolated from their others. The Union could just allow the closest member to annex them, but that would be Squashcourt, and allowing a side that recently demonstrated disloyalty to the Union to become the largest member seems like a bad idea. That leaves my favorite option. Annihilate Bullyclub's army, bring them to their knees and then magnanimously offer them a place in the Union. There might be some horse trading of cities along borders to maintain the balance of power, but, for the most part, all sides remain substantially intact. Now, you have a five-sided alliance that is better able to handle the defection of a member than a four-sided one. This could go on for a while, as long as the Union is patient. The biggest downside I see to expansion is Charlie. A growing stable alliance seems like exactly the kind of thing he'd try to subvert.
As to how to get King Scrofula to agree to the double cross, it depends, but a good method might to be to appeal to his friendship
with Lord Maglite. Wouldn't Bullyclub be better off in the Union? Doesn't Lord Maglite deserve to enjoy the peace, prosperity and security that Squashcourt has enjoyed for over a thousand turns? Of course Lord Maglite doesn't see it that way, but you know better. Wouldn't a true friend do what's best for their friends, even if their friends don't see it that way? It might work. It would depend on how King Scrofula responded to questions about Lord Maglite. Another possibility is to try to manipulate him through guilt. He seems to regret disbanding Prince Racket, so play up how important the Union was to him, how the Union is his legacy, his greatest achievement. Talk about how instrumental Racket was in it's creation, and it's loss would be like losing the Prince all over again. Of course the two courses aren't mutually exclusive.
If Squashcourt can be convinced to double cross Bullyclub, the tactical situation is pretty straight forward. The strategy of Squashcourt and Bullyclub against the Union is to convince one of the sides to remain neutral. Let them "succeed." If one of the Union sides has a Foolamancer who can cloak their army, or a Dirtamancer or diggers that can hide it like Haffaton did against Goodminton's siege, have their army hide, while the other two offer battle. Since they've been "convinced" to remain neutral, their absence won't be suspicious. Then have Squashcourt's army align on the oppose side of Bullyclub's from the hidden units. Once the battle is joined, the hidden army falls on one flank of Bullyclub's army, and Squashcourt turns and falls on the other. With two armies to their front and one rolling up each flank, Bullyclub's army should be destroyed in a classic double envelopment, a la
The wildcard here is Prince Axe. I see three possibilities for him. The first, and least likely, is that he is just a big, sullen, stereotypical warlord. The second possibility is that he's so sullen because he suspects his father disbanded his beloved brother; the same father who constantly reminds him he doesn't live up to the same brother. While this doesn't bode well for King Scrofula, it's more of a long-term, internal to Squashcourt problem, and it doesn't really jeopardize the double cross. The problem is possibility three: Axe, wanting a fight, masterminded the entire thing. He convinced is father to disband his brother and break with the Union. If this is the case, Prince Axe will need to be dealt with before the double cross can happen.
Falcon X wrote:Now, a few observances:
- This whole alliance of sides and Bullyport seems inconsequential. They are not a world power and there is no reason for the Titans to keep them alive. But they have purpose, or we wouldn't be reading of them.
Actually Lord Crush and his conflict may NOT have a purpose. Lord Crush is the first of four kickstarter reward stories; Each are supposed to be a stand-alone story inspired by top level donors. Their stories don't necessarily have to have anything to do with the main story. Granted, on the plus side we can atleast get a look at some of the other mechanics of erfworld through these stories, and it does help make the world feel bigger when we know there are other interesting things going on elsewhere in the world.
I have to agree that Lord Crush's story qualifies as filler. Four donor's donated at the "Who are you in Erfworld" level where Rob agreed to write a story of at least 1000 words about who they were in Erfworld. As of the last news post, two of us have agreed to allow Rob to post our stories, two have not yet. If the two donors who have not agreed don't, it would be kind of difficult for their stories to have any bearing on the main comic since only the donors themselves would be aware of their content. It would be somewhat unfair if the two donors that agreed had their stories posted on the site have their stories be more meaningful and tied into the main comic while the other donors' stories don't. So, I think these are stand alone stories. They're entertaining to read and offer insight into unknown game mechanics, but I doubt they'll have much impact on the main comic. Of course, there's always the possibility I'm wrong.
Anyway, Rob, if you're reading this, thanks for the wonderful Christmas present.