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A Tale of Two Tourneys

Musicians bang their drums, and history unfolds at the very birth of a battle sphere.

Over the past two tourneys the Musicians have been banging their drums over the head of whoever came near. Their pursuit of a full orchestra resulted in getting top reviews in tourney 1 and 2 and now all I wanted was a quiet place to write music.
But alas, our pursuit of the grandest venue had already been balked at this point by specks of Grot all over my finest furniture. Not deterred, the drums went silent, and the troupe started marching to their new venue.
With breathtaking beaches, lovely mountains guarding luscious valleys, my intended home was the perfect place for inspiration. The limited ways into this paradise would allow me to screen all but the most determined visitors. Its only drawback, its lack of decent transit links.
A little banging of my drums should scare off all the rats.
And run they did. Although I don’t expect to get away with using such inferior instruments in later performances.

Unfortunately the neighbours don’t like my intended building plans, although how they got hold of them I have no idea, maybe a little bird told them. Trust me to move in next to a music critic.
Well in that case I’d better be ready to run and run fast if I get bad reviews. I do so hate getting pelted with red tomatoes so I’d better stay out of sight.
Aaaaarghh, here come the tomatoes. Best retreat…
…into the arms of those who got me such great reviews earlier. Safe at last, safe at last thank…
Who says HE doesn’t have a sense of humour.


So much for out of sight, out of mind, look out folks here they come.
And heres where they’re coming from. Scouting shows that the critics editor isn’t next to the subway, but I’ll find him. I’ve a piccolo with his name on it.

What to do, what to do… With GODs eyes on me, I fake left…

And sprint right…


…under the spiritual eyes of a shaman. Mistake number one you might say.


I guess I have to assume that everyone in the area is now enjoying my music which isn’t good given how little room for improvisation this score gives me. What I need is another act on the stage, lets see if I can book one.

Despite the crowds thronging to the concert most do not know where the final act will be. Boeddha seems eager to attend however and has booked seats north and northeast but only Shaman knows my current location. Shaman and Black Death0 have gone neutral. Well, Shamans declared a neutral sort of war. Green Peace Force is not a factor stuck on the hills as he is, but the two new unknowns are LEO and Crucible. Fortunately I outgun everyone in that direction, but can’t afford to open a new front.


It’s the music critic I’m worried about, as he begins an encircling movement both west and east. Losing either of these locations will limit my options considerably, but I am infinitely more vulnerable on my right.

BUT… I’m fighting at 2:1 odds in the centre, and if it collapses all is lost. As you can see, I’m not exactly overflowing in the firepower department and most of what I’ve gots Wt10. But what there is of it is focused on the Critics high Wt titans, completely ignoring the Sh strains already on the hills. I’m relying on repair rates to hold the line.

Look what I see on my right flank. Someone else dislikes the Music Critic too. So I try to book him into my venue but he has other plans. Around this time the Music Critics hall (and others) are posted on the cry by a third party. I suspect that this is where he’d like to be playing, for I know I’d like to. Still its help, but not relief and seems to make no difference to the combat around here.
The crowded North-East. The last thing I want to do is commence a new conflict up here. Shaman knows my halls location, so it could have been passed on to any of these approaching forces. I’m in a neutral sort of war with Shaman, and been shooting Green Peace Force forever (but they damn well won’t die), Leo hasn’t contacted me and keeps approaching, and now Crucibles walked through some covering fire. I use this as an opportunity to start talking to him. Only Black Death has stopped moving in response to my request.
My right flank collapses like the paper towel it was made of, but with Blaatand shooting at the Critic I guess he gives it up as a bad job and focuses on my centre and my left instead. That’s a good thing in my book, as if you head north there is nothing but plains, a few baby musicians frantically trying to reach concert status, and a whole heap of Crucible titans between here and my hall. Since last turn I shot and killed a Crucible fighter deliberately because it was 5 hexes from my hall (the one that went through my cover fire the previous turn), I’m not feeling that safe, no, not safe at all.

My left flanks not much better. It had shields unlike the right, but that didn’t seem to of helped much. The appearance of Titania’s pet leprechaun Boeddha (who has a nasty habit of popping up everywhere), and with GOD taking an interest also, sees the whole thing collapsing.


Fortunately this is just the first of three lines of defense on my left flank, which was the whole reason I faked with my hall left in the first place.

Crucible responds favourably to my words and I learn that we’re neighbours, with him just east of me. He’d thought that I was based considerably NW of this position. After a quick discussion, I convince him on the merits of a shared border. Fortunate for me, because the music critics just 9 hexes away from my hall, and he knows I’m around here somewhere. See, one of G O Ds scouts looking for me.

I had no-where to go if I couldn’t get Crucible neutral, I’m shooting at both Green Peace Force, and Shaman in this picture and if I move my hall off of the hill it will be seen. I had in mind with this agreement getting a way to rotate my forces around the lake, putting most every Music Critic titan out of the hunt. Or at least that’s the plan.

And just when I thought things were beginning to get settled, I get this…

You blew one of crucibles titan's to kingdom come. I would normally just
congratulate you on this, but crucible is one of my allies. Bad move.
Being a nice guy, I am going to give you a turn to explain your actions. If
crucible shot first (which i doubt) or if crucible tells me not to attack
you then I won't attack your clan. Shooting at my allies is a no no.

Black Death

Now that absolutely terrified me. The one turn notice was really a blind, because he spent that turn spawning the fighters to attack me with. True, I could of shot the breeders before this, but Black Death was the only clan to my north who stopped advancing on me when asked, even if he didn’t reply, and I had nothing to spare to chase him off so I’d let it go.

I looked at the positioning, and made the assumption that my halls location (in general at least) had gotten to Black Death and that this Crucible titan was the excuse to try and kill it. If it’d gotten to Black Death, it’d get to Crucible too it seems.

Because there was nothing else I could do, I contacted Crucible and simply hoped that my prior agreement would hold, maybe they didn’t have my hall location, and the message was just what it appeared to be. Okay, so I’ve got a duplicitous mind, but I’ve seen clans pull this trick before. In the meantime,

Here you see my left flank, and the Leprechauns actually sent fighters for once. Just two though, I’ve enough to handle it even if my defenders are getting a bit dated. My final line of defense between them and my halls looking a little shakey in this picture, as I’d had to dispatch some of them south to my main battle with the Music Critic to hold the line. Not to worry, that’s what breeders are for.

Not everythings going the Critics way though. Despite not having a gate of my own, my own scouts are sprinting through the battle-line, and lighting up behind the Critics southern line letting me judge whats coming from due south. On this turn I’ve a scout sitting on a gate that the Leprechauns using. He exists for a few turns before being killed, adding to my mapmarks the landing zones of the various clans that use it. It might come in handy one day if I’m ever able to attack. I’m also using mapmarks to highlight where that damn leprechaun pops up, so I can get the pot of gold before he gets a chance to look around.

One turn later, I start to have one of those uh-oh moments…

Oh crap,

Oh crap. It seems I should of scouted out in the west, and I’m scouting to far south, I didn’t see them coming at all.

Just when I think it can’t get any worse, it gets better. Black Death tells me that Crucible and he have sorted it all out, so he won’t be fighting me, and he likes the idea of shared borders. I notice that Crucibles marked a border to my east that I intend to adhere to scrupulously for obvious reasons, and, best of all, they’re linked with Blaatand, a clan that’s fighting the Music Critic, knows where the hall is, and is trying to get there.

Meanwhile Crucibles titans are busily rushing to the sounds of guns, heading south just east of my hall, between the right hand lake and his marked border, which we collectively call the highway. I check the co-ordinates of his intended destination, and he’s going to cannon into the Music Critics right flank. Yippee. The fact that the highways right next to my hall (and Crucible et al don’t know its there it seems) is a cause for slight concern but under the circumstances I’m not going to object.

I decide that its better to inform them where my hall is, to both build empathy and imply trust, than it is to have it accidentally discovered by them, which practically invites a hostile response. Both are risky, but as there is no way I can cross the highway anyway without being spotted, this choice is made a little bit easier.

I really hadn’t planned on letting Crucible use the highway as a major thoroughfare, but Crucibles strength here has always been stronger than mine, and he basically assumed that he could, so it seems wise to let sleeping dogs lie. Especially when those dogs are about to bite the Critic.

My guess is that he thought that this was a no-mans land, and that my main force was on the other side of the lake, which was true. Just my halls not. I still want to cross the highway, as I want to be able to put the attackers out of position.

On my left flank those two hills become kill zones for the approaching leprechaun, it should be a slaughter, but for the breeder support. Those breeders of his are Wt20 as a rule, and now that he knows what he’s up against he’ll use that range to pick me off one by one. It won’t be fast, or pretty, but since I’ve only got 1 fighter there with Wt14 or higher, and that from a half-filled breeder, it’ll be effective. I need a counter…

But still the leprechaun keeps popping up, not in the middle of my home because he gets squashed before his eyes open most of the time, but all around. There are 7 of these sods that I can see, from NW through to SE, varying in distance from 17 hexes to a mere 12 from my hall. When you combine what the leprechaun, God, and the Music Critic can see this turn I have about a 6 hex radius around my hall that they can’t see. Gee I wonder if they’ve worked out where I am. *sigh*

One turn later, I’ve sent light fighters out to see what I’m up against and to mix it up with the Leprechauns breeders. Being mostly 1 comp unshielded, I’m attempting headshots on as many breeders as I can reach in the hopes of causing disruption. The rightmost GOD titan, is 14 hexes from my hall, though they do not know it.

And in the NW corner we have Frost Lords, whom I’m assuming are here to join in the fun. They’ve got no score so far this tourney, so odds on they’re here to fight. I’ve shot them before in my rush to full clan-size, so I’m guessing they’re here to fight me. So I send this message.

Ø Well, 5 fighters today on my scan, none yesterday. I guess I should say welcome. Should I be shooting at you, or hailing you as my saviour. :)

Yes, so its leading. But I figure that if he checks the tourney pages he’ll see that my scores so far ahead of everyone elses this tourney that it might influence his decision to attack me. And the reason for that’s simple, everything armed of mine is shooting at something. It wouldn’t take much more to break through. Clans like to be the hero afterall so lets cast him in that light if he’ll let me.

Just south of my hall, here is the Music Critics as he advances up the hills pushing me back. And there on the east is the leading edge of Crucibles fighters which should start helping matters shortly. The right most Music Critics titan is a mere 12 hexes from my hall, though he does not know it. I’ve snuck a few high speed fighters and scouts through the gap between Crucible and the Critic heading south to look around.
This is the area just north of my hall. I can silence all but the two Leprechaun scouts on the east this turn, but covering fire should catch them. As a result, I make the decision to move my hall NE, towards the scouts and away from the fighting. Odd I know, but I believe my concert halls locales known to the enemy by the process of elimination, so having them eliminate an area that my hall then moves into seems like a good idea.

Yes, I am fighting in this area too, Shaman (8 hexes to hall), and Green Peace Force (12 hexes to hall), but compared to the rest, this is positively peaceful and neither of them are going anywhere

Fortune may favour the brave, but in this case I was more foolish. With a 1 in 6 chance of surviving on the path he took, I’m spotted again by the Leprechaun. The only advantage to this is that they can now see just how out of position for ready attack on my hall they are. Damn.

On the west I keep trying to headshot Leprechaun breeders, with little success. Frost Lords sent the following reply to my diplomatic hail:

Saviour wise I suppose it rather depends on who your fighting against
doesn't it. I'm not currently fighting against anyone, and could do with
the points and while you have rather annoyingly shot several of my scouts I
have no objections to joining in the battle on your side.

Who are you fighting against anyway?

So I gave him a list. It was a big list including everyone who’d shot at me on the previous turn if I remember correctly as I thought it’d cement his support or at least keep him neutral. Then, naturally enough I implied that’d be helpful if he went against the Leprechaun in this theatre of play. I didn’t get a reply to this confirming commitment, but his fighters are now moving with shields up around him, and don’t appear to be moving into firing positions against me so I’m hopeful.

Its odd considering the numbers involved how small the actual combat exchanges are in this area this turn. This turns mostly positional in nature as we both try to advance on one another. Myself trying to come to grips with anything with respectable range on the opponents side, and his high shielded creeping up the hills. On both sides, we generally focus fire on single targets whenever possible out of necessity. Myself to overwhelm his high Wt titans as quickly as possible, and then to have any chance of hurting his high Sh titans, and him to overwhelm my repair rates and/or just get a kill caused by my fielding Mt 12 titans as standard. I’d say that those 3 extra cells, used almost always on extra computers for my titans, have been key in this fight.

Hmmm, what is wrong with this picture. I think the Leprechauns going to be sneaky. By spawning SE onto that water hex, its actually possible to cross the lake and bypass my southern defense and thereby getting into my supporting breeders. Also, if he hadn’t spotted my hall this turn in any event, he could of moved the resulting fighter into a firing position on where he suspected my hall must be, by that process of elimination I was talking about. I vector some troops to deal with this when it happens, but decide against moving adjacent to the water so that I can shoot at the breeder himself, as I want that hex free for suppression fire instead. Let him waste that fighter, I’m onto his little game. Meanwhile I have my own games to play.
Heres one, its called peak-a-boo. I’m going to set up camp on that gate if I can. I’ve done this before, and got shot for my trouble, but the gate itself continued to live. With luck, getting rid of me this time will stop all those Leprechaun scouts. Heres another one,

3 shots, three unshielded breeders in range with 1 computer each. This is the fighter I snuck through the gap between Crucible and the Critics forces on the previous two turns. Really its just a scouting piece, but who can resist an opportunity like that. I’ll also move westward towards the other gate the Critic controls, maybe I’ll even live long enough to do something about it.

But, tricks like this don’t always work. I tried last turn to slip a fighter through the lines to cause some havoc and just have a look around.

I was trying to move onto that hill just out of scan, using 8 movement points. But, I got truncated all the way back so that effectively I moved only 1 hex forward. Talk about defense in depth.

Go 49, and this time I make it through this attempt, but get slaughtered trying. Oh well, theres the 1 comp Leprechaun just north of me that I’d decided to go after, so I’ll see if I can steal its pot of gold before I collapse.

Meanwhile, my other scout gets his chance at glory…

Incoming salvo of 1 from Maia135 of Maniacal Musicians (1 automatic)(shield ECM 85%) scored 1 hits ( 1 comp)
Computer systems unable to maintain integrity... Good Byeee
The Titan 4Shield15 dies.

Woop, 1…

Incoming salvo of 1 from Maia135 of Maniacal Musicians (1 automatic)(shield ECM 70%) scored 1 hits ( 1 comp)
Computer systems unable to maintain integrity... Good Byeee
The Titan 4Shoot12 dies.

Woop, 2…

Spawned titan "Tulani.2" at cost of 5 bio-mass.
Harvested 1 filled 1
Incoming salvo of 1 from Maia135 of Maniacal Musicians (1 automatic)(shield ECM 81%) scored 1 hits ( 1 spawning)

Awwwwh, you know, I was almost certain he was going to hit all three then. Still mighty fine shooting and as luck would have it I can have another shot at the survivor next turn. It’s a shame I don’t have such luck against the Leprechaun.

As for my gate attempt,… taa daa.

Howdy Mr Leprechaun. :)

Lets see, what else is happening. Well, Crucibles just hit the Critic like a tonne of proverbial Brick…

Frost Lord still marches south with shields up, but hasn’t started shooting at anybody yet. Could go either way.

But at least theres no co-ordination or concentration of Leprechaun firepower here, it’s a messy fight. The Critic fights like a Roman, but the Leprechaun fights like a Barbarian, every man alone with his claymore. In fairness this is probably more because of my attempts to disrupt him before he got organized.

What else, ummm… I shot my first Hulk titan and discovered that a), I couldn’t benefit from them because my halls to advanced, and b) that criticals can occur on hulks.

Could not harvest, the titan has no spawning capacity
Incoming salvo of 2 from GARBAGE MAN 02 of Green Peace Force (2 automatic)(shield ECM 83%) scored 2 hits ( 1 eng 1 weap)
Incoming salvo of 1 from Mad Drummers6 of Maniacal Musicians (1 automatic)(shield ECM 80%) scored 1 hits ( 1 weap)
** CRITICAL HIT DAMAGE ** scores additional 2 hits ( 1 comp 1 weap)
Computer systems unable to maintain integrity... Good Byeee
The Titan FORCED HATE 01 dies.

Reconfigured as ordered

Hulk hits against target FORCED HATE 01 gave no tech increase as your hall is too advanced
for this target (your hall=82, target total tech=70)
Ineffective hits: 1 weapon hits.

I also finally disabled the two Shaman titans at the front, just in time for the reinforcements to arrive…
And yet, I still regard this as more of an afterthought even though he’s six hexes from my hall. Its not like Black Death (that other clan with fighters on this picture) would be any help, I’ve yet to see him shoot anybody. Me, I’ve got 485 points on this turn, Shamans got 26, and Black Deaths got, what 4. If anything, that fact makes me nervous now that I come to think of it as they both must be bored, and bored clans are in my experience dangerous. Nows not the time to call them hippies though. Maybe I should move.
Frost Lords opens up, and he opens up on the Leprechaun. Yippee. Things are looking better and better all the time, The poor Leprechauns not going to get a chance to form up. Whats more, one of my scouts that managed to get through these lines limps slowly SW towards a gate and shows me…

absolutely nothing. There isn’t much depth to these leprechauns.

Meanwhile, my truncated fighter from a few turns ago manages with its dying breath to steal a pot of gold from him as well. Unfortunately my sharp shooter misses his second chance on the Critics breeder, and now only partially shielded is unlikely to make this gate.

Shaman climbs the hill with his reinforcements and shrugs off todays fire. I’m impressed, but numbers should tell, its very difficult to move forward from there.
And the Leprechauns wrongfooted me. Instead of trying to cross the lake which I’d covered, he’s spawned into the water. This allows that WT 20 titan to shoot at the my titans on the hills which are only Wt10 without my being able to shoot back. Quite clever really.

Well, that’s the sideshows, what about the main event?

That’s got to hurt. Its just a matter of holding on for a few more turns I suspect to break the back of this attack.
And the Leprechaun, well everyone on this map with the exception of Frost Lords were probably going to shoot at me. I know Frost Lords had five fighters, but I’ve lost them from scan now and don’t know what he’s doing, but he’s not shooting at me so life is good. I wonder how strong Frost Lords forces are, and how much havoc he’s causing behind the scenes. In the bottom SE corner you can see me taking fire from that waterborn Leprechaun.
And that waterborn titan now has two escorts, so there are now 2 Leprechauns capable of hitting that titan and a third protecting it, and I’ve only got 1 that can shoot back. Theres nothing more frustrating than not being able to shoot back but…
although Crucible is now chewing up the right hand side I’m focused on plugging the gap on the left instead of dealing with waterborn craft. My main aims just to hold down as many of the Critics fighters as I can, and prevent them from trying to rush north on the plains. Hold em still is all I’m after, and that’s done with either fire, or just giving them targets to shoot at.

In the sideshows, I’ve got two interesting sights, the first, my limping fighter that showed me how shallow the Leprechauns lines actually were, reveals this turn a concentration of Zero One fighters. Worth noting, but they haven’t shot at me last turn so I don’t think they’re hostile. They’ve just got a bit of power here. I’d speculate that they’re here to use the gate, judging by the breeders and couldn’t care less with regards to me.

And, my sharpshooter who I’d written off for dead, somehow survives and might even survive long enough to reach the gate next turn.

All in all, I’d say that this battle as an offensive threat is more or less over and even referred to them as, “dead, they just don’t know it yet” in conversations via the message relay. This turns out to be right because…

Six turns later, this is the state of affairs.

Frost Lords forces were stronger than anticipated, and sweep the battlefield before them. The new clan from a mother spawned nearby, Slyvan in red lends a hand.
The Music Critics formations been broken and about to be placed in a final pincer movement by the approaching Frost Lord forces on the left flank.
My Sharpshooter did indeed make it to the gate and the Leprechaun had shifted to using this one for his scouts. Zero Ones forces that I’d detected a few turns ago have spent all this time marching his fighters SE and used the 11 gate to send breeders ahead to there intended destination.

I’ve made peace with Shaman, a real peace, rather than being neutral/hostile. I’d marked a border as a deterrent, and the Clan One True on the next turn shoots the totem, beginning hostilities (or possibly resuming them?). I’ve shot him whenever he’s entered my sphere of influence so he might see it a different way.

But most telling as to the diminished threat, for the very first time my halls come out of flight and spawned out, and I’ve started assembling a wormhole capable force in readiness to go on the offensive. Its only small yet, only a dozen fighters, but it’ll grow. And that’s where I’ll leave you, for the next part of the story has not yet been written, but heres a hint…

The pincer movement worked like a charm.

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If you ever needed a guide on what the game plays like this is it. Drums and flutes and harps, and lots of music!

This is the first report of the new Epoch. We salute the author!

If you want to do a story then please get in touch, don't worry about length of pictures, just some battle reports will be fine.

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