Playing as Verga, Normal Diffculty, Normal AI, 4 Kingdoms as opponents, Dense Monsters, Sparse Resources, Sparse Magic.
I finally achieved a diplomatic victory. For some reason it just did not feel right. I think a large part of this is because I was playing as Verga. It just seems wrong to win with diplomacy with him. Expansion is pretty slow going with these settings, and resources are a premium. On the entire map, I only found 1 Iron Mine. This mine was a hot spot of activity. By mid game there were three sovereigns remaining. Gilden and Relias fell. Relias fell very early, I would have to assume a monster attacked. I never found a former city. Gilden was obviously taken down by Lady Irane, or at least she had the majority of his cities.
I had two cities for a quite a while. I did learn that if you do not have metal that Juggernauts default to a spear. They are still pretty good units, but not any where near what they are with that monster axe. West of my fourth city I saw the Iron Mine. However, I also saw a Tarth army with a pioneer. There were four 3/3/0 tiles 3 squares from the iron. I made some elite Grey March units, basically adding leather armor and some traits. Verga was pretty strong, but all my other champs had taken quite a beating just trying to clear the beasts. My power rating was about 50 points higher than Tarth, and I hadn't even found Procipinee yet. I knew Altar had fallen, and Gilden had just fallen maybe 5 or 6 turns earlier. A mountain range really secluded my cities and my fourth city was really the only way in. I started making units from my 2nd city which was a fortress. It had Aura of Might, and Heart of Fire enchantments. Not wanting to deal with a city or outpost. I did what Verga does when he finally runs into another faction. I declared war and killed the hero and pioneer unit. I settled the city and reinforced it. Two turns later Procipinee comes marching down from the north. She has completely out researched me, but was way weaker than me.
Lady Irane was not happy with the loss of her pioneers and responded with a couple waves of archer units. Actually some archer units that I made in previous games. Clan of the Eagle--better bows and traits. Really good bow units are a problem for Juggernauts. However, through a combination of rushing and a pretty good fortess with the Great Mill, I was pumping out juggernaut left and right. Even better they had that monster axe. It was close but I was slowly gaining ground on Lady Irane.
Then it happened. A random even that sent the world into chaos. Suddenly monsters were just everywhere. Every monster had the prefix "awakened" next to it. Thanks for the 5 armies of mites, 4 armies of darklings, wildings every where, and the big ass Dragon that just showed up between my capital and my second city. All of them roaming and destroying resources. Which in this game are hard to come by. Not mention if they destroy my fortress city, I would be in a world of hurt.
It is at this moment that I decided to see if I can get Procipinee to become an ally. The only problem was that she was pretty far behind both me and Irane in power. I had not learned alliances yet, but i was close. So for twenty turns I sign up for trade agreements, I give her tributes, anything I can sign her up for. Also for the next twenty turns I am trying to battle all of these monsters unleashed in the middle of my empire. Lady Irane is constantly sending troops into my western most city with armies that now include catapults. When I finally learn alliances I have close relations with Procipinee and see the option of Alliance. Two turns later I also ask her to declare war on Tarth. It takes a little convincing (gold and influence) but she agrees. It was a good thing too, between the monsters and Irane's constant attacks I was losing my power advantage over Tarth. I am not sure if Procipinee actually did anything, but it sure seemed like smaller armies were being sent into my city. It gave me the time I needed to deal with all the monsters. Then I started moving west.
Tarth fell relatively quickly after that. I marched with Verga and my army of Juggernauts from city to city. I had a Fell Dragon in my army for the last two battles. I really like dragons in my army. The final battle took place in Hope, where Irane and what was left of her army were completely annihilated. As soon as she fell, the victory screen came up. I was both happy and sad at the same time.
It was a great game but again for some reason, just did not feel right. Verga in an alliance with Procipinee. Maybe if I was playing as Relias or Karavox, but Verga. Just didn't seem right, when I play as Verga I just want to crush all the enemies. Like when i declared war on Tarth. I did it just because I didn't want them to get the iron, and the simple fact that they were there. However, after the random event and the constant attacks from Irane I am not sure I would have actually won without doing it.
Quite the dilemma. Great game though.