Etherlords: Plans

Etherlords is shaping up to be this year’s game that I play between playing other games, like Serious Sam and Throne of Darkness last year. Last night brought some more lack of progress on map 5. I’ll probably wind up ratcheting the difficulty down a notch soon, but there are still a couple of approaches I want to try.

My last failure was based on speculation that the different types of terrain were strategically significant. The Kinets’ home turf, for example, is covered with snow. The enemy heroes are often strangely reluctant to attack me when they can; could it be that walking on their territory triggers aggression? Well, apparently not.

The next thing I want to try is aggressively attacking the Kinet castle ethereally. I don’t even really hope to destroy it this way. If I do, great. But I’m mainly seeing this as a risk-free way to make the Kinets waste resources on defense — risk-free because ethereal combat never kills the heroes involved. I don’t even have to give my attacker any expensive spells, as long as expensive spells are wasted against him.

In fact, I had a near-breakthrough last night with a hero who still had the underpowered default spellbook. My castle came under siege by a level 6 Kinet while I was summoning a new level 5 hero, so the first thing I did with him was attack my besieger. It worked better than I had hoped, because my deck, being low-powered, was a lot faster than his: I had five little monsters nipping his heels at a point when he still had a only a single defender. By the time he brought out his heavy hitters and ended the battle, he was actually down to 1 health. Emboldened, I restored to just before the combat and tried it again twice, but with much lesser success. So it looks like that first try was just unusually lucky.

I’m doing a lot of that these days, restoring to just before the last turn. The game makes it easy by autosaving every time you hit the “end turn” button. Usually I don’t do this to repeat battles in the hope of being luckier next time, but rather, to issue different orders and avoid the battle I lost. Still, the fact that I’m doing it so much is a pretty clear sign that dialling down the difficulty level is warranted.

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