Napoleon and Frederick wanted a rematch. I had ground them beneath my boot on the sandy beaches of the Carolinas, but now I wanted to fight them in the valleys of the Appalachians.
Two against one. The French and the Prussians against me. Those two in their valley, me in mine.
It would be glorious! Skirmishes in the crooks and nannys of the Appalachians. Snipers holding chokepoints in the ravines between mountains. This would truly be a challenge.
I settled on a defensive footing until I felt I had enough resources to take on two heavily armed — and powerful — enemies at once. Building defensive walls in the valleys to keep German and French forces at bay seemed best. Backing those walls with frontier outposts would provide a level of defense, affording me the time to bring my own forces into position to defend the walls and outposts.
I scouted the map thoroughly. I’d located both Frederick’s and Napoleon’s colony early on, and I’d mapped out the mountain ridges near their colonies. By this point I had enough wood to build three sets of walls, designed more to pen them in than keep them out. And then, I built a second layer of walls behind those — if the first line of defense fell, I’d have a fallback position to hold them at bay.
These walls had a side effect — they kept Frederick and Napoleon from the resources in the center of the map. The valleys were actually rather light on resources. Very little food, not much coin. The resources were mainly in the broad center plain and atop the mountain plateaus. Because of where I positioned my walls, I held the center, and the plateaus. Though I hadn’t intended to do so, I’d choked both Frederick and Napoleon of resources.
So, as I harvested resources at will on the two-thirds of the map that I controlled, in the Franco-German valley the resources dwindled, and their colonies ceased growing. Frederick made a play for the wall I’d built roughly near the center of the map, and I repulsed his attack there. Then he made an attack against the southern-most wall system, and again, that attack was repulsed. (I then built an even more extensive system of walls to confound the Prussians should they make another attack there.)
And then, since I had a decently-sized force — ten Seminole archers, twenty Musketeers, fifteen Grenadiers, with more of each training — I felt the time was ready to take the battle to Frederick.
The battle for Frederick’s colony is hardly worth writing of. Frederick’s town center fell, his colony was not particularly large — though he did have a healthy complement of artillery — and he offered his surrender within mere moments.
I, naturally, did not accept his surrender.
I had built reinforcements in the expectation of needing them. I did not. As columns of reinforcements descended upon what had once been Frederick’s colony, I realized that my wish for a cataclysmic battle and a genuine struggle was all in vain.
You see, Napoleon had yet to show his hand. And it was growing increasingly obviously that he would not. Because I quickly realized that Napoleon had no hand to show.
I had held off advancing in ages. Napoleon and Frederick had both been advanced ahead of me — Frederick had two ages on me, being in the Imperial Age as he was — and with Frederick out of the picture I quickly aged up.
But I could tell just from the score that Napoleon would be in no position for a battle — despite being behind Napoleon in age, I had five hundred points on Napoleon.
I had amassed an army — both through my own barracks and through imports from my home city — in the expectation of a glorious battle in the Appalachians. Fresh troops were arriving. And yet…
I knew, with no doubt whatsoever, that Napoleon would put up little resistance. I knew, simply from the score, that Napoleon had nothing. While I had a massive army.
I had reached the Imperial Age, and had begun to advance to the Post-Imperial Age. I put my army into motion. I had no specific targets; I’d simply picked a destination of roughly the center of the French colony. And because I had built such a massive army, I needed four columns to move the entire force.
I could barely watch the battle. It amounted to this — one moment there was a French colony, and the next moment there wasn’t. Napoleon offered to surrender, but then he had no one left alive to surrender.
The game was over.
I’d wanted to grind Frederick and Napoleon beneath my boot. The Appalachian map is challenging. Yet… this was almost too easy. My defensive strategy for the first half of the game had the result of making the second half simply a mopping-up operation.
Maybe next time I’d do three on one. I’ll add Ivan the Terrible to the mix.