On Conquest in the Patagonia

Ah, Napoleon. My favorite sparring partner.

I had never visited the Patagonia, despite the firm knowledge that the Dread Pirate Roberts had once retired there. It seemed an auspicious location for battle, ripe for conquest. Rocky shores, highland lakes, long and flat plateaus. Yes, indeed, this would be the site of my next battle.

My colony was far inland, in the highlands along the shores of a vast lake. I had Suleiman the Magnificent as an ally; his colony was to my south, in the lowlands near the coast. I’ve always found Suleiman a bizarre ally; he’s prone to histrionics and random babble.

Somewhere to the north were my enemies — Napoleon and the French, Ivan the Terrible and the Russians. Both have been dangerous enemies, and I was sure that this would be no different. Especially as I was on unfamiliar terrain.

I scouted out a rough map of the Patagonian terrain. The highland lake stretched across half of the map, long but narrow. I reasoned that if my colony was on the southern shore of the lake, then one of my opponents could be on the northern shore. And if I could control the choke point between the lake’s eastern shore and the plateau that ran on a vague northeastern incline to the east, perhaps by building walls and a series of frontier outposts, I could perhaps force battles to the east — away from my territory, and into Suleiman’s territory.

Yes, I would try and force my ally to take the brunt of the enemy’s overland attacks, while I attempted an assault across the lake.

The problem I quickly discovered was this — where my colony was placed was nearly bereft of resources. The highlands were broad and flat, true, and there was some game for hunting, but they were also woodless and there were few silver or gold veins to mine. These resources were in the lowlands along the coast; I would have to keep my settlers far from my colony in the lowlands to gather resources.

Unfortunately, this was exactly where the battle to come would be fought — if I controlled the choke points and forced the battle on my terms. I would have to risk my settlers to gather the resources I would need for victory. It was a devil’s bargain.

But nothing ventured, nothing gained. Victory cannot come without sacrifice.

Houses were built near the coast, in a flat plain between two vast forests. I didn’t want the houses on the coast, lest Napoleon or Ivan’s navies shell the houses from the Atlantic. Unfortunately, this flat plain was the route between Suleiman’s colony and our enemies to the north, once I had built a series of fortifications — walls and outposts — that closed off the path south along the lake’s shores and the plateau to the lake’s east. However, this was also an advantage; an attack on the houses would serve as a warning that I would need to evacuate my nearby lumber camps.

In retrospect, I should also have built defensive frontier outposts to provide a defense of the houses.

Napoleon and Ivan both tested the defensive walls I had built near the lake’s shore. Jointly or separately, they would attack the wall, and the outposts I had built — and musketeers I had trained — kept the two at bay. Later, Suleiman decided to place a massive fort inside the walls, and once that was constructed, neither Napoleon nor Ivan had a chance of breaching the walls.

My own plan was to cross the lake, hopefully catching Napoleon, whose colony, like mine, lay on the lake’s shore, unawares.

Unfortunately, I did not have naval superiority on the lake, and the element of surprise as I wrested control of the lake was lost. Time and resources were lost as my galleons and caravels came under attack by Napoleon’s high-water navy.

As Napoleon and I fought for control of the lake, the attack I knew was coming to the shores far to the east came to fruition, and an army comprised of French and Russian troops descended on the village of houses I had built.

I evacuated my lumber camps as I had planned, pulling them back to my colony’s town center far to the west as the Russian and French troops concentrated on destroying my houses. This did not concern me; I had much space on the vast plain where my town center stood to build a new group of houses.

I sent Suleiman a flare that these houses were under attack; as they reached nearly to the outskirts of his own colony, I knew that once they fell, he would face the armies of the French and the Russians. I sent a few musketeers into the fray to support Suleiman’s defense; he cried that his town was “under siege.”

In any event, my interest was with the lake.

I had achieved naval superiority, and my galleons made landfall on the northern shore. I had the resources to train an army of musketeers and grenadiers.

But how large an army?

I would rather have too large an army than too small an army. And Napoleon has always been a tough opponent.

I assembled an army of twenty musketeers and twenty grenadiers; this would do for an initial assault, and I could train a second wave if necessary. I was also bringing in Highlander mercenaries from the home country, and I’ve found the Highlanders to be dangerous in a fight.

Napoleon had built a massive fort in the midst of his colony. I took heavy losses from my musketeers and grenadiers in bringing it down, but apparently Napoleon’s attacks on my fortifications and Suleiman’s colony had drained his resources and he had few defenders for his colony otherwise. Once my army of reinforcements was ready and the Highlanders arrived, they proved enough to mop up the initial attack.

The town center was burned. Homes were razed. Farms were destroyed. The French colonists were slaughtered to the last man.

Napoleon requested a surrender. I laughed in his face.

With Napoleon dealt with, I consolidated my armies, rested my wounds, and prepared for an attack on Ivan’s colony.

I had more Highlanders brought in, this time along with Swiss pikemen. I trained more musketeers, more grenadiers. I had my arsenal prepare better armor and weapons for my armies.

The attack on Ivan’s colony came in two waves. The new army from the home country, along with musketeers, attacked Ivan from the south, coming up through Suleiman’s colony. As they approached from the south, the army that had destroyed Napoleon’s colony attacked Ivan’s colony in the northwest quadrant. My plan was to catch Ivan in a vice-grip. Suleiman sent a detachment of cavalry and cannon in support of my attack.

It was an overwhelming success. When Ivan at last asked for surrender terms, he had but one building still standing — a dock on the Atlantic coast. His armies and his colonists were dead to the last man.

The Patagonia was mine! 😀

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