On Incompetent Blundering

Henry the Navigator is an incompetent fool and a worthless ally.

Our battleground today was someplace vaguely New England-like. It’s hard to say precisely, as it was a random map–Gandalf’s Random Land Map, to be precise. The landscape’s features, though, said New England, even if the native allies–the Lakota and the Iroquois–and the native fauna–herds of ranging bison–did not. The map had two trade routes running roughly in parallel and eight native villages for potential allies. In the center of the map was a large plataeu with land ramps on either side. Control of the plateau could have meant control of the map.

I had as my ally in this war against Napoleon and Frederick the Great Henry the Navigator. I have always found Henry to be a whiny ally–he was at my side in that brutal battle against Napoleon and Queen Isabella, the battle that had him screaming for help when the Spaniards overran his town. I could only hope that Henry would fare better this time. Such was a vain hope.

Because of the separation of my town from my enemies on the other side of the plateau I was able to advance my technologies quickly, and my economy boomed. Troops arrived from the Old World, my explorer made alliances with the Lakota and Iroquois tribes and along the trade routes, and then I made a shocking discovery–Frederick the Great had built a massive fort not far from my village. I was able to overrun his font and destroy it but at some cost to my army. I trained new troops, though, and then Frederick attacked the Lakota village near my own village. We had a hard fought battle–he had cavalry, I did not–but my Black Watch Highlanders were expert marksmen, and Frederick’s assault was defeated.

To the north Napoleon attacked an Iroquois village I had made an alliance with and launched a simultaneous attack against the trading post I had built nearby on the trading route. Lakota cavalry I trained came to the rescue of these attacks, as did some Iroquois Tomahawks, and Napoleon’s attack was defeated as well.

I felt the time was right to make a move against Frederick, as he was the enemy closest to me. Because my Lakota and Iroquois allies had the farthest to travel, I ordered them to march on a trading site Frederick had built, and as they neared I would start my veteran army near my own village on a march that would catch Frederick’s village from a different direction. With two armies in motion I began to advance another age, trained more troops at my barracks, and prepared for the inevitable clash with Frederick the Great. “Your army is in my town,” he taunted me as one column began to attack one of his outposts–“Please remove them before I do.” Frederick’s confidence evaporated, though, when another column attacked his village from a different side. A classic pincer movement, one that I hoped would overwhelm Frederick quickly and knock him out of the war.

My battle against Frederick the Great was both quick and decisive. Building after building fell. Victory was at hand.

Then, Napoleon’s army struck at the outskirts of my town.

I had, by the time, reached the next age and had both fresh troops from the Old World and newly trained troops from my barracks ready for battle. I had intended these troops as reinforcements for the battle in Frederick’s town, but now I needed them for defence. Napoleon’s cavalry were effective, though. Many villagers were lost, farms and plantations burned. I emerged triumphant in the end, but at great cost.

But this was not the only attack Napoleon made. To the east of Henry the Navigator’s village Napoleon had built a mighty fort. From his fort he launched a massive attack on Henry, almost as devastating as the attack I had made on Frederick’s village. Henry cried out for assistance, but I had few troops to spare, just the remnants of the reinforcement army I had built and then used to defend my own village. I sent them north to Henry’s village, hoping that they might be able to put a stop to Napoleon’s attacks. Mortars and an escort of cavalry were sent against Napoleon’s fort. Meanwhile, I called out for Mantlets from the Iroquois and Dog Soldiers from the Lakota. Would these be enough to save Henry from his blundering?

Henry’s village was saved. But he had lost many buildings and many villagers. His town center was intact, but his market was gone, his farms were burned. Had Henry even tried to defend himself? I wondered. :holmes:

I advanced one more age, trained more fresh troops, and prepared for my attack on Napoleon’s village. My armies swarmed on Napoleon’s village from three directions–west, south, southwest. Victory was at hand.

Or so it seemed.

Napoleon wasn’t out of the fight yet. Rather than defend his own village, what troops he had he used to finish destroyed Henry’s village. My armies, engaged as they were in burning Napoleon’s village to the ground, were in no position to come to Henry’s aid as he lost one building after another. Though I trained more musketeers and had still more musketeers shipped in from the Old World, Henry continued to lose building after building. Only once his town center was gone was I in any position to come to Henry’s assistance, but by then it was too late. Henry had surrendered.

But all was not lost. Napoleon’s village was burned to the ground, and what troops he had left in Henry’s village were quickly dispatched by my musketeers. The field of battle was mine, but at great cost.

Had Henry done anything? I asked myself this. He’d explored the map, certainly. He’d asked me for wood and other supplies (which I hadn’t given him, as I needed them for my own needs). He’d asked for help in defending his village. But had he done anything himself to defend his own village? No, I realized. He had not.

In Napoleon and Frederick I had found worthy opponents. But Henry the Navigator was no worthy ally. Instead, he was nothing more than an incompetent blunderer. :/

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