How did i get wacked by turn 3?
It happened because i attacked a neutral province adjacient to my home castle. I won, but took many losses (support troops, not leaders). The very same turn Hinnom rolled in and attacked the province, now defended by my weakened forces (with no PD to help). My pretender and HP were killed. Almost everyone in the game (except the player who benefited from this) agreed that the initial set up - especially with the water player dropping out at the last minute (and this giant player being on that coast!) - was unbalanced. They also agreed that it was 'unlucky.' My position wasn't actually totally eliminated for several more turns. But losing 70% of your position, by turn 3, and not being able to even generate points to get the pretender 'resurrected,' definatly made any continued play, merely an exercise in pleasing the other players by 'putting up a fight' with almost no choices... just like a mosquitoe dodging a sledgehammer. I had promised not to drop out, if losing, and to put up a fight. So i kept my word and put up a fight. Since i had almost no income, and few effective troops / leaders of any sort - I resorted to using words to continue fighting off that player (Ala Diplomacy) - and trying to provide resources to othe rplayers in such a way as to bolster them. but I never actually had opportunity to even attempt to develop a position, and do anything. ALL the items I had read on line indicated that your home castle and adjacant provinces were 'safe' for 5 turns or so. I actually feel i did not play Dom3 MP, but instead a 'mod' of diplmacy - a game of words, and misdirection. It is what it is.
What did i learn? (1) If you start right next to one of the three overpowered nations, (the three giant positions) playing without the balance mod, (and not a giant nation yourself) you are done for, no matter how clever, sneaky, or wise you are. (2) I probably need to play (and study) like 2,000 solo games so i can have a chance against players who seem to have memorized the manual, and the stats on leaders, troops, spells. (3) If I am wacked again before turn five, I will totally hole up, and have even more fun with the roleplaying aspect. i love writing, so why not practice?
I had thought playing against to AI to be less fun. Howeveer, if the experience of my first 'game' of Dom3 is indicative of how it plays generally, then either the intiial set up needs to be better balanced, and/or the balance mod should be used. Othetrf brand new players should not have to experience what I did. Perhaps i need to always take one of the three overpowerd pretenders, and 'drop out' before the first turn, if I don't get one of the three. Also, perhaps, for the sake of playing, players might be proscribed to a reduced list of nations, to eliminate the initial player rush, and keep all positions viable for a little longer. This way the opportunity to actually learn will be extended without making 'some' players 'hold back.' Yes, it would eliminate one aspect of the game... but that can always be used in another game, yes? I'm just thinking of ways to set the initial game in such a manner that newbys get a chance to actually play some, before they get nailed, and get some real, actual, experience playing Dom3 MP, (and not just Diplomacy - the game). I definately don't want a game where some players are holding back.
The best chess games, for me, are against someone who is a little bit better than me. Anyone who gets checkmated in 10 moves, just doesn't know how to play at all. But a chess game against someone who is significantly better than i becomes boring. Oh, I play cat and mouse, and make them pay for every positional advantage they attempt to gain. Also, a game against some one who is much less skilled than I is also boring. I think I feel the same way about Dom3 (as i do other games). This Elementalists Dom3 game was my first foray into playing any on line game. I sense it was not a typical start, but neither was the result caused by stupidity.
I have no problem learning the balance mod, since so may threads (on other sites) indicate that it has widespread acceptance as an improvement to the core game - even though, as somebody noted above, it does change the base game significantly.