Dominions 4 Ur Writeup — Turn 1
Welcome! I’m flowerygrackle, which you probably know if you’re reading this. And if you don’t, I don’t know how you got here! Turn back while you can, because this will be full of everything I love: long walks on the beach, holding hands… you know. Scandalous stuff.
This game will be something of a gimmick game for me, and as such the early game info won’t necessarily be super useful — but I’m hoping the way I make use of magic from the early-mid game onwards will come in handy to somebody. We’re using quite a few mods — summod, a neat and well designed balance mod, along with Magic Enhanced and Worthy Heroes, which both add some neat options to shake things up a little. Additionally, we’re using my own pretender mod, which buffs pretenders pretty heavily across the board — mortal pretender chassis the most, immobiles and awake expanders the least. It’s constantly undergoing iterative changes so please don’t judge me too hard. This writeup is mostly intended for people who know the basics of the game; I’ll be breezing over some minor things, so this won’t necessarily be your best bet if you’re completely new.
I’ll try to cover everything in the order that I personally considered/approached it, so, first! Nation choice!
I like Ur a lot — they’ve got a great mesopotamian feel, and have one of my favorite mages in the game, easily recruited from almost anywhere — along with one of my favorite gimmicks, their pretender god not losing any magic skill when killed and revived; additionally, they’re better at bringing their dead god back than any other nation. Hopefully we don’t have to do that too much. The mages they can recruit from their capital and other fortresses can be a little weak, though — I’ll cover them later. Next comes pretender design!
The Annunaki of Love and War has a lot of things I like — air, earth, and nature are some of my favorite magic paths. Even though Ur already has those in spades, she possesses them at a greater level than most of our mages could ever hope to attain, and the combination of air and earth isn’t something Ur normally has access to; we’ll be making good use of that particular crosspath in this game, I hope.
We’re taking her awake. While she doesn’t have the weaponry — or the armor — to take provinces alone, with some basic gear we’ll be forging on turns 2 and 3 she can take on most independent provinces without too much trouble — especially with some basic magical research. Having Awe helps her immensely — we’d have to take dominion 9 rather than 7 to get it otherwise, which comes close to making her untenable. The idea, in conjunction with Ur’s gimmick of being able to quickly and painlessly resurrect its pretender, is to have an immensely powerful flying spellcaster/thug who we can afford to lose.
Right, so, let’s finally have a look at those scales — dominion 7 is fairly standard. Next is turmoil 1 — a necessary concession, given how amazing the rest of our scales are. Sloth 3, heat 3, again, pretty basic — Ur doesn’t need resources, and Heat 3 is barely even a penalty. Growth 3, luck 3, and magic 3 combine to make us incredibly rich and well off in the long term, with a huge boost in gold and gems from positive events due to our luck, income over the long term with growth, and increased research abilities with magic.
Turmoil 3 and heat 1 might’ve been a little better, just because heat affects our income a little more than turmoil might’ve, and the additional increase in events from further turmoil could be very helpful, but it’s a little too late now — and those sorts of granular options generally don’t make a big difference in the outcome of a game anyways.
Now, I mentioned a gimmick earlier, so before we get into the game I may as well talk about it now: I won’t be taking a single province outside of those immediately adjacent to our capital, until spring of year 2. Normally, Ur has very good expansion, and our pretender would hugely improve upon it, resulting in 20+ provinces by the start of year 2. Instead, We’ll be limited to merely what is in our cap circle — somewhere between 3 and 6 provinces. If we’re attacked in year 1, however, I’ll break this and do everything in my power to murder the hell out of our enemies, gimmick or no — I’m not doing this to rigidly restrict myself for the hell of it, I’m doing it because I want a good fight - and getting rushed year 1 should be a good fight.
Onto the game itself! Turn 1!
Here’s the world; it’s a map generated by Corbeau’s wonderful Cartographic Revision, a unity tool for quickly creating fairly balanced, well thought out maps — much better than the base dominions 4 map generator. You can see us, too — little Ur. We really lucked out — a full 6 provinces within our capital circle.
Here are our orders for the turn — our starting commander becomes our prophet, our starting scout goes off towards the throne below, and our god begins to research some crucial early game spells. What are those crucial early games spells?
The first one is Barkskin, in Alteration 1; it’s not a very useful spell, but it’s absolutely necessary for our pretender, as we’ll be unable to give her armor until… probably next year at the earliest. The next goal after that will be Enchantment 2:
Mostly for this spell.
It regenerates 10% of the caster’s health per turn — quite a huge amount when our pretender already has something like 75 HP even in neutral dominion.
Here’s what our recruitment for the first turn looks like — I’ll go over our units in detail next turn; for now, we’ve more important things to cover.
Now, from the very start of the game, you can view all the different nations around. There’s an awful lot of info that can be gleaned from doing this, especially on turn 1.
Here’s us. What we’re looking at here in particular is our pretender’s epithets down at the bottom — “Sky of all the People, the Most High, Mistress of Air, the Rock.” What our opponents can learn from this is that our pretender absolutely possesses air and earth magic. Let’s see what the rest of our opponents have, shall we?
“God of Order, God of the Spring, Gardener of Happiness, Master of all Sources of Water.” Sounds like Nature and Water at least — God of Order’s meaning is pretty obvious.
“Opener of the Wells, Master of the Waves, Master of Fishermen”. This one is pretty easy — their player has taken a W9 blessing for their sacreds, the capital only Vanheres — with their dual wielding and heavy armor, they’ll blend their way right through pretty much anything anyone else has, this early in the game. Pretty dangerous. So where might they be, relative to us?
Vanheim has a guaranteed coastal start — it’s a solid bet that they’re somewhere around these lakes — presumably 4–5 provinces away from us. Hopefully farther. If they wanted to rush us, I’m not sure there’s a whole lot we could do about it — our pretender just doesn’t have the defensive ability to survive against their sacred units.
This one is pretty obvious — Air for sure. “Coppercaster of the Gods” is a weird one, though — fire? Earth? Both? Biggest copper thing that sticks out to me in this game is the Copper Arm, a magic item requiring earth and fire to forge — so I think Air/Earth/Fire is a good bet. Berytos is another nation with a coastal start — presumably they’re in that same group of lakes, somewhere.
“Lord of this World” is something for having high dominion candles — “Personification of Youthful Vitality and Violence” is a little strange, but definitely has to do with Nature magic, along with “Lord of Flowers and Spring”. “Personification of Youthful Vitality and Violence” almost sounds like it involves blood magic, but I’m pretty sure Lanka’s pretender doesn’t have any.
“Patron of Human Sacrifice, King of Pain”. Blood magic for sure — Xibalba is a little worrying. They’re an incredibly powerful nation, and one that I’ve never played or fought against before. Their player is, additionally, pretty aggressive, if inexperienced — I’m particularly susceptible to a rush here, especially if we look at the map.
I can be almost certain that Xibalba is somewhere in these caves — only 3–4 provinces away from my capital. Given that his Aztec Bats can fly 3 provinces in a single turn, I’m preeeeeetty heavily threatened by him — even in the best case scenario, he can get inside my cap circle immediately from his own capital. And with a blood 9 bless, his zotz will hit incredibly hard. I may very well die early here, there’s not a ton I can do about a blessed sacred rush — not without some research at least. Things might get a little hairy.