Dune: Imperium Designer Diary 5 – Exploring the Imperium
“A process cannot be understood by stopping it. Understanding must move with the flow of the process, must join it […]
The nefarious Marquise de Cat has seized the great woodland, intent on harvesting its riches. Under her rule, the many creatures of the forest have banded together. This Alliance will seek to strengthen its resources and subvert the rule of Cats. In this effort, the Alliance may enlist the help of the wandering Vagabonds who are able to move through the more dangerous woodland paths. Though some may sympathize with the Alliance’s hopes and dreams, these wanderers are old enough to remember the great birds of prey who once controlled the woods.
Meanwhile, at the edge of the region, the proud, squabbling Eyrie have found a new commander who they hope will lead their faction to resume their ancient birthright.
The stage is set for a contest that will decide the fate of the great woodland. It is up to the players to decide which group will ultimately take root.
The most recent conquerors of the forest, the Marquise de Cat plays a game of engine building and logistics while policing the vast wilderness. By collecting Wood they are able to build Workshops, Sawmills, and Recruiters to help her score victory points. Marquise de Cat has the largest army in ROOT, but numbers alone won’t be enough to secure the forest...
The Marquise de Cat builds a mighty industrial war machine to subdue the forest. Each time the Marquise builds a Workshop, Sawmill, or Recruiter, you score victory points. The more of the same building she has on the map, the more points scored. However, to fuel ongoing construction, the Marquise must maintain and protect a strong, interconnected economy of Wood. While it may be tempting to overwhelm your opponents with sheer numbers, this leaves you at great risk of spreading yourself too thin and ultimately not being able to keep up.
The old guard of the forest won’t sit idle while the Marquise de Cat exercises your new rule. The Eyrie expand their Roosts and keep their territory in check. The birds are bound to their Leader’s decree, and disrupting that will send them into Turmoil. Keep in mind that all-out war with the Eyrie might create opportunities for the Woodland Alliance and the Vagabonds to unseat your new power....
The Woodland Alliance will try to sow decent in your clearings and slow down the production of your new Empire. While the Marquise de Cat’s forces out-number the Woodland Alliance, fighting them outright can be difficult. Make it a point to snuff out their sympathy from your clearings. If the Alliance does get a foothold… crush them! Occupy their clearings with enough warriors to drain hope from those who oppose you. Keep enough warriors in your clearings and you might be able to entice them into ruffling some feathers elsewhere...
There will always be scoundrels and thieves in your newly conquered forest, and this Vagabond is no different. The Vagabond will travel through your kingdom and could become a real problem if left unchecked. Will you deal with this ne'er-do-well directly, early, and often? Dissuade him from venturing into your clearings by bolstering and patrolling your territory? Or is it possible that you could come to some kind of... arrangement?
The Eyrie Dynasties once ruled the wood, before the coming of the Cats. They must retake control by capturing territory and building Roosts before they collapse back into squabbling. The Eyrie are proud and bound to the decrees of their leaders. Each leader brings with them different specialties and advantages. The right leader at the right time could lead you to victory, but the wrong leader could cripple your chances of reclaiming the forest.
During the Evening, the Eyrie score victory points based on the number of roosts on the map. The greater their presence in the Woodlands, the greater their gains. However, the Eyrie are bound by their Decree, an ever-increasing set of mandated actions promised by their leader. Each turn, they must take all of the actions on their Decree, or else fall into turmoil.
The upstart Marquise de Cat will challenge you as you reestablish your control of the wood. They might test you early with their numbers, but you Roosts are defensible and not so easily toppled. Defend your clearings and let the Cats deal with the harassment by the Vagabond and Woodland Alliance. Make yourself an unappealing target as you bide your time and look for opportunities where the Marquise, relying on their numbers alone, might spread themselves too thin.
The Woodland Alliance can be a nuisance in your Roosts, garnering sympathy in your clearings and undermining your efforts. Keep an eye on where the Alliance establishes their base and begins to stew outrange, taking those clearings could become more costly than expected. The right leader and help quell these insurrections and even use them to your own advantage.
The Eyrie have no tolerance for vagrants in our forest. This Vagabond must be dealt with. While the scoundrel might be of some use trading cards and items, ultimately they are not to be trusted. Be wary of them making offers that might seem too good to be true and be ready to chase the Vagabond out of your Roosts often.
The Woodland Alliance doesn’t take kindly to despots - old or new. Marquise, Eyrie, they’re all the same. Only through the will of the people can this wood be ruled! The Woodland Alliance are masters of guerrilla warfare, they begin slowly but can build into a late-game powerhouse - but only if they can manage to subvert the other would-be rulers along the way.
The Woodland Alliance works to gain the sympathy of the various creatures of the forest. Each time the Alliance places a sympathy token, they may score victory points. The more sympathy on the map they have, the more victory points they score. Gaining the sympathy of the people requires supporters. These supporters can also be put toward violent ends, inciting outright rebellion across the forest. When a revolt erupts, the Alliance will establish a base. Bases allow the Alliance to train officers, increasing their military strength and flexibility.
The rapid expansion of Marquise de Cat makes them a prime target for generating sympathy in their clearings, but be wary of how many warriors they can send to patrol those clearings. Directly fighting Marquise de Cat might not be the best idea, but if you notice them starting to mass forces, look for less guarded wood stockpiles from their Sawmills, a well-timed revolt in that clearing will cripple their war machine and net you a wealth of victory points.
The Eyrie’s time has passed. Their antiquated decrees can be leveraged to your advantage as the Woodland Alliance. By placing sympathy in clearings that the Eyrie must protect, you can force them to bolster your supporters. Beware though, some Eyrie leaders won’t take kindly to your freedom-fighting ways and will make it a point to snuff out the sympathy you’ve grown.
The enemy of my enemy is my friend… but still keep an eye on that shifty Vagabond. The Vagabond is an opportunist who may offer to trade and craft with you, but remember that they’ll always act in their own self-interest. An amicable relationship could keep the Vagabond bothering the other factions while you strengthen your Alliance.
The Vagabond is an adventurer to some, a trader to others, and thief to more, and an all-around scoundrel. As the Vagabond, you will explore all over the map, beyond just it's clearings, into dense woods to find items and ruins. You can trade and lend aid to the warring factions of the forest to help you complete your own secret quests.
The Vagabond plays all sides of the conflict while going on quests to increase his renown throughout the wood. Each time the Vagabond improves their relationship with another faction, or removes a warrior belonging to a faction hostile toward them, the Vagabond scores victory points. You can also complete quests to score victory points. To move and act effectively the Vagabond must manage a pack of items, expand your selection by exploring the forest ruins and providing aid to other factions.
The Marquise de Cat makes a good mark for a clever Vagabond. There’s a wide variety of ways to “give aid” that helps the Vagabond much more than Marquise, and their need for expansion can spread their warriors thin and make them vulnerable to a well-timed ambush. Look for chances where they might be establishing in a new clearing or recovering from fighting another faction to see if they need your help, or if you can kick ‘em while they’re down.
Those old birds of The Eyrie Dynasty barely craft anything anymore, so aiding them could have diminishing returns. Keep an eye on their Leader’s Decree, as it might provide insight to their next moves. Some Leaders are much harsher on the Vagabond than others so be sure to know who’s in charge before trying to barter or battle with the Eyrie.
You’ve got to admire the idealism of the Woodland Alliance - but more important to the Vagabond is that they’re strong crafters. Deals with the Alliance are more mutually beneficial than the Vagabonds' more lopsided bargains with the other factions, so be careful not to be enticed by all the crafted items they might offer you. When dealing with the Alliance, keep your friends close, but your crossbow closer.