Greetings and welcome to the fifth Goblin Storm dev blog!
Today I discuss the four different scenario/objective types; gold raid, slave raid, relic raid and conquest, as well as the role of deception and intel in Goblin Storm.
Cloak and Dagger
At the beginning of every game of Goblin Storm, the Goblin player receives a secret objective: gold raid, slave raid, relic raid or conquest. This objective determines Goblin victory conditions, and influences the size of their army. The defending human kingdom is not aware of this objective at the beginning of the game, and must determine the Goblin's true intentions either by paying close attention to what the Goblins attack (or do not attack) or through scout reports and rumors. Thus, destroying your opponent's armies is just one part of achieving victory in Goblin Storm. Misleading and misdirecting your opponent is often just as important as winning battles.
Objective types fall into two broad categories; raids and conquest. Raids seek to capture very specific targets such as gold, relics or people, and then carry them back to their camps. Conquest seeks to overrun the kingdom entirely and claim the land for Goblinkind.
Gold raids are highly flexible objectives. In a gold raid, the Goblin's objective is to pillage gold, and haul it back to their camps. Where this gold comes from does not matter, villages, towns, cities; anywhere humans live there is some gold to be found, and the defender can't be everywhere at once.
Gold raids tend to come with medium-size armies, enough to cover the raid but not enough to challenge the bulk of the human army in an open-field battle. A successful gold raid mixes misdirection and the judicious use of force to achieve its objective. Maneuver as best you can, but don't hesitate to fight if you must.
Slave raids are not known for their finesse. They tend to be the most destructive of all the raiding objectives. In a slave raid, the Goblin's objective is to pillage human settlements and haul thousands of captives back to their camps. Goblin society is entirely based on slavery; consequently, Goblin raiders will often target major population centers such as towns and cities to meet this insatiable demand.
Slave raids tend to come with large armies, second only to full-scale invasions. Deception and maneuver are still important, but in a slave raid, the attackers eventually have to assault major settlements in order to meet their requirements. Major battles are inevitable.
Relic raids are possibly the most difficult objective type for both sides to manage. In a relic raid, the Goblin player is tasked with capturing relics from human abbeys and bringing them back to their camps. Capturing relics is the easy part, abbeys are often located in remote and under protected areas, actually carting them back home tends to be much harder - especially if the human defender figures out the Goblin’s devious plan.
Relic raids typically have the smallest Goblin army sizes, meaning the Goblin player must rely far more on maneuver and deception than brute force to achieve victory. Conversely, the human defender may find themselves particularly challenged since they have no control at all over where the Abbeys are placed.
Conquest is the largest and bloodiest objective type in the game. In conquest, the Goblin objective is to capture as many towns, village, and castles as they can. Whichever side controls 55% of objectives at the end of the game is victorious.
Conquest is the easiest objective to identify, but often the hardest to defend against. In conquest, the Goblin player gains a significant increase in gold at the beginning of the game, sometimes up to a 40% boost. Thus, attacking Goblin hordes can be truly massive. Thankfully, invasions are also easy to identify. If the massive size of the invading Goblin army doesn't give it away, then the fact that goblins do not loot during conquest objectives will. Instead, they will try to capture and hold as many conquest points as they can.
Identifying objectives at a glance
Searching through every settlement to check the population and gold value of every single one would be needlessly tedious. So there is a convenient set of overlays you can toggle on/off at the top left of the HUD to show the conquest value, gold, population and relics of every objective on the map. Here's an example of a game with the gold overlay on:
As you can see, there is very little gold in the outlying farmsteads, a fair amount in the more prosperous villages and vast sums in the towns. With the overlays you can easily plan your invasion - or defense, with a quick glance across the map.
Now we know what the Goblin's objective types are, but how does the human defender decipher the Goblin's true target?
Clearly, the defending kingdom cannot be everywhere at once. Thus, it is essential to identify the Goblin's objective as early as possible and react appropriately, all hints and intel gathered on the Goblin's intentions are collected in a Scout Reports scroll like this one:
These hints come from three types of sources:
Rangers, Foresters and Levy Horse can all glean information from Goblin units when they come within two hexes or by taking prisoners in combat. The more highly trained your recon units are, the more likely they are to pick up important clues. Moreover, being close to high-ranking Goblin leaders is even more likely to produce intelligence. Get an elite ranger company near a Goblin war chief and you are far more likely to gather useful intelligence - assuming your rangers survive.
Intel Among the Dead:
Destroying large Goblin hordes is a great way to gather intelligence. Important clues can often be found among the dead. For instance, there is a very good chance that if a Goblin horde possesses heavy wagons carrying iron cages, they are probably interested in carrying off slaves. The same goes for Goblin leaders, killing a war chief and his bodyguards often produces valuable information about their objective; was a war chief carrying a map of the local abbeys? Better rush some knights over to defend those holy relics ASAP.
Random rumors spouted by peasants, tall tales that circulate among the rank and file or wild claims made by Goblin prisoners, many of these rumors are not helpful, sometimes they are even confusing or contradictory, but they are not all untrue. Often, rumors are an excellent source of information on beasts that may be lurking in the darkness and sometimes betray the whereabouts of Goblin forces far beyond your line of sight.
Tying it all together:
That sums it up the four objective types, deception and intelligence for the moment. However, before I end this dev blog, there are two more important notes I want to point out.
1) For the Goblin attacker, the population, gold and relic values you see on the map are estimations, just because an abbey has three relics, doesn't mean that you will capture all three when you burn the place down. Sometimes some portion of the loot is lost, escapes or is successfully hidden when you capture an objective. Always keep this in mind when planning your raids.
2) For the human defender, all intelligence is prone to some degree of inaccuracy. Sometimes your rangers are wrong, sometimes Goblin leaders possess maps that they do not need for their current objective, or prisoners actively attempt to mislead you. Try to gather as much intelligence as you can and look for patterns. One Goblin leader with a map of local abbeys is suspicious, 3 or 4 is definitely a relic raid.
That's it for today, as always let me know if you have any questions in the comments bellow!