So this is it. When it all comes to a head and we see who really had the biggest balls of all of us. Who connived or bruted their way to the top. And who got stopped short of their goal.
Here’s everyone’s parts so far:
So here’s the plan.
Forget about the Temple of Lust, I don’t have time. I just need three turns, and I can wipe my nemesis off the map and actually feel like I’ve contributed something to this bloody game. It’ll be a permanent stamp on my record; Scrofula Slayer. It sounds good, doesn’t it? Boy does it sound good. I just need those three turns; there’s literally nothing he can do to stop me. I’ve got the superior powers with my legion, and I’ve got the martial skill to back them up with combat cards when I need to. It’s all I’m focused on, and it’s all I need.
But I’m hardly the only one with a plan to use Scrofula’s excommunication to start cleaning up shop; Scrofula himself has got rid of Zah’hak, the bastard with the infernal machine that sapped everyone’s wickedness, and that’s just gravy in my book. I note with some wry amusement that it was just this turn that Zah’hak played the ‘Master of the Bazaar’ event, leading to the game proclaiming him Master of the Bazaar, then informing us of his new residency in the Abyss. I’m sure all that tribute will do you good in the void, mate. Of course, next turn it’s going to promptly inform us that his tenure as Master is over. Just to keep things clear.
I’m not sure if it’s a concerted effort, or if Kieron’s just trying to take advantage of the general confusion of the past turn or so, but he’s made a play at Pandemonium, and failed. I almost wanted him to win, as it’d pause the drawing of Enclave Tokens and give me a chance to get rid of Scrofula, but unfortunately he got crushed. Oh well, I guess I’ll have to just trust in luck. Like that’s done me so well throughout the game. It does mean, in the hyper-unlikely event that I’m given a dozen more turns, I can get rid of Kieron too. That’d be nice. Payback for all those bloody rituals.
I’m a really, really bad Blood Vassal. Turns out Quinns almost got wiped off the map by Scrofula, in a similar play that he made at Zah’hak. It was purely through quick thinking and luck that he survived, but at the same time, I could hardly have done anything, because my Blood Lord, in all his infinite wisdom, banned all rituals for the past few turns, meaning that I couldn’t lob a lightning bolt over as a saving grace. But it does mean that someone might try something similar against me, so I’ve buffed up my Stronghold with a set of combat cards.
And I’m close. One turn to take out Scrofula’s best unit, and then one more to take his stronghold. I just need them to hold off just long enough for me to exact my revenge. I don’t care about anything else. Hell, Quinns can die for all I care, Speedo winning the match, so long as I get Scrofula’s head on a plate. I want to taste his eyejuice.
No, no, no, no, NO!
Those fucking bastards! Don’t they see I’ve got a vendetta to fulfil!? Not one of those namby-pamby diplomatic things, but a clear-cut, knife-to-each-other’s-throats VENDETTA!? It’s.. just.. not… fair!
I open up the turn, and I see this:
That skull is leering at me, I swear. It’s laughing its hollow laugh, knowing that it’s cheated me out of the one thing I wanted more than victory. How fucking dare it. I see it and I don’t think about how I’ve all but won, moved myself from dead last to second place, and how satisfying that kind of is, but rather how it’s stopped me from wiping that smug bastard off the face of the underworld. I mean, look how bloody close I was!
My personal guard was banging on his door! They were firing arrows over the walls and licking their lips at the thought of eating all his women! I just needed one more turn! How can one turn hurt anything!? Wipe me off the map after, just let me have this!
But no, I can’t have it. He sits happily in third place, just underneath my foot, and I like to imagine Quinns would let me turn him into a bootslave after he’d tortured him for a few millennia as recompense for coming so close to killing him. It’s not the same though. Not the same at all.
It makes this seem entirely hollow:
I’m the bitch in second place. Yay. I get to be the kid leering over the bully’s shoulder for the rest of eternity, because it’s better than getting punched in the face, right? I don’t really know any more. I know that if I hadn’t done it, twenty bloody turns ago, I doubt I’d have made it to the finish line, but at least I’d still have my dignity, right? You know what? Fuck dignity, I’m in second place. That’s more than can be said for any of my enemies.
Quinns says he had a game defined by luck. I guess mine was defined by blunder. It would be easy to write myself off from the start looking back, and claim that I started with the weakest Avatar (fucking Marquis), and I had the worst starting position, but really, I had the most resources out of anyone the entire game; I could’ve clawed my way back, somehow. I didn’t really understand the rules for the most part, and there were a series of blunders I’ll never make again, but that’s true of everyone. Perhaps I made a lot more than everyone else, but that’s my own damned fault for not paying attention.
In the end though, I came one place shy of winning. Being a Blood Vassal means that it was an automatic thing, and there’s something cheap about that. I don’t really feel like I earned it. I all but became a backseat player the instant I surrendered myself to Quinns’ will, and that changes how I felt about the game in the long run, I think. I see it as a victory, there’s something akin to cheating by turning myself into a slave. I’m sharing in his victory, but it’s still very much his victory. And that really grates, y’know?
I wish I’d had that one last turn. Oh how I wish it. It would’ve made everything else that much sweeter, I’d have felt like I’d done something to earn my position, but then I didn’t have it, and I didn’t earn it, so there’s not much point dwelling on what-ifs. I could’ve been great though, just saying.
There’s something cathartic about revisiting it. In the past week I’ve lived through a compounded version of the past few months, with all the highs, lows and in-betweens that come along with that. Only this time I can do nothing as I watch myself make stupid move after stupid move. It’s been amplifying the feeling of impotence I felt at the end of the game by a huge factor. It’s not all that pleasant. And tasting that ‘almost’ again has been near horrific.
Ignoring all that, I implore you to buy the game. Vic’s been talking about doing a multipack, and if that happens grab a few of your most conniving friends and create your own stories. Sure it may be a little obfuscated, but once you wrap your head around it it’s easily the most rewarding gaming experience of 2009 right there. Just buy it.
So that’s it, the huge beast that is the Solium Infernum diary is now over, for you to enjoy and peruse at your pleasure. Enjoy hell, you bastards.