Wednesday, March 20, 2013

HIS - The Ottomans - Strength and Weakness

Suleiman - Leader of the Ottomans

The Ottomans

The Ottomans are the Dark Green forces in Here I Stand.  Like all factions in the game, they have particular strengths and weaknesses.  Of the factions, the Ottomans have the most straight forward of goals: Military Domination.  Furthermore, the Ottomans have an "optimal route" in their first turn, something the other factions do not exhibit.  In some ways this makes them rote in their play style for the first turn or two.  After that, the strategy really begins to open up for them.

In my opinion, this makes the Ottomans the easiest faction to play for new players.


Ottoman Home Card
The greatest strength of the Ottomans is their ability to amass a great army and raise troops quickly.  Sulieman, by himself, can move up to 12 armies, and with Ibrahim Pasha this brings the total to 18.  The Hapsburgs could achieve a maximum of 16, while France and England could bring a maximum of 14 armies, Protestants 12, and Papacy 4.

The other powers are less likely to achieve their maximum number than the Ottomans.  The Ottomans Home Card allows them to raise 4 troops per turn (at a cost of 5 cp), and should be used almost exclusively for this purpose every turn.  Adding to their strength is the fact the Ottomans are immune to all the "Mercenary" cards.


The Ottomans have two major shortcomings: Their starting position and their "External Concerns": the War cards.  The War cards are an annoyance.  At the most inopportune times they can result in troops being sent "off board" to fight some battle.  A total of 9 armies can be lost to the War cards in this way. It is up to the player to determine if they need the troops or not.  In some ways, it is better to not resolve the War cards so that they cannot be played again, but if both cards are played it can result in a loss of 9 troops, which can take a full turn to regain.

Perhaps the major issue of the Ottomans is their positioning and the terrain surrounding them.  The only effective land route the Ottomans have is through Belgrade.  This creates a natural choke point which limits their movement.  The Ottomans must defeat Belgrade to advance on the Hapsburgs or into Italy.  Furthermore, any offensive they launch can quickly grind to a halt if Belgrade falls, so it must be defended.
Choke Point Belgrade


Once Barbary Pirates comes into play the Ottomans have the option of Piracy.  Although Piracy is effective, it is not a guaranteed Victory point gain.  However, Piracy can, and should, generate a few victory points for the Ottomans.  We will discuss Piracy, and other options, in more depth later.
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