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Solium Infernum Diplomacy Guide

Solium Infernum Diplomacy Guide

The core of Solium Infernum is the diplomacy system. This may look like any other strategy game, but it’s not. Diplomacy in Solium Infernum is a particular dance, and once you know the steps to the dance it is utterly predictable.

Vendettas

To understand diplomacy, the first thing you need to understand is what happens when it fails: a Vendetta. This is either a short war or a duel between praetors. Both of these are fairly predictable: you should know going in whether you’ll win or lose. If you have a competent duelling praetor and the other person doesn’t – or doesn’t have a praetor at all – the result of a duel is not in doubt. Similarly, if you have a levelled-up and well-equipped legion on their borders, the result of a war is not in doubt. If there’s no shared border, then unless either of you have teleporting legions, a war is not in doubt either. At times there will be surprises, but not as many as you’d think.

The player who declares a Vendetta gets to decide which type of Vendetta happens. This means that no matter how strong someone’s legions are, as long as you get to choose the type of Vendetta, those legions are irrelevant.

Try to get into the habit of asking yourself: can I beat Andromalius in a duel? Can Astaroth beat me in a war?

If you can beat someone in one way but not the other, then you want to be the one declaring Vendettas, and you want to avoid giving them the opportunity to declare them. The only time you should be okay with another player declaring a Vendetta on you is if they can’t beat you either way.

Most diplomacy won’t end in a Vendetta. But the threat of Vendetta is always there, and you need to understand this threat before you understand it.

The Basics

Now that we understand Vendettas, we can talk about diplomacy.

  • If you hurl an Insult, you give the other player the opportunity to declare a Vendetta.
  • If you issue a Demand, you give yourself an opportunity to declare a Vendetta (if the other player doesn’t buy you off.)
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In either case, you have to wager a certain amount of Prestige. If the other player gives in (and they should, if you’ve judged the relative power correctly and they’re smart) then you’ll get the Prestige back. If you’ve misjudged it or they don’t know what they’re doing, you won’t. This means that Prestige that’s staked on diplomacy shouldn’t be seen as a loss, but as an investment.

If you’re feeling confident and want to be a little bit clever, you can use nonstop Demands as an intentional way to keep your Prestige low, so other players don’t see you as a threat. You’d be amazed how much they’re willing to tolerate from “the player in last place.”

Demands

Demands are the most common type of diplomacy. You’ll see a lot of them hurled around, and you’ll hurl a lot of them around yourself.

Giving in to a Demand costs some tribute cards. It’s more expensive than a single turn’s tribute. It’s much less expensive than losing a Vendetta. Therefore, if someone makes a Demand against you and you think they can beat you, the smart move is to pay them off.

At higher Rank, you can Extort more precious things, like artifacts or praetors. These Exortions are something you have to judge carefully: people are likely to refuse them rather than give in and hand you something they need.

  • If you have the most powerful duelling praetor, then you can issue Demands to the entire table, and you should! This is what duelling praetors are for.
  • If you have a high enough Destruction to wipe out legions from across the board, then the same applies. You can make Demands to the entire table, and you should!
  • If you have the most powerful legions, then you can issue Demands to your neighbours, and you should! They don’t want to give you an opportunity to take their places of power away from them.
  • If your neighbour has powerful legions but they’re about to be very busy, then you can issue a Demand, and you should! Remember that Vendettas take a few turns to start, so try to issue the Demand before they’re busy, not while.

This is what power is for. Legions and duellists and Destruction aren’t there for their own sake, they’re there so that the threat of them makes others give you what you want.

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It is entirely normal for two players to make Demands of one another, if one has better legions and the other has a better duellist.

However…

If a player gives in to three Demands in a row, then you can declare a Vendetta against them anyway via a Declaration of Weakness. This means that they have nothing to lose in refusing the third Demand. Some players will decide to show some teeth and be defiant, while others will just suck it up. If you’re making your Demands properly, you should be able to win these Vendettas easily for some delicious Prestige.

When Should I Refuse A Demand?

You should refuse a Demand in two situations:

  • If the other player has misjudged the relative power, and you think they can’t win against you in either sort of Vendetta. Surprises like this are just rare enough that they’re nasty when they happen.
  • If they’re asking for something that’s more expensive than the cost of losing a Vendetta. This normally applies only when they’re asking for Praetors or Artifacts.

Some players will say that you should refuse Demands towards the end of the game, because Tribute is less important at that point. Other players will say that you should refuse every third Demand so they can’t Declare Weakness against you. Both of these players are wrong. At the end of the game, Prestige is very important, and the best way to give someone Prestige is to give them the opportunity to win easy Vendettas against you. Likewise, Declare Weakness gives them a free Vendetta after every three complete Demands. If you refuse every third Demand, you’re giving them a free Vendetta more frequently than that.

Insults

Insults are a way to get a lot of Prestige. If someone Insults you, you either have to give them a pile of Prestige, or declare a Vendetta against them. Because you declare the Vendetta, you choose the type of Vendetta. This means that (if they’re a good player) they won’t Insult you unless they’re pretty confident you can’t win with either type of Vendetta.

When should you use Insults? Obviously, use them if you have both better legions and a better duellist. Less obviously, use them if you have a better duellist and no shared border. Remember, you don’t need to win, you need to avoid the other player winning – and if they can’t reach you, they can’t win.

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Spamming Insults can be game-winning. Legions and praetors aren’t there just to look nice, they’re there to get you into a position where you can spam insults and harvest Prestige.

When Should I Reject An Insult?

There’s only one situation in which you should reject an Insult, however it comes up quite a lot. You should reject an Insult when the other player has misjudged the relative power level and you can win at least one type of Vendetta against them. After all, you’re the one who gets to declare the Vendetta, and that means you get to pick the type.

This is where you get to show some teeth. This is where it gets nasty. And once you’ve beaten them, the situation at the table changes: they may have lost their duellist or their best legion, which means that they stop being the table bully and start being the target for everyone else.

Afterword

Now that you know the steps to the dance, you’ll be able to read the game much more effectively. Has someone you don’t have a border with and with low Destruction just made a Demand of you? They must think they have a good duelling praetor. Has Lilith just insulted Astaroth? She must be strong both ways and he must be weak both ways. Has a good duelling praetor just been purchased from the bazaar? Then it’s time to reevaluate your idea of relative strength, until you know who has it.

Always remember: there are some games where the winner is decided fairly early on. Solium Infernum is not one of those games. In Solium Infernum, you are not defeated until the game is truly over. You can always get some more Tribute, buy some new legions and praetors, and get back in the fight. If someone thinks you’re weak then they’re likely to be overconfident – and that’s the most fatal thing they can be. Choose your moment. Play intelligently. Fight like a devil.

To reign is worth ambition.

Written by TheBeautifulVoid

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