I had thought I was going to try and maintain my alliance with England for most of the rest of my game. How quickly things change. I really should have seen it coming however, and I think it probably underscores the problem of being in a tech group beneath that of one’s alliance partners.
I was all ready to have another war The Mamluks, when I realised two things. Firstly that when England made peace with them they must have forced The Mamluks to break the alliance with France. I had somehow missed that at the time, but The Mamluks were now not allied to France. Secondly they had formed an alliance with Khorasan. The great thing about this was that Khorasan was not yet part of the Coalition against me. So if I declared war on Khorasan it would probably bring The Mamluks in – but it would not bring in the rest of the Coalition. Then after I was ready I could declare war against another Coalition member, and have a second chew at The Mamluks.
It took me a little while to reposition my forces to better reflect my new plans, but war was declared fairly quickly. In truth this was a much easier war, mostly because I stuck to plan. Namely, hunt down the opposition armies, and keep chasing them to destroy them utterly, following up with some smaller forces to conduct the actual sieges. It still took a few years to build up a 99% warscore, which gave me a large haul of provinces. In particular I took a further province in Asia Minor, two provinces in Afghanistan from Khorasan, and then a number in the Levant, meaning the Judea is now a border province my next target. Immediately thereafter I got a message that The Mamluks were no longer a valid rival. Apparently this was just too much too quickly for The Mamluks to sustain their standing. While I suppose it is not impossible that they can regain some of their ability, given I intend several more rounds with the coalition I rather doubt it.
So then it came time to choose another rival, and I had two options – Sweden and Japan. Sweden was unexpected, having just reduced Denmark (in another war) to a two province nation. My earlier war appears to have only arrested their decline, which to be honest was probably the best I could hope for. Japan was something of a surprise, but perhaps it should not have been given they managed to hoover up most of Korea, and even take a couple of provinces from Ming China. After thinking it over I decided to take Japan on as the new rival. This was frankly because they would be an easier fight. Not only are they technologically my inferior, they also have no allies. I hope to be able to get an outlet to the China Sea from their recent conquests. I will probably avoid taking any provinces from the main island itself, if only to make it easier to keep track of rebels.
My victory over The Mamluks did come at a considerable cost however – I became very over-extended, which means quite a bit of rebel activity. Inevitably this starts to take a toll on my armies, a cost I try to spread over several different armies if at all possible. I was a few months into this when a new war broke out. The Hansa declared war on Denmark, who had recently re-formed the alliance with England. The Hansa were allied to Sweden, France and Bohemia. England and Denmark had Aragon and a handful of German minors. I looked at the odds, and decided this was simply not a fight I wanted to get involved in. I was fairly sure I would be unable to defend my vassal Serbia, and I really didn’t want to have to deal with high-quality armies from the three major enemies marching into my borders, whilst also at the same time I was dealing with rebellions.
This was a very difficult decision, but eventually I just felt I had to say no. Being rather cold about it, I decided that England was basically going to be too much hassle for my aims. Or perhaps I should say my new aims, because some of my aims for the game have changed. You see, the new DLC Art of War has had its release date announced as 30th October. This DLC includes revising large portions of the map, which will make it save-game incompatible. Whilst Paradox do put older versions of the game out via the Steam Beta program I would prefer to avoid the hassle if I can. Constant European wars would slow down my playing time considerably.
Instead I am going to focus on my generally southward expansion. This means getting Judaea and Aleppo (and thus Antioch and Jerusalem), and also getting an outlet to the Persian Gulf/Indian Ocean, and ultimately seeing that the Ottomans, Timurids, and Oirat do not exist by game end. A little Oriental expansion against Japan as well, though probably not Ming China since I think they would make dealing with the coalition awkward. I also had an eye for expansion in South-East Asia, building on my colonial Empire.
My colonising phase is coming to an end. Almost all the places I might colonise are now being colonised, apart from a few provinces in Australia, which even if I do colonise them will revert to my Colonial nation. There remain possibilities for expansion however, and the first of these was Makassar, the one-province nation in the Celebes. I had already placed a claim on the province some decades earlier, but it had lapsed as I kept having other things to do. Whilst the war extension resolved itself I now re-claimed the province, and also two province of Brunei on Borneo. Brunei had just declared itself Defender of the Sunni Faith, so I hope they would come to Makassar’s defence.
They did. The war was quite easy. I had built up a 20k army that was more than capable of dealing with Makassar. My fleet, filled with new Threedeckers and Archipelago frigates, was superior to the Brunei fleet. They easily oversaw the transport of my army to Borneo – a campaign made easier by the fact Brunei had sent two small armies to Hokkaido. They were easily dealt with. I was able to bottle up the Brunei fleet in their capitol, which I proceeded to siege. At this point Brunei sent me a peace offer, willing to give up Makassar and both of their provinces I had claims to. I declined however until I took the capitol, forcing the Brunei fleet out to face my own. Not a single Brunei ship survived, and I figured this would make things easier for me down the road as I doubt that they would be able to rebuild any time soon.
After the war, both Brunei and Khorasan joined the Coalition against me. I am getting the impression that Sunni Muslims are feeling rather aggrieved. :) Certainly within a couple of years I hope to have another war with the Coalition. This one will really be a focus on just whittling down the Ottomans, Oirat, and Timurids so they become targets for vassalisation later. The year is 1727, I have just over 90 years left to play. Game on.