I haven’t posted for a week or so now, because I was desperately trying to both wrap up me EU4 Russia game before Art of War goes live tomorrow, and also complete the TOGtober missions in World of Tanks. Along with non-gaming life this hasn’t really left me with much time for writing.
The last time I wrote about EU4 I have about 90 years left to go. It was 1727, and I was re-focusing my goals in the game to facilitate speedier gameplay. This meant, apart from anything else, generally not picking fights with major European powers. Meanwhile I was to concentrate my efforts against the coalition on my southern borders which consisted, at that time, of The Mamluks, Timurids, Khorasan, Oirat, and Brunei. I was also intending to take aim at a surging Japan who had seized all the Korean peninsular and the northern coast of the China Sea.
Well, I am not going to recount a blow-by-blow stories of all the various wars, because that would be rather boring. Broadly speaking these goals did determine most of what I did for the remaining course of the game. Primarily my foreign policy had a natural rhythm informed by my wars with the Southern Coalition. The truce period was 15 years, and each war tended to take 3-5 years, meaning my wars had roughly a twenty year cycle to them. During the periods of truce I would sometimes look to other ventures. The fact of the matter is by this time these wars had long since ceased to be competitive. Whilst The Mamluks (who turned into Egypt sometime around 1750) and Khorasan could sometimes offer strong local resistance neither had the manpower to sustain such resistance for long.
My first war with the Coalition took a slightly surprising turn however when I realised I had enough warscore to vassalise the Ottomans. Given that Constantinople is a very high-tax province I had not expected this, even in the Ottoman’s somewhat fallen state. I leapt at the opportunity, otherwise only taking a single province from The Mamluks, and another from Brunei. This meant I now have a land connection to both of Persia’s provinces. Persia was a minor nation, whose two non-contiguous provinces were leftovers from when the Timurids had dominated the Middle East, which had revolted away. After signing a peace with the Coalition I immediately declared war on Persia and vassalised them. This was because Persia has quite a larger number of cores, so I figured I would feed them the provinces they wanted and then diplo-annex.
This was also an idea I had with the Ottomans, as The Mamluks had a number of provinces still in Asia Minor which again, the Ottomans had cores to. At this time I had also thought about vassaling the Timurids and Oirat in turn as well, but with the Ottomans I suddenly realised a flaw in this plan: the aggressive expansion penalty to my relations. With the Ottomans this was just over a hundred, as I had only taken a handful of provinces directly from them across the years. With the other two it was around 400 – which meant there would be basically no chance of getting the +190 relations necessary for diplo-annexation during the time remaining the game. So I realised I would have to conquer them, so altogether it was a good thing to vassalise the Ottomans when I did. I immediately set about working to repair what relations I could, by setting up a subsidy and improving relations. My hope was that by returning the provinces I would get a significant enough boost to overcome the malus of my AE.
Meanwhile I had other targets. The first of these was Japan. This was logistically a slightly difficult war, as it required moving a whole army across to the Japanese islands before hostilities. It also took a while to prepare as it simply took time to march the other armies necessary across Siberia. The war itself though proved relatively easy. The hardest fighting was on Honshu, but the technological disparity was telling and I took four ex-Chinese provinces, as well as one in the north-east of the Korean peninsular – all the ones on the mainland I had been able to claim. This made Japan ineligible to be my rival, but Egypt (the reformed Mamluks) had become valid rivals again, so I immediately selected them. My next step was to diplo-annex Serbia, which left me with a spur of provinces in the western Balkans.
The next war against the Southern Coalition was simple enough. The victory was easy, and overall the war easier to manager with the Ottomans on my side. The end result was I took Judaea and Aleppo, the Ottomans got all their cores in Asia Minor, and Persia got about half their cores. Importantly this provided a very big boost to my relations with the Ottomans, and with a diplomatic gift I was able to get the relations over the necessary threshold to begin a very lengthy diplo-annex. My attentions next turned to Ukraine.
Ukraine was my creation, but its continued existence was more because I misunderstand some rules of the game earlier on than by design. Having been allied several times, but have kept being dragged into ridiculous wars, I had decided enough was enough and had cut all ties with Ukraine, and even laid claim to some provinces. I did not expect to be able to vassalise in one go, so I thought to snap up a few provinces and have another go later. In particular I was interested in Muntenia, which Ukraine itself had recently taken from Hungary, and Memel, which was held by Ukraine’s ally Pomerania. The war again was easy enough, though I required three armies at one point to defeat the Brandeburgian army that got involved. The end result was a reduced, but not crippled Ukraine and Memel taken.
France became a revolutionary country not long after 1750. I wasn’t following these events terribly closely, but I believe the French ended up over-reaching themselves and got into a series of wars with Bohemia, Aragon, Castile, and England. The end result was the lose of several provinces, and ultimate revolution. Shortly thereafter I realised that Egypt had reformed the alliance with France. Somewhat reluctantly I reformed my alliance with England in preparation for my next war with the coalition, but in the event it was un-necessary as France didn’t join to support Egypt and her coalition allies. Meanwhile the process of annexing the Ottomans reached completion. This war – in the 1760s – saw Persia reclaim the majority of her remaining provinces. I also took the remaining provinces in Iraq, and advanced down the Mediterranean coast and into the Nile Delta. Finally Oirat become a single-province country, and the Timurids were reduced to two non-contiguous provinces. Surprisingly Egypt remained a valid rival. I immediately started the process of diplo-annexing Persia.
The next thing that happened was something of a surprise. Aragon had gotten into a war with Castile and Venice, and in the peace was forced to release most of their western Balkan provinces in a new country called Serbia. Well, I couldn’t have that, so I declared war on this new state almost immediately. The war was a total cakewalk as they hadn’t had a chance to build any armies yet, and I forced them to change their religion to Orthodox. I was going to vassalise them, but I realised this was going to give me a large AE penalty, so I decided to force-change their religion and then pursue diplomatic means instead. Immediately I began a diplomatic charm offensive to enable a diplo-vassalisaton, which I managed after a few years. One way that helped my relationship gain was with another war. Bulgaria and Albania were both Catholic one-province minors, and Serbia had a core on Albania. They were allied with each other and The Knights Hospitaller, but had no other allies. I declared war on Bulgaria, Serbia joined me as a military ally (not yet vassal) and their alliance held true. They were also joined by the Netherlands in the role of Defender of the Catholic Faith. The actual war in the Balkans was naturally very easy. I basically ignored The Knights on Rhodes, conquered Bulgaria and waited for Serbia to deal with Albania. Also I took the opportunity to land on the Dutch Samoan islands (whilst I was dominant in the South Pacific, towards the end other nations had snuck in some colonies). In the peace I gave Albania to Serbia, took Samoa, and also force-vassalised Bulgaria, and changed their religion to Orthodox.
Whilst this was going on Ukraine had fought a war with Hungary, and taken two provinces from them. I feared this would take them over the force-vassalisation threshold, and so it proved when I next went to war with them. Another quick war, this mostly consisted of giving back to Hungary the recent conquests and taking a couple more provinces. This also removed Ukraine’s land borders with everyone apart from myself and Bohemia, which I hoped would prevent any more annoyances.
Then it was time for the next war with the southern coalition. Whilst there was no serious resistance, there was an amusing set of interludes whereby one Egyptian army and another of mine kept marching up and down the length of their remaining holdings on the Mediterranean coast. I won a battle, they fled to the other end of the coast, my army followed them, defeated them, rinse and repeat. I think it took five or six battles before the army was finally annihilated. In the peace Oirat were wiped out, the Timurids reduced to just their capital province, I took a few provinces from Khorasan and technically gained a province on the Indian coast, and I also too the rest of the Nile Delta and Sinai, including Alexandria, and began to spread into Arabia along the southern Gulf Coast.
About this time I started to think seriously about taking on the Pentarchy mission. This would mean taking the five ancient patriarchates of the church: Rome, Constantinople, Antioch, Alexandra, and Jerusalem; and converting them to Orthodoxy. The recent peace meant that five of them were now in my possession, and would soon all be converted. Actually Constantinople proved a somewhat tricky target for conversation thanks to its very high tax value, and it became the only case when the +0.1% missionary strength bonus each level of fortification give you became useful in this game. An Inquisitor advisor came along shortly after its conquest though to make conversion easier. Anyway, this meant I had to consider whether or not to try for Rome, which was controlled by Aragon. Aragon was no doubt the weakest of the major powers in Europe. In a revenge war against Venice they had managed to take several Venetian provinces in Greece.
I decided to keep my options open, and in doing so I chose to ditch my long-held rivalry with Bohemia. Given that I had long-ago effectively given up trying to prevent Bohemia forming the united Holy Roman Empire (which was now only one decision away from doing) there just didn’t seem much point keeping the rivalry up. I had already let my claims against Bohemian provinces lapse. Their other major ally was Scandinavia (Sweden on steroids), and I had let those claims lapse too. Instead I started actively trying to work for Bohemian friendship, and I was so close to getting enough reputation for an alliance – except someone was sabotaging their reputation. Well, I would just have to wait them out, so I kept a diplomat maintaining high relations, and kept checking back to see if the situation had changed.
Meanwhile it was time to have another go at Ukraine, and it was not a difficult war, which ended in a quick vassalisation. Then I realised the Sabotage reputation malus had gone away, and I worked out it was probably Ukraine that had been responsible. I quickly formed an alliance with Bohemia, and thus with Bohemia as the linchpin Russia, Bohemia, and Scandinavia formed a truly monstrous alliance block. I also now diplo-annexed Serbia, giving me most of the Balkans. Bohemia also about this time formed the united Holy Roman Empire, making our alliance even more powerful.
The new Empire did not take long to flex its muscles, declaring war on Aragon in 1796 with myself and Scandinavia joining in. Aragon was joined by England and Portugal. Their alliance though was already in a war with both Revolutionary France (which was going generally poorly in the Americas for them, but about equal elsewhere) and Algiers (where Aragon had the advantage). This had the potential to turn into a many-front war, and indeed my troops were involved in several theatres. Firstly there was the invasion of the Aragonese provinces in Greece, four in total (three of which I had claims too). I was readying an attack on Italy too, but the Bohemian juggernaught made that un-necessary. Then there was the East Indies, where the single province remnant of Brunei had been annexed earlier by Portugal. This was a simple matter of marching an army in. I then took my fleet and transported a 40k army from the Far East to Alaska to help the fight against Portuguese California. My intention was then to move the fleet back to the Indies to move the army there into Luzon, but in the event it proved necessary to keep it on the Pacific North-West as a small Portuguese fleet blocked the movement of my army. It proved something of a trap, because the main Portuguese navy then showed up.
My fleet was pretty good though. I had constructed entirely form the most advanced warships, containing almost 50 three-deckers and 30 Great Frigates, plus forty transports. The Portuguese navy was about 2/3 the size. They also had the better naval ideas and leader, but a few of their ships were slightly less advanced. When all was done, Russia had announced herself as a major naval power. The entire Portuguese fleet was sunk with the loss of only a handful of ships, though many were badly damaged. By the time the fleet was repaired the war was almost over, but not before my army was taking Portuguese and Californian provinces.
Bohemia proved very generous in the peace. As well as taking a number of northern Italian provinces from Aragon themselves (and the two remaining Aragonese provinces in the western Balkans) they gifted me the three Greek provinces I had claims on, plus Brunei, plus giving my colonial nation Alaska the remaining Alaskan provinces, and me two provinces from California. I decided to leave my army in these provinces, but I moved my fleet back.
It was time for what would be my final war with the Southern coalition. Another cakewalk, the most interesting thing here was simply the massive haul of provinces I managed to take. This included the entire Gulf coast of Arabia up to and including Muscat, the Red Sea coast of Arabia up to and including Mecca, another province in North Africa, Samarkand (thereby eliminating the Timurids), and a swathe of provinces from Khorasan.
The game was very much now winding down, with less than twenty years to go. On a whim I decided to build the Suez canal. If I was still playing very seriously I wouldn’t have done this, as it ended up taking several hundred Diplomatic and Administration monarch points I could probably have used elsewhere, but mostly I was just winging through these last decades. I did have two further foreign ventures. After the Aragonese war Aragon ceased to be a valid rival, so I choose Ming China instead. I claimed a select number of provinces – just five – and declared war. The war itself was quite short and I ended up with all the provinces as well as forcing China to give its trade power to me.
Trade had been something I neglected for most of the game, or only interacted in a casual way. My last Idea Group though was the Trade group, and with the three extra merchants it ended up giving me I was able to much better manage all the trade flowing through my Empire. I set up one merchant to start collecting taxes at Constantinople, and used the other two to help divert trade to my lands. I did work in that Trade’s proportion of my income increased by about 50%. Along a similar vein I also declared war on Venice. I didn’t take any provinces, just vassalised them in the peace. This further cemented my position in the Mediterranean.
Towards the very end of the game the Holy Roman Empire suddenly turned hostile and broke my alliance. I couldn’t work out why at first, but then I realised it was because they had a mission to get a presence in the Spice Islands. Given they had also just entered a regency I put this down to factional disagreements in the Imperial court since generally I think it was a stupid thing to do. Whilst a fight with Bohemia would be very long and hard, my manpower was by then over 1000k. As it was no war broke out, so we will never know.
The year 1820 comes to an end, and Russia stands probably the pre-eminent nation on Earth. Probably future expansions would see the elimination of Egypt, the subjugation of China and opportunities in East Africa and India. Control of Suez allows great strategic flexibility. Diplomatic efforts would probably concentrate on restoring the alliance with the Empire. I am well pleased. It was a very enjoyable game, even if I rushed myself at the end. It also proved a valuable learning experience in my aspects of EU4. I am going to do a few short-term other projects now, but I easily see myself getting the Art of War DLC soon and starting another game. The attraction of this game series remains.
Now for some screenshots below the fold, hopefully showing how things went this last century or so. I am very bad at taking screenshots, so my apologies for the gaps.
This was the Empire at the end of the 18th century, about thirty years before this post begins. I include it to give a sense of scale. My border with Sweden (who turn into Scandinavia) remains unchanged for the rest of the game.
Now we are at 1752, looking at the Balkans and Near East. This is just after the war where I have restored all the Ottoman core provinces from Egypt, and am about to diplo-annex them. The spur of land beneath Hungary was where the first iteration of Serbia was before I annexed them.
Same point in time but looking slightly further East. Persia has been given back its first tranche of provinces, and the Timurids are split. Khorasan remains a significant regional power.
Now we are at 1770, showing the fully reformed Persia and also the complete conquest of Iraq and the extension into the Nile Delta. Off-screen the new Serbia has formed, but I don’t appear to have a screenshot of that.
The year is now 1791, and below shows the Balkans with the second iteration of Serbia annexed, but before the Aragonese War and the unification of the Holy Roman Empire. This is also after the penultimate war with Ukraine (compare with first screenshot to see how it has reduced in size).
Still 1791 and whilst there is a lot of overlap between this screenshot and the last one, this one shows the expanse into Egypt.
The final one from 1791, and this one shows the spread into Arabia, and also it is just possible to note the advance along the Indian coast.
Now it is time for a final set of screenshots from 1821 at the end of the game. I haven’t included one of the Scandinavian border, because that was the same. Below is the Balkans and Asia Minor, showing the acquisitions of the Aragonese War, and also the united Empire. There are a few holdouts, though I don’t imagine they can last for long. Venice and Ukraine are both vassals whom I could now diplo-annex except it was game end. Also note the fragment of Egypt’s once mighty empire in Tunis.
This screenshot shows the extent of my spread into the former lands of The Mamluks/Egypt. I think it is save to say that if Russia can hold onto this region during the 19th century they are well placed to profit from oil exploration! Mecca is now also Orthodox.
Showing the situation in Iran and Central Asia. Khorasan is on the verge of being extinguished, having been eviscerated by me in my last coalition war they are now being ground into nothing by Delhi and Vijayangar. I control most of the Indus river.
The Far East. I tis not really visible, but Beijing in mine. Japan controls the rest of the Korean peninsular. The Ming were at game end in a losing war with Ayutthaya. If the game extended I think they would become easy prey to other nations as a result of my interest. I control Taiwan, Sakhalin, and Hokkaido.
The South Indies. This are is split between the native giant of Ayutthaya, and myself and Portugal. England and Castile also have a presence but it is much more limited. Portugal has the Philippines and New Guinea. I have Borneo and Sulawesi (Celebes), plus a number of small islands, plus most of the island chains in the western Pacific.
The South Pacific. Australia is my colonial nation, which controls all the colonisable provinces in Australia as well as the North Island of New Zealand. Castile controls the South Island. I have about half the islands, the rest split between Castile, Portugal, and the Empire (who inherited them from the Netherlands).
The North-West of America, showing my colonial nation Alyeska and the small enclave of directly controlled Russian territory. Note the slightly amusing situation where the Portuguese CN California is to the north of the Castilian CN Oregon.
And that was a quick picture tour of the realm of the Russian Bear.