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Thread: Kongo - breaking the isolation - a mini-AAR

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    Wet Blanket doktarr's Avatar

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    Kongo - breaking the isolation - a mini-AAR

    This thread was inspired by a recent GD thread about difficult nations:

    http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/...hreadid=110341

    Basically, I just wanted to see exactly how hopeless the Kongo is. My goal is simply to establish myself as a dominant power. If I can win the VP race, that would be fine.

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    Wet Blanket doktarr's Avatar

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    1419-1566

    Nothing happened for a while. Some (mostly negative) events, but it's hard for an event to really hurt you when you're so isolated. I have no diplomatic contacts. I do have knowledge of Ivoria, which allows me to compete for trade once I reach trade 1.

    I got infra 1, promoted TCs, and then left the slider on Trade for the next 120 years. The "action" (using the term liberally) started around 1470 when the Ashanti took over Ivoria from Benin, thus giving me my first diplomatic contact (my first stroke of luck). Using my healthy treasury and high diplo ratings (the only thing I really have going for me), I bribed them and exchanged maps. Then I bribed and maptraded the Songhai, which gave me the map to Morocco. Mind you, I still don't have a way to actually get out of the Kongo, since none of those guys know the border area. Somewhere around here I get infra 2 and build a FA academy. At this point, my income is really not too bad, especially since I have no expenses and all.

    I bribe Morocco to +200 and try to exchange maps a few dozen times, but no dice. Then, around 1511, I get a random event converting me to Suuni (my second stroke of luck). Getting this event (or the other one that converts you to catholicism) is really crucial for me, and I got it only 11 years after it unlocks. Although Catholic has better diplomat bonuses than Suuni (the better colonist bonuses are irrelevant given my DP settings), I think Suuni will be better in the long run since my most reasonable avenue of expansion (if I ever expand) will be into Suuni north Africa.

    I figure Morocco will be more likely to exchange maps with a coreligionist. After a few dozen more attempts I'm starting to get discouraged, when (presumably to make me go away) Morocco finally exchanges maps with me. Now, at last, the isolation penalty is gone. But I STILL can't go anywhere, since the only nations that know the land and sea zones around me are colonial nations like Portugal, Spain, and France, who won't give me the time of day.

    So, I go on a map-exchanging daisy-chain, from Oman to the Golden Horde to the Chatagai Khanate to Bengal to Malacca. Somewhere during this period, I claim sole defender of the Suuni faith. I'll probably end up regretting giving up those 1000 ducats down the line, but at the moment I didn't see anywhere else to spend them.

    Finally, I have more than a hundered more provinces known than France, and I figure they will be down with a map exchange. Just as I start bribing them, though, Portugal plants a second TP on my border - this one in the crucial TI Douala province. So, the painstaking map exchanging I just spend 25 years working on is irrelevant, but you won't find me complaining. I march through and join the war in progress between the Songhai and Benin (who have regained Ivoria), on the side of the Songhai.

    The Songhai settle for ducats a few months in, just when things are getting good. Not one to be deterred, I happily take the 7 stability penalty and jump right back into war. This war is very long this time, and the obnoxious Songhai leader Da'ud insists on taking Benin's capital himself (well, at least he left Ivoria to me). After numerous rejections, Benin finally gives me their other four provinces, including Ivoria.

    So, it appears that, as of 1569, I've established myself as something of a regional power. My plans for the moment involve waiting for my current crap-admin monarch to die, then converting the four provinces of Benin. I really need to pry Douala away from the Portugese (to get a land connection to the rest of W-Africa), and I'd like to get the other three costal provinces on my border as well (one of which is also TPed by Portugal, and all of which are core provinces). Obviously, a showdown with the very large Songhai empire (already annexed Ashanti, reduced Dahomey to 1 province, have one of Benin's provinces) is inevitable.

    I know that was a lot for one update (150 years) but you gotta realize that until I marched into Benin, I never took the game off of extremely fast.
    Last edited by doktarr; 28-10-2003 at 10:09.
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    Wet Blanket doktarr's Avatar

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    I've slid the sliders most of the way to Centralization (8) and Innovativeness (7 - still allowing a trickle of missionaries), and I'm working on lowering serfdoms. Everything else is still at the default setting. When I finish serfdom I'll probably start work on raising offensive and then quality. That will take me into the 1700s.

    No colonists for an innovative mercantile land power, but I got a random event that gave me two colonists. I'll save them for turbo-conversion of colonies I pry away from the Portugese. Or maybe I'll just burn them down and re-build. Either way, the Portugese scare the bejezus out of me.

    I've got 5 merchants in Ivoria; I've tried placing merhants elsewhere but I can't hold them. It would be worth it to use a few trade agreements to get a hold in Zanzibar, but I don't have diplmatic contact with Zimbabwe or Zulu.

    Techwise, I'm at 2 across the board, working hard on Trade 3. Portugal is 2 CRTs ahead of me, so any war I try against them had better involve not letting them get off the boat. Songhai is only at land 3 I think (boo-yah for the isolation penalty), so no worries there.

    I'll post some screenies when I get the time. Europe and Asia are very pretty - (reformed!) uber-France and uber-Austria have been joined by uber-Mughals that never let Persia go. Plus Scotland conquered Ireland, Sienna and Naples have split Italy, and Sweeden/Russia/Poland/Lithuania dominate the north. The only diappointment was the Ottomans, who took so long to take Constantinople that they missed out on the COT and the free conversions. Needless to say they've also left the Mamelukes alone, although I wouldn't be shocked to see the Mughals take them out once they finish with Dehli. China has eaten most of SE Asia and will probably mop it up along with Manchura and Japan before the rebellions tear them to shreds.
    Last edited by doktarr; 28-10-2003 at 10:19.
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    Field Marshal Judge's Avatar
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    Interesting choice of country, Kongo one of the toughest countries to play I guess

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    Hurricane Sergeant of Arms Amric's Avatar
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    Interesting choice of country. Did you know that if you force your troops into Terra Incognita sometimes they find it? Sometimes it doesn't work. I've been known to sometimes try it up to a dozen times before it worked. But it CAN work, periodically. I'll be keeping my eye on this one...
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    Serf juszuf7's Avatar

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    It works when, for example, Portugal builds a TP next to you and you march your troops into them. You will discover that province and their capital (Tago).

    This is a good game! I've never seen before someone playing Kongo. I don't think I played them myself. Keep up the good work, and I'll be following your story
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    Charlatan or Mystic? Cagliostro's Avatar
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    I've tried Kongo a number of times, and usually the first diplomatic contact I get is when Portugal puts a TP on the border, which I can then investigate (and replace, when the natives destroy it). You lucked out with the Ashanti thing, but it's still hard expanding when you're so primitive - especially since even all the West Africans are moslem tech group (and I think you're exotic, IIRC). I would have gone more narrowminded for conquistadors.

    Don't forget about South Africa - they are as primitive as you and more isolated, and if you can find a way to them, you can get a fair bit of decent property.

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    Wet Blanket doktarr's Avatar

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    Amric - No, I had never heard of that working on uncolonized TI. It might be possible to break the isolation much faster with that tactic. I'll give it a try sometime.

    juszuf7 - that's exactly the tactic I used to finally reveal Douala (the only TI province between Kongo and the rest of W-Africa) after Portugal dropped a TP. If they hadn't dropped that TP, I would have exchanged maps with France to find it - it probably would have taken me another 5 or 10 years to bribe them up and get them to accept.

    Judge - well yes, that was the idea of the AAR. Many other nations have a harder time surviving, but I don't think any nation has a harder time becoming powerful if they can survive. I have a feeling this game is going to start to look much more "conventional" starting now. My disadvantages at the start were cripplingly slow tech, and complete isolation. Now that I've discovered most of the known world, converted to Suuni, and slid my sliders most of the way to Innovative and Centralized, my tech is still slow, but not horribly so. And of course I've cracked the isolation, although I still need to figure out how the heck I'm going to capture Douala from Portugal.

    Basically, it seems like playing the Kongo amounted to giving the rest of the world a 150 year head start. But I'm free at last, and ready to get rolling.
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    Wet Blanket doktarr's Avatar

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    Originally posted by Cagliostro
    I've tried Kongo a number of times, and usually the first diplomatic contact I get is when Portugal puts a TP on the border, which I can then investigate (and replace, when the natives destroy it). You lucked out with the Ashanti thing, but it's still hard expanding when you're so primitive - especially since even all the West Africans are moslem tech group (and I think you're exotic, IIRC).
    Yep, I know I lucked out on the Ashanti thing, and on the quick sparking of the random conversion event.

    With my Suuni faith, DP slider settings, and my contact advantage (all the other W-Africans are paying the isolation penalty, while I know every nation in Europe and Asia) I can pretty much make up for the penalty of being in the exotic tech group rather than the Muslim tech group. The Songhai have a slight tech lead over me, but I don't think it's going to grow much. Portugal is an ENTIRELY different matter - ten thousand Portugese infantry could eat my empire.
    I would have gone more narrowminded for conquistadors.
    Interesting idea. As it stands now, though, the only TI I could discover via conquistador would be the route aound the south of Africa to Zimbabwe. I think I just saw that Portugal declared war on them, so that might not help much.
    Don't forget about South Africa - they are as primitive as you and more isolated, and if you can find a way to them, you can get a fair bit of decent property.
    True, but I think my fate lies in the north this game. A couple strokes of luck have led me that way. If I can manage to get Portugese or Spanish maps, I would consider going after the Aztec or Zimbabwe, but I have plenty on my plate as it is.
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    Wet Blanket doktarr's Avatar

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    -doktarr

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    Wet Blanket doktarr's Avatar

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    1567-1635

    As promised, I spent the next while converting former Benin to Suuni/Konglese. I finally finished the job around 1615, and I decided to celebrate the event with a declaration of War on Portugal. My alliance at the time was Morocco and Songhai, and only Morocco honored the call.

    I very quicky took both trading posts. My hope was that Morocco would get a quick positive war score and I'd be able to grab both in the peace deal. In reality, the opposite happened, as Morocco racked up a huge negative warscore (presumably on naval battles, since they held their territory). Periodically, Portugal would send in three or four thosand troops, and I'd take about ten thousand casualties and beat them with the third army I threw in quick succession.

    Songhai saw my losses and decided to stab me in the back. Fortunately Morocco once again heeded the call (having made their peace with Portugal). Songhai had a big numerical advantage over me, but Morocco's superior tech troops overwhelmed them, and the war turned decidedly in my favor. I avoided any major armies and managed to get control of two territories (Kano and Say) before Morocco peaced out and grabbed Oye and Zaria. I quickly seiged the capital while Songhai seiged Say. When the capital fell, I settled for Say (figuring that Kano will be easy pickings in the next war).

    During this time, I was still repeating the same pattern of loss-loss-win against every invading Portugese army. Honestly, all I was hoping for was that The war exhaustion would get to then and the government would fall, giving me the TPs by turboannexation. But while they had lost Navarre and Granada to revolts, their colonial empire remained large and they were not about to fall. I finally admitted defeat, burned the TPs, and waited for the automatic white peace. I then spent two of my precious four settlers (all obtained by random events) to establish a colony in Douala, which finally gave my empire a road connection.

    Here's the situation after the war. Note that two of the gray provinces are actually Morocco. (Also note that Zimbabwe picked up their second straight win over Portugal. Those lucky bastards have a much easier time of it, with Portugal so far away. I also noticed that the Aztecs took Honduras from Spain in a peace deal, which probably means they own all the Maya and Zapotec lands. seems like I'm not the only isolated exotic nation making a name for itself.)

    Although Morocco pulled Songhai back into the allince, I figure I'll get them out (probably through a DoW on the Mamelukes or Oman) in five years, and then go on another war against them. Provided Morocco stays with me, victory seems to be inevitable.

    I recently made trade 3, and picked up the monopoly in Ivoria, which now gives me half of the trade there. I breifly toyed with shooting for infra 5, but decided it was a fool's errand. I think I'll sit on land tech for most of the rest of the game. Hopefully I'll reach land 5 before Songhai does.
    Last edited by doktarr; 29-10-2003 at 03:13.
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    Exiled to the East MAlexander06's Avatar
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    Very interesting choice of country. I think I'd die of boredom if I tried Kongo, at least during the first hundred years or so. But nice writing anyway, good luck!

    EDIT: Hey, my 300th post!
    Last edited by MAlexander06; 29-10-2003 at 04:29.

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    Field Marshal Judge's Avatar
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    Nice little empire and almost 200 years left

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    LOL, it seems like you'll have to fight real hard if you want to be the 1st among the backward, exotical countries

    I suggest you get a ship and kick those Aztec's butt!
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    Running an African country seems to consist mainly of sitting and watching the calendar for long periods. I tried being Benin but quickly got bored - it certainly takes patience and perseverence!

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    Wet Blanket doktarr's Avatar

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    1635-1651

    When we left off, I had just finished my first war against the Songhai. I waited out the next few years, getting a bit of money to work with and putting some troops on the border. Morocco brought Songhai back into the alliance, but that wasn't a problem for me. When the truce expired, I declared war on the Mamelukes, which caused Songhai to dishonor the alliance. I then quickly declared war on Songhai, and Morocco honored the call.

    I noticed that Songhai had very few troops on the field, so I went for a rapid blitz-and-cover strategy. This worked beautifully, as I pretty much supressed the Songhai resistance and managed to siege in a systematic fashion.

    I actually reached a 99% war score while two sieges were still in progress. After asking six times and finally dropping the money demand, I was able to get the five provinces I wanted: Palanas, Mossi, Bambuk, Bure, and Timbuktu. I chose Bure and Bambuk for the gold, Timbuktu for the chinaware, and Palanas and Mossi to get a land connection to the other three. This choice also had the added benefit of splitting Songhai's eight remaining provinces into six different pieces. Songhai was shattered. They would lose a war to a one-province Mali shortly after this.

    The gold income breifly caused some inflation, but after I promoted tax collectors in the new provinces I was able to bring gold income just under the threshold for inflation. At this time, I got a lucky break in the form of a random conquistador - lucky since my 7 innovation makes this a pretty rare event. I explored the west African coast, and then headed down the coast toward south Africa. I was halted by a Portugese trading post.

    As you could see from the other screeenshot, Portugal had replaced their TP in Kribi. At this point, I decided to take a chance and go to war with them again. Morocco joined the war, and held up their end by capturing Tangiers. I cruised through the Portugese TP, and the two colonial cities below it (no fortresses, thankfully). I quickly explored the rest of the path to south Africa, reaching the Dutch and English colonies at the tip, and then sent the conquistador back to the Portugese colonies. I had managed to hold onto Kribi, with the usual heavy casualties. I cashed in my 12% war score to take both Portugese trading posts. When combined with the two colonies I had planted (right before getting a population boom event - wohoo!), I now held my entire core area.

    At this point, I don't really see myself doing anything dramatic for a while. I'll probably try to place colonies on as many costal provinces as I can manage, and I'll probably try to diploannex Mali, maybe even Songhai as well. But basically, I'm going to be waiting for my land tech to catch up so that I can compete with the Europeans, or at least with Morocco.

    As far as VPs go, I'm comfotably behind uber-Austria, uber-Mughals, and uber-France, and quite a bit behind uber-Russia. I am leading in peace resolution VPs, for what that's worth. China is also ahead of me, but from the looks of it they won't be around pretty soon anyway.
    Last edited by doktarr; 30-10-2003 at 05:52.
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    A Rising Tide Gaijin de Moscu's Avatar
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    Nice writing, and also an interesting strategy that you chose. Tough being Land-locked

    Now that you have access to ports, you say you can colonise, right?
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    Serf juszuf7's Avatar

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    You should go an annex the entire Sahara-level Africa, so that you are left with no opposition. After that you can safely go after Morocco, Algiers etc. all the way to Egypt. Nobody should stand in your way until then.
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    Wet Blanket doktarr's Avatar

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    Thanks for the kind words folks.

    Impaler, MAlexander - sure, there are some very boring stretches in this game, but when you set the game on extremely fast it's not such a big deal. The vast majority of my time has been spent on the wars I've fought, and everything else has flown by.

    Gaijin de Moscu - I can colonize, but I have two problems:

    1) No steady stream of colonists due to my mercantile/land/Innovative DP settings. I only get colonists by event, so I can't really expect a big gain from colonies.

    2) No knowledge of a sea route to the Americas. I actually solve this shortly by map-trading, but I still need to negotiate military access with one of the colonial powers (who all hate me) if I want to actually make it across the sea.

    That said, I think making it across the sea and grabbing NA or even Aztec lands is the only way for me to actually win this game. So I've gotta try.

    Juszuf - Tearing through the rest of Saharan Africa is definitely my plan. Taking out Mali and Songhai will be easy; I can really do that at my leisure. Morocco currently has a CRT advantage on me, but once I close that gap I'll end that alliance and take them out. The logical limit of my continental expansion is the Mamelukes. They have converted most of their provinces to Shiite, so they're really not worth taking (except perhaps Alexandria, for obvious reasons).
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    User #8915 Ladislav's Avatar
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    very interesting aar, and i certainly enjoy your straight to the point writing style. ill keep reading and good luck

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