Do not expect to find a full-blown story here. This is an aar as they should have been - a quickly written after action report. Nothing more, nothing less.
Scenario: Age of Mercantilism
Starting provinces: Brandenburg, Magdeburg, Kustrin, Kleves, Prussia, Memel.
The year is 1694. Western Europe is dominated by three major alliances: one Catholic and two Protestant. Two empires of the east - Poland and Ottoman Turkey - present a danger only to each other. Russia - the last of the three major eastern powers - is too far away and has no access to the sea to make a difference.
Thus, the dominant power on the continent is Holy Alliance of Spain, France, Austria and Portugal. Spain managed to hold on to its 16th century conquests, while France expanded rapidly into Italy and South Germany. The first was conquered by war, the latter by diplomacy.
The second alliance is led by yours truly. It consists of Brandenburg, Sweden, Denmark and Cologne. Brandenburg's rise to power is what this report is all about.
The last powerful alliance is one of England and Netherlands. Powerful might be too strong of a word, as both failed to annex Lenape after decades of trying. However, if added to Brandenburg's alliance, they would present a considerable threat to Habsburgs and Bourbons.
Now, when the current situation is clear, let us discover how did it develop.
But first, this is not a lecture on how to conquer the world It is, if anything, a lecture on how and when to wage war if your goal is to enjoy it.
Second, this is not actually a lecture, just some thoughts I am trying to summarize about different aspects of war in EU2.
Off we go.
Brandenburg's Rise to Power
More often than not I find myself burdened with over-sized army. As history teaches us (look at Soviet Union, for example), this is really bad for your economy. Some rush to disband some 10-20k infantry. It does not make sense to me: why not put it to good use? As it happened, in 1617 I had a large standing army and casus beli on Munster, Poland and Austria (all of them of different religion). The latter two were rather large and intimidating. Munster was a walk-over, even though I had to bribe Hannover to pass through their territory.
Poland declared war shortly after. For them, I seemed to be a walk-over. Poles might have had an over-sized army as well and they too had a casus beli on a neighbor to the west.
Luckily, by that time I was in a strong alliance. Saxony, Palatinat, Hessen and some other German minors. It helped that Pommern was also Polish target, which teaches us another lesson: never attack two alliances at once. Poland paid it for dearly, even though it took awhile for me to capitalize on that.
In the end, Welikopolska and Poznan were offered to me in exchange for peace. Lesson number three: if you're winning, wait for the enemy to start the negotiations. You might get offered more than you've bargained for. Sometimes, as it was in my case, this is a good thing.
Wars with Poland continued through the rest of the 17th century. However, since I've connected the lands of Brandenburg and Prussia there was more room for maneuvers. Besides, Polish capitol now was right on the border. Accidentally, every war started with its capture. As my objectives did not include the conquest of Poland, I found it rather easy to make peace fast.
I only scored once since that first war with Poland, when I vassalized their ally - the Duchy of Courland. Then I turned them into my ally and buffer against Sweden. It survived one war before dissappearing from the map.
Sweden was my main adversary throughout the century. It presented no real danger, but ever since we split Pommern (inheritance event), the Swedes tried to expand their lands in Germany at alarming speed.
In the same time, I was greeting their expansion - it helped to pave the way to the unification of Northen Germnay under Brandenburg's banner. As Sweden annexed Mecklenburg, Bremen, Oldenburg and Hannover, it had to fight two brief wars with me, loosing all of the above-mentioned lands plus Western Pommerania. In addition, I gained Antigua - a small trade center by then - and cleared Dominique and Guadeloupe from Swedish trading posts.
Courland, I reasoned, was enough of a compensation for them. I also send the Swedes some gold to recover after the second war and invited them to my alliance.
By that time, the previous alliance was long abandoned and my allies were the countries that could do some damage to Sweden: Courland and Denmark. Another ally - Cologne - I stole from Dutch, while Saxons (reduced to one province by Austria) were looking for a strong protector already.
My expansion in the Caribbean was rather limited - another new strategy of mine. Instead of trying to cover as much land as possible with a plan to develop it later I tried to take it one colony at a time. Barbados first, Curacao later. Then I burnt couple of Swedish trading posts and stole Antigua. The conflict in the West Indies witnessed couple of naval battles - my two or three warships against "mighty" Swedish navy. Couple I won, one was lost, but right after it I gained three European provinces plus a trade center in Antigua, so I guess I can't complain.
On my "lightning" campaigns... The reason I was able to bring all of my wars to quick conclusion is a new strategy I tried recently. Mind you, this is only new for me: I decided to take "defensive" rather than "offensive" path and was rather impressed with results. Considering some of my leaders already had a siege value + 2!
To compensate for the loss of morale, I trained high quality troops (quality all the way to the right, while defensive is all but 1 to the left). To compensate for the high cost, I left all my people enslaved (serfdom -2).
Sometimes I was able to capture a city with minimal fortifications in seven days.
Number of wars: Munster (1), Sweden (2), Palatinat (1), Poland (3).
Number of provinces gained through conquest: 8
Number of provinces gained through inheritance: 1
Number of provinces defected from other countries: 1 (Danzig, after the first war with Poland claimed by Palatinat).
Number of provinces gained through diplomatic annexation: 1 (Saxony)
Number of colonial cities: 3
Number of colonies under development: 2
Standing army: 50,000, led by a good general (+3 siege value)
Navy: 5 warships (Caribbean), 8 galleys (Baltic), 1 transport (Caribbean).
Future goals: to hurt Holy Alliance (Spain, France, Austria, Portugal), conquest of kingdom of Bohemia, expulsion of France from Germany and diplomatic annexation of Denmark and Cologne.