Bearly Surviving: A Novgorod AAR
Bears. Fish. A Throne. If there was a multi-headed bird added this would be the perfect flag.
Hi all, for my first Crusader Kings AAR I thought I'd play a Russian principality and Novgorod seemed as good as any other (who am I kidding, look at that awesome flag!!!!). This is actually my first "real" game of Crusader Kings after several false starts, so hopefully I'll get some help with my awful gameplay while at the same time amusing everyone with wacky images and too-cool-for-school ironic text.
If you don't know me, this is my life story so far.
No bears were injured during the making of this AAR (this assumes that Black Bears are not considered "true" bears because I was torturing one of those at certain points). The patch is 1.04, the difficulty is normal, the year is 1066, and the drink of choice is vodka and lots of it.
The goals are to muck around in Russia and maybe take over some people. I'm going to be aggressive against pagans but won't attack my fellow Orthodox Princes unless it's absolutely essential (a few slow years, etc.). Beyond that, hopefully I can survive the Mongol Hordes. I'm posting as I play, so anything can happen as far as that goes.
Anyway, on to the game. The end of 1066 finds Novgorod ruling many dirt poor provinces, with only two vassals. Mstislav Rurikovich, the Prince of Novgorod, can only administrate two provinces with any skill (he also has a first name that seems to be missing at least one vowel), so the need to create some vassals is rather pressing. Sadly, Novgorod starts with no courtiers, so I have to wait a bit while precious gold is draining away.
Finally the warm bodies to give colorful flagged vassalages begin to arrive. At this point I'm just trying to break up a too large nation so I'm not too picky, although most of my new vassals have decent stewardship abilities (nothing less than 6).
Selecting "qualified" candidates to be my vassals.
Eventually only two provinces (Novgorod, Bezhetshy Verh) are under my direct administration and Novgorod is now making some money each month. I reduced Scutage tax quite a bit to keep my vassals loyal and strong and decreased all other taxes slightly to build up the loyalty of the people. More church donations were even allowed. An enlightened Russian ruler? I'm surprised the game could handle that without crashing.
I know all of you want to hear about the DIPLOMACY!!!! and I won't cheat you any longer. Smolensk and Sweden became allies in 1067 and a marriage was concluded between Prince Rurikovich and the lovely and talented Olga of Tver. Her role quickly becomes acting as a constantly pregnant baby machine.
After concluding these alliances and building up the infrastructure a bit with training grounds and foresters I'm ready to start bringing the Truth of Bears, Fishes and Thrones to lands that lack these critical elements, or at best have a low supply. Who better than Pagans, nature's punching bags?
The Novgorod armies ready to "maul" some "victims."
The Ingers are the first to feel our rightful fury, and they collapse faster than the level of discourse in a Presidential debate. Soon their lands are a vassal of Novgorod. Estonia gets it next and while a brilliant fudge-up on my part forces a payment for naval transport and nearly running out of money requiring me to lower army support and cause massive attrition they are still pummeled into submission, becoming a vassal state in 1070.
The basics of warmongering. I used the option on the left.
After these "glorious" victories my attention returns to internal matters. Rurikovich is now suffering from "stress" while his wife is attempting to single-handedly repopulate the entire world. Some investments in roads and a few new technologies such as "Business Contracts" and "Two Field System" are the order of the day.
Helping the "stressed" Prince.
Smolensk drags us into an alliance war in 1071 against Ugric (we already have your culture, according to EU 2! Take that!) Chuvash and Mountain Cheremisa. We send our best wishes, but no soldiers. To be honest I didn't even know WHERE these enemies were, which made hostilies a bit harder to pursue. Seriously, Mountain Cheremisa. It sounds like a very ethnic energy drink or something.
Anyhow, this non-war eventually ends with these pagans being swallowed up by a growing white blob (oh no, not again!) nation whose name I forgot to write down but probably isn't "Austria."
1075 hits with Novgorod at peace and developing into something of a power. More war in the Baltic or Finland seems very likely, but the economy needs help first. There's a lot to do!
Look for updates at wildly varying intervals and expect lots of bear/dog/motorcycle humor in the posts to come.