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Thread: Screaming Popes

  1. #1
    Lt. General merrick's Avatar
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    Screaming Popes

    Screaming Popes

    or

    How not to get killed six times running



    This AAR was inspired by Amric's Hurricane AAR. I was thinking of doing a quick gameplay AAR, was wondering what style to use, and then I read that one and thought “Yes”. Of course I don't have Amric's cats (or writing experience, or wife, or playing skills or...) but I did have a story to tell.

    A few days ago, I was feeling hacked off with life (I'd been filling in job applications, which always makes me hacked off with life) and I thought a little virtual mayhem, EU3-style, would cheer me up. I didn't want subtlety, I didn't want long-term development, I wanted to jump into the middle of a furball and get going with fire and the sword, so naturally I picked the Papal States.

    OK, actually I picked them because I hadn't tried them yet and they looked a relatively easy sub-major I could have fun growing into an empire. Plus it always helps the spirit to be able to declare anathema on your enemies. The Pope has three provinces, a university, the world's only tax assessor and plenty of weak Italian minors around to prey upon. Can't go wrong, right?

    Big mistake. Big, big mistake. Maybe it was luck, maybe it was karma, maybe it was the whole “don't play angry” thing, but I got stomped four or five times in rapid succession. Sometimes it was me being stupid-stubborn, pushing too hard too fast and not backing off when it got to be too much. Sometimes it really wasn't my fault (I mean, Urbino allies with Austria and DOWs in May 1453?). Mostly I'd be thinking I was getting somewhere when three out of Milan/Savoy/Tuscany/Genoa jumped me out of the blue, my alleged allies deserted and then DOWed me the next month and it all got very messy and painful. The one time I managed not to get overrun, I ended up sandwiched between a mega-Milan that owned the whole of north Italy and a Sicily that was in a PU under Savoy. Right. Like that's going anywhere fast.

    This time, as I sat down, I told myself that it would be different. This time I was going to win.

    So I start with what had become my standard opening. Tweak the slider to Free Subjects, check the advisors for anyone useful (some hope), send alliance offers to the people who might listen (Siena, Modena, Savoy, and why is Tuscany “impossible”?), send an insult to Urbino, order up a new cavalry regiment and wait.

    The usual wars break out – Novgorod v Yaroslavl, Munster v Cologne, Aragon v Castile (and what is it with Aragon always DOW-ing Castile off the bat in 2.2?). No-one wants to talk to me. Surprise. Siena, having refused, then asks me a week later. Not impressed but I take them anyway. Serbia gets annexed. The month ticks over and I can talk to Urbino again. They haven't found any allies, so I send the DOW.

    Not very charitable, but they're my culture, they're between me and Romagna and the Pope isn't allowed to diplo-vassalise people. They're going down. Siena supports, I make Nicholas V a general and he amazes me by being good. I mean, Shock 3 and they put him in the choir? I chase Urbino's army out of Urbino and settle down for the siege. Naturally they go siege Romagna. I send Nicky with the cavalry to break it up but 2,000 infantry beat him repeatedly. Humph. Austria and Hungary DOW Urbino. Too late, suckers, I was here first.

    Naturally their siege goes faster. Romagna falls. I curse. Urbino falls. I feel better. Tuscany and their allies DOW Urbino.
    Urbino is not having a good year.

    Urbino's army wanders off to invade Tuscany. I politely wait for them to leave, then move into Romagna and assault the province back. Game over. I hit “Annex” and smile.

    The Great Advisor Sale is coming up fast. I time my pause right and check the wares. Philosophers, Diplomats, Governors, no sign of a Scientist or Statesman – but what's this? The AI has passed on not one but two high-spec Traders? I grab them both and smile wider. This time my merchants are going to do something other than waste my money. Of course in the short term I'm running out of money stat, but that's what tax assessors are for.

    Next step is to cover my back while I wait for the BB to wear off. No chance of an alliance anywhere? Not good. Plan B it is then. Offer Mil Access to Modena, offer it to Tuscany. Modena says yes, Tuscany says no. I check. They're allied to Milan and Genoa. Not good again. If I had money, I'd build more troops. But what's this? A popup? Tuscany wants an alliance? Bwahahaha.
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  2. #2
    This looks interesting. I'm yet to play the Papal State but getting intrigued now. Good luck.

  3. #3
    CatAARstroph1c moderator Moderator Stroph1's Avatar
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    The men in white robes are jumping into the breach again...

    Good luck!
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  4. #4
    Waiting Patiently Bingo Brett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by merrick
    Mostly I'd be thinking I was getting somewhere when three out of Milan/Savoy/Tuscany/Genoa jumped me out of the blue, my alleged allies deserted and then DOWed me the next month and it all got very messy and painful. The one time I managed not to get overrun, I ended up sandwiched between a mega-Milan that owned the whole of north Italy and a Sicily that was in a PU under Savoy. Right. Like that's going anywhere fast.
    Sounds like my Papal State game! Except I get the Ottomans...
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  5. #5
    GunslingAAR coz1's Avatar
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    Nice! A new merrick AAR. ::sits back, pops open a cold, frosty beverage and enjoys::

    Good luck. Sounds like you're going to need it.
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  6. #6
    NOP-field present Moderator Qorten's Avatar
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    Aha, you started a new AAR. I'll be following. Promising first post.


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  7. #7
    Hurricane Sergeant of Arms Amric's Avatar
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    I inspired this, eh? Well, I have to say, this is pretty entertaining so far. I don't know that my playing skills are all that impressive, but I thank you for the compliment. Now that you have Urbino, what are your plans? Having Siena and Tuscany as your allies<that is if you do take Tuscany as an ally> who is your next target?
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  8. #8
    Crusader for Fun and Profit Murmurandus's Avatar
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    Bwahahaha indeed... Silly Tuscanites...

    Looking forward seeing more of this...
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  9. #9
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    Aaaaargh! Salva Me!

    And now that that's out of the way, we'll wait for more.
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  10. #10
    Field Marshal jwolf's Avatar
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    This looks great! I'm anxious to see what happens when Naples, Venice, Aragon, France, Austria, etc take notice of you. Good luck!

  11. #11
    Lt. General merrick's Avatar
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    Duke of Wellington, Stroph1 - Thank-you. I fear I may need it.

    Bingo Brett - If the Ottomans get to you while you're small, it cannot be good. I feel for you.

    coz1 - You do realise I'm going to have to live up to this billing, don't you? Thanks for the support.

    Qorten - Here's hoping your next comment isn't praisng my last post.

    Amric - Thanks for commenting. Judging by what you managed with Anhalt, I'd say you underrate yourself. Next target was Modena, but events, as you will see, got in the way.

    Murmandamus, RGB - Thanks for the support. Here's hoping there is more...

    jwolf - My, this one is bringing out the big beasts. I only hope you all think it's worth your time.

    And now, on with the mayhem....
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  12. #12
    Lt. General merrick's Avatar
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    A few years go by in which nothing of great interest happens, unless you count Bohemia being carved up by Poland/Lithuania, which I personally do not. Even Hungary manages to buy its way out of the Ottoman war without losing territory. Aragon loses against Castile and has to give up Aragon province. Serve them right.

    I get my first NI and naturally choose National Trade Policy. My merchants have 60-70% compete chance against most opposition, but nonetheless manage to fail 50% of the time. I slowly fill up Venizia, then Liguria.

    My in-house artist is recognised as a star. I get +3 Stab and reduced stability costs – when I'm already on +3 stab with no plausible way of spending it. I almost DOW Modena in frustration, but sanity prevails and I take the presige instead.

    5 merchants in Liguria. I start on Thrace (I try to stay out of the northern European CoTs – too full of pushy Hansa members waving their bonuses about). I'm getting more income from trade than taxes. I skim off some money and raise another regiment. I like good merchants. My reputation is down (up?) to slightly tarnished from tarnished. Life is good. I'm just about ready to turn in for the night.

    Then, of course, it happens. DOW from Genoa. +85 relations, no land border, no CB I know of. Siena supports me. Thank-you Siena. Tuscany supports ... Genoa. I declare Tuscany anathema, order up another cavalry regiment and and prepare to do battle.

    I'm not all that bothered. Siena & I have Tuscany outnumbered, I have Nicky the cavalry Pope and Genoa has no land access and can't do more than land nuisance raids. I swat down an attempted invasion of Romagna and move to besiege Firenze.

    Savoy DOWs. Modena supports Savoy. I start swearing.
    Siena bails on the alliance. I can't really blame them, but it doesn't exactly help.
    The swearing gets louder. If I had cats they'd be hiding.

    Modena trucks into Romagna and lays siege while Siena's army stands around and watches. I declare Siena anathema. Genoa beats my fleet and lands an army in Roma. Tuscany's main army is besieging Siena, which at least keeps them busy. If I can take Firenze and Pisa and force Tuscany out of the war I may yet pull this one off.

    Romagna falls. Firenze falls. Tuscany offers white peace. If it had been Genoa I would have taken it, but for Tuscany alone I want more. Genoa refuses white peace. I ignore the screaming from the homeland and march on Pisa.

    I send a cavalry detachment to clear Genoa out of Roma. They've been reinforced since I last checked. Ouch. Modena's army comes down from the north, heading for ... Firenze. I declare Modena anathema. It doesn't help.

    I'm getting nowhere against Pisa. Firenze is stormed. Roma falls. Here we go again....

    And then, a miracle. Cessation of Church Functions event. Take a tax penalty for the next few dozen years in exchange for 150 blessed ducats right now, or take a stability hit. Easy choice. The Pope melts down the candlesticks, hires some mercenaries and commences to kick butt.

    Roma is retaken. The Modenans are driven out of Firenze, and Romagna, and Firenze again and ... it's no good. Even with 5,000 extra troops, I can't hold the siege in Firenze or retake Romagna. Modena and Tuscany have twelve thousand to my ten, Savoy and Genoa keep dropping regiments into Roma and Ancona, and half my army is tied down in Pisa. And then Nicky dies in battle and I get a stability hit to remember him by.

    The new Pope is Clemens VII. He turns out to be a great general ... in the modern style. Fire 4, Move 3, and a flat zero in the stats that matter. I can hear the AI laughing.

    In the middle of mayhem, Milan offers an alliance. I take it. Why not?

    Pisa falls at last. Tuscany offers white peace. This time, I have the sense to take it.

    My 150 ducats have vanished like a penitent's promises. Even on full minting, I'm heading straight for bankruptcy. But Tuscany and its 7,000 troops are out of the war. I dismiss a couple of mercenary regiments and head north. Hello Modena. Welcome to payback.

    I beat their army, split in two stacks and besiege both their provinces. I resolutely ignore attempts by Genoa and Savoy to distract me by sieging Roma, Romagna or anywhere else until Ferrara falls and I can spare a cavalry stack to go and clean up the riff-raff behind the lines.

    Modena falls. I am not merciful. I take Ferrara and money and force-vassalise. Take that. I slap Savoy's expeditionary army around and they take white peace.

    Mantua offers an alliance. I take it. Genoa is still hoping for money. They can whistle. I dismiss my mercenaries and settle down to swat landing-forces until they get the message. It gets through at last.

    I take stock. 1462. I'm behind on my research, I have inflation, I have the tax penalty for the next 6,000 days, but I also have Ferrara, and three allies, and 13 merchants. I'll take it.

    Tuscany, you have not been forgotten.
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  13. #13
    Cisár všetkých Slovákov demokratickid's Avatar
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    I love it! What are your plans for the next 5-10 years? Warfare or Internal Stability?
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  14. #14
    Hurricane Sergeant of Arms Amric's Avatar
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    Oh, that was UGLY....nasty, brutal, and bloody enjoyable. I can imagine the cursing and such. I would have been royally pissed as well. Now a suggestion. Since you ended up with inflation anyway, you could and SHOULD have taken out war taxes. It would have been helpful and might have allowed you to hire more mercs sooner and kept things from getting too horrible before you managed to pull it all out. All in all, a good effort and at least you got SOMETHING out of that fiasco....
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  15. #15
    Crusader for Fun and Profit Murmurandus's Avatar
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    Ah, blood and gore, don't we all like it! At least you managed to survive this round...
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  16. #16
    GunslingAAR coz1's Avatar
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    All praise war taxes. I agree with Amric.

    So round one is complete and I give the Pope a slight edge. It's nearly a wash with the position the Papal States is left in, but that was a pretty hairy war and you got out a live and in better geographic position. Maybe look for a big ally to the north. I hear the BWB calling.
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  17. #17
    Field Marshal jwolf's Avatar
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    That was truly a no holds barred, tooth and claw, law of the jungle slugfest. Perfect! Your victory was expensive, but IMHO worth it. Good luck with the sequel.

    Re war taxes: I admit I haven't tried these yet in EU3. But in EU2, with a small country facing serious attack, you got all the costs without any benefit because your provinces were always looted anyway. Is it different in EU3?

  18. #18
    Colonel Jaspume's Avatar
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    That was a very dangerous situation you got out of there, nice one.

    Very nice, I'll be watching.

  19. #19
    CatAARstroph1c moderator Moderator Stroph1's Avatar
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    I applaud you for escaping that one. Nicely done. Now to spend 6000 days plotting your revenge...
    More spam, you die! Horribly, horribly!

  20. #20
    First Lieutenant ProffessorEGADD's Avatar
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    Ohhhhh, very good so far. I like the style, keep it.

    Go forth and do what you claim is god's work but is merely a fabrication for the furtherence of your goals for the enhancement of the Vatican!!!!!

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