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.