AAR stands for after action report, I believe...
I received this game in the mail at 11:00 a.m. CST. I installed it directly thereafter, then went to classes. Came back at 4:00 p.m., edited files, ate dinner, then at 5:30, started play. It is now 4:14 a.m., and I have just stopped. Lord in heaven, this is a fine game.
Certainly one wouldn't expect me to take detailed notes during my first shot at EU...though it will lack rhyme and reason,I simply must give some report about the things that I've seen, as of 1560.
*France is a bad ass. Fielding multiple armies of 40k+, it has thus far annexed Skane from Denmark and Franche-Comte from Spain. Lorriane was peacefully annexed. The real ass whooping was reserved for:
*England is in tatters. As well as losing the Marches to the Scots, she had previously lost Calais and Meath (Dublin) to the French, and evidently was itching for revenge. In my soon-to-be-expanded-upon system of making as many friends as I can, I (Venice) asked if she (England) wanted to ride with my posse (Poland, Hungary, Bohemia, Moldavia, Milan, Hansa). Though she was Protestant, she gladly accepted. Her first act, not a week later, was to declare war on France (accompanied by her erstwhile allies, the Pope and Savoy). This KILLED me...EVERY SINGLE ALLY (including me) turned her down. She lost the rest of Ireland to France (with 250 ducats indemnity) and I haven't heard from London since.
*Spain is Spain, colonizing America and whatnot. Granada fell within 2 weeks of gamestart. Naples has been annexed. A widespread rebellion in the Netherlands (1549) was mercilessly put down, though the rebels did seem to capture scattered provinces. I reckon that the Dutch won't be a factor in this campaign...
*Portugal has been allied with Spain for some time; I lack maps of Africa and the Orient, so I don't know how well their colonization efforts are going. The Brazilian coast is theirs. One anomaly: Prussia, after a damaging war with its former patron, Poland (and friends), found itself at war again, but this time with Portugal. Lo and behold, in 3 months, a Portugese fleet arrived in the Baltic, unloaded an army, and Konigsberg, still smoldering from the Polish/Hungarian siege, fell to the Iberians. Hasn't affected things much, except that there's a nice spot of emerald green on the banks of the usually blotchy Baltic. I later tried to pick a fight with Portugal so that I might snatch the Azores and give me fleets a prime rest spot for transatlantic journeys. No matter how many times I claimed the Portuguese throne, no declaration of war came from Lisbon, and I wasn't about to declare war without provocation.
*Russia sucks. Only gets indemnities from its wars with the Khanates, though Livonia was taken from the Teutonic Knights. In their stead, Eastern Europe has been positively DOMINATED by...
*Poland-Lithuania. Sappy'll be happy to see how the Commonwealth has prospered (due in no small part to the unwavering support of the Venetian Alliance: core members Venice, Hungary, Poland, Milan.). In her many wars, Poland has conquered Pskov, Courland, the Russian province of Lipetsk (sp?), and the Danish island of Gotland. Though she often chose to stand alone in these conflicts, Moldavian and Hungarian troops, as well as Venetian cash, often played a key role in Polish victories. She fields strong navies in both Baltic and Black Seas, and a likely next move would be the seizure of the Crimea and the transformation of the Black Sea into a Polish lake... (if it doesn't occur by itself, the Pole's hand will be forced by Italian diplomacy...)
*Austria has done nothing of note other than annoy me to no end by challenging her Venetian host in the local COT. I've had an embargo held against the Hapsburgs since the moment I was able; they're limited to one merchant in Venice. Either as a result of this or the general isolation of her dipolmatic situation (I'm hogging her historical allies and vassals), she has accomplished nothing of note, except for paying 250 in indemnities to Bohemia after a rather pitiful 'mano-a-mano' war. I still fear Austria; she has a hell of a crop of leaders. I may choose to pluck this weed before it overruns the relative peace of Central Europe. The Stryian gold mines beckon.
*Turkey has made some inroads in the Middle East, snatching two Syrian provinces from the beleaguered Mamelukes. While I am set upon liberating Greece, no wars have broken out between Venice and the Turks. They no doubt fear my alliance, I fear the talents of Suleiman. He grows old, however... yannelis, the time of liberation shall soon come about. (and I promise not to break the parthenon this time...)
*As for the Most Serene Republic...I must say that it's been rather...serene. Almost straight away, in 1493, I saw that Turkey was quickly gaining the upper hand over the Egyptians (Mamelukes), so I quickly sought to salvage whatever part of the Levant that I might be able to grab. What I got were the populous and Christian provinces of Lebanon and Aleppo, which were immediately fortified and have been unmolested since their initial capture. Other than that and the occasional relief army sent to assist the Poles, Venetian military action has been limited to protecting our possessions in the New World. After badgering the Spaniards (with whom I enjoy surprisingly good relations) for some time, I was given a sketchy map of Spanish explorations of the Americas. Since I only get one colonist a year, it seemed potentially counterproductive to go after the spice islands and gold mines that Spain could then claim for herself with impunity (damned treaty). I decided to go where the arbitrary and unfair rule of the Treaty of Tordesillas did not apply: North America. I colonized Chesapeake and Delaware, then, after they were revealed on further Spanish maps that were acquired, Manhattan and Quebec. After a random conquistador, Brescia, appeared in 1555, most of my time was spent on simply claiming the eastern half of the present-day United States.
True to history, the stability of Venetian government is remarkable; my stability has rarely dipped below +2. Our foreign policy is clear and evenhanded. Our (unassociated) enemies, Austria and Turkey (and, to a lesser extent, the Papacy, Genoa, and the Mamelukes) are treated as such: our relations have never risen over -150, and their merchants are unwelcome on Ventian wharfs. My eastern associates will guarantee that any battle that is eventually fought will be on my terms. These associates, my friends, are well-treated and never abandoned (unless you're a quixotic/moronic England smarting over Calais), and therefore, not a year has passed since 1492 in which Venice, Hungary, and Poland were not bound in alliance. As for the rest of Europe, the daughters of rich Venetians merchants have been married off to numerous foreign nobles, and, as such, relations with Catholic Europe are almost universally warm. Lutheranism and Calvinism have made their mark; Venice tolerates all Christian faiths to an extent that is sufficient to prevent conflict within the Republic and from foreign intrigue. Islam is anathema, however, and our relations with the muslim world are indicative of Venetian intolerance.
All cities are protected with level 2 fortresses, though standing armies and, to a lesser extent, navies are kept to a minimum.
This game is being played at Normal difficulty/agressiveness, and without the tabulation of victory points.
Screenshots (and structure, sorry) to follow, gentlemen. Wanted to share.