Hello everybody, I hope you enjoy this Venetian AAR. This is going to be a pretty "non-standard" AAR, both in terms of how its configured and how I'm playing it, so I hope you'll allow me to explain what's going on, it will make the actual AAR more comprehensible.
Table of Contents (added much later, sorry)
1. This post: 1399-1412, wars vs. Cyprus, Aquilea, Milan.
2. ... to 1447, wars vs. Aragon, Genoa, Sicily.
3. ...to 1458. Wars vs. Siena, Urbino.
4. ...to 1475. Wars vs. Hungary, Ottoman Empire
5. ....to 1488. War vs. Maya
6. .... to 1498. Wars vs. Maya, Morea, Tripoli
7. 1499 checkpoint.
8. ....to 1511. Wars vs. Zanzibar, Ottoman Empire, Algiers, Mamluks, Maya
9. ....to 1515. Wars vs. Fez, Portugal / Castile
10. .... to 1535. Wars vs. Sicily, Ottoman Empire, Ferrara
11. .... to 1551. Wars vs. Ceylon, Ferrara, Mamluks, Sicily, Brunei, Sicily.
12. .... to 1562. Wars vs. Ottoman Empire, Mamluks, Brunei, Aceh, Bali, Austria/Great Britain, Aceh, Makassar, Ottoman Empire.
13. ....to 1568. Wars vs. Maya, Mamluks
14. ....to 1584. War vs. Sicily
15. ...to 1597. Wars vs. Portugal, Ottoman Empire, Sicily.
16. ....to 1601. Wars vs. Japan/Ming.
17. 1602 snapshot.
18. ....to 1608. Wars vs. Brunei, Maya, Japan/Ming/Naples, Austria/Japan/Great Britain
19. ....to 1611. Wars vs. Austria/Japan/Great Britain, Mamluks/Candar/Brunei, Naples/Japan
20. ...to 1635. Wars vs. Ottoman Empire, Chimu, Austria/Japan, Ottoman Empire.
21. .....to 1643. Wars vs. Chimu, Great Britain, Chimu.
22. Postgame wrapup.
This will be my second game of EU3, the first was played with "EU3 complete" right out of the box. Eu3 is a great game but I wanted to see if I could find a mod that addressed two things:
1) an even greater role for religion. EU3 models religious strife more than any other game I can think of, and I think even that is still not enough - religious xenophobia and fervor was the "high order bit" for much of world history during this period. dharper's wonderful "Dei Gratia" mod (DG) seemed just the ticket for me.
2) better AI. The EU3 AI I think is actually quite good, but it's still no match for a human. I wanted something that would neither give me huge penalties that the computer doesn't face, nor add a lot more complexity to the game - no 227 page manuals need apply (I'm lookin' at you, Magna Mundi ).
I had hoped to use "SRI" for this one, which includes both AI beefup and an expanded HRE, but it appears that DG and SRI don't quite work and play well together, so I took just the AI subset of SRI, "Ad Infinitum" (AI for short).
Finally, while I was at it, I mixed in Strannik's Hand Drawn Maps mod, just because it looks so nice!
So many thanks to dharper, Helius, and Strannik, for their great mods!
In my first game, I played a technologicially challenged land power (Hungary), paying little attention to navy or trade and none to colonization - see the AAR here.
So in this game, I want to play a technologically advantaged power, focusing on navy, trade, and colonization, and paying as little attention to land combat as possible. I looked at Japan, England, Portugal, Norway, and Venice, and chose Venice. A few things that particularly drew me to Venice:
1) it's a true island - so long as the Venetian navy holds firm, Venice cannot be conquered.
2) it's in a much tougher position for colonization than Portugal, England, or Norway.
3) I wanted to play a republic.
How to play it
There are two ways you can look at Venice - as an Italian power with a large navy (that's the tack taken by the "Mare Nostrum" AAR, in which Venice expands along the Adriatic coast), or as a naval power that happens to be (barely) attached to Italy. I am going to take the latter tack, to explore what the game is like with as "pure" a naval power as possible. I am going to hold by the following "Venetian Golden Rule"
--- The Venetian Flag Will Only Fly Over Islands ----
That's right, if it isn't an island, I'm not taking it. Maybe I'll vassalize it , but I won't conquer it permanently.
What this means, and initial strategy
With this view of the world, there are 11 pieces of desirable real estate in Europe - everything else is yukky brown continental stuff. From West to East, they are (1) the Balearic islands, (2) Corsica, (3) Sardinia, (4) Sicily, (5) Malta, (6) Venice, (7), Corfu, (8) Naxos, (9) Crete, (10) Rhodes, and (11) Cyprus. The "Magnificent 11" .
My goal is to conquer as much as possible of the "Magnificent 11", and use that to then go to the New World, where my goal will be to conquer every island in the Caribbean. One big problem here is that Venice is the westernmost point in the empire - we dearly need to "island-hop" to Sicily/Malta or Corsica/Sardinia, and then to Belarics/Canaries/Azores.
If that isn't ambitous enough, well England and Japan are islands, after all....
The initial setup and plan.
At the beginning of the game, Venice controls 3 of the Magnificent 11 - Venice (of course), Crete, and Corfu (a vassal). We also own two pieces of dirt - Athens and Treviso (the land to the north of Venice).
In accordance with the Venetian Golden Rule, we start the game off by releasing Athens as a vassal! After all, all we need is one revolt, or one war in the area, and Athens is a goner anyway - this way we are free of that entanglement.
The other piece of dirt, Treviso, which is really the northern half of Venice, we hang on to, it seems like being a little too extreme a measure - as we will see, this may have been a mistake.
My plan is to ally with dirt nations as a check against my neighbors, allying with them against my true rivals - Aragon (owns Balearics), Genoa (owns Corsica), and the independent nations of Sicily, Naxos, Rodes, and Cyprus.
Accordingly, in October 1399 I immediately ally with Austria, and a few months later with Hungary - this should give me a nice snug security blanket.
I start casting covetous eyes towards Sardinia, which has no allies and (it appears) no army, but the stability penality is too severe - one of my mods has now added a -2 stability hit for invading somebody I'm on good terms with, it's too much. I have so few diplomats at the start that it will take quite a long time for their insults to drive this down, and before it does I am beaten to the punch by Milan, which DOWs Sardinia in April 1400 and annexes it in May 1401 - bummer.
I continue to ever-so-slowly build up my forces, and ever-so-slowly start to send guarantees and warnings to various nations, when I inadvertently step into a 9-year sequence of wars......
War #1: vs. Cyprus
It all starts innocently enough, when a Church Schism event (thanks to the "DG" mod, which I am completely digging so far), where we are required to back either the Roman or Avignonese pope. I go with the one in Rome, which it turns out gives me a whole bunch of temporary CBs against nations which went the other way (and it gives them CBs on me, I assume):
The most intriguing one here is Cyprus - one of the Magnificent 11. It's a lot closer to the Turk than I'd like, I wanted to expand to the West, not the East, but hey you can't always get what you want. The only problem is ...
they are guaranteed by (gulp) France! But surely, France won't bother to go to war over an insignifcant little thing like Cyprus, right?
So in February 1403 I DOW Cyprus ... and France answers the call. Ouch! Should be interesting.
I get quite bad news almost immediately after this, as my dirt ally #1 (Austria) DOWs my dirt ally #2 (Hungary)! I can't really honor either call, being on good relations with, and an ally of, both, and already fighting another war - I decline both calls, breaking both alliances, sob.
Perhaps not coincidentally, a few months after that, little Aquilea (the little state to my east) starts sending me a steady stream of insults.
In October 1403, I notice something weird - I, and many other nations, have a CB on something called the "Incan Empire": hmm, how can I have a CB on something I never heard of, on the other side of the world? Methinks somebody's mod needs a tweak
Anyways, back to me - I conquer Cyprus without incident, and in April 1404 I annex them - I decide to annex, not vassalize, which may be a mistake, as I think my Achilles heel is putting down revolts (with what army??), but I thought that given how few provinces I am going to allow the flag over, I should take them when I get them.
France, however, continues on, and invades and conquers my vassal Athens. Nice that this wasn't counted as one of my provinces!
War #2: vs. Aquilea
In July 1404, I've gained Cyprus but am fighting France, when Aquilea DOWs me, as I had feared. Their 9K strong army is far too big for my little 3K army to even think of resisting - I go to my "rope a dope" strategy, letting them seige Treviso, while using my fleet to keep the damage limited to just Treviso. This actually works, but the war exhaustion will just keep climbing and climbing
We sit like this for two years, until September 1406, when France finally gets tired of things and we agree to a white peace. Thankfully they had never concluded a separate peace with Athens, which bounces back to vassal status. However, Aquilea and I are still waiting each other out, my war exhaustion is climbing and climbing.....
After two more years, in September 1408 (I've now been at war for 5.5 years ), I finally get an idea - I'm going to exploit the AI, so sue me. The Aquliean army has been 100% focused on occupying Treviso. I do an amphibous invasion with a little 2K force (almost half my entire home army!), and start munching my way through Aquilean provinces.
War #3: vs. Milan
Slowly but surely, this strategy is working, when in in February 1409 .... Milan DOWs me! Man oh man, can't I get a little peace? In July 1409, things have reached the point with Aquilea where at least they finally see the light of day - they give me $25 and one of their provinces, which I am intending to turn around and sell (probably to Austria) at the first opportunity.
Milan takes over from Aquilea in conquering Treviso - Treviso has come to seem more and more of an Achilles heel. I take Sardinia from Milan, it's the only place I can really touch them, and then we glare at each other for years.
Finally, finally, in February 1412 I am able to buy Milan off for a token payment of $25 - I have now been at war for 9 years, my revolt risks and war exhuastion are both too high, and my treasury is nearly empty (proud Venice even needed to take out a loan during this ). The only things I've gained in this whole 9 year mess are (a) Cyprus, and (b) an Aquilean province, which I had wanted to sell but which is now rebel-occupied, it appears I can't even sell it now.
By the way, in March 1410 I got a National Idea, which I spend on "National Trade Policy" - gotta make that money.
So here we are in February 1412 - my plan is to pray that I get no revolts, let things calm down for a few years, and then try to grab another one of the Magnificent 11 - 4 down, 7 to go!