(Writer's note: this is my first AAR and only my fourth game of EU: Rome. Things may go poorly.)
Journal of Pyrrhus Aeacidae, Basileus of Epirus
2nd January, 474 AVC
Glorious day! Today I raised an army of 18,000 men and a fleet with which to crush those upstarts in Rome who had the gall to declare war on my good friends in Magna Graeca. I'm sure it'll go really well, and nobody will remember the name "Rome" in a thousand years. Likewise, I'm 100% sure my name will live for a thousand years, in an immensely positive way totally unassociated with victories that weren't worth the price.
In fact, I feel so confident I'm going to go make myself a sandwich while my army prepares.
6th January, 474 AVC
Today my grand fleet, creatively named "1st Nautikon" (greek for "first navy" in case you're dense) has taken to the seas of Mare Hadriaticum. I shall use it to cleverly deploy my armies deep in Roman territory, i.e. In Apulia, the only Roman province I can reach from the Mare Hadriaticum. I have taken command of the fleet myself and fulfilled one of my lifelong ambitions - to order an entire squadron of ships to spell my name in the ocean. I'm so clever.
In my absence, I have commanded my Grand Vizier Acnonios Pytheid to take over my Grand Army (creatively named "1st Strategos"). It won't be the same as leading them personally given that Acnonios has the administration skills of a blind/deaf cow, but I hear he's a gifted tactician and great fun at parties.
I've also taken it upon myself to inspect our relationship with our neighbors, and I find it most
troubling. It seems we're universally hated. I wonder when that happened?
7th Febuary, 474 AVC
Success! 1st Stratos has landed in Apulia, just as I planned. I have renamed the army "Victory" in honor of this achievement. My chief sycophant tried to tell me this might be premature, so I fired him. My master plan is unbeatable, and I have considered every eventuality!
Unfortunately, someone other than me failed to consider the fact that my Grand Fleet can only carry half of my army. The other half is en route to Tarentum, the capital of my Greek allies, which fell to the Roman legions under Publius Cornelius Rufinus before anyone could arrive to help. I heard some crackpot story about a giant bunny rabbit with men inside, but I don't believe it. The Greeks in southern Italy are merely lost without me.
The Romans currently dine in the extravagant palaces where my Greek allies should even now be entertaining me. This cannot stand. I have dispatched the other half of my army to re-beseige Tarentum. I delegated this task to Hieron Gelon, a charming family man who helps me out on the side as my Chief Torturer. I'm sure he'll have the region right as rain in a few weeks at most. He certainly does a good job of keeping my prison population low.
18th Febuary, 474 AVC
I just received word that an army from Magna Graeca has engaged the Roman legions outside Lucania! I anticipate news of a swift victory soon.
20th Febuary, 474 AVC
Those god-forsaken Italian Greeks couldn't fight their way out of a sandbox with a shovel.
15th March, 474 AVC
The craven Italian Greeks have caved and abandoned Ager Bruttius to the vile Romans without a fight in exchange for peace, and the Romans have stolen a march on my witless commander Acnonios Pytheid and engaged the half of my army in Lucania. Now I'm forced to pay the bill for EVERYONE ELSE. The downside of being so awesome is that nobody can compare to me.
There's no way my second army can relieve Acnonios in time, and I don't like the idea of leaving him outnumbered two to one, so I've devised a scheme of ferrying 2nd Stratos up to Victory using my navy. I have decided to call this strategy "Epirus Rules", and have commenced operation "Acnonios You Moron, What The Blazes Are You Doing".
Victory (the state of being, not my army) must be assured. I must triumph. I must also make another sandwich. I'm hungry again.
15th April, 474 AVC
Acnonios and Rufinus have been skirmishing for a month. A month! It's like March was just some vast wormhole which ate half my army. Un. Freaking. Believeable. You have elephants, Acnonios! He doesn't! RUN THE ELEPHANTS AT HIS ARMY AND CHARGE IN AFTERWARDS! How hard would that be? He keeps insisting he has a "grand strategy" and that "You must be patient" and that "I will order a wedge attack in the next assault" and "You really should put some pants on", but how can I trust a man who just hangs around hemorrhaging troops like he does?
I'm considering sending my good pal Hieron to... motivate him. But not yet. I'll wait a bit longer before I put him in that position.
Just not much longer.
7th May, 474 AVC
We've lost the battle of Apulia. I take some consolation in the fact that despite 5500 of my 17000 men dying, we managed to wipe out 10000 of Rome's 26000. A few more victories like that, and he will be undone. I've declared that, henceforth, costly wins shall be known as "Rufinic Victories" after the Roman leader, Rufinus, commanding their forces. I've also commissioned a lovely tapestry of fleeing Romans in commemoration of the brave Epirote men who killed a lot of Romans before dying.
But I'm still going to make Acnonios wear the "I lost a major battle and now I'm a social pariah" shirt for a year. And I've changed the name of the army from "Victory" to "Humiliating Defeat". That should motivate them to do better next time. Whose idea was it to name them Victory again? I'm pretty sure it was that annoying sycophant I fired a while back. I should have Hieron pay him a visit, and invite him to stay in my palace.
My retreating armies shall soon arrive in Tarentum, where all the cowardly Italian Greeks have been sitting around saying "I Told You So" and feeling good about their surrender ever since they heard of our loss. I have lodged a formal protest, demanding that they immediately pay me 100 sandwiches for being smug sissies. I have no doubt that they will comply.
30th May, 474 AVC
After careful consideration, I have decided that the loss was not entirely Acnonios's fault. It was the fact that those Italian Greeks (hereafter referred to as "Carpets") let themselves get walked all over. If the Carpets had just stood up to the Romans, we wouldn't have had to fight such a poorly placed battle.
I have ordered all carpets in my palace burned, in symbolic outrage. I trust that the Italian Greeks will understand the clear message.
It has become obvious that the devil Rufinus is headed for an invasion of Syracuse. I have begun to ferry my army to Sicily to defend the city, and anticipate being able to fight a much more favorable battle. I shall trap his army between my defending armies on the shores of Sicily, acting as a "Hammer", and my fleet cutting off his retreat, acting as "A Bigger, Flatter Hammer". One of my sycophantic underlings suggested that there might be a more concise way of putting this, but I had him legally declared a Carpet and exiled. I have no use for someone who can't appreciate the poetry of my genius.
Thus begins "Operation Hammer and Bigger, Flatter Hammer". I know, this time, I shall see success.
1st August, 474 AVC
My armies "Humiliating Defeat" and Hieron’s newly dubbed "Really Victory This Time" have taken up station in Syracuse. I will continue my blockade of the strait for another month to allow them to regain their morale and reinforce their ranks. Still, my new plan is foolproof. There is no possible way it can go wrong.
On an unrelated note, I found a carpet in the room of one of my advisors. I have had him executed for unseemly sympathies. One simply cannot know whom to trust in these evil days - you never know who might end up having an unfortunate affinity for those vile floor-mats.
18th September, 474 AVC
The Carpets are refusing to give me my sandwiches. I have ordered the creation of hundreds of carpets with the image of their prominent leaders in protest. The burning will be in a week - and the priests say we should have clear weather if we sacrifice enough goats. I have ordered that it be so.
My Royal Treasurer Leonnatus Zagreid wrote me to tell me that we are running a deficit by keeping so many troops and ships in the field. I immediately set up an audience with him and told him not to have such a defeatist mentality. He just looked at me funny, and replied that he was sure I was right, and didn't I want to make sure I spent the entirety of our clothing-budget? I considered and instructed him to buy himself a new wardrobe. Not everyone can go unclothed as gracefully as I, after all. The poor man was likely intimidated by my obvious command of my physical form.
I must remember to at least put on my crown during official state business. Very important to keep up appearances of authority.
7th October, 474 AVC
Success! The vile Rufinus has taken my bait and crossed the channel, so I have moved my fleet to block his lines of retreat. Early reports have the battle going splendidly. If Acnonios keeps this up, I may even deign to allow him to stop introducing himself as "That Clod Who Effed Up The Brilliant Plans Of Our Glorious Leader In Apulia". I'm sure he'd appreciate that little gesture of goodwill.
23rd October, 474 AVC
The armies are dancing around each other, and it appears that Vile Rufinus is again proving a more formidable opponent than I would like. Although Acnonios still seem to be winning the engagements much of the time, it is not so lopsided as I had hoped. My combined forces are proving to be less a "hammer" and more a "gentle breeze that ushers you in some general direction", which severly limits the utility of my masterfully commanded "Bigger, Flatter Hammer".
I must think on how to improve this situation.
5th November, 474 AVC
Eureka! I shall instruct Acnonios to lead his army to battle naked! They shall be inspired by my own example and decisively triumph!
6th November, 474 AVC
I have left instructions with my servants to never again carry my orders if I am clearly drunk when issuing them. They may pretend to do so, but not actually do so.
Some of my brilliant ideas are simply too brilliant to actively put into practice.
23rd November, 474 AVC
Victory! Hail to the Basileus, baby!
Acnonios and Hieron have routed the Vile Rufinus badly, killing 13000 of his 27000 men in exchange for only 5500 of our 17500. (This is the second battle in which 5500 of our men have died. Is this some sort of omen? I must give it thought.)
Syracuse is secure, and Rufinus's army has been smashed on my Grand Fleet "Bigger, Flatter Hammer" like so many curds upon the teeth of a forcefully chewing cow. Nothing can stop us now! For our next step, we must reclaim the former Carpet-owned lands from Mother Roma's tyrranical grip. Operation "Suck it Rufinus, I Freaking Crushed Your Army" has officially commenced!
11th December, 474 AVC
The aqueous assault of Ager Bruttius began today when I sent the army formerly named "Humiliating Defeat" and now dubbed "Rufinus's Mistresses” (because of what they, y'know, did to Rufinus. And I still haven't totally forgiven them for that loss at Apulia) into the new Roman province. They have already engaged the small rearguard Rufinus left behind, but I don't doubt Rufinus's Mistresses shall prevail. Or else.
My Chief Torturer Hieron is ferrying himself along more slowly with his army "We're Nice Guys, Really!" I gave him the honor of renaming his legion due to the victory, and he's always wanted to call his army that. He's such a softie.
Meanwhile, I am bringing "Bigger, Flatter Hammer" along to Sinus Tarentinus to blockade the cities of Ager Bruttius by sea. May they feel the eternal unending wrath of Pyrrhus and see the errors of their Carpet-y ways.
15th December, 474 AVC
The Roman rearguard in Ager Bruttius retreated before Rufinus's Mistresses after only 350 casualties like the weak-willed simpletons they are. I ordered a day of celebration in which only sentence fragments and monosyllabic words may be uttered to commemorate their ineptitude. I'm enjoying it so much, that I just might extend it to a full week!
8th January, 475 AVC
So my Hierophant, Cineas Philonid, came to me the other day and told me we were overdue for a major ritual to secure the favor of the gods, and what would I like to sacrifice in honor of anyway? I told him I've always wanted to be hailed as a god myself, but he hemmed and hawed and seemed really indecisive about whether that was a good idea, so I settled for a ritual that he claimed would make our fortresses invincible.
So today is the big day, and Cineas comes up to me and tells me that it's going to cost a hundred gold coins to complete the ritual. Practically extortion, but there it is, and I'd really like our fortresses to be invincible. So I go ahead and shell out the money, and he thanks me and bows and says all those normal compliments about how I look so kingly when I'm not bound by little things like clothes.
But then they finally get up there, and they go ahead and sacrifice the goat that was just crushed between two elephants consummating their union, and the priest is all "the intestines are knotted and frail! Our steadfast walls are not safe!" and starts riling up the people. So naturally I walk right up there, and I examine the intestines, and heck if they don't just look like intestines to me. I mean, it just seems like intestines are normally kind of knotted, and these ones were squelched between two elephants having a rollicking good time. What did the priests expect?
So I had the offending priest carted off and killed. And then Cineas comes up and tries to tell me that I've cemented his interpretation of the ritual in the minds of the gods by killing their mouthpiece, and I can expect our defenses to be weaker for at least a year. And so I ask why the blazes I just gave him 100 gold coins if it was just going to make my fortresses crumble and all that jazz? He gives me some mumbo jumbo about fate and preordained signs and the inherent problems with murdering priests, but I knew what he wanted. The weasel was angling for more cash.
But I'm wise to his game now. So I sent him on his way and returned to my fleet, thinking of ways to send all my priests to Rome to let them deal with the flighty embezzlers.
In the meantime, I have a country to destroy.
4th Febuary, 475 AVC
"We're Nice Guys, Really" has finally arrived in Ager Bruttius (which I'm told is having an absolutely devastating water shortage due to the siege), so I'm allowing Rufinus's Prostitues another chance at glory with an aqueous assault against the modest garrison of Lucania. May the crows feast upon the unjust! (Or, in this case, the Romans, who are clearly the more unjust of the two of us.)
24th Febuary, 475 AVC
Curses! The Roman legion managed to escape to Bloody Apulia, site of Acnonios’s humiliating defeat, before Rufinus's Mistresses could catch them. At least the prospects of taking at least two provinces from these cowering Roman cretins looks good indeed.
20th March, 475 AVC
Fortune has smiled upon us indeed, as we have opened a breach in the walls of Ager Bruttius's capital, Croton! I have ordered Hieron to assault the city with We're Nice Guys, Really and leave no survivors. He seems pleased with my decisive nature and I have no doubt he'll be an efficient exterminator of those Carpet-turned-Roman traitors. If he's successful, I may even grant him leave to go home and engage in a little instructional torture so that his son can start learning the ropes. Such a nice family!
In other news, a large Roman fleet has been spotted in Mare Inferum off the coast of Sicily. I have ordered the Bigger, Flatter Hammer forward to intercept them. A grand battle is likely within the next week, and a chance to try my superior tactical skills for the first time directly against a Roman! We shall see what this "Quintus Aemilius Papus" is made of...
26th March, 475 AVC
The assault on Croton within Ager Bruttius proceeds apace, and I have engaged Papus in the first of our feints and clever maneuvers. He is good, but I am better.
2nd May, 475 AVC
Disaster! I have underestimated the resolve of these Roman dogs. Papus refused to be drawn into my clever traps, and even sank one of my ships! I have withdrawn to Syracuse with the remainder of my fleet to undergo repairs. In the meantime, I have decided morale needs to be improved among my fleet, and have thus renamed it "Totally Awesome".
Hieron misjudged the tenacity of the defenders at Croton and was forced to withdraw after taking heavy casualties to his militia. I have cancelled his appointment to "BFF" status until he manages to erase this shame from his record.
21st August, 475 AVC
God, these sieges and repairs just drag on and on, don't they? I've ordered all rats in my cities captured and burned, as I will burn the vile Romans.
This week, rats. Next week, Rome. I'm sure they'll understand the significance of the symbolic warning.
13th September, 475 AVC
Finally, after months of dithering and sitting on his hands, Hieron has restored himself to glory by capturing Croton and subduing Ager Bruttius. I have ordered him north to assist the incompetant Acnonios, whose Mistresses haven't broken Roman hearts in far too long. I have changed their name to "Lazy Mistresses” as a reprimand for this.
My fleet still isn't seaworthy, and I suspect they are deliberately sabotaging repairs. I have told them all that I shall punish them by wearing a robe, and thus depriving them of my awe-inspiring naked perfection, until they shape up. They seemed oddly cheered by this, so I don't doubt that it was just what they needed as motivation.
4th October, 475 AVC
I have just heard that the Vile Rufinus has received a second chance at command, being given ownership over the 6000 men that constitute Rome's pathetic attempt at revitalizing their army. I shall look forward to crushing him (by proxy) again.
In other news, I decided I needed to root out sedition in my homeland. I ordered a hundred carpets made and then quickly issued a proclamation that creating carpets was punishable by death.
I always knew that the ranks of the weavers were rife with traitors and treasonous mutterings.