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Thread: As You Like It - A Historical After Action Report

  1. #1

    As You Like It - A Historical After Action Report

    As You Like It
    A Historical After Action Report





    I love history. I've been playing historical games since forever, and in the long lost winter of 2008, I discovered - accidentally - a game called Europa Universalis III. The comments I heard where discouraging, at best: some said to me that it was an incoherent mess, other that it was unplayable, others told that it was ugly and many more other things. I couldn't wait to play it, since all those complaints where followed by the comment 'but is as historical as you can get'.

    When I finally bought it, I started playing right away. My first game had mixed results: in some, I was crushed, in others, merely defeated. That would not be a problem, since I was still learning the game, but I hated it. I hated it because it was virtually impossible to have a 'real' historical experience. I ended up always playing Castille, because I couldn't stand and watch the AI Spain never conquering Central and South America.

    Along came the expansions, and eventually I learned the ropes and actually enjoyed the game very much. I spent a few months without playing it and earlier this year I tought about coming back to playing it, when I decided to take a look in the Paradox website to see some new titles. I read about Victoria I before, but never got around to play it, and decided to try Victoria II. I fell for this game instantly.

    So, after a few months, after a few games, I feel confident enough to try the project I was going for when I decided to get back to EUIII: To recreate history as accuratelly as possible. The diference is that I will do it on V2, a game that has become one of my most beloved hobbies. I'm planning to do more AARs with this same theme, so this is the first of many; also this is my first AAR ever, so I hope it's enjoyable.

    I plan to base the layout and the style as it was done in Under the Rising Sun, one of my favorite AARs. I'll try to be as historically informative as possible along the AAR, without being boring, and any feedback you guys can give me is welcome.
    Last edited by PDR1987; 22-12-2011 at 00:31.

  2. #2
    The Article Beggar Derahan's Avatar
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  3. #3
    Lt. General NapoleonComple's Avatar
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    Thats ambitious. Good luck recreating WW1 in particular.

  4. #4
    Introduction


    As a first attempt to reconstruct history, the chosen nation is the United Kingdom. Given the time period, the (alleged) easy difficulty, and of course, the name of the game, seems to be a good choice. So, what does it mean to 'reconstruct history'? The goals for the game will be based on the actual accomplishments and events that occured in the time frame with the chosen country, in this case, the British Empire. Also, a set of rules will be followed that will guide any action throughout the game - in any other future playthrough that may inspire an AAR out of it, they will also be applied regardless of the country chosen. So, here they are:

    The Rules


    Behave like the chosen nation did on V2 timeframe.
    Make allies and enemies according to history.
    Do not pass reforms or any other form of government changing policy that didn't took place historically.
    Do not annex any province that wasn't annexed by the nation I'm playing.
    Do not interfere in matters that make no sense historically.
    Do not declare wars that didn't happen.
    Infamy is not a problem if there a goal to accomplish.
    Only try to accomplish some goal no earlier than 10 years before the final deadline.
    Always participate in historical wars.
    Winning the game means be where you should be historically when the game ends.



    Those will be the Rules through the game, and they shall not be broken and they will be obeyed at all times. The goals for each continent will be posted as the AAR is developed, and since it's a lot of goals, it's better not to clog up the Intro with them. The game is being started today, and hopefully an update will be posted no later then saturday. Until then.
    Last edited by PDR1987; 27-12-2011 at 08:04.

  5. #5
    People's Commissar of the Navy Demi Moderator Avindian's Avatar
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    You know, normally I don't like the UK in Vicky 2, because it's too uber-powerful, but this... this is something I will follow!
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  6. #6
    Argentina Delenda Est Tanzhang (譚張)'s Avatar
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  7. #7
    General morningSIDEr's Avatar
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    A very intriguing idea. I like the rules you have set yourself, they should provide for an entertaining game, I'll certainly follow this.
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  8. #8
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    I'll be following this one.

  9. #9
    Derahan, Thanzang and Neoteros: I'm glad I've got your interest. I hope to make a fun and entertaining AAR, glad to have you guys following!

    NapoleonComple: Well, I just hope the German Empire forms. That alone will be a victory.

    Avindian: I totally agree. We'll see if we can up the bar with some tough goals to achieve.

    MorningSIDEr: Well, wait until you see the goals I've set for myself. I'm way over my head, it seems.
    Last edited by PDR1987; 23-12-2011 at 20:13.

  10. #10
    Part I - The Calm Before The Storm


    The United Kingdom was in a privileged position on the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars, and entered the 19th century as the top contender to world dominance but far from a sure winner, despite what the uberness of UK in the start of the game leads to believe. The power struggle for the Middle East and Asia between Russia and the british had already begun (with the annexing of a few khanates by the Russian Empire in the early 1820s) and the ascension of a young, unprepared queen was echoing all the turbulence of the early 17th century. Also, the liberal wind that swept Europe in the 1830s and 1840s bode ill tidings for all monarchies, constitutional or not, in the modern world.

    Preparations

    So, it's January 1st of 1836, the time is paused and there's much work ahead. In the production screen, there's not much to do; all british industrial endeavours are profitable, and since the liberals are in control of the parliament, the chosen policy is Laissez Faire. There's not much to do about it, and that kind of liberal economical thinking was a dominant idea in UK at the time.

    The budget will be adjusted like this:



    Well, eventually more adjustments will have to be done, for the british armies stationed around the world will need a lot of money to keep going, but for now, this will do. Education is of utmost importance, since the Empire will only be able to be a researching powerhouse with a high literacy level. After Canada, New Zeeland and Australia are fully colonized, the Nation Focus will be Priests in the most populated provinces.



    Reasearch will be set to Medicine, and the focus will be on Commerce and Naval Techs, and, on a lesser extent, in Industry. Of course, the cultural advancements are a must to get high output for research, but this is a historical playthrough, folks; They will be researched later, since they are mostly german discoveries. UK at the time was, essentially, a trading nation and I'll be as such, so, Commerce will always be the order of the day.

    In the military field, modernizing the fleet is first priority; the outdated transport squadrons of Clippers will be updated to Steam Transports, and the frigates to Commerce Raiders. The transports will come first, since they will be put to use immediately after they're ready. A few artilleries are also required, to reinforce the indian armies. Later there will be some elaboration on the battle strategy, but overall they will be like they where back then: combined arms, with a majority of infantry. No encircling, or nothing of the sort. Just good old brute force and chasing the fleeing armies. It will be vanilla EU3 all over again.



    The Center of the World



    Here it is: the trading and economical center of Europe, and arguably, the World. It's relatively easy to defend the British Isles from invasion, but England must rely on naval force more than anything, so a maximum of 60 brigades will be stationed in England, Scotland and Ireland during the duration of the game. Any surplus units will be sent to India, Africa and Canada, on that order. The goals for Europe are:

    - Sphere Portugal and Spain if/as soon as possible.
    - Sphere Netherlands as soon as possible.
    - Avoid wars and continental combat, rely on naval power and blockade.
    - Avoid alliances from 1860 onwards, resume alliances from 1902 onwards.
    - Keep in good relations with every country, specially with France.
    - Try to prevent large scale wars by forming large alliances between neighboring countries in the early game.
    - Do not get involved in any conflict in the period between 1860-1910.

    Hopefully some sort of Crimean War can be recreated, but that will depend on what happens.

    But first things first:



    Uncle Leopold sure will like this, since his wet dream has been to have the protection of the Empire behind his fledgeling kingdom. Also, this is in part a reaction to how the game usually goes: soon they will enter a war with the Netherlands, and this little piece of Africa may fall into british hands:



    This, by the way, will be a common occurrence in this game: since land can't be bought or acquired by any other non hostile way, other means must be used. So, diplomatical maneuvering and sphering must be used to at least try to emulate that - if all else fails, good old war of conquest will be the modus operandi. Yes, that's hardly historical, but alas, nothing is perfect.

    But, as stated in the Rules, wars that didn't happen shall not be declared. And, as a goal with UK, the wars in Europe must be fought mainly through naval dominance, avoiding land battles in the continent; so, if a war break out between Belgium and Netherlands, it should also be noted that no armies should be sent to fight in the Netherlands, they will merely be blockaded.

    In fact, the main purpose of this alliance is preventing Belgium from annexing large portions of the Netherlands and using the war score to acquire Sekondi. The dutch withdrew from the region in 1874, allowing UK to create the Ghana Protectorate, but that's impossible to emulate in V2, so the conflict must be used to simulate that territorial transfer.

    Also:



    This will be done all the time. The Relations and SoI mechanic must be used to mimic the diplomatic victories of UK at the time. Everything will be done so war does not break out with France, no matter what. And, if it can't be avoided, France shall be blockaded until a WP can be achieved. It shall be called a 'diplomatic incident that almost led to full scale war'.

    Well, this covers the preparations. As you can see, those goals are for Europe only; there's more five continents worth of goals, with a bunch of aggressive annexing; from here on, it will be a thrill and the ride will never be dull. There's really no other way of saying it: this is really the calm before the storm.

    Next: Asia and the Middle East, early conquests and LOTS of infamy.
    Last edited by PDR1987; 27-12-2011 at 08:24.

  11. #11
    General morningSIDEr's Avatar
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    Some always required preperation work out of the way then. Some of your goals for Europe do seem ambitious but I don't see any massive problems. Although I type this before the high infamy and rampant annexation you are promising in Asia and the Middle East is carried out! That will rather complicate matters.
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  12. #12
    Lt. General NapoleonComple's Avatar
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    Keep a strong military and you won't be attacked. However, watch Russia; they're more likely to come for you than the French are!

  13. #13
    Argentina Delenda Est Tanzhang (譚張)'s Avatar
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    If you were really being historical, you'd lower relations with France! I know you're trying to get them onside for a war with Russia, but Britain and France being too friendly before 1905 is a little ahistorical.

    Speaking of the Crimea, shouldn't you also be trying to sphere the Ottomans? (if they lose GP status like Spain?)
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  14. #14
    Clockwork Padishah Deaghaidh's Avatar
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    An interesting premise, BUT how strictly will you adhere to real world history if the game developments go off in different directions. I.e, what if Italy never forms? What if the AI countries fail to start a historic war and start an ahistoric one?
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  15. #15
    morningSIDEr: The goals for Europe are relatively easy, sure enough. More agressive annexation must occur in Africa and Asia, there lies the true difficulty.

    NapoleonComple: That's the plan; I hope to avoid wars of containment that way.

    Tanzhang: Indeed, you're absolutely right. I should not, then, raise relations with them beyond 20. And in my next update, will you see that I've already taken steps towards befriending the Turks.

    Deaghaidh: Excelent question; The rule of thumb will be that I'll strive to have exactly those provinces that UK had in that particular year - for example, having the precise colonies that they had in 1870, no more no less. I'll avoid ahistorical wars and pursue historical ones, but in the end it all boils down to that: conquer exactly what I need to conquer for that particular year. That will become clearer with my next update.

  16. #16
    Part II - The War In The East


    The Indies



    The Crown Jewel of the Empire and it's surroundings were some of the most important holdings of the United Kingdom at the time, both economically and politically. The prestigious position of Empress of India, attained by Queen Victoria in the 1870s, plus the tactical importance of those provinces for the Empire, and one can argue that, for UK, 'winning' in real life depended more than anything in holding India under british control.

    The goals for Asia and Oceania are:

    - Colonize New Zealand and Australia as soon as possible.
    - Acquire Hong Kong from China before 1842 and put them in my SoI before 1860.
    - Annex Panjab before 1849, and release Kashmir as a puppet state.
    - Annex Burma, if they revolt.
    - Annex Johore before 1886 (can't remember if they star in your SoI, if so, only if they revolt).
    - Acquire Northern Borneo before 1888.
    - Annex or sphere all the others western/eastern Indian Minors, Kalat specially, with focus in annexing Baluchistan before 1876.
    - Try to prevent chinese expansionism anywhere, except Tibet.
    - Release Australia as a dominion in 1901.
    - Stablish a large fleet presence in Bombay/Calcuta.

    As you see, despite some standard regular-game goals like colonization, there's some aggressive annexing and some diplomacy ahead. First, the troops and navy must be updated; some artillery should added to the Indian Armies and enough Steam Transports must be built to move the british armies around. Around 40 Transports will be built, along with over 50 Commerce Raiders. Most armies will consist of 6 brigades of infantry and brigades of cavalry and artillery, 2 of each. That'll allow that only one transport squadron - with 10 transports - is necessary to move them, facilitating transportation.

    In early December, the transports are ready for moving. They are assembled in Southampton, and must be sent south no later then January, 1837. Acquiring Hong Kong is the most urgent goal in Asia, so all forces must be concentrated in a 'all or nothing' campaign for Guangdong; after the region is occupied, a favorable peace deal probably can be achieved.

    But, before that, there's one stop to make on the way to Asia:



    The middle east, despite having a really greater importance later, when oil reserves were discovered and the resource had shown it's significance, they had some strategical importance on their own back then. The Aden region (in southwestern Yemen), acquired by the british in 1839, was used mainly as a station for fleets and as a preventive against piracy in the region.

    Along with acquiring territory for that colony, the goals for the region are:

    - Sphere Abu Dhabi as soon as possible.
    - Sphere Oman as soon as possible.
    - Acquire territory from Yemen to form the Aden Protectorate before 1839.
    - Try to dismantle the Ottoman Empire no later then 1920, and sphere/annex Iraq and Palestine no later then the same year.
    - Try to prevent european colonialism through alliances.

    On a side note, and as noted by Tanzhang, at first, the Ottomans must be made an ally of the UK; that was achieved in January of 1836 through an agreement. If british hegemony is to be asserted in the east by force, the Ottomans shall be the ideal ally (given their general incompetence in V2, they are more like cannon fodder for the Russian hordes, but they are useful nonetheless). For now, the main task is at hand: establishing the Aden Protectorate.



    AS it can be seen in this map, Taizz, Hodeida and the capital Sana are not part of it; but since the game does not fracture regions in peace deals, only what composed Aden originally cannot be acquired individually. Yemen must be annexed, unfortunetelly. In May of 1837, war is declared - it's allies Hedjaz and Abu Dhabi do not honor their alliance. The Calcutta Army arrives on the 15th, the occupation of Ghayda begins:



    The attrition is massive; the british forces must be divided, so they don't suffer so harshly the conditions of the desert. Occupying low supply and high attrition provinces such as these is a long and difficult endeavour; the campaign lasts for the rest of the year. Meanwhile, Gwalior is sphered and the spread of influence in Asia continues. By July of 1838, the last remnants of the yemeni resistance are dealt with in Hodeida and the occupation of their last province follows.

    While the campaign advances to its final moments, the early months of 1839 are eventful: against what was believed earlier, the dutch recognize belgian independence; in February, Queen Victoria marries the Prince of Saxe-Colburg-Gotha; the Texan War of Independence ends in America, with the state being incorporated in the USA; and finally, after the lengthy Siege of Hodeida, in May, a favorable peace deal is signed with Yemen and the Aden Protectorate is founded on schedule.







    The First Eastern War

    The Conservatives manage to win the election in 1840, contrary to all expectations, and no doubt to the dismay of Her Majesty. That does not, however, changes any plans for the upcoming campaign for Hong Kong. After the somewhat costly war for Aden, the british forces continue on their route towards the East Indies. Most of the brigades stationed in India also board the transports headed for Gauzhou and Hainan, and in November, war is declared between UK and China.



    In reality, since this conflict had to do with the opium trade between UK and China and also some very specific diplomatic situations, the game doesn't have what is required to fully emulate this conflict. Since this is an attempt at an historical game, we could argue that the reasons for war were economical and strategical. Soon after the news of the declaration of war reached the Forbidden Palace, there's british soldiers disembarking in the southern most coast of China.

    Chinese troops scrambled around, but only minor battles take place, without any threatening battles. By January, Zhaoqinq is occupied without much resistence. The attrition has taken it's toll - from the original 90.000 men that arrived late in 1840, only 75.000 remain. After a few smaller skirmishes, the bulk of the chinese forces gathers around Naning and Canton, and they eventually outmaneuver the british troops, forcing them into battle at Gauzhou: the almost 200 thousand strong chinese army engaged Lord General Leopold Smith-Dorrien and his men in March. Outnumbered almost 10 to 1, he managed to hold ground until reinforcing armies from Hainan and Zhaoqinq arrived.



    A massive defeat for China, the Battle of Gauzhou helped pave the way for other significant victories in the campaign, like the Battle of Canton in June, and the 2nd Battle of Ganzhou, in August. Even with these victories, some decisive victory must be achived fast; in early September, almost 400 thousand chinese troops were gathering around in the surrounding provinces, and it was just a matter of time before they were organized enough to strike; those 'psychological' victories were the only chance of achieving the needed war score before that fateful attack. Then, before the worst could happen, in October 12th of 1841 a peace offer came from China, ceding Hong Kong to the Empire.



    This war, despite being successful, showed that in order to subjugate China under the UK sphere of influence, a much larger force is needed and a lot more careful planing is required; the war score needed is much higher, and it's amazingly difficult to effectively occupy large stretches of chinese territory without massive armies. Everything will be done to prepare the british forces when the time comes, but, for now, a brief respite can be enjoyed before turning all attention to the Indian Subcontinent.

    Next: The Panjabi Subjugation and the 'Sphering Wars'
    Last edited by PDR1987; 27-12-2011 at 09:03.

  17. #17
    People's Commissar of the Navy Demi Moderator Avindian's Avatar
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    This is really terrific stuff! Next time I teach 19th and 20th century British history as part of my Western Civ course, I'll just have my students read your AAR.
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  18. #18
    Second Lieutenant Neoteros's Avatar
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    Her Majesty would be proud of you, keep it going ^^

    PS: the British also helped the Thousand on their path to the unification of Italy, i hope you'll manage to help them... XD

  19. #19
    Argentina Delenda Est Tanzhang (譚張)'s Avatar
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    Great to see a historical Anglo-Chinese war for a change!
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  20. #20
    Avindian: Thank you! I'm a teacher myself, so I know how hard it is to get them interested in anything.

    Neoteros: Thanks! The british help to Garibaldi and his volunteers was mostly diplomatic, they'll have to do most of the work; but I'll keep an eye open.

    Tanzhang: Thanks! I'll try to give some more historical context, to add some more flavor.

    I'm making some major editing today, since some of my pics were deleted, no idea why. Also, I'll 'clean up' the text a little bit and try to add some more of the 'historical flavor'. Read them again, to see the changes. Thanks everyone for the feedback!
    Last edited by PDR1987; 27-12-2011 at 09:06.

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