Kalmar Ascendant - From Sweden to Scandinavia
A POP Demand Mod After Action Report (version 4.5.2)
This will mark my first foray into the wild unexplored wilderness that is 'writing an AAR'; I follow plenty of them, but I have yet to contribute to the field at all until now. I confess, I'm not what you'd call "great" at Victoria 2; there are plenty of game mechanics that I understand functionally, but advanced game theory is way beyond me. So if I make strategic or tactical mistakes, well, that's why. Comments, feedback, and criticism (tempered by a little patience) are all appreciated. This will be a major learning experience for me, after all.
I'll be writing in a pretty bare-bones style from my perspective as a player, rather than inventing an entire cast of characters, for a few reasons. One, this is my first AAR. Two, what I know about Sweden and Swedish history come primarily from having read Stieg Larsson's books and watching Sesame Street as a kid. (That will be my first and only Swedish Chef joke.) In other words, I'm pretty much a dunce when it comes to Scandinavia. Rather than try to weave a rich and engaging tapestry using Swedish history, politics, and culture, I will instead focus on not screwing up too badly and angering the entire region.
General AAR Overview
In this AAR, I will be playing the Kingdom of Sweden, a large, populous, and mainly agrarian Northern European country that borders Norway, Denmark, and Finland. These four countries are 'Scandinavian' countries, named after the Scandinavian Peninsula on which they reside, with a shared history and culture that ties them together to this day. Historically, Sweden rode out the Victorian period without doing much of note outside its own borders, remaining neutral in international conflict and shunning large-scale industrialization until around 1870. As of 1836, Sweden leads a personal union with the Kingdom of Norway, granting that country domestic autonomy in exchange for subordinate status under the King of Sweden and the Swedish government until autonomy in 1910.
This sounds pretty boring to me as a player, so I'm taking a completely different tack. In this AAR, Sweden will instead leverage its sizable, highly literate population and its historical ties to the rest of Scandinavia to achieve greatness on the world stage through industrialization, imperialism, and innovation.
Industrialization: In 1836, Sweden has no factories, no craftsmen, and no capitalists -- in short, a completely agrarian economy. This is simply not acceptable for any country that wants to be a major international player, so rapid industrialization is my first priority. With factories, I can make industrial goods both for domestic use and for foreign consumption, which reduces costs all around and makes my life much easier. Industry is the wave of the future in Victoria 2, and I plan on riding it to victory.
Imperialism: This is the big one. Rather than be content with Sweden's current borders, I intend to reform the Kalmar Union under the Swedish crown as a prelude to full Scandinavian unification. Once Denmark, Finland, and Norway fly the flag of Scandinavia, I will modernize those countries and make Scandinavia into a true world power, with colonial interests in Africa and perhaps even in the West Indies. When able to do so, I will oppose foreign control of Scandinavian territory, which will undoubtedly put me into conflict with Prussia and Austria over Schleswig-Holstein, as well as Russia over Finland.
Innovation: Sweden has 80% literacy in 1836, which is frankly astounding. This gives the country a highly educated, politically aware populace and a major potential edge in technological research, which is crucial in the Victorian period. In time, I intend to match and even surpass Prussia as the pinnacle of scientific achievement.
Rules, Systems, and Other Technical Details
For this AAR, I'll be using version 4.5.2 of the POP Demand Mod (link here), which in turn uses the Friday the 13th version of the 1.4 beta patch. I am a huge fan of this mod and of Naselus and Rylock, its two major developers. While there are a lot of great Victoria II mods out there, I think PDM is simply the best and encourage everyone who wants more balance and more fun in their V2 games to give it a try. I'll try to illustrate a few of PDM's great features and some of the more interesting changes it's made to the world, as well as the neat events that fire.
I'm also using Armandeus' Map Font Mod (found here), Alexspeed's Dark Parchment Overlay and Lighter Fog of War (found here), CaptRobau's Social Pyramid Mod and Visible Country Borders Mod (found here and here), and EGaffney's Big Flag Frames (found here). These are all minor graphical tweaks that I use to make my game look a little shinier and more put-together, though I credit Armandeus in particular with finding a map font that I can actually read easily. (Note: I hadn't added either of CaptRobau's mods for the 1836-1839 gameplay, which is why the screenshots don't include them.)
The game difficulty is set to Normal with yearly autosaves. I won't be reloading unless the game crashes or I make a dumb mistake (clicking the wrong button); stupid mistakes (major tactical errors, starting land wars in Asia) will remain intact. I will be modding in a few new events to account for my alternate history, as well as clean-up events for if AI action leads to ridiculous borders or otherwise totally implausible situations. I will try to make the new events balanced, so that I'm not giving myself cores across all of Europe for a few pounds and a point of infamy, and attempt to keep them grounded in common sense.
I think that's everything. The first update will go from January 1836 to January 1840, with further updates every five or ten in-game years, depending on how much content there is and how many screenshots I get. I hope you enjoy the AAR!