Victoria 3 - Dev Diary #25 - The Cost of War

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Today marks the final entry in our 4-part overview of the warfare mechanics of Victoria 3. If you’re just tuning in now, we have previously covered The Concept of War, Fronts and Generals, and Navies and Admirals which introduces many of the core concepts fleshed out in this diary.

That war costs substantial money and resources is hardly a novel concept. Most strategy games impose a cost for creating military units, some have upkeep costs, and even in Pop-less Paradox GSGs a metric such as a Manpower pool often has to be regenerated in order to replenish damaged units. A few games even encourage you to peace-out of wars that are so costly your treasury can’t bear the expense for as long as it takes to win, even if you still have armies left standing.

In Victoria 3 we aim to take this to the next level by modelling the truly astronomical, often lasting expenses of war in the economic system. This includes letting players and Pops profit off of wars; employ economic tools such as trade disruptions to gain military leverage; encourage upgrading not only your military but also industrial output to match; reform your Laws to fit your military to your economy; ensure your Infrastructure is sufficient to maintain your country while at war; and invest in medical corps and medicine to treat your population traumatized by the frontlines.

The intention here is not only to give the player a lot of economic levers to pull to prepare their country for war, although that is certainly part of it. A big reason for making wars approach the real-life cost is to encourage the player to think hard about the opportunity cost of war - that is, what you’re missing out on by spending your resources on war instead of something else - and incentivize solving your diplomatic conflicts before war breaks out. If war was a cost-effective way both of increasing your power and decreasing your enemy’s power, diplomacy would be relegated to nothing but faux formalities before fighting begins. But if neither party truly desires a war, no matter the power discrepancy between them, that’s when the Diplomatic Play intimidation game to see who blinks first can become real and tense.

It also means that it’s a skill to know when to stop. If war was an all-or-nothing affair this would not be an issue, but in Victoria 3 wars rarely result in one side getting everything they asked for (as we will learn more about next week, when we cover the Peace Deals system). Once you have hurt your enemy enough you might accept a consolation prize and sign a truce, knowing you will recover better over the next five years than they will.

With that said, let’s dig into the details.

Your ability to sustain your war machine is of crucial importance in peace as well as war. At the start of the game many countries can get away with maintaining an army of self-supporting Irregular Infantry to keep the costs of arms down, but this won’t be possible for long. And while wages might be affordable when your country is underdeveloped, increased productivity and labor competition will eventually raise expectations.
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Your country’s Army Model is a type of Law that governs who makes up your military and how they are organized. We currently have four Army Models planned:

Under a Peasant Levy model, a permanent military force supported by Barracks is non-existent or minimal in size. Instead the country may raise large numbers of conscripted levies of irregulars during wartime, led by Officers originating from the aristocracy. This model is cheap to maintain during peacetime but can get very expensive (particularly in lives) during war. Conscripted Battalions can also take a long time to organize, and provide no Power Projection that affects the country’s Prestige.

The National Militia model limits your standing army and Power Projection in much the same way as Peasant Levies, but permits you to conscript a large part of your population into a well-rounded national defense force if needed. These conscripted troops cannot be mobilized and are therefore automatically assigned to their local garrisons, unavailable to Generals to use to advance Fronts. It’s the model of choice for countries who want to focus on homeland defense, or countries desiring to democratize the military and limit the power of the Armed Forces.

Mass Conscription becomes available once you have unlocked the Society “tech” Nationalism. It lets you enlist the same large number of conscripts as National Militia but does not limit the size of your standing army, and all these conscripts are assigned under Generals as needed. In addition, conscripts are trained faster but are limited to infantry troops only. This is the correct choice for countries fighting no-holds-barred existential conflicts where sending regular waves of fresh meat to the frontlines is imperative.

A Regular Army model lets a country maintain an army of any size even in peacetime. While it also permits for conscription of a smaller number of civilians as needed, its standing army is the pride of the nation and confers considerable Prestige onto it. This model has the greatest flexibility in terms of military Production Methods, letting countries configure their armies without restrictions. Technologically advanced countries relying on more expensive crack troops rather than sheer numbers favor this Law.

Like all Laws, changing your Army Model will be popular with some Interest Groups and not with others, and in most cases you need to have at least a semi-legitimate government that favors the Law in order to have a chance to pass it without major complications. The icons you see for these Laws are not yet finalized.
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Conscripting the civilian population into military service is an option available to all countries, but only during wartime or when the country is at threat of war (i.e. when it is actively participating in a Diplomatic Play). Conscripted Battalions do not Project Power and therefore do not impart Prestige, and under some Army Models they do not have access to certain advanced Production Methods that require specialized training.

Conscripts can be activated state by state or all across your country at once. Activating conscripts creates a Conscription Center in the state where civilians are recruited into temporary military service, and the cost of these conscripts are only incurred as they become active. This means relying on conscripting civilians as needed can be a compelling strategy to keep the military budget down, but it does not come without its own costs.

First and foremost, when the Conscription Center appears, recruited Pops will leave their regular places of work en masse which could cause major temporary disruptions to your nation’s economy. If the conscripts in a certain state happen to primarily originate from the lower strata of its underpaying Lead Mines, this will reduce output and thereby affect the Glasswork and Munitions Plants that consume the lead produced in your market, which in turn will impact all its Urban Centers as well as your very military machinery. If you have enough Pops in search of labor this situation will correct itself over time as the Lead Mines rehire their lost workers, but in the long run this simple action of initiating conscription in a single state will still mean a shift in Wealth distribution, political allegiances, population distribution, industrial profitability, and so on. Even after a successfully prosecuted war those men returning home alive may need to look for new opportunities to regain their old Standard of Living. Everything has consequences.

Second, conscripted Battalions are always created from scratch which can take a lot of time. This means they lose any experience gained in the last armed conflict as they stand down, while your standing army units will get more and more impressive over time. Soldier for soldier, conscripts give you less bang for your buck.

Third, conscripted Battalions are distributed among your Generals by their normal Rank-based proportions and aren’t automatically mobilized as soon as they emerge. So first the conscript Battalions need to be recruited and created from scratch, and then any conscript Battalions assigned to mobilized Generals must also mobilize in order to be able to leave for the front. As we explored in the Front and Generals diary, when such a large number of Battalions are raised all at once it is Infrastructure that governs how quickly they will be able to get ready, so this needs to be taken into account when choosing where to recruit your conscripts.

While all of the above happens automatically with the press of a button, the impact can be complex and will be experienced over time. Choosing to activate conscripts in the populous but rural vineyard valleys of Rhone will have a very different effect on France than activating conscripts in industrialized, well-connected Paris.

Mass Mobilization may provide access to vast numbers of fighting men, but redirecting up to 25 percent of your capable workforce to the war effort (in this case 60 Battalions, or the equivalent workforce required to staff about 12 levels of farms, mines, or manufacturing industries) could play a real number on your economy. These visuals are a work in progress, but demonstrates how the player functionally interacts with the map through the “lens” system either through clicking directly on regions of the map or by selecting options from a list.
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A very tangible cost is of course the actual money you are spending on military goods for mobilized troops in the field. While Barracks consume military goods at all times in proportion to the number of Battalions it supports, units that are mobilized consume twice the normal maintenance level of goods. Not only does this double the quantity you need to buy, it also puts a lot of additional demand on the goods, raising the price-per-unit as well. As long as they can keep their production levels steady, your domestic Arms Industries, Munition Plants, and War Machine Industries will see profits skyrocket off of this increased consumption of your mobilized troops.

This also means other nations - allies or neutral parties - will see the sudden benefit of exporting arms to you. If you normally export military goods to others you may wish to cancel these routes to keep prices down, while if neutral parties import arms from you this may be a good time to Embargo (or at least Tariff) these goods. Every little bit helps your treasury and ultimately your frontline troops.

Trade routes criss-crossing the ocean are susceptible to your enemy’s Convoy Raiding fleets. Until a patrol discovers them and sends them to home base for repairs, such a fleet can do considerable damage both to your supply network as a whole (affecting all Trade Routes as well as the supply of overseas Generals) and to some shipping lanes in particular, possibly crippling your country’s access to strategic goods like Small Arms or hard-to-find imports such as Radios. Compromising a country’s access to industrial, luxury, or even staple goods can also be devastating to their ability to stay in the war, as we will learn more about next week!

Convoy Raiding fleets can also damage connections to overseas markets, for example by compromising the East India Company’s connection to London. This could potentially devastate the economies of clusters of dozens of states who may have come to rely on such a connection to survive, particularly if their economies aren’t locally well-balanced but relying on cash crops or specialized manufacturing.

Many countries rely on foreign trade to supply them not only with the additional arms they require during wartime, but also the consumer goods required to keep morale up on the home front in this difficult time. Ending up on the opposite side of your trading partners during Diplomatic Plays could be catastrophic for the war effort. On this screenshot we can see the British used to supply the Ottomans with 100 units of Artillery each week, but with Great Britain now siding with Russia they will have to try to find a new trading partner as soon as possible - or try to hold the Russians off despite an Artillery shortage. Another potential crisis the Ottomans have to deal with is the imminent stoppage of a smaller amount of Liquor and enormous quantities of Luxury Clothes, at least the latter of which is prone to make many wealthy Pops feel this war might carry too high a price.

(on this screenshot we can also see some suspiciously round numbers of Available vs Required Convoys - these are currently placeholder values, which will be replaced with values properly scaled to the number of units traded across the number of nodes)

dd25-4.PNG

The goods, technologies, and in some cases Laws you have access to practically limit which military Production Methods you have available to you. These determine the composition of your army and navy and include both “upgrades” and “options”. As always, this list is not finalized but represents what is in the current build of the game only.

Your Infantry Organization Production Methods govern the organization and doctrines of your army’s core fighting force. They consume mostly Small Arms and Ammunition and include Irregular, Line, Skirmish, Trench, and Squad Infantry. Offense, Defense, and Training Rate are the most commonly affected attributes.

Artillery Support Production Methods consume expensive Artillery and Ammunition to boost the Offense, Morale Damage, Kill Rate, and Devastation attributes of the Battalions. Cannons, Mobile, Shrapnel, and Siege Artillery are represented.

Your Battalions’ Mobility options affect their ability to get around and scout the terrain, impacting their ability to do damage during an Offense and capture larger amounts of territory at the conclusion of a won battle. Cavalry forces are the default, which can eventually be supplemented with Bicycle Messengers, and after the turn of the century Aerial Reconnaissance or even an Armored Division supplied by late-game War Machines Industries producing Aeroplanes and Tanks.

Your standing army can unlock various Specialist Companies for Barracks to focus on. These include Machine Gunners, Infiltrators, Flamethrower Companies, and Chemical Weapon Specialists. These specialists consume various goods to inflict quite specific effects.

Medical Aid determines what sort of battlefield medicine your troops have access to, from the default of Wound Dressing, through First Aid, to fully fledged Field Hospitals. These consume Fabric and Opium to treat the sick and wounded to minimize the casualties inflicted by attrition and combat alike.

Access to Opium permits you to care for your injured population during wartime, but while the country is at peace the excess Opium floating around your market may result in Pops developing an unhealthy Obsession with the drug. This is less of a problem if you are the producer than if you’re relying on imports for your supply, of course.
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Similarly, Naval Bases also consume goods to produce Flotillas with different attributes. These are due for a design pass so I won’t go into details which are prone to change anyway. But in broad strokes, the fundamental Production Method determines the class of the central vessel that defines each Flotilla: is this a Man-o-War, Ironclad, Monitor, Dreadnought, or Battleship? In addition to the class of your central vessel, do you have Submarines or even Aeroplane Carriers accompanying your fleet? All these have pros and cons for different types of missions, letting you specialize your fleet for protecting or attacking trade routes, performing naval invasions, or blockading ports.

If you’ve paid especially close attention you might now ask: we know you must mobilize your army and Generals to see effective use of them in wartime, but what about mobilizing your navy and Admirals? In fact, navies are considered to always be ready and in active service and do not need mobilization. You also cannot recruit conscripts to start manning your warships just as a war breaks out, for obvious reasons. This means expanding and upgrading your navy is both a long-term process and a long-term investment. Navies are excellent at Projecting Power however, so while an impressive navy might not be particularly useful outside of armed conflict it will at least grant you considerable Prestige even as it burns its way through your treasury.

Since navies do not cost any more during war than in peace you may as well use them! You can set up most Orders for your Admirals any time, even while at peace. Once they spot ships flying hostile flags they will take action automatically.

A less direct cost of war which nonetheless can have severe consequences is Devastation. This reflects direct damage to an entire state and its infrastructure caused by battles transpiring in that state. Particularly large degrees of Devastation is inflicted by battles involving heavy and sustained artillery barrages. Devastation directly impacts Infrastructure and thereby Market Access, making the state economically unsustainable. It also tends to cause migration away from the state, an increase in Pop mortality, and other very detrimental effects. After the war this damage will be gradually reversed, but this rebuilding effort can take a long time and cause a lot of economic upheaval in the process.

Wallachia and surroundings before and after substantial Devastation has been inflicted on the region. Numbers are, as always, a work in progress.
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Finally, of course, there is the human cost of war. Some wars end with only a few hundred casualties on both sides; some wars claim millions of lives with no peace deal in sight. In Victoria 3 it is your actual population who fight and die for your causes - the same population that harvest your fields and work at your assembly lines, who vote for their preferred party or rebel against your enlightened rule, who learn to read and write or pack up and move in search of greener pastures.

Many men fall in battle of course, but more commonly they perish on the way to the battle, or after the battle, whether from disease, starvation, infections, or exposure. Simply mobilizing your forces to the front will increase their risk of dying or suffering lifelong disability. To counteract this you can research and invest in good frontline medical care, or favor Generals with proven ability to reduce such needless casualties.

Those casualties who do not recover from their injuries and return to the frontline will either return home as Dependents or die outright. As a result of both of these effects, after a major war your Pops are likely to consist of an outsized proportion of Dependents to Workforce. While this will self-adjust over time (especially if birth rate is high) there may well be a post-war period where you’re forced to deal with a large portion of your population not being economically productive. It’s in cases like these you’ll be glad you’ve enacted a good Pension System to ease this impact during the recovery period.

In closing and to reiterate, Victoria 3 emphasizes the cost of war for several reasons, including:
  • It raises the stakes and thus increases the payoff for solving conflicts diplomatically
  • It creates meaningful economic interplays between the economy and military, increasing the need to prepare and build a reliable “engine”
  • It enables cost/benefit analysis as a strategic tool, making the best strategist not necessarily the one that uses overwhelming force but the one that uses just enough force to get what they want

Next week we will learn more about how you can leverage the effects of these exorbitant costs by making Peace Deals favoring you look relatively attractive to your opponent. Until then!
 
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MissDeliana

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This comment has been reserved by the Community Team for gathering all dev responses in for ease of reading. ✨

Mr. Wiggles said:
"First and foremost, when the Conscription Center appears, recruited Pops will leave their regular places of work en masse which could cause major temporary disruptions to your nation’s economy. If the conscripts in a certain state happen to primarily originate from the lower strata of its underpaying Lead Mines, this will reduce output and thereby affect the Glasswork and Munitions Plants that consume the lead produced in your market, which in turn will impact all its Urban Centers as well as your very military machinery. If you have enough Pops in search of labor this situation will correct itself over time as the Lead Mines rehire their lost workers, but in the long run this simple action of initiating conscription in a single state will still mean a shift in Wealth distribution, political allegiances, population distribution, industrial profitability, and so on. Even after a successfully prosecuted war those men returning home alive may need to look for new opportunities to regain their old Standard of Living. Everything has consequences."

...And that's why during wartimes exemption for people working in strategic sectors existed.
One thing we have discussed is having subsidized buildings be exempt from conscription, as that's a good way of flagging an industry as essential.

NilsFabian said:
1st. Thank you for giving us the visuals of a devastated landscape. Warfare should impact everything on the map.
2nd Can I limit or expand the pops that are eligable for military service aka conscription?
I'd love to give my female population a greater stake in my country by allowing them to vote AND to die for the Fatherland.
The number of conscripted Battalions you can raise is determined by your conscription rate, which is (predominantly, at least) based on your Army Model. This is a fraction of the Workforce in your country that can be conscripted, which means that as you expand the rights of women, in the process you get access to more conscripts as well. This may be because you permit women to do military service, or because women in the workplace permits more men to go off to war.

The Goldfinch said:
I love every sentence of this diary. You did a great job.

A question:
Are our Pop's going to get mad about casualties in war? This was absolutely the case historically, like British society being angry about crimean war losses
Next week! :D

Al-Khalidi said:
It looks amazing especially the big cost of war and devastation! Will the civillian casualties be directly included in this system? Will we get numbers of casualties from battles on frontline?
We're currently collecting statistics on the military casualties associated with specific wars. We're not currently keeping track of civilian casualties due to devastation, maybe in the future!

Truenorth14 said:
Can I as an industrializing country, logically have a mixed army of say men with Firearms and with lower tier equipment? Perhaps as a Polish Rebellion I lack infantry equipment so I get my population to make basic Melee weapons so I at least have a weapon for everyone while keeping some more elite gun equipped regiments?
Every military building can have as unique of a setup as you like, so you could create differently equipped Battalions in every Barracks in 4 different states, and differently equipped conscripts in each state too for that matter. Battalions from the same military buildings will be split up between as few Generals as possible (in most cases only 1) so you can decide exactly what equipment the troops that belong to a certain General should be using.

Mr. Wiggles said:
You said in a previous DD armies could get very large as time goes by, since there are so many production methods and so many barracks will there be a way to ease all the micromanagement required? Thank you
As they are buildings they follow the same principles, meaning you can customize each one individually or switch what production methods are in use all across your country at once if you like. You can also adjust production methods for groups of Battalions on the Generals they are assigned to.

explosiveboom3 said:
Will casualties be shown by just lost of battalions in clean amounts of 1000, or will they be more granular?
Each Battalion of 1000 take damage individually, so you could have one Battalion with 823 men, another with 618, another with 936 of which 133 are demoralized, etcetera. They will receive reinforcements automatically and gradually based on the activities of the building that supports them.

ParagonExile said:
Will losing a large part of your male population in a war hurt population growth?

In the Soviet Union, for example, the loss of up to 80% of the men born in the 1920's during WW2 led to huge numbers of women going childless, and the USSR's population being tens of millions short of where it otherwise would've been. Similar in places like Serbia and Paraguay.
Since we don't actually distinguish Pops by sex but rather by Workforce and Dependents, we can't infer an effect like this directly. However, as the Workforce part of the Pop dies off, the Dependent part of the Pop will have a much harder time financially and as Standard of Living declines, so does population growth.

qer said:
We don't yet know how trade is modeled in game, but the fact that tariffs are apply to exports instead of imports is wrong on so many levels. Is this a wording mistake or are indeed tariffs applied to exports of your country ?
Tariffs are applied to both imports and exports. Most of the time you would indeed use them on imports, i.e. goods being exported to you. This is one of the rare use cases where you might want to discourage other countries from exporting your weapons, i.e. importing from you. Note that you can choose which exact goods to tariff, it's not across the board for all imports/exports.

More on this when we talk about Trade.

Freger said:
Will PTSD / Shellshock be a part of the game?
It's a Condition trait your Generals may acquire in the field, yes.

Heatth said:
One thing I still confused is how useful that is. Like, is piracy a thing? Is it important I keep patrolling trade routes even in peace time?
Piracy is not a thing - wrong era for that to be a major aspect of the game - but we're currently looking into peacetime benefits for patrolling / escorting convoys.

Blastaz said:
If war is more expensive that will apply for the ai too. So what stops you staying in a victorious war to raze their economy into the ground?
We'll explain this next week.

WildMarker said:
Will there be a toggle for "ignore global settings?" I can already see a situation where players might want to have regular units and a few specialized units, but changing the regulars would take a lot of clicking unless you do global, but doing it global would affect your specialized garrisons!
We're looking into a quality-of-life feature very similar to that, yeah.

DanielPrates said:
Great DD. Like the previous one about naval aspects, this one sheds more light about the second land warfare DD. It is becoming increasingly more clear that the 'lack of control' we were all talking about is not so lacking after all, as initially thought; Merely being able to decide on battalion types, production methods, mobility types, and all the resulting sub-types of units, already gives a decent layer of interaction as you may not be deciding minutelly what your general is doing, but what he has at hand is decidedly the fruit of your playing strategy.

Hey @lachek I didn't quite understand if when you decide to mobilize your untrainded population, you lay down only one conscription center in a defined place in the map to draw conscripts towards that place, or if you drop down as many as you want as to decide where from the conscripts are being taken from.
Conscript activation is done state by state, or if you prefer, all across your country at once. As you choose to activate conscripts in, say, North Carolina, a Conscription Center local to North Carolina appears and recruits Pops who live in North Carolina only, up to the maximum number of conscripts the population in North Carolina can support.

Koyraboro said:
Does that mean that Countries with National Militia can only defend their Fronts?
They can have a small standing army as well which give you a few more options, but the main use of a National Militia model is for turtling / homeland defense, yes.

Meanmanturbo said:
1. You said conscripts do not give power projection prestige. But does potential conscripts battalions matter for ai calculating strength for diplomatic play reasons?
Yes, you can always see how large a country's standing army is and how many conscripts they could potentially activate, and this is used by the AI to determine how to act in a Diplomatic Play.
Meanmanturbo said:
2. Does the artillery support and mobility production methods mean those are separate battalions, or production methods that strengthen your infantry battalions?
The latter.

King Doom and Ice Cream said:
If I understand it correctly, the army model laws seem to be based on conscription, while others aim to create a standing army. Are these mutually exclusive laws, or could I have all of these ennacted at the same time? How would conscription work if I only have 'regular army' enacted?
All models permit you to raise some conscripts and maintain some amount of a standing army. The proportions vary a lot, as does what production methods are available to you in military buildings, how your population feels about it, and a few other factors.

mikhail321 said:
I very much like the focus on the costs of war, I think this is really something that makes Vicky series stand out from other GSGs!
Some questions to the DD:
1 can you explain how much control you have over the proportion of different unit categories? Like, is it only one type of units per building, or each building supplies a mix of infantry/artillery/cavalry/specials? If it is the second, do you influence the mix somehow, or you just set the unit types within each category?
2. Can you give a bit more details on impact of military goods shortages on your armed forces? Do they have any effects in peacetime, or you should only care in wartime?
3. Not a question, but a suggestion - please consider linking your conscription capacity to the size of the standing army in some way. Standing armies were very important to train the reserves to be conscripted in times of war.
4. Do you plan to distinguish between volunteer and drafted military force (both for regulars and conscripts)? Like if you can’t afford to pay high wages to your military, you can force draft them, but with some political consequence.
1. The production methods represent what components go into the Battalions. So there are no "Artillery Battalions", nor any kind of proportion of artillery-to-infantry. If you want your Battalions to focus more on Artillery you'd invest in the latest and greatest techs and production methods, and perhaps save some money on your Infantry or Specialist Corps.
2. In wartime shortages of course affects their Offense and Defense, but in peacetime it also affects their Power Projection, lowering your effective Prestige as your army may be large but also undersupplied.
3. Thanks for the suggestion!
4. All military forces can be considered "drafted", we don't have a volunteer model planned at the moment - maybe in the future. Paying low wages to your military has both explicit political effects and the implicit negative effects of making your servicemen and officers poor and potentially radical.

Spartakusbund said:
How does the game determine which POPs get drafted? Is it more slanted towards poorer POPs? Can we do things to affect this? In the US Civil War, you could buy your way out of conscription, which lead to a lot of anger and resentment (see the Draft Riots).
At the moment we prioritize drafting Pops that a) qualify and b) make just below average amount of money, and then we keep going further and further down the wage ladder until none more qualify, then we start from the middle and go up. This probably sounds incredibly convoluted but basically amounts to favoring the average Joe who wants the job before "scraping the barrel", and then moving on to people who'd rather not take the job in order of least to most resistance.

Ivashanko said:
This is one of my favourite Dev diaries do far! Amazing work.

The only thing I dislike is that, apparently, navies don't have much to do during peacetime. They should have stuff to do! They should be hunting pirates or taking down slavers on the high seas. They should be protecting trade routes and helping colonials maintain in contact with the mainland. And they should be sailing up the rivers of the defenseless to impose the wills of their Imperial master! Gunboat diplomacy is such a huge part of the 19th century and it would be a shame if it weren't implemented outside of active warfare.
We agree, and are investigating options on this front.

mikhail321 said:
One more question - will conscripted battalions have conscripted officers as well? If yes, which pops will they be drafted from?
Yes. Officers come from whoever has Qualifications to become one, which are often Servicemen (so you might see Servicemen from Barracks get recruited as Officers in Conscription Centers, meaning having a standing army makes it easier to raise lots of conscripts in a pinch) but can also come from other Professions, especially Aristocrats. Under a Peasant Levy model, it's almost always Aristocrats that have the qualifications to become Officers.

Valentin the II said:
I posted this on reddit with some positive responses so I'll repost here: This war system could be great to give players a very interesting political tool. With a large enough war and the correct government form, you could take emergency measures to temporarily enact laws that you couldn't otherwise (getting a relations hit with the opposition of course), maybe give a tool to make temporary laws permanent later on.

This would be amazing both as a role play, historical and pure gameplay tool! :)
Historically, many wars were used to also squash political/democratic opposition, or advance social reforms (women in the workforce for instance). You could simulate power grabs by the monarchy or military juntas, using wars as a pretext to squash nascent democracies. This would give us so many options!

Is a similar system on the table?
Could you consider it in the future?
Definitely a cool idea! We'll see!
Valentin the II said:
Also, a pure question: Does the devastation modifier mean the population is lost over time wile the modifier lasts? Does this effect persist in devastated territories after the war?
Pops always die off at a certain pace, depending on their Standard of Living. This is usually compensated for (and then some) due to Pops giving birth. Devastation causes the natural mortality to magnify significantly, meaning that at high levels of devastation Pop growth will be negative, and quite severely so.

The effect remains for as long as the territory is occupied. As it's reconquered or liberated after the war, Devastation starts to slowly dissipate. Of course, reconquering it also requires battles, which increases Devastation...

Meanmanturbo said:
So is national militia the army model that will let you pimp out your conscripts with the most production methods? It would make sense to let that army model have the strongest conscripts since they would almost only have conscript battalions.
Yes!

Zusk said:
Hey! There is one thing I wanted to ask you guys about this.

I have noticed, in part, that a lot of the systems of Victoria 3 seemed designed around making playing as something like the British Empire a engaging, interesting and approachable experience. I have to ask if, because of that, wouldn't most countries be pushed towards sort of 'acting like the United Kingdom' if they want to be successful in the system?
Things like the importance of global trade, navies being generally less costly to upkeep then land armies, and the strength that a nation with wide borders has to pick and choose wars against weaker isolated nations all generally seemed aimed at making colonization fun.

I am just wondering how this system will work for nations that aren't in a position like the UK, nations like the United States, China and Prussia - typically nations with a concentrated power base that don't really have the same freedom to pick and choose the conflicts they want to engage in as easily as someone with wide borders can. While in this era you did see these land-based nations partake in colonialism IRL - German Qingdao and American Liberia are good examples - that really wasn't those nations strengths.

Either way love what I am seeing! Going to uni for game design in January and its wonderful seeing things like this written up, which I imagine aren't too different at all from the base design documents you use internally. Its a great insight into the design of the game!
Have to say I never really thought about this before, but while it's true that the UK is obviously an inspiration for a lot of the mechanics in the game, one of the things I personally like the most about the game is how differently it plays as countries in different geographical conditions. Access to resources, vicinity to neighbors, access to shoreline, state traits, etc have a large impact on the games I play, and I often don't feel like I have to engage in all the features as all countries (such as colonization). It's something to watch out for though, it's definitely not our intent that all countries should play as if they were a proto-UK!

Spartakusbund said:
Why start in the middle and go down? Why not start with the poorest POPs and go up?
We tried this first, but the often drastic increases in Pop standard of living that came with it didn't feel realistic. Like, there are a bunch of clerks and shopkeepers here who'd love a 10% pay raise, but instead my recruiters go out and uplift the entire countryside's destitute Peasant population first, making them insanely loyal to the state in the process? It's cool, but didn't seem very realistic and had me scratching my head for a while wondering what was going on.

Meanmanturbo said:
But I wonder if I have missunderstood how garisons work. Under national militia, if your border regions are sparsely populated, would they only be defended by the conscripts in those states? Can't move garrisons from your more populated areas to the front?
That is correct, under a National Militia model the conscripted population "defend their homes" and do not engage in cross-continental marches. It's Strategic Region level though, which is a lot larger than states. So what you'd probably want to do in a huge country like the US or Russia would be to activate conscripts along the border regions first and delay activating the ones further from the border until it becomes clear you need to. You can also maintain a small standing army whose Generals you can order to any Front you like.


TempestM said:
So I presume we won't get a DD with a closer look on battles? That Fronts DD was basically the whole combat system?
Oh no, a dev diary dedicated to the battle mechanics will be coming in the future. It was mentioned in the Fronts DD that battles needs more polish - particularly visual polish - before it's presentable, so it might be a while down the road.

wisecat said:
More questions:

1. As I understand each battallion is linked to a particular barrack and/or conscription centre. What happens if this barrack / conscription centre is overrun by enemy or destroyed by air/naval bombardment (can this even happen?) or this part of country rises up in revolt?

2. Ditto for Navies and Naval Bases

3. Will it be possible to send military advisers to help allies / subject nations to develop their militaries?

4. Will it be possible to send expeditionary forces / volunteers while staying non-bellirigent?
Military buildings whose state is fully occupied by the enemy lose their ability to supply their Battalions (or Flotillas), which means that General/Admiral loses that amount of Supply and have to redistribute between their available troops. This basically means max Morale will drop for the detachments those Battalions are part of.

We don't have any systems for sending advisors or volunteers, and you can only send a General as an expeditionary forces if you sided with the country in the Diplomatic Play that started the war.

$ilent_$trider said:
Can someone explain to me how putting tariffs on say, small arms and ammunition you are importing from other countries can help your budget? I fail to see that. Unless your soldiers are responsible for buying their weapons and bullets?
You never tariff your own trade. Foreign trade, whether imports from your market or exports to your market, are subject to tariffs. In the context of the phrasing in the dev diary, if you have trading partners who get their military supplies from you, you might want to embargo or apply tariffs to such trade during the war to keep national supply high and price low.

TempestM said:
Having a model that doesn't allow you to ever attack, even if someone pushed in your territories, makes no sense. Do they just refuse to go take back their homes they were just driven off and wait for attacker to get bored and go home? What are examples of this model irl?
Your mobilized Generals can still advance a Front under this model. If you opt not to have a standing army of any size at all, then yes you'll be stuck with people focusing only on standing their ground and defending their homes instead of planning elaborate counter-offenses to win military victories, but that's your choice.

Hammrtime said:
I am curious about wars abroad. What are the costs involved with sending expeditionary forces?

There are obvious costs of sending troops abroad in the form of convoys, but what else will impact these wars abroad? Can troop transport ships be intercepted by enemy raiding navies? Will your troops begin to suffer on long voyages to foreign land?
In addition to the convoys you mentioned, the naval supply lines are vulnerable to enemy convoy raiders, yes.

Metz said:
@lachek

Will war veterans be a thing? They were influential in politics in terms of being either anti war, creating radical movements, winning elections due to popularity, or banding together to topple governments. They could be an influence group in terms of political representation
There's no "Interest Group" for war veterans, but of course the Armed Forces Interest Group include Servicemen and Officers, and even Pops who used to be conscripted soldiers for a long time a while back who haven't "realigned" yet. In addition, Generals and Admirals can in some cases become Interest Group leaders.

Meanmanturbo said:
Ah ok, strategic region makes more sense, so for a medium sized country it would be the whole country.

Hmm, so lets take Sweden in the baltic strategic region. I they used national militia, they could defend a naval invasion in their subject Norway?
They wouldn't, no - because the Front would be "owned" by Norway, and only Generals and their troops can be sent to foreign Fronts. So until the war came to Sweden, the garrisoned Swedish conscripts wouldn't lift a finger.
 
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So the division designer feature from hoi4 is kinda rolled into the barracks menu via production method then
 
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Very happy with this dev diary. As much as I am disappointed by how war is fought, I am not at all disappointed about the effects of that warfare.
 
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1st. Thank you for giving us the visuals of a devastated landscape. Warfare should impact everything on the map.
2nd Can I limit or expand the pops that are eligable for military service aka conscription?
I'd love to give my female population a greater stake in my country by allowing them to vote AND to die for the Fatherland.
 
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Well, I think this is a very good move towards ensuring the player has to internalize the cost calculations that drive modern day politics and diplomacy, rather than just accounting for how much of the map can be painted within the next ten years. And the POP system of course makes the human cost that much more prominent.
 
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Seems nice, even if the fact that the navy costs the same in times of peace and war seems a bit forced to me. I doubt that navies in peacetime, while anchored in their ports and dockyards were to use up the same amount of materials in terms of ammunition, food & (fuel & coal for steamships) as their counterparts in active duty. It was common practice for the ships not to be fully staffed and ready for operation in times of peace, either by running on a skeleton crew or postponing non-essential maintenance to save up money should be options available within the game, possibly at the drawback of not having the navy fully operational as soon as the war starts, or other penalties on combat efficiency in the first weeks/months/years of the conflict. Together with possibly a reduction of prestige and power projection provided by the fleet. After all, a poorly maintained navy is no prestigious thing.
 
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Today marks the final entry in our 4-part overview of the warfare mechanics of Victoria 3. If you’re just tuning in now, we have previously covered The Concept of War, Fronts and Generals, and Navies and Admirals which introduces many of the core concepts fleshed out in this diary.

That war costs substantial money and resources is hardly a novel concept. Most strategy games impose a cost for creating military units, some have upkeep costs, and even in Pop-less Paradox GSGs a metric such as a Manpower pool often has to be regenerated in order to replenish damaged units. A few games even encourage you to peace-out of wars that are so costly your treasury can’t bear the expense for as long as it takes to win, even if you still have armies left standing.

In Victoria 3 we aim to take this to the next level by modelling the truly astronomical, often lasting expenses of war in the economic system. This includes letting players and Pops profit off of wars; employ economic tools such as trade disruptions to gain military leverage; encourage upgrading not only your military but also industrial output to match; reform your Laws to fit your military to your economy; ensure your Infrastructure is sufficient to maintain your country while at war; and invest in medical corps and medicine to treat your population traumatized by the frontlines.

The intention here is not only to give the player a lot of economic levers to pull to prepare their country for war, although that is certainly part of it. A big reason for making wars approach the real-life cost is to encourage the player to think hard about the opportunity cost of war - that is, what you’re missing out on by spending your resources on war instead of something else - and incentivize solving your diplomatic conflicts before war breaks out. If war was a cost-effective way both of increasing your power and decreasing your enemy’s power, diplomacy would be relegated to nothing but faux formalities before fighting begins. But if neither party truly desires a war, no matter the power discrepancy between them, that’s when the Diplomatic Play intimidation game to see who blinks first can become real and tense.

It also means that it’s a skill to know when to stop. If war was an all-or-nothing affair this would not be an issue, but in Victoria 3 wars rarely result in one side getting everything they asked for (as we will learn more about next week, when we cover the Peace Deals system). Once you have hurt your enemy enough you might accept a consolation prize and sign a truce, knowing you will recover better over the next five years than they will.

With that said, let’s dig into the details.

Your ability to sustain your war machine is of crucial importance in peace as well as war. At the start of the game many countries can get away with maintaining an army of self-supporting Irregular Infantry to keep the costs of arms down, but this won’t be possible for long. And while wages might be affordable when your country is underdeveloped, increased productivity and labor competition will eventually raise expectations.
View attachment 777612
Your country’s Army Model is a type of Law that governs who makes up your military and how they are organized. We currently have four Army Models planned:

Under a Peasant Levy model, a permanent military force supported by Barracks is non-existent or minimal in size. Instead the country may raise large numbers of conscripted levies of irregulars during wartime, led by Officers originating from the aristocracy. This model is cheap to maintain during peacetime but can get very expensive (particularly in lives) during war. Conscripted Battalions can also take a long time to organize, and provide no Power Projection that affects the country’s Prestige.

The National Militia model limits your standing army and Power Projection in much the same way as Peasant Levies, but permits you to conscript a large part of your population into a well-rounded national defense force if needed. These conscripted troops cannot be mobilized and are therefore automatically assigned to their local garrisons, unavailable to Generals to use to advance Fronts. It’s the model of choice for countries who want to focus on homeland defense, or countries desiring to democratize the military and limit the power of the Armed Forces.

Mass Conscription becomes available once you have unlocked the Society “tech” Nationalism. It lets you enlist the same large number of conscripts as National Militia but does not limit the size of your standing army, and all these conscripts are assigned under Generals as needed. In addition, conscripts are trained faster but are limited to infantry troops only. This is the correct choice for countries fighting no-holds-barred existential conflicts where sending regular waves of fresh meat to the frontlines is imperative.

A Regular Army model lets a country maintain an army of any size even in peacetime. While it also permits for conscription of a smaller number of civilians as needed, its standing army is the pride of the nation and confers considerable Prestige onto it. This model has the greatest flexibility in terms of military Production Methods, letting countries configure their armies without restrictions. Technologically advanced countries relying on more expensive crack troops rather than sheer numbers favor this Law.

Like all Laws, changing your Army Model will be popular with some Interest Groups and not with others, and in most cases you need to have at least a semi-legitimate government that favors the Law in order to have a chance to pass it without major complications. The icons you see for these Laws are not yet finalized.
View attachment 777599
Conscripting the civilian population into military service is an option available to all countries, but only during wartime or when the country is at threat of war (i.e. when it is actively participating in a Diplomatic Play). Conscripted Battalions do not Project Power and therefore do not impart Prestige, and under some Army Models they do not have access to certain advanced Production Methods that require specialized training.

Conscripts can be activated state by state or all across your country at once. Activating conscripts creates a Conscription Center in the state where civilians are recruited into temporary military service, and the cost of these conscripts are only incurred as they become active. This means relying on conscripting civilians as needed can be a compelling strategy to keep the military budget down, but it does not come without its own costs.

First and foremost, when the Conscription Center appears, recruited Pops will leave their regular places of work en masse which could cause major temporary disruptions to your nation’s economy. If the conscripts in a certain state happen to primarily originate from the lower strata of its underpaying Lead Mines, this will reduce output and thereby affect the Glasswork and Munitions Plants that consume the lead produced in your market, which in turn will impact all its Urban Centers as well as your very military machinery. If you have enough Pops in search of labor this situation will correct itself over time as the Lead Mines rehire their lost workers, but in the long run this simple action of initiating conscription in a single state will still mean a shift in Wealth distribution, political allegiances, population distribution, industrial profitability, and so on. Even after a successfully prosecuted war those men returning home alive may need to look for new opportunities to regain their old Standard of Living. Everything has consequences.

Second, conscripted Battalions are always created from scratch which can take a lot of time. This means they lose any experience gained in the last armed conflict as they stand down, while your standing army units will get more and more impressive over time. Soldier for soldier, conscripts give you less bang for your buck.

Third, conscripted Battalions are distributed among your Generals by their normal Rank-based proportions and aren’t automatically mobilized as soon as they emerge. So first the conscript Battalions need to be recruited and created from scratch, and then any conscript Battalions assigned to mobilized Generals must also mobilize in order to be able to leave for the front. As we explored in the Front and Generals diary, when such a large number of Battalions are raised all at once it is Infrastructure that governs how quickly they will be able to get ready, so this needs to be taken into account when choosing where to recruit your conscripts.

While all of the above happens automatically with the press of a button, the impact can be complex and will be experienced over time. Choosing to activate conscripts in the populous but rural vineyard valleys of Rhone will have a very different effect on France than activating conscripts in industrialized, well-connected Paris.

Mass Mobilization may provide access to vast numbers of fighting men, but redirecting up to 25 percent of your capable workforce to the war effort (in this case 60 Battalions, or the equivalent workforce required to staff about 12 levels of farms, mines, or manufacturing industries) could play a real number on your economy. These visuals are a work in progress, but demonstrates how the player functionally interacts with the map through the “lens” system either through clicking directly on regions of the map or by selecting options from a list.
View attachment 777600
A very tangible cost is of course the actual money you are spending on military goods for mobilized troops in the field. While Barracks consume military goods at all times in proportion to the number of Battalions it supports, units that are mobilized consume twice the normal maintenance level of goods. Not only does this double the quantity you need to buy, it also puts a lot of additional demand on the goods, raising the price-per-unit as well. As long as they can keep their production levels steady, your domestic Arms Industries, Munition Plants, and War Machine Industries will see profits skyrocket off of this increased consumption of your mobilized troops.

This also means other nations - allies or neutral parties - will see the sudden benefit of exporting arms to you. If you normally export military goods to others you may wish to cancel these routes to keep prices down, while if neutral parties import arms from you this may be a good time to Embargo (or at least Tariff) these goods. Every little bit helps your treasury and ultimately your frontline troops.

Trade routes criss-crossing the ocean are susceptible to your enemy’s Convoy Raiding fleets. Until a patrol discovers them and sends them to home base for repairs, such a fleet can do considerable damage both to your supply network as a whole (affecting all Trade Routes as well as the supply of overseas Generals) and to some shipping lanes in particular, possibly crippling your country’s access to strategic goods like Small Arms or hard-to-find imports such as Radios. Compromising a country’s access to industrial, luxury, or even staple goods can also be devastating to their ability to stay in the war, as we will learn more about next week!

Convoy Raiding fleets can also damage connections to overseas markets, for example by compromising the East India Company’s connection to London. This could potentially devastate the economies of clusters of dozens of states who may have come to rely on such a connection to survive, particularly if their economies aren’t locally well-balanced but relying on cash crops or specialized manufacturing.

Many countries rely on foreign trade to supply them not only with the additional arms they require during wartime, but also the consumer goods required to keep morale up on the home front in this difficult time. Ending up on the opposite side of your trading partners during Diplomatic Plays could be catastrophic for the war effort. On this screenshot we can see the British used to supply the Ottomans with 100 units of Artillery each week, but with Great Britain now siding with Russia they will have to try to find a new trading partner as soon as possible - or try to hold the Russians off despite an Artillery shortage. Another potential crisis the Ottomans have to deal with is the imminent stoppage of a smaller amount of Liquor and enormous quantities of Luxury Clothes, at least the latter of which is prone to make many wealthy Pops feel this war might carry too high a price.

(on this screenshot we can also see some suspiciously round numbers of Available vs Required Convoys - these are currently placeholder values, which will be replaced with values properly scaled to the number of units traded across the number of nodes)

View attachment 777601
The goods, technologies, and in some cases Laws you have access to practically limit which military Production Methods you have available to you. These determine the composition of your army and navy and include both “upgrades” and “options”. As always, this list is not finalized but represents what is in the current build of the game only.

Your Infantry Organization Production Methods govern the organization and doctrines of your army’s core fighting force. They consume mostly Small Arms and Ammunition and include Irregular, Line, Skirmish, Trench, and Squad Infantry. Offense, Defense, and Training Rate are the most commonly affected attributes.

Artillery Support Production Methods consume expensive Artillery and Ammunition to boost the Offense, Morale Damage, Kill Rate, and Devastation attributes of the Battalions. Cannons, Mobile, Shrapnel, and Siege Artillery are represented.

Your Battalions’ Mobility options affect their ability to get around and scout the terrain, impacting their ability to do damage during an Offense and capture larger amounts of territory at the conclusion of a won battle. Cavalry forces are the default, which can eventually be supplemented with Bicycle Messengers, and after the turn of the century Aerial Reconnaissance or even an Armored Division supplied by late-game War Machines Industries producing Aeroplanes and Tanks.

Your standing army can unlock various Specialist Companies for Barracks to focus on. These include Machine Gunners, Infiltrators, Flamethrower Companies, and Chemical Weapon Specialists. These specialists consume various goods to inflict quite specific effects.

Medical Aid determines what sort of battlefield medicine your troops have access to, from the default of Wound Dressing, through First Aid, to fully fledged Field Hospitals. These consume Fabric and Opium to treat the sick and wounded to minimize the casualties inflicted by attrition and combat alike.

Access to Opium permits you to care for your injured population during wartime, but while the country is at peace the excess Opium floating around your market may result in Pops developing an unhealthy Obsession with the drug. This is less of a problem if you are the producer than if you’re relying on imports for your supply, of course.
View attachment 777602
Similarly, Naval Bases also consume goods to produce Flotillas with different attributes. These are due for a design pass so I won’t go into details which are prone to change anyway. But in broad strokes, the fundamental Production Method determines the class of the central vessel that defines each Flotilla: is this a Man-o-War, Ironclad, Monitor, Dreadnought, or Battleship? In addition to the class of your central vessel, do you have Submarines or even Aeroplane Carriers accompanying your fleet? All these have pros and cons for different types of missions, letting you specialize your fleet for protecting or attacking trade routes, performing naval invasions, or blockading ports.

If you’ve paid especially close attention you might now ask: we know you must mobilize your army and Generals to see effective use of them in wartime, but what about mobilizing your navy and Admirals? In fact, navies are considered to always be ready and in active service and do not need mobilization. You also cannot recruit conscripts to start manning your warships just as a war breaks out, for obvious reasons. This means expanding and upgrading your navy is both a long-term process and a long-term investment. Navies are excellent at Projecting Power however, so while an impressive navy might not be particularly useful outside of armed conflict it will at least grant you considerable Prestige even as it burns its way through your treasury.

Since navies do not cost any more during war than in peace you may as well use them! You can set up most Orders for your Admirals any time, even while at peace. Once they spot ships flying hostile flags they will take action automatically.

A less direct cost of war which nonetheless can have severe consequences is Devastation. This reflects direct damage to an entire state and its infrastructure caused by battles transpiring in that state. Particularly large degrees of Devastation is inflicted by battles involving heavy and sustained artillery barrages. Devastation directly impacts Infrastructure and thereby Market Access, making the state economically unsustainable. It also tends to cause migration away from the state, an increase in Pop mortality, and other very detrimental effects. After the war this damage will be gradually reversed, but this rebuilding effort can take a long time and cause a lot of economic upheaval in the process.

Wallachia and surroundings before and after substantial Devastation has been inflicted on the region. Numbers are, as always, a work in progress.
View attachment 777603

Finally, of course, there is the human cost of war. Some wars end with only a few hundred casualties on both sides; some wars claim millions of lives with no peace deal in sight. In Victoria 3 it is your actual population who fight and die for your causes - the same population that harvest your fields and work at your assembly lines, who vote for their preferred party or rebel against your enlightened rule, who learn to read and write or pack up and move in search of greener pastures.

Many men fall in battle of course, but more commonly they perish on the way to the battle, or after the battle, whether from disease, starvation, infections, or exposure. Simply mobilizing your forces to the front will increase their risk of dying or suffering lifelong disability. To counteract this you can research and invest in good frontline medical care, or favor Generals with proven ability to reduce such needless casualties.

Those casualties who do not recover from their injuries and return to the frontline will either return home as Dependents or die outright. As a result of both of these effects, after a major war your Pops are likely to consist of an outsized proportion of Dependents to Workforce. While this will self-adjust over time (especially if birth rate is high) there may well be a post-war period where you’re forced to deal with a large portion of your population not being economically productive. It’s in cases like these you’ll be glad you’ve enacted a good Pension System to ease this impact during the recovery period.

In closing and to reiterate, Victoria 3 emphasizes the cost of war for several reasons, including:
  • It raises the stakes and thus increases the payoff for solving conflicts diplomatically
  • It creates meaningful economic interplays between the economy and military, increasing the need to prepare and build a reliable “engine”
  • It enables cost/benefit analysis as a strategic tool, making the best strategist not necessarily the one that uses overwhelming force but the one that uses just enough force to get what they want

Next week we will learn more about how you can leverage the effects of these exorbitant costs by making Peace Deals favoring you look relatively attractive to your opponent. Until then!
I love every sentence of this diary. You did a great job.

A question:
Are our Pop's going to get mad about casualties in war? This was absolutely the case historically, like British society being angry about crimean war losses
 
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Al-Khalidi

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Today marks the final entry in our 4-part overview of the warfare mechanics of Victoria 3. If you’re just tuning in now, we have previously covered The Concept of War, Fronts and Generals, and Navies and Admirals which introduces many of the core concepts fleshed out in this diary.

That war costs substantial money and resources is hardly a novel concept. Most strategy games impose a cost for creating military units, some have upkeep costs, and even in Pop-less Paradox GSGs a metric such as a Manpower pool often has to be regenerated in order to replenish damaged units. A few games even encourage you to peace-out of wars that are so costly your treasury can’t bear the expense for as long as it takes to win, even if you still have armies left standing.

In Victoria 3 we aim to take this to the next level by modelling the truly astronomical, often lasting expenses of war in the economic system. This includes letting players and Pops profit off of wars; employ economic tools such as trade disruptions to gain military leverage; encourage upgrading not only your military but also industrial output to match; reform your Laws to fit your military to your economy; ensure your Infrastructure is sufficient to maintain your country while at war; and invest in medical corps and medicine to treat your population traumatized by the frontlines.

The intention here is not only to give the player a lot of economic levers to pull to prepare their country for war, although that is certainly part of it. A big reason for making wars approach the real-life cost is to encourage the player to think hard about the opportunity cost of war - that is, what you’re missing out on by spending your resources on war instead of something else - and incentivize solving your diplomatic conflicts before war breaks out. If war was a cost-effective way both of increasing your power and decreasing your enemy’s power, diplomacy would be relegated to nothing but faux formalities before fighting begins. But if neither party truly desires a war, no matter the power discrepancy between them, that’s when the Diplomatic Play intimidation game to see who blinks first can become real and tense.

It also means that it’s a skill to know when to stop. If war was an all-or-nothing affair this would not be an issue, but in Victoria 3 wars rarely result in one side getting everything they asked for (as we will learn more about next week, when we cover the Peace Deals system). Once you have hurt your enemy enough you might accept a consolation prize and sign a truce, knowing you will recover better over the next five years than they will.

With that said, let’s dig into the details.

Your ability to sustain your war machine is of crucial importance in peace as well as war. At the start of the game many countries can get away with maintaining an army of self-supporting Irregular Infantry to keep the costs of arms down, but this won’t be possible for long. And while wages might be affordable when your country is underdeveloped, increased productivity and labor competition will eventually raise expectations.
View attachment 777612
Your country’s Army Model is a type of Law that governs who makes up your military and how they are organized. We currently have four Army Models planned:

Under a Peasant Levy model, a permanent military force supported by Barracks is non-existent or minimal in size. Instead the country may raise large numbers of conscripted levies of irregulars during wartime, led by Officers originating from the aristocracy. This model is cheap to maintain during peacetime but can get very expensive (particularly in lives) during war. Conscripted Battalions can also take a long time to organize, and provide no Power Projection that affects the country’s Prestige.

The National Militia model limits your standing army and Power Projection in much the same way as Peasant Levies, but permits you to conscript a large part of your population into a well-rounded national defense force if needed. These conscripted troops cannot be mobilized and are therefore automatically assigned to their local garrisons, unavailable to Generals to use to advance Fronts. It’s the model of choice for countries who want to focus on homeland defense, or countries desiring to democratize the military and limit the power of the Armed Forces.

Mass Conscription becomes available once you have unlocked the Society “tech” Nationalism. It lets you enlist the same large number of conscripts as National Militia but does not limit the size of your standing army, and all these conscripts are assigned under Generals as needed. In addition, conscripts are trained faster but are limited to infantry troops only. This is the correct choice for countries fighting no-holds-barred existential conflicts where sending regular waves of fresh meat to the frontlines is imperative.

A Regular Army model lets a country maintain an army of any size even in peacetime. While it also permits for conscription of a smaller number of civilians as needed, its standing army is the pride of the nation and confers considerable Prestige onto it. This model has the greatest flexibility in terms of military Production Methods, letting countries configure their armies without restrictions. Technologically advanced countries relying on more expensive crack troops rather than sheer numbers favor this Law.

Like all Laws, changing your Army Model will be popular with some Interest Groups and not with others, and in most cases you need to have at least a semi-legitimate government that favors the Law in order to have a chance to pass it without major complications. The icons you see for these Laws are not yet finalized.
View attachment 777599
Conscripting the civilian population into military service is an option available to all countries, but only during wartime or when the country is at threat of war (i.e. when it is actively participating in a Diplomatic Play). Conscripted Battalions do not Project Power and therefore do not impart Prestige, and under some Army Models they do not have access to certain advanced Production Methods that require specialized training.

Conscripts can be activated state by state or all across your country at once. Activating conscripts creates a Conscription Center in the state where civilians are recruited into temporary military service, and the cost of these conscripts are only incurred as they become active. This means relying on conscripting civilians as needed can be a compelling strategy to keep the military budget down, but it does not come without its own costs.

First and foremost, when the Conscription Center appears, recruited Pops will leave their regular places of work en masse which could cause major temporary disruptions to your nation’s economy. If the conscripts in a certain state happen to primarily originate from the lower strata of its underpaying Lead Mines, this will reduce output and thereby affect the Glasswork and Munitions Plants that consume the lead produced in your market, which in turn will impact all its Urban Centers as well as your very military machinery. If you have enough Pops in search of labor this situation will correct itself over time as the Lead Mines rehire their lost workers, but in the long run this simple action of initiating conscription in a single state will still mean a shift in Wealth distribution, political allegiances, population distribution, industrial profitability, and so on. Even after a successfully prosecuted war those men returning home alive may need to look for new opportunities to regain their old Standard of Living. Everything has consequences.

Second, conscripted Battalions are always created from scratch which can take a lot of time. This means they lose any experience gained in the last armed conflict as they stand down, while your standing army units will get more and more impressive over time. Soldier for soldier, conscripts give you less bang for your buck.

Third, conscripted Battalions are distributed among your Generals by their normal Rank-based proportions and aren’t automatically mobilized as soon as they emerge. So first the conscript Battalions need to be recruited and created from scratch, and then any conscript Battalions assigned to mobilized Generals must also mobilize in order to be able to leave for the front. As we explored in the Front and Generals diary, when such a large number of Battalions are raised all at once it is Infrastructure that governs how quickly they will be able to get ready, so this needs to be taken into account when choosing where to recruit your conscripts.

While all of the above happens automatically with the press of a button, the impact can be complex and will be experienced over time. Choosing to activate conscripts in the populous but rural vineyard valleys of Rhone will have a very different effect on France than activating conscripts in industrialized, well-connected Paris.

Mass Mobilization may provide access to vast numbers of fighting men, but redirecting up to 25 percent of your capable workforce to the war effort (in this case 60 Battalions, or the equivalent workforce required to staff about 12 levels of farms, mines, or manufacturing industries) could play a real number on your economy. These visuals are a work in progress, but demonstrates how the player functionally interacts with the map through the “lens” system either through clicking directly on regions of the map or by selecting options from a list.
View attachment 777600
A very tangible cost is of course the actual money you are spending on military goods for mobilized troops in the field. While Barracks consume military goods at all times in proportion to the number of Battalions it supports, units that are mobilized consume twice the normal maintenance level of goods. Not only does this double the quantity you need to buy, it also puts a lot of additional demand on the goods, raising the price-per-unit as well. As long as they can keep their production levels steady, your domestic Arms Industries, Munition Plants, and War Machine Industries will see profits skyrocket off of this increased consumption of your mobilized troops.

This also means other nations - allies or neutral parties - will see the sudden benefit of exporting arms to you. If you normally export military goods to others you may wish to cancel these routes to keep prices down, while if neutral parties import arms from you this may be a good time to Embargo (or at least Tariff) these goods. Every little bit helps your treasury and ultimately your frontline troops.

Trade routes criss-crossing the ocean are susceptible to your enemy’s Convoy Raiding fleets. Until a patrol discovers them and sends them to home base for repairs, such a fleet can do considerable damage both to your supply network as a whole (affecting all Trade Routes as well as the supply of overseas Generals) and to some shipping lanes in particular, possibly crippling your country’s access to strategic goods like Small Arms or hard-to-find imports such as Radios. Compromising a country’s access to industrial, luxury, or even staple goods can also be devastating to their ability to stay in the war, as we will learn more about next week!

Convoy Raiding fleets can also damage connections to overseas markets, for example by compromising the East India Company’s connection to London. This could potentially devastate the economies of clusters of dozens of states who may have come to rely on such a connection to survive, particularly if their economies aren’t locally well-balanced but relying on cash crops or specialized manufacturing.

Many countries rely on foreign trade to supply them not only with the additional arms they require during wartime, but also the consumer goods required to keep morale up on the home front in this difficult time. Ending up on the opposite side of your trading partners during Diplomatic Plays could be catastrophic for the war effort. On this screenshot we can see the British used to supply the Ottomans with 100 units of Artillery each week, but with Great Britain now siding with Russia they will have to try to find a new trading partner as soon as possible - or try to hold the Russians off despite an Artillery shortage. Another potential crisis the Ottomans have to deal with is the imminent stoppage of a smaller amount of Liquor and enormous quantities of Luxury Clothes, at least the latter of which is prone to make many wealthy Pops feel this war might carry too high a price.

(on this screenshot we can also see some suspiciously round numbers of Available vs Required Convoys - these are currently placeholder values, which will be replaced with values properly scaled to the number of units traded across the number of nodes)

View attachment 777601
The goods, technologies, and in some cases Laws you have access to practically limit which military Production Methods you have available to you. These determine the composition of your army and navy and include both “upgrades” and “options”. As always, this list is not finalized but represents what is in the current build of the game only.

Your Infantry Organization Production Methods govern the organization and doctrines of your army’s core fighting force. They consume mostly Small Arms and Ammunition and include Irregular, Line, Skirmish, Trench, and Squad Infantry. Offense, Defense, and Training Rate are the most commonly affected attributes.

Artillery Support Production Methods consume expensive Artillery and Ammunition to boost the Offense, Morale Damage, Kill Rate, and Devastation attributes of the Battalions. Cannons, Mobile, Shrapnel, and Siege Artillery are represented.

Your Battalions’ Mobility options affect their ability to get around and scout the terrain, impacting their ability to do damage during an Offense and capture larger amounts of territory at the conclusion of a won battle. Cavalry forces are the default, which can eventually be supplemented with Bicycle Messengers, and after the turn of the century Aerial Reconnaissance or even an Armored Division supplied by late-game War Machines Industries producing Aeroplanes and Tanks.

Your standing army can unlock various Specialist Companies for Barracks to focus on. These include Machine Gunners, Infiltrators, Flamethrower Companies, and Chemical Weapon Specialists. These specialists consume various goods to inflict quite specific effects.

Medical Aid determines what sort of battlefield medicine your troops have access to, from the default of Wound Dressing, through First Aid, to fully fledged Field Hospitals. These consume Fabric and Opium to treat the sick and wounded to minimize the casualties inflicted by attrition and combat alike.

Access to Opium permits you to care for your injured population during wartime, but while the country is at peace the excess Opium floating around your market may result in Pops developing an unhealthy Obsession with the drug. This is less of a problem if you are the producer than if you’re relying on imports for your supply, of course.
View attachment 777602
Similarly, Naval Bases also consume goods to produce Flotillas with different attributes. These are due for a design pass so I won’t go into details which are prone to change anyway. But in broad strokes, the fundamental Production Method determines the class of the central vessel that defines each Flotilla: is this a Man-o-War, Ironclad, Monitor, Dreadnought, or Battleship? In addition to the class of your central vessel, do you have Submarines or even Aeroplane Carriers accompanying your fleet? All these have pros and cons for different types of missions, letting you specialize your fleet for protecting or attacking trade routes, performing naval invasions, or blockading ports.

If you’ve paid especially close attention you might now ask: we know you must mobilize your army and Generals to see effective use of them in wartime, but what about mobilizing your navy and Admirals? In fact, navies are considered to always be ready and in active service and do not need mobilization. You also cannot recruit conscripts to start manning your warships just as a war breaks out, for obvious reasons. This means expanding and upgrading your navy is both a long-term process and a long-term investment. Navies are excellent at Projecting Power however, so while an impressive navy might not be particularly useful outside of armed conflict it will at least grant you considerable Prestige even as it burns its way through your treasury.

Since navies do not cost any more during war than in peace you may as well use them! You can set up most Orders for your Admirals any time, even while at peace. Once they spot ships flying hostile flags they will take action automatically.

A less direct cost of war which nonetheless can have severe consequences is Devastation. This reflects direct damage to an entire state and its infrastructure caused by battles transpiring in that state. Particularly large degrees of Devastation is inflicted by battles involving heavy and sustained artillery barrages. Devastation directly impacts Infrastructure and thereby Market Access, making the state economically unsustainable. It also tends to cause migration away from the state, an increase in Pop mortality, and other very detrimental effects. After the war this damage will be gradually reversed, but this rebuilding effort can take a long time and cause a lot of economic upheaval in the process.

Wallachia and surroundings before and after substantial Devastation has been inflicted on the region. Numbers are, as always, a work in progress.
View attachment 777603

Finally, of course, there is the human cost of war. Some wars end with only a few hundred casualties on both sides; some wars claim millions of lives with no peace deal in sight. In Victoria 3 it is your actual population who fight and die for your causes - the same population that harvest your fields and work at your assembly lines, who vote for their preferred party or rebel against your enlightened rule, who learn to read and write or pack up and move in search of greener pastures.

Many men fall in battle of course, but more commonly they perish on the way to the battle, or after the battle, whether from disease, starvation, infections, or exposure. Simply mobilizing your forces to the front will increase their risk of dying or suffering lifelong disability. To counteract this you can research and invest in good frontline medical care, or favor Generals with proven ability to reduce such needless casualties.

Those casualties who do not recover from their injuries and return to the frontline will either return home as Dependents or die outright. As a result of both of these effects, after a major war your Pops are likely to consist of an outsized proportion of Dependents to Workforce. While this will self-adjust over time (especially if birth rate is high) there may well be a post-war period where you’re forced to deal with a large portion of your population not being economically productive. It’s in cases like these you’ll be glad you’ve enacted a good Pension System to ease this impact during the recovery period.

In closing and to reiterate, Victoria 3 emphasizes the cost of war for several reasons, including:
  • It raises the stakes and thus increases the payoff for solving conflicts diplomatically
  • It creates meaningful economic interplays between the economy and military, increasing the need to prepare and build a reliable “engine”
  • It enables cost/benefit analysis as a strategic tool, making the best strategist not necessarily the one that uses overwhelming force but the one that uses just enough force to get what they want

Next week we will learn more about how you can leverage the effects of these exorbitant costs by making Peace Deals favoring you look relatively attractive to your opponent. Until then!
It looks amazing especially the big cost of war and devastation! Will the civillian casualties be directly included in this system? Will we get numbers of casualties from battles on frontline?
 
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AnssiA

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Many men fall in battle of course, but more commonly they perish on the way to the battle, or after the battle, whether from disease, starvation, infections, or exposure. Simply mobilizing your forces to the front will increase their risk of dying or suffering lifelong disability. To counteract this you can research and invest in good frontline medical care, or favor Generals with proven ability to reduce such needless casualties.

I've actually been wondering how true this is. Sure, there are sources that so and so many people died in camp, but how much does this really differ from factory work or other jobs where the men might be spending their time if they weren't conscripted? Sure, camps were hotbead of diseases, but so were industrial era cities, too. The factory/city accidents and deaths just aren't listed anywhere, so they kinda fly under the radar, which might end up giving an impression than soldier's life outside of battles is really dangerous compared to regular life.
 
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The Goldfinch

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I am also wondering, if prisoners of war are going to be in game? Many wars in the timeframe resulted in thousands of soldiers being held captive by the enemy. Many of them would die due to poor economic capabilities of the country that holds them
 
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Inspecta

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Is it me, or the map itself has a lack of rivers? The only rivers I saw so far is Danube near Bucharest, while I havent seen any river in Anatolia at all. Tell me that the rivers on the map are not final yet and will be added in later builds.

(Yes, I'm such a map nerd that I feel empty without seeing rivers.)
 
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Mr. Wiggles

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"First and foremost, when the Conscription Center appears, recruited Pops will leave their regular places of work en masse which could cause major temporary disruptions to your nation’s economy. If the conscripts in a certain state happen to primarily originate from the lower strata of its underpaying Lead Mines, this will reduce output and thereby affect the Glasswork and Munitions Plants that consume the lead produced in your market, which in turn will impact all its Urban Centers as well as your very military machinery. If you have enough Pops in search of labor this situation will correct itself over time as the Lead Mines rehire their lost workers, but in the long run this simple action of initiating conscription in a single state will still mean a shift in Wealth distribution, political allegiances, population distribution, industrial profitability, and so on. Even after a successfully prosecuted war those men returning home alive may need to look for new opportunities to regain their old Standard of Living. Everything has consequences."

...And that's why during wartimes exemption for people working in strategic sectors existed.
 
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Lucododosor

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Medical Aid determines what sort of battlefield medicine your troops have access to, from the default of Wound Dressing, through First Aid, to fully fledged Field Hospitals. These consume Fabric and Opium to treat the sick and wounded to minimize the casualties inflicted by attrition and combat alike.

Will we have like a daily number of casualties in the fronts, and then being able to see how much of these casualties are from poor medical aid and how much are from actual battles?
 
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joe9594

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It seems weird that you have to make a choice of things like machine guns and flame throwers. In ww1 the forces equiped with the most flamthrowers generally also had the most machine guns. I hope that there is some way of modeling quality differences between really well equiped divisions and much less well equiped ones (beyond just having some extra thing or just the vanilla no extra equipment option). In the later part of this period units would have most if not all of the things which seem to be considered mutually exclusive here.
 
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Wizzington

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"First and foremost, when the Conscription Center appears, recruited Pops will leave their regular places of work en masse which could cause major temporary disruptions to your nation’s economy. If the conscripts in a certain state happen to primarily originate from the lower strata of its underpaying Lead Mines, this will reduce output and thereby affect the Glasswork and Munitions Plants that consume the lead produced in your market, which in turn will impact all its Urban Centers as well as your very military machinery. If you have enough Pops in search of labor this situation will correct itself over time as the Lead Mines rehire their lost workers, but in the long run this simple action of initiating conscription in a single state will still mean a shift in Wealth distribution, political allegiances, population distribution, industrial profitability, and so on. Even after a successfully prosecuted war those men returning home alive may need to look for new opportunities to regain their old Standard of Living. Everything has consequences."

...And that's why during wartimes exemption for people working in strategic sectors existed.
One thing we have discussed is having subsidized buildings be exempt from conscription, as that's a good way of flagging an industry as essential.
 
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throwaway149596

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As a result of both of these effects, after a major war your Pops are likely to consist of an outsized proportion of Dependents to Workforce. While this will self-adjust over time (especially if birth rate is high) there may well be a post-war period where you’re forced to deal with a large portion of your population not being economically productive. It’s in cases like these you’ll be glad you’ve enacted a good Pension System made sure not to waste the treasury on weak willed cowards to ease this impact during the recovery period.
 
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lachek

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1st. Thank you for giving us the visuals of a devastated landscape. Warfare should impact everything on the map.
2nd Can I limit or expand the pops that are eligable for military service aka conscription?
I'd love to give my female population a greater stake in my country by allowing them to vote AND to die for the Fatherland.
The number of conscripted Battalions you can raise is determined by your conscription rate, which is (predominantly, at least) based on your Army Model. This is a fraction of the Workforce in your country that can be conscripted, which means that as you expand the rights of women, in the process you get access to more conscripts as well. This may be because you permit women to do military service, or because women in the workplace permits more men to go off to war.
 
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