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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

theosZA

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In this AAR: I try to steer the course of nations away from their historical destiny.

With Wealth of Nations coming out, I was going to start a new EU4 game to see the new features but couldn't decide on which nation to play. So in the spirit of the excellent AARs Random World Order and A Random Game - A Gameplay Mega-Campaign AAR, I've decided to allow the whims of fate to guide where I play.

My game
  • I will use Random Nation twice each time and play as one of the nations. I will post my options in the thread to allow readers a chance to give their input but I'll be making the final choice. (Not a vote - this is not an "Interactive AAR")
  • Regardless of the nation chosen, my goal while playing will be to accomplish non-historical outcomes. As a small nation, I might try grow big; as a large nation, I will try cut historical powerhouses down to size; go for colonies with traditionally non-colonial nations; etc.
  • Stop playing with the nation after 50 years or after any ongoing war at that point. (I'm not the best of players - I'll need 50 years to feel like I've made an impact on the world :p) I'll switch to 40-year turns towards the end to not leave odd years at the end.
  • And repeat with a new nation...

My rules
  • No reloading (unless I game over and have to reload before picking a new nation).
  • No intentional use of exploits or over-gamey tactics.
  • Rerolls on the Random Nation button only for nations that I've already rolled before in this AAR.

I am playing with both Conquest of Paradise and Wealth of Nations. I'll try keep up to date with patches at the start of each 50-year turn and I'll note the patch being used in the post.

Table of Contents

The first two random nations for me to choose between are:

England


England in 1444 is in the Hundred Years War with France. Historically they lost their continental possessions to France, leading to the War of the Roses where the Lancasters prevailed over the Yorks to set up Henry Tudor as the English king.

Sweden


Sweden in 1444 is the lesser partner of a personal union with Denmark - the Kalmar Union of Denmark, Sweden and Norway. Historically Sweden chose their own king in 1448 leading to a struggle for power between Sweden and Denmark that lasted until Sweden became independent in 1523.
 
Last edited:

tnick0225

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Both of those nations at that start date offer some very interesting challenges, and makes it hard to decide which one to vote for.

With England you could attempt to win the Hundred Year War, and potentially curb France from becoming the BBB, which would be pretty interesting to see, and would probably lead to England being a dominate world power much earlier in the game.

Sweden, you'd have to break with Denmark before you could do much, which may or may not be an easy task to accomplish, but if you did you could set Sweden up to become rather dominate as well.

But anyway my vote would be for...

England

Just because it'll start out nasty and very interesting.

I do have to ask, did you get approval from Avindian or one of the Mods for the interactive portion?
 

theosZA

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I do have to ask, did you get approval from Avindian or one of the Mods for the interactive portion?
Just to be clear, this isn't a vote or anything - I'll be making the decision on which nation to play. Any reader feedback is primarily for me to get an idea of the opportunities and challenges that might await me. In this case, I've never played any of the Scandinavian nations before, and I've never tried to win the Hundred Year War with England (previously I cut my losses by peacing out early). I'm not sure my play skills are actually up for winning the war, though I agree that's the obvious route to get the biggest divergence from history.
 

Homusubi

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I like random AARs, but Johan was being boring when he chose England and Sweden... Bring on Songhai or Gwalior!

I vote Sweden, anyway. It's very slightly more inventive than England.
 

tnick0225

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Just to be clear, this isn't a vote or anything - I'll be making the decision on which nation to play. Any reader feedback is primarily for me to get an idea of the opportunities and challenges that might await me. In this case, I've never played any of the Scandinavian nations before, and I've never tried to win the Hundred Year War with England (previously I cut my losses by peacing out early). I'm not sure my play skills are actually up for winning the war, though I agree that's the obvious route to get the biggest divergence from history.
Oh okay, I just asked because I didn't want the mods to shut this down or anything.

I wouldn't know how hard the Hundred Year War is in EUIV or how easily it'd be to break off from the Kalmar Union, since I've only played as Milan and Orissa in EUIV so far. I definitely enjoy random games though! After playing my CKII one I don't know if I'll ever play CKII as one dynasty the whole way through ever again!

So count me as subbed TheosZA, looking forward to seeing how things turn out! :)
 

theosZA

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I like random AARs, but Johan was being boring when he chose England and Sweden... Bring on Songhai or Gwalior!
I seem to be stuck in a rut of only playing European monarchies lately, so I'm really hoping to get some more exotic nations.
 

theosZA

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I've acquired Wealth of Nations and picked a nation to begin the game. In the end it was a line I noticed in the patch notes that decided it for me - all should become clear when I begin the report. I should have a report of the first few years ready later today.
 

theosZA

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I choose to play as England - but just bear with me for a short while...


We join England in a state of war. The English have been at war with France for the French throne on and off since 1337 in what would later be called the Hundred Years War. As well as the English lands in the British Isles, England holds Guyenne in southern France and Normandy and Calais in northern France. England is ruled by King Henry VI (0/0/0), "peaceful and pious, and not suited for dynastic wars". (ref)



Before taking any action in the war, I consult the king's advisors...



Henry Brock, the Master of the Mint, complains of the great cost of the war. Urien Prees, the Spymaster, gives us intelligence that the French forces greatly outnumber those of the English. Only Robert Marlborough, the Army Organiser, wants to continue the war by enlarging the army. My mind is eventually made up by consulting with the court astrologer who warns us of impending doom for our House if we persist with the war. I immediately dispatch a diplomat to negotiate a peace with King Charles VII of France.



England is to be reorganized along more decentralized lines, with Cornwall and Northumberland released as sovereign states in peace, and Wales and the continental duchies of Guyenne and Normandy being released as English vassal states.



I choose to play as the released vassal, Wales.


Historically Wales was conquered by England in the 13th century but was only fully incorporated into England in the 16th century and has been part of England and later Great Britain since then. The last rebellion against English rule was led by Owain Glyndŵr from 1401 until he died in 1416.

With hostility inevitable between England and France over England's continental possessions, I will strive to win freedom for Wales, reclaim our rightful lands and weaken our overlords, England.



The semi-autonomous Welsh are led by the exceptional Duke Einion II Aberffraw (4/4/6). Even though the economy can't support much in the way of advisors, we should have a healthy advantage in monarch points over England.

The economy is really bad with most of our monthly profits given to England as our overlord. London is typically a rich trade node and I see our best route to improving the economy to grab as much of that trade as possible. I choose the mission Build a Fleet though, with our economy as weak as it is, it will take a while to build the necessary ships. We have enough to start building our first barque and hire a single advisor, a Treasurer (+1 admin point) who gives +5% tax to offset his cost somewhat.

Our first barque is completed in 1445 and so becomes the first ship in our merchant fleet trading in the London node.

Meanwhile diplomats are improving relations with France, Scotland and Burgundy until they support our independence from England.



We've finally saved up enough money to complete our second barque in 1447 and it joins the merchant fleet. Our economy remains weak but steadily improving as our trade income increases.

With the peace treaty between France and England in effect, France looks to expand by declaring war on Provence which consists of territory in both northern and southern France.

We're hit by the Non-enforcement of ordinances event and suffer an increased revolt risk of +10% in Glamorgan. Glamorgan actually has higher base tax than our capital, Gwynedd, and so I don't want to risk any problems so I institute harsh treatment on the province to eliminate the revolt risk.

With our diplomats winning the support of France, Scotland and Burgundy, they fabricate claims on our weak neighbours, Cornwall and then on the Irish provinces of Leinster and Ulster. (We can't get claims on the English territories while they are our overlord.)



England looks to expand their continental holdings with a war against Brittany. Savoy are allied with Brittany and joins the war against England, but they are distant and small and so unlikely to be a problem for England.

The armies meet in Normandie, where 10 000 English and Normans fight 7 000 Bretons, with the English emerging victorious. England then besieges Armor, the war goal, even as further reinforcements are shipped across the Channel which ensures Brittany is unable to put up any further meaningful resistance.



Wales gets its first general when we import a foreign military expert for training. General Gwyn Owen (3/3/2/-) is very capable for this era though he's overshadowed by the generals England starts with. However these generals will be costing England a lot of military monarch points to maintain and military points is Wales' strongest area at the moment. In 1450 we have enough to research the Pike Square (military tech 4).

The English complete the occupation of Armor and move on to occupying the other provinces of Brittany.

In 1451 Maredudd (5/2/1), heir to the Duchy of Wales, is born. We also have enough admin points to research National Ideas (admin tech 4). I have this plan to go with mercenaries to eventually fight England (and our heir is strongest in admin) so I choose Administrative ideas as our first idea group.

France completes their conquest of Provence and their truce with England has since expired. I'm now eagerly awaiting a war between France and England.

Burgundy is in a small war with Liège. King Charles of Burgundy dies while leading his troops in battle, which results in Burgundy being divided between France and Savoy. In one fell swoop Savoy has been raised to a regional power and now neighbours the English province of Calais which they immediately besiege. However the war is much too far gone for them to make a difference now.



The war concludes with the successful annexation of Brittany by England. France also continues its expansion by diplomatically annexing its vassal, Orleans.

1453 begins with England and France both at peace but tension is in the air. Wales researches the Marketplace and Dock (diplo tech 4). And then the inevitable happens...

 
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theosZA

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From the 1.6 patch notes:
  • Now possible to declare an independence war while overlord is at war.
Now that England is involved in a war again with France (which was much expected from the set-up), and assuming England doesn't stomp France (unlikely), independence shouldn't be too hard. I don't weaken France, but historically England emerged from the EU4 period as probably the strongest nation so an opportunity to weaken them early is very much in line with my goals for this AAR. Don't expect the same trick twice though :glare:
 

theosZA

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Note that the entire Wales portion was played under the 1.6 patch. In particular this has the effect of making rebels, revolt risk and aggressive expansion more of a problem than either the previous 1.5 patch or the subsequent 1.6.1 hot-fix. This has only a minor impact on the game, so I won't comment any further on it.


France has inherited a number of provinces following the death of the Burgundy king and now borders the English province of Calais, a province the French believe is rightfully theirs. And so they have begun a war to reclaim it.



The first battle of the war sees 12 000 Frenchmen attack 6 000 Normans in Normandie and is a crushing victory for France. The English forces in Brittany number 12 000 men and they defend against the French survivors in Amor. Despite equal numbers, it is again a good victory for France. The battles continue as France picks off the stragglers, whittling the English-Portuguese alliance down to just 26 000 men against France's 46 000.

With England faltering, Savoy declare England as a rival and will now support our independence from the English.

The rest of the English army crosses the channel to reinforce Calais. 10 000 English are defeated by 15 000 French and they fall back to Calais. There they regroup with the reinforcements and an English army of 17 000 men returns to the French countryside to attack the 10 000 French survivors. Despite their superior numbers, the English army has low morale and a weaker general. The English break and retreat to Calais.

England is down to 19 000 troops, mostly in Calais, but has only 9 000 manpower remaining. Artois near Calais has been occupied by the English, but now France and its vassals begin besieging Normandy and English Brittany.

The Welsh nobles, perhaps unaware of our weak economy, demand increased pensions. With my planned rebellion soon, I agree to their demands and suffer -10% tax for 20 years. In 1455 I take our first idea, Administrative Ideas 1 - Organized Mercenary Payments which gives us -25% to mercenary hiring cost, though even with this discount the upkeep on mercenaries would quickly bankrupt us.

The English army of 19 000 is defeated by 18 000 French in Picardie near Calais; again the relatively low morale of the English causes them to break early and they retreat back to Calais. English manpower is down to 1 000 and with no troops remaining on the English side of the Channel, I know Welsh independence is indeed possible. I begin the final preparations.

I recruit our first infantry. We have to take out loans even for normal infantry as mercenaries are off the table for now, but we do have 8 000 manpower backing our "army". I immediately raise war taxes - each infantry hired is a strain on our budget.



In all 5 infanty are recruited, taking us to our force limit. As 2 newly recruited English infantry in Wessex are shipped across the Channel, I declare our war for independence. Scotland will join us, but unfortunately Savoy won't.



I take a -5 hit to stability (taking us down to the minimum of -3) to declare the war. I hadn't realized how heavy the stability cost would be and it was clearly a bad idea to invest in that Admin idea right now - we can't make use of it and it will now take a good while to boost our stability back up. Wales also gets a lot of aggressive expansion prompting Utrecht and Gelre (Dutch OPMs) to form a coalition against us. Northumberland in northern England soon joins them.



Gwyn Owen (3/3/2/-) leads our 5 infantry regiments. The remaining English troops in Calais are destroyed by the French leaving England with no army. Our 5 000-man force aggressively hunts down new recruits in England while Scotland moves in to start besieging the north. They have an excellent general, Duff Drummond (4/4/1/-). I arrange a royal marriage with Scotland to secure our alliance.

After beating a number of lone English regiments, I see Portugal has joined the war on England's side and they drop off 5 000 men in Kent.



The battle is a resounding success for General Owen, destroying the Portuguese army to the man despite equal numbers. With the Portuguese threat dealt with, I complete the research of Standardized Pikes (military tech 5) and upgrade our infantry to Longbows.

I continue picking off English troops as they're recruited. England are soon up to 9 000 manpower but Wales and Scotland have complete strategic control of British England, limiting their ability to form any kind of army. Lancashire is eventually occupied by Scotland.

I fire our only advisor, the treasurer, Aeron Howells. We can't afford to keep him and our loans are piling up. We're up to 15 loans now.



King Henry VI (0/0/0) of England dies. His daughter, Anne, is only 11 and so England is now under a Regency Council.

In 1457 our stability is finally back to +0. I have to raise war taxes again to keep our economy stable.

Cornwall finishes their war in Ireland with a white peaces, and they promptly join the coalition against us (though that's unsurprising as we do have a claim on Cornwall).

Cumbria is the next province to be occupied by Scotland. England is so weak now, Northumberland declares war on them for the conquest of Yorkshire and Cornwall declares war for the conquest of Wessex.



Wales gets their first Cardinal into the Curia, though England becomes the new Papal controller.

Derby is occupied by Scotland. And with Northumberland and Cornwall around as additional threats to England, the Welsh army now has time to begin a siege of their own and hopefully gain some territory in this war - they besiege Gloucestershire.



8 000 Fraticelli heretics arise in occupied Lancashire, a force which is bigger than any of our armies alone. Such events don't distract us and eventually Gloucestershire falls to us.



In addition Yorkshire is occupied by Northumberland.

Portugal lands 4 000 more men in Kent. The second battle of Kent is even more one-sided than the first. Our superior longbows means that few of the Portuguese even reach our lines. We lose 341 men and Portugal loses all 4000 of theirs. The Scottish General Duff Drummond easily deals with the heretics in Lancashire despite being outnumbered. But then 9 000 Socinian heretics rise up in Gloucestershire, which even Scotland seems reluctant to take on. It's unfortunate as I want that province.

The Welsh are inspired to Show People our Resilience and we get +1 stability. We also get the National Epic event, our people fondly remembering the national hero Owain Glyndŵr, and perhaps writing new tales about Duke Einion II and General Owen - this gives us +1 prestige per year for 20 years. We also get hit by a political crisis for -25 legitimacy.

Wales occupies Oxfordshire while Scotland occupies the Marches, and Northumberland occupies Lincoln in their war and Cornwall occupies Wessex in theirs. We send our diplomat to the negotiating table and the presence of the Socinian heretics in Gloucestershire actually give us a decent bonus in the peace negotiations.



A peace is agreed. Wales is now free!
 

Homusubi

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You know what, I think I might try that myself... Now you've got Cornwall and Ireland to conquer!

I wonder what will happen to Cornwall and Northumberland in their own wars...
 

zodium

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I'm ... what? AI England conquered something ... on the ... on the continent...
 

theosZA

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I'm ... what? AI England conquered something ... on the ... on the continent...
Getting England out of the Hundred Year War early was actually a small blessing for them, as they still had all their armies and manpower intact as well as retaining all their French provinces (albeit as vassals). Although easily able to take on a small nation like Brittany, it still left them far too weak to actually face up to France, which is fortunate for me.
 

coates

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It makes me a bit sad to see my country torn apart, but still looking forward to seeing what will happen to the island in the future. Well done!
 

Torelma

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If France make England free Brittany instead of just annexing it themselves, try to pick it up too somewhere along the line (whether militarily or through DV/DA once you get a bit bigger), it may not be same/accepted culture like Cornwall but it's same culture group, which is much more efficient to deal with than trying to pick apart what's left of England by bits and pieces for 400 years (although obviously this IS a Random AAR).

The issue you'll eventually come across is that Scotland may want to form Britain themselves at some point, if only because they can, and when they do they'll get cores on you and IIRC pretty much everything on the island. Good call with Gloucestershire, it's a rich province in a great location for further expansion. Wait, can Wales form Britain? And if so would that work with your objectives of divergence from history or just come full circle?
 

tnick0225

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Looks like things are off to a good start with Wales. I liked what you did with England so you could switch things up to play as Wales...be a really interesting if you can build Wales up into a decent power before you leave.