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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

iain_a_wilson

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A FROG IN A WELL...

INTRODUCTION

There's a Japanese phrase that goes like this:

"A frog in a well does not know the great sea."

Now, if you imagine that being said by a little wizned walnut of a man sitting serenly crosslegged at the top of a mountain or by a Mr Miyagi type you'll probably find yourself going "Aaah!" and nodding at the sage wisdom of what is being said.

On the other hand if you imagine it being typed by me you'll more than likely be thinking "What?" (or "WTF?!?!!11?/?!" if you're from the younger generation).

Basically, what the phrase means is something along the lines of "some people are content to live within the confines of their own narrow world view, without considering the bigger picture and the views of others."

Yeah - I know. Worded like that it's a lot easier to talk about frogs and wells.

"But Iain, what does this phrase have to do with EU3?"

Good question.

I'm a bit of a stranger to these climes, prefering to hang out in CK and Victoria land (no, please, don't throw fruit!). However, I do actually own EU3 and all of its expansions. EU1 was my first game, followed by EU2 so it only seemed fitting that I buy EU3 as well. However, the couple of times I've loaded it up I've found myself thinking "Bloody hell - this is different!" before letting it run for a couple of months and then turning it off.

See where I'm going with the frogs and wells yet?

(if you don't, I'm the frog and the well is my previous experience of EU games - clever, huh? Now try and keep up...)

That's where this AAR comes in.

You, my friends. You are going to be the great sea.

Don't you feel proud?

I had a thought - what better way to learn EU3 than to draw on the collective wisdom of the lovely people who play EU3? And rather than just bombard them with annoying questions on the forum how about starting an AAR where I put up my misinformed opinions of what I believe the game is about along with my attempts to blunder through the game and let them shout "Nooooo! What the hell did you do that for? I'd do it THIS way!" from the sidelines. I'd then learn from your collective wisdom and become THE premier EU3 player on the planet.

Clever, huh?

So, without further ado - here's Chapter 1 (I'm sure I'll think up witty titles for them as I go on).

 

iain_a_wilson

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A FROG IN A WELL...

Chapter 1

Welcome to Japan.



Seeing as how I spent the previous post plagiarising Japanese wisdom I thought it only fitting to begin my exploration into the wonderful world of EU3 in the Land of the Rising Sun.

*PAUSE TO LET YOU ALL YELL "JAPAN?!?! WHAT? WHY?"*

Annnnnnywaaaaaay, here's my government screen.



The sliders I recognise from previous versions of EU and For the Glory, but the rest is neeeeeeeew. However, from what I've read I gather that national ideas are A Good Thing so with this in mind I crank my government research slider up to the max in the hope that I can bounce my way up to "4" and get my grubby paws on a national idea.



Oh yeah, I should probably point out that I have no idea of what national ideas are, which ones are good and what I can do with them, so any advice would be ace.

There's not a national idea of "Iain is a born winner" is there?

No - thought not.

Jumping back to those sliders on the government screen, I take a leap towards free trade because I'm sure previous experience tells me that if you've got a small country with not many people to tax than trade is really important, and given that I'm on an island with not much prospect of expanding in the imminent future then this probably applies to me.

Is that true or am I misremembering/making this up as I go along?

Anyway, I end up getting this which can only be good:



This nice chappy helps my merchants compete which I’d term “a good thing”. I also take the time (quite a considerable time I may add - I'm not the sharpest tack in the box at times) to locate the "auto send merchant" function because I remember in past iterations of EU that I kept forgetting to send merchants. I then set my auto send priorities thus:



Good?

Bad?

Stupid?

Flicking through the ledger I find that the little "saw" symbol at the top of the screen means that I can build something. With cash to spare I start building a fort in Ezochi.



It's my only province that is still home to boar-worshipping wierdos so I figure a fort might be a good idea in case they get stroppy about me and my flash Shinto ways.

Up next to the saw icon I find this:



No idea what this means or what I can do about it.

Nor do I have any idea about this screen although it looks busy!



With all my early decisions made I unpause and prepare to fulfil my destiny as guardian spirit of Japan (lucky them)! I then realise that they can be quite demanding people.



I wasn't aware I HAD any enemies, but I'm guessing that it's through missions like these that the game scores me, so I dutifully set around bringing my army up to its maximum support level.

My nobles then decide to demonstrate to me what a great bunch of guys they are by chucking me this dilemma.



I have the choice of taking a stability hit of moving toward plutocracy. I decide that I don't want to destabilize myself this early on so I choose to take control of the situation.

Is plutocracy bad?

I also find this little icon nestling on the right of the screen.



At first I assumed that it meant "capital" but then I saw the "capital" icon above it.

It’s round about now that I notice that my army building is going to see me hitting a deficit in the near future, so I start minting some cash. To help offset the inflation I hire an inflation busting advisor to go along with my ace trading guy and some dude that I've had since the beginning.



I'm no expert on EU3, but I'm assuming that my ruler sucks big time?

I also discover that I'm the proud owner of one and a half spies:



Is one of them really short or missing limbs or something?

;)

Now, I'm presuming that spies only really become important when you're facing off against some enemies, but assuming that this happens in the future, what sort of funky things can I expect to send my spies to do? And what are the most useful errands I can send them off on?

As I'm pondering this, grand tidings reach me!



Apparently the succession is still disputed (does that mean civil war when my current ruler dies?) but hopefully Tsuchimikado will be a more able ruler than the current mound of feeble suckiness that sits on the throne.

I then learn two things:



Firstly, I have an army to be proud of.

Yay!

Great success!

Secondly, my religious people have very flowery ways of saying "Let's put some heathens to the sword!"

As my religious fundamentalists head north to Ezochi, branding irons in hand, I shall leave you good people with this last picture before I await your sage advice:



Yes - I'm off to beat up my neighbours in Okinama. Apparently I have a casus belli which means I can do this without taking a stability hit.

New army rising
Boats take men to foreign shores
What could go wrong now


(a haiku too - am I good value or what?)
 

dinofs

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Promising beginnings! Regarding your questions:

National Idea: Good ones for Japan include Colonial Ventures (lets you colonize Russia and Indonesia), Press Gangs (-50% ship costs), and Grand Navy (+100% Naval Forcelimit). Good Ideas for everyone are National Bank (reduces inflation, usually one of the best to start with), National Trade Policy (+10% Trade Efficiency), Shrewd Commerce Practice (+10% Merchant Compete Chance) and Grand Army (+33% Land Forcelimits).

Disputed Succession: Basically, this means that if you have a royal marriage and higher prestige than the country in question, there is a chance that you will form a personal union with them. If you have disputed succession, however, it means that other nations can form a personal union with you. And yes, you might also get a civil war. (You will, if you have an heir. Which you do.)

Plutocracy: It's great, especially for a trade-based game. The only time aristocracy is really useful is if you use cavalry-based armies. (In other words, it's not very useful late game.)

Ruler: Yes, your current ruler is pretty bad. Rulers have statistics in Administration, Diplomacy, and Military, ranging from 3 (awful) to 9 (great). (Mouse over the stars to see the exact rating. You can also see your heir's stats by mousing over his name.)

I hope this was helpful! You can probably get better information from others, though, since I'm hardly the most experienced player on these forums.
 
Last edited:

morningSIDEr

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Japan was the first nation I ever completed a full game with in EU3! I was thus about to type 'great minds think alike' regarding your country choice, but upon realsing that as we are both Scots, 'alcohol ravaged minds think alike' is far more apt.

Before anyone can give you any real advice (and its best to ignore anything and everything I type, its usually utterly wrong), we need know how you plan to play the game! Will your Japan be an all conquering behemoth? A trading nation? A colonial power? A mix of all three? Thats the key thing for deciding slider movements and so forth.

dinofs has outlined the best starter national ideas brilliantly. I personally pick National Bank near every game. Its just great to get the extra ducats without suffering from inflation.

One thing to consider is that Japan is in one of the weakest technology groups, so if you want to have her on par with European nations at sometime, westernisation is very much required. Otherwise expect to have your backside handed to you should any European nation declare war on you (not that they would I am sure!).

Disputed Succession is new for HttT. Basically means countries listed there have rulers/heirs with weak claims to the throne. Thus if you arrange a royal marriage with said countries, and their ruler pops his/her clogs, then you have a good chance of gaining the throne (provided you have enough prestige etc. etc.)!

The national focus is a nice feature. You can make any province the national focus, and change the focus every 10 years (if memory serves). When chosen as the focus the province gains population growth bonuses, extra income and the chosen province alongside those in direct contact with it also gain reduced revolt risk. Thus its very handy slapping it on newly captured land to keep the damned rebels at bay (not that anyone will wish to rebel under your enlightened rule I am sure!).

Spies are great! ...mainly for infuriating the country you are using them against, leading said country to declare war on you (thats ever my experience anyway...). They can do all manner of things, probably one of the most useful actions is'fabricate claim'; which can give you a cassus belli. Other actions are also great such as 'infiltrate administration'; which removes the fog of war over enemy provinces, thus letting you see what the cowardly blaggards are up to! There are numerous other actions, all there to let you play the James Bond! Or...well...rather play the part of M I suppose (nice if you are a Judi Dench fan?).

[For all these tips and more, begin saving £94.99, for the forthcoming 'How to suck so much you make the very easy AI look good' by morningSIDEr. Soon to be stocked by all idiotic bookstores.]

Very nice start. I am greatly looking forward to seeing how the rest of this AAR pans out, consider me very much subscribed! Oh and likely disregard everything I just typed as utter twaddle, and wait for a more knowledgeable player to give tips.
 
Last edited:

JDMS

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Since all the advice has pretty much been covered by dinofs and mornigSIDEr, I'll just say great start and I'll be following. :)
 

canonized

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Hmm a learning AAR . Not nearly as erudite as your others but always with your twist nonetheless ! I'll be following !
 

thebigboss-89

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Hey great AAR, different and fresh. I'm sure you'll learn all about EU3 in no-time ;)
 

iain_a_wilson

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dinofs: wow - thanks for all the advice! I'll be sure to put it to good use later on (or potentially attempt to put it to good use and end up botching things horribly). One question - what's a personal union and why's it bad?

morningSIDEr: thanks for the tips on national focus (which I think I might be using soon) and spies. However, what is this westernisation that you speak of?

JDMS: always good to have you on board!

canonized: likewise for you good sir! I'm glad it's not coming across as erudite - that's kind of the point :)

thebigboss-89: welcome aboard and thanks for taking the time to comment. Hopefuly I'll continue to entertain.
 

Tweetybird

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Oooh, Japan.
Oooh, a learning AAR.
Oooh, an unsuspecting newbie!

A pretty good start there, I must say.
Now, let me cover some of your questions there:
A personal union is one of the few things that can happen if a king dies without a heir. In that case the country that lost its king goes in a personal union with the country with which it has a Royal Marriage. If there are more, the one with the most prestige gets it. The country that gets in a PU is auto-allied to the leading country and cannot start any wars and have their own RMs. They are also stuck there unless your relations go under either 100 or 0, I forgot.
Now, if you lead a PU, that's a great thing - you have an ally that cannot backstab you, and you might even inherit in time if you keep your relations high. Luckily for you, if you get in a PU, you cannot be inherited.

The other things that can happen to a country losing a king are a succession war, where two countries fight to see which can have a PU with the country, and the country has to side with one in the war; A noble can succeed to the throne; And last, but not least, a throne can be inherited and the country becomes a part of the country that inherited it. If they are in the same culture groups, the country that recieves the throne even gets the cores on the provinces, which are an awesome thing. It usually takes 50 years to get cores.

Westernization is the process of advancing into a... well, more advanced tech group, with western (European) being the best. You need to have a neighbour of a more advanced culture group and high centralization and innovative sliders, plus a high-administrative (7, was it?) king.

Now, go wage your war and don't let China invade. That is, improve your fleet if you want to survive long-term. If you're going to colonize the Americas later, be sure you have at least the same number of big ships (or small ships, but they are some 10 naval tech levels away) and colonies, otherwise you don't get full profit from colonies outside your native continent.
 

iain_a_wilson

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Tweetybird: thanks for the quick response! That's all brilliant advice and much appreciated! A wee question if you don't mind, what benefit do cores offer? Is it simply more tax revenue and reduced revolt risk?

As for the "unsuspecting" part, I wouldn't so much say "unsuspecting" as "blindly fumbling" :)
 

Tweetybird

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If you hold it, I think it's just extra tax and possibly events or decisions. But really nice extra tax, I must say.
But, now, you -avoid- things like extra RR, nationalism, and other nasty effects.
Plus, if an enemy province has your core, you not only keep it when you conquer it, but you also get a reconquest CB, which is pretty much as good as it gets for conquering things.
 

iain_a_wilson

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A FROG IN A WELL...

QUICK UPDATE (not really a chapter)

No piccies this time I'm afraid, but a quick note to let you all know that my shiny new army has done wonderfully well against the evil pagans of Okinawa! I've learned a couple of valuable lessons:

1) The "nobody's going to get upset - they're just savages" casus beli (or whatever it's called) is great. It's very nice to be able to kill people without your whole realm getting upset about it.

2) Sieges take a LONG time. I sat there for ages with my infantry camped outside of Okinawa's fortress for aaaaaaaages before I got bored and hit the "assault" button. Which should be renamed, as I've discovered, the "die in droves" button. However, experience has taught me (see? I CAN learn!) that I should wait for the green bar to fill up before attacking.

I've also sent some missionaries to Okinawa to convince them of the wisdom of Shinto.

Hopefully a more in depth update will follow tonight!
 

JDMS

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In the early stages of the game, Die in Droves is an apt name for it. Of course, that usually changes later, but for now you just have to wait. :D
 

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Hah! This will be amusing! And no, I suck at EU3 too, so no useful advise from me... :D
 

CatKnight

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Hey Iain:

First, not a bad start. People have covered your direct questions, but let me take a quick look here...

First, regarding Okinawa: Yes, sieges take a long time, especially in the early game. Personally I try not to assault unless the walls are breached. (It's one of the effects that can happen as the siege progresses. Look at the picture of the sieged city: If the wall has a big chunk taken out of it, and you have say...2:1 (or preferably far, far more) advantage in INFANTRY vs. the garrison, assault. (Cavalry does not count for this calculation.)

Cores are useful for much the reason they were in EU2: It's a free CB if someone takes one away from you. It improves tax revenue and reduces revolt risk. 50 years (default - it can be changed) after taking a territory, it becomes a core. (50 years after LOSING a territory the core goes away.)

Your autosend priorities for merchants aren't bad. (Autosend works MUCH better in EU3 than EU2. It's definitely worth it.) The numbers under the chair (14, 13, 9) tell you how many open slots there are.

Even though Settsu is your 'home' TC and you obviously want to fill it, I'd have been tempted to make Jiangsu my 'green' main target. As you see, their TC is much richer than yours. I wouldn't have bothered with Malacca right now....get 5 merchants in 1 or 2 TCs - KEEP THEM THERE for a reasonable amount of time (like in EU2 they can be pushed out by others), then expand.

Forts are great for the same reason as in EU2.

The culture screen is relatively new. I see you figured out how to buy advisors. The culture screen lets you spend x culture to pick and choose which advisor you want available. Need another inflation buster, and none are in the hiring pool? You can get one here.

The cultural, national and religious decisions (the question mark, envelope and checkmark) help you customize your nation. If the checkmark is green, you can click on it if you want. The question mark tells you what happens if you do.

Your national focus basically gives a province a population boost over time, and some other nice minor effects like reduced revolt risk. When you click on a province, you'll see two crowns on the upper left of the province display. One crown is your capital. You can move it under certain conditions, but generally you don't need to unless something BAD happens. The other is your focus, which you can move I believe once every 10 years.

(Putting your focus on a neighbor's border sometimes triggers an event that gives them a CB. If you want to provoke a fight, this is one way to try and do it.)

Spies are fun. If you click on another nation, look at 'their' diplomacy screen. On the lower left you'll see a spy. Click on him, and you can see what kinds of missions you can perform.

General tactics for Japan are similar to EU2, except you don't need to worry about scripted revolts during the Sengoku period. (There may well be nasty revolts, but then it's because you did something wrong, or a random event, not because the year is 1471.) Ming is uberpowerful - the great blob of Asia. Try not to fight them unless you have half the planet on your side. Korea might be a nice target. Indochina and Indonesia is fairly easy pickings.

Another player mentioned westernization to you. This is the process of slowly changing tech levels to Latin. This is simliar to in EU2 when the European nations advanced faster than anyone else.

I forget what Westernization requires in EU3 vanilla. There should be a national decision that'll tell you. If you highlight the checkmark (which is almost certainly greyed out right now) it'll give you some clues as to what you need.
 

dinofs

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Well, CatKnight has already said almost everything you need to know, so I'll just add my two cents:

Forts: Like CatKnight said, it's best to attack with a breach in the walls. Unless there is a breach, I usually just assault if I have 10 times as many men as the enemy. (So, at the beginning, 10,000 men is usually the minimum.) If you want to get the absolute perfect time for assaulting, wait until their morale bar (the bar underneath the number of troops they have) is almost completely red and your morale bar is almost completely green.

Cores: The biggest advantage of having cores is that your province becomes more valuable and gives you more tax income. However, they also allow you to get the reconquest CB. In other words, you get to attack a country that owns one of your cores for free, and the core costs no infamy to take back. It's among the best CB's in the game, because it's the only one that allows you to take a province for free.

Spies: Spies are great because they can create a Casus Belli, lift the fog of war, weaken a nation's trade, incite revolts, fund pretenders, zealots, nationalists, and patriots, and generally cause mischief. However, they do cost money, so don't use them too much.

I hope that this has answered any questions you have left. :)
 

iain_a_wilson

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A FROG IN A WELL...
Chapter 2

First up, proof that I can follow advice...




With Okinawa recently conquered I'm assuming (after what I've been told anyway!) that making it the national focus will help put an end to revolts and other high spirited shenanigans. Here's hoping!

With the trade screen, what's been said previously seems to be good advice so I've decided to follow it.

Aren't I the good little pupil?

Anyway, months roll by and I acquire a magistrate, and with it the ability to conduct a census in Okinawa.



This certainly seems like a good idea and I follow it through. However, I'm assuming that if I hang onto my magistrates I can use multiples of them to perform funkier goodness for my kingdom?

Speaking of "funky" it appears that the heathen savages to the north haven’t converted quickly enough for my people. However, the good people of Japan love a trier, so they decide to show me that they still have faith in me by setting me another delightful task.



Initially I get all excited, and I even blow some military tradition to hire a guy who lets me maintain more units every month (and in the process make a stupid balls-up and accidently sack my super-duper-trader). However, time ticks by and I find that no matter how many units I build I simply can't keep pace with Ming. I've barely managed to get forty thousand men under arms when it becomes apparent that they've got eighty! Given that I've got a maximum manpower of thirteen thousand and I only gain about five hundred a month a quick bit of mental arithmetic tells me that I'm on a fool’s errand here.



I can sense their smug Ming faces from over here.
I take the prestige hit and hope for something less demanding.



Riiiiiiiight...

However, I take the time to poke around my ledger and it soon becomes apparent that Ming aren't that interested in building boats, so I take to this task with gusto, churning out galleys and cogs with gay abandon. Now, I'm not that aut fait with the naval side of EU3 (or EU3 for that matter - hence this AAR ;)) so can any of you offer forth any guidance on this matter? Should I be building a big navy or are they really only useful for shipping units to the mainland?

Speaking of the mainland, I notice that a few of my neighbours are having succession crises of their own.



I take this as an excuse to spam them with diplomats.

Oddly enough none of them acquiesce to my wooing.

However, at one point I miss click and before I know it...



I’m cursing my cack-handedness and thinking “Damn – that was a waste of a diplomat” when, a few months later, it appears that Ming’s royal family are having a succession crisis.
I think back to the army race and smirk at their misfortune.
Clearly I’m enjoying this a little too much and causing waves of pure schadenfreude to radiate out from the Land of the Rising Sun because the good people of Ming sulkily decide to do this:



Swine.

I then change my autotrading to start firing off merchants at the centre of trade I had previously been ignoring. This coupled with my rampant boat-building programme almost proves to be my undoing, as the AI appears to be as fiscally clued up as a teenage girl let loose with her dad's credit card in a shoe shop. Despite the fact that I've got next to no cash it keeps pinging off merchants to sunny Malacca like there's no tomorrow. I'm forced to mint quite a lot to avoid taking a loan.

Stupid AI.

Still, it's not a huge set back - a lesson learned I guess.

A little while later and what do you know...



(you'll notice in the background that the uppity so-and-sos in Okinawa decided to get ideas above their station - they were crushed :))

My people then have another genius idea:



Handily I also appear to have a colonist available!



(which is kind of fortunate given the nature of the mission ahead of me!)

However, here's another question for you - what can I do to net myself more? Looking at those sums I'm unlikely to net another colonist before my time for the mission runs out.

Still, my initial forays onto the Kurils are a great success.



Now, here's another question for my wise audience. Natives - what's the difference between aggression and ferocity, and what's a high value for those attributes? Is there any benefit in keeping natives around or should I just send the troops in and slaughter them?

To bring this chapter to a close I give you my slider bars. I'm able to make another shift, so I'd appreciate opinions on where to go next!



Ten years floated by
Tests and trials overcome
Threat of Ming looms large
 

JDMS

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I'm not sure what the difference between aggressiveness and ferocity is though I do know 1 is the lowest they can be while still having natives. At this point, it's probably better to keep the natives allive, since they're unlikely to rise up, and that way have a higher population once your colony reaches 1000.

In regards to the slider, I would take a move towards centralization, but I'm not sure if that's the best move, and someone will probably correct me.

Great work. :)