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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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DISCLAIMER: This AAR was originally written for the civfanatics forum and is a 100% copy of the original. It was written with a public in mind that might not know the game. Therefore, you will sometimes come across passages in which game mechanics are explained. To all EU2 veterans: sorry for that. :D I tried to tell an interesting story, too, but without a plot or characters. I hope it will still be enjoyed.

An Italian dash for Greatness

This is an AAR (After Action Report) or “story” as it is called over here at CFC of my Europa Universalis II game as Milan. Since some of you might not be familiar with the game, I have chosen a rather descriptive style which allows for explanation of game mechanics and such. I have enjoyed this game immensely for a few years already myself and it would be nice if this little piece of writing could interest others, too.

Settings

Version: 1.08b
Mods: AGCEEP 1.37.1 and ******’s “Sinister Color Scales” Mod
Scenario: Grand Campaign (1419-1819)
Victory Conditions: Standard (victory points)
Difficulty: Very Hard
AI Aggressiveness: Weakling (to avoid crippling AI vs. AI wars)
Fog of War: On
Forced Annexation: On
Random Events: On
Dynamic Missions: Off

kaart14197jh.jpg

Strategic Situation and Goals

Milan’s position, in the north of the wealthy Italian peninsula, is a quite promising one. Although a minor, it consists of two provinces in an area where most of the other Italian minors consist of only one. Expansion should be the name of the game for Milan, but not at any cost and not too fast. If its reputation gets ruined too much too early, Milan could find itself in a brutal war against a large number of countries with the most likely suspects being Venice, Aragon and the Papal States. However, if Milan is too slow in strengthening its position, it might get overwhelmed by the two great nations that are destined to form on the other side of the Alps: Austria and France. My goal: to unite Italy under the Milanese Crown and form a viable counterweight against the Habsburg and French threats, keeping Italy for the Italians (well, Milanese, actually). After this, expansion in other parts of the Mediterranean or even the world might be a possibility, depending on the circumstances.

A worrying start: Aragon’s Blitz

Already in March 1419, the Papal States declare war on Siena, the one province minor just to its north that isn’t part of any alliance. Although Siena shouldn’t pose any problem for the Pope’s forces, Rome, left without an ally after Naples declined to join the war, asks Aragon for an alliance and to join the war. It quickly becomes clear this was a bad move. To Rome’s dismay (and mine, too), Aragonese troops manage to take Siena before the army of the Pope can seal the fate of the small garrison. Siena surrenders and disappears from the map, like I expected, but not to become part of the Papal States. Instead, Siena becomes yet another jewel in Aragon’s Italian Crown. Aragon now has a solid bridge head in the northern part of Italy, right at my doorstep and at striking distance of some easy to annex one province minors. That’s not good, that’s not good at all.

It gets worse, however. Just after being denied the price of Siena, the infuriated Pope turns south, to his former ally Naples. Aragon joins this war, too, and ferries troops over from Sicily to besiege and eventually capture Apulia, Naples’ southern province. This should mean the Pope gets Naples itself, but again someone beats him to it. This time, however, it’s not an ally that steals his siege, but Tunisia, which had declared war on Naples after the Papal States did. And so the spoils are divided: Apulia goes to Aragon and Tunisia takes Napoli. Naples no longer exists and, oh yeah, the Pope gets zilch! The poor man must have been reaching for his pills when he heard about that one…

So now we have Muslims in Europe at a few days travel from the seat of the Holy Church. No Pope worth his salt could have accepted this situation for long and thus the Papal States go to war for the 3rd time in as many years, this time hoping to actually get something from it. But as the smoke over the battlefield settles, the Pope, looking out over the city of Naples, sees the flag of, you guessed it, Aragon proudly waving in the southern Italian wind. “With such friends, who needs enemies?” he desperately asks, looking up at the sky. No one answers, but the Pope could swear hearing the soft echo of a sinister laugh…

With Naples taken, Tunisia quickly accepts peace handing over Naples to Aragon and 9 ducats to the alliance. Of this amount, the Pope gets half. At least, he got something out of it.

With the Papal Wars over, it’s probably time to look at the map of Italy and find out what this “Warrior Pope” has managed to achieve:

aragon14266cx.jpg

Yup, that’s right: A huge Iberian presence on the Italian peninsula! Aragon now owns 6 Italian provinces; Sardinia, Sicily, Messina, Apulia, Naples and Siena! They have doubled the amount of Italian provinces under their control in a matter of years and have made themselves the single most formidable obstacle to my plans to unify Italy under Milanese rule. Thanks a lot, Holy Father. :rolleyes:

Milan’s First War

If Aragon keeps on growing at this pace, there soon won’t be any “easy” targets in Italy left for me to feed and grow on in order to gather the strength needed to chase those damn Iberians back to where they came from. Aragon has made its opening moves, it’s now time for me to do the same.

But, the reader might like to know, what have I been doing while Aragon was happily gobbling up damn near the whole of Italy? Well, Milan is a small country with a small army (10,000 men at the start) and with coffers that are filled just enough to mask the fact that the bottom isn’t far away. So, I focussed on my economy. The domestic policy slider was moved one step towards Centralization for the extra economic and research boost and a bailiff was promoted in Emilia to increase the province’s income (the province of Milan began the scenario with a bailiff already in place). All my available funds were poured into researching Infrastructure, which will also benefit my economy. After all these measures, I started gathering money for my first war.

So, that’s what I’ve been doing, let’s get back to the now. With my mindset and country ready for war, all I need is a victim. It takes two to tango, after all. The choice isn’t hard, in fact it is being dictated to me by the circumstances. I’m in an alliance with Mantua, Modena and Genoa (which became my vassal and member of my alliance through an event) and so the only “available” Italian nation not linked to Aragon is Tuscany. Taking out Tuscany would give the added advantage that it can’t be annexed by Aragon anymore. It will cost me a lot of bad boy (BB) points to declare war without a Casus Belli (CB) and then annexing them in a peace deal, but I don’t want to run the risk of my vassal breaking away or being stolen right from under me by Aragon. I can defend Tuscany better when it’s part of my realm. And if the rest of the world thinks of me as a bad boy because of this, so be it.

Now that I’ve decided on Tuscany, I need a good moment to strike. The Tuscans are part of an alliance with Venice, Bosnia and Athens. Only the first two will probably give me trouble; I don’t expect to see Athenian forces. Even without Athens, this is quite a powerful alliance and therefore I need them to be distracted before I can attack. Patiently I wait…

…and I don’t have to wait long. In September 1429, Venice declares war on Hungary and both countries bring their allies to the party. Good, a large war. As Venetian troops march east, I declare war on Tuscany and order my army, now consisting of 20,000 men, to cross the border. There, it meets a smaller Tuscan force which it completely annihilates. I can now conduct a siege without interruption. Tuscany’s allies have all joined the war, but so have mine and Modena and, especially, Mantua are forming a nice dam against Venetian and Bosnian troops pouring into the Po valley. Mantua, at least, will most probably fall and be annexed, but I should be able to keep Modena free, rout the enemy and get a favourable peace deal before they can amass their full potential in the west, i.e. before the war with the Hungarian-led alliance comes to an end.

In late October 1430, the city of Firenze falls to Milanese troops and I immediately demand Tuscany’s annexation. They refuse, probably hoping to be liberated by their allies. While I keep repeating my offer, I move my army north to face the Venetian and, especially, Bosnian troops that are on the verge of taking out Mantua. As my troops move north, they receive great news: Tuscany acknowledges that no help will be forthcoming and unconditionally surrenders to Milan. As a result of this, Firenze now becomes part of my empire and, as a little bonus, I take control of Tuscany’s navy, which consists of 12 ships.

I do not make it north in time to save Mantua, which is annexed by Venice as my troops are given marching orders to lift the siege. Apparently, the Bosnians decide the war is over and their army, consisting of 28,000 men, starts heading east as soon as Mantua is incorporated into the Venetian empire. With Hungarian forces occupying the Venetian province of Croatia and at striking distance of Sarajevo, I don’t understand what they were doing in northern Italy in the first place, but that’s probably just me...

After the Bosnians have packed up their things, Mantua is only defended by a small force of some 5,000 Venetians which is easily brushed aside. I quickly take Mantua, but since Venice is considered an island and the crossing is blocked by the powerful Venetian navy, I have no hope of bringing the war to Venice itself and demanding Mantua in a peace deal. So, when in August 1432 Venice offers me 198 ducats for peace, I gladly accept the offer.

As a result of the Tuscan War, two states are erased from the map and both Milan and Venice managed to increase their holdings:

noorditalie14329rs.jpg

The growth of Venice isn’t welcome, but is a logical and necessary consequence of my war with Tuscany. It will be dealt with later. Right now, I need peace to digest my conquest and create a financial buffer in case of war, because although within the Milanese court people were very pleased with this smooth expansion, others outside Milan weren’t so thrilled…
 

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The Pope is at it again…

In September 1433, after a peace that had lasted just over a year, Italy is again plunged into war by the Warrior Pope (who else???) and his Iberian cronies. This time their aggression is aimed at poor old me. I call on my allies for help and they all join the war, which gives the war something of an epic North vs. South feel; virtually the whole of Italy is in flames. Well, mostly the southern part, actually…

As soon as I am informed of the Papal declaration of war, I decide on my goals; I want at least Siena from this war. Meanwhile, the Pope makes his first move and sends an army to Firenze. I don’t know what he hoped to find there, but I’m sure it wasn’t the defeat I inflict on him. After this victory, I move south and start laying siege to Siena, while the demoralized remnants of the Papal forces do the same in Firenze. With Marche being besieged by Modena, these forces are in essence cut off, however, and soon the siege is lifted and the army heads for Marche where it, again, is defeated. Soon after Modena takes Marche, the walls of Siena are breached and in August 1434 the city falls to Milanese troops.

siegesiena4pm.jpg

The Pope has been seriously mauled by the Northern Alliance, but as of yet I haven’t encountered any Aragonese troops on the battlefield. In order for me to get Siena in a peace deal, I need a higher war score (WS) than what I get from just holding Siena itself; I will need to make the Aragonese bleed before they will listen to reason. In order to achieve this, I leave Rome for what it is and head directly south, to Napoli. The largely symbolic defence force Aragon has stationed there is easily chased away and I start besieging the city. It falls in April 1435. In the south, Aragon does little to oppose me and in Firenze an Iberian landing party is convincingly driven back into the sea. Despite all this my demands aren’t met, however; Siena seems too good to part from. Guess I’ll have to hurt them some more, then…

Since Apulia (to the south of Napoli) is defended by the remnants of the army that was so easily defeated in Napoli, the fall of the city is just a matter of time. In the mean time I make peace with the Papal States for a few ducats and somewhat later Modena is able get Marche; a good development. In November 1436, Apulia falls and all Aragonese possessions on the Italian mainland are now in my hands. But still those stubborn Iberians keep refusing peace for Siena and 100 ducats, even though I hold three of their provinces! :mad: Moreover, apart from a war in Italy, Aragon had for a year now also been at war with an English-led alliance which had been hitting the Aragonese navy quite hard (which, incidentally, could explain why their land forces weren’t ferried over to Italy in the numbers I had been expecting them). Instead of ending the war, Aragon makes another attempt to land in the north, in the undefended province of Emilia. With the arrival of my northern army, however, this attempt too ends in failure.

With no peace in sight, I contemplate moving my forces to Sicily and taking over the island, but with my weak navy that might be too risky. Aragon could lock my army up on the island by blocking the straits and then southern Italy would have been undefended. I don’t have a large manpower pool and can’t afford losing armies like that. So, I decide to bide my time, which turns out to be a wise move. While repeatedly denying me peace for Siena and 100 ducats, Aragon manages to pleasantly surprise me with this peace proposal in March 1437:

aragonpeace14373lf.jpg

:cool:

Of course, I accept and with some pleasure I stare at the map of Italy, checking out my new Italian empire:

milan14376bq.jpg

All is not well, however; please note the English flag waving over Rome. That foolish Pope decided to come to Aragon’s aid when England declared war, even though he had just been involved in another war he had had no hope of winning. Just after this screenshot was taken, the Papal States were annexed by England, which sucks, because now it will be so much more difficult for me to take Rome. Even when being annexed that guy manages to screw things up… Revenge from the grave maybe?

Playing cat and mouse with my Iberian friends

I quickly integrate the captured provinces into my realm by promoting bailiffs that will increase the income generated from them. Also, I start rebuilding my army to deter any would be aggressor. My rapid expansion has left me with almost 15 bad boy (BB) points so I need to take a rest from conquest for now as to not completely ruin my international reputation before I am strong enough to defend myself properly.

In July 1446, my old foe Aragon again causes me trouble by declaring war, a month later followed by Tunisia. The Northern Alliance is now fighting two alliances and five countries in total: Aragon, Navarra, Tunisia, Tlemcen and Morocco. Bring it on!

The war against the Muslim nations for me is mainly a “phoney war”; only very small armies appear on the Italian peninsula and they are easily defeated. A lot of fighting, however, is done at sea between the fleets of Genoa and Modena and Muslim ships. In March 1448, Tunisia accepts peace with the Northern Alliance paying 100 ducats. The Aragonese, however, are a harder nut to crack.

While I strike south and cross the street of Messina to capture the island of Sicily, the Aragonese navy is causing havoc for my allies at sea and landing parties are laying siege to some of my northern provinces. However, with some help of Modena, I manage to quickly take both the provinces of Messina and Sicily, which frees up troops to do some siege lifting in the Po valley. I successfully chase away the Aragonese from my territory, but they find somewhat of a safe haven in mountainous Liguria; I try to overwhelm them several times with superior numbers but the defensive bonuses are too strong to overcome and I am beaten back. I need another front to hurt them, since my war score is not enough even to demand Messina.

Although my navy is quite weak, especially when compared to Aragon’s, I decide to take a risk. I load a 10,000 men strong army led by a leader with a siege bonus on my 12 ships and set sail for Sardinia, hoping not to encounter any enemy ships. The landing on the island is unopposed and I start the siege. My ships return home without meeting any enemy vessels.

wararagon14503oj.jpg

In August 1451 I capture Sardinia, but still I don’t have enough war score to demand Messina, a direct result of the large number of land and, mostly, sea battles lost to Aragon by my alliance. To further complicate the situation, the Aragonese landed 3,000 men in Messina just before the fall of Sardinia, a force that should have been an easy prey for the 15,000 (!) troops Modena had stationed in nearby Sicily. However, they for some reason sat idly by as these 3,000 were reinforced to 16,000 and then to 25,000, thereby allowing a front that had earlier been secured to be opened up again. :wacko: With Messina under siege, I order my army in Emilia south and bring back the boys from Sardinia to join it in Napoli.

On its way to Messina, my Emilia army lays siege to Siena which had earlier been captured by rebels (there has been more of them, but I leave them out for the most part, because it gets repetitive) and in August 1452 we are back in control of the city, after which I hurry to Messina which had fallen to Aragonese troops in May of that same year. When I reach Messina, Sicily has also just been captured, but after the battle with the 15,000 men Modena had stationed there, the Aragonese army isn’t as numerous as it used to be. I take over the siege of Messina started by the retreating troops of my ally and am confident that the Aragonese will move to Messina to find defeat in the mountains there. I am not as confident about the war as a whole, though. Many battles are lost and getting a decent (i.e., enough to demand a province) war score will be nearly impossible. Maybe I will have to be satisfied with taking cash, or else a separate peace with Aragon might be an option…

In April 1453 Messina is once again in our hands and as I see the Aragonese in Sicily heading for Messina, very unwelcome news reaches Milan: Tyrol has declared war and they are joined by Venice! We defeat the Aragonese in Messina and move to besiege Sicily when another declaration of war is issued against us, this time from Tunisia! After 7 years of continuous warfare, an impressive array of cowards has taken up arms against Milan and its allies. They probably assume to find an easy prey, but they are mistaken. Despite growing war exhaustion, a less than satisfactory financial situation and overwhelming odds, I will not budge. Not a single one of my provinces will ever be handed over to those vultures! :mad:
 

bluelotus

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Great, another Milan AAr :) Good start. I wish I should have enough willing to attack Naples. I'm around 1600 and didn't even took Southern Italy, yet :eek:o Hopes better luck for ya ;)
 
Jul 29, 2002
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Very polished so far, looking forward to how this progresses.
 

Freddan

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Very good, haven't read it all yet. Will save it to tonight ;)
 

stnylan

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Mmm, we shall fight them on the beaches, fight them in the streets, and fight them in Leonardo's Workshop? ;) Good fun reading this. It's interesting seeing what kind of detail you have put in for the non-Paradox audience.
 

coz1

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What a surprise! Great to see you writing again, Suvorov! :D

And it looks like you've picked a nice challenge. Very smart to try and get Aragon out of Italy before they join with Spain, not that you had much choice, it seems.

Also appears like the BB you've taken on may be getting the better of you, but I applaud you're courage and tenacity. Let's hope it pays off.
 

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Bluelotus: Yeah, I just noticed there's already a Milan AAR after I posted this. You just took a different direction. Although, I must say, my armies will also get the chance to enjoy the Istrian scenery. :D

Vincent Julien: Thanks for reading! :)

Fredan: Take your time. This AAR ain't going anywhere!

stnylan: Well, more like they are fighting me everywhere, but still... :D I wanted this AAR to be something of a commercial for EU2, but the people over at the other forum are all EU2-players already. Oh well...

Coz1: Hello again! Thanks for the warm welcome! :) Not of the same scope I tried before, more of a "history book" feel. I still don't have the time to try something "cozzian" or "stnylanian" again...
 

bluelotus

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Oh Istiria is so nice :D The AI always wants to take that first, so you can prepare for defending while 60k is siegeing it :D
 

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I really like your AAR, it has a good history feel to it and you explain everything very well. And ur strategy, not cowardly at all.


Feyenoord - Groningen 0- 2 *ouch* helaas dit jaar niet, maar ja ;)
 

Grundius

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I say wipe them out, all of them! Great AAR so far, it will be hard to keep the two Milan AARs I'm following seperated (the other is bluelotus' AAR), but I'm in on this one!

BTW, you probably know this already, but: don't take Rome until you are powerful enough to beat them all. Having Rome gives every (CR)Catholic a CB on you if I'm not mistaken. So just Force-vassalize them.
 

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Bluelotus: Istria will play a rather strange part in this story later on... ;)

Oranje Verzet: Glad you like it. And about Feyenoord: het went, he? Being a Feyenoord-fan sure forces you to learn to deal with adversity. Just like it forces one to be patient. :D

Grundius: Yes, I'm aware of the CB Catholic nations get against the occupier of Rome. Can't say anything more I'm afraid... ;) I've played this game already to the beginning of the 1700s, so...
 

unmerged(14689)

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I will try to get this one updated once a week (shouldn't be a problem, I'm already far ahead in both playing and writing), but in order to catch up with the updates on the other forum (don't want people looking over there to find out how I'm doing :D ), I'll post some extra updates now.

The vultures land beside the carcass…

While troops from Tyrol and Venice are swarming into the Po valley, I do not completely abandon my efforts to capture Sicily, still hoping to get something out of the war with Aragon. Maybe they will eventually throw in the towel like they did last time, giving more than expected. At the moment it doesn’t look like this will be the case, though. Even with a small positive war score for me and my alliance, I only get peace offers from Aragon demanding 75 or 100 ducats or, even worse, the province of Apulia. My my, getting cocky, aren’t we? Even with my northern provinces under siege, I will not give those pesky Iberians anything in this war which they started and which they are losing. :mad:

I split up my Sicilian siege army so that one part can be send north to at least create the impression that Tyrol and Venice aren’t free to roam around at will. The first city to fall in the onslaught is Milan itself when Lombardia is captured by Tyrol in September 1453. I attack the province, but I’m defeated. Meanwhile, smaller enemy armies have landed in the south; 2,000 men from Venice in Napoli and 1,000 men from Tlemcen in Apulia. I send my siege army from Sicily, which in December 1453 succeeded in capturing the province, over to Apulia and then Napoli where it easily destroys the enemy. If I am ever going to survive this war intact, I need small victories like these to boost my war score, since I won’t be able to survive an all out slugfest.

Meanwhile, more and more troops, especially from Venice, are pouring into northern Italy and soon my allies, too, are feeling the burden of the war. Both Liguria (Genoa) and Romagna (Modena) are besieged by large armies that I have no hope in matching. My tactic, therefore, is quite simple: I will avoid battle with large concentrations of enemy forces unless absolutely necessary and will instead focus on destroying smaller stacks while simultaneously trying to regain lost provinces as soon as the siege army has moved on to the next. If all goes well, this should at least limit the damage and maybe get my war score to such a level that peace can be bought with cash, instead of provinces.

As this screenie makes clear, though, it won’t be an easy task:

warvenice14540pp.jpg

I constantly try to make peace with Aragon, Tunisia or Tyrol to somewhat lessen the burden, but no one is interested until in 1456 Aragon finally agrees to pay 100 ducats in exchange for peace. In that same year, Tunisia does the same, after which I can focus my attention fully on Venice and Tyrol.

At one point in time, my alliance’s war score with the Tyrol-Venice alliance is -48% and things start to look very bleak indeed when in the last days of December 1456 Modena is forced to accept peace with Tyrol (the leader of the alliance), handing over Marche to Venice. Not only does this mean that more troops are freed to fight me, it also means my southern provinces are cut off from the north. Now the only way of getting troops from one end of Italy to the other is by ship, which is a dangerous undertaking given the fact that most of my enemies have a more powerful navy than I have. At some point in the future, I will need to secure a link to the south.

Meanwhile, cities are falling to Venetian troops at a frightening rate. Firenze, Napoli, Emilia, all are captured once or more by Venice while my small army is trying hard to keep up with the siege speed of the enemy hordes. It is virtually impossible, though. They have two large armies in the field that can siege more provinces faster than I can. Also, I try to kill off wandering armies of one or two thousand men while engaged in a siege, which slows the whole process down considerably. However, slowly but surely the war score is pushed back to create a somewhat better overall picture. After taking the northern provinces, the Venetians (Tyrol, at this point, hardly joins the fight anymore) have a tendency to return to Venice itself, only to appear again when I start coming too close. Mostly, we are just dancing around one another in circles. They besiege Firenze, I do the same to Mantua etc. Provinces are changing hands all the time, with Venice being somewhat more flexible, because they can land troops in my southern provinces. The other major advantage they have is that they captured Liguria and that I do not have the time or the forces to lay siege to it. This virtually guarantees a positive war score for them no matter what. As the 60s draw near, no end to the war is in sight, but money is definitely running out and war exhaustion mounting. I need to get out of this war and fast! I have been getting peace offers demanding cash and one or more provinces, but that’s not the peace I have in mind.

In 1460, Venice renews its push to end the war on its terms and starts besieging both Firenze and Marche, which I had captured earlier. Tyrol, too, is joining the party again and heads south with a respectable force. I am increasingly getting weaker with little hope of replenishing my lost strength. Then, because of an event, I get an auto loan of 200 ducats. Usually I despise loans (as well as inflation), but now this cash might come in handy. My war score at this moment is -12%, a good effort, but really the maximum I can hope to achieve. My efforts on the battlefield are more and more fragmented and I will not be able to hold Tyrol and Venice up for much longer. So, I take this money now the war score is “good” and, together with the cash I get at the beginning of 1461, offer it to Tyrol, which has just started a siege of Siena, in exchange for peace. To my delight they accept! :D For 275 ducats I have bought off a total collapse and now, after 15 (!) years of war, Milan is finally at peace again.

italy14614ka.jpg

Oh, and BTW, do you remember how I, in the first post, explained my goals and that one of them was to form a counterweight against France? I think I’m a bit too late for that:

bigscaryfrance14614tz.jpg

:eek:

:D
 

stnylan

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Yes, in my games the Big Blue Blob is almost always worse than the BWB. A very nasty war though.
 

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It’s all about Aragon, baby!

After a few well deserved days (yes, that’s days) of peace, our dear friends from Aragon feel it’s time for war again and so they have a declaration of war delivered to the Milanese court in July 1461. With my war exhaustion still intact from the last war, I decide to try and fight this one with the troops at hand, some 17,000 men. Almost automatically, they start heading south (part of the journey by ship this time) telling stories about all those zillion other times they travelled through this same region to face the Aragonese. Some complaints were heard about the repetitiveness of it all; always the same girls in the same inns… :D

As the army arrives in Messina, it meets a force of some 4,000 defenders which it drives off the battlefield without much difficulty. And so the siege of Messina begins… again. The troops take place in the trenches that had been dug the last time and start waiting for the inevitable to happen. Messina falls in December 1462, even though the Aragonese make a feeble attempt at lifting the siege. After this success, the army heads for the province of Sicily, where it destroys the remainder of the Aragonese troops on the island. In September 1463, Sicily too falls in Milanese hands.

Meanwhile, however, a large Aragonese army of 22,000 men has landed in Messina and has started a siege there. Outnumbered and faced with a defender in mountainous terrain, I know I have little hope of dislodging them. However, when I look at my war score, I see I might just have enough to demand Messina in a peace deal since my ally Genoa has been quite successful at sea, defeating the Iberians’ navy at almost every possibility. I decide to give it a shot and low and behold: they accept. Finally I have a foothold on the island of Sicily!

milan14634pg.jpg

Please note the growth of Venice, which in March 1463 diplo-annexed its ally Tyrol. This might turn out to have grave consequences for me, not only because Venice is now bigger, but also because it left Venice without an ally. In search for a new one, it found… France. You can’t say I haven’t been blessed with a healthy dose of luck, can you? :D

With peace achieved again, I immediately promote a bailiff in Messina and start saving money to pay off my loan, which is due in November 1465. After this is done, I pour most of my funds into the military until I have an army of 40,000 men. Not enough to fight off France and Venice, but it should be sufficient for any other eventuality. And where might such an “eventuality” come from? Yes, you guessed it: Aragon. :wacko: Those guys just really don’t know when to quit, do they? And so, in October 1471, we start the dance of war all over again. But already on the first day of war, Aragon is faced with a nasty surprise: France immediately declares war on Aragon as soon as it declares war on me. If that’s not swift justice, I don’t know what is…

With my army still in Messina, my target is obvious: Sicily. Apart from that, I load an army of 10,000 men onto my ships and send them off to Sardinia to capture the rock. Both missions are successful and meet with little interference from Aragon and its new ally Castile. Sicily falls in January 1473, Sardinia in April of the same year. In addition, I twice manage to beat two lone Castilian warships, adding some welcome points to my war score, something Genoa, again, is helping nicely with too. And so, like in the last war, Aragon is again put in a situation where I can demand a province from it. I demand Sicily and the offer is accepted. The entire island is now mine. I just hope those silly Iberians have finally learned their lesson now that they have already lost five provinces to Milan. Next time, I wouldn’t know what to take from them, since Sardinia is pretty worthless and a strategic liability at that…

Oh, and Aragon also was no match for France and was forced to cough up 84 ducats and hand over Roussillon. They must be the worst warmongers in history, apart from the Pope, that is… :p

milan14749ix.jpg

Given the situation that has now emerged in Italy, my options for further military expansion there are close to zero. Genoa is a vassal and ally, Modena an ally, Marche belongs to Venice, which is backed by an insanely powerful France and Rome is a lone outpost in the far away English realm, which means I have little possibility of obtaining it in a peace treaty.

However, there is another option for expansion in EUII apart from the military one. Vassals can be annexed by diplomatic means when some prerequisites are met: both nations, the overlord and the vassal, need to be at peace, the bond between them has to be at least 10 years old, their relations must be +190 or higher and they must be part of the same military alliance. However, acceptance of the annexation offer is not a given even when these conditions hold true. Chances of the vassal accepting the offer increase if the overlord is bigger, wealthier, has a larger army and if the diplomacy value of the overlord’s monarch is higher than that of the vassal’s ruler.

Since Genoa has a Center of Trade (CoT), their income is quite impressive and although they have been my vassals since 1421, I do not see them as my best option for an attempt at diplo-annexation (which, btw, could backfire with the vassal breaking away). Instead, I opt for Modena and after some gifts to increase our relations I offer them to become my vassal. Not surprisingly (I dwarf them in virtually every respect), they accept.

In January 1481 my ally Genoa declares war on Burgundy. Not willing to let the alliance I have with them fall apart, I join the war, while Modena declines. Luckily, they just became my vassal, which stops them from joining any other alliance. Genoa’s victim Burgundy is the punching bag of Europe and far away, so I will sit this one out without doing any fighting. I joined the war merely for political reasons and already in March of that same year offer Burgundy a status quo peace which is accepted.

Then, and it really is getting quite annoying, Aragon declares war again in September 1482. They bring their ally Spain with them and I invite Genoa. In the past few years, I have expanded my navy a bit and thus with some confidence I order my ships out of Firenze’s port to guard the Ligurian Sea and prevent enemy landings in northern Italy. In this I am not always successful, but once in my territory the small armies of at most 4,000 men the Spanish insist on sending are easily obliterated. Aragon, meanwhile, focuses on Messina and Sicily, but they too only send small detachments that are no match for the 18,000 men strong defence force stationed on the island.

navalbattle14837jn.jpg

This whole war is a joke, really. I have more problems with rebels that during the conflict manage to take both Sicily and Firenze than with the regular forces of the Iberian alliance. By winning battles I’m steadily increasing my war score until Aragon offers me 200 ducats for peace in November 1484. Next time, it might be easier for them to just hand over some cash, so we both wouldn’t have to go through the whole useless process of waging war again… :wacko:
 

Freddan

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Nicely done! I thought you were screwed in the war with Venice but you made a nice effort! :)
 

bluelotus

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Yeah, nice work Suvorov ;) Hopes you can persuade Aragon to get that 200d regulary :D
 

coz1

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Geez, Aragon. Get a clue. I think you were right...worst..warmongers..ever!

And I hate it when two big neighbors make an alliance like that! And it's always France that does it. Maybe you can counter with the BWB, though they may not be quite so blobby just yet. Plus, they could end up dragging you to war with Venice and France more than you would like. Outside of them, I can't really think of another natural counterweight. Maybe Spain once it joins with Aragon. Or even England, I suppose.
 

stnylan

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I've always found Aragon to be very enthusiatic with its wars. As an ally I've found that can pay off, when it doesn't completely blow up in your face.
 

Grundius

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Aragon sure does not know when to quit. However, I think it is also to your advantage now, since you can easily take a province and/or money from them. Good luck destroying the French/Venetian alliance. Just wait until Venice gets herself into war with the OE, then counter.