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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Ben Kenobi

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Second Russian war has finished. Then war with Austria for more of Galicia. I'm finding that the Galician and Slovakian provinces are horrible, very low infrastructure. So I'm working heavily on railing my corridor from Galicia to Ukraine and Rostov. I'm one province away from the connection with China. Most of the rest of Europe is railroaded up. I fought a very long war with Prussa over Westfalen and Slovakia (remnant from the Austro-Prussian war). I managed to destroy their army from 120 divisions down to 10. I took everything but Aarhus, Berlin, part of Brandenburg and Breslau. Next war will be to reduce them to annexable size. France and Spain keep trying to intervene. Now I'll have a 4x war with France. France + Switzerland, France + Spain, France + Italy and France + the United States. I'm hoping to destroy France as a world power and weaken Spain some more. I played through the first war, and started on the 2nd. I wasn't happy with my performance on the second, so back to the drawing board a bit. I want Annecy and their remaining territory in the Alps, quite difficult for me to take with my 100 percent cav army. What I've found works well is to form up a province behind the front and let the French invade me. Then crush them.

Basically, only a few nations can stand up to my shock generals and experience values. The USA does a pretty good job in the Appalachians, normally I bypass them, along the coast, and then from Illinois, east. The USA is still one country (even if you took their share of the population today, it's surprisingly close to 50%. There's a lot of power and a lot of factories in the North and in California and Idaho. They are back up to about 50 or so divisions, so they still haven't been broken yet.

The powers right now are the UK (far and away the number 2), Russia, (weakened, but still has most of their cores), USA, (weakened, but not fatally) Spain (minus Aragon), Austria (basically the Kingdom of Hungary + Croatia + Vienna), the Ottomans (minus all of Libya, Egypt, most of Iraq and parts of Israel) They still own Crete and Cyprus, but their Navy has been weakened but not destroyed. Those are the only nations that can field a substantial army and still possess most of their cores. Prussia was on the table, but because of the devastating war no longer are a threat to me.

At this point I have a few tricky dual power wars over the next while, and after that will come England. Last spot for investment is China and then I will either start researching or doing crime fighting. I make a profit of about 50 pounds per turn with 100% crimefighting, but I can't yet do both and still make a profit.
 

Nikolai

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Good job!
 

Ben Kenobi

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France + Switzerland was fought mostly in Africa. My troops (mostly colonials from places like Baluchistan), are getting very familiar with France's rolling plains. France managed to sneak out central Africa, but hasn't been able to form French west Africa. We both sent 15+ divisions there. My troops actually begged off fighting it, didn't expect that large a force. France really wants to hang onto their colonial territory. The Swiss do nothing and the cav generals crush Paris. There are larger battles along the Rhone, but eventually France gives in to open up the road to Toulon. They also give me Picardy, which places me across the channel. Second war proved more difficult. I underestimated the strength of Spain with 45 divisions in the hills, and being unable to deploy against them fully, while the cav roll across France again. France capitulates, giving me almost all of their central African territory as well as taking a larger bite of Metro France. I take 15+ territories. France is out of Vietnam, and basically own two provinces in French West Africa. That is all they own colony wise.

Spain proves a tougher nut. They manage to roll over my small (3 division Portuguese garrison), that's just protecting the Algarve. Just to be a dick. I smash through and take Madrid, but end up pulling the French divisions on boats across the bay of Biscay to smash them in Santander. Spain gives me about half of Castile and opens the road through to Madrid. They also concede Luzon, giving me a foothold on the Philippines. Their navy actually protected it preventing me from smashing them there. I only have 4 ironclads which I started with. Cuba lives another day as they capitulate rather than giving it to me.

Unlike previous WC attempts, I've only built one set of 99 transports and have distributed them around the world. My largest stack is about 35. I will likely not need more as I can deploy wherever I need to be, and only need to keep some in the Med, and some to ferry troops across the Atlantic, just to fight America. (LOL).

Third war with France, France by now is getting to the point where they have no more resistance. France + Italy and their old Allies, the Prussians jump in. Surprisingly frustrating war. I decide to deploy 100% against France and Prussia and decided to let the Italians move up the boot. France gets crushed and gives up all of Burgundy as well as most of Aquitaine save Bordeaux. Prussia decides to hold out. They finally signed peace with Oman, seizing Tanzania, but leaving Zanzibar. This reduced their WE from 100 to about 65. I crushed them in Berlin and Breslau, they deployed about 5 divs to Aarhus to retake Denmark. We had some surprising battles over, of all things, Sakhalin. Strangely, I've owned Japan from 1862, but not Sakhalin, which was settled by the Prussians. The Russians also own the Kuriles, their last pacific outpost. The Prussians figure they can defend Sakhalin (they are right about that! LOL), while abandoning their African possessions. They finally cave after France giving me Breslau, Aarhus and all of their colonies but Sakhalin, Wake Island (?), two of the Ambon islands, Greenland and Iceland. So they survive for at least two wars more.

Italy, on the brink of recovering Italy gets smashed in Turin and pushed out of Northern Italy. Naval landings on Rome finish the war, but not before a gratuitous mauling of the remaining Italian navy. Better luck next time, Italy. Their warscore is too high for me to take Naples as well, so I took all of Northern Italy. They are left with six territories, though Sicily might prove tough.

Next up, war number 4 with France + the United States. Thanks for giving guarantees to everybody, France(!). The Dutch tried to intervene, so I'll retry. Divisions are currently redeploying from Northern Italy back to France so as to save me a few turns. Civil war part VI I believe. 1860, 1865, 1870, 1875, 1880, 1886. Finally the USA will give up territoiry they can't replace. Got an industrial boom in Missouri, Tennessee and Louisiana, so I have even more industrial investment. I'm exporting around 55k per year (about 2.5x England), and I am gradually railroading all of China up to level 2. Next up will be Level 3, paying off what's left of my investment debt and then deciding what to do with my cash.
 
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Ben Kenobi

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In terms of the WC, I have 1150 territories. 1880 marks the halfway point of an 1836 start, so I should be at 1200 by then. So I am roughly 7 years and change behind the pace. Given that I started out 25 behind, I've picked up 18 years from there. So it's as if I started at 1843, and not 1861. Not bad, but still substantially behind and I'm also running out of time to catch up.

This is night and day ahead of the first attempt, which I've now just about caught up to. That attempt was ahead in America, but far behind in Europe. War Exhaustion isn't a concern and is at +0.0, thanks to quick wars against multiple opponents, so I should be able to 'go the distance' without having to pause much except for army relocations.

The toughest step yet is the inevitable Fortress Britain. The long war against England is finally approaching.
 

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England delenda est.
 

Ben Kenobi

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"Herr Bismarck, you can't resign".

"I believe I can do whatever I damn well please. I am now seventy-one. I should have retired 6 years ago."

"But Herr Bismarck, what will Germany do without you? We were so close. We had defeated Austria! We had unified both the North and the South."

"Germany will fare just fine. Germany's not profited from anything I've done in the last 20 years!"

"But your strategy was sound. To placate both Britain and Russia, to give us the space to consolidate Germany, our Italian Alliance."

"Damn the Italians! They've been critical to our lack of success. We've fought 20 (!) years. Children are coming of age now never having known peace. It is over. The Great Work is finished. The House of Brandenburg is done. The quest of your fathers and forefathers has ended. We, in the end were defeated not by France but by someone we'd not expected."

"You served my Father well. Will you please not stay on longer?"

"No, my dear Wilhelm. this is your task that you have been groomed for. Alas, you may prove the very last."

"Surely you don't blame yourself, the confederates are more powerful than we. What can be done against them?"

"Bah. Small comforts. They were a weak, industrial wasteland profiting only from slavery. Useless fops. We were far above them in 1860 and primed for glory. They have grown much in two decades while we have dwindled. Even now they run obsolete formations with antique weapons against the finest footsoldiers in the world."

"Surely something can be offered?"

"No, it is time. Most of our peoples, the talented ones flee to America to work in their arms factories there. All we have left is Berlin, of a once mighty empire. What could have been."

"But, sir, we still have colonies."

"Yes, covered by ice and consumed by rebels, which we cannot sustain let alone supply. Good luck."

 
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Ben Kenobi

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But that's not how I remember it. We never fought Bismarck. He was so powerful and we were so weak in that region we never dared.



What are you trying to pull on us?!



No, no. It's all quite simple. That timeline, never existed. Someone went back in time *before* you jumped back and changed history. For the better!

But who would do that? and why would it benefit us.

Timelines are tricky things. Alter one thing, twist another. You never know how it will end up!

But who would do such a thing.



Who indeed?

But. You're dead!

Timelines! Remember timelines, boys.

We have surprises, in store for you foolish rebels!
 

Ben Kenobi

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Mssrs, please sit down!



You! You're just a useless tool of the masses!

I've been called many things but few have called me their servant! Now sit!

And here you would attempt to chair a table you do not belong at!

I chair *this* table, because I was asked to *chair* this table. And at least I still have a chair in which to sit! Now, shall we proceed, or should all of Europe wait to hear from you?



Bah, we'd have been better off meeting with the spawn of the illegitimate Corsican. Ever since the Fall of the Second Empire, we have the Second republic. Or is it the third? I've lost count.



Perhaps if you will not listen to the good Duke, you will listen to me, Alfonzo.

Lighten up, Francis. Everyone knew I meant nothing by it.

If we cannot get everyone in the room together to talk, who can we talk to. It is a pity that the other Emperor could not attend.

Yes, a terrible deal that assassination. His father cut down in the prime of his life. Given the times, he says he does not travel abroad.



Yes, you would know about that, Victor. It seems that many of us are new. The old order has given way to a younger, stronger order.

And that is why, Mssrs, I have called you here today. I am going to lay out a map of Europe so that we, the few remaining powers that be can *co-ordinate* in order to retain what properties we have left. Call it a concert, call it a coalition.

But why does Victoria not join?

She says she has no love for an Empire with pretensions on her territory, for a fallen Empire that also had pretensions, and the King of Spain is the least of these.

But surely she sees our plight.

She is a Protestant mistress of a Protestant ally in league with our greatest foe. What does she care for the Catholic powers?

We should also have invited Wilhelm.

Why? He is finished. He has no armies left to contribute. And you, Victor have precious few as it is. Alexander on the other hand, one of the two great princes of the East.

Let us develop a plan. We have five years to ready ourselves for the last Great war. See here... right here. We can beat him if we all work together.

The Grand alliance to save Europe!

But what of Victoria? You would think she would want a part of this great Game?

 
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Ben Kenobi

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This is going to finish. Played up to 1901, and I'm just one war away from declaring victory.

Russia is at 44 provinces, and Britain is at 90. They are the only ones who are above annexable size given reasonable wars per war cycles.

Ottomans saved my butt by protecting the independence of Prussia, so I get another free war against them. Russia should be able to be cut down with 2 wars in 1902, but I have to be careful to get the right wars at the right time. Looks like DOWing Russia followed up with a DOW against Serbia (for war with the Ottomans and Russia again), will do the trick.

Britain is allied with Canada and Belgium. I will need to wait for Australia to form (currently they are tied up in the Boer war (how Boering!), as it won't finish and they can't fight each other. That event should really check to see that Britain has a land connection to the Boers before they go to war.

Also, I may ensure that South Africa is created, but that will take a bit of Finesse. I will have to eliminate Transvaal and Oranje. This will give Britain 5 separate allies that are not allied to each other and allow me to eliminate them more quickly.

Estimated time of victory will be around 1918 or so. I have 1850 provinces, and about 50+ ahead of schedule based on 30 provinces per year starting from 1838.
 
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Ben Kenobi

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Finished the run. Complete world conquest by October of 1914. Yes, it is possible to do a world conquest as the Confederacy.
 

Ben Kenobi

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Conducts, no trucebreaking. Added about another 4 years to the end of the run. I could have finished in 1910 if permitted to trucebreak, due to the limitations in Diplomatic Initiatives. No bankruptcy (limits the opening start), and no exploits (beads for manhattan). In the end some of the changes were absolutely crucial to the run. First off, you can take China before the second civil war doing so prevents the US from DOWing you immediately, which changes your whole timescale, and gives you time to intervene in Germany before it's consolidation. If you're luckier, you can do the same in Italy. This gives you a significant toehold in Europe, and kickstarts your further expansion. You only need about 20 divisions, 10 native + your 10 regular Texan brigades.

From there it's pretty much the standard world conquest. Mexico needs special attention due to the 'liberate Mexico' event. Which is a complete waste of time, but it fires whenever Mexico city is taken. The event should give me the option of declining it, after which I never have to see the event fire. Or at least a sleepevent after 1880?

I found a workaround, if you occupy Mexico city at the end of the invasion, you can win the war, without firing the event. This event caused me trouble even at the end of the game, mostly due to how I organized my forces (I didn't have sufficient forces to attack everything at once), and I had to devise a workable battle plan due to assigning all my other forces elsewhere. Surprisingly challenging battle for the end. Thankfully the Mexicans never have a large reserve.

Special bonus conducts, never build an infantry division (infantry is a waste of time), or build a non-transport boat. Native Cavalry exclusively save for about 10 divisions of regulars (my famed 1-10 Texans), which ended the game with about 25 experience. I tested pure native builds and found that my starting setup was actually slower with the pure native builds than it was to build a small initial regular cavalry build as the core of my army when taking Japan. It saved around 6 months to do it this way, which surprised me and lead to redoing this AAR, after my first attempt fell far short of the mark.

The other strategy change was to buy fewer boats, and take more time to deploy troops. This was also counterintuitive, but reduced the debt and enabled me to field 120 divisions vs my usual 100 against China. This after a bunch of different runs allowed me to conquer China by 1866.

Possible bonus conducts, never do research or invest in crime fighting. Crime fighting doesn't give you as much of a bonus as cutting taxes does. Research is nice, and does help, but you can get by with your starting 1860 technology. You can probably get by without doing any industry or railroading. This makes this run a very different victoria experience, maxim gun or no. I chose to railroad which saved me money on boats, but I've done WC without the railroads and it's definitely feasible. The biggest effect of railroads are as a timesaver and also means you just need your boats to ferry troops across the choke points (atlantic ocean to America and back, and in the Mediterranean.

Another key is leadership. You need to promote your largest Dixie pops to leaders instantaneously, so that they can generate good leaders to lead your forces. Until then your CSA generals like Lee are invaluable. Best generals turn out to be your cavalry +shock generals, especially Forrest. This is the biggest benefit that the CSA gets, and you can conquer China with them, with enough beef behind them. Generals in general want +shock, +speed, -attrition. You want at least one -attrition to avoid attrition losses early on. +reliability and +org are helpful to improve your native cavalry. +morale is a nice to have, but not necessary. You don't want reliability > -1, or org > -10. You start with Clauswitz so the org penalties cripple your cavalry.

Toughest opponents were the Ottomans and the Spanish. The Ottomans after they develop Gas with their difficult terrain and general defensive setup behind Constantinople, and Spain because of their population bug, and difficult terrain. They have more population than any other nation in this scenario, and it's all in craftsmen. Thankfully the AI doesn't understand what to do with them. USA was tough because they used their craftsmen and their terrain well. Also the 'refuse to surrender' to the CSA made me bring additional forces every time. Prussians were tough throughout as they researched every army technology and rolled Jominion making their army unsquashable. Thankfully they got involved in enough european wars so they could be whittled down in every one of them, bit by bit. The key to most wars is occupying enemy territory. You don't necessarily want to fight their divisions. Luring their divisions to occupy territory while you occupy their territory behind them (and more quickly besides), is the key to fast wars without great attrition losses.

England was surprisingly weak after you're able to land and create a bridgehead. After that their empire collapses. Being more efficient with colonial limitation wars also saves a lot of time. Just have to remember to take critical colonies to block further expansion at the first opportunity.

Boats, of the 5 original confederate ironclads, 3 survived the war. Italy destroyed one and the Turks in the last serious naval engagement destroyed the other, because I realized that I didn't have to just chip away at their raider stacks. I never bothered buying a leader or paying them more than the minimum.

Was it worth the game? Absolutely. I learned a lot about Victoria that I never would have suspected had I not given this a try. Losing the first run is why this took so long to complete, I only picked it up after leaving the file for a long time as I wasn't sure what I needed to change, and also, rerunning an AAR is always a dicey proposition. It also means doing two world conquests! I hope that some people enjoyed this AAR. I don't believe there's been another CSA WC (few make it to number one), so this will be a long-delayed first.
 
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Ben Kenobi

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vickycsafinish.png
 

Ben Kenobi

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I never shall forget the way
That Blood upon this awful day
Preserved us all from death.
He stood upon a little mound,

Cast his lethargic eyes around,
And said beneath his breath :
"Whatever happens we have got
The Maxim Gun, and they have not."

 

Ben Kenobi

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So what about it Bo. Did you like the 19th Century?



I don't much care for it, Luke. I quite prefer the modern South. As beautiful as this is... to see the South as she was... There is something in the flower that is lost in the cutting.



Like suffering adds to the composition? That without the dark we could not have the light?



Yeah, BA's really got something going there, Luke.



I'm not sure. We're told today that suffering doesn't matter. That it's pointless. But is it really so?

upload_2018-9-12_10-40-44.jpeg

You mean to say that we'd simply be better off without having gone through all those nasty bits?



Absolutely. Can't we just have the good stuff? Without all that comes before it?

upload_2018-9-12_10-38-6.jpeg


As if any of us get a choice in things. We are born to suffer. What comes of it is what we make of it. That is the only choice we have.

upload_2018-9-12_10-38-40.jpeg

But I think there's something more. We do have a choice. We can choose not to hurt each other and choose the better path.

upload_2018-9-12_10-39-6.jpeg

I'm not sure. I thought I had the understanding. That if we worked hard and did the best we could that all would right itself, what if it doesn't?


upload_2018-9-12_10-44-43.jpeg


Then it doesn't. But we go on. We take each day for what it offers!

upload_2018-9-12_10-42-43.jpeg

To a better, day Clara! To the future!

upload_2018-9-12_10-44-20.jpeg

To the Moon!
upload_2018-9-12_10-45-28.jpeg
 
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AsdfeZxcas

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5 years, one global Confederacy.