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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning
X: 6. To Our Last Night Ashore June - July 1942

Wraith11B

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6. To Our Last Night Ashore
June - July 1942

The final play by the Royal Navy in the North Sea for the summer of 1942 started, as they did previously, by attempting to force the Kriegsmarine into a defensive battle to protect the supply lines from Germany to Scandinavia. In the three weeks since the last time the guns had fallen silent, both sides seemed more willing to lick their collective wounds and stand back from direct conflict. The Royal Navy still had the thorn in their sides of the convoy war in the Atlantic, and despite inflicting serious losses against the u-boats, they suffered worse losses in merchantmen. The public was growing more apprehensive and despite the controls on the press, losses were proving harder to conceal from the average Briton.


Royal Navy carriers were so low on aircraft that even a few
American airframes purchased were pressed rapidly into service.
Little could be done to overcome the unfamiliarity with the types,
and their disparate capabilities meant that they were unable to
effectively operate with the other British aircraft.

This play, soon dubbed “Operation Mascot,” attempted to build on the relatively successful sorties led by the carriers of the Royal Navy: three carrier task groups were formed, ready to lure out the Kriegsmarines’ vessels. With relatively good weather projected, carrier air operations seemed like they would prove decisive, a chance to catch the German battlecruisers at a range and angle they would unlikely be ready to deal with. The first group, Force B, was centered on the Furious, escorted by the light cruisers Caradoc and Leander, and the four destroyers of Destroyer Group 17. The second, Force E, was centered on the light carrier Eagle, heavy cruisers Cornwall and Sussex, light cruiser Cape Town, and eight destroyers of Groups 29 and 30. The last group, which was not deployed until nearly the end of the month was Force G: centered on the fleet carriers Ark Royal and Glorious, it sailed with the battleship Barham and twelve destroyers from Groups 5, 18 and 26.


Hindenburg later in the war, in Norway. Despite the awesome
showing early in the war, the Kriegsmarine became more risk
adverse, certainly chastised by the effect of the carriers.

Most, though not all, of the damage which had been inflicted on the Kriegsmarine had been repaired, though some damage remained unrepaired because of a lack of time for all the units to get into dock or the damage was hidden. The three “heavy” surface action groups had largely been reformed, though the losses of light cruisers meant that their escorts were more in a one-to-one ratio with the battlecruisers, and the “light” surface action group was back at sea, though tucked safely in the Baltic. When naval intelligence identified the British vessels cruising along the Norwegian coast, all Kriegsmarine naval aviation together with twelve Luftwaffe multi-role fighter groups were ordered to form three “hunting grounds” (jagdgebeit) where one wing of naval strike groups would be escorted by two wings of the multi-role fighters. With nearly six full squadrons capable of air-to-surface and offensive counter-air missions, even the few carrier wings present were unlikely to be able to reach out and deal with the surface vessels. The Royal Air Force was again faulted for having developed high-performance fighter aircraft that seemed--to the Royal Navy--as being quite lovely to see taking off, circling their airfields and then promptly having to set down for refueling and some tea. The Royal Navy, however, had been largely squandering their own air power, and by 1 July, would not have enough aircraft available to kit out their remaining flattops.


Fw190
Würger or “Shrike” were designed from the outset
to perform both as a fighter and a strike asset. With plumbed
wing hardpoints for drop tanks, ejection racks for bombs and
rockets, they certainly added to the capability of putting enough
explosives into a certain area, which put the Royal Navy at a
distinct disadvantage.

This battle began on 17 June, and did not appreciably end until 22 June. In those five days of high-intensity air and naval operations, the Kriegsmarine’s air arm managed to prove their worth immeasurably. With the multi-role FW190s able to rapidly overcome the relative handful of Sea Hurricanes, Swordfish and Fulmars, the skies were open for the Do217s and Fw200s on their own attacks against the fleets. Force B would suffer the most from air attacks, the first time in history that air power alone had destroyed a naval force. Focusing first on the aircraft carrier, the Marinefliegergeschwaders rendered the force immobile when a torpedo detonated in the Furious’ wake: this caused the propeller shafts to be shaken out of alignment, causing the reduction gears to tear themselves to pieces and leaving Furious dead in the water; she would be scuttled that night by torpedoes from the destroyers. With their flagship sunk, the escorts attempted to make way to the follow-on Force E, but were caught again and without any air protection. While maneuvering to avoid bombs, Leander sliced one of the destroyers in two, and Caradoc disappeared in a towering explosion when fuel vapors were detonated by a torpedo. The remaining destroyers and Leander rapidly also succumbed to the relentless air attacks with no air cover of their own.


Leander was a light cruiser class built for commerce protection
when the Royal Navy realized that more cruisers, even with a
lighter armament would better serve their strategic outlook.
She was transferred after completion to the Royal New Zealand
Navy, and commissioned on 24 March 1933. Her misfortune to
sink one of the escorting the destroyers before succumbing to the
bombs and torpedoes of MFG 128, was much like her namesake
in the waters of the Hellespont.

Force E managed to get into the area on the second day, their arrival punctuated by a sudden explosion from the cruiser Cornwall, which had been speeding past Eagle. Later scholarship determined that the cruiser had caught a spread of no less than four torpedoes from the U-29 under the command of Otto Schuhart which had been intended to hit Eagle. The Eagle’s air wing, even smaller than that of Furious, was rapidly overcome and destroyed. By now, the surface fleet of the Kriegsmarine, sailing from Wilhelmshaven, caught up to the engagement, and with a combined surface-air group began to pick off ships as they fell back. Sussex and Cape Town made a desperate assault together with the destroyers, and were collected by Bismarck and Pommern. Destroyer Groups 29 and 30 were rapidly seen off by the escorting light cruisers, with Stuttgart and Linz gaining hits on several and credit for their destruction, but not before the light cruiser Konigsberg suddenly rolled over and sank taking most of her crew with her due to failure of emergency repair welds to the hull. Eagle would finally be sunk by the bombs and torpedoes of MFG 129.


HMS Eagle sinking, the first aircraft carrier so lost in combat
directly attributable to enemy action--Furious was sunk by her
own escort after being unsavable.

Over the course of five days, the losses of two aircraft carriers, two heavy cruisers, three light cruisers and twelve destroyers for the exchange of a light cruiser and nearly 300 aircraft of all types from the Kriegsmarine and Luftwaffe should have caused a return order among the Royal Navy’s offices in Whitehall. It did--but the fleets deployed did not receive the order. A secretive office of OKW/Chi managed to break the codes of the Royal Navy after recovering several code books from the previous several months worth of engagements. This tool was used by the signal intelligence bureau to issue confusing orders to Force G, causing it to wander over the location of 6 UbG, and bringing the group to action with MKG Warzecha. Barham was engaged by the Bismarck, and though contemporary reports have her succumbing to the guns of the German battlecruiser, it is more likely that the torpedoes of 6 UbG caused her loss when she suddenly rolled over and exploded. The certainty, however, is lost to history as 6 UbG was entirely lost over the course of the action of 29 June.


Barham rolling over and sinking was caught by aerial camera.
Contemporary reports have her being sunk under fire from
Bismarck, but U-331 was also in the area, but was sunk two
days later.

The final engagement for the early course of the war came about from OKW/Chi intercepts. Intelligence indicated that the British Royal Navy was transiting a small group of warships between ports for refits on remaining battleships in preparation for a long-endurance voyage. Royal Oak, escorted by the Hawkins, Ceres and four destroyers from Group 1, were steaming close to the Belgian shore and detected by shore installations. MKG Saalwachter, consisting of the Pommern, Scharnhorst, and Gneisenau escorted by the light cruisers Leipzig, Linz, and Stuttgart sailed first, but mistimed their approach and cruised too far north. MKG Bachmann, with the Blücher and Hindenburg escorted by Köln, Dresden, and Nautilus, would begin the engagement. In the fog, the Royal Navy squadron attempted to cruise under emissions control, broadcasting no electrical signals which they believed the Germans might be able to track, but this also meant that any engagement they might have would result in a close engagement which a small squadron would surely lose. Under no such restrictions, the Germans detected them and used their radar to maximum effect: By the third salvo from Hindenburg, her guns found the range on Royal Oak, and she was on fire from stem to stern, before rolling over and sinking. Blücher found the range on Hawkins and rapidly reduced that ship to a wreck. The rest of the ships in the formation scattered, with the destroyers of Group 1 falling victim to torpedoes from 14 UbG and the Hindenburg, while the Ceres was caught by Gneisenau and sunk.

In little over five months, the Kriegsmarine had accomplished their mission, far better than anyone could have expected: the near-absolute destruction of the Royal Navy. At the start of hostilities, the Royal Navy could call upon seven aircraft carriers, fifteen battleships and battlecruisers, sixteen heavy and thirty light cruisers, a total of sixty-eight destroyers. Within six months, two carriers, half of the battleships and battlecruisers, all but one of the heavy and a third of the light cruisers, as well as fully a fifth of the destroyers of the Royal Navy had been littered across the bottom of the North Sea. Yet in the same time frame, the Kriegsmarine had lost only three light cruisers and a fifth of their submarines, but had worked desperately hard to keep their vessels afloat, despite some casualties which would have otherwise sunk their vessels had they been further away from support. Planning in Berlin could go forward with their next operation: Operation Orkney Bulldog.

*****

Author's Note: This wraps up the headache chapter for @El Pip, at least for now. Now he'll get to groan about the Pacific for awhile, where @Bullfilter will get to groan as the Japanese go out and try their hands against the Oz and Kiwis.

EDIT: My update of the most recent Italian OOB (in Appendix N) is finished and has been displayed on the page. Tomorrow will likely mean Japan gets done (the navy is always the most difficult part) but all that means is I spend a few minutes copying down all of the correct dimensions before putting them back in there.

The Imperial German Navy it seems.
Quite, I'm just wondering how an Imperial German Navy ship name was appropriate for the Kriegsmarine... well, it's all fiction, thankfully.

great! go KM!
Indeed!

Another excellent update @Wraith ! Keep it up!
Thank you! I'm certain whoever the holder of the title "Wraith" is will be surprised, for sure! ;) :D
 
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Quite, I'm just wondering how an Imperial German Navy ship name was appropriate for the Kriegsmarine... well, it's all fiction, thankfully.
Well, you also got Battleship/cruiser hybrids named after Tirpitz, Hindenburg and Bismarck. All very prominent people in Germany's imperial era. While Hitler and his thugs are but a pale shadow of these giants leaching of their names would probably increase their legitimacy in the eyes of the German people, although this is probably beyond the scope of this AAR.

Leaving the politics aside, absolutely excellent naval porn these past updates. Despite the naval AIs best efforts you do manage to convince at least me that Germany's naval success is down to a gross underestimation of the Kreigsmarine by arrogant Royal Navy top brass and no amount of El Pip can convince me otherwise.
I am however a bit concerned by the loss of "a fifth of the submarine fleet".
Is your current production going to be enough to replenish these losses?
Is any further expansion of the fleet planned?
German carriers?
More escorts in the form of destroyers and Light Cruisers?

Bring on the Europe under the German jackboot!
 
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The Australians are always getting invaded by the Japanese. I'm playing a German game on my laptop and shortly after I invaded France the Japanese were ALREADY invading Australia! They skipped the whole Pacific just to go invade the land-down-under. Is this programmed into the game?
 
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Kinda removes all tension from the war if the germans are that good at fighting on their weakest front...

Also since the royal navy is smashed to bits, why don't the germans try for Sealion, since they have air and sea superioty now? Then they can turn around and smash russia.
 

El Pip

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Author's Note: This wraps up the headache chapter for @El Pip, at least for now.
I merely had to read it. You are the one who had the headache of having to repeatedly find ways of writing "And then the AI did something stupid and I took advantage, so the perfect Germans killed them all without making a single mistake."

That was your crime, it was also you punishment.


Kinda removes all tension from the war
TBC! You know better than that. This is a German AAR, there never was any tension. A badly distracted new-born Kitten could win as Germany in a '36 start. When it is someone of Wraith's skill playing on normal... well the word "inevitable" is badly inadequate to describe the complete certainty of a grey victory. ;)
 
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TBC! You know better than that. This is a German AAR, there never was any tension. A badly distracted new-born Kitten could win as Germany in a '36 start. When it is someone of Wraith's skill playing on normal... well the word "inevitable" is badly inadequate to describe the complete certainty of a grey victory. ;)
Yeah I guess. Thats why I want him to do Sealion and justify it. Then invade the US successfully too. I basically want him to invade everywhere but the soviet union, and beat them in a defensive war at the same time.
 
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Well, they can rest for eternity in their seabed tour.

I merely had to read it. You are the one who had the headache of having to repeatedly find ways of writing "And then the AI did something stupid and I took advantage, so the perfect Germans killed them all without making a single mistake."

That was your crime, it was also you punishment.
It's all rather poetic that way
 

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It's all rather poetic that way
His next life is probably going to be the purgatory of a Switzerland game. Or Japan but he's not allowed to build boats. Or ecaudor, because el pip made promises about playing it but it died before he could...
 

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Also, HALP! IM BEING TEMPTED TO BUY A PARADOX GAME ON LAUNCH DAY!!!
 
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Also, HALP! IM BEING TEMPTED TO BUY A PARADOX GAME ON LAUNCH DAY!!!
Don't do it, don't do it! Remember the absolute travesty of HoI on launch and make the wiser choice.


Astute readers will notice my deliberate neglect of a game number in the above advice...

...oh, right, there's been an update, hello then. As excellent as the writing and presentation of course remains (certainly, justifying the AI is no easy feat, let alone as believably as this!), I'm rather glad we can finally move on after six chapters of "and then the Germans sunk everything, the end" and get into what I presume will be some good old-fashioned land combat along the lines of "and then the Germans shot everyone, the end". Which may only be different semantically but we must take what we can get as readAARs. :p
 
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"and then the Germans shot everyone, the end"
Yes...we must all try not to thing of the horrific subtext of this sentence.

I do wonder...if germany and russia were played optimally by the same player, how long could they stretch out the war between the two?

Don't do it, don't do it! Remember the absolute travesty of HoI on launch and make the wiser choice.


Astute readers will notice my deliberate neglect of a game number in the above advice...
Its so gosh darn tempting...could run a tutorial aar and marvel at how broken the ai is. Because I garuntee its broken.

In fact, I bet its specifically the battle ai that's broken...
 
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Well, you also got Battleship/cruiser hybrids named after Tirpitz, Hindenburg and Bismarck. All very prominent people in Germany's imperial era. While Hitler and his thugs are but a pale shadow of these giants leaching of their names would probably increase their legitimacy in the eyes of the German people, although this is probably beyond the scope of this AAR.

Leaving the politics aside, absolutely excellent naval porn these past updates. Despite the naval AIs best efforts you do manage to convince at least me that Germany's naval success is down to a gross underestimation of the Kreigsmarine by arrogant Royal Navy top brass and no amount of El Pip can convince me otherwise.
I am however a bit concerned by the loss of "a fifth of the submarine fleet".
Is your current production going to be enough to replenish these losses?
Is any further expansion of the fleet planned?
German carriers?
More escorts in the form of destroyers and Light Cruisers?

Bring on the Europe under the German jackboot!
I did mention previously that there will be an aircraft carrier, but only light carriers for now. They do make some of the submarines back, and a few more light cruisers and some destroyers but nothing large.

The Australians are always getting invaded by the Japanese. I'm playing a German game on my laptop and shortly after I invaded France the Japanese were ALREADY invading Australia! They skipped the whole Pacific just to go invade the land-down-under. Is this programmed into the game?
Must be. They just always want to get over on things.

Also since the royal navy is smashed to bits, why don't the germans try for Sealion, since they have air and sea superioty now? Then they can turn around and smash russia.
I merely had to read it. You are the one who had the headache of having to repeatedly find ways of writing "And then the AI did something stupid and I took advantage, so the perfect Germans killed them all without making a single mistake." That was your crime, it was also you punishment.
It's all rather poetic that way
True enough. I did fail to adequately take notes about who was shooting at whom and the timeliness of the actions (because only recently did I think of adding a column in my spreadsheet to cover "hour" as well as YY MM DD. *rolleyes*

Kinda removes all tension from the war if the germans are that good at fighting on their weakest front...
TBC! You know better than that. This is a German AAR, there never was any tension. A badly distracted new-born Kitten could win as Germany in a '36 start. When it is someone of Wraith's skill playing on normal... well the word "inevitable" is badly inadequate to describe the complete certainty of a grey victory. ;)
Yeah I guess. Thats why I want him to do Sealion and justify it. Then invade the US successfully too. I basically want him to invade everywhere but the soviet union, and beat them in a defensive war at the same time.
There will be a Sealion, just not called that. I don't want to spoil it for those who aren't keeping up with the table of contents, but it's literally the last line of the update.

His next life is probably going to be the purgatory of a Switzerland game. Or Japan but he's not allowed to build boats. Or ecaudor, because el pip made promises about playing it but it died before he could...
I still want to see more El Pip AARs.

...oh, right, there's been an update, hello then. As excellent as the writing and presentation of course remains (certainly, justifying the AI is no easy feat, let alone as believably as this!), I'm rather glad we can finally move on after six chapters of "and then the Germans sunk everything, the end" and get into what I presume will be some good old-fashioned land combat along the lines of "and then the Germans shot everyone, the end". Which may only be different semantically but we must take what we can get as readAARs. :p
For sure that we can move onto the lovely ROFLSTOMP that is sometimes the Pacific War...
 
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I do wonder...if germany and russia were played optimally by the same player, how long could they stretch out the war between the two?
It's an interesting question. My guess is Russia would win in probably a 2 1/2 or 3-year timeframe. Assuming historical Barbarossa and 1936 start:
  • The Russian player has the far more massive advantage from not being an AI, in that they can properly fix the officer ratio, research all the right land techs, not make the mistake of investing in a navy, and most importantly not deploy a single brigade to any front but the Eastern Front (probably annexing Finland in 1939 to not have to garrison that front, even).
  • The German AI by contrast really only makes the mistake of building some surface ships, although a German human player in this scenario would probably not even build subs as AI Britian can be easily neutralized by killing France, garrisioning the ports, and ensuring they have a Caribbean island somewhere to garrison with 54 armoured divisions.
  • As for the course of the game, you expect to see ~6 months of Germany pushing, followed by a Russian counterattack due to the General Winter effects. After that, Russia should be able to push back Germany at least to the pre-war borders if for no other reason than the supply situation.
  • Past that, Russia can just grind German manpower into dust by mid-1943 after the Defense decision boost is exhausted and push them back to Berlin by mid-1944. Germany simply has no hope against competent human opposition due to the hard-loss condition of MP exhaustion Paradox so clunkily saddled them with instead of bothering to create a working economic model to accomplish the same thing in a way El Pip would appreciate.
Now, if you play under typical multiplayer conditions which I believe means 1 Sept 1938 start, non-historical Barbarossa date, then it's no question - Germany wins as Russia is severely handicapped and cannot solve all her problems in just the <2 years it will take Germany to fire Danzig, blitz all of Europe, line up their tanks in Poland, and kick down the door in Russia. Russia is hard-pressed as it is in multiplayer games with competent France/UK players pressuring the Western Front (for game balance reasons, of course), so with ordinary AIs in those roles Germany can bring all guns to bear without any great difficulty while Russia is still trying to learn what officers are.

For sure that we can move onto the lovely ROFLSTOMP that is sometimes the Pacific War...
It is always a ROFLstomp for someone. Rarely for Japan, slightly less rarely for the Allies, and most commonly for Paradox as they ROFLstomp any sense of accurate gameplay and competent AI out of their handiwork.
 
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His next life is probably going to be the purgatory of a Switzerland game. Or Japan but he's not allowed to build boats. Or ecaudor, because el pip made promises about playing it but it died before he could...
The no navy Japan game would be easy from a gameplay point of view (lots of NAVs will chew up any amount of ships), if a massive challenge from a narrative point of view. The IJN not building anything would be like Britain ignoring a massive naval build up and not... doing... anything. Oh. Oh dear.

Anyway the Swiss game would be a challenge in breaking the German AI. I reckon if you declared at the right point you could disrupt the Axis AI so badly it would give the Allies a chance to win the Battle of France.

Ecuador was never promised young TBC. It was the back-up plan in case Slovakia lost early, but somehow T&T held out longer than the South Americanst. Besides I covered the only interesting bits of Ecuador in then cabinet snapshot in Inevitable Defeat, so there is now nothing of interest left to say about the nation in that period.

I still want to see more El Pip AARs.
You always were a gentleman of wisdom and taste.
 
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A very well executed campaign. All that remains is to properly exploit the situation... I can imagine we are about to be treated to something suitably spectacular.
 

TheButterflyComposer

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The IJN not building anything would be like Britain ignoring a massive naval build up and not... doing... anything. Oh. Oh dear.
Yeah, my point exactly.

I would say that for Switzerland to be a proper punishment, he wouldn't be allowed to do anything except build up civvies and defence forces...

Ecuador was never promised young TBC. It was the back-up plan in case Slovakia lost early, but somehow T&T held out longer than the South Americanst.
By one update.
 
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As others have said, well done making a series of fish-in-barrel shoots so entertaining!
In little over five months, the Kriegsmarine had accomplished their mission, far better than anyone could have expected: the near-absolute destruction of the Royal Navy. At the start of hostilities, the Royal Navy could call upon seven aircraft carriers, fifteen battleships and battlecruisers, sixteen heavy and thirty light cruisers, a total of sixty-eight destroyers. Within six months, two carriers, half of the battleships and battlecruisers, all but one of the heavy and a third of the light cruisers, as well as fully a fifth of the destroyers of the Royal Navy had been littered across the bottom of the North Sea. Yet in the same time frame, the Kriegsmarine had lost only three light cruisers and a fifth of their submarines,
I know (or at least think) you’ve said you were going to do a bit as Britain later in an attempt to even things up a little, but there will only be smouldering ruins left to fight back with! :eek:
where @Bullfilter will get to groan as the Japanese go out and try their hands against the Oz and Kiwis.
Indeed he will! :p
The Australians are always getting invaded by the Japanese. I'm playing a German game on my laptop and shortly after I invaded France the Japanese were ALREADY invading Australia! They skipped the whole Pacific just to go invade the land-down-under. Is this programmed into the game?
I think it must be. Straight into Sydney, despite the enormous distance involved to land and sustain an amphibious invasion force! :mad:;)
Its so gosh darn tempting...could run a tutorial aar and marvel at how broken the ai is. Because I garuntee its broken.
Do it! You know you want to ...
 
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  • Victoria 2
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Europa Universalis IV: Third Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon
  • Darkest Hour
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For the Motherland
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Semper Fi
*sigh*
I suspect I'd do a noob island Ireland or bust tutorial aar with the aim of forming Ireland and playing until the game breaks. I also suspect I'd only survive such a thing by being as lemony a narrator as possible and playing everything random that happens straight. Naturally all the sliders will be set to default to give the game the best shot for viewers/early adopters...idk. I'm tempted but genuinely afraid the game is either bland bland paste or beyond nonsenseness.