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    The realm rejoices as Paradox Interactive announces the launch of Crusader Kings III, the latest entry in the publisher’s grand strategy role-playing game franchise. Advisors may now jockey for positions of influence and adversaries should save their schemes for another day, because on this day Crusader Kings III can be purchased on Steam, the Paradox Store, and other major online retailers.


    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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First Lieutenant
Nov 2, 2006
246
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Empire on the Oder - A Brandenburg/German AAR

Hi all,

This is my first attempt at an AAR. I've read a good number of others though and enjoyed it so I thought I would try my hand at it. I've played a few games now, enough that I'm confident about it. However, I'm a working, married man so although I'll do my best to update this regularly, there may be lapses in the action. Apologies if you are tired of Brandenburg. It seemed to be a good choice, harder than a major, but not the toughest minor to start with.

Settings:
AGCEEP 1.55 Grand Campaign with alternate Germany events on.
Normal/Normal

Rules:
No DoW without a CB.
Force Annex as rarely as possible.

Primary Objective:
Form Germany.

Optional Objectives:
Finish in the top 5 in points.
Keep Badboy below 10 at all times.

First post coming soon. Below is the starting situation in January 1419.

Brandenburg_1419.jpg
 
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Nov 2, 2006
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Friedrich I 1419 - 1430 (first half of his reign)

Friedrich pondered the parchment map of his kingdom. The borders of his two provinces blurred as he contemplated. It was a small kingdom, but only a few years old, at least under his rule. Only 4 years had passed since Sigismund of Hungary had bestowed his title of elector prince upon him. Hungary. Friedrich's eyes fell covetously to the vast realm that Sigismund ruled. Why couldn't he have a kingdom that size he wondered? Were his bloodlines not regal enough? Friedrich shook his head. No, if the Hungarian king deserved it, how much more so did the ancient house of Hohenzollern? It was time, Friedrich decided, for the house of Hohenzollern to step to the forefront in northern Europe. He thumped a gloved fist down on the map and called for his advisory council.

1419 - Friedrich orders a centralization of government. The minor houses of Brandenburg have too much authority. Friedrich declares that only Catholicism and Orthodoxy will be tolerated in Brandenburg. Islam is outlawed. For the time being, military pay will be curtailed to save for investiture in other ventures. Finances for the present will be invested into Trade and Land Military investigation. Friedrich also begins a policy of marrying his sons and daughters into the noble houses of other countries. However, he doesn't immediately do this with the other Germanic provinces. That will be done more strategically at another time. The Italian and Austrian kingdoms are the first ones to be married into. Friedrich also establishes tax agencies in Magdeburg.

1422 - Most of the Catholic kingdoms have now been married into, and Friedrich was pleased to see that they looked upon Brandenburg favourably. The same could not be said for all his neighbours. There was restless stirring in the east, south and west. The Hussites had caused no end of problems, and having forged an alliance with Poland and Lithuania were posing significant questions to Bohemia and its allies. In February of this year emissaries from the Teutonic Order arrived with a proposal to sell the Neumark to Friedrich. Having consulted the financial advisors and been assured that the coffers were full, Friedrich agreed and Kustrin became part of Brandenburg. Friedrich immediately commissioned a tax agency in Kustrin to boost it's revenues. Sadly, his ally of Saxony was annexed by Meissen and left the alliance.

1425 - Friedrich, having assured himself of popularity among the European nations by his policy of royal marriage, now cast his eyes to further increasing his stature among the princes of Europe. The minor provinces of Koln and Mainz were the targets he chose. These two provinces were weak, with only each other to protect them. In 1424, at the same time as the Hussites, Poland and Lithuania declared war on Luxembourg and Palatinate, Friedrich claimed the throne of Mainz. A year later, he called that claim into action and declared war. Koln shied away from aiding Mainz, not knowing that they were next in line.

1426 - Mainz was captured, but Friedrich deigned to allow its prince his rule, in exchange for vassalization and tribute. Having claimed the throne of Koln also, Friedrich immediately declared war and besieged Cologne. Pomerania refused to join this venture, provoking Friedrich's anger but he allowed this to go unpunished.

1427 - Koln was captured and vassalized. Pomerania, meanwhile, was courted with gifts of money and one of Friedrich's daughters and very shortly they too agreed to accept the protection of Brandenburg without so much as a battle. Friedrich's policy was well on its way. He brought all of his vassals into alliance with him so that he could better control their activities.

1429 - Friedrich took advantage of a bitter war between Hesse, Saxony (having recovered the throne of Meissen), Bremen and Hannover against Lithuania, Poland and Bavaria. He claimed the throne of Saxony and went to war once more. Bremen had had enough of war and Hesse was annexed by Poland so Friedrich only had two weakened states to deal with. Friedrich sieged Anhalt and von Alchymist seiged Hannover and both were conquered within the year. Friedrich added Saxony to his list of allied vassals, but Hannover was to ideal of a province to be afforded this, and it wasn't ruled by an elector so Friedrich annexed it. (Allowed myself a force annex to increase my own size a bit.)

1430 - A time of peace settled in. The other nations of Europe were not best pleased by the annexation of Hanover so Friedrich deemed it wise to lay low for a few years.

Situation at the end of 1430. Poland owns Hesse and Wurzburg and Bavaria owns Sachsen. I'm not thrilled about either of those things.
Brandenburg_1430.jpg
 

likk9922

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Excellent start!

Poland is a scary monster when you're Brandenburg, huh? :D
 

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First Lieutenant
Nov 2, 2006
246
0
@likk9922: So far they haven't been a problem to me. Although they seem to irritate most of my neighbours. More on this in the update I'm going to post soon. Glad to have a commenter, hopefully more people will find it interesting as I progress.
 

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First Lieutenant
Nov 2, 2006
246
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Freidrich I (1430-1440) and Freidrich II (1440-1451)

Freidrich the Elder was content, at least someway. In his 25 years as ruler he had added three provinces to his realm and 4 of the electors acknowledged his suzerainty. The new maps that now lay on his desk were much more appealing to his eye, although the borders of Europe were much changed from the ones he had looked at before. Brandenburg had strong armies, a powerful central government and little to fear from her neighbours. Sadly, Friedrich could feel the tug of age in his bones, and he knew in his heart that time was nearly up for him. He thanked God for a strong man as a son to take over his kingdom and his vision. With the grace of God their legacy would continue to grow. Friedrich the younger smiled from across the desk. "What are you thinking Father?" he asked.

1431 - Friedrich's vassal in Pomerania on Poland. Friedrich briefly contemplated letting his vassals go it alone, but he feared they would be broken if he did so. A quick war and early victory were the only options so Friedrich led his army into Silesia and von Alchymist assailed Poznan. Both cities were captured within 6 months and Lithuania, Poland's alliance leader sued for peace. Friedrich accepted the token tribute and returned his alliance to peace.

1437 - Five years of peace were broken once again by Friedrich's impetuous northern neighbour, and once again Friedrich was forced to lead his alliance into battle against Poland and her allies. Following the successful formula of 5 years ago, Friedrich's armies again sieged and captured Poznan and Silesia. This time, brave Mainz also captured the Polish owned province of Wurzburg, giving Friedrich an important bargaining chip at the negotiations for peace. The German province of Silesia was added to Brandenburg's realms in exchange for peace. One month later, in December, much to Friedrich's chagrin, Albrecht V of Austria became Holy Roman Emperor.

1439 - Friedrich V of Austria became the next Holy Roman Emperor. Friedrich of Brandenburg seethed. A second time his aspirations had been thwarted. The electors loved the Habsburgs too much he decided. He instilled on himself and his son the need to gain the electors' friendship for the house of Hohenzollern. Gifts of money and royal marriages began to flow from Berlin again.

1440 - Friedrich II rose to the throne in place of his father. Situation:

Brandenburg_1440.jpg


Friedrich knew that in order to attain his father's vision of a powerful German kingdom, and his desire to have the Holy Roman Emperor be a man of the Hohenzollern line, he would have to gain the the electors' support, and to do that he would have to buy it. He continued the policy started by his father.

1445 - Friedrich put down a revolt in his home province. The noble families were ill pleased with the direction of government, but their ill trained recruits, barely even soldiers, were no match for his cavalry. The nobles subsided sulkily back to their estates. Friedrich beheaded the instigators.

1446 - Friedrich, in a fit of rage, expelled all the Jews from Brandenburg. Later, he was remorseful, but the deed was done and there was no going back.

1451 - Friedrich removed his capital to Berlin-Colln, further increasing his stranglehold on the governance of Brandenburg. In September of this year emissaries from Stettin arrived to request that Friedrich take guardianship of Duke Joachim's son, after the duke's untimely death. Friedrich agreed and Stettin became the fifth vassal of Brandenburg. Friedrich was delighted with this turn of events. The fortunes of Brandenburg looked good, and a decade of peace and friendship had boosted the Hohenzollern's ahead of the Habsburgs in the minds of many of the German electors. He hoped it would be enough.

[My BB is back down to 0. Might be time to pick up a new province. :D ]
 

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Second Lieutenant
Oct 14, 2006
182
0
Good luck forming Geramny, it sure can be hard to be the emperor while trying to vassalise and have the required number of provinces that early in the game.
 

Emperor_krk

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Good luck indeed - it's a difficult venture for sure. Claiming thrones of people must have destroyed your relations with the countries you used to have royal marriages with, no?
 

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First Lieutenant
Nov 2, 2006
246
0
Yes, it did indeed claiming 3 thrones set me back to -200 with a number of countries but I didn't do any warmongering aside from this. Also remember I did that in the 1420's leaving me lots of time to build them back up. I've played up to 1495 so I'll update all the action sometime today.
 

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First Lieutenant
Nov 2, 2006
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Friedrich II (1451 - 1471)

"How are the coffers?" asked Friedrich.
"Running thin," answered von Scheer, the chief treasurer. Friedrich wasn't surprised. Two decades of bribery were bound to do that to the royal treasury. But it had been worth it. He was nearly certain that the vast majority of the electors would support his claim to the empire at the next election. Now if only the accursed Albrecht of Austria would die! But the old emperor lived on and on, hale and hearty. Friedrich inwardly despaired that he would pass on before God gave him a chance to become emperor. He only hoped if that were the case, that his decades of labor with the electors would pass on to his heir. His reign had been peaceful, mostly, a time of internal growth, but little change in the borders of Brandenberg. Only the province of Hesse had been added to the kingdom, bringing the total size of Brandenburg to 6 provinces.

1460 - Duke Otto of Stettin assumes full control of Stettin, removing the vassalage the had to Friedrich. Friedrich made no protest, for 10 years he had received the wealth of Stettin each year, and for no work of his own. It was enough.

1461 - Poland annexed Palatinate. Friedrich could not countenance this affront to one of his fellow electors. He immediately declared war on the Poles, and Brandenburg's armies set forth on their well trod paths into Poznan.
The Poles also held sway in Wurzburg and Pfalz and Hesse, but by December, Friedrich's armies were besieging both Pfalz and Wurzburg.

1462 - With Poznan captured, Friedrich assaulted Wieklopolska. Wurzburg and Pfalz also succumbed and both armies moved against Polish held Hesse. The Poles countered by besieging Hannover.

1463 - Friedrich's alliance of Cologne, Saxony, Mainz and Pomerania all joined the fray. This turned the tide of the war even more firmly in Friedrich's favor. By the end of the year, Hesse was captured from the Poles, and in spring of the following year, Hannover was recovered. The Polish princes had no recourse but to accept terms. Friedrich settled for the provinces of Hesse and Pfalz and withdrew. Immediately, he restored the elector of the Palatinate to his kingdom, in exchange for a vassalization.

1464 - Pomerania inherited the lands of Stettin upon the death of Otto and immediately sought the protection of Friedrich, who accepted them as vassals also. This meant that Friedrich could now count the electors of Pomerania, Saxony, Mainz, Koln and Pfalz as his vassals.

1471 - Friedrich II of Brandenburg died and Albrecht Achilles reigned in his stead.

Situation in 1471:

Brandenburg_1471.jpg
 

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First Lieutenant
Nov 2, 2006
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Albrecht Achilles (1471-1486)

OOC: this is the last boring post before the fun begins. I just didn't do anything beyond build diplomatic relations with the electors. The next monarch is more interesting. Anyway...

"The Electors are restless Father," said Johann. "They begin to wonder if there loyalties are misplaced. How long shall we sit idly by while the rest of Europe moves forward apace?"

Albrecht shook his head. "Do not be impetuous. We cannot challenge the might of the Habsburgs, and Albrecht still lives. What good would it do to go warmongering? Let the electors know that our designs are intact. When the emperor dies, we will reach for what is ours, and then Europe will tremble as the Hohenzollern's rise in power." His words were bolder than he felt. Albrecht hadn't really wanted the throne, but when his brother Friedrich died childless there was no choice for him. Someone had to continue the line for the Brandeburg dynasty. His son Johann had no such regrets. He already did much of the ruling for his father, and Albrecht knew he could not wait to ascend the throne. He hoped Johann's boldness would not be his downfall. But surely the emperor would not live much longer and Brandenburg now had ties to everyone in Europe. Even the Christian princes of Theodoros and Trebizond on the Black Sea had taken daughters of the Hohenzollern line as wives. Time was on their side.

1480 - Albrecht's armies finally bring the last of the knight-robbers to justice in Silesia, removing a plague that had begun several decades earlier. At last the Silesian merchants could move their trade in freedom. That same year the treasury noted that income from Silesia had increased.

1486 - Albrecht Achilles dies, and Johann Cicero arose to the throne in Berlin.

No map for this update, little has changed in the borders of Europe, and frankly no events of interest occurred either. It was a quiet 15 years.
 
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First Lieutenant
Nov 2, 2006
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Hope so! He's got a speech coming up in a few years that will be pretty critical for my designs. :p
 

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First Lieutenant
Nov 2, 2006
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Johann Cicero (1486-1499)

The great hall door slammed open vibrantly and a man rushed in, dusty, cloaked and booted still. Johann's guards dropped their pikes instantly in the man's chest and made to remove him, but Johann's imperious snap of the fingers put an end to that. "Let him come," he instructed, for he recognized him as one of his messengers.

The messenger came forward almost at the run and halted, his chest rising and falling rapidly as he tried to regain his breath. Johann waited impatiently. "Well what news is so important that you disturb our council?"

"Your majesty... the emperor...", he took a few deep breaths to compose himself. "The emperor is dead!"

Johann bowed his head. A wave of exhilarating relief washed over him, but he composed himself and resisted the urge to shout with exultation. He had his regal dignity to preserve. "So, our brother Austria is no more," he said.

"This council is finished. Our plans must needs change now. In one week we depart for Frankfurt. By God's grace we will call the elector's promises in and my great uncle's will for Brandenburg will be achieved." Johan strode from the chamber, with his retinue in tow.

1486 - In March of this year, Johann Cicero became ruler of Brandenburg, inheriting the realm of his father Albrecht.

1488 - Johann institutes a Beer Tax in Brandenburg. The peasantry is ill-pleased and there are riots in the streets of Berlin. A battalion or two of troops was enough to quell the rebellion down to a discontented rumble.

1493 - Albrecht V of Austria dies. The electors convene in Frankfurt in August:

Brandenburg_1493.jpg


1495 - In January the alliance agreement between Brandenburg and her vassals expired and Johann neglected to renew it. The vassals were content, but weak and as emperor, he could do with some additional friends. The Austrians were not pleased. In March Denmark went to war against the Ottomans and their allies broke trust. One such ally was the German minor of Bremen, and Johann wasted no time in snaffling them into a new alliance with Brandenburg. In September the first Imperial Diet under Johann met in Worms and Johann pushed forward bold and radical plans to reform the Holy Roman Empire:

Brandenburg_1495.jpg


France, Poland, Denmark, Hungary and Burgundy all responded with outrage and hostility to this development against the status quo. Two months later, Burgundy and Austria declared war, Burgundy attacking from its eastern Europe holdings of Erz and Sudeten. The Austrian armies were occupied, much to Johann's relief, by a declaration of war from Venice. Johann's young cousin had clearly convinced her Venetian husband to do this.

1496 - Brandenburg besieges Erz and Sudeten, and the unprotected Austrian province of Bohemia.

1497 - Erz and Bohemia were captured. Sudeten still held out having twice been relieved by Burgundian troops. Johann raised a new siege in Ostmarch.

1498 - Sudeten finally captured, as was Ostmarch. Burgundy and Austria simultaneously offered terms, Austria as alliance leader, giving Johann an excellent peace of the province of Ostmarch and over 500 imperial ducats. Knowing he would not be able to rule Ostmarch, divided from Brandenburg as it was, Johann immediately granted independence and the nation of Bohemia was formed.

1499 - Unexpectedly, Johann took an illness and died in January of this year and his son Joachim I Nestor became king. The electors convened in Frankfurt.

OOC: A very pleasing reign this was. I was very happy to get Bremen out of the Denmark alliance, it was good to remove Denmark and Sweden's German interests. Holstein is part of Bremen, and Mecklemburg is in an alliance with Cleves and Berg. All my previous years of bribery paid off with the HRE election so I was able to get through phase one of the German formation. Not only that but Burgundy wasted her CB early at a time when I was rich and strong and with Austria occupied it was easy to defeat Burgundy alone. If I win the next HRE election I have a free path to form Germany, unless I get DOW'ed again by a big major. Watch for the next update to see....
 

Emperor_krk

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Success! :cool:
You are playing AGCEEP, correct? Have you not considered taking the province Bohemia from the Habsburgs? It's veeery rich, with its bullion%gems...
Now, forward, for the Imperial throne!
 

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First Lieutenant
Nov 2, 2006
246
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Joachim I Nestor (1499 - 1515)

"Majesty, France's emissaries bring a declaration of war. They lay claim to our province of Lorraine."

Joachim smiled. "Let them come, Frundsberg can handle them," he said. It was true. The new general of his western armies had displayed great aptitude in the art of war, both open battle and siege warfare. Joachim had every confidence in his abilities, perhaps too much so. But Frundsberg had not let him down yet, and most of the new German empire owed its allegiance to the fact they dared not face down Brandenburg's armies. Some had tried and failed, some had succeeded for a time. But Joachim had a tenuous hold on most of his territorial claims. As long Austria, Hungary and Poland stayed out of it, he might just pull it off...

1499 - Joachim I ascends the throne. A new convening of the electors of the Holy Roman Empire takes place in Frankfurt. Will the electors hold true to the Hohenzollerns?

Brandenburg_1499.jpg


1499 - Joachim's emissaries are waiting to ride as the alliance between Mecklemburg, Cleves, Berg and Bavaria expires. Mecklemburg, Berg and Bavaria simultaneously agree to join the alliance with Bremen and Brandenburg. Joachim can barely contain his glee. 10 German kingdoms are either allied or vassalized to Brandenburg.

1500 - The Imperial Diet of Augsburg took place in this year. At this Diet, the invited members discovered just how deeply ran the schemes of Brandenburg's power grab. Joachim declared himself ruler of all German people and laid claim to the German provinces of Europe. He gave the kingdoms two choices. Accept his rule voluntarily, or have it rammed down their throats by his armies.

Brandenburg_1500.jpg


1501 - Bremen agreed to the reforms, as a long time ally should, and immediately marched against the newly formed Holstein, who did not agree. Joachim received news that Mecklemburg did not agree either, but as allies they would not declare war on Brandenburg. He instructed his armies that Mecklemburg could wait. Berg and Wirtemburg accepted the new reforms, and Joachim rejoiced again later that month to hear that Bavaria had done likewise. With his allies having made their decisions, Joachim quickly sent emissaries to Cleves and made an alliance before their council could discuss the proposal. Just in time because Oldenburg refused to submit to Joachim's will. Strassburg and Lorraine both refused as well. And then, more worryingly, Savoy followed suit, bringing with her a powerful alliance including France, Brittany and Switzerland. Cleves, the new ally, swayed by the olive branch offered by Joachim, accepted the reform less than a month after being invited to the alliance. German armies laid siege to Alsace, Holstein and Oldenburg. Meanwhile Swiss invaders laid siege to Wirtemburg and a small French army was beaten back in Bremen.

1502 - In January, Holstein was captured, vassalized and finally agreed to the reforms. Oldenburg was also captured, but as she was already a vassal of Denmark, Joachim was forced to annex Oldenburg in order to incorporate her into the realm. Frundsberg arrived in Lorraine with a large siege army. In September, Alsace was captured and again Joachim was forced to annex this vassal of his own vassal, Palatinate.

1503 - Lorraine was captured, vassalized and accepted German rule from Berlin. In May, after capturing the eastern half of Switzerland, Joachim pursued separate peace agreements with Savoy and Switzerland, which were agreed to. A similar proposal to Brittany was rejected. Savoy would have to be dealt with later. This left only France and Brittany to be dealt with. The French needed a lesson in humility, and so German forces were sent to siege Champagne and Nivernais. Frundsberg moved on and pillaged Paris, but his supply lines were stretched thin and his weakened army was destroyed by converging French armies. Nonetheless the French had had enough and accepted a white peace, leaving Joachim in control of an empire stretching from the Baltic to Bavaria, and from Lorraine to Poland.

Germany_1503.jpg


1507 - Palatinate ended her vassalization to Brandenburg by becoming part of the new empire.

1508 - Mainz followed the example set by Palatinate. The princes were not entirely happy with this. Saxony, Cologne and Pomerania were nervous. Which would be next?

1510 - Cologne it was. It took two years and a considerable amount of gold but the prince finally agreed to his loss of title, in exchange for a lesser administrative position in the bureaucracy.

1511 - The Teutonic Order became a vassal when the ruling house in Prussia became a branch of the Hohenzollern family.

1513 - Mecklemburg voluntarily agreed to join Germany, 13 years after its formation. Joachim accepted his ally's proposal willingly.

1514 - Saxony was added to the realm next, but this same year Joachim was disappointed to hear that his other vassal, Bohemia, had run afoul of the Habsburgs and been annexed. Only Pomerania was left as his original vassal.

1515 - France, Poland, Denmark and Hungary's casus bellis against Germany ended.

Situation in 1515:
Germany_1515.jpg


OOC: Well, that went really well. I managed to avoid conflict with all the majors but France. It helped that I knew a bit about what to do. I tried this German formation with Austria once (and failed). Getting as many of the minors vassalized or allied as I did meant I only had to fight a few single province kingdoms with tiny armies. Once I could focus just on France it was easy. Honestly I expected more trouble but Poland and Hungary did nothing at all. I thought for sure Poland would, as they'd DOWed me several times already in the game. Next update will complete Joachim's reign to 1535, and that's about as far as I've played yet.

I had to force annex Strassburg and Oldenburg because they were vassal kingdoms so that put my BB at 12 or so, which means I failed to stay below 10 like I planned. Oh well. :D
 

unmerged(62305)

First Lieutenant
Nov 2, 2006
246
0
You were right about the Austrians crawling around Europe. I may just have to put an end to that. An Austrian Circle would be a nice addition anyway right? :)