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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

bbqftw

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Taking the capitals of 6 irrelevant European nations? No, no, that will not do. Huitzilopochtli demands greater.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Death Rides a Serpent
Chapter 2: Quetzalcoatl's Shadow
Chapter 3: The Aztec Invisibility Shroud
Chapter 4: Whispers of Tamerlane
Chapter 5: Lion and Jaguar
Chapter 6: Plutocratic-Grade Nuclear Devices
Chapter 7: End of the Line

**
The introduction of the new New World mechanics in El Dorado came with great blessing, and great curse. In return for fantastic bonuses for reforming the Inti, Nahuatl, and Mayan religions, natives received one of the most crippling nerfs of any set of nations:
Primitive tech groups are no longer allowed to build ships.
This change, along with several other simultaneous nerfs to primitives, essentially made most New World starts overwhelmingly dependent on European colonization RNG, with wait times of over 100 years possible after fully completing reforms.

So this world conquest is dedicated to you, @Wiz.
 
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bbqftw

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Chapter 1: Death Rides a Serpent

Moctezuma sits, brooding. “And what do the omens say today?”



The priest fidgets uncomfortably. “It is clear that he will be a worthy successor. They will speak of him as one of the greatest rulers of the altepetl. After you, of course.”

“I understand that because I am your king, you are speaking to me what I wish to hear. But today, I demand only the truth. Now,” the King speaks, more harshly this time, “what do the omens say today?”

“He would be a warrior of some repute. But, under him the taxes will go uncollected, the people will starve, and they will hate him for it.“ The priest slinks away, anticipating his King’s ire, but Moctezuma’s attention is only fixed on the wall behind him.

“It is as I feared. Even now, the boy speaks only a few words. In my heart, I know this will come to pass.” He paused to compose himself. Greatness requires great sacrifice, he thought. There will be other heirs…


**

Force vassalize, force vassalize, reform, repeat. This is pretty simple – Aztec traditions give them a significant morale edge on their neighbors and even though a few neighbors get tech 2 during the later reforms, our superior numbers are too much to contest at this point. Attacking into alliance chains is the best way to grab multiple vassals (and we are diligent to cut everyone down to <50% warscore so that even while non-cobelligerent we can vassalize them).


To deal with alliance chains, I generally preposition an army close to one of the involved nations, and by declaring on the first day of each month, I can quickly wipe them at lowered morale, and suppress their unit production by quickly carpeting them.

For convenience, forts are dismantled where they are found.

To minimize waiting times / circumvent truce timers, you can vassalize someone in a war with someone else, full annex-release overlords to inherit their vassals, and use defensive truces to your advantage. Post reforms, your freed vassals will also tend to make their own alliances, so you can utilize those to bypass truce timers as well. Force conversions are doled out liberally and we need only fight a few battles to suppress rebels.

In less than 30 years, all 5 Nahuatl reforms are operational.



The sacrificial festivals in 1473 are the largest the fledgling empire has ever seen, with tens of thousands of sacrifices being offered each day, and yet all King Tehuet can feel is relief. Such a waste, subjugating the same peoples over and over again. He is unsure whether the people will believe the priests pronouncements of the gods being sated and the resultant abolition of the sacrificial system, but recent developments have raised greater concerns than figuring out the best way to procure captives in industrial quantities.

His heir’s mind is on other things, too. “Father, I had a dream. Men in metal coats, with fantastic weapons, come to burn our temples and plunder our cities, and hooded devils, forcing us to bow down to their cross.”

“Dear Tizoc, have the priests been telling you silly stories again?” Tehuet asks.

“No…I heard about the new guest. The pale-faced one who claims he came across the ocean.”

The king chuckles. “I tell you, I keep him around not because he has anything useful to say, but because he is amusing. But it is time you learn, for when you become king. We will travel south to Xicallanco at morn tomorrow.”





The cities of Ecab and Xicallanco are chosen for development due to their favorable terrain (only 2 grasslands in Mexico!). Moctezuma has ordered the construction of schools and universities in these new metropolises, and mandated the education of the children of the nobility and warrior class in these cities.



With coin from fully operational multiple gold mines, the Tlatoani ensures that he is advised by only the best and brightest. No longer is the king’s palace purely a house of war – philosophers, and artists, and scientists are welcomed too. A new age of discovery has begun in the kingdom of the Aztecs.

“Now Tizoc, there is nothing this man speaks of – not the weapons of fire, nor the floating houses, nor these new strange ways of governing, that we cannot discover ourselves. When you become king, and your son becomes king, you will teach them to bow before our gods.“



Take that, England!

The sacrifices may have finished, but the bloodletting has barely begun.
 
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Tom D.

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I see a successor for atwix' Haida WC run. Consider me subbed.
 

bbqftw

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I see a successor for atwix' Haida WC run. Consider me subbed.
You are too kind, especially since VH is pretty much an entirely different game, and I tend to use a lot more 'unintended gameplay' mechanics than Atwix.

All aboard the aztec hype train! Subbing has never been more fun.
I have always wanted to play the Mesoamericans, and when I learned about some new strategies I knew this was the time. In a way its pretty cool how even the overlooked bonuses of the Aztecs will come to play a part in the overall plan.

Oooh yes, I like this already.
Well I think you've seen most of the tricks used but I hope you have as much fun reading this as I had writing it.

Thank you sir!
 

blitzthedragon

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Alright, count me in.
 

skauld

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Subbed. Is this the Estate thing you showed on reddit or something else?
 

bbqftw

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Subbed. Is this the Estate thing you showed on reddit or something else?
That might be one, but there are some other interesting tricks to use.
 

PrawnStar

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Subbed, I'm trying to get into EU4 - and this looks a little like the sort of thing I would do in EU3 :)
 
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bbqftw

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bbqftw

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Part 2: Quetzalcoatl’s Shadow

The year is 1493, and the entire Mexican region is under Aztec hegemony. The Colima tribe chief has been rewarded for his loyalty in battle with control over large portions of former Mayan land, but most of the Aztec nobility expects this arrangement to end quickly.

The next few decades pass uneventfully, as all resources are invested into the technological advancement of the realm. King Tehuet oversees the construction of a trade fleet, and the outfitting of several warships to map out the lands beyond the eastern shores.



For the first time, the Aztec dominion extends its reaches over the waters of the Caribbean.




First to war, and first to survey new lands, King Tehuet arrives to inspect the fledgling colony Havana. “Yes, this is good land. Good for farming. Perhaps the location of our next great city. I have this crazy idea about this machine that writes words on paper…”

With three colonizing companies (though limited colonizing range), the Aztec colonial empire grows rapidly, with new outposts established to the north along the Rio Grande estuary as well as the Caribbean islands.

Tizoc succeeds as king, and continues the colonial expansion efforts. A decade into his reign, his decision to name his newborn daughter as heir apparent over her older brothers sparks some unrest. The seers have prophesied she will be the greatest ruler yet, “a name that the empires will shudder at.”



Besides the dynastic concerns, Tizoc hears reports of contact with strange men from the West. Portuguese.



With great reluctance, Tizoc orders the envoys to bring gifts and messages of peace to the Portuguese, and after a few years the House of Avis agrees to a military alliance. But not everyone agrees, most of all the crown princess.

“They bring nothing good,” Yaotl speaks. Still a child, yet wise far beyond her years, she has earned the consideration of her counsel. “But luckily they lack the power to carry out their intentions – for now. I hear of their conflicts with the French, who tower in skill of arms among the lands of the white man. Their cities lie besieged and their fields are smoking ruins. Our armies are enough to push their puny forces into the sea, while they cower trapped on that island of theirs.”

“Patience, Yaotl. Our destiny lies further afield. Do you ever wonder why I ordered colonization efforts focused on the southern coasts? The islands are nearby are far richer.”


Welcome to Brazil! Where'd the Potiguarans and Tupinambans go? Must have moved somewhere else...

“What, attacking the natives to find money to pay off the colonists?”

“Well, that too, but there are other reasons.” He points to the new maps the explorers have sent him. “They call it Cape. Just beyond that coast, we hear of traders from a place called India – a land with abundant silk, spice, and cloths. This place is the gateway to two continents, and we will secure it first. This desolate island, which the Portuguese call St. Helena, will serve as a basing port for our colonists to begin the conquest of Africa.”

Tizoc looks out the windows of the palace. Such strange and wonderful creatures, he muses as he watches the first Aztec cavalry regiments carrying out their afternoon drills. “Our Portuguese neighbors have developed this odd concept called colonialism. It is where more advanced countries – like us – have a right and obligation to subjugate the unenlightened peoples around us.”

“In the words of our esteemed ‘allies’, sounds like merda.

“It is a bit self-serving, isn’t it? But one cannot deny that it has worked out well for them. Tizoc chuckles. “One more thing.”

“What, father?”

“Don’t you ever go hunting.”

With the construction of three colonies in the Caribbean, the 10% threshold necessary to embrace colonialism is reached due to spread from the allied Portuguese (hidden institution spread occurs while a colony is building, so colony essentially complete with the institution present). Right now, catching up in tech and ideas is too much a priority and not a point can be spared on development forcing institutions.

Three years into Yaotl’s reign, the Cape colony finishes and the march of the Aztec explorers continues. After surveying the land, the two major powers in the area are identified – the tribe of Mutapa, which is rich in gold, but diplomatically isolated and not particularly skilled in arms.

Then there are the Kilwans, who have alliances spanning the entire East African coast. But their military consists of only a few untrained levies too.



When the scouts return with their reports Yaotl simply replies, “conquer them all.” And the Cihuatlatoni’s word is law.

A temporary staging base is established in Inhambane, for the sole purpose of claim fabrication. “Just a military exercise…” is the answer when the Mutapan envoys come to ask why a suspiciously large force is being massed on their border.

Mutapa and its few tribal allies are easily crushed by the Aztec veterans.



The coastline is ceded, and the valuable Zambezi estuary falls into Aztec hands. In the meantime, several fine gentlemen are sent to the lands of Spain to perform some industrial espionage.



Unlike most campaigns, diplomatic technology is relatively important here for colonial range – for reasons (some obvious, some which will only be apparent later), rushing eastwards fast is the key to my strategy. Filling out exploration, and catching up on diplomatic tech with zero neighbor bonuses is still quite a challenge, especially since I dumped most of it into getting feudalism / renaissance. I could move the capital adjacent to the Portuguese colonies to get neighbor bonuses, but it is not worth the expenditure at the moment. Unlocking dip tech 9 allows spying on Spain and other technological powerhouses to give a slight yet noticeable discount on techs. With printing press on the horizon, I want to make sure I am as up-to-date as possible in tech (in general you want to invest heavily into tech towards the beginning of institution cycles - where tech penalties are light and towards the end of institution cycles - where hopefully you embraced the institutions. In the middle of institution cycles, where tech penalty is 20-30% I generally aim to invest points into state-coring, diploannexing, and buying ideas).

The other matter is choice of idea group. I chose economic here, which many astute readers will notice as incredibly odd. It is not that economic ideas are bad, but is an exceeding strange choice to prioritize above religious / administrative for world conquest. In retrospect, religious was still probably the better choice here, yet economic ideas provide something essential (I would have had to take them later if I skipped it now). In any case, I will at least recoup some of this early investment as I intend to spawn printing press via development, and some of the economic benefits like tax, cheaper buildings, reduced inflation, and reduced land maintenance are welcome.

100 years have passed, and the battle-standards of Quetzalcoatl now fly over three continents. Fast enough? Only time will tell.
 
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atwix

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Vulkandrache

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If the few pieces of video ive watched are anything to go by then this whole thing is not meant for mortal minds to witness.