How I survived as Mongol Khanate and (maybe) created a solid base for future expansion

jez9999

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When it comes to EU3, I like to think that I never pass up a challenge that's remotely possible, no matter how hard; in fact, I quite like the challenge. I have given up on one or two nations in my time; basically, ones that are Animist or Shamanist (although I do have a rather awesome Chumu AAR when I took over South America, but Chimu's remote location gives them an advantage) - so I have given up on Ryukyu as an Animist nation, or the north American natives as Shamanists, because of the eternal Colonial Conquest CB that will cause Europeans to destroy you pretty much no matter what you do. Pretty much anything else, though, is fair game.

One that I've been meaning to try for a long time is Mongol Khanate, who are Buddhist and so don't have the 'Europeans get a Colonial Conquest on me' problem. They still start in a dreadful situation - steppe nomads, bordered by Manchu and Ming - but in theory they should be playable... possibly. I looked at some other threads on the forum that discussed succeeding with them and the tactics generally didn't work. I found that attacking Oirat Horde failed miserably, as that horde would come back and destroy you with their larger armies. You might grab something like Tanna Tuva off them, but it has no fort, and then Kazakh will DoW on you because you're weak (especially when you are forced to go to war with Ming) and it's pretty much game over. So I thought I'd share the tactics that, at least at the beginning of the game, have worked for me. There's definitely an element of luck and favourable dice rolling to it, no doubt. But still, it's theoretically legitimate. :)

You're immediately at war with Manchu. As attacking Oirat isn't viable (at least in my experience), the goal is to take over Manchu and Korea. You must mint 100%, inflation be damned, and build up some cash; maybe 100 ducats. Then quickly build enough cavalry and infantry to beat Manchu. That's probably gonna be 4 cavalry and 8 infantry at least; use mercenaries if you run out of manpower. Convert your ruler into a general; if he doesn't have half-decent stats, start again and roll the dice again. Manchu will win the siege of Dornod. Attack them, and win the battle. Follow them to (probably) Hinggan, then keep following them until their stack is destroyed. Then quickly carpet-siege their provinces (if you can, ditch the mercenary regiments now as they're way expensive).
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Carefully ensure that Manchu don't manage to build up any units. If they're building a new unit where your siege consists of 800 men, break off another 1000 men to join them and kill the Manchu unit as soon as it's created. If necessary, break off a siege on a province that isn't creating a unit to backup the siege on a province that is creating one. You can always come back and re-siege that province later, but if they can build up a big unit you're pretty screwed.

Try to use some of your magistrates to commission paintings and get your cultural tradition up to 30% or something; create a few advisors so you'll get paid for them a year later.
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I had a royal marriage and an alliance with Oirat Horde, and they went to war with Kazakh. I figured I might as well join the call to war, as the Kazakh wouldn't reach me before the war was out (this was correct) so I joined.
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As people have said in other threads, the new 10 year truces in Divine Wind do not apply to steppe nomads, whose truces only last 5 years. The tooltip popup is wrong. In late 1404, your 5-year truce with Ming ends, halfway through the carpet siege of Manchu.
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My strategy here (if you can call it a strategy) was to just let Ming win. They attack *your* provinces, so let them. They won't attack the Manchu provinces until you've occupied them. In fact, I'm not sure they even attacked occupied Manchu provinces; only once they defected away did Ming march for them. During the siege, we drove a tiny Manchu army towards the natives. I think even the natives would beat it...
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... and sure enough, they did. No more Manchu stack. For once, I'm happy the natives attack!
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Ming are now siegeing all of our provinces, and our income drops horribly. We're losing 41 ducats annually. I had been able to draw back the minting a bit, but it had to go up again. Inflation will be nearly 10% by the end of this escapade. Can't be helped.
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I had to give up on trying to re-take Dornod as Ming were coming for me. In hindsight, you should probably never bother with it because Manchu's occupation of Dornod will end when they are eliminated anyway.
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Turns out Ming went to war with Japan pretty early on. Maybe this distracts them, I'm not sure. They still came for me pretty aggressively (and refused any peace offer, even tribute).
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And with the occupation of Hinggan, the entire occupation of Manchu was finally complete! Now to start waiting for defecting provinces.
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Manchu had started suing for peace. Not a chance. The goal (and, I believe, survival) is to annihilate them.
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War exhaustion was up a tad, and land force limits were still pitifully low because provinces hadn't defected yet. Still, I thought I'd consolidate my army and move it over into Ninguta to provide a buffer between it and Ming (in previous games, I'd had Ming insta-kill my entire unit because I happened to be walking next to their provinces and they intercepted my unit with a large stack...)
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But I had a rather sudden change of heart when I realized that, once Manchu's provinces started flipping over to us, Ming would come to siege them. So I decided to manoeuvre my troops around Ming by ploughing through the natives! Unlike the earlier Manchu unit, we didn't have a problem dispatching them on our way through.
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Rather abruptly, and for no obvious reason, Ming then peaced out with Japan.
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Would this spell doom for the Mongols as Ming focused their forces on us entirely now? I'm gonna continue in part 2.
 
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jez9999

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Before my troops could get to the Oirat Horde's territory to chill for a while, Manchu's provinces began defecting to us.

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... left and right...
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Ming never really got going siegeing our provinces captured from Manchu; looks like the peace-out with Japan didn't free them up much, or they had little interest in doing so. In fact, now that we had more provinces, Ming actually seemed to have a bit more respect for us (emphasis on 'a bit').
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They were willing to peace out, but for a massive tribute. This would bankrupt us almost immediately, so I did the only thing I could: waited to see if they agreed to a better deal. It was either this or game over either way. We got more Manchu defections...
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... but all Ming did was up their demands, presumably because we had more provinces now. I was starting to think there was no way out, and considering the possibility of a game where we were just permanently occupied. Or possibly Ming would offer vassalization? That would be pretty good under the circumstances.
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In the meantime, Oirat Horde accepted white peace with Kazakh, and Manchu's final province defected to us. Ming was now our only opponent. And these Manchu provinces all have forts! This is not insignificant at the start of the game, where going west into central Asia and Siberia can result in many a province without a fort, resulting in a very vulnerable province requiring an expensive building to be built as soon as possible for any kind of peace of mind. Korea's provinces all have forts too. Very handy.
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Ming sent us another peace offer; for a mere concession of defeat! Massively better than paying tribute. However, I wasn't sure whether paying tribute meant a more long-term peace solution, or still 5 years (turns out it's still 5 years - if I'd known that, I'd have taken the concession of defeat), so I didn't accept this one. I sought to pay them some tribute.
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Turns out that when we offered them tribute, it was now 0.5 ducats per month. MUCH more manageable... although it only lasts 5 years, so I should've agreed to a concession of defeat. You can't keep them off your back for more than 5 years. Still, I didn't know that at the time so I went for it and briefly, we had total peace.
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This might suit one's nerves, but it doesn't suit the horde. No sooner had I defeated Manchu than I saw Korea in the Terra Incognita. I knew that war with them was very shortly around the corner, and started building more units in anticipation. The ledger said that they had 9000 troops, so I aimed for a stack of 11 or 12.
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Our force limits had shot up upon the capture of Manchu's provinces, thankfully, and the real problem was manpower. We could only create 2 or 3 units in time, but we did so nevertheless. It turned out to be just about enough.
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I was just moving my unit back from Oirat Horde territory and merging the new units into it on the way when I was accosted by war again (it's a good job I can predict how this game's mechanics work by now...!)
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As my unit was on its way to the front, I happened to notice that the supply limits - even for one's own territory - are really, really bad in this area at this tech level.
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I decided that a safe(ish) unit size would be 7 - it shouldn't suffer attrition - so I decided I'd break into two units of 7. We would now have 14k troops (at least, once the new units were ready). By this time, the Koreans had inevitably started sieging a province of ours.
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And they won the siege, moving onto the next province. As I'd said earlier, taking out their stack was a must-win battle, and we had created just about enough troops to win it (having our leader as a half-decent general didn't hurt either, and may have made the difference in our favour).
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We won the battle, and followed their army into the as-yet unexplored province of Ujiji. Their unit wasn't destroyed yet, though, and Korea remained unsieged. Would it fall? I'll tell all in part 3.
 
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jez9999

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Once we got into Ujiji, we didn't find their unit. It had escaped because it takes much longer to move into an unexplored province than an explored one. We briefly moved our unit in the direction of Hangyeong to block them in case they were trying to move their unit there, then switched to exploring further south.
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They'd run from here too. Again, a block by faking a movement to the east, then a move down into Chungcheong to intercept. I knew from experience that by far the highest priority was to eliminate their army, and then worry about sieging - even when it came to taking back our occupied province.
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As I rather expected, they continued to give me the run-around. In the back of my mind was the fact that 5 years since the Ming tribute agreement was closing in, and I rather suspected I could be wrong about tribute agreements lasting for a longer time than concessions of defeat...
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We finally caught up with them and eliminated their stack back in Hamgyeong. Carpet siege time! However, it was about this time, conveniently, that we started having rebels popping up in former Manchu territory. We also had the option of a slider change, and I wanted more centralization, but knowing that it would probably cause yet another rebel unit, I held off on it for now.
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The carpet siege was much like that of Manchu, and we had similar concerns about ensuring that Korea was unable to get another significant unit together. When they're creating a unit, move additional forces to that province to ensure it's squashed effectively. a few hundred men, even against a brand new unit with lowish morale, can often not be good enough. If in doubt and in need of more men, break off a siege in a territory that isn't building a new unit to re-enforce a siege in a territory that is.
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I'd left 2 provinces unsieged, and of course this was where they started building their new units. Time to put a stop to that.
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You can breathe a sigh of relief and sit back for a bit.
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Until, halfway through that breath, rebels pop up.
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This is why the siege of Korea was similarly thinly-stretched to the siege of Manchu; less territory to siege, more men, but half (or more) of the army simply had to deal with rebels! As half of the army went off to do that (and, as we won sieges, so did the rest), I noticed that we got the "Sacking of ..." event each time we won a siege. I could've sworn we never got that for the Manchu sieges. Not sure why... maybe because for that one, some of our provinces were occupied? Whatever - the event helps. The legitimacy and prestige boost, certainly.
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As we were busy fighting the existing rebels (it takes a long time to eliminate them in this territory since it takes a long time to walk from one province to another, giving them a chance to morale-boost at the end of the month and thereby preventing the insta-kill in the next province they run to), we got this event offering more rebels. The stack was going to be size 10 or something, and we had the 30 ducats, so I gladly chose the "negotiate" option. I think it was the right decision.
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Korea was nearly completely occupied, but once province held out for a while. Meanwhile, the rebel occupation was being dealt with too.
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I noticed that, of course, the revolt risk across all conquered territory was high. The provinces have nationalism, and are both the wrong religion and the wrong culture. I could at least set our national focus centrally to soften some of that revolt risk down.
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Which worked reasonably (it also makes the provinces affected significantly more likely to flip to your religion if you put a missionary there).
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Finally, the last province of Korea fell, and now we could start waiting for the defections to Mongol Khanate.
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Time to sit back and take a breat... nope, Ming was thrown straight in my face again.
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As I'd read in other threads on this board, truces with nomads only last 5 years, no matter what the tooltip says, and sadly it seems to make no difference even if you're paying tribute. Might as well just concede defeat if it's an option; you'll get just a 5 year breather in any case. I moved my units away from the border in anticipation of the coming onslaught.
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But by this time, with Manchu's provinces now ours, Ming seems to think of us as a horde in another league; maybe along the lines of Oirat Horde. Upon remembering from another thread where somebody said that they accepted concessions before the fighting even started, I sought to immediately offer tribute. And although no concession of defeat was acceptable, paying a (still smallish) tribute was!
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Ming were off our back for another 5 years. I still don't know whether this is going to continue to work long-term, or be affordable. Inflation's nearing 10% already. Then again, maybe after Korea's provinces have defected, we'll be big enough that we can just concede defeat once every 5 years. An annoyance and a slight prestige hit, but nothing more. Korea's provinces promptly defected to us in quick succession, and we were left at...... peace.
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Manchu and Korea totally conquered in about 15 game years. So yeah, this is an interesting basis on which to push forward with the Mongol Khanate, and certainly much less dangerous than its starting position. There's a huge amount of territory with high revolt risk...
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Which is uncored, of course...
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Ming will bug you every 5 years, but hopefully not in the "you don't get to survive" way. With Manchu and Korea's territory captured, land force limits are up to 34! There may be the odd opportunity to capture a province or two from Oirat Horde, but really I don't see that as particularly beneficial given the territories that have already been captured; they're plenty rich and full of manpower. I don't need another province or two all the way over to the west with a non-zero revolt risk; being able to rely on our starting cores not to revolt (even upon the death of a leader) is quite nice, and forces can be concentrated in the Manchu/Korea area. What's needed is a long period of consolidation (50 years until provinces cored, for a start) and rebel squashing, while very *very* slowly working up to government tech 10 so that the government can be reformed.

No, this conquest is a juicy enough piece of land that one could actually have a pretty good remainder of the game with it even with no further expansion. I think that's the perspective one should come from when it comes to how aggressively to continue expanding, especially as a horde with rebel outcrops everywhere. It may even be a pretty good location to sit back and watch the world go by, without things being too manic. You have a good map knowledge of most of Asia and the Middle East. You're on the edge without much to do for quite a while. Haven't even got a coastal centre of trade so no colonization, although that could possibly be a long-term goal if the Mongols can somehow find a way to get 500 ducats together for it (actually, I just noticed that nomads can't colonize anyway under any circumstances, so...). I'm not sure what NI to go for when we get to government tech 4 (still probably several decades away), but in the meantime, it might possibly be worth trying to trade through Nanjing, the only CoT we can reach. I'll certainly try it.

I think that this is probably a solid foundation, however, if only because our religion isn't Animist or Shamanist, as I mentioned at the start. What we won't get is European powers gobbling us up, or even having any CB on us at all if I recall correctly. Mongol Khanate is therefore a lot safer on that front, and Ming is probably manageable.
 

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jez9999

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I can confirm that, despite their slider being more towards mercantile than free trade, trading in Nanjing as the Mongol Khanate has been relatively successful, and we've built up to 5 merchants with a trade value of roughly 65 ducats. Should help speed up investments and boost the treasury a little.
 

jez9999

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I was gonna do a full-on AAR of my continued playthrough of this, but it would involve way too much, so I thought I'd give a summary instead.

I remember reading that "Mongol Khanate is one of those nations in EU3 that isn't meant to do well" and boy is that right. You're fighting the game every step of the way. That said, I managed to take out Ming from the base that I had created above, with the Oirat Horde remaining a long-time buffer to the west.

We had a tribal succession crisis which I wasn't properly ready for, and which we put down eventually but it allowed parts of Korea to break away. That meant that we'd have to capture them back later and core on them much later. Very annoying, and I could've avoided it by planning better, I think.

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After 5 years, we did indeed go to war with Korea and capture that back. Ming, after a few years of gameplay, decided to ban me from their CoT. Then they set up a second one from which we were also banned. Couldn't do much about this, but our income obviously went down. Luckily, shortly after this, Ming started falling apart - mandate of heaven lost - and we went to war with them. Wu started breaking away to the south and there were pretenders everywhere. I was gonna content myself with just the north of Ming's territory, but they continued having problems, so we pretty much carried on eating up all of Ming. Bizarrely, Ming entered a PU with Champa halfway through the assault, but it didn't make much difference. Champa are now an OPM and we didn't notice them again.

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After capturing about half of Ming, we had another succession crisis. This one I planned for better, and after crushing the rebels in Korea, I worked down China from north to south with my units forming a kind of wall, allowing the rebels to occupy provinces and being prepared to allow some to defect away to Ming. None did in the end, although lots of rebels took lots of beating.

What followed was a very long period of going to war with various enemies that cropped up on the southern border - Dai Viet, Xia, Qin, Taungu, etc. and having to occupy them enough that we could demand tribute. I don't want to take any more land to the south because we already have a huge amount of uncored provinces and we're getting overextension. When you demand tribute from them, the peace does seem to last longer than 5 years, so hopefully you can stop worrying about going to war with them automatically again. It's when YOU pay THEM tribute that the 5 year war thing kicks in.

This all had to be done while there were, of course, constant rebel uprisings. In 5.2, this has gone from a nuisance to a real logistical challenge, because you can't recover your manpower. I've been having to sit smaller stacks in safe places and go at the rebels with larger stacks. Despite us having a total manpower of about 180k and getting 1500 new men per month, we've only just (in 1506) managed to just about start building up our manpower again. I'm just waiting for us to core on more territories so we can lose overextension. Doesn't help that our leader and his heir have terrible admin skills.

We have 6 stacks of 14k each strategically placed to deal with the rebels and (importantly) avoid taking attrition in their normal waiting location. It's quite amusing to see us with the most troops of any country. I was expecting to see Austria, France, or Bohemia up there, but for now it's us! I guess it makes sense as it's often Ming early on, and we've basically replaced them.

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Now that we've captured Ming, and their CoT's along with them, we're back to having our 5 traders in each CoT of course, which helps matters financially. I still think it'll take forever to get to government level 10 and reform the government as steppe nomads, so I'm moving the centralization and innovation sliders to their necessary positions for Westernization, which in itself causes the revolt risk to go up. This is very hard to manage. We may get to a situation where there is some unavoidable revolt risk all over the country even with a level 6 high judge and max. stability. The Bill of Rights NI requires production tech 7... as steppe nomads. Yeah right. Our NI is national bank and we actually have inflation under control, although it got to about 15%.

One annoyance is that, as Buddhists, there aren't any religious decisions to give us more missionaries. Although we have converted almost all of Manchu and Korea to Buddhist, there's a large Chinese Confucian area that needs converting to Buddhism, and we're gonna end up having zero missionaries as we get more innovative. I'm not sure what can be done about that, other than to go back to narrowminded (and take the tech disadvantage) once we've Westernized. If anyone knows how to get more missionaries as Buddhists, please tell me. :)

The plan now is to core on everything we have (or nearly everything, to avoid overextension and massive succession crises), then push west through the Oirat Horde and Chagatai until we have a border with a Muslim neighbour, probably Kashmir and/or Delhi. Then Westernize, at least to Muslim tech. That should get us to government tech 10 soon enough, and we can reform the government out of steppe nomad hell!

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To sum up, then: this game is certainly viable, but it involves a heck of a lot of rebel crushing, and you can't just leave it to the "hunt rebels" option or your smaller stacks will naively attack rebels and wither away to nothing; it has to be done carefully, and manually. And hundreds of times. Also, tribal succession crises, man (is there literally some game code that kills off leaders quickly while you're waiting on them to live a couple more decades to core on territories, but makes them hang on for dear life when you want them dead?) They're workable if you plan right, but very very drawn out and boring to deal with. They don't make for a fun game. This is tedious... at least so far. Not for everyone. But I've gone this far so I will no doubt play the rest of this game out. :)
 
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TheArchMede

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I think tribute lasts for as long as its payable. Once the game decides its not payable, its back to war, but if its low enough to be affordable the AI will keep paying it forever.
There is a level of tech thats needed to get rebels to disband at zero morale rather than just keep running until their morale has got high enough to allow them to start getting killed again. Hordes don't have it which makes playing a horde pretty tedious.
There are decisions where rebels are displayed on the religion tab that allow them to be paid off once they've captured a province. This is well worth doing for the largest nationalist grouping of rebels in a TSC. e.g. paying off the Koreans after they captured the first Korean province would probably have been much better than the outcome you had.
Vassals will stay at peace forever too, and are an effective way to wall off a front you want to be stable when there are small enough countries to force vassalise.
Other hordes are a useful source of war taxes. Nothing like declaring war on some far off horde to allow you to extort extra cash from locals. You can't get extra taxes from a war against Ming, but the Chagatai will unlock them for you.
 

jez9999

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Played through to the end of the game with MK. Went through the whole Westernization process, although getting a European neighbour was tricky as none had captured any territory in east Asia yet. Then, I had a brainwave. We switched our National Bank NI to Quest For The New World, now that our inflation was nicely under control (and had actually gone down to zero), and a few moments (and an explorer) later...

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Creek had even kindly built a fort for us in Pensacola. When in doubt, abuse the native Americans. We now had a Western neighbour who was 20+ techs ahead (Castille, to no-one's surprise), and could fully Westernize (we had started the process of Westernization by switching to Muslim tech earlier with a non-nomad Muslim neighbour way out to the west - something like Delhi or Kashmir - which allowed us to get to government tech 10 in a reasonable timeframe to reform the government). Pensacola was quickly jettisoned back to Creek after that as we didn't want to worry about a territory in North America...

The process of Westernization with an empire as big as our post-Ming Mongol Khanate was tedium defined, however, with many rebel uprisings indeed during the final military modernization...
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But finally after this we were fully Westernized, and shortly after switched a few government types to end up at Republican Dictatorship. Imperial CB on anyone from there on whenever we needed it. Managed to conquer most of east Asia (including - just barely before 1821 - all of Japan), but had to leave India to Bihar and Vijay.
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We fully colonized all of the Oceanic islands too (up to and including Hawaii), kicking any European colonies off via incitement of the natives...
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And had to create a big fleet of pirate defence ships to stop pirates.
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Everywhere in our territory was converted to Buddhist, except for several Japanese provinces that were still Shinto as we couldn't convert them in time.
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This required us to go a lot more narrowminded though, in order to get the necessary missionaries. The only extra decision we could take to get more missionaries as Buddhists was the anti-Christian edict, and even that's only 0.5 extra per year. This meant we didn't exactly lead the world in tech, but at least being Westernized, we were dragged along at an acceptable tech level.
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We also had 6 or 7 centres of trade in all of which we had monopolies at the end.
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It would've been relatively straightforward to form the Mughals, of course, and that would probably have been an easier way out of being steppe nomads. But I've formed them before, and I wanted to keep our identity as the Mongol Khanate.

This was quite a fun game much of the time, although until you've struggled through all of MK's restrictions at the beginning (which very much feel like they're designed to make the nation fail), it can be quite tedious. :)

Country timelapse:
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Religion timelapse:
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jez9999

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Heh, I didn't realize they did that. Guess I don't usually bother with them because it's a level 6 building and you only get a puny 0.05 missionaries per cathedral. You'd need a ton of building. I'll keep it in mind in future games though. The only level 6 buildings I usually do are naval bases and conscription centres.
 

TheArchMede

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Level 5 gets you extra magistrates so it pays for itself. I do stop at level 5 most of the time because 0.05 per city doesn't need many cathedrals to support missionary spam. A hundred or so Level 6 trade buildings to get to the TE cap at 200% is where most of those magistrates go. 10 Land and Naval bases are plenty.
It also gets you a lot more spies than are available by other methods.
 
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  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
In this kind of games I've always relied on Divine Supremacy NI to keep on giving me missionaries while moving towards Innovative. For level 5 or 6 buildings I prefer those which give you extra cash or manpower.
 

Kovax

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Agreed about the Divine Supremacy NI for the extra missionaries, but Magistrates are ALWAYS in short supply by the end of the 15th Century onward, so the Level 5 government buildings are well worth their price and building slot, once available. 0.05 isn't much, but if you've got 50-100 provinces, you should be able to afford to place 20 or more over the course of a century.