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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

nhgrif

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How do you even begin to fight the Karlings?

I'm King of Brittany. I've found myself in a position where the only way to expand is either by majorly upgrading my fleet and attacking the British Isles... or by fighting Karlings. I have West Francia to my north and south, and East Francia to my east.

I've waited about 80 years in this position for an opportunity that looks good. West Francia has several of my duke's de jure lands. So, I finally see an opportunity. Aquitaine and East Francia's forces are completely depleted. West Francia has about 12k troops to my 15k troops. So I declare war.

I gather all my troops, and I figure the best strategy is to take out any stacks that are big but smaller than mine. I find a 3k stack of Aquitaine troops and kill them. West Francia is marching an 8k stack around somewhere in the fog of war, so rater than chasing them down, I begin sieging Paris.

Then the 8k stack marches comes out of the fog of war, marches into my 13k troops in Paris, across a small river, and proceed to KILL 8,000 of my troops and win the battle... and that's pretty much the entire war. I don't know how to salvage this. I have 500 gold. But his 7500 troops (since I only killed about 500 of his troops even though I had a river advantage) are probably just going to follow my 5k remaining troops all over the map and completely wipe them out. I doubt I can afford enough mercs to come back, right?

I've been murdering Karlings as much as possible. My spymaster and diplomat are constantly parked around West Francia trying to encourage revolts.

I mean, once the Karlings have all the territory around me and the only way to expand is by attacking them, is it time to just start a new game, or what?
 

greendino

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Keep murdering Karlings. Also look for allies outside the Karling realm of influence. Spain, if there are some christian kingdoms, Scandinavia, Hungary, etc. Also, that karling stack probably had lots of heavy cav, hence why it wrecked you. Depending on the year, it might be best to continue waiting it out. If I'm not mistaken the Karling branches will break into seperate not affiliate families, eventually. Like the Capetians.

But yes, Karlings suck. Welcome to Crusader Kings 2.
 

skynet464

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As Brittany, you should invade Britain and Ireland so that you are powerful enough to take on the Karlings. Never should you attack the Karlings when they still control France and Germany.
 

ethanjory

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Leave them alone and they do a good job of destroying themselves.
 

Ganegrei

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Yeah attack the parts of British isles that have the Breton culture. Expand out from there into other parts that are in the same culture group. The Karlings should be your endgame challenge. Do you own all of the counties in Brittany? Keep upgrading your centralization until you can hold the entire kingdom in your personal demesne.
 

nkibilko

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Knotz

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Get a character with high intrigue -> swear fealty -> help unite all the Karlings under a single banner -> become spymaster (you can do this part at any time though) -> destroy what you helped wrought by murdering important Karlings indiscriminately until there are none left or everything dissolves into the the kind of map that drives people crazy -> cackle maniacally.

You need to swear fealty and help unite everyone cuz I'm pretty sure you can only do the 'spy on' interaction with people in the same realm as you and that's gonna be kinda critical. Also. I need to do a playthrough like this at some point.
 

tywinzo

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Divide & Conquer.

As mentioned, they pretty much gavel themselves to death. I assume you want to get them before that - which is hard. They will more or less always call each other as an ally. Best shot is to try to push other houses on to the throne one at a time. E.g. marry, wait for weak claim, murder, push claim. The second family needs to have its own semi-strong allies to call against Karlings.
 

Silversweeeper

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How to handle the Karlings:
- Know the Karling; Kill the Karling.
- You must scour them from the map before they do the same to you.
- EX-TER-MI-NATE! EX-TER-MI-NATE!
- The only good Karling is a dead Karling.
- Etc.

Unless you are massively powerful (you have at least as many soldiers as the Karling realms and their allies, as well as money for plenty of mercenaries), a direct confrontation with the Karling realms is to be avoided, particularly if winning a war would give very little (gaining all of k_france might be worth a shot, gaining a single county is not; especially not if it is a de jure one that they will try to re-take ASAP). Make sure they don't get claims on you (*never* marry a (future) claimant into their family unless all children will be of your dynasty *and* you have control of the couple) and weaken them where possible (help Elective factions, excommunicate them, help claimants/adventurers, etc.). Expand in other directions and bide your time.
 
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nhgrif

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Get a character with high intrigue -> swear fealty -> help unite all the Karlings under a single banner -> become spymaster (you can do this part at any time though) -> destroy what you helped wrought by murdering important Karlings indiscriminately until there are none left or everything dissolves into the the kind of map that drives people crazy -> cackle maniacally.

You need to swear fealty and help unite everyone cuz I'm pretty sure you can only do the 'spy on' interaction with people in the same realm as you and that's gonna be kinda critical. Also. I need to do a playthrough like this at some point.
I was doing this for a while, but Middle Francia upped their crown authority to medium, so I got out.

I controlled the 6 Brittany counties, Maine, all of the duchy or Normandy, 3/4ths of Orleans, the middle county in the duchy that contains Paris, the left county in Brabant, and the duchies of Liege, Upper Lorraine, Lower Lorraine, and Alsace.

It was the year 965, give or take a decade or so.

Aquitaine was independent and not a Karling and not allied. Lombardy was independent and allied, but had only about 2k troops available. East Francia was independent, but still a Karling, but they had less than 2k troops available.

I felt I'd be fighting basically just Middle Francia. And my thought was right. At least up until the point where I rage quit the save.

Despite the situation being exactly as I had planned it to be, the game figured this wasn't enough of an advantage over a Karling (I feel like I've started wars in similarly close situations and won easily) and decided to let the Karling stack of troops that had significantly fewer men cross a river into my stack of troops and not just win the battle handedly, but also completely eliminate 2/3rds of my entire military.

So my only option after that single battle was to surrender. The Karling wouldn't even white peace. That battle gave him 55% war score. So despite the 10% I got from two previous battles, the was score was 45% in his advantage after his single victory. So he'd only accepted surrendering. Which would mean paying him 850 gold. Are you kidding me? 850 gold?
 

Vourtigaunt

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I love how everyone wants to destroy Karlings via battle. I just do it via marriage and plots. It's not that difficult...or at the very least, far less difficult than fielding an army against them.
 
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nanoboy

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Admittedly, my Brittany kingdom grows only slowly, but for fun, I decided to focus on France instead of Britain. My first step was gobbling up Brittany itself and creating the duchy. Then, I swore fealty to Charlemagne. At that point, I could expand within his kingdom and gain more duchies. When I was ready, and there was Karling infighting, I gained independence and have been picking off counties ever since.
 

olvirki

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What about allying with Karlings or improving relations with some of them ? You know, turn Karling against Karling or at the very least stop them from helping your enemy ?
 

nhgrif

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I love how everyone wants to destroy Karlings via battle. I just do it via marriage and plots. It's not that difficult...or at the very least, far less difficult than fielding an army against them.
I did this to a large degree. It's how I got them to the position they were in. I maybe could have got them slightly more weak, but honestly, it would've been tough. Maybe it was just my bad luck, but essentially every Karling ruler had at most two sons, so kingdoms weren't split much. And I could never managed to assassinate the right people or enough people fast enough for any kingdoms to go out of dynasty.

It doesn't help that they never changed to Agnatic-Cognatic. And why should they have? Changing to agnatic-cognatic just means that a daughter married outside the dynasty might inherit and break up the party.

How do install a different dynasty in a realm that doesn't move to Agnatic-Cognatic without getting lucky when they finally let you matrilineally marry one of the sons and then you murder away his brothers?

Perhaps if I'm a liege then I can start an agnatic-cognatic faction?

Admittedly, my Brittany kingdom grows only slowly, but for fun, I decided to focus on France instead of Britain. My first step was gobbling up Brittany itself and creating the duchy. Then, I swore fealty to Charlemagne. At that point, I could expand within his kingdom and gain more duchies. When I was ready, and there was Karling infighting, I gained independence and have been picking off counties ever since.
I did this. I managed independence from West Francia when they moved to Medium Crown Authority, preventing hampering my growth. But now, I can't seem to expand.

What about allying with Karlings or improving relations with some of them ? You know, turn Karling against Karling or at the very least stop them from helping your enemy ?
I've been making this effort. And to a small degree, I actually accomplished this. But even with an advantage in terms of numbers, the West Francia army didn't hesitate to cross a river with a pretty significant numbers disadvantage and just kill over half my entire military force.
 

BurningEGO

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TurtleShroom

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