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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

unmerged(65186)

First Lieutenant
Jan 25, 2007
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As I was playing through my Hungary AAR, I started realizing that Kaiserreich has a whole lot of potentially interesting countries to play through -- the alternate history is very well developed, and there’s a lot of room for player choice built into the scenario.

While the American Civil War seems like a lot of fun, and I’m also fairly intrigued by Japan and even Russia, the nation that stood out the most to me was the Italian Federation, and its potential to build up a Catholic alliance including strong-ish nations like Austria, Spain, and who knows who else. So I decided that, for my next AAR, I’d change my pace up dramatically and head to the IF.

I say that it’s a change of pace for me because my first two AARs (one of which ended very quickly thanks to those damn French Syndicalists) were written in a fairly brief, history book format that just covered the main events of the game. In the case of this AAR, I want to take a much slower pace, taking the time to add plenty of flavor and narrative and to try to capture the feel of an authoritarian Papal State.

Before I start on a series of posts detailing the actual story and character elements of the AAR, I’ll give a quick primer on some of the modifications I made to the game:

Increased IC / Resources

I gave the Italian Federation a total starting IC of 73. Not enough to break the game and make me an instant superpower, but enough to ensure that I can keep up, since by default the Italian Federation doesn’t have the IC to do a whole lot. I also increased teh country’s resources, to help cover the increased IC. I still left a defecit in some areas, though, so I’ll still be forced to trade for some necessary resources.

Made extra IC / Resources Off-Map

Rather than just mod the provinces of the Italian Federation to give more IC and resources, I made all the extra stuff off-map. I did this mainly in the event of a major SNAFU like my last AAR, where the Syndicalists run rampant and just steamroll everyone in their way. If things go majorly sour in Europe, I’ll find a way to take some lower-valued province in Africa or somewhere remote, and the free off-map IC and resources will let me build a few militia units to try to simulate a “Pope in exile” sort of scenario, with the military regiments and extra resources representing outside aid coming to the Pope’s assistance from faithful Catholics

Focused on the army and navy, sacrificed the air force

At the start of the game, the Italian Federation has two units of 5 Mountain divisions guarding the border with France. Aside from that, all they have is a pair of HQs, the Swiss Guard, and one garrison unit, leaving the border with Sicily wide open. The navy is expanded to include newer-model ships and even a single super-heavy (I liked the idea of there being one huge freaking battleship acting as a sort of Papal Flagship), though the airforce only consists of two low-tech bomber wings.

There are a few other tweaks, particularly in terms of starting tech, but I’ll explain those later as they come up.

Renamed Models

For air units, I went into the files for a normal HOI2 installation and transferred the model names over to KR. For naval units, I went through each type of unit (save for carriers and light carriers, which I won’t be using) and gave each ship class a new name that sounded suitably Catholic/militant. Heck, I would have modded in the Vatican Flag instead of the Italian Flag, but I’m not that good.

Game Options

As far as the game options go, I upped the AI Aggressiveness a notch, so maybe that’ll spice up the challenge a little. As with my previous two AARs, full IC takeover is off, but tech team takeover is on -- I just enjoy making other people’s teams manufacture new weapons for their oppressors ;)

So with that said, the first couple updates will be little anecdotes, narrative bits, or historical pieces on some of the changes I've made to the alt history of the Italian Federation, the status of the armed forces, and the direction Pius XI is headed... Should be a decidedly different feel than my first two, and hopefully a lot more fun!
 

Sectorknight21

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Looks great, (I mean a nuclear Pope? Who doesn't want that ;)) enjoyed the other two AARs immensely!

Also on the Vatican flag maybe you should make a request in the Flag Request forum which is [url="http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/showthread.php?t=224729]here[/url]
 
Mar 2, 2005
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Starting IC of 73? I'm a tad worried you made things too easy for yeself... :eek:

But other than the (IMO) unnecessary boosts you gave yourself the premise is very good. Let's see the whole shoe united once more, under the rule of the Man With The Very Silly Hat! ^^
 

unmerged(65186)

First Lieutenant
Jan 25, 2007
246
0
73 doesn't seem all that exceedingly high to me, with countries like Germany, France, the USA and such easily breaking very comfortably into the 100's (I'm not at my gaming computer, but if I recall France reaches somewhere toward the 150's or 160's, Germany has just slightly less, and I seem to recall both Russia and the USA being pretty scary high). I could scale it back some if it's a little TOO much, as I'm admittedly not all that well-educated as the balance of power in Kaiserreich just yet, having only played one rather aborted game. Technically, it's actually 66 base IC, but ends up being 73 total available.

As for the flag situation, I put a request up on that forum -- thanks for letting me know about it, I didn't even know it existed!
 
Mar 2, 2005
659
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Sure the French and the Germans have way higher IC than Italian Federation does, but that somewhat beside the point, no? For IF is not meant to be a Great Power in Kaiserreich. If it was as strong as those two, it wouldn't be put in the perfect position between them with no certain enemies but the weakling Sicily in the south. By defeating Sicily and joining Germans in the always enjoyable gangbanging of the French it may become one though. Especially if you take over Greece and Serbia, those little countries with surprisingly nice number of factories.

But this all comes after years of tough playing ;) Whereas you just simply gave the factories to yeself.
It all depends on how you plan to play the game, though. It's an interresting AAR we're looking after here, so do as you please as long as it makes a good story! :)
 

yourworstnightm

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As Kaskka said, IF is not supposed to be a great power. Have never played them myself, but I'd imagine the best strategy would be fighting the Syndies and taking Sicilies when the German-French war begin and create a Catholic Alliance. If all goes well, and the German front hold this time, the French would have problems with the opening of a Italian front (and if the Carlists win the SCW you can ally them and have a Spanish front), not to mention possible attacks from the exiles in Algeria. The Syndies usually win if France is not surrounded from all directions (or if the player is Germany).
 
Mar 2, 2005
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It is also possible to get Nationalist France out of the Entente and into the catholic block- I have seen this happen via events a couple of times. Nat.France+Spain+Portugal+Italy+Ireland all lead by the Pope actually make a pretty tough group. Its great fun to battle over Paris with IRA militia and Portuguese tanks... ;)
 

Milites

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The IF is an intriguing country with a relatively high amount of events and possible paths for such a minor nation. Couple that with a pretty advanced and large army, decent tech teams and ministers you actually have a good chance at a quite fun game.

I've personally never seen the Syndies smash the Reich apart, but if it's your experience that they do then sure go ahead and add the extra IC and off map VP.

Just remember that there's the possibility that the incumbent pope dies very early in the game (like February 1936) and that the Austrians try to bully you. In my games this seemingly always results in a war which is completely in the Italians' favour since the Hapsburg armies are virtually non-existent. And lo and behold you get Venice and Trento in exchange for peace. That's 10 extra core IC!
 

Davisx3m

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Will follow this! :D
 

Timmie0307

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Interesting...indeed a new way of handling an AAR, but it will be nice seeing a Papal States...controlling all the catholics in the world. You could even write events about catholic revolts, like Brazilians fighting the Syndies... :D.

Tim
 

unmerged(65186)

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Jan 25, 2007
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Hmm, it's also true that I didn't take into account the extra IC to be gained from taking over Sicily. My intent wasn't to make IF a major power, but more of a stronger regional power, somewhere along the lines of Austria or the Union of Britain. When I get home tonight, I'll look at the effective IC of some of the other countries, and I may end up lowering myself into the lower 60's. I do want to have at least -somewhat- more available to me than the IF has by default, particularly because of the potential French steamroll like last time. That was scary... Wasn't even like the French won a hard-fought war, within three months they were already making strong headway into German lands.

I'm definitely hoping to get Nat France on my side, but in my experience the Carlists ALWAYS win the Spanish Civil War (though I did see France later invade the Carlists and re-establish a FAI Spain). Ireland and Austria are both potentially useful, but as for Portugal... Would it be better to invite them into the alliance, or just invade them and let the Carlists take the extra IC?
 

Mico94

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the warrior popes are back! :D
With nukes!:D

i'll follow
 

unmerged(65186)

First Lieutenant
Jan 25, 2007
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0
And a quick final note as I head out the door... Thanks to Crilly over in the flag request forum, I've got the Vatican flag to replace the Italian one :) I'm also going to change the IF's color from green to yellow (the same yellow as Galicia, north of Hungary) 'cause it just looks more Papal that way.
 

unmerged(166917)

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Subscribed, of course! :D
 

unmerged(178957)

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Now that your GFX needs have been met, what do you say we get this party started?! :cool: Now, I wait.....

Crilly
 

unmerged(65186)

First Lieutenant
Jan 25, 2007
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Couldn't agree more! Big thanks to Crilly there for getting me a sweet Vatican flag to go with Vax's skins and counters.

- I made a tweak and lowered the IF's IC count into the low 60's. I forgot about the opportunity to industrialize after getting a new pope, plus bonuses from the industrial techs, and even more bonuses from shifting to central planning. I forget the exact number, but I think I modded it down to around 62 effective IC with the base somewhere around 55, and a portion of it still off-map. While the 70's did look overpowered when I realized how low the IC totals of the non-major nations were, I still wanted to give myself more than the meager 47-ish starting point that the IF has normally, and leave myself the option for off-map production because I'm just that scared of the French after my Hungary AAR.

- I'm going to aim to get the first -gameplay- update put up sometime tomorrow night. Tonight and tomorrow afternoon I'm going to grab some Mountain Dew and write up my opening stuff to start setting the scene and the flavor. I tend to be a bit of a late-night worker, so for some of you it may end up being a morning read, rather than an evening read.

Anyways, I'm glad there's a healthy interest here, and I hope the AAR won't disappoint!
 

unmerged(65186)

First Lieutenant
Jan 25, 2007
246
0
And now for some of the start-up flavor pieces... If someone can tell me how to make a "table of contents" so I can link to each individual bit, that'd be splendiferous.
====

A Brief History of the Italian Federation
Taken from the in-game text

The unified Italy created in 1861 lasted little more than half a century. Her dicision to side with the Entente poewrs rather than her traditional Central European allies during the Great War proved to be a mistake to the highest order. In 1919 Italy collapsed under a Central Powers offensive, and the combination of anger at Italy’s betrayal and the Austrian desire for a divided Italian peninsula led to the break-up of Italy as a nation.

After three years of Austrian occupation, a number of separate duchies were established in the north, grouped into a federation nominally headed by the Papacy, but with great regional autonomy. However, in the early 1930’s this began to change when a group of radical cardinals gained political control of the Vatican. Aided by Pope Pius XI this group pushed for the centralisation and expansion of Papal power and control over the federation.

During this period, Austria was distracted by internal affairs, and was reluctant to intervene in favor of the status quo. Playing on the massive popular support the Pope had and setting this in the context of needing a great leader to guard the Italian Federation from the dangers of Syndicalism, the Pope emerged as the formal leader of northern Italy in 1935. However, the Holy See must now face up to several challenges to its new power - ranging from the now demonised Syndicalist regimes to the south and west of the Federation, and also, having upset the balance of power, the Austrians. But opportunities beckon too -- Carlists in Spain, Integralists in Brazil, and even the mighty Zentrumspartei of Germany, are on the rise, and have always acknowledged the Spiritual Authority of the Heir of St. Peter...
 

unmerged(65186)

First Lieutenant
Jan 25, 2007
246
0
The Order of Saint George
The "Papal enforcers" of the Vatican

Cardinal Innitzer’s stern, stoic face was slightly obscured by thick smoke as the Cardinal Archbishop incensed the pulpit from which the Word would be proclaimed. The cathedral before him was filled with devout spectators, waiting patiently while the solemn mass’s celebrant swung the golden-plated incensor first above him, then in front of him, and then to either side, forming the Sign of the Cross over the Gospel Book.

“Dominus vobiscum,” the Cardinal chanted slowly, evenly.

“Et cum spiritu tuo,” came the reply of the congregation.

“Sequentia Sancti Evangelii secundum Lucam.”

A brief pause, and Innitzer began to read the Gospel aloud to the people.

"Every kingdom divided against itself, shall be brought to desolation, and house upon house shall fall. And if Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? because you say, that through Beelzebub I cast out devils. Now if I cast out devils by Beelzebub; by whom do your children cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. But if I by the finger of God cast out devils; doubtless the kingdom of God is come upon you.

When a strong man armed keepeth his court, those things are in peace which he possesseth. But if a stronger than he come upon him, and overcome him; he will take away all his armour wherein he trusted, and will distribute his spoils. He that is not with me, is against me; and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth.”

When the congregation had been seated, the Cardinal looked out to his left. In the pews on that side of the cathedral sat 100 men, ranging in age from their early twenties to well into their forties. Each one was dressed identically, in black monastic scapulars, with shaved heads and faces.

“Brothers,” he began, “I address you now in this homily as ‘brother,’ for as with all men we are brothers in Christ, and so it is a fitting address. But in a few moments, you will be called forth to this altar and make your first vows before God. At that time, I will address you as ‘brother,’ because you will stand as the first men to take the vows of entrance into the Order of Saint George.

In the Gospel, Our Lord intends to respond to those who challenged the nature of His exorcisms. But in His holy words there is yet another warning which is all too relevant for our present day.

‘Every kingdom, divided against itself, shall be brought ot desolation.’

We find ourselves, brothers, in a grave period of history. Our Holy Father, Pope Pius XI, has succeeded in forging a new Christian nation in this entity called the ‘Italian Federation,’ and yet to the north and to the south, Godless mobs of Syndicalists threaten to boil over into a destructive wave of revolution, and thereby destroy the God-fearing society which we have so strived to create.

If we are to respond to the holy call of God and defeat this great heresy called ‘Syndicalism,’ the Holy Mother Church must be wholly united in her quest. For if God’s own people are divided against one another, then this nation will rise and fall just as quickly as the united Italy of recent history.

The Order of Saint George was erected by our Holy Father at my own request. You, the first of this order, will serve not only as ministers of the Word and the Sacraments, but as holy guardians of this sacred city and our great Pope. You will protect the Holy Father’s life from all who would take it, and you will secure the holy Vatican City against any who would cause disorder within it. You, my brothers, will have the great blessing of being the very hand of our Holy Father, ensuring that his holy will for both Church and nation are carried out.

You must be warriors in every sense. As Saint Paul encourages us in his Epistle to the Ephesians, you must clothe yourself in the armor of God, so that you may not be tempted by Satan to forsake the sacred duty to which you will be entrusted. You must be skilled in equal parts both with the spiritual weapons of prayer, and the temporal weapons of war.

And so I encourage you brothers -- accept the discipline of your elder brothers and superer with sacred humility; forge your body and mind into a great temple of the Holy Spirit, fully arrayed for war; and pray each day that you might be blessed by God to die a martyr’s death in service to the great mission of His Holy Church in the coming years of war.”

That day, the first 100 brothers of the Order of Saint George took their vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. From Brother Superior Francis Gabriel, each new brother received a blessed medal bearing the image of St. George, a corded belt adorned with three knots to represent their vows, and a Beretta submachinegun, and thus the Pope’s monastic order of secret police was born.
 

unmerged(65186)

First Lieutenant
Jan 25, 2007
246
0
The Swiss Guard
The Pope's loyal defenders

"I just have a really bad feeling about them," the young Swiss Guard private said to his compatriot. The two stood together outside St. Peter's Basilica, rifles slung casually over their shoulders as they looked on.

Across the way, a group of five brothers of the Order of St. George stood at attention, their features almost frighteningly statuesque. Each one held his submachinegun tightly, and the black-robed monks loosely surrounded Cardinal Innitzer as he spoke with one of his fellow priests.

"I understand that the Pope wants increased security with so much political turmoil going on," his friend answered, "But you're right... There's just something unnerving about them."

"GUARDSMEN!!"

Both young men snapped to a sudden and rigid attention, rifles tucked carefully in place, free hands saluting.

"Colonel Merian, sir!" they barked in unison. Staring them down with an icy, blue-eyed glare was Col. Dimiti Merian, commander of the Swiss Guard. None of these guardsmen were dressed in the traditional, bright livery of the Guard, however -- they wore traditional military uniforms and berets, carried firearms instead of pikes, and were arrayed for war, not for show.

The grey-haired Merian clasped his hands behind his back, speaking in a scolding tone to his two subordinates.

"Your responsibilities, privates, do not include critiquing the Pope's choice of personal bodyguards. You are to do as our unit has always done: unflinchingly, unswervingly standing guard over the Pope and the Vatican. If you have issue with the Pope's staffing choices, discuss it on your own time, not on duty."

"S-sir!" The men saluted and, being dismissed, returned to their patrol.

Once the two had passed, Dimitri let out a quiet sigh. It wasn't just those two -- most of the Swiss Guardsmen had expressed some form of worry or concern over the Pope's new "monastic" order. Inwardly, Col. Merian wondered why Cardinal Innitzer had suddenly insisted on creating a Church-run order of soldiers and bodyguards rather than simply increasing the Swiss Guard's conscription. But he couldn't be sure if he really distrusted the Order, or if his suspicion was simply the result of a bruised ego. For generations, the Swiss Guard had provided the needed security to the Vatican and to the Holy Father, and it almost seemed offensive on some level that Dimitri's men would have to be "supplemented," to use Cardinal Innitzer's diplomatic word choice, by the Order of St. George.

Nevertheless, Dimitri reminded himself to take his own advice. Whatever the Pope thought to achieve by using the Swiss Guard and the OSG in conjunction with one another was the business of the Holy Father, not of the Swiss Guard's Colonel. And besides, it was nearly time for the unit's evening inspection...