Fumbling My Way through History
- Oct 18, 2009
Chapter 32: Lurking in the Shadows.
I wasn’t really planning on playing when I started the game. My intention was to watch Europe, and think, and plan for the future.
But you know what they say about best intentions…
Anyway, the first part of this chapter will be a couple of impressions. Some of them will be important later on, some of them will not.
The first thing one does when planning for the future, is to take stock of what you have to work with, and I must say, this comes as a bit of a surprise; I did not see this coming. That is one of the good things when you have level-1 advisors at this stage of the game: they are very cheap.
Ok, so money wasn’t a problem.
How about this little beauty? The Russians have a colony in Indonesia. Could be interesting to know.
Let’s take a look at the biggest armies in the world. Russia, Ottomans and France, are, of course, the top 3 players in this category, but a nomination must go out to Spain. Mind you, they are at war with Great Britain, so most of these will probably be abroad. If someone were to throw them a stick of dynamite (or, in this time period, a bag of gunpowder), it would take a while for them to get organised.
Watch Austria, with their 80,000 men, trying to hold of numbers 1 and 2 in the list.
Navies. As you can see, there are not a whole lot of nations that can pose a serious threat to La Royale.
Note 4th from the bottom is Spain. Their clash with the Royal Navy doesn’t seem to be going according to plan, but it is still somewhat respectable.
I must remember not to get into a war against Great Britain for another reason. As one of my few allies in Europe, Lüneburg has amassed quite a bit of land, most of which was gained without the help of yours truly. Very respectable.
And then I unpaused the game. A random event gave me a Grander Army (infantry and cavalry 10% cheaper for 5 years). Very nice, but since I am just about at my limit, for the moment a bit useless.
My third Quality Idea. 10% Cavalry combat bonus. Now we’re talking!
By mid-may, 1695, Ceylon is cored, and I send a missionary to convert those poor wretches. By June, the Cherokee have accepted my suggestion to become a French protectorate. This will make moving around a lot simpler.
In July, Britain enters an alliance with the Ottomans. Now that IS worrisome. One has a bigger navy, the other a bigger army and both have empires that can easily reach 3 continents. If this was a MP-game, I’d be slightly perturbed. Yet another reason to stay out of GB’s crosshairs, if at all possible.
In August, Chicksaw also becomes a protectorate of France. This more or less unites my hold over the eastcoast of North America.
Since I have very little to do, except wait for enough money to repay my debts, here is one of Scandinavia’s opponents giving up. Literally days later, Russia warns them not to go to war against anyone. I wouldn’t worry too much about that. They are not in any position to think about war.
Great Britain and Spain conclude a White Peace on the 30th of May, 1696. “Nobody wins anything”, the note says. I beg to differ.
The British have lost a ton of troops. What’s even better, is that 43,000 of them are on holiday in the Côte Azur. That leaves them just 3,000 with which to govern an empire.
Remember that somewhat respectable Spanish fleet, I mentioned at the beginning of this chapter?
Well, let’s just say, that the Spanish Armada has seen better days. Given that they did invade Leinster at some point, the end result is eerily historical. Eerily, that is, for those rooting for Spain.
Great Fun if you’re sitting on the other side of the fence, looking in.
What it does mean, is that the first war is now over. I’m starting to get a little anxious, but I have no choice but to wait. I have a plan, but it will take some time to put everything together. Step one: the transports that were sitting in Ceylon are given a new destination. I leave 6 behind, along with 10 Light Ships and 3 or 4 heavy Ships. A quick check later, and I queu up 11 more transports in Ceylon. The local harbour master will know what to do the next couple of years.
I repay my first loan. Two more to go.
Austria and Napels, in a war together against the Ottomans, become allies. Napels, who owns the entire southern half of the Italian boot, has a respectable army. Is this a threat to my plans? Have I hesitated to long again?
Three months pass. Why are those damn ships so very slow? And now Scandinavia and Poland make peace. Poland annuls their alliance with Austria, and Russia is freed for duty. At least that part of the plan is working.
However, Spain is allied with Austria, Napels and Savoy, and “leads” the coalition against France. Hmmm. Maybe I shouldn’t go through with it after all. This could get ugly. I have to wait for a perfect opportunity.
The conversion of Ceylon is done on my birthday, 1696, and my Naval Base in Poitou is finished about a month later.
March, 1697. Spain declares “Holy War” against Algiers, which surprises me, at this late stage of the game. Didn’t I read somewhere that you couldn’t do that anymore after 1650? I am probably getting my wires crossed again.
At any rate, this is not the moment I am waiting for. Algiers is not nearly powerful enough for that.
Worst case scenario would be to wait for the next Admin Tech. At level 24, you can build the Grain Depot. This gives you a 10% raise on your Land Force Limit. That would give me another 17 or 18 regiments, I hope.
I am finally about halfway to my next loan, when my heir falls ill. Calling a medic costs me 478 ducats. At least, the crown prince makes it.
Christmas Eve again. How quickly a year passes. Spain and Portugal go to war to help their respective Colonial Nations in Central America. This is one of those things that I feel somewhat ambivalent about. I don’t remember any colonies ever declaring war on each other without the prior consent of their overlord. Oh well, we play the cards we are dealt with.
I send my Bordeaux trade fleet on a quick recon mission along the Portugese coast. Spain has about 48 regiments that I can see. I hope that is the entire army they have at home. Otherwise, my little plan will really come crashing down around me.
I really should send a “Thank You” note to the Ottomans. At least they are doing what they can to win me the precious time I need.
In the Spring of 1698, I get Diplo Tech 25 and a 10% boost to my trade power.
Tamaroa becomes a part of French Louisiana, and I grab Pennyrile with its tax base of 3.
Bavaria leaves the coalition in Oktober, 1698, and I get “Cessation of Church Functions” in November. I opt for the 1197.64 ducats, even though it costs me 15% tax for 20 years. This allows me to repay another loan immediately. I am now debt-free once again.
December. Again. And still that perfect opportunity doesn’t present itself. Why did I hesitate for so long? Spain and Austria were both in over they heads, and I sat and did nothing. Damn! Maybe I should seek out another target?
Someone like Portugal. Their only ally is Vijayanagar, who owns the actual trade center of the Ceylon Trade Node. That should be feasible. Portugal has about 89,000 men. There are obviously none in Europe at the moment, seeing as how Spain can siege them unhindered. Where are they? Probably everywhere. Just like IRL, Portugal has holdings all over the world. Getting enough Warscore against them to make war meaningful, would be a ton of work.
Just to be on the safe side, I fake a claim on Kochin in Vijayanagar.
Another year passes uneventfully. The Ottomans are still occupying about half of Austria, but they don’t seem in a hurry to negotiate peace. Good. Perfect.
And then it happens. This is what I was waiting for.
Two of Spain’s allies are at war wich each other and Napels asks (and gets) Military access through France. They will never be able to join Spain. Austria’s army is nonexistent, quite literally, and the rest of the coalition are minors that wouldn’t worry me on my worst day.
At last, those transports that have been sitting in La Nouvelle Orléans, can bring the extra forces home that I need. Only 8 regiments are left behind to guard my North American colonies.
To make matters even better, I get Military Tech level 24 while the ships are en route. A quick check confirms it: Spain has tech 23, which gives me +2 Combat Width over them. If I can avoid fighting them in the Pyrenees, I should be more ready than ever.
As if they knew the time was right, the Ottomans finally sit down and talk. I am more than a little surprised that Portugal has become the warleader. Proof that I should not underestimate them.
Next chapter: showtime!!