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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

misterbean

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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!!
 
Last edited:

loup99

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What a diabolicly genius plan you had there misterbean. ;)

The 1650-limit is probably for crusades, Holy War being a casus belli given to those who complete the Religious idea group.
 

misterbean

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What a diabolicly genius plan you had there misterbean. ;)

The 1650-limit is probably for crusades, Holy War being a casus belli given to those who complete the Religious idea group.
I knew 1650 was important in some fashion regarding religious warfare. As for my plan, sometimes patience can be your best friend. But just sitting there, wondering if you've missed a golden opportunity is trying. Glad you like it.

edit: Is it possible for a war leader to change during a war? I am fairly confident that Austria was the war leader when the war against the Ottomans started, but they ended up negotiating with Portugal.
 

loup99

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edit: Is it possible for a war leader to change during a war? I am fairly confident that Austria was the war leader when the war against the Ottomans started, but they ended up negotiating with Portugal.
If a new that is more powerful join a defensive war, yes. If the war has already started and everyone has already joined, not sure, but I don't think so.
 

misterbean

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If a new that is more powerful join a defensive war, yes. If the war has already started and everyone has already joined, not sure, but I don't think so.
That is what must have happened. I guess it does make sense in a way. Portugal is a global empire, Austria is the head of a German confederacy. There is a difference.
 

loup99

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That is what must have happened. I guess it does make sense in a way. Portugal is a global empire, Austria is the head of a German confederacy. There is a difference.
Well, I have only seen Austria take over wars (due to being the emperor and me agressing the empire) but never getting overtaken like that, I guess it must be due to the weakness you have caused them by taking provinces away.
 
Last edited:

misterbean

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Well, I have only seen Austria take over wars (due to being the emperor and me afressing the empire) but never getting overtaken like that, I guess it must be due to the weakness you have caused them by taking provinces away.
At any rate, it is always good to see the game surprise you in these small and not-so-small ways from time to time, even after a couple of hundred hours of gameplay.
 

misterbean

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Sometimes you get Lucky, sometimes you don't. It might have been nice had it been the other way around, though. I wouldn't mind Spain keeping their navy and GB their army :D

I am tempted to go for a colonial war, though. At the end of the next chapter, they still have their entire army in exile in Langudoc.
 

aldriq

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Sometimes you get Lucky, sometimes you don't. It might have been nice had it been the other way around, though. I wouldn't mind Spain keeping their navy and GB their army :D
Of course, but even the Sun King can't have it all :)
 

misterbean

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misterbean

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Chapter 33: Two-Front War.


At the end of last chapter, we had reached the 18th century, and it begins with a bang. War against Spain, Austria and the rest of the coalition. Big question: what will Savoy and Napels do?




I send 40,000 men into Aragon and 39,000 into Barcelona. My army of 39,000 sitting in Tirol is big enough to force the enemy to go around. They head for Alsace-Lorraine. Austria has managed to whip up 12 mercenary regiments in no time. I watch the HRE armies assemble and make a beeline for Breisgau, so I send my troops from Tirol over there. They will be reinforced by the 21 regiments that I pulled from America, who were sitting in central France.
Russia joins me. They will eventually send a very decent force to Austria.
Savoy, of course, being in the coalition, has no choice but to join the war on the other side, even though they just got their teeth kicked in by Napels (I only saw 1 regiment in Savoy). Napels is unable to join their ally, as they are fighting a war against one of his other allies.




The Battle Of Breisgau. We both have equal tech, but my superiority in numbers is overwhelming, even with the rest of the HRE rushing in. I have more men, more discipline and better morale. What better way to start a war?



The end result is just plain overwhelming, even considering the strength of the French army.
I do not shatter them. I just stackwipe them! Remember, Austria has Military Tech level 24, just like me. And look at the pips on that Austrian general. Must be the lack of artillery, I guess.




Spain tries to relieve Barcelona, but I leave a siege force in Aragon and reinforce. 60 against 22. Shouldn’t be a problem.




The Austrian general manages to get another army together and tries the same trick again. With the same end result. 14,000 infantry against a well-balanced army three times their size. Unless I get careless, I think the war on the Austrian front is won.




I send 6,000 soldiers from Baden to an early grave in Alsaceand wipe out 2 artillery regiments in Sundgau, while my army in Spain manages to catch up to the enemy in the Battle Of Caceres before they have a chance to recover morale.




This was a bit of a close call. I had not counted on the Liègeouis army to appear where they did and had to go on a Forced March across 5 provinces to avoid losing my siege force. And again, it is a stackwipe. What is happening here? And this time, they can’t blame the absence of cannons either.

I can now safely begin to mass siege the north, I think. Notice utrecht’s army doing its duty and sieging Liège.




The Spanish had another army in Toledo, and they managed to evade me at first, but I grab them by the neck in Cordoba. Not a stackwipe this time, but very close to it. The remnants will run to Cadiz, where I finish them off. So far for the Spanish army. The only thing the enemy does, really, is to siege my colonies. Thankfully, the amount of Warscore they get for their efforts is minute by comparison.
I don’t even bother checking. Instead, I start mass sieging all of Spain.




Austria, Anhalt and Hesse try to get something going in Memingen, but the battle ends just like all the others so far: total massacre.




Only now do the Spanish make peace with Algiers. Funny men, those Spanish. No matter, my sieges are beginning to bear fruit, and I can send them to help out in the HRE.

I defeat another 14,000 in the Battle Of Linz. These are rugged Savoyard men, and they don’t die as easily as the Austrians did. Around 8,000 of them escape to fight another day.




Napels got what they wanted. This means that we now share a border. Fun times ahead there!




Utrecht went home, so I send a couple of units to Liège, to finish the sieges and to prevent them from raising fresh troops behind my back, while another army, formerly in Spain, has some fun in Krain.




This is all I have left in Spain. These men will stay there until the end of the war, as they have no use in Austria. Besides, it is only safe to leave some forces to guard against Spanish treachery.




The situation in Austria. There are even more Russians then I thought. I count a total of 42 regiments. Note the Milanese army. They had previously sieged Brescia and Trent, and they are now sieging Baden. Well done, boys! I am very pleased with your performance.




I am quickly getting to the point where I will have to decide on the exact peace terms. After the crushing defeats of the past couple of months, I am able to negotiate 100% peace deal, even though my Warscore at the time stood at “only” 86%. I take the time to do some shopping around. What matters most, is dividing Austria and weakening them to the point where they will not be able to really challenge France again for another 100 years without getting any AE in the process. I still have quite a Bad Boy Reputation in Europe as it is. Spain doesn’t get touched, apart from taking away what colonies I can.
My borders are still ugly, but now, so are Austria’s. And I end the Austria-Spanish Alliance.
You know, all in a day’s work.




The Japanese have their home island back (notice their gains in mainland Asia!) , and I manage to give Russia 2 coastal provinces in Siberia, leaving the Spanish with one colony in the area that is a total lost cause.




All the gains Spain made in the past 2 wars against Algiers have been undone and they can start all over again.




All this time, I hung on to my Admin Points, just in case I would have to core something expensive. Now, I can grab Tech level 24, and a Grain Depot, which will be build for more than half with Spanish money.

I love it when a plan comes together!
See you next time!
 

aldriq

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Nice and simple for a 2-front war... Spain is clearly not a danger at all.

So will your troops reach Moscow by 1815? :D

Louis XIV? he's been dead for ages. You're behind the times :D
I simply thought in this timeline his heirs just carried on using the title :p
 

misterbean

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Nice and simple for a 2-front war... Spain is clearly not a danger at all.

So will your troops reach Moscow by 1815? :D



I simply thought in this timeline his heirs just carried on using the title :p
When I saw the numbers involved on the first battle, I knew it was a winner. I just didn't know it would be that easy. As for Russia, I am hoping to avoid it and keep them as my friends. After all, my initial goals have been reached looong time ago. If I can clean up my borderline by 1820, I will be a happy Sun King. :laugh:
 

SacredDatura

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That was beautiful. It always makes me happy to see Austria and France cut down to size.
 

loup99

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A true Sun king victory indeed. Vive le roy! Also I approve you not taking any provinces in the peacedeal as it is probably against a coalition the best in the long-term.
 

misterbean

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That was beautiful. It always makes me happy to see Austria and France cut down to size.
You like seeing France cut down to size? How...quaint :D

A true Sun king victory indeed. Vive le roy! Also I approve you not taking any provinces in the peacedeal as it is probably against a coalition the best in the long-term.
Yeah, I thought so too.
 

misterbean

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Next 2 chapters have been written, so expect more French goodies in the coming days.
 

loup99

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