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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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Welcome everyone! A few words on this project.

Country: Danzig/Gdańsk​
Why? 1) I live nearby – the province to the south (which also was a Hanseatic town but can’t, and shouldn’t, be played as a country, whether Danzig should is also questionable) 2) I wanted to give credit to Helius’s elegant Hansa system in MMP (i somehow can't supress the feeling better when it comes to portraying real Hansa than its HttT incarnation) 3) It seems way more difficult than Lűbeck or Hamburg, let alone Bremen (with its nukes ;)) 4) I wanted to portray the SRI (the workings of HRE) in the MMP

A gameplay AAR; mod: MMP Xmass edition​
(I somehow can’t get into HttT, played the demo and was put off by decisiveness of battles, and as for its many features I found only the new great CB mechanics really appealing and hmm… ‘finished’)

Start date: 24 Nov 1457​
Why? Denmark is in PU with both Norway and Sweden so poses a threat to HRE and is actually strong enough to gobble Holstein and threaten Hansa. Austria is NOT in a PU with Hungary, making it a bit weaker and allowing Hungary for its own foreign affairs. TO is (like me) weak and Poland might have a go at taking it down (as otherwise it rarely does). I played from this year many a times and recommend it to anyone.

History vs the Game​
The way Danzig is portrayed is far from historical. Generally, the 13 years war should be (Prussian/Polish(?) patriotic/nationalist(?)) rebels fighting TO together with Poland. But the game cannot handle this so Danzig momentarily from a Polish ally turns into Poland’s next target. Strangely, I don’t think the vassalship would solve the problem either as relationships between Poland and Royal Prussia, and especially Danzig, were much more complex (e.g. completely different sliders in game terms). Later in the 16th century, there was even a war or two (some call them mutinies) between Polish Kingdom and Danzingers. But for most of the time, and no doubt directly after the 13 year war, Danzig was loyal to Poland, and Poland protected the city and respected its privileges. I toyed with the idea of making Danzig a Polish vassal but decided against it as it would lead to a much more boring, though pbly more historical, game. Thus the aar will be a historical fantasy from its onset.

Cheating: I am going to do it.​
Firstly, I’m planning to change a NI and hit the event finishing ‘reneging the past’ sequence so that I’ll only take the stab and prestige hits.
Secondly, at the very beginning I did a few restarts and at times reloaded when my merchants with over 60% compete chance didn’t make it or when Venice with ‘very likely’ refused the trade agreement.
Finally, I’m going to tab-intervene if AI countries start suicidal wars (also to stop Austria from the Balkans too early)

One more thing, I’d like to see more or less historical reformation and from my experience I usually see only minors and one or two majors convert. If need arises I might ‘help’ some countries adopt the new religion. My biggest gripe is England, which in my games tends to become Papal Controller and remains staunchly Catholic (no religious turmoil). Also Poland hardly ever has Protestant issues. If you people know how I can ensure strong Protestant movement without tab-intervention, please let me know.

Survival strategy: ideas/failed attempts​
I tried to spam mercs in the 13 years war to get a prov from TO, but every time Poland peaced out early for a few ducats. So this was a big no no. I’m fully aware I need another province badly if I don’t want to be eaten alive, both Poland and TO have cores on my city and somehow Pommerania is also willing to rid me of it. Sweden and Denmark send me looks and they don’t seem to be Hansa’s best buddies anyway. I figure an island will be preferable as Poland and TO can be dealt with on the Baltic.

Out of Gotland and Ősel the latter seems an easier target (and a future drain on my economy -> it is a 1tax sparsely populated Estonian province producing wax). Yet it's a must-have as it has invaluable strategic value for me.

At first I dowed LIV immediately but somehow while the siege was going on the conflict ended in a white peace. It dawned on me that it was due to LIV breaking its vassalage with TO (and becoming a ‘new country’). So this time I waited till that moment and bang….

Comments and ideas are welcome, i've played only till the 1460s so far

Anyway, on with the show…
 
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1457-1462​

Danzig starts with an awesome burgomaster Wilhelm Jordan. I also got lucky with the first mission; it was ‘keep your capital safe’. Poland peaced with TO for a few ducats before my 3k men had a chance to set foot on the land of Warmia, so my war exhaustion went down to 0. My next mission is to expand trade in Lisbon, the reward is 50d – yes please. I get the trade agreement and send my first two merchants to a yet-half empty COT and they make it (on second thought I’d sooner it had been a richer COT, not Lisbon). Soon I have to put my mercantile expansion on hold due to lack of funds. I enact three decisions: join Hansa, pay for limited anti-pirate defences (they’ll never be that cheap again) and pass the Statute of Monopolies.




Than finally Livonian Order breaks free from TO and - curse you Ubik! - instantly allies Pskov, Riga and Lithuania. I check: none of them have a fleet that could stomp my plans so i dow Livonian Order. My stability plummets to -1 and I’m surprised that it takes so long for a opm to recover. All its freshly-acquired allies get cold feet and abandon LIV to the mercy of my brave men. I land my 3k on Ősel, blockade LIV completely with my 5galley&3cog fleet and even seem to be making a small profit from this blockade.

Out of a host of crappy advisors AIs don’t feel like taking on the 1st of January I fish out a two-star MoM; inflation-reducing advisors are vital for traders, they help you generate spendable cash. I rather like the sliders as they appear to fit Danzig’s ideals, so I don’t think I’ll tinker with them; unless you folks have some advice. As for NIs I simply don’t understand why the city has National Conscripts. Any historians/experts out there? Gameplay-wise, extra 1k or so men won’t save my neck anyway. It’s close to nothing for such predators like Poland or Scandinavians, they eat such numbers for starters. The only good thing about this NI in my situation is it reduces war exhaustion which I accumulate rather fast. I’m going to swap it for National Trade Policy.






Ősel falls in June 1459. My war score goes up to 29 but LIV won’t agree to part with the island. Well, I think ‘I can wait you out!’ and start checking for occupation flag to appear in the Ősel town-screen.

Meanwhile I use my diplomats (I could do with a bigger supply of these) to get military access from Denmark and Sweden, I try an alliance with Brandenburg but fail. Also, I sent more merchants to Lisbon – those 50d would come in handy. Poland starts insult-spamming me, soon so does Pommerania. But with Ősel -almost- in my hands I grow overconfident. I change the NI, National Conscripts into National Trade Policy (and I cheat with the event finishing the ‘reneging the past’ sequence; my only excuse is that I do believe it’s weird Danzig starts with an army idea in the first place). Of course Shrewd Commerce Practice is my next NI. However, unlike in previous versions of MM I don’t get a specialised traders modifier on top of my Hansa one, as these are mutually exclusive. This is a change for the better even if it makes me poorer. The trade aspect of the game seems perfectly balanced and polished in the Xmass edition.

This sends my stab and prestige below zero but with cheaper merchants I finish my Lisbon mission and get a new one: to establish kontor in Venice. Hmm… it says I have to get the trade agreement with Venice, which is ‘very likely’ but took me three reloads! – yes I cheated again; I also need 5 merchants in Venice and relations above 180, ok doable. But the reward is: I lose 80d and get sponsoring a kontor modifier. I want to achieve that but first I need these 80d in my pocket. So I get only 4 merchants in Venice and seek the next richest COTs… Alexandria and Astrakhan, followed by Lűbeck and Thrace. I ask the Mamluks and OE for trade agreement and the former agree, so off to Alexandria where my merchants have an over 60% chance to compete others away, I send two and fail… so I reload again (it won’t be the last time, but the last one which I see pure cheating). By the end of 1462 I have 23 merchants placed altogether, my TE is 100% I earn 35d from trade, yearly income in cash is 38.5. The people of Danzig seem to applaud the burgomaster’s wise policies.


But the Livonians won’t surrender and I see that Ősel has ‘colony surveyed’ modifier(?), this pbly blocks the occupied flag, so there’s no way I can long-wait them. Darn! I decide to go on the offensive: my 3k men venture on the mainland where they kill two 1k armies (a lot of manoeuvring , day-counting and AI luring&trapping). I happen to get a lucky event with all that and I went for +1 tax in Danzig rather than stability.




Finally LIV positions its bulk army in Estland, maybe readying to attack the island as soon as it’ll be possible so I go for the capital. Miraculously, Livonians stay put in Estland. I also score a diplomatic success: England offers alliance! Naturally, I accept. (I admit I counted on it since it happened in my previous failed attempts with Danzig.) As for Lűbeck and other Hanseatic countries or even German minors I give them a miss, for the time being.




While I’m busy with all this Austria dows Ragusa. This is my pet hate, but you can imagine my smile when it turns out to be one-to-one war and I see Austrian ports blockaded, apparently Ragusan fleet saved their little country. I check Austrian military accesses and they do not have one through Hungary. I chuckle. One more reason why I like Nov 1457 start so much.

Other interesting things: Naples is the Papal Controller, the Pope (with Rome occupied by Antijudaists) attacked Urbino (like me, not HREed yet!) Venice didn’t falter and seems to be doing the dirty work for His hostile Holiness, Tver went for Yaroslavl, which emboldened Muscovites who did the same. So much for wars in Europe.
…and the ledger says I’m the richest nation in the world -!- marginally richer than Venice! But not everything is coming up roses…


While the siege of Kurland is progressing a new year begins with a bang. I was so ‘oh boy!’ when this happened that I didn’t take a screenshot. And believe me the temptation to reload was stronger than ever. But what do I fear? I’m not alone in this fight, right?
 

axzhang

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I will be following this! Also, are you still playing your Savoy game?
I agree on your assessment of MMU with HTT - it severely imbalances the mod. However, its one redeeming feature within the HRE is the concept of trade leagues and trade league wars. The ability to safeguard the Hansa as the richest CoT in the world by securing trade rights from Asia makes an alternate history where Lubeck thrives possible.

Also, have you considered editing the common NI file on Danzig's starting ideas? I feel that switching out national_conscripts for a naval idea would be justified in your case.
What are your goals for this game? Are you going to expand into the Baltic?
 

Urza

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Cool, another MMP2 AAR. And an interesting choice of country, too. You seem to like difficulty, but I wish you luck not to be treated too badly by your neighbours. Maybe make your country more "Naval" orientated? Are you going to stay as an imperial city?
 

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Sounds good. Following. :)
 

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axzhang: as for my Savoy game, it's on hold for the time being; but do check it from time to time as i'm planning to revisit it;
i'm not sure if i share your praise on HttT trade league ect concept; there's a very good HttT Hansa aar on the boards:http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/showthread.php?t=464774 really enjoyable read; but both it and my few tries at HttT demo made me feel that real historical Hansa spirit has been lost somewhere, Hansa has neve been a state and i find it odd it can be played as one

i switched National Conscripts for National Trade Policy, i did it in the game and not through a save-edit so that i could suffer immediate stab hit and when 'razing your heritage' fired prestige hit too; of course it's nothing like going through the whole reneging the past sequence

the question about goals is interesting; i do want to play a Hanseatic town, Osel is simply my insurance policy; i don't plan expansion (no Mare Nostrum) but you never know; i'm toying with an idea of becoming late coloniser (alliance with England gave me food fot thought)

i still remember your Tunisian adventure, are you planning to entertain us with sth new?

Zitanier: welcome! i hope it won't be an epic fail

Ar7: i believe more of us do so; we cheat/restart/reload, at least at the beginning, to give our faction a good start; i just admit to doing so :p

Urza: i am going to become more naval, MMP sort of pushes me that way anyway; as for a change of government: to become a merchant republic i need at least 3 cities; i also have 'civic consnsus' +5TE modifier, i might lose it with one more prov
I wish you luck not to be treated too badly by your neighbours.
Pommerania has just attacked me!!! (waves a clenched fist anfgrily ;))

JDMS: welcome on board!
 

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1463-1465​

So where were we? Ah yes, Pommerania attacked me; but I’m not alone! There’s mighty England, right? Or is there? Hmm, no. Admittedly my fair-weather ally England deserted me. No worry, I still have the support of my powerful guarantors: Trier and Cologne (why on earth them?) and surely they’ll send their mighty armies to my rescue in no time. Ok, bad joke. But not all hope is lost one more country had guaranteed me and it’s my neighbour… TO -?!- I guess they see me as their target, that’s why, but I don’t complain as the Teutonic Knights have the only military force around which might come to defend the city. My men are in Kurland, remember?

Talking about the siege there. Pommerania’s aggression woke the Livonians up and they start marching south, no doubt with a view of lifting my siege, which is at 100%... if only I could bribe the defenders; I mean there is such a spy mission in MMP but I don’t think it would make any difference now when the siege score is 100%, or would it? I get jumpy, murmur, ‘please, please’ and miracle of miracles I still have a fighting chance. Had I lost the siege, the war with Pommerania would have been decided, it would be game over. Sigh of relief.


In the peace deal I take Ősel and 75d (!). Wow! Why hadn’t the Livonians been building more troops? The island (islands actually) gives me a ‘fighting’ chance. It was a close shave.


Meanwhile the 4/6k Pommeranians besiege defenceless Danzig (they hold 0/3k in reserve). My men are somewhere else, remember? I quickly send them back to the island (and it’s not Ibiza), before Pommeranian fleet, stronger than mine: 10 galleys and 3 cogs sets off to block them. 3 cogs… this will turn out crucial. (Those who read my Savoyard aar might now what I’m hinting at. Btw it seems I keep repeating myself in my strategies.:eek:o) My fleet turns tail and hides in the safety of Ősel ports. I hope level 3 fort in Danzig will slow down the siege, but this is cold comfort as I can’t do anything. Unless the Knights intervene… but they fiddle while Danzig is burning! And the siege is progressing worryingly fast. The worst about it is helplessness. I can do nothing. Spam mercs in Ősel? How will I transport them down? Send my 3k men through Livonian Order territory to Danzig? But naturally the Livonians say ‘Impossible!’ to my military access request.


Anyway in the screen above you can finally see the Danzig province. Why didn’t I put a screen in the previous update? Also, you see that despite Danzig going under Hansa is thriving. This is what I love and admire about Hansa in MMP; its up and downs are resultant of all little 'Hanseatic factors'; that means even if i'm doing fine but another Hansa members is in trouble, it affects the whole league, thus i feel prompted to help my co-Hansateans. Hansa is much more a league than a state.

Ubik’s ‘abhorrence of naval matters’ kicked in too. I do need a naval NI (the Pommeranians have two). No wonder my merchants go from delighted to content, I don’t blame them. I’m actually surprised they’re still ‘content with the direction the country is taking’. Their city appears to fall any day soon. I admit I’m a bit surprised at the fast rate of this siege. I keep wondering whether scorching the earth would have made any difference, but I believe it would have only lengthened the siege and possibly increased Pommerania’s war exhaustion; it wouldn’t save the city.




So things are bad. Can they get worse? Sure. In November Poland dows, and brings Lithuania and Masovia into the fun. Ouch! Of course my guarantors back me up, so with Danzig under Pommeranian siege this second conflict turns into Polish – Teutonic war. Poland marches on Thorn/Toruń, Masovia besieges Ostpreussen and the Teutons move southwards, pbly to capture Płock. ‘Glory of Hansa’ is lost - was it because of me?


A year passes and Novembet 1464 rolls in and Danzig is still standing. There were changes to the south though. Poland storms Płock in a few days and the Knights are out of this war, I can count only on Trier and Cologne. Yeah, right. Btw, Toruń is in Polish hands two years ahead of schedule, will Danzig follow suit? It falls in early December to Pommeranians, a sad Xmass MMP Edition in Danzig this year. The belligerents (I feel as if I was watching a party which I hadn’t been invited to) reshuffle their troops. And the Knights march to recapture Danzig. Blessing? I’m a bit worried, not because of the historical example of 1308, but because of Polish troops like vultures waiting to step in as soon as Danzig is free again. Also, I’m reduced to a small state. What else will I be reduced to?






In April I get a peace offer from Pommerania. And reject it. It was a tough decision, but I thought: what difference would it make if instead of Pommeranian Polish troops occupied Danzig. Anyway, there’s still hope the Knights will retake the city. The date on the occupied flag says 1475.7.16. For those unfamiliar with MMP this means at that time I may lose Danzig due to the ‘long wait’ event (Ironic, I hoped to use this tried - by me - strategy on Ősel). But somehow I hope Pommerania won’t be so persistent if they are already sending a peace offer. A minor Estonian revolt was a nuisance rather than a problem. That’s how my two provs fare:


And than in October. The Order and the Duke of Pommerania resolve their grievances and reach an agreement… I’m left alone (I mean with Trier and Cologne, they haven’t showed up yet but surely they’re coming) against Pommerania, Poland, Lithuania and Masovia. With no room for manoeuvre. My war exhaustion has climbed dangerously high and is rising. This starts being a serious burden on my economy. Will Ősel save me?



 

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Hmm, you're in a pretty bad position, but at least, for the moment, Osel looks unassailable.
 

Urza

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These naughty Pommeranians.. :p Strange from a historic perspective to see Poland at war with you so soon, but I guess that is one of those 'intricacies' the engine cannot really represent well. Sadly, it seems they mainly see you as a juicy OPM bordering them which they have a core on. I wonder what will hapen now, though. Are you trusting the AI does not know how to effectively invade Ösel?
 
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This looks tough, even with cheating :eek: :) I understand the switching of NI (in fact you could have done it editing the save game), but re-loading to place a merchant in Alexandria... isn't it a bit over the top? :rolleyes:

Can you lose your capital to the 'long wait' event?
 

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JDMS: it seems, but Pommeranian fleet ountumbers mine...

Urza: yes, i did hope AI will (once again) prove incapable of invading an island and ...read the next post
as for Poland-Danzig thing, the game could do with some other form of relationship than vassalage; i vaguely remember a discussion on protector-protegee idea; i mean to me it seems as ahistorical to see Danzig fully part of Pol (with Polish NIs and sliders at it:confused:!) as to see it completely independent or vassalised -> to-be-annexed sooner or later; maybe MMthe Game will come up with something?

aldriq: :eek:o about Alexandria :eek:o,
with NIs-switching i wanted at least some trouble; yes, a capital can be 'long-waited' and lost;
as for cheating, i admitted to it when i did it; from now on i plan to do it mostly to stop AI from comitting suicide, or to make things more probable (e.g. within HRE check if the attacker had a casus belli and than exclude the Emperor from the war - a mechanism which is in HttT); each time i'll do it you'll be informed
 

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1465-1467​

At war with Pommerania and Poland, with the city lost, Danzig struggles alone… well, there are Trier and Cologne, don’t forget. Huh! Miserably sitting and waiting - do I see a silver lining? England. So they come back… as I am in no position to turn up my nose at the number and quality of my allies I accept. They might prove more useful next time… if there is next time.


My army on freshly-conquered Ősel is put to test. I win pbly thanx to my leader …and the fact AI is slow to grasp it could do way better with one or two more cogs. I had a similar situation with Savoy and I don’t hesitate to take advantage of it. I believe I should have conscripted 1k of mercs to play it safe but somehow the idea hadn’t crossed my mind.


Peace! Fickle goddess of Fortune looks favourably on Danzig. Now, I think it’s understandable, after all they hadn’t even crossed our border, hadn’t occupied even an inch of my land nor killed a single peasant, let alone a soldier. For Poland, but for the acquisition of Thorn/Toruń, this war might have been a failure. I was saved by… hmm… Pommerania. Had they not been occypying Danzig…


Frankly, this peace doesn’t solve any of my problems. I’m in no position to recapture Danzig. My war exhaustion is getting astronomical and my land support limit is 2 while I have 3k troops (naval ratio is 8 to 8). War exhaustion is effecting so many things one of them is TRADE! – my main source of income (TE plummets below 70% and the ledger says I earn only18d yearly). With half of my country (one might argue that, taking the value of my two provs, much more than half) occupied war exhaustion is accumulating so quickly I need to decide: lose money or go for inflation. I inflate. Hoping Pommerania will repeat its peace offer soon. As for cash, I figure they’ll ask for all my money, so I go on a spending spree: Chartered Markets and Extensive Provincial Defensive Measures in Ősel. (The latter are pbly an overkill and I need them much more in Danzig, which is a COT but, hmm at present Danzig is not mine…) It is scary, but i like how war exhaustion works in MMP.


In October 1466 Pommerania tries to push me off Ősel again. They should have sent at least their Duke to stand a chance. Or send another 3k army immediately; they do have manpower. There are times I think AI is so cunning but in this respect it proves rather incompetent.


In December Lűbeck offers alliance and I accept, thinking if I get out of this I’ll need some more friendly ships in the Baltic in the future. There comes 1467 and I become restless, no peace offer from Pommerania; my general dies and for the lack of anything sensible to do I pass Merchant Shipping Act. I take in that most of my decisions increase my stab costs… can’t grow too big (not that I‘m aiming at that).


But April 1467 brings finally the most joyous news: peace offer! Readily accepted. I didn’t do much fighting in these wars. Still it feels as if I won! The armies of Trier and Cologne which undoubtedly were on their way to relieve Danzig can now head home.


Let’s have a look round Europe as I didn’t bother with its goings for the past few years. Venice did its job well and the Pope vassalised Urbino. Austrian attack on Ragusa ended in a white peace. Burgundy gobbled Friesland and is now at war with Austria (Emperor). Hungary annexed Wallachia. And Tver beat to it Muscovy and conquered Yaroslavl. France absorbed Foix.
For Danzig it's time for peace. Or, is it?
 

unmerged(90806)

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1467-1469

It’s time to clean up now. Most important things: reduce war exhaustion and come up with some way to secure our safety. The war exhaustion issue will have to take its course. To find a protector I’m ready to join the HRE but the Empire lacks the prestige to receive me as a new member. I’ll have to keep an eye on this. Surely, Austria would defend me better than England or Trier.




The Danzigers seem to be overjoyed at their regained freedom. Pity, I can’t take advantage of this free +1 stab but my naval research will profit greatly from this event.
The people of Ősel are not so loyal and they decide to rebel. I hesitantly convert my ruler into general before I hit the ‘suppress the rebels’ option. It’s a risk: I wouldn’t like to lose such a great burgomaster. Luckily, he puts down the revolt with ease.

As I know my ally England will sooner or later attack an Irish minor, I spend my diplomats on insulting Irish kingdoms to lower relations. Not the noblest thing but I want to assist England in its wars to build up trust between our nations. I also get military access from Pommerania, maybe weird and it won’t prevent them from attacking me again if they want, but either they’ll stab will suffer more or they’ll send me a warning signal revoking the access. Next year I get a new guarantor. How weird is this?


And as ‘the Glory of Hansa’ returns I decide to mint and splash out a bit. I hire a 6-star banker. AI doesn’t seem to like bankers and they are plentiful in the pool, they might be second-rate MsoM but I’m not complaining. For a month a take on a sheriff to enact biannual fairs in Danzig than I replace him with one more 4-star banker. Advisor maintenance exceeds army cost, but with inflation in check I deem it worth it. Naturally, I also build Extensive Measures in Danzig. I have been lucky so far with the pirates, pbly due to my national limited defence, but I know they’ll show up sooner or later. I also order construction of anchorages in my provs, the benefits will be marginal for now (small boost to naval support limit) but I hope to expand the MM building chain later; although I now from my earlier tries that, unlike with Wetern European advisors, in the Eastern European group naval advisors are far and between and hard to find. In January 1469 my inflation reaches 1 and I stop minting; I still have 320d left in my treasury. The new year greets me with ‘Peace and Prosperity’ event netting me +5 prestige (reaches 7 in February).




But that tranquillity is marred by, I guess, an extreme-slider-position event: ‘Tower of Babel’. Funny, I got it not even two years after ‘Perfect Patchwork’. Are they both triggered by maxed plutocracy or decentralisation? With no investment in it, it’ll take till December 1470 to regain stability; pretty long for a two-prov minor if you ask me. (‘Reduced provincial Liberties’ have sth to do with that, no doubt.)


In June my commercial faction is delighted again. This will be short-lived but I ‘attack’ Thrace while the discount lasts. This mercantile boom coincides with Denmark invading Holstein and more importantly my ally England requesting my help in its Irish affairs. I wouldn’t hesitate if it wasn’t for my still high war exhaustion.


As for wars, there’s also the old Burgundy vs Emperor conflict going on. Also OE decided to get rid of the Knights (and Cyprus) and is being helped by its ally - the Mamluks :confused:.
 

Rabid

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You should definitely go for balanced sliders IMO. Even as a minor trading power the forcelimit bonuses and inflation reduction are extremely useful, plus you never have to worry about those nasty random events. Though you do start off with some decent slider settings...
 

JDMS

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Well you survived the last war by the skin of your teeth and now England asks you to join another? Did you accept?
Good update. :)