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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning
Setup

mechanical_Critter

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Setup

============================
Introduction

This campaign is a second take on a Mongol Empire early restoration (1535), a normal difficulty 'speedrun' attempt. I was very happy with how it turned out, despite many imperfections in my play, because I was able to reach a very decent timing (1535) and more importantly some interest was found in it by others, with @alexandereuiv having a very stellar 1503 seminal attempt, then @Florryworry__ landing a sub 1500 run fully streamed. Then Alexander broke again the record with a crushing run, even beating a cheater in the process (I guess it's a form of homage?).


Now onto this one. The aim was no more a fast MGE restoration, which in many way is an improper path to take, but rather in playing my first Very Hard game, and pushing it to WC if at all possible.
I'm very happy with the outcome, it was a game that stayed tense almost until the end thanks to the VH bonuses, and winning is always fun!


Needless to say, this isn't by any mean an optimal campaign. I did savescum a few times (because UI lies, which is a massive pain for full annexing colonisers for instance), but I didn't reroll RNG or alter the game. A better played, a more dedicated player, one with a better plan, or all of the above, will certainly have a good shot at not only beating this, but even do much better. It is my personal belief that it's possible to accomplish this before 1600. It should be much, much harder to accomplish. Also, this is only my third world conquest (the other 2 being a Provence > Jerusalem > France > RE one tag with no DLC quite a long time ago, and TTM around 1.23), and coincidentally my first pre 1700 WC, so there is a lot to improve on obviously. I will try to point out the main lessons for me, for whoever wants to improve on this. Good luck! ^^


=============================
DLCs

Common Sense
Mandate of Heaven
Wealth of Nations
Dharma
Art of War
Cossacks
Third Rome
Cradle of Civilisation

I do not own all eu4 DLCs, so some things were especially painful to me. For instance, maps are absolutely awful with this combination of DLCs, there are very few ways to explore tiles and in turns that adds a lot of travel time to my run. Also, no having Rule Britannia, I am missing out on coal which would have skyrocketed my income and helped me with innovativeness. I'm sure there are plenty of other stuff that I'm missing on, but maybe I don't know about them, or they wouldn't change much.

In my opinion it's a shame that so many core mechanics are locked behind DLCs, but it's not the place to debate this. I had fun, that's what matters ^^

=============================
Golden Age

'When to pop one's golden age?' is a very interesting question when planning a complex run. I didn't use mine :D I think here, it really depends what timing you want to reach. If you aim post 1610, you definitely want to pop it when you're able to reach 100 absolutism. The combination of the government reform and golden age bonuses ups the cap to 100, and it lasts long enough to let you conclude the run if your pacing is good enough. I went C&C instead, which was slower.

On the other hand, if you're trying to pre-1610 WC, then popping the golden age as early as possible lets you get all bonuses when you're most vulnerable, including the early point saving.

=============================

Idea groups

1. Humanist -> very obviously, for rebel management. This idea group is exceptionally good for hordes and allows you to conquer without really slowing down. Also as a horde it's completely fine to take an adm group first while going ham, razing provides you with the adm points to do so. Having 20% CCR in traditions help.
2. Admin -> CCR% to shorten the coring cycle. The rest isn't too bad either.
3. Diplomatic. Diplomatic allows for easier trucebreaks, the province warscore is exceptionally good when you already have a -40% modifier in the age of Reformation, and 15% else.

These are the core groups for this run, the rest is pretty much luxury.

4. Offensive. Great policies, best military group.
5. Aristocratic. As Tengri, I have some full frontal cav armies with 20% cav combat abilities, that saves some money, gives +10%. +1 siege bonus is alright, but mostly it's a 'quality of life' group rather than an effective military group: as it was, my army quality was already sufficient.
6. Exploration. I needed some explorers, conquistadors and colonists to reach out for stealthy nations hiding in the New World, as well as the Kamchakta tribes.

========================
Religion

In this run, I went full Tengri. The unrest modifiers are not exceptional, in particular you cannot get to +3 TOH with Yuan ideas, but it's alright.
There is the appeal of full frontal cav.

 
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Opening moves

mechanical_Critter

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Opening moves

I followed a similar path as my previous campaign. First, I became a Ming tributary. I never actually paid the tribute, of course, but this enabled me to go deal with the hordes on the west first. I rivalled Chagatai and Uzbek, allied Kara Del and dowed Chagatai. This is a technical war, as these hordes are loaded with troops that are eager to fight, on VH, and at their peak in 1444, but I was happy to restart a couple of times to step up to VH difficulty. This was a good stepping stone, with a bigger money pool at the end of the war, armies fully operational and coring in progress. I was ready to declare on Ming right as they were about to make Korchin submit.

At this point, Ming had broken the tribute, and the truce had run out. But I was fully prepared for war. It is very crucial to always dow for the Mandate of Heaven CB and nothing else. With the events that benefit Oirat in 1.29, this war is rather trivial to win. To give you a perspective, the Nomadic Frontier disaster never fired, because the wars were just too one sided… Find straggler stacks to stackwipe, find the emperor or his heir and win, then go to Beijing and siege them down to get a free combo deal with an occupation on all the north of China (minus the 3 provinces that Mongolia has cores on, sad).

I released Shun, and put it as a march. Releasing Shun ensure that all the events involving Shun and the rebellions will not fire. I'm really, really not sure it's the best but I haven't tried the other path.

This time I was very attentive to take land according to culture groups: I was very keen on not fighting Ming's rebels. I also left shun's land and Mongol's cores to Ming, so that they would be flipped by rebels to my vassals, for free! Sadly, I also messed up and didn't snake through these conquests so I had to sit on a lot of Overextension at that point.

Multiple wars later, this is what it looks like after consolidation, the 5k from ming acts as a timer which runs for you to fix your horde style… that is, if you don't rob everyone blind!




I had at that point some liberty desire issues to my 3 big vassals Mongolia, Shun and Yarkand (therefore my prestige isn't at 100), and I messed up integrating Mongolia, I just forgot about it. This slowed me down as I had to micro this more to compensate for my screw up.
 
Middle game

mechanical_Critter

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Middle game

The game progressed rather smoothly for me through the steppes of Central Asia. At some point Yue managed to claim the mandate, I pounced and full annexed them. Else, I tried to avoid expanding too much in china and I didn't expand at all in Manchuria, Korea, Japan and Tibet. I was facing still some pretty hefty 0.53 corruption from territories, but I formed Yuan, finished adm ideas and Ming won Beijing against me and somehow all that combined fixed magically my corruption (for a time)

My first really though opponent were the Timurids.



Not only did they completely overtake their vassals, they had managed to ally 3 indian majors and were closing on forming the Mughals. They were blocking me off my mission tree, and they were getting a bit scary, so I decided to get on their case.

An aggravating factor is that I was not able to ally his rivals (despite diplomatic attempts), and thus I had to fight upfront all these guys by myself. What I had going for me was my full frontal cav, extremely strong at that point, some money, better generals. But they had the numbers, by a large margin.

What I did was to take a few battles on the flat near Samarkand first, to rout a few of their armies and get ticking warscore going. Then, I rushed to India with half of my armies to take down the big indians, while trying to hold the other front on their still consolidating armies, but playing extremely conservatively. Sindh was treated separately: I offered them to release some tributaries, but I had to deal with Malwa and Jaunpur, because I could not allow such a powerful alliance to subsist.



I made it, but I bled. I had to use 15% army professionalism, and I had a very tough time in India peacing out Jaunpur. It worked out for me in the end, but definitely a noteworthy takedown.

I took his money, and snaked through Roh to cut him off from India, and land to pursue my mission tree. But he recovered very well despite this strong blow.

The rest of what I consider middle game was expansion through TC lands to consolidate my economy and strength, also I was aggressively culture flipping in non TC lands.



Aggressive expansion is building up, but its management is possible because I can full annex eligible coalition members before they get to join. A few coalitions declared throughout the course of the game, but I did not fight these wars, instead I surrendered subjects.

Things started to accelerate when I took Moscow (getting additional province WS%) and stepped into Europe. I got an opportunity after taking out Poland, who was weak to an expanding Ottomans (peacetime Lithuania was tapped and not fielding their force limit), and stepped right at the heart of the HRE. I took loads of AE in the process, but luckily for me enough tags were fogged that it didn't really matter.



The issue I'm facing at that moment is that I don't have a great trade setup. I either collect all china trade in Yumen and leak the rest, or (as I choose) I collect also elsewhere (I chose Bengal) but I still leak a lot. So what I decided to do was to finish off Timurids and use Persia, or at least Samarkand, as a main node.

Therefore, shortly before Absolutism, I proceeded to blitz / trucebreak Timurids, stepping up the pace.



The wars weren't very noteworthy. What's noteworthy is free Tibet :p Anyhow at that point I'm in a very comfortable position, I even have a foot in GB through Orkney, from Norwegian lands that I expanded into a full takeover of what was Scotland, so landing on GB isn't even a problem.
 
Late game

mechanical_Critter

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Late game

For absolutism, I decided to go through Court & Country disaster. In hindsight it's a terrible move, I should have just popped my golden era to reach the 100 absolutism cap… but I didn't because I wanted to see how it went ^^ It was a bit difficult, due to micro and focus being required to trigger it without breaking appart my country, but once it was on it went okay. It still slowed down my expansion due to the lowered cap with the ongoing disaster.

Interestingly, it was around that time that I noticed some of my neighbours had horrible tech, due to me not feeding everyone institutions (I embraced feudalism fast, but renaissance very slowly and the rest I didn't until very late). Thereafter is the tech mapmode:



The other big highlight of my run was taking down the Ottomans. They were decently big, as seen in the previous screenshots, and my rivals for a while, but actually tackling them was gonna be painful due to their immense army size, bigger than mine (also VH proof):



Due to my trade setup, collecting in Persia, I had some leaks that the Ottomans were exploiting: instead of leaking from low value trade nodes, I was leaking from high value trade node so they were getting a pretty penny for that. In short, I was subsidising them.

What was fortunate for me is that he didn't have big allies (maybe because big nations had mostly been neutered already), but yet they were notably allied with Brunei and Palembang, both of which medium sized countries that I needed to be dealt with separately, diverting my forces. What I had going for me was an edge of quality with 2 full points of morale against him (around 5 for him, around 7 for me), but the discipline was around equal, and he would be able to manoeuvre easily in his lands where I couldn't always pick my battles, especially not on the flat. I also had no way to break the blockade of the straits of Marmara other than to take both sides independently.

So, I was a bit surprise to stomp him as hard as I did, frankly.



It took 3 years, I full annexed Palembang and Brunei separately, and I then took 100% for him after 1M casualties. He definitely dealt some damage though, with very good army composition, numbers, and generally me having my attention split on multiple fronts.

I then truce broke him to death.

I will omit the rest of the run, which is really all about cleaning up. Spain and Portugal remained as big threats, but nothing outstanding, more annoying than anything. I did mess up and let Portugal decision-flee to Brazil, which made the clean up a bit worse.

Cleaning up was also made worse by missing the map DLCs, meaning I had to take Exploration ideas and set sail / send my conquistador around the world. Hide and seek honourable mentions: Mapuche (south america), Blackfoot, Navajo (NA), Burundi (Victoria lake region). Hide and seek winner: Kamchakta tribes.

I was pass on that and instead show a few maps:












Thank you for reading, and good luck in your own runs! ^^
 

threetypesofcorn

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I've been wanting to do this so badly, ever since I first played as Yuan - You are an inspiration!! Thank you so much for this. Love your Tibet.
 
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