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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

merrick

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Italy, 1419. A penninsula divided, most of all against itself. A penninsula in transition, but no-one knows what to. The long struggle of the Emperors and the Popes - and their puppet factions, the Ghibellines and Guelphs - has long ruined any tradition of unified government. And when in the last century the wars at last subsided, a new wave of conflict rose up to replace it, the struggle between the trading cities, Venice and Genoa and Pisa and Naples, a struggle for control not of Italy's land but its wealth. This too ended, in exhaustion rather than victory, leaving a land of mini-states, petty feudal lordships interspersed with oligarchic free cities, all armed against each other and their own internal foes. There will be no Italian equivalent of the centralised monarchies that are rising in France and Spain and England. It is not that the throne of Italy is empty, it is that there is no throne to claim.

In Italy, all power is illegitimate. There is the Church, there is the Empire, but the Popes are corrupt and the Emperor is far away. There are Dukes and Counts and even Princes, but the noble families of these days produce more bastards than lawful heirs and inheritance often turns on the point of a sword. There are republics, the great trading cities, but they are torn by faction, dominated by wealth, ever prey to some ambitious demagogue or unscrupulous intriguer. This is the condottiere century, where a leader of men buys their loyalty for coin and sells it onwards for status and power. Who deserves power? He who can wield it (Machiavelli did not invent Italian politics, he merely described it). How is it wielded? In defence, in ambition, in the eternal search for more. What if it is lost? There was no injustice, another deserved it more.

Welcome to Italy, signore. Welcome to the most divided part of the divided land, the most corrupt, unstable, turbulent statelet of them all - and thus the one most pregnant with possibilities. Welcome to Genoa.

Genoa's arm was long, once. A hundred years ago, its bankers outdid the Florentines, its traders matched the Venetians, its influence was felt across the Mediterranean and beyond. But the long losing war with Venice, and the rise of the Turk in the East, ruined its Levantine empire. By 1419, all that is left in Genoese hands are the rump of her Black Sea holdings and the island of Corsica - and the city's rule even there is tenuous, challenged by local rebellion and powerful factions at home. But she still has influence - Genoese bankers and mercenaries are common from Constantinople to Flanders - and she still has wealth. The markets are full still and the port bustles, even if the ships now come from foreign lands. And in Italy, wealth is power.

Genoa is a republic, though an unusual one. Like the rest of Italy, the citizens are divided into nobles and commoners, and so the republic must be carefully balanced - half the public offices for the nobility, half for the populo. In practice the distinction means little and is coming to mean less.A de-facto ruling governing class has arisen, mostly from rich commoner families, who now control the dogeship and and the council. Unlike the other cities of Italy, the populo grasso divide themselves not by families but by clans, 'alberghi', ready-made factions in internal disputes. Each claims a section of the city, centred on its own piazza where its own buildings cluster - stronghouse, warehouse, bathhouse, church.

In Genoa, the council is weak - it meets only at the request of the doge, and control of government finances has been farmed out to a seperate organisation, the Bank of Saint George. The doge should be strong - but the doge serves only as long as he commands the support of the popular assemblies. In Genoa, a popular assembly all-too-often means a gathering of partisans of one faction or another, all armed to the teeth and disinclined to hear opposing viewpoints. The Bank is theoretically just a commercial organisation - it administers the public debt, secured against the state's revenues. It has no political authority at all, but it controls the money, and in Italy, money does not talk, it screams.

Welcome to Genoa, signore.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Game notes:

Playing Genoa (natch), v1.08, vanilla GC, Very Hard/Normal.
Objectives:
To survive.
To dominate Italy.
To make as much money as possible. (Conquest is for nobles, merchants prefer cash.)
To have an interesting story to tell.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Historical note:

Historical rulers of Genoa in this period usually secured themselves against the city's impossible internal divisions by vassalising the state to an external protector (France, Spain, Milan or Ferrara). I will not be resorting to this (unless things get really desperate).
 

Rythin

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Good idea but too simple goals :p


R. who prefers evil warmongering (check screenies in BohemiAAR in sig)
 

unmerged(31000)

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You think the goals are too simple. I disagree, Genoa gets attacked by almost everyone. France, Savoy, Austria Venice etc etc. I think the goals are ok.
 

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I have no problem with his goals. I have no problem with any goals that aren't "First I'll kill him, then I'll kill him, then I'll forceconvert all of them, then I'll have lunch, then..."
 

unmerged(33557)

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If you don't make do allianze with her.
But if you meka an allianze with France or Austria and do war every 7/8 year and every war you conquer the States with 1 province only it's nearly than you survive
 

merrick

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March 1419. It Begins....

Council chambers, Palazzo Campofregoso

The afternoon was no more than warm, and the meeting had been going on for less than half an hour, but the room was already unpleasantly stuffy. Giacomo Bracelli, Chancellor of the Republic of Genoa, was uncomfortably aware of the tightness of his too-formal clothes, of the first pricklings of sweat down his back. Sternly, he told himself not to fidget. As Chancellor, it was his duty to pay his fellow-councillors proper respect - or at least the appearance thereof. He got little enough back as it was - it did not help that despite his office he was the youngest man in the room by some years - and he would never hear the end of it if he was seen to succumb to the heat in March! Bracelli struggled to maintain the dignity appropriate to the Republic's second-highest official, as the debate rambled on, the room grew still more airless - and a little voice in the back of his mind told him no-one would care if he loosened his doublet - or even if he laid his head down on the table and went to sleep.

It was not as if the meeting mattered. This stuffy little chamber tucked into the back of the Palazzo Campofregoso was proof of that. Tommaso de Campofregoso ruled Genoa with his native wit, the support of his powerful clan, a small army of agents and agitators on the streets - and little help from the Council. In fact, the Doge usually only summoned his 'advisors' when he wanted something not decided - which was what was happening now.

They were not even debating the question set before them - the meeting had got sidetracked almost as soon as it had started. Arnaldo Adorno (curse him!) had insisted on raising the question of the Doge's recent administrative reforms, and of course old Grimaldi had taken the bait. Once the Bank's representative had been drawn into suggesting increased levies to cover the expenses, half the council had rushed to object - and to blame the Doge, which was what Adorno had intended all along.

Riccardo Lomellini was standing now, his thin, scratchy voice reeling off an endless list of criticisms which - even to Bracelli's half-attentive ear - would have been more coherent if he could have decided whether to castigate the Doge and the Bank for pouring resources into such a backward and barbarous place as Corsica, or for not having done so twenty years earlier. Not that it mattered; the man stank of bile even more than perfume. His family had once controlled Corsica under licence from the Commune - until they lost the license a dozen years ago for failing to deliver the promised revenue and for provoking a rebellion that took a year to put down. It was only recently that the Lomellini, with help from the Adorno - forever looking for allies - had returned to prominence. Listening to Riccardo's self-justifying screed, Bracelli reflected that ten years among the masses had taught them little humility.

A man of better judgement would simply have ignored Riccardo's rantings - even his patron Adorno was looking disgusted - but Giocomo Grimaldi had spent sixty years learning to read figures better than people. His rose in return, to reply in a moneychanger's monotone, interrupted only by bouts of peering and blinking. In five full minutes, he did not even mention Corsica, or taxes, preferring to ramble on about diminished reserves, cost of transaction, short-term imbalances, discounted future returns. Most of the men in the room were successful merchants, and St George's representative might have been speaking in Georgian for all the sense any of them could make of it. Sympathy began to flow back towards Lomellini by reflex. He curled his narrow beard and openly bit his nails at Grimaldi. Adorno smiled. Gugliemo Campofregoso banged down his winecup and reached for another bottle.

Bracelli winced at the sound, and glowered down the table at his nearest contemporary. A Campofregoso on the Council was inevitable - everywhere there was an Adorno there had to be a Campofregoso - but this worthless fop was a walking summary of Doge Tommaso's contempt for the institution. Bracelli had known him for three years, and if Gugleimo had talents beyond dressing, dicing and drinking, he had been careful to keep them hidden. At the moment, the bottle was taking his full attention. Judging by his fumbling, he was already three parts drunk. Bracelli hoped quietly that he would shortly be incapable of speech.

Giovanni Risso had interrupted Grimaldi. Bracelli mentally hugged him.
"So, if I understand you correctly, you are saying that the Commune is running out of money?" Risso was known universally on the Council as 'The Mouse' for his small stature and nervous, twitching nature. For him to interrupt anyone, even Grimaldi, was almost unheard of. Right now, Bracelli was too relieved to wonder who had put him up to it.

Grimaldi was surprised, too. "Well, yes, in layman's terms. Our liquid reserves are down to a little over half what they were last year, and I project that they will continue to fall in the short term. Of course, I it must be said -"

No-one was listening. Most of them were trying to talk at once. Arnaldo Adorno won out through force of personality. "So, a single year has cost us half our treasures. What will another one bring, I wonder?" Adorno's voce was like the rest of him, rich and controlled. His prematurely-white hair and eyebrows had earned him the nickname 'il Bianco', and with his generous belly and unlined face, he could pass for everyone's favourite uncle. It didn't make Bracelli like him any better.

Grimaldi looked at his papers. "Well, I would forecast -"

Adorno silenced him with a gesture. "A matter for our Doge's attention, I would think." There was a general mutter of assent. "A pity he spends so much of it currying favour with mere peasants and artisans." Adorno looked across at Bracelli and smiled genially.

Bracelli met his gaze levelly. The Doge's recent reforms relaxing restrictions on the popolo minuto, the lesser commoners, had been one of Bracelli's pet projects, and Adorno well knew it. But it was a clumsy blow, by il Bianco's standards.
"Does the Council recommend that taxes be raised?" Bracelli asked as blandly as he could.
"Of course not. It recommends that he cease squandering the Commune's resources on unwashed rabble."
"I thought we were squandering it on administering Corsica?"

There was a short, angry silence. It was broken from an unexpected direction.
"That is another thing. I notice that among all these new projects there is no word of Kaffa or the Chersonese." Paolo Bonifacio stretched a ringed hand across the table. "It seems that our lands in the East are neglected."
"It would not be cost-effective," Grimaldi explained. "A simple calculation of expected returns. The projected gain in net revenues, in comparison to the returns available elsewhere -"
"I know nothing of usury." Bonifacio piously raised his eyes. "But I do know that our Holy Mother entrusted us with this task, to bring true Christian rule to the schismatics. Will you set aside this duty - for lack of a little coin?" Bracelli groaned inwardly. Bonifacio was a Cardinal's bastard, and well-connected in Rome. Church opposition to the reforms was something neither he nor Genoa needed.
"There is no question of neglecting Kaffa," he began.
"Rather of abandoning it, I believe?" Adorno finished for him, with the casual ease of one who has been preparing the strike all day..
Bracelli's jaw dropped. How had Adorno learned that? He stuggled for a reply, but none came.
"Kaffa is dead." Gugliemo Campofregoso lurched to his feet, spilling his wine across the table. "Kerch is dead. They died years ago. You all know it."
"I most definitely do not!" Bonifacio was affronted. "What in Heaven's name do you mean?"
"Please, Signore Campofregoso," Adorno oiled. "Enlighten us. Is it mere shades with whom we trade? Ghosts to whom we preach the Word?"
"Preach to their souls if you want. Their bodies are the Turks'."
Bonfacio had recovered balance. "Do you fear the Turk, man? Are you no Christian? Do you have no faith in the blessing of God?"
"My father took the Cross to Nicopolis. My father died at Nicopolis."
Bonifacio looked away. "The Turks can hardly march an army to Kaffa," he mumbled.
Gugliemo snorted. "They don't need to. Smyrna is theirs. Salonika is theirs. Soon all Greece will be theirs. They can hold the Straits and the Aegean. Kaffa is dead. The East is gone."
There was silence in the room. Gugliemo seemed to become aware that everyone was looking at him. "Well, it is," he mumbled.

* * * * * * * * * *

This got long - second part shortly

CatKnight, Kingmaker - Usually AI Genoa end up as part of France - they take Savoy quickly and either conquer Liguria or ally and diploannex.
Rythin - If I wanted to warmonger, I'd pick a country with more than two CB shields. ;)
Giamaica - Start conquering one-province minors in 1.08 on VH and life gets interesting real quick. I tried Mecklemburg, jumped out of the Hansa alliance and annexed Oldenburg. A central German alliance DOWed, I annexed one of them in self-defence - and the whole of Northern Europe jumped in. I beat the Burgundian alliance and the Hansa alliance and even the French alliance but Sweden and Denmark were to much for me. :(

Does every one else kep getting 'server is too busy' when they try to post?
 

unmerged(33557)

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Aug 24, 2004
370
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merrick said:
Council chambers, Palazzo Campofregoso

The afternoon was no more than warm, and the meeting had been going on for less than half an hour, but the room was already unpleasantly stuffy. Giacomo Bracelli, Chancellor of the Republic of Genoa, was uncomfortably aware of the tightness of his too-formal clothes, of the first pricklings of sweat down his back. Sternly, he told himself not to fidget. As Chancellor, it was his duty to pay his fellow-councillors proper respect - or at least the appearance thereof. He got little enough back as it was - it did not help that despite his office he was the youngest man in the room by some years - and he would never hear the end of it if he was seen to succumb to the heat in March! Bracelli struggled to maintain the dignity appropriate to the Republic's second-highest official, as the debate rambled on, the room grew still more airless - and a little voice in the back of his mind told him no-one would care if he loosened his doublet - or even if he laid his head down on the table and went to sleep.

It was not as if the meeting mattered. This stuffy little chamber tucked into the back of the Palazzo Campofregoso was proof of that. Tommaso de Campofregoso ruled Genoa with his native wit, the support of his powerful clan, a small army of agents and agitators on the streets - and little help from the Council. In fact, the Doge usually only summoned his 'advisors' when he wanted something not decided - which was what was happening now.

They were not even debating the question set before them - the meeting had got sidetracked almost as soon as it had started. Arnaldo Adorno (curse him!) had insisted on raising the question of the Doge's recent administrative reforms, and of course old Grimaldi had taken the bait. Once the Bank's representative had been drawn into suggesting increased levies to cover the expenses, half the council had rushed to object - and to blame the Doge, which was what Adorno had intended all along.

Riccardo Lomellini was standing now, his thin, scratchy voice reeling off an endless list of criticisms which - even to Bracelli's half-attentive ear - would have been more coherent if he could have decided whether to castigate the Doge and the Bank for pouring resources into such a backward and barbarous place as Corsica, or for not having done so twenty years earlier. Not that it mattered; the man stank of bile even more than perfume. His family had once controlled Corsica under licence from the Commune - until they lost the license a dozen years ago for failing to deliver the promised revenue and for provoking a rebellion that took a year to put down. It was only recently that the Lomellini, with help from the Adorno - forever looking for allies - had returned to prominence. Listening to Riccardo's self-justifying screed, Bracelli reflected that ten years among the masses had taught them little humility.

A man of better judgement would simply have ignored Riccardo's rantings - even his patron Adorno was looking disgusted - but Giocomo Grimaldi had spent sixty years learning to read figures better than people. His rose in return, to reply in a moneychanger's monotone, interrupted only by bouts of peering and blinking. In five full minutes, he did not even mention Corsica, or taxes, preferring to ramble on about diminished reserves, cost of transaction, short-term imbalances, discounted future returns. Most of the men in the room were successful merchants, and St George's representative might have been speaking in Georgian for all the sense any of them could make of it. Sympathy began to flow back towards Lomellini by reflex. He curled his narrow beard and openly bit his nails at Grimaldi. Adorno smiled. Gugliemo Campofregoso banged down his winecup and reached for another bottle.

Bracelli winced at the sound, and glowered down the table at his nearest contemporary. A Campofregoso on the Council was inevitable - everywhere there was an Adorno there had to be a Campofregoso - but this worthless fop was a walking summary of Doge Tommaso's contempt for the institution. Bracelli had known him for three years, and if Gugleimo had talents beyond dressing, dicing and drinking, he had been careful to keep them hidden. At the moment, the bottle was taking his full attention. Judging by his fumbling, he was already three parts drunk. Bracelli hoped quietly that he would shortly be incapable of speech.

Giovanni Risso had interrupted Grimaldi. Bracelli mentally hugged him.
"So, if I understand you correctly, you are saying that the Commune is running out of money?" Risso was known universally on the Council as 'The Mouse' for his small stature and nervous, twitching nature. For him to interrupt anyone, even Grimaldi, was almost unheard of. Right now, Bracelli was too relieved to wonder who had put him up to it.

Grimaldi was surprised, too. "Well, yes, in layman's terms. Our liquid reserves are down to a little over half what they were last year, and I project that they will continue to fall in the short term. Of course, I it must be said -"

No-one was listening. Most of them were trying to talk at once. Arnaldo Adorno won out through force of personality. "So, a single year has cost us half our treasures. What will another one bring, I wonder?" Adorno's voce was like the rest of him, rich and controlled. His prematurely-white hair and eyebrows had earned him the nickname 'il Bianco', and with his generous belly and unlined face, he could pass for everyone's favourite uncle. It didn't make Bracelli like him any better.

Grimaldi looked at his papers. "Well, I would forecast -"

Adorno silenced him with a gesture. "A matter for our Doge's attention, I would think." There was a general mutter of assent. "A pity he spends so much of it currying favour with mere peasants and artisans." Adorno looked across at Bracelli and smiled genially.

Bracelli met his gaze levelly. The Doge's recent reforms relaxing restrictions on the popolo minuto, the lesser commoners, had been one of Bracelli's pet projects, and Adorno well knew it. But it was a clumsy blow, by il Bianco's standards.
"Does the Council recommend that taxes be raised?" Bracelli asked as blandly as he could.
"Of course not. It recommends that he cease squandering the Commune's resources on unwashed rabble."
"I thought we were squandering it on administering Corsica?"

There was a short, angry silence. It was broken from an unexpected direction.
"That is another thing. I notice that among all these new projects there is no word of Kaffa or the Chersonese." Paolo Bonifacio stretched a ringed hand across the table. "It seems that our lands in the East are neglected."
"It would not be cost-effective," Grimaldi explained. "A simple calculation of expected returns. The projected gain in net revenues, in comparison to the returns available elsewhere -"
"I know nothing of usury." Bonifacio piously raised his eyes. "But I do know that our Holy Mother entrusted us with this task, to bring true Christian rule to the schismatics. Will you set aside this duty - for lack of a little coin?" Bracelli groaned inwardly. Bonifacio was a Cardinal's bastard, and well-connected in Rome. Church opposition to the reforms was something neither he nor Genoa needed.
"There is no question of neglecting Kaffa," he began.
"Rather of abandoning it, I believe?" Adorno finished for him, with the casual ease of one who has been preparing the strike all day..
Bracelli's jaw dropped. How had Adorno learned that? He stuggled for a reply, but none came.
"Kaffa is dead." Gugliemo Campofregoso lurched to his feet, spilling his wine across the table. "Kerch is dead. They died years ago. You all know it."
"I most definitely do not!" Bonifacio was affronted. "What in Heaven's name do you mean?"
"Please, Signore Campofregoso," Adorno oiled. "Enlighten us. Is it mere shades with whom we trade? Ghosts to whom we preach the Word?"
"Preach to their souls if you want. Their bodies are the Turks'."
Bonfacio had recovered balance. "Do you fear the Turk, man? Are you no Christian? Do you have no faith in the blessing of God?"
"My father took the Cross to Nicopolis. My father died at Nicopolis."
Bonifacio looked away. "The Turks can hardly march an army to Kaffa," he mumbled.
Gugliemo snorted. "They don't need to. Smyrna is theirs. Salonika is theirs. Soon all Greece will be theirs. They can hold the Straits and the Aegean. Kaffa is dead. The East is gone."
There was silence in the room. Gugliemo seemed to become aware that everyone was looking at him. "Well, it is," he mumbled.

* * * * * * * * * *

This got long - second part shortly

CatKnight, Kingmaker - Usually AI Genoa end up as part of France - they take Savoy quickly and either conquer Liguria or ally and diploannex.
Rythin - If I wanted to warmonger, I'd pick a country with more than two CB shields. ;)
Giamaica - Start conquering one-province minors in 1.08 on VH and life gets interesting real quick. I tried Mecklemburg, jumped out of the Hansa alliance and annexed Oldenburg. A central German alliance DOWed, I annexed one of them in self-defence - and the whole of Northern Europe jumped in. I beat the Burgundian alliance and the Hansa alliance and even the French alliance but Sweden and Denmark were to much for me. :(

Does every one else kep getting 'server is too busy' when they try to post?
:eek:
This is a story not a AAR ;)
There is fantastic
 

unmerged(33557)

Captain
Aug 24, 2004
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:eek:
This is a story not a AAR ;)
Congratulation it's fantastic
 

merrick

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True enough, Bracelli thought silently to himself. In wine there is sometimes wisdom. It was clear enough, for anyone with eyes to see. Just a few years earlier, they could still dream that Timurlane - the sacker of Kaffa, among other cities unnumbered - had ended the Ottoman threat forever. But the moment had been lost and the Turks had recovered and this very spring had brought news that the Crescent of the Prophet was on the move again - against the friendless, hopeless remnants of the Greek Empire. Meanwhile the Christians of the Balkans warred with each other; the Venetians fought the Emperor in Istria and Genoa - Genoa was too weak and too far and far too self-absorbed. Twenty years, twenty if we are lucky, before Constantinople falls and the Sultan claims the Eastern trade. Then the truth Gugliemo has spoken will be obvious even in Rome.

Bracelli suddenly realised he was woolgathering and jerked his attention back to the present. Gugliemo's outburst had given him an opening. He stood up, trying to project authority. "Fellow councilors, this brings us back to the reson for this meeting. The war in the south is spreading. Both the Duke of Naples and the Florentine Republic have sent ambassadors to our city asking for our support. How shall we answer them?"

Adorno could not resist scoring a point. "To be accurate, the war is in Greece, where the Florentines' lackeys of Athens march upon the Albanian barbarians. I do not see why either should concern us."
"The war has come to Italy," Bracelli corrected. "The Duke of Naples has pledged support for the Albanians, and Siena has joined with the Florentines." Risso, he noticed, looked startled at the last announcement; evidently it was not yet common knowledge.
"It is of no matter." Bonifacio had recovered his poise. "The lands of the Holy Father lie between, and neither are so fallen as to march against God. This is a war of show, nothing more." He waved his hand languidly. "An irrelevance."
"You are mistaken, I fear." The words were soft, but everyone turned to look in surprise at the speaker, the only man present who had taken no part in the previous discussion. Guido Molinari showed no signs of disconcertion. "The army of the Republic marched south five days ago. The Holy Father has granted permission for them to cross his lands." He sat back, as placid as a cat, and as unknowable.
"Ha!" Gugliemo barked. "The Florentine banker has balls after all!"
"Can he win?" It was Risso who asked what everyone was thinking. "Will Naples fall?"
"No doubt he thinks so," Molinari replied calmly.
"He has the Holy Father's blessing," Bonifacio added.
"But then ... if we join with Florence ..." Risso's tongue was getting ahead of his thoughts "... if Naples falls ... we would share the victory. Think of what we could win!" There were murmurs of agreement round the table. Naples was rich, and an old rival.
"Forget Naples," cut in Lomellini. "The Medicis have sent their army south. Their whole army?" He looked at Molinari, who inclined his head fractionally in response. "So - Pisa is unguarded! And Florence! We could rule Tuscany by midsummer!" He shot a brigand's grin at Grimaldi. "Think what that would do for your reserves."
Grimaldi nodded agreement. "The revenues -"
"The revenues would be irrelevant," Adorno said bluntly, "if we did not live to spend them. You think the Florentines fools for unguarding their city. Have you forgotten that Carmagnola stands to our north with twenty thousand men?"
They had forgotten. The name of the great Milanese condottiere banished their elation on the instant. It was a moment before Lomellini could find a reply. "He would not march. Visconti has no quarrel with us."
"What quarrel do we have with the Medici?" Bracelli asked.
Lomellini was silent. Adorno, smiling, glanced at Bracelli and for a moment they shared a look of understanding.
Adorno was next to speak. "Still, I do not say it is impossible." The moment was broken. "If we first make proper preparation. Our first move should be to send to Visconti - quietly."
"That will not work," Bracelli replied wearily. "If we let the Milanese into Genoa, we will never get them out. Visconti is as greedy as the Medici, and has fewer scruples."
"We cannot fight him, therefore we must endeavour to become his friend." Adorno slid easily into the old argument.
"Visconti has no friends, only servants. Besides, we were talking of Florence."
Adorno shrugged. "We cannot take it without the aid of Visconti, and your Doge will not take Visconti's aid. There it lies."
"And the embassy?"
"Entertain it if you wish, if you desire the Medicis' thanks, for the gold they will keep to themselves. And Calabria is more distant than Tuscany, is it not?"
That was true enough. "So your advice is that we do nothing?"
"My advice, if the Doge desires it, is that we first endeavour to secure the adherence of Milan."
Bracelli looked away. "Signore Campofregoso?"
Gugliemo lifted his head from the table. "That we strike hard!"
Bracelli looked at the ceiling. "Risso?"
"Well ... if you say ... Florence is the stronger ... less risk to support ..."
"Lomellini?"
"That we declare for Naples and strike at once against Pisa. The odds are worth the throw."
"Grimaldi?"
"We have insufficient funds to raise additional forces for home defence. We cannot afford to risk our resources abroad. Available funding requires that we pursue a pacific policy. We should do nothing to antagonise Milan, Modena or ... um ... Savoy."
"Bonifacio?"
"We should align our policy with the Holy Father's. If he favours the Florentines no doubt he has reason. If he witholds his troops it is no doubt to preserve them for the true battles to come."
Bracelli forced himself not to look at the ceiling again. "Molinari?"
"Venice."
All of them - except Gugliemo, who had started to snore - looked at him as if he had suggested a union with Lucifer himself. "Venice?" someone gasped.
"They are rich, they are powerful," Molinari ticked off points on his fingers, "they are a foe to frighten Naples or Milan. And their lands are far from ours - they will not absorb us in victory as Visconti might."
*Ye-es," Risso said slowly. "But, Venice?"
Bracelli shook his head. "Thank-you. I will inform the Doge that the Council requests that he use his own judgement."

Bracelli was usually the last to leave Council meetings, but this time Molinari lingered, even after Gugliemo's servants had come to remove him. Bracelli looked at the Coucil's newest member, realising just how little he knew about Molinari. The man had risen without trace from a minor clan in the eastern districts. A prosperous cloth-trader in private life, married with two sons, he came rarely into society and seemed to hold no ambition. The Doge had secured his appointment to the Council the previous year, to provide a safe vote Bracelli had supposed.

Now he was not so sure. He looked at Molinari quizzically. "Venice?"
Molinari shrugged. "I assumed you did not desire an agreement."
Bracelli tried to look bland. "The Doge desires to hear all opinions."
Molinari smiled genially. "You gave no opinion yourself, I noticed. What would you advise Tommaso?"
"That he launch no rash wars," Bracelli sadi shortly.
"Indeed. That he say no and yes to Naples and no and yes to Florence but commit to neither - until he chooses."
"Why should he choose?"
"Why indeed?" Molinari's eyes were green, Bracelli realised. He could read nothing there. "But things move apace. Visconti is gone to Rome, you know."
Bracelli had not known. "Why?"
"To seek audience with his Holiness, and to wait while his Holiness himself awaits news from Spain."
"Spain?"
"The King of Aragon desires His Holiness's approval on an enterprise he is planning."
"Against the Moors?"
"Why would that require a special blessing? Northwards." Molinari smiled a cynical little smile. "I fear the Duke of Milan may find hmself in deep waters."
"But what has that to do with us?"
"What indeed? Did you know Tommaso has invited Termali north this summer?"
"Termali of Lucca, the condottiere?"
"The same, with a command of cavalry. I wonder what he is planning."

* * * * * * * * * *

Giamaica - Thank-you. BTW if you ask the Mods nicely they can sort out the double-post for you.
 

Corruption

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One of the best story-AAR's I've read in a while. Keep uip the good work and update often.
 

unmerged(33557)

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merrick said:
True enough, Bracelli thought silently to himself. In wine there is sometimes wisdom. It was clear enough, for anyone with eyes to see. Just a few years earlier, they could still dream that Timurlane - the sacker of Kaffa, among other cities unnumbered - had ended the Ottoman threat forever. But the moment had been lost and the Turks had recovered and this very spring had brought news that the Crescent of the Prophet was on the move again - against the friendless, hopeless remnants of the Greek Empire. Meanwhile the Christians of the Balkans warred with each other; the Venetians fought the Emperor in Istria and Genoa - Genoa was too weak and too far and far too self-absorbed. Twenty years, twenty if we are lucky, before Constantinople falls and the Sultan claims the Eastern trade. Then the truth Gugliemo has spoken will be obvious even in Rome.

Bracelli suddenly realised he was woolgathering and jerked his attention back to the present. Gugliemo's outburst had given him an opening. He stood up, trying to project authority. "Fellow councilors, this brings us back to the reson for this meeting. The war in the south is spreading. Both the Duke of Naples and the Florentine Republic have sent ambassadors to our city asking for our support. How shall we answer them?"

Adorno could not resist scoring a point. "To be accurate, the war is in Greece, where the Florentines' lackeys of Athens march upon the Albanian barbarians. I do not see why either should concern us."
"The war has come to Italy," Bracelli corrected. "The Duke of Naples has pledged support for the Albanians, and Siena has joined with the Florentines." Risso, he noticed, looked startled at the last announcement; evidently it was not yet common knowledge.
"It is of no matter." Bonifacio had recovered his poise. "The lands of the Holy Father lie between, and neither are so fallen as to march against God. This is a war of show, nothing more." He waved his hand languidly. "An irrelevance."
"You are mistaken, I fear." The words were soft, but everyone turned to look in surprise at the speaker, the only man present who had taken no part in the previous discussion. Guido Molinari showed no signs of disconcertion. "The army of the Republic marched south five days ago. The Holy Father has granted permission for them to cross his lands." He sat back, as placid as a cat, and as unknowable.
"Ha!" Gugliemo barked. "The Florentine banker has balls after all!"
"Can he win?" It was Risso who asked what everyone was thinking. "Will Naples fall?"
"No doubt he thinks so," Molinari replied calmly.
"He has the Holy Father's blessing," Bonifacio added.
"But then ... if we join with Florence ..." Risso's tongue was getting ahead of his thoughts "... if Naples falls ... we would share the victory. Think of what we could win!" There were murmurs of agreement round the table. Naples was rich, and an old rival.
"Forget Naples," cut in Lomellini. "The Medicis have sent their army south. Their whole army?" He looked at Molinari, who inclined his head fractionally in response. "So - Pisa is unguarded! And Florence! We could rule Tuscany by midsummer!" He shot a brigand's grin at Grimaldi. "Think what that would do for your reserves."
Grimaldi nodded agreement. "The revenues -"
"The revenues would be irrelevant," Adorno said bluntly, "if we did not live to spend them. You think the Florentines fools for unguarding their city. Have you forgotten that Carmagnola stands to our north with twenty thousand men?"
They had forgotten. The name of the great Milanese condottiere banished their elation on the instant. It was a moment before Lomellini could find a reply. "He would not march. Visconti has no quarrel with us."
"What quarrel do we have with the Medici?" Bracelli asked.
Lomellini was silent. Adorno, smiling, glanced at Bracelli and for a moment they shared a look of understanding.
Adorno was next to speak. "Still, I do not say it is impossible." The moment was broken. "If we first make proper preparation. Our first move should be to send to Visconti - quietly."
"That will not work," Bracelli replied wearily. "If we let the Milanese into Genoa, we will never get them out. Visconti is as greedy as the Medici, and has fewer scruples."
"We cannot fight him, therefore we must endeavour to become his friend." Adorno slid easily into the old argument.
"Visconti has no friends, only servants. Besides, we were talking of Florence."
Adorno shrugged. "We cannot take it without the aid of Visconti, and your Doge will not take Visconti's aid. There it lies."
"And the embassy?"
"Entertain it if you wish, if you desire the Medicis' thanks, for the gold they will keep to themselves. And Calabria is more distant than Tuscany, is it not?"
That was true enough. "So your advice is that we do nothing?"
"My advice, if the Doge desires it, is that we first endeavour to secure the adherence of Milan."
Bracelli looked away. "Signore Campofregoso?"
Gugliemo lifted his head from the table. "That we strike hard!"
Bracelli looked at the ceiling. "Risso?"
"Well ... if you say ... Florence is the stronger ... less risk to support ..."
"Lomellini?"
"That we declare for Naples and strike at once against Pisa. The odds are worth the throw."
"Grimaldi?"
"We have insufficient funds to raise additional forces for home defence. We cannot afford to risk our resources abroad. Available funding requires that we pursue a pacific policy. We should do nothing to antagonise Milan, Modena or ... um ... Savoy."
"Bonifacio?"
"We should align our policy with the Holy Father's. If he favours the Florentines no doubt he has reason. If he witholds his troops it is no doubt to preserve them for the true battles to come."
Bracelli forced himself not to look at the ceiling again. "Molinari?"
"Venice."
All of them - except Gugliemo, who had started to snore - looked at him as if he had suggested a union with Lucifer himself. "Venice?" someone gasped.
"They are rich, they are powerful," Molinari ticked off points on his fingers, "they are a foe to frighten Naples or Milan. And their lands are far from ours - they will not absorb us in victory as Visconti might."
*Ye-es," Risso said slowly. "But, Venice?"
Bracelli shook his head. "Thank-you. I will inform the Doge that the Council requests that he use his own judgement."

Bracelli was usually the last to leave Council meetings, but this time Molinari lingered, even after Gugliemo's servants had come to remove him. Bracelli looked at the Coucil's newest member, realising just how little he knew about Molinari. The man had risen without trace from a minor clan in the eastern districts. A prosperous cloth-trader in private life, married with two sons, he came rarely into society and seemed to hold no ambition. The Doge had secured his appointment to the Council the previous year, to provide a safe vote Bracelli had supposed.

Now he was not so sure. He looked at Molinari quizzically. "Venice?"
Molinari shrugged. "I assumed you did not desire an agreement."
Bracelli tried to look bland. "The Doge desires to hear all opinions."
Molinari smiled genially. "You gave no opinion yourself, I noticed. What would you advise Tommaso?"
"That he launch no rash wars," Bracelli sadi shortly.
"Indeed. That he say no and yes to Naples and no and yes to Florence but commit to neither - until he chooses."
"Why should he choose?"
"Why indeed?" Molinari's eyes were green, Bracelli realised. He could read nothing there. "But things move apace. Visconti is gone to Rome, you know."
Bracelli had not known. "Why?"
"To seek audience with his Holiness, and to wait while his Holiness himself awaits news from Spain."
"Spain?"
"The King of Aragon desires His Holiness's approval on an enterprise he is planning."
"Against the Moors?"
"Why would that require a special blessing? Northwards." Molinari smiled a cynical little smile. "I fear the Duke of Milan may find hmself in deep waters."
"But what has that to do with us?"
"What indeed? Did you know Tommaso has invited Termali north this summer?"
"Termali of Lucca, the condottiere?"
"The same, with a command of cavalry. I wonder what he is planning."

* * * * * * * * * *

Giamaica - Thank-you. BTW if you ask the Mods nicely they can sort out the double-post for you.
You are Italian?For know all this thing
Not for offend all than not are italians but an story so,with all particulars so detaileds there know only an Italian or who have study much
 

Semi-Lobster

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Great work Merrick! It's been a while since I've played as Genoa but I expect great things from this AAR! :D So good luck (but with your skillful gamesmanship I'm sure you rpboably don't need much luck!)
 

unmerged(33557)

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Aug 24, 2004
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I have played with Genoa but The France have wipe my via
 

CatKnight

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Merrick: The server too busy flag means exactly that. If you're reading it's best to give the server a minute or so to reset. If you're posting... personally, I stop. Open this board with another copy of my browser (so I'm running two at once). Then I see if my message got posted and the board just didn't tell me. That's how double-posts happen a lot of the time.

This is an excellent start! I look forward to more! Are we going after Milan?
 

unmerged(33557)

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Merrik after Genoa you play alsowith Milan?
So we have another Italian story of reading.
You can lay jointly all AAR's than you make and do a book,title:The book of Eu II
 

merrick

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The First Throw of the Dice

The balcony awning provided little protection from the heat of an August afternoon, yet still Giacomo Bracelli felt chilled. The cries of the people filled the air, and ghostly fingers danced along his spine. The soldiers' feet crunched on the cobbles of the street, and he heard the echo of the gravedigger's spade. The Republic of Genoa was going to war.

Giacomo Bracelli had always abhorred violence. Even as a youth, he had carried books where his contemporaries carried blades, he had stood quiet and listened while they strutted and quarrelled. He had studied the art of the diplomat, the merchant, the tradesman; the subtle maneuvers of mutual advantage that turned rivals to allies, dangers to opportunities, opportunities into solid profit. That was what had rebuilt the fortunes of his clan and made him the outstanding figure of his generation. That was what had made Tommaso de Campofregoso name him Chancellor while he was still in his twenties. But the Doge was a merchant of the old, ruthless school. He took profit where it beckoned, regardless of the pain he caused, and damage to his Chancellor's feelings ranked low indeed on his list of priorities.

War! That was the cry of the populi (well-prepared by Tommaso's agents). That was the advice of the Council (under his generous influence). And that was the inevitable decision of the Doge, who had brought all these things to be.

War. To Bracelli the very word ran red with blood, echoed with screams, stank of dead flesh. War. He looked across to the centre of the balcony, to where Tommaso de Campofregoso was waving grandly to the crowd. He made a spectacular figure, bright in eastern silks, dripping with jewels, but not ever their shining could outdo his smile. Give him a laurel wreath and he could be a Roman Emperor. One of the later ones, the tyrants...

"Cheer up, Giacomo! Look alive!" Bracelli looked round with a start. Gugliemo Campofregoso, sober for once and dressed like a peacock. Trust him to be loving this. "Smile!" He gestured to the soldiers still marching past on their way to the harbour. "Don't they look grand?"
"I'm surprised you're not with them."
"I asked for a commission." Gugliemo looked momentarily deflated. "But Cousin Tommaso said he needed me here." Bracelli wondered, automatically, what use the Doge had for Gugliemo, unless it was to play sheepdog to a resentful Chancellor. Tommaso should know me better than that...
"But I'll talk him round." Gugliemo had not noticed. "I'll be there for the sack of Naples. Wouldn't want to miss that, eh?" He grinned, and nudged Bracelli meaningfully.

Bracelli grunted something meaningless and turned back to face the street, trying somehow to imagine how anyone could want to be present at a sack. A century's goods pillaged, society shattered, justice overthrown, men reduced to animals - and all so some arrogant noble could proclaim himself lord of the ruins. No. Bracelli corrected himself. This at least will not be for pride. Tommaso is a hard dealer, but a clever one. He has said this must be done, and I cannot break his arguments.

He thought back to the fatal meeting, the one that mattered, a fortnight before in a quiet room attached to the Doge's apartments. Tommaso had been there with Marco, his brother and bully, Giovanni Terni who commanded the Republic's armies and Termeli, the condottiere. The only other councillors had been Risso and old Grimaldi. Bracelli had expected Molinari, but apparently he was in Milan, on business.

Tommaso called on Risso to open the discussion. The little man swallowed twice and began. "Doge, signori, I bring news from my factor in Modena." He stopped, as if expecting contradiction.
The Doge gestured for him to continue. Risso took a deep breath. "The Duke has ... well ... it is said that he has ... made compact with the Duke of Milan."
"Modena." The Doge's voice was deep, resonant. It had always been one of his best assets. "And Milan." His fingers marked them out on the map spread before him. "And the Pope." The fingers walked southwards. "And the Spaniard. A union of half Italy, indeed."
"And with forces in every part of the penninsula." There was worry in Terni's voice. "I do not like this, my Lord."
"Lord? I'm no one's lord. Just a man among men. Remember that. How many have they on our borders?"
"Twenty thousand in Milan, under Carmagnola." Terni hesitated just a moment before saying the name. "Twelve more in the east. More than we can face, even with... " He looked across at Termali, as if wondering whether to officially acknowledge his existence.
"Thirty-two thousand," the Doge said slowly. "A fair host, indeed."
"Do they mean war?" Risso asked.
"No, they plan to build churches and give alms to the poor! Why should Modena put himself under the Visconti if not for threat of war!" The Doge shook his head. "I did not think Modena would fall so fast."
"The King of Aragon is at war already," Bracelli ventured. "His armies face the English, in Navarra."
"Navarra!" The Doge snorted. "Not a matter that concerns our Dukes, I think."
"So what can we do?" There was real fear in Risso's voice.
"You heard the General. Well cannot fight them, so-" the Doge made a face, as if swallowing something nasty "we must make sure they do not fight us." He shook his head. "Better sailing with the wind than against it, after all. Thank-you for the warning, Councillor. You may go now. You too, Giovanni."

Bracelli glanced at the door through which Risso and Terni had recently departed. "He will tell the city you mean to come to an agreement with the Dukes."
The Doge looked at the ceiling "Bow to Visconti? Hardly."
"His news was no news to you, was it?"
"Nor to you," Tommaso pointed out.
"I had hoped it was only a rumour," Bracelli said at last. "What choice is there? We cannot fight them, so we must compromise. An agreement would-"
"Giacomo, didn't your books warn you against taking partners stronger than yourself?"
"It is sometimes a safe recourse, if the partners are reliable."
"Safe! Safe as the grave, you mean. If the business fails, they ruin you. If it succeeds, they own you."
"Pope Martinus is an honourable man," said Bracelli reproachfully..
"And Visconti is Duke of Milan."
There was no answer to that, and Bracelli offered none.

Tommaso continued anyway. "The Spaniard wants the banner of the Cross over his northern war. The Pope dreams of his union of Italy, that is why he treats with Visconti and the Spaniard. Visconti thinks he has joined the stoutest ship but-" The Doge broke off suddenly, his finger raised and a broad smile on his face. "But, Visconti he has forgotten he is not the master. He cannot act without the Pope or the Spaniard, and they will not give the word. Not yet." His smile grew wider. "We have a year, maybe two, to craft a vessel of our own."
"What other alliance can we make?" Bracelli reviewed the candidates. "Savoy inclines to France, Mantua to the Pope. That leaves Tuscany, Naples and Venice, and all already at war."
"A victorious alliance, Giacomo."
Bracelli's heart sank. "The Albanians besiege Athens. The army of Florence makes no headway against Naples. Siena does not march. It appears the Medici gambled in vain."
"And so, Giacomo?" Tommaso's tone was that of a teacher encouraging a student.
Reluctantly, Bracelli drew the desired conclusion. "So if we aid Naples, the Duke will fancy he can do without us. But if we save the Medici..."
Tommaso smiled. Bracelli had never liked that particular smile. There was too much of the wolf in it, and Tommaso's teeth were bared now.

The Doge turned to the condottire. "Your men are ready, Captain?"
"Two thousand, all horsed, all experienced. I would like a month or two to drill them, but-"
"You have six weeks. No more." Termali bowed.
"Grimaldi. We have sufficient funds for the army for two full seasons?"
"Yes, plus a certain contingency reserve. However-"
"Thank-you. Marco, you will prepare the populi."
"But of course."
"And Giacomo, I can count on you to handle the Council and the merchants?"
Slowly, Bracelli bowed to the man who had helped him lift his family out of mediocrity, who had raised him to be one of the great of Genoa. "I will not fail you."

The Council had been unanimous for war.

* * * * * * * * * * * *
Corruption, Cynos - Good to have you aboard. Hope you enjoy the story.
Semi-Lobster - You're flattering me. I'm not much of a player compared to some people here.
Catknight - Thanks for the info! Milan might look juicy, but have you seen Carmagnola's stats?
Giamaica - No, I'm not Italian, and I don't know too much about Genoa (it's surprising how little Italian history you can find in an English library). I know the basics of the government structure (which I've tweaked a bit, in reality there was a financial comittee of twelve between the Council and the Bank, which I've ignored); and some names. Giacomo Bracelli was a real person, the Campofregoso and the Adorno were the leading clans of this period (and at each others' throats), the Lomellini did control Corsica until 1407, but don't look for the rest of my characters in a history book. ;)
P.S. As a point of netiquette, it's generally considered poor form to quote the whole of a long post just to add two lines at the bottom. :)
 

unmerged(33557)

Captain
Aug 24, 2004
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merrick said:
Giamaica - No, I'm not Italian, and I don't know too much about Genoa (it's surprising how little Italian history you can find in an English library). I know the basics of the government structure (which I've tweaked a bit, in reality there was a financial comittee of twelve between the Council and the Bank, which I've ignored); and some names. Giacomo Bracelli was a real person, the Campofregoso and the Adorno were the leading clans of this period (and at each others' throats), the Lomellini did control Corsica until 1407, but don't look for the rest of my characters in a history book. ;)
P.S. As a point of netiquette, it's generally considered poor form to quote the whole of a long post just to add two lines at the bottom. :)
Ehm...
I than are Italian not say this thing and you than isn't Italian say
:D