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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning


Sep 28, 2019
This is going to be a long post, so sorry in advance, but I've been working on these ideas for a while and I want to just go ahead and get them out.

To a large extent I took inspiration from these two well-written posts.

I’m also putting a previous suggestion of mine here, which is basically a overhaul of how colonization works in the Old World/trade company regions, whereas this post is about the Americas. But, it could also be used for certain parts of the Americas, such as Russian and British activities in the Pacific Northwest, New France, and Hudson Bay.

Conquistadors will become much more valuable and have many more unique options, making them into an indispensable tool in the process of conquering the Americas.

Conquistadors can now walk around and disembark on owned land as well as uncolonized provinces. This will allow interacting with places before you conquer them, and allow you to strike at the biggest prizes (Mexico, Peru) right from the start. Conquistadors can declare war with forces inside the enemy’s borders, but they will not be reinforced until it reaches a province owned by you or a colonial subject. When they enter a foreign territory, that country is notified by event, receiving a special CB called “Repel conquistador”, where the war goal is simply to defeat any forces inside the country. However, the AI will choose at least half of the time to not immediately use this, and instead may choose to welcome the conquistadors as guests. The conquistador, in turn, can choose to loot the provinces they are in, spawning local unrest against them.

Conquistadors can also attempt to recruit Indian auxiliaries in provinces they are in, or from states threatened by tags they have claims on. Indian auxiliaries have Native military technology and will only include infantry, but they will be relatively numerous and can easily reinforce. They will always attach to your armies. They will act in some ways like separatists, in that they will bear the name of a specific tag that has cores on the province they are recruited in. Once those provinces on which they possess cores are conquered, they will received increased autonomy for several decades. Troops created in provinces of native culture are always auxiliaries.

There is also a chance of conflicts emerging between conquistadors when moving troops into areas you have claims on. This can either be resolved peacefully, merging both forces into one, or will have to be resolved by battle, where the losing conquistador will be put out of action. Historical examples include Panfilo de Narvaez trying to stop Cortes, and the conquest of Honduras.

Finally, conquistadors can “read the requirement” to a native state that they are in, which attempts to make them submit to vassalage. This will probably fail unless you already own a significant amount of provinces in the region, and it gives a relations penalty from the state if they refuse.

Pandemics of European disease were completely devastating to Native Americans throughout the entire hemisphere. About 90% of the population died. Trade broke down. Formerly powerful empires were crippled and were conquered in their weak moment. Pandemics were the very first step in the long process of the conquest of the Americas. This is very poorly represented in EU4, where the effects of pandemics are fairly minor.

First of all, currently they are only in game as an event. Really, they should spread from province to province like institutions, introduced as soon as any army from the Old World steps foot and spreading very quickly within the region.

Ideally, pandemics will get rid of certain centers of trade, decrease province development drastically, cause devastation, and even immediately remove many of your troops, and possibly your ruler. Then, any remaining native states can get event chains to start to recover some of their development around 1600 onwards. Historically, the population recovery was very limited because natives were kept as workers in horrible conditions by the Spanish.

However, the development of the Americas is currently extremely low, reflecting its wealth during the Spanish colonial period and to make sure that natives can’t compete with Europeans. There is also a very small amount of centers of trade. These effects should absolutely not be implemented unless the Americas receive a major buff to development and trade, making at least Mesoamerica, Colombia and the Andes almost on par with Europe. This is historically accurate - the Valley of Mexico had a population of over a million, and there were at least two more cities in Mexico with populations of over 100 thousand, not even counting the Maya. The larger cities in Peru had 40-60-100 thousand. The Muisca had a population of 2 million. Cahokia at one point had 40 thousand as well, although that area had long been in decline by 1444. Population estimates are still increasing today for all regions as the modern scientific community continues to gain better understanding of the pre-Columbian period. Not only would a dev boost allow the proper effects of pandemics, but it will also go a long way towards doing justice to Native American gameplay.

americas centers of trade.png

Green = permanent
White = disappear with pandemics
Gray = appear when colonized

The most important centers of trade should be the Valley of Mexico, Cholula, Patzcuaro, Xicallanco, Lima, and Quito.

This is definitely subject to tweaking.

The process of sending a colonist to a province and slowly growing your population does not exist until Dip tech 17, or is unlocked by the Age of Absolutism. I know this sounds insane, but please bear with me. I have a plan, and I chose to do this for good reasons. Around the 1600s is when the French, British, Dutch started to seriously get footholds in the Americas. The 1500s was mainly dominated by the Spanish, who conquered land quite quickly and tried to squeeze as much money/resources out of it as possible, and the Portuguese, who created a slave economy in Brazil. These differ vastly from the settler colonialism of the British and French which is currently what "colonizing" consists of in EU4. In addition, during the 1500s the borders of Iberian possessions were fairly precarious. There was an abundance of areas that they could not yet reliably control or even move through, such as the Amazon, Gran Chaco, Darien Gap, northern Mexico, Llanos, La Mosquitia, Patagonia, etc, and this began to change in the 1600s.

Instead of colonizing, taking control of provinces pre-1600s requires claims, which are gained through discovering certain provinces (mainly coastal areas), including both colonized and uncolonized provinces. These claims give the “Overseas Conquest” CB, which has a slightly lower province war score and allows a declaration with forces inside the target. If the target has a sufficient dev, there is an event chain to vassalize and integrate them instead (but requiring dealing with a giant revolt event first). Because claims will be limited to specifically determined areas, this will allow some level of control over European expansion, so that they won't (for example) assimilate the heart of the Amazon rainforest by 1550.

In uncolonized provinces, these claims allow a conquistador to take control over time through creating reductions. This is basically what colonial regions now have instead of creating cores or colonizing pre-1600s, and can be done in uncolonized or owned provinces. It works like the current colonization process, but a little bit quicker and with much more powerful uprisings. Once a province is reduced by any tag, another tag will only have to go through the regular coring process.

Reductions will also in certain cases introduce centers of trade into provinces that did not have them before. They possibly may even change the trade goods of a province in certain cases, especially if more trade goods are added for the pre-Columbian period, such as precious feathers and shells.

There is now a fundamental distinction between exploitation colonies, representing the Spanish style of focusing on extracting resources and making profits, and settlement colonies, representing the British strategy of trying to populate the area with your people. The type of colony is determined by how the provinces are annexed: creating reductions produces exploitation, but settling provinces produces settlement. Conquering an exploitation colony will allow you to choose to continue that policy or try to turn it into a settler colony.

Settlement gradually increases development during and after the colonization process. Exploitation drastically increases production of metal-producing provinces, and you receive events to give lands to nobles (which will increase tax income, but trigger separatist and later peasant unrest).

Slave economy colonies, such as Brazil and the Caribbean, would seem to be a third type, but you will notice that in real life, British and French colonies in the Caribbean were almost entirely African, while Spanish ones and Brazil were a lot more mixed. Thus I think they still adhere to the same split.

Trading colonies (the best example being the interior of New France) should also be a distinct type, but the way I designed to deal with it actually simply uses another proposal I have already made, posted at the top of this page.

Terrain now determines whether or not a province will take the colonial culture and religion when settled. Jungle, mountain, highland, forest, glacial provinces will not, while hills, desert, coastal desert, drylands, farmlands, grasslands, woods, marsh, steppe will. This will allow for a much more accurate representation of the situation, and will preserve some challenge in holding onto the Americas.

Colonial cultures are quite different now. Firstly, any province settled or assimilated will always take the “colonial culture” (such as Mexican, American, or Brazilian, instead of the primary culture of the mother country, and this colonial culture will be the primary culture of the CN from the very start.

Instead of simply a few cultures that are each for the entirety of the Americas, the hemisphere is divided into several cultural regions which will always have distinct cultures. Also, each mother culture will produce a distinct colonial culture. For example, if Portugal and Spain both colonize within the Brazilian cultural region, there will be both a “Spanish Brazilian” and a “Portuguese Brazilian” culture. These are generated by the game in a manner similar to colonial nations, instead of every possible combination being written in from the start.

Once converted to the state religion, colonial provinces have a decent chance to be assimilated to these colonial cultures, at random times past 1550. This chance increases with especially high development and terrain of hills, coastal desert, drylands, farmlands, grasslands, or woods. However, provinces of jungle, mountain or highland terrain should have high minuses to conversion (shouldn't be able to be converted without religious ideas).

There is also now a distinct group of African diaspora cultures in the Americas (also divided by region and culture of the "mother country"), to reflect the Atlantic slave trade, and they bring their fetishist religions. Under the settlement model, tropical provinces that produce cotton, sugar, slaves, tobacco, salt, dyes, coffee, or cacao will always become African (even if conquered from other colonial nations), while temperate provinces and provinces in exploitation colonies with those same trade goods each have a 50% chance. African cultures can easily spread to neighboring jungle provinces. These provinces have peasant revolts instead of separatism unless the mother country is occupied, similar to colonial nations, and the dev increase from settler colonialism is concentrated in increasing production.

colonial cultures.png

The white provinces do not have any assigned culture, and will simply take the culture of whatever state colonizes them. This is also definitely subject to tweaking.

Unfortunately, there is not yet much content for potential Post-Colonial Americas. There are an ok amount of tags (Sonora, Illinois, Vermont, Venezuela, Central America), some of which seem a bit arbitrary, but they almost never appear because they are only formables. Instead, those tags will gain cores as soon as a colonial nation that controls the relevant lands gains independence, or when they do gain those lands. There should hopefully be at least a few new tags added for symmetry, as they will have a new level of importance.

Independent states will also be presented with a choice between pursuing unitary (with increased separatist unrest and stability cost) or federal states (with increased autonomy). This was a conflict faced by many of the new nations in the Americas, including the United States, Colombia, Central America, Mexico, etc. There should be opportunities to change your decision as events unfold.

The decision to seize native land, appearing for independent states in Mexico and Central America with native culture provinces, will dramatically increase noble influence and peasant unrest, and reduce the cost of cultural conversion. A unique event here is the Caste War, which took place in the Yucatan Peninsula.

  • Mines appear in Potosi in 1545, in Zacatecas in 1548, and in San Luis Potosi in 1592, giving claims to colonial nations within the region, and increased conversion strength in these provinces once cored.
  • Ban of Muisca Ceremonies/European Agriculture in New Granada - increased conversion strength in Bogota, Maracaibo, Caquetio, Cordillera Occidental and Central Llanos areas
  • Falling Indian Population in Costa Rica - Costa Rica area is assimilated to colonial culture/religion and gains some autonomy
  • Bridge of the World - Panama province assimilated to colonial culture/religion
  • Guadalajara, Veracruz, Mexico, Lima and Trujillo provinces could also get events for increased conversion strength, given their place as centers during the colonial period
  • Land of Caciques - Mixteca and Oaxaca areas receive high minuses to conversion.
  • From 1600s onward, gold provinces begin to be depleted and nobles regain control of them. In addition, separatist unrest in the Mexican colonial region is largely replaced with peasant revolts
  • Once you have embraced the enlightenment, you may take the decision to ban indigenous languages, reducing the cost of cultural conversion in provinces of native culture
  • Juan Santos Atahualpa rebellion (1742)
  • Tupac Amaru rebellion (1780)
  • First Great Awakening event in 1730-40 in Protestant/Reformed/Anglican settler colonies converts Afro populations to state religion, and gives some separatism to colony at large
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Second Lieutenant
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Jun 10, 2020
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I love the African cultures idea, adding on to that, the game could incorporate Voodoo, which was prevalent in many slave societies in the Americas, most notably Haiti, Haitian Voodoo continues to be practiced today, and Voodoo is still prevalent to some degree in Jamaica, Barbados, and even the American South among the Gullah Culture.

This is particularly interesting because Voodoo played a central role in the Haitian Revolution, most famously, the revolt began at the Voodoo ceremony of Bois Caïman
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Sep 28, 2019
I love the African cultures idea, adding on to that, the game could incorporate Voodoo
I encourage you to take a look at this thread if you haven't already
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May 31, 2018
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Yes, please. I appreciate every suggestion to improve colonization. This forum has already got plenty to fill an expansion or two.
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