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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

GreatUberGeek

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That started badly, but you managed to turn it around. :)
 

Stuyvesant

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It started off looking pretty darn hopeless, but as the 1980s Europop seamstress Yazz had it, "The Only Way Is Up". You recovered nicely, doubled the size of your realm and apparently developed a nice WWE-style rivalry with the Pope (Man-Tua vs. Mitre-Head). A good start, now let's find out whether you can straight-up clothesline the Pope or if you need to employ a nice folding chair while the referee (the Empire, which almost sounds like umpire, which is a referee - it al fits nicely together) is not looking.
 

Orlov Kruskayev

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I sometimes feel bad for laughing so much at your hardships here, but really not. :D

Little Modena is in the ways to anger both the Pope and the Emperor and tell them to please each other with their pointy hats. And maybe staying with some power after Johan tells you to go somewhere else.
 

Nikolai

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Well, that was lucky, eh? No immidiate annexation, and an extra province to boot! Clearly Johan loves you.
 

CatKnight

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TheKaspa: Don't be too happy. Italy's always a challenge in this era!

Vaximillian: I was indeed keeping an eye on Milan as a target after Siena, though things didn't turn out that way. I don't know who trashed the Venetian fleet, but I am thinking the Ottomans since they own all of the island holdings Venice usually claims.

tnick0225: The Pope's done really well this game. If he could figure out how to deal with Tuscany (a tough nut to crack) and Milan, he could unify Italy. That's a scary thought.

thedirtygerman: No! Not the doc!

McGrey: The reroll gave me the Iroquois. That was tempting, and I loaded it to look around, but the CoP Native American ideas weren't available (probably because this game predates that. Same reason the smaller Native countries aren't around.) This would mean our one target would be Spanish Florida...and Spain, Catalan Canada, and so forth. I don't know how I'd earn enough warscore to even put a dent in the Spanish colonial empire. It was tempting, but by then I was reading everyone's comments and decided to roll with the dice.

Chief Ragusa: Military ideas would make more sense, but this Mantua apparently went down the religious path. Your plan for taking northern Italy sounds great - if we can just get Tuscany to cooperate and be friends.

Augenis: Oh no, Mantua isn't the worst case scenario. Kongo might be. Or Kanem Bornu. One neighbor each who they can't beat. Perhaps the Inca/Aztec/Shawnee/Iroquois with NO neighbors.

aragonFTW: We aren't through annoying Mitre-Head

Director: Actually that's exactly what I was thinking! Milk of Mantua for all your stomach needs.

Idhrendur: No, this isn't nearly as bad as Lan Xang. Augenis? Lan Xang would be a worst case scenario.

GreatUberGeek: For now!

Stuyvesant: That would be fun: Translate all the countries into wrestling characters and let them go at it. Do you remember Storey's...uhm...story where he turned several into fantasy characters?

Orlov Kruskayev: Well, I'm glad you're enjoying my misery. :) Yes - a TPM annoying both God and Emperor. What could go wrong?

Nikolai: Nah, Johan's just dangling a carrot in front of us. We'll pay for our luck soon enough.

eugene171: Round 2 is fun. Not as productive, but lots of fun.
 

CatKnight

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CHAPTER XV: MANTUA
Part 2: Get Ready to Rumble!
(1650-1655)


Let's Kill Something!

Mantua! The very name sends shivers down the spines of our enemies, and not just because of its effectiveness at bowel regularity. No! From being stomped on twice just five years ago, we turned around and annexed Modena. Who's next?

My first thought was Siena, but before I played this round I gave Venice some serious thought. As near as I can tell, Venice is down to two provinces: Friuli and Venice itself. Usually their fleet can stop enemies from crossing the strait, but with that so weak who's to stop your local friendly megalomaniac from gaining arguably the greatest trading port in the world?

There's the Pope's warning of course, but honestly with his land so divided I'm not too worried about him, especially if he starts trouble elsewhere. Unfortunately there's also Milan. Venice has built up to 7 ships and 7K men. Milan borders me with 11K. We have 9. This is not a winning combination.

So, back to plan A: Wait for the truce to run out, hope the Pope starts something he can't handle, then go smash Siena.

While we wait, we pay off all our loans. We also pass the Anti-Piracy Act (+5 relations over time) because now that we have a port, we'd rather they didn't visit too often. At least without cutting us in on a share.

Normally I like pirates (or at least the modern well-scrubbed image of them) well enough: Pirates of the Caribbean? Fun stuff. Talk like a Pirate Day? Arr! There's a song out there called 'Last Saskatchewan Pirate' which is brilliant. Not in my EU games though.

We also hit Military-19, which leds us trade out Tercio Infantry for Gustavan. It might seem strange for us Italians to be learning Swedish tactics, especially when the Swedes are so misearable in this game, but I couldn't wrap my head around Italians learning Highlander Infantry.

Scottish pirates, on the other hand... Hm.

In October Spain warns us not to start any crap. This would be pretty serious if we planned to DoW the Pope, Tuscany or Savoy. We don't. Still, it makes the peasants unhappy and drops our stability to 0.

May 1551 comes, and we renew our alliance with Augsburg since they're the only country even willing to consider it. Everyone else either hates us, we hate them, or they laugh at the size of our army. That's fine: We didn't need help with Modena, we don't need help with Siena either! It would be nice if the Pope declared war on someone though, but he's being pretty peaceful.

Then the Liberals stop by to warn us of something called Global Warming.
165105LiberalsWhine_zpsba7f5f31.jpg


We tell them that if God wants to warm the world up, who are we to argue? Stability drops to -1, but we buy it up to 0 immediately.

It would also help if Tuscany didn't cancel their military access, then embargo us, but they do both. Apparently now that we're Catholic, we're 'in the way.'

Finally, in September, the Pope tries to steal Friuli from Venice. Siena jumps in on their side, Milan on Venice's. It quickly turns out the Venetians learned from the Modena war, as they immediately storm their way down the coast and siege Treviso while Milan takes on Parma.

This is perfect! Now we just need to get to Siena and.... Tuscany won't let us through.

Please?

Pretty please with spaghetti on top?

Sigh.

Okay, so we begin building two merchantmen (transports). Once one's built I sail it over to Siena just to see what we'd be up against in the event of an amphibious assault: 7K. We aren't going to beat that landing with only 2 per shot.

Well, if we have no real chance of taking Siena, maybe we can get something off the Pope. We DoW Siena and the Pope foolishly joins in.


Boot to the Head

165205DoWSienanPapal_zps4ab3b35e.jpg


The first order of business is that Papal army led by Innocentius Emo. First, Idoni is still a better commander, and Second, Emo reminds me too much of Elmo, a character from a children's show here in the states called Sesame Street.

I. Hate. Elmo.

Elmo is this cute, red, vaguely humanoid puppet with an oversized head and a really whiny voice. Think of Lady Gaga without the sexual overtones. Or any talent. Or soul. Now imagine that thing teaching your children about life.

Innocentius Emo must die.

165206PapalFights_zps777ccde6.jpg


I knew I liked this game.

Plan A is to siege Romagna, but I notice 11K Milanese in Parma, and the 14K Venetian army has advanced to Verona. Further, the Sienese use their ONE transport to land in Modena. It seems that if I give Venice free run on the coast to build up their warscore, they have a chance to truly and permanently weaken Mitre-Head - and I have problems at home. We abandon the siege and exterminate the Sienese, then Idoni's army sits in Mantua hoping they try again. If Siena wants to waste its army in 1K spurts, then leave itself open to invasion, who am I to argue?

The Pope, who doesn't have many transports either, sneaks 2K into Ferrara in November. We exterminate them too. This will turn into an ongoing theme for the rest of the turn.

In December 1652 we take our first shot at Siena: I release 2K troops from my main stack under Idoni, then move to Modena with the intent of boarding transports. That's when ELMO returns! It's Emo, and he has 7K men this time. I rush the rest of the army to Modena, but that's when a pretender rises up!

165212Pretender_zps9b6ab61f.jpg


He's a very polite pretender at least, for he waits patiently while Emo and our general settles business before attacking.

165301ModenaWars_zps25c811bc.jpg


All this fighting is too much for General Idoni however, because he dies in March 1653. Not to worry, as he has an able replacement: Leopoldo Tassoni (F5 S3 M1 Sg1)

In April Savoy starts paying us subsidies, encouraging us to stuff the Pope's mitre somewhere unpleasant. We heartily agree, then slaughter two Sienese regiments over 3 months in celebration.

In September Elmo is back again, but his army is down to 4200. Tassoni descends on him with all 9K and destroys the entire army. A separate army of 4000 descends on Verona a month later, and he slaughters them as well. Nicely done.

All these victories convince me it's time to try again: Siena's down to 2K, and the Pope has none at the moment. Our transports fill with troops, we sail to see and immediately encounter a single frigate. Worse, it looks like the entire Sienese navy is right behind!

165401NavalWar_zps702122c6.jpg


We manage to retreat..barely, but this really spells the end of our offensive action. Tuscany STILL won't let us through their land to get to Siena, and they have naval superiority. Grr.

Venice occupies Ferrara in March and moves to Romagna. I don't know if they have a plan for the other Papal holdings, but he should have enough warscore to give Mitre-Head a bloody nose.

Over the rest of the year we slaughter 2 more Papal and 2 Sienese regiments. In May I tried another shot at Siena, but got chased to port by 2 galleasses and the lone Sienese transport. I ordered three galleasses in response, but they'll take two years to complete.

As of December 1654 the war looks like this:
Code:
Country		Army	Manpower
Mantua		9000	12172

Papacy		   0	18854
Siena		1000	14322
Switzerland	6000	13240

Yes, somewhere when I wasn't looking Switzerland joined the fun, but since we have no common border they haven't shown up.
[/code]

On paper this should be an overwhelming victory for the good guys.

165412WarStatus_zpsdc194070.jpg


But we won't finish the job.


Johan's Dice

Reign: 10 years
Roll Needed: 3+
Roll: 1
Continue: No

Especially over the last few countries I've come around to Director's opinion among others that the die roll needs to be altered a bit. I'll leave it as is (with final veto authority) for this game, but if I do this again I might automatically continue the first 5 years, 2+ at 10 years, 3+ at 15, etc.

So, I could ignore this...but I won't. Mantua hasn't been nearly as boring or painful as I feared, but I don't see this war ending well despite the numbers. Without MA through Tuscany or naval superiority I can never impose my will on Siena - and that's -12 war score right there. Technically I'm losing this war despite all the regiments I slaughtered.

Once Milan and Venice peace out, I could certainly siege what's left, but again without Tuscan MA I can't get to Siena or Rome, and it would take even more extraordinary MAs to get to the Papal holdings on the other side of the Adriatic. Without Rome or those holdings, I don't think I can build up enough warscore to do more than perhaps force a concede defeat.

No...I think we had our fun here, but let's move on. What's next Johan?


Trolled

165412KanemBornu_zps83f50a1c.jpg


No. Just no. I've taken a certain pride in not using my veto or overriding the dice once this game, but that day has come.

Kanem Bornu has one neighbor: Mali. You know I feel no particular qualms about going after one of 'my' countries, but Kanem Bornu has one third the military, is already over their force limit, their economy would be near break even at full maintenance, they're slightly behind in tech (both Sub-Saharan), and about 30 years away from gaining enough Admin for me to take an idea that would give us colonists. I suppose I could attack Oyo, but with no common border..why? Portugal is of course out of the question.

As a lark (and to see if there was any hope), I started the game anyway and DoWed Mali to see if I could divide and conquer. They found and routed my army in March.

Just no, Johan. Stop trolling us. Give us something fun. Something with potential.

165412Austria_zps0042bb16.jpg


That's more like it.
 

Vaximillian

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Meh, real men play Kanem Bornu! With a blindfold over their eyes.

Just kidding. Aren't you the emperor now? Are you going to connect all those parts of your Reich? Mainz has to be stopped, as has Württemberg. What's your plans for the nearest future? Are the mean greenies aka Ottomans any threat?

There's also Ulm: will you put it out its misery? They might have been hiding alchemical weapons!
 

Orlov Kruskayev

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A man can only play hopeless, boring OPMs so many times before he snaps. :D
Well, no misery for me anymore. On the bright side, now we can both have fun! :rofl:

To be honest, I'm in favor of veto, some kind of second roll or increase in the likeliness of changing if things go that much unpleasant. I was enjoying the fact that you just accepted whatever Johan told you to do, but one Mantua after the other must get old really really fast. Maybe just ruling out stupid countries to start with, setting the standards somewhat? OPMs perpetually locked in their HRE positions, that minuscule Zaporozhia released on the middle of Siberia with no allies as an TPM sunni horde or Shans all over the world are just uninteresting by all accounts.
 
Last edited:

tnick0225

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About only fun thing you could have done with the Kanem Bornu is ritualistic suicide, by declaring war on Mali and hoping they wipe you out. So vetoing that roll s understandable. Did enjoy that you gave Mantua a shot though, it wasn't boring and at least you had a chance to do something with them. Although looks like things may not go that well for them once you leave.

But now you get Austria, and that is a monster! Think you may need to feast on some Bohemia, or well anyone really! :)

So with as many options for excitement as you now have available it will be interesting what you can do with Austria.
 

unmerged(58610)

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Mantua turned out quite interesting. Shame on the Tuscans for not co-operating. I think it was a bit harsh saying that Lady gaga has no talent and no soul. You do have another year glitch - May 1551. Perhaps time does standstill when dealing with Mitr-head.

Kanem Bornu would have been rather quiet. Gain Rm with Mali and wait to inherit or have PU. Wasn't peace and quiet just what the doc ordered? How could you turn down such an opportunity for Austria. Austria, did you say? Austria looks like too much fun. This is what the warmonger in CatKnight has been waiting for. Be afraid, Bohemia. Be very afraid.
.
 

Warlord Skorr

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I. Hate. Elmo.

Elmo is this cute, red, vaguely humanoid puppet with an oversized head and a really whiny voice. Think of Grover without the soul. Now imagine that thing teaching your children about life.
Fixed that for you.

I look forward to seeing what you do with the Archduchy. Bohemia looks too big to connect your territories before the dice whisk you away, but Wurttemburg looks doable.
 

tapewormlondon

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I would have vetoed too!!!

To be fair i did think right at the start that you should have done 10 years auto then the 2+ after that with 5 years increments. This AAR has inspired me to do a random game, and that's what I will be doing. I doubt I will have as much patience as you when it comes to not vetoing though!
 

Idhrendur

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Scottish pirates? I'm descended from scottish pirates! Well, bandits, really, but a whole clan full of them!

Also, I watched this just the other day. I'm guessing you wouldn't like it.

Finally, I'm eager to see you behind the helm of a proper powerhouse. Enough of these minors.
 

GreatUberGeek

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Wow, Austria is quite big! How did it get those northern territories, do you know? Poor KB though. :(
 

frankatank109

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When I saw Kanem Bornu, I laughed until I cried :rofl:. This is not only one of the most interesting premises for an AAR I have ever seen, it is also one of the funniest. Subbed.
 

AsdfeZxcas

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Should have kept Kanum Bornu.
 

McGrey

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If you do that again I think you should take 10 year intervals and keep the dices as it is. Lesser countries overall, but more time to do something with them.

If you have CoP you actually should be able to change the ideas, at least in a non-Ironman-game. You have to open the save with something like notepad, look for the country in question (they are denoted by a three letter tag, e. g. WLS for Wales). If you have found the country you look for, search for “active_idea_groups=” and change “default_ideas=” to “XXX_ideas” whereat xxx is the matching three letter Tag if the country has specific ideas (e. g. “eng_ideas=” for english ideas) or if the country follows a idea group, you have to look it up (e. g. “arabian_ideas=” for the arabian states). The number behind the = is the number of taken ideas in this group. Easiest solution would be to start a new game, save it up and than look there, what the correspondent idea group would be.
I had the same case once. Shortly after I started my Yemen game with the default ideas, a patch brought the arabian ones and I changed them that way.

Oh, and good luck with Austria!

Edit: I forgot, you can find your nation easier, if you search for "human=yes" (w/o quotation marks).
 
Last edited:

Stuyvesant

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Personally, I find Emo (the music) much more offensive than Elmo (the furry red monster dispensing advice to my 2-year old), but that's just me. Either way, enough reason to find and kill the Papal general who choose such a horrible name.

Overall, you did far better with Mantua than I originally expected, but you are right that you were stuck there. No tears shed about moving on. Now, Kanem Bornu - glad that you vetoed that. If you had stuck around, you would either have gone the suicide-by-Mali route, or you would have rolled endless sixes while counting the grains of sand in the Sahara.

Now, Austria - that should be more like it. Are you the Emperor? Can you finally smack around minors and majors alike? I hope to find out soon (oh, and since Johan giveth and Johan taketh, I expect you won't be there long, so best make the warmongering most of your short stint in Vienna).