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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

unmerged(58610)

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Damn the Danes. Excellent session. You finally freed Mainz from the archbishop, as he (you) wanted. You bashed up Mitrehead again. You stomped all over France, Orleans and Burgundy. You have saved Luxembourg. Spain should be very afraid ... of Portugal. The two have fought many times. Aachen's time will come. That google page is priceless.
 

Nikolai

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Victory on all fronts! Onwards, brave Oranjemen!
 

MarshalK

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Poor poor france, she's so used to bullying anyone she wants, anytime whe wants... Guess that's payback for decades of centuries long player plans being ruined. And I guess that Spain will rally it's forces to deal with you, just to show off that it can land a kick.
 

Jack45

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10 years. Enough to destroy everyone who has wronged you over the timeline? Starting with Mitrehead of course.
 

WhiteHojo

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I am caught up yet again. And as usual a most entertaining read. I have used this AAR to mill away the lazy hours on at least three separate camping trips and would like to finally take the time to say thank you for the time and effort you put into this project. I hope you have something new planned for after this one is done and try to make it before March of next year if possible...That's my next planned camping vacation.. viva random!
 

CatKnight

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McGrey: Unfortunately I have a truce with the Horsehead Nebula until 1822.

Athalcor: Yep!

Stuyvesant: The problem with Aachen is the truce doesn't run out with them until 1819. I simply might not have time.

Chief Ragusa: Thanks! Now it's time to make Spain pay.

Nikolai: Let's hope we keep winning!

Hiryuu: Actually let's try something just a little different this time.

MarshalK: Yes, poor France. :rolleyes:

Jack45: Well, we banished Mitrehead to Saxony. We might have to settle for that.

WhiteHojo: Before next March. Got it!
 

CatKnight

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CHAPTER XXV: NETHERLANDS
Part 3: The Unbinding of Isaac
(1810-1815)

For ten years the Dutch, under their intrepid Statist leader Issac van Oranje, has run unchecked over their neighbors. Only one challenge remains, only one blight on the honour of this game.


Religion is Confusing

Yes, it's time to take the world's worst ally down. We might have to wait our turn though.

181001WarsinProgress_zps9b22ce78.jpg


Vinland is attacking Catalan Canada, while Brittany and Morocco are squaring off versus Spain, Mainz and Hungary. Elsewhere in the world the Oirat Horde woke up and is trouncing Ming China, Caraibas is still picking away at Dutch West Indies, the Ottos want to add to their trophy collection, and the Imperials are showing us what a religious war looks like. It's about 150 years too late, but I suppose it's the thought that counts.

I would have joined the Catholic League, mainly for the giggles, but they can't accept new members while at war. Anyway, as you can see they don't seem to need help.

It does cause a little strangeness though. For example, our Protestants in Champagne are really nervous about Catholic armies right next door and really don't want to convert.

181002TroubleinChampagne_zpsddfb7802.jpg


This temporarily spikes our unrest in Champagne at 12.5%, but they soon settle down.

Then Burgundy gets confusing.

181103Catholics_zps1c395965.jpg


The Catholic nobles of Burgundy ask me for protection from the Catholic League. I can either anger my Catholic neighbors, or the entire Catholic League.

This is a bit of a bug. Burgundy joined the Protestant League and started the Imperial holy war, but then I force-converted them to Catholic. Since they can't leave the League while at war, they're still at war with their fellow Catholics over religion.

This is why I prefer cats. No arguments like this over dog-ma.

Overall this is a quiet period. I've decided that IF we're going after Spain, I want to be fighting by the end of 1813 so we have time to resolve things. I upgrade all our ships to the most modern models, though I'm not expecting any naval combat: Spain has a formidable army, but ZERO navy. I also hire twelve more mercs, which our budget doesn't like but with 15,000 ducats in the bank we'll be okay. Let's fortify Vermandois on the Spanish border, and send 5,000 troops to Hawaii to support our latest colonial effort. The last proves to be a good idea, as natives rise up three times before the end of this turn to no avail.

In April 1812 there are new kids in town.

181204Who_zpsb1707bf0.jpg


They get cores on our African provinces and a few from Mali, but otherwise do no harm. I believe the formal term is 'Whatever.'

Later that year it appears the Vinland/Canadian war got out of hand, because now Spain is fighting Norway - though they somehow seem to be manhandling Brittany. Our entire fleet is based in Holland, as when the war starts we're going to blockade as much of the Spanish coast as possible. Our merchants don't like this.

181209MerchantsBiteMe_zpsee9b0c85.jpg


I decide to remind them who's boss by attacking Mainz. Mainz, because their only ally is Spain, while Spain is also allied with Hungary and Orleans. I'm not afraid of either, but they are distractions we don't need. Anyway, this isn't about territory (though I won't say no.) This is about bleeding Spain dry. Their army is at 216K to our 80 or so, and I can only hope most of them are overseas.

Let's roll the dice and see what happens.


The Rain in Spain

181210War_zps31764af2.jpg


So it is NETHERLANDS+ and Russia+ vs MAINZ and Spain+. We split 30K to start sieging down Mainz, obliterating their army in November 1812. The other 50K ... well, plan A was to sit a province back and let them come to me.

That's when 100K Spaniards crossed the border, grew bored, and settled in Barrois (Lorraine) with 50K more friends. Yes, that's 150,000 and the war's barely a month old.

Time to practice our hit and run tactics! We spend the next few months scorching as many border provinces as we can get to. In February 1813 we ambush and destroy 10K reinforcements, and 5K more in March. Meanwhile the Spanish seem confused what to do, milling about in Lorraine and Trier and attriting by the thousands. It's a glorious sight.

181302ScorchedEarth_zps41e61cc2.jpg


No, it's not that simple. Later that month, while ambushing yet another force, the main Spanish army catches ours. We lose 14K to their 20K and rout. They can still afford those kinds of losses, we never could. In May I have to throw our stack against the Spanish again to buy time for our secondary army to thrash theirs. It's not worth it: We take heavy losses in the first battle, and while our secondary army wins the doomstack catches and crushes them. Overall they lost 29K, while we lost 50.

This nonsense finally convinces the Imperial members that maybe Emperor Palatinate is right. They agree with his reform to ban internal HRE wars, but not before one last surprise.


Shall we Dance?

It's bad, but it's not hopeless. More mercenaries, while we have more than enough cash to begin repairing our shattered army. Meanwhile, Spain doesn't pursue: They're at 3.0 war exhaustion and beginning to feel it, so settle for sieging Cambray and Trier. We spend the summer and autumn recovering.

Meanwhile, Spain forces Brittany to release a huge chunk of land as a new Shawnee nation.

By November 1813 our army's recovered a little, so we run over to Mainz to thrash their new army, but a Wurzburg army beats us there. It seems that before the Emperor could ban wars, Wurzburg DoWed Mainz over Frankfurt. Spain honored their commitments, so they are now at war with Norway+, Denmark, Wurzburg, Bavaria, Hesse, Palatinate, Venice, Anhalt, Augsburg, Brunswick, Netherlands+, Russia+, two Eve Online guilds and several Elite: Dangerous players.

All we have to do is keep dancing and we might just come out of this.

Cambray falls to the Spaniards in April 1814. They have two armies left, one of 32K and the other of 45. We're back up to 60K and can take one...but not both, and the Spanish AI very smartly keeps both armies within support distance of each other.

In quick succession we take Military-32, Diplomacy-31 and Administration-29. None really help us, but none hurt either. Our last idea group will be Quantity, as Quantity-1 (Levee en Masse, +50% force limit) would be very useful.

In July some traitor in parliament mouths off.

181407Traitor_zps6a4b2601.jpg


We kill him of course.

Through 1814 we send our army between Frankfurt and Metz hoping to draw one or the other Spaniard force off. We finally succeed, or they get bored, because the 45K stack splits in two, half enters Lorraine.. and gets swarmed by 71K Imperials.

I really won't have a better chance. On December 1, 1814 Cambray falls. We move our army into the 32K Spaniard stack. They break on December 31, losing 22K to our 9.

181412SmashSpain_zps4303e6b6.jpg


It is now December 1814. Spain's war exhaustion is passing 6, and a few of their colonies have maxed out at 20. Their 216K army is down to just under 50K. As I said, we may not actually get any land off of them...

...but we ARE going to make them pay.
 

LanMisa

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That'S the spirit! Crush them like all your enemies did every time you called them into a war! I honestly don't get how they could conquer such a big part of France....looking at their most recent performances.
 

Athalcor

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Will the Wiz's improved military AI withstand the onslaught?

But it's good the AI is now smarter - at least the days of 'merging a doomstack and then using it to massacre small enemy armies one by one' are gone.
 

Stuyvesant

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This is why I prefer cats. No arguments like this over dog-ma.

Zing! Well, you are called CatKnight after all...

The war looks good: no noble goals, no real long-term strategy, just a straightforward beatdown on Spain. I hope to see it crumble in the last few remaining years. :)
 

Nikolai

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Let's beat down Spain to a pulp! For the glory of.......whoever wants the glory of this!
 

unmerged(58610)

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What's this? A great war against Spain and the Horsehead Nebula doesn't get an invite?

How did Spain force Brittany to release the Shawnee? Must have been Spain's endless colonial nations. It's armies must be in europe and Spain has no navy. You can and should annex Mainz. You have got Russia as an ally. Drain Spain of manpower and carpet siege Spain. Your motto may well be "To the pain!"
 

LatinKaiser

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Remember the Maine? To Hell with Spain! :D
 

Stuyvesant

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We will proactively remember the hypothetical Maine from another timeline and impose our just demand for justice on the treacherous transtemporal Spaniards! :)
 

RepublicanIV

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Ruina Hispania!

Take the fight to the Spaniards! For the Dutch nation!
 

CatKnight

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LanMisa: Spain is the first EU empire (any version) I've seen actually decay. For a very long time they were one of the world's superpowers and I said as much when we looked at several charts half way through. I think PUing and taking Lithuania was their poisoned apple: Too much far flung land to try and protect, too much constant warfare, no chance to meaningfully recover.

Athalcor: Let's find out!

Stuyvesant: Making Spain crumble IS our war goal!

Nikolai: For the glory of the Horsehead Nebula!

Chief Ragusa: I'm not sure how Spain defeated Brittany. It was a relatively long war and they seemed to be trading sieges - I assume the Spanish colonials were actively fighting. There would have been a ticking war score for Brittany failing to take Madrid, perhaps that was it.

LatinKaiser: Yes, by all means Remember the Maine! Right Stuyvesant?

Stuyvesant: Proactively beating down your enemies is just sound tactics.

RepublicanIV: Indeed!
 

CatKnight

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CHAPTER XXV: NETHERLANDS
Part 4: The Final Countdown
(1815-1821)


Welcome, everyone, to the latest and final episode of everyone's favorite AAR, "Let's bleed Spain dry!"

You mean that isn't the title? It should be.

Wait, what do you mean this isn't your favorite AAR?

Hmph.


To the Pain!

It is January 1815, and we've just given Spain another bloody nose. They aren't giving up however, so we can't spare our main army from the Spanish border to deal with Mainz. Instead we build yet another 12 mercenaries and funnel them into Frankfurt, our 'official' war goal.

The biggest challenge right now isn't Spain so much as Lorraine. We don't have MA through Lorraine, and Spanish troops are funneling into Barrois where I can't reach them. Still, they seem content to sit there for now so we use our army to keep house, killing 5K in Champagne in January, then 4K more over the next two months.

Finally I get the brilliant idea of placing a siege army in Ile-de-France and placing the rest of my army one province back. The Spaniards take the bait and we reel them in.

181506Smash_zpscafce561.jpg


Still, their army size is stable at about 45K. They must be building mercenaries: Last I checked Spain had money and no manpower, and we aren't their only problem. The Imperial alliance fighting with Mainz has taken their capital and invaded the Spanish held Mediterranean coast in what we'd consider southern France. Furthermore, 80,000 revolutionaries have sprouted up.

In March 1816 Stadtholder Isaac passed on and the Statists took control of parliament.

181603Statists_zps9b3d8620.jpg


Yes, he was the better choice.

I'm pretty sure we were (barely) Stattist at this point and should have had an election in March 1820, but did not. It's just as well, we were wrapping up by the game by then anyway.

In April 1816 General Willem Brouwer, who has done well on defense so far, demands full control of our army. Really.

History suggests that letting a general have too much power in this time frame is a bad idea. Especially a short one like Brouwer. Next he'll want to declare war on Russia, which is definitely off the table.

We wait until after he's repulsed another bloody attack on Ile-de-France before shutting him down.

Unfortunately that's when the 25K Spaniards hiding in Lorraine strike. They sweep north and annihilate our sieging army at Frankfurt. We quickly raise more mercs and pursue them, joining the Imperial army at Heidelberg to finish them off.

181512KillMoreSpaniards_zps8fc6e09a.jpg


I don't even want to talk about those jerks in Dutch Colombia. Who do they think they are? Soon afterwards we get an event warning us that no one likes paying taxes to Orangist tyrants. Hello? Stattist right over here!

General Fernando Colon, the butcher of Frankfurt, returns to Ile-de-France in October 1816. Once more we beat him. Rather than give him respite, this time we chase his Spanish butt all the way to the Catalonia, then back up to Paris.

181703Spainintrouble_zpsd0fa613d.jpg


Win!

By the way, those 34K Ottomans in Lorraine? It seems that for some reason Lorraine, Aachen and France are taking on the Khalifa. I don't think we have to worry about Barrois being used as a base anymore.


Why Spain Sucks

It's now March 1817, and Spain's army is down to 6K. Don't forget those mercenaries though, they breed like rabbits. More to the point, their war exhaustion is 8.90. Portugal's entered the Imperial war on Spain/Mainz's side (but not mine) and took care of some of their revolts, but new ones are springing up on a regular basis.

The rest of 1817 is a bit slow: After assuring myself that the Spanish rabbits are far too busy trying to protect their Med holdings, I finally begin our fourth siege of Paris. Prussian separatists rise up in Memel, Spanish Lithuanian and Russian occupied. I think our buddies will be able to handle it. We hit Admin-30 just as Frankfurt falls in November.

That's when I see my exit strategy, one which should cripple Spain for all time. It gives me hope. Once Paris falls, Spain and Mainz are finished and we can coast to the finish line.

Needless to say Paris is a tough nut to crack, but we still have a little time.

Hawaii becomes a full province in July 1818, which is one less headache to worry about. The 5K natives there never really gave up, and if not for the presence of a 5K army that's been there for a good decade now they probably would have kicked us off for a second time.

In March 1819 we take Quality-1 (Levee en Masse), which means by the end of the game we actually have a tolerable manpower pool. If we were playing into the 1820s I might even have started cycling our mercs out. Finally, in June, Paris falls.

Now behold my plan in all its terrible glory.

181906SpainPeace_zps056ff890.jpg


The four provinces in South America are nice. The war reparations are a nice touch. The huge win here, costing 200 Dip Power (but only 2% warscore), is releasing Castile as an independent state. That's almost half of Iberia! Spain is so done!

It makes the peace with Mainz almost anti-climactic.

181906MainzPeace_zps421e66ee.jpg


Don't congratulate me yet. The Castile part didn't fire. Whether it's a bug, or because Castile auto-joins Spain once it's formed, or what not they didn't lose one bit of territory outside of South America.

Even in humiliating defeat they make me look stupid. GRRR...


Being a Jerk

Needless to say this put me in a foul mood. I want to hurt someone. Orleans founded a coalition against me some time ago, but I ignored it. In July 1819 Burgundy goes straight to the top of my crap list by joining it. One month later I have MA through the Palatinate, my armies are in position, and it's time to show why they won't find any safety in mere numbers.

181908SmashBurgundy_zps302e9775.jpg


So it's NETHERLANDS+ vs. BURGUNDY, Orleans and Switzerland (Burgundy ally). By the end of September the Burgundian army is gone, and the others follow in October. That's really all there is to say.

By May 1820 all of Burgundy is occupied, followed by Orleans in June, then Switzerland in November. We let the Swiss off lightly: We have no land border with their one province so there's little point. The others however...

Almost in reaction to our last little party, the HRE votes to make the Imperial throne hereditary. That's when we stick the last knife in the Imperial side.

182101Empire_zps3d151fc7.jpg


It is over.


Conclusion:

It is now January 1821. For nearly 400 years we've danced with the AI, constantly changing partners as we went. How did we do? Over the next several posts we'll find out.
 

Seelmeister

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Congratulations on reaching the end date! This has been a brilliant AAR to follow, and Johan's dice were quite cooperative in the end in giving you a decent country to play out the finale with. Great work socking it to Spain, while your dastardly plan to create some of the most awful western European borders was foiled by a bug you still won a significant victory.

Looking forward to the report card!
 

Chyll

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The only thing that would make this AAR better is if it had one more session to go... and Johan gave you Spain. :eek:hmy:

Thank you, enjoyable from start to finish. Much appreciated.