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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

unmerged(45689)

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Jun 26, 2005
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Good afternoon, would-be conquerors and other assorted miscreants. If you're here, I'm assuming you're not one of Professor Ebbesen's dragons or better. As a matter of fact, I'm rather certain most of you are abject failures at almost everything. Except, that is, not managing to get yourselves killed on your first deployment. Congratulations! We'll try much harder next time, but apparently high command wants you people to actually be SUCCESSFUL in your administration of whatever backwater world you're dropped on, so I fear they've sent you to me.

I'm Proctor Nakar, a graduate aide. Now, before you scoff, bear in mind that like at least a few of you, I happen to still be alive. And while my qualifications for instructing wanna-be gonna-be army smashing star generals are certainly in question, my capacity for survival is unparalleled.

Bluntly, most of you are in the same position I was in before. Conquering an entire world is so daunting! You touch down and unload the marines and start rolling out and a couple months later it turns out you're bankrupt or something, goodness me. You managed to learn the obvious lessons from the esteemed professors, but you're still losing! How unfair is that? Well, here in Remedial Administration 152, we'll try to get you back on track with the simple things so you can concentrate on the proper occupation of warmongering. Don't worry, there will be plenty of that too, as you will see from the simulation.

Speaking of which, let me take a moment to introduce you to the simulation we'll be using for this little effort. As I'm sure you're all well aware, the software was overhauled recently as a result of rampant student cheating. Who would have thought any of you would be smart enough to actually learn history? Well, we're having none of that, ladies and gentlemen. This version will set all the initial parameters and from there, nothing is sacred. But you're already aware of this, so let's look at the particular primitive historical Earth nation under our governance this semester.

eth_1453_jul_polimap.jpg


Ethiopia! The stately ancestral land of northeastern Africa. Ethiopia! The mysterious and uniquely Christian land in the midst of Islam! Ethiopia! The best flag I've seen in a long, long while. Seriously, look at it. A lion. Really inspires confidence. Not a bad preassigned color, either.

Unfortunately, that will be about the only thing to get excited about. As you may notice from the simulation map, Orthodox nations are in red, Sunni Islam in yellow, Shi'a Islam in blue. There is a tragic shortage of the foremost. In fact, it's exactly one nation. The last major Orthodox neighbor was extinguished earlier in this year of history, and the Russians are far too remote to even be considered. On the plus side, the Balkan Christians are somewhat indifferent to us. Everyone else more or less dislikes us.

eth_1453_jul_provs.jpg


Let's take a look at our provinces. As you may have noticed, we are an Orthodox Christian nation eight provinces in size. Of these, exactly three provinces are Orthodox, all of them grain. If your professors have taught you anything (and I'm starting to wonder), grain provinces are for looting, not owning. The simulator is also very fond of the Bad Harvest event, which will incite riots and drain the treasury if a nation has four or more grain-producing provinces. We start with exactly four. Fantastic.

The Sunni provinces under our control are not much better, but at least two of them are our culture. They produce wool, slaves, and salt. You will come to appreciate salt, for the very simple reason that it isn't grain.

The saving grace of this disaster is pagan Kefa, which happens to contain a very profitable gold mine and decent taxes. It's also insular, which is good news, because not a single one of our provinces is fortified!

eth_1453_jul_king.jpg


Zar'a Quastantinos III reigns at present. He is a giant of a man, 9/8/8 by simulator terms. A formidable man easily a match for any ruler short of Burgundy's superhuman king, we want him alive for as long as is possible, because we're probably not going to see anybody like him again soon.

eth_1453_jul_lead.jpg


Regrettably, Mr. Quastantinos is so far ahead of his time that he is an unparalleled expert in massed firearm volley combat, which would be very helpful if we had guns instead of spears or indeed if guns existed at all. His good Siege score would at least be helpful if any fortresses existed anywhere in Africa. But he's free.

Anyway, a man of his caliber is sure to attract a court of canny advisors.

eth_1453_jul_court.jpg


Fantastic.

eth_1453_jul_econ.jpg


On the upside, we are most of the way to Government Tech 1, which will provide us with our first National Idea. Your first assignment is to correctly identify the NI which will best benefit Ethiopia at this time. After this we will probably want some Production (for workshops) and Land (to avoid being run over).

eth_1453_jul_govt.jpg


You may notice the simulator deviates slightly from the established parameters. Ethiopia is by default a Tribal Despotism in the African tech group. I've made them a Despotic Monarchy in the Muslim tech group, because I consider it sporting. Your professors do not share my leniency. Keep that in mind. In all fairness, however, it's rather trivial to do New World/African westernization with a little sketchy gameplay, namely selling a pagan grain province to Tuscany and waiting. In a way, being stuck almost perpetually in Muslim will be harder, and certainly more interesting.

Anyway, illustrious Ethiopia is somewhat Aristocratic (which is good), highly Decentralized (which has ups and downs), somewhat Narrowminded (quite important), highly Mercantile (which is probably bad, but we can work with it), somewhat Defensive (which is not terribly exciting, but it could be worse), slightly Land-based (which is fine), Quantity-focused (not a bad thing right now), and rather starkly Serfdom-biased. An enlightened nation-state we are not, but if your professors have taught you anything, serfs make exceptional cannon fodder.

Our current slider settings give us about +1 colonist a year, and a sliver of a missionary and spy. We'll be fine on diplomats, but we're going to need a lot more of the other three.

eth_1453_jul_mil.jpg


We have a grand total of two African Spearmen, which we will promptly switch over to their Muslim infantry equivalent. This isn't going to help us much, but it's a whole lot better than spearmen. We also have a boat. Enjoy it.

Now, the dutiful student in you would suggest an immediate war, but we should bear in mind that we are a smallish, unfortified, militarily pathetic nation in direct proximity to the Mamluks, who no doubt will be declaring war on us sooner or later. Hopefully later. So your second assignment is to recommend a course of action. Don't be shy about your warmongering aims, but remember that a realistic foothold is a great deal more beneficial than a potentially unsustainable rush. Also remember that Adal has access via the Strait of Hormuz to the Middle East, so we are not quite as protected by the Red Sea as we might like to think.

Thoughts, comments, or questions? I can't reassign you, you know, just make... suggestions. Speak up!
 

Junkyard_Pope

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*Raises his Hand*

We could ummm suggest an alliance with Yemen? they're surrounded by people that hate them too.

And maybe grand army as the NI?
 

unmerged(59077)

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Jul 17, 2006
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I'll be auditing the course, if you don't mind. I'm a complete newb so a step-by-step explanation is good.
 

Velasco

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*Raises hand*

I would suggest alliance with Mamluks, at all costs. As many royal marriages as possible with Yemen, Swahili, and Hedjaz. Encircle Adal and then move in on it, it seems to be the easiest target. Afterward, moving south to Swahili or across to Yemen and Oman should be no problem.
 

Kaltorak

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Nakar said:
You may notice the simulator deviates slightly from the established parameters. Ethiopia is by default a Tribal Despotism in the African tech group. I've made them a Despotic Monarchy in the Muslim tech group, because I consider it sporting. Your professors do not share my leniency. Keep that in mind. In all fairness, however, it's rather trivial to do New World/African westernization with a little sketchy gameplay, namely selling a pagan grain province to Tuscany and waiting. In a way, being stuck almost perpetually in Muslim will be harder, and certainly more interesting.

Have you played ethiopia under the normal parameters? I'm not sure if the date in which it happens is set in stone, but I didn't get map knowledge of europe until ~1600. Which while it presented me with the option you mentioned. I was already one square away from castille in west africa after mauling the Mali. The only land route to europe is through a lot of muslims which aren't friendly. So you get at least 150 years of 8 times the tech research. Forgive my ignorance if there is a sneaky way of discovering europe earlier.

Anyway. Usually you don't get a choice in your first action (In my 8 starts testing different avenues the Adal declared war about 6 times because of their confidence in their usual allies in the swahili). They don't have anything worth taking so you vasselise them. This has the added benefit of giving you a buffer against most of the locals except the mamluks. Who in the ethiopia game I continued kept getting into other wars and didn't have the stability to attack me. After that it was the wait till government tech 1 for QftNW (yay for you knowing the area due to muslim tech group) after which Yeman and Oman became vassels and I took one province from each (for access to Muslim tech military units, thankfully a problem you won't have). Then it was off on a conquest/colonisation spree to west africa.

Anyway I'm ranting now. I await for your next move.

Cheers,
Kal
 

unmerged(45689)

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Jun 26, 2005
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1453-1470: I was hoping to start this slowly...

Understandably, an army NI such as Grand Army (to increase our land force limit, allowing us to field more troops at reasonable cost) or Military Drill (extra land morale) or National Conscripts (extra manpower) is desirable. In fact, as you will see, I may have miscalculated a little. But I decided to go with the old standby Quest For The New World.

Why? Well, for one thing, being totally land-bound and unfortified is a bit scary. I'm not the sort that can take on the world from a single-province minor in the sticks, and I'd rather not find myself on the bad end of a 100% warscore proposal from the Mamluks. The AI in the simulator plays a bit rough, and if it desires it will simply take all of our provinces should it get a 100% WS. The easiest way to prevent this is to explore the world, plop down a colony they can't see, and fight to the death. As you'll see later, this very nearly happened!

There are several provinces west of us, but they almost exclusively produce slaves. They'll be quick to colonize when and if we get the money, and the value of slaves will eventually rise a bit. The real prize is not on land, however; the rich islands of Mahe, Bourbon, and Mauritius lie just southeast of the Horn of Africa, near Madagascar. With Spices and Sugar, they are vastly more valuable than any of our provinces (gold aside), and they're invisible to the Muslim states... for now.

Now, why was this potentially a bad plan? Because Adal immediately declared war on us, of course.

Fighting in Africa at this point is extremely dangerous. Supply limits are low and the land is flat and easy for cavalry to move around in. Cavalry won't be a problem when dealing with native Africans, but as we shall see, the Muslim countries have plenty. The worst thing that can happen in these early years of warfare is a single cavalry regiment dashing around the back country swiping provinces and refusing to die. Encircling these things is generally a waste of good regiments, and overwhelming them is right out until the war is nearly won. So if we get into a province trade with Adal, bad things will happen.

Therefore the only option is to attack, and try to get all of their provinces before they get enough of ours to drag the war out. This is swiftly done.

This was a lucky break. Adal had chosen not to get allied support before the wardec. This could have been very bad. They subsequently allied with Swahili, but at this point I'm not too worried about them.

It would be extremely nice if we could get into an alliance. "Alliance with the Mamluks at all costs" is a fairly good bit of advice, as such an alliance would make absolutely certain of our safety... unfortunately, it's impossible. Despite full tolerance for Islam, it would take bribe money we just don't have to even get the Mamluks to tolerate us. Getting into more wars will also lead to the Mamluks smelling blood and wardecing, which will almost assuredly stick us at -200 relations. But I don't want to spoil anything. Suffice it to say the alliance thing is still difficult.

The first good news for a while: Government Tech 1 in 1456.

The first bad news for a while: Our king dies almost immediately.

"A while" passes, unfortunately. Hedjaz declares and brings in Yemen, which unsuccessfully tries to attack across the Strait of Hormuz. A counterattack is launched, and against all odds manages to crush the Yemeni defenders at Mocha. It's only then I realize that Mocha is a colony. One cavalry rush across unfortified provinces later, I discover there's another colony to take as well. I don't think BB is going to be our problem for a while, so away it goes.

eth_1464_apr_hedjazpeace.jpg


A white peace, but with two colonies stolen from Yemen. One is at 800 people, making it an excellent score. This brings us to about 14 provinces, not a single one fortified. Fantastic.

eth_1464_apr_mamlukwar.jpg


Incidentally, this happened the same month. Dulkadir joined in, apparently still in existence somehow. The simulated Ottomans, it seems, are well below their historically expected level of competence.

eth_1464_may_loss.jpg


The war gets off to a great start, with the bottleneck at Massawa smashed. Mamluk soldiers stream into the unfortified country. Did I mention we're completely unfortified?

eth_1466_apr_loss.jpg


Two years later and things aren't much better. You'll notice our manpower is 0. National Conscripts would have helped with this, as the Mamluks vastly outman us. Of course, it's questionable just how useful this would be. Things certainly look hopeless, but our military tradition has spiked from all the battles. The tide turns, and Massawa is retaken, with a large Mamluk force pushed back into their lands. I start cleaning up whoever is left and send cavalry around to mess with the southern Mamluk provinces, which are (surprise!) unfortified.

eth_1466_jun_dulkadirpeace.jpg


Dulkadir throws in the towel, which is nice, because their counterattack pushed me back out of Massawa, and continued presence by their troops probably would've meant a three province peace deal with the Mamluks.

eth_1466_dec_cheating.jpg


The last Mamluk army, despite having no land south of Massawa, decides it should retreat AWAY from the direction it was being driven. Oh well. Mamluk cavalry seems to be much faster than ours, but that probably has to do with leaders. As we got better Maneuver ratings, we actually started beating retreating armies to provinces, which is good, because our numbers were dwindling. I managed to whittle down a fleeing cavalry regiment with a damaged, flatline morale regiment of my own, somehow winning the 0 vs. 0 morale battles.

eth_1466_nov_advance.jpg


And so, we advance. Ignore the loss there, of course. Sometimes you can make progress even when you're being beaten back at every turn!

eth_1467_jan_mamlukpeace.jpg


Unfortified provinces are as much a problem for the Mamluks as me. Despite beating us more or less soundly in this war until the final days, the fact that I briefly held several provinces gave me just enough WS to extract a nice war chest from the ordeal. Unfortunately, this doesn't even begin to cover the losses from minting to actually FIGHT the war. And our manpower is still 0. Also, our provinces are entirely unfortified.

eth_1468_oct_yemenwar.jpg


So, of course, Yemen strikes back. Because their truce expired, and we're Orthodox. Just can't catch a break. One month later, they beg for peace. Unfortified provinces are fun, huh?

eth_1470_jan_poli.jpg


And so, 1470 dawns and we're still alive. The lesson to be learned here is that even really hopeless wars are winnable with good leaders. We were completely crushed on the battlefield until good high-Shock and high-Maneuver leaders came into play. Even then, losing men was crippling. The aftermath of the war has seen a loan taken out and progress slowed on Production Tech 1. Getting there will, with any luck, help alleviate the money situation and maybe even get us to Land Tech 1 before one to three more Mamluk wars pass. Things could get dicey if a second Mamluk war erupts before, you know, we have any manpower.

I would call this an assignment of sorts, because I assure you it is anything but a desperate cry for help. What do we do to prevent the Mamluks from overrunning us again before fortification is an option? An alliance with a powerful Christian nation, if possible, seems sensible. Even if the AI is terrible at actually prosecuting a war with the Mamluks, the alliance might deter them. It's probably the only way to stay alive at this point, unless the Massawa garrison holds.

p.s. Persia actually exists. How cool is that?

p.p.s. We can actually see the border provinces besides Massawa. Mamluks can't. Too bad they're filled with thousands of aggressive Nubians, or we could use them to launch one-regiment cavalry sneak attacks.

p.p.p.s. Yes, Hedjaz and Yemen are now at war with each other. Although still allied, it seems. With any luck this fragmentation will weaken them in the future, but I'm willing to give up the colonies (once they become cities) and reclaim them later as Orthodox Ethiopian provinces. The Mamluks crushed our entire navy during the war, so holding the strait may be dicey.
 

germanpeon

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I suggest either praying you can hold out and somehow win a potential war (like last time) or gift the border province to someone else, if you can.
 

Kaltorak

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Nakar said:
I would call this an assignment of sorts, because I assure you it is anything but a desperate cry for help. What do we do to prevent the Mamluks from overrunning us again before fortification is an option? An alliance with a powerful Christian nation, if possible, seems sensible. Even if the AI is terrible at actually prosecuting a war with the Mamluks, the alliance might deter them. It's probably the only way to stay alive at this point, unless the Massawa garrison holds.

Well if you vasselised the Adal you could sell Massawa to them (I usually did with Ethiopia until I got lucky in the game I went on with). I haven't seen the Mamluks declare war with that buffer. I presume because their relations with the Adal are good.

Congratulations on your successes so far. Ahhh the luxury of cavalry. Use that luxury against the Swahili and Mutapa and steal their precious gold! That is if you can cancel out the Mamluk threat.

Good luck!

Cheers,
Kal
 

Junkyard_Pope

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Proctor Nakar, would it not help to round up all those who may be Mamluk sympathizers and have them summarily executed, to show the consequences of going against our state? And surely those sympathetic to the mamluks are the cause of the wars!

Execute the traitors!
 

PrawnStar

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If you recover manpower before the next war use your troops to clear one of the unclaimed provinces on the Mamluke frontier as a sneak invasion route - your army should rebuild and natives don't seem to respawn very quickly. There's no hurry so only stay and fight if the numbers look good on day one of the shock phase.

Choose whichever province has the most borders with Mamluke territory.

Fighting the Mamlukes, ride through that cleared path and get some fast war score and make peace until you are strong enough to take them down.

Overall, head south, lots of pagan provinces, lots of gold, few neighbours and another hinterland of unclaimed provinces the muslims don't know and the europeans don't want.
 

stnylan

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Good character in the writing so far.
 

Kanil

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I too encourage the selling of Massawa. Hopefully this will prevent war entirely, but even if it doesn't, the Mamluks have (in my experience) been too stupid to get access through Adal, allowing you to sit back and relax. Ofcourse, since you're in the same techgroup now, it's likely that in 50 years they'll find a way around, but hopefully that'll buy you enough time to be ready for them.
 

Grundius

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I'm watching this.

Selling Massawa sounds sound.. yet it is the loss of a province. Perhaps you can open another front for the Mameluks with transports in the Red Sea or MA through the Hedjaz? However, this will not prevent war in itself. But you could loot Mameluks so as to pay for your fortresses.
 

Velasco

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Apr 9, 2005
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*Raises hand*

Sell Massawa to Adal, thus hoping to prevent war with Mamluks.

Swahili looks like a nice next stop for Ethiopian conquest. After that, Hedjaz, Yemen and Oman are nice targets, and as much colonisation as possible, ofc.

:D
 

unmerged(45689)

Corporal
Jun 26, 2005
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1470-1484

Sell Massawa? Well, I know Professor Ebbesen would have my hide for suggesting we LOSE a province, but in this case it's a surprisingly good idea. Fortunately, it seems that we've been granted a reprieve, as brutal wars have broken out in North Africa and the Mamluks apparently were nearly as starved for manpower as we were. They've kept quiet, and the garrison at Massawa has held out. But we have much larger problems, which I will get to.

Before I get off the Mamluks thing, unfortunately, it seems they've allied with Swahili. Doubtless due to our absorption of Adal, which was recently done so quickly I barely remember it happening. I think Swahili may have dumped the zero to get with a hero first, but either way, Adal no longer exists. As you will learn, this is not the only mistake I've made. Of course I did it on purpose. Twice. To great detriment. But something you might want to keep in mind is that most AIs will only have two non-vassal allies at a time. Incidentally, this is also why no one will form a military alliance with us.

eth_1477_may_postshops.jpg


The good news is, workshops have made for a marginal increase in income. It may not seem like much, but as you learned back in 101 workshops more than pay for themselves. As our provinces are poor and full of slaves and grain, a marginal improvement is a great deal better when viewed in the context of the marginality it's improving.

eth_1477_oct_king.jpg


Well, at least the kings haven't been too bad.

eth_1479_jul_trade2.jpg


I was not even trying to get this. Apparently we started at Trade 1 and change, and somehow have been working our way along. I have actually been maintaining merchants in Zanzibar when I could afford it, but actually keeping them there at all times isn't the easiest thing. Trade would actually help us a great deal if we were at peace enough to focus on it and enjoy it. There may yet be time.

eth_1488_apr_land1.jpg


Mercifully, SOMEONE up there likes us (I'm guessing it's the really cute tech-overlord in Observation, you know the one). Needless to say a point or two of inflation is well worth forcing the enemy to siege. I focus on Massawa and Mocha, then the coastal provinces and those bordering Swahili, but it's very important to leave nothing unfortified, because it's the first place any cavalry will go.

The sturdy walls seem to discourage the Mamluks further. They haven't bothered us since. But since they're in cahoots with Swahili, sooner or later it's coming to blows. We might even start it this time!

eth_1489_jan_opportunity.jpg


A year later, this happens. Najd is in an alliance with Yemen and Hedjaz, and with Yemen reduced to one province by the Timurids (more on them later), the crusader spirit kicks in.

Yes, I know the Ethiopians don't have a crusader spirit. Believe me, it became very apparent later.

eth_1489_mar_hedjaz.jpg


But that didn't prevent a (very effective) war against Hedjaz and Yemen, with a white peace taking the pressured Najd out of commission and leaving me to siege Mecca and Medina, the first actual fortified provinces we'll see.

eth_1490_nov_hedjazpeace.jpg


The Hedjaz caves and one of the holy cities of Islam lies in Ethiopian hands. I'm sure this won't cause us any trouble later.

eth_1491_aug_diplmove.jpg


1491-1493 sees good news and very, very bad news, namely a regency with subpar ADM. The replacement king isn't exactly much better, but that will be next lesson.

eth_1494_mar_najdwar.jpg


So anyway, Najd decides they're kind of upset about this whole affair and declares war again, allowing Hedjaz to jump back in before their truce is technically concluded. Of course, Mecca is promptly subjugated (though it seems we don't get the prestige bonus because we have to be CATHOLIC, how unfair is that?), granting us two valuable Spice provinces and seriously ticking off every Muslim ever.

The problem is, well, in the absence of Yemen, Najd has taken on a new ally. You know, the Timurids.

Your assignment for next class is bring plenty of bandages and alcohol. The former for the pain, the latter for drinking. Heavily.

Next Class - Getting Beaten Up For Science
 

stnylan

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Getting beaten up for Science sounds like a very worthy cause...
 

Junkyard_Pope

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Well bandages were easy, but I wasn't sure about the alcohol. I brought tequila, that was a traditional drink of ancient Earth Ethiopia, right?

On the subject of your nasty aggressors, why not try a wee bribe of Ethiopian gold? Sometimes its better just to bribe them, if they'll let you.
 

noobermenschen

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Bah! If you've run the Italians off then the Timurids will be no problem.

Wait a minute - Is this the DoomsDay forum?
 

Kaltorak

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Wow. Those alliances haven't been friendly. Limits your avenues for expansion a lot. The timurids should be interesting. Good luck!
 

Murmurandus

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I like this class... Violence and alcohol... I guess I'll be following it this semester... :D