• Crusader Kings III Available Now!

    The realm rejoices as Paradox Interactive announces the launch of Crusader Kings III, the latest entry in the publisher’s grand strategy role-playing game franchise. Advisors may now jockey for positions of influence and adversaries should save their schemes for another day, because on this day Crusader Kings III can be purchased on Steam, the Paradox Store, and other major online retailers.


    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Director

Maestro
35 Badges
Aug 13, 2002
5.104
1.811
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Cities: Skylines Deluxe Edition
  • Europa Universalis III: Collection
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • 500k Club
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Europa Universalis IV: Third Rome
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Cities: Skylines - Parklife Pre-Order
  • Cities: Skylines - Parklife
  • Imperator: Rome Deluxe Edition
  • Imperator: Rome
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For the Motherland
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Semper Fi
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
Foreword to the first edition:

The recent passing of Doctor Samuel Barton left, as those of you who knew him might imagine, a large quantity of miscellaneous papers spread throughout his home and office. The University of South Alabama, through the good offices of President Moulton, has been kind enough to allow me use of University resources to collate and categorize these papers, which currently fill some seventy-three boxes and eleven file cabinets.

Those of you who knew Samuel knew well his brilliant mind and ecumenical approach to knowledge: he wished to know everything historical, and did so more nearly than anyone I have ever known. Today we call his ability to work on many projects simultaneously ‘multi-tasking’, much kinder than the ‘erratic’ and ‘eccentric’ labels he suffered in an earlier age. Nevertheless, even I was surprised at the vast extent of his various projects, only a tiny portion of which, I am sad to say, is in any way fitted for publication.

His folio on this project is brimming with notes, clippings, references and minutae, but sadly lacking in the one thing we most wished to see: an actual copy of the ‘Gedanken auf Kriege’ of Johannes Gropius. While it is clear from the sheer volume of related material that he must have had extensive access to this most rare of ‘rara avis’, there remains no concrete evidence as to where, when or how he managed it.

For those of you who are not acquainted with the subject, let me say only that no more than fragments of the reputedly whole work exist outside the Gnostic Library in Bremen. That institution is famously supposed to keep every known copy in sealed vaults accessible solely by the royal family. The Library neither confirms nor denies this, and will not in fact discuss the legendary doctor or his works in any particular. They have maintained this stony silence now for over four hundred years; only the forbidden libraries of the Vatican can so excite the academic mind.

Samuel’s quotes from Gropius do not match those found in other works. It is probable that the author of ‘Faust Was Right: A Life of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’ would have insisted on preparing his own translations. All material presented here is Samuel’s version and explanatory notes may be offered where appropriate.

It is with great personal sadness that I confront this task: my great, good friend is not here to share the joy of another publication under his esteemed name. Since none of the other material is remotely fit for publication, this must serve as a last memorial to a scholar who was taken from us far, far too soon.

For those who will complain – rightly – that this work lacks scientific rigor and is virtually denuded of footnotes and references, I can only assert that Samuel intended this material for the popular press and left it in a raw and unedited form. Not being willing to spend decades second-guessing a pre-eminent authority in a field quite other than my own, I am presenting the material substantially as I found it with only minor collating and editing. The genius that shines through is that of Doctor Samuel Barton and the elusive Johannes Gropius; any errors or lapses must be my own.

Doctor Edwin Hauptman
Mobile, Alabama; April 1, 2003




While playing with the then-new version 1.06, I tried a series of Grand Campaign games as Bremen, settings Normal/Normal. Eight of them, in fact - with rapid death in six of eight. These essays are drawn from the last and arguably most successful game.

These 'Essays' are inspired by a fictitious work, the ‘Gedanken auf Kriege’ of the equally fictitious Herr Doktor Johannes Gropius. Comparisons to Clausewitz's 'On War' are obvious, but Clausewitz was able to draw freely on the Doktor's prior work. :p

Presented as a series of musings on different subjects, these essays are illustrated with examples from the game. As a consequence, they jump around in time and location and there is no central connecting plot-line other than the painful (*sigh*) striving of Bremen to grow and prosper.

These short essays will be presented as time and inspiration allow but will not detract from other work.
 

Director

Maestro
35 Badges
Aug 13, 2002
5.104
1.811
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Cities: Skylines Deluxe Edition
  • Europa Universalis III: Collection
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • 500k Club
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Europa Universalis IV: Third Rome
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Cities: Skylines - Parklife Pre-Order
  • Cities: Skylines - Parklife
  • Imperator: Rome Deluxe Edition
  • Imperator: Rome
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For the Motherland
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Semper Fi
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
Selected Essays on the Life and Work of Johannes Gropius of Bremen

Doctor Samuel Barton, University of South Alabama Press, 2003.



The Man Behind The Mask Has No Face

Every proposed biography of Johannes Gropius confronts the same daunting obstacle: little is known about him and even less, one suspects, has ever been made public. Given so much blank canvas, would-be biographers have either contented themselves with a mere sketch or slathered the ‘tabula rasa’ with all manner of fantastical inventions.

In brief, there is no evidence he was ever a Knight Templar, a Mason, or an extra-terrestrial. The Vatican has denied, officially and in writing, that he was ever canonized, excommunicated or a Jesuit. He did not father Martin Luther or Christopher Columbus and he seems not to have celebrated any Black Masses – or at least, not in public. We do assume he was not Oriental or African – surely, some chronicler would have remarked upon it. His mother and father remain unknown. Barring the recovery of some treasure-trove of knowledge such as the opening of the Gnostic Library in Bremen, we are forced to conclude that we now know all we may ever know about this shadowy figure.

And what we do know is little enough. He first appears in the minutes of the town council of Bremen in 1416. He is presented there as ‘Herr Doktor’, gives his previous residency as Leipzig and previous employment as tutor to the children of the nobility of that area. He is said to have left Leipzig upon the last of his charges reaching the fifteenth birthday, the services of a tutor therefore no longer being required.

Notably, there is no record of which university he is supposed to have attended, and Leipzig is much too far from Bremen for any references to have been confirmed. The unusual form of his name – Johannes rather than Johan or Johann – suggests a certain embellishment of what may have been a plainer, simpler truth. It is known that a traveling mage and potion-seller was expelled from Lubeck the previous year; it is too much to assert that this must be our ‘Herr Doktor’, but enough to excite some curiosity. And Werthalzer’s assertion that Gropius received a doctorate in Heidelberg is so much mist and moonshine. There is no trace of his name in the records of that prestigious school, or any other. The closest match anyone has ever found is a reference to a Johan Karl Gropius, lay brother, at a monastery in Buren outside Munich in 1396(?).

Yet the man was undoubtedly literate and learned; Latin epigrams scattered through his ‘Thoughts on War’ reveal that he had at least a passing acquaintance with that tongue. He must have made some study of Tacitus, Caesar, the Praecepta Militaria and the Taktika of the Byzantines. For a man who professed not to be a soldier, he showed a surprising grasp of military administration and practice. He also possessed a keen insight into practical medicine and herbs, understood a little metalworking and had a good grasp of Greek and Roman political theory and practice.

From whence did all this education come? No one knows. Faceless and traceless, the Doktor throws no more than a pale shadow on the vast busy wall of history.



How he came to a position of eminence with the town council of Bremen is a little better understood, but to discuss even that little we must look at the background of the place and time.

Bremen was an old port city even in the early years of the fifteenth century – its famous St Peter’s Cathedral having been laid down, as local legend would have it, at the behest of Charlemagne in 789 AD. The Archbishop of Bremen and Hamburg then held sway from there over all the northern lands for hundreds of years.

Gradually the town pried itself from the grip of the church, becoming mostly independent in its affairs in the early years of the fourteenth century and joining the Hanseatic League of Baltic trading towns in 1358. As always with Bremen, trade meant wealth and wealth meant political and military power.

In 1404 the town council replaced an old wooden work with a massive stone statue of Roland, as a symbol of the city’s determination to be free. Pointedly, the stone knight faces the cathedral, leaving no doubt as to whom the city merchants thought might need the reminder – the old wooden statue having burned during a rebellion against the archbishop’s authority.

Neither church nor council, nor yet the council of the Hanse, had more than a degree of say over the governance of Bremen. People accustomed to the governments of modern times find it hard to credit the degree of anarchy that prevailed in those times, but there was nothing like a central authority. Certainly no king or duke held sway. The archbishop (usually a duke) claimed to rule but increasingly found his authority limited and contested by the city council, and in practice he reigned rather than ruled.

Diplomatically, all German problems were eclipsed by the growing storm clouds across the Baltic. The last war between the Hanseatic cities and Denmark had gone very badly for the Danes, and the Danish king did not intend to concede the contest. It was well understood in Bremen that the northmen had been assembling warriors and ships for thirty years and more, and that war was imminent and inevitable. Resented by its poorer neighbors as the Hanse was, the fear of Danes was inbred and instinctual at this time in Europe. The free cities and petty states of Germany left the Hanse untroubled as they armed, but also left them alone to face the threat.

Gropius seems to have gained influence through befriending Gerhard Baumann, a prominent and wealthy merchant. The tale handed down through generations of that family has been often repeated, but as it gives us the first appearance of the mysterious Doktor Gropius I will summarize its details here.

Baumann’s youngest daughter, on whom he doted, became violently ill. Today, the description of symptoms suggests a strong food allergy or food poisoning of some sort. Fearing she must die, and having heard reports that a foreign academic was staying at a tavern in the city, Baumann sent for the Doktor. Over his protests that he was not a physician or surgeon, Gropius was convinced to do what he could for the stricken girl.

She lived. In gratitude, the merchant – and councilman, and Hanseman – gave Gropius a position in his household and turned, ever after, to the Doktor for advice.



One can only imagine Baumann’s reaction when he confided in Gropius about the upcoming Baltic war and was told to disband the city guard and militia entirely.
 

Director

Maestro
35 Badges
Aug 13, 2002
5.104
1.811
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Cities: Skylines Deluxe Edition
  • Europa Universalis III: Collection
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • 500k Club
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Europa Universalis IV: Third Rome
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Cities: Skylines - Parklife Pre-Order
  • Cities: Skylines - Parklife
  • Imperator: Rome Deluxe Edition
  • Imperator: Rome
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For the Motherland
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Semper Fi
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
Nikolai II - I always try to accomodate people who take the time to read. Sadly, I'm not sure what I can do in this case.

In six of the games, poor Bremen never made it to 1450. In one, I was DoW'd by 27 (yes, twenty-seven) countries after taking Hannover and Oldenburg. As the old Bill Cosby comedy routine says, 'You, Mr Custer, will stand at the bottom of the hill while all the Indians in the world ride down on you...'

The other successful game (number four or five, I think) progressed along the same lines as this one. I enjoyed it a great deal, but was purely gaming and took no notes - which means I couldn't recreate any of the events.

It was broadly the same as this game, with an emphasis on trade and dominion over the Baltic and the German states. Maps will follow shortly.

Bremen was fun - in an agonizing, screaming-in-fury kind of way. :) (Me: "What the **** do you mean, that's the eighth Austrian war in sixty years! Aaaaaagh! Not France! Gelder, come back Gelder! Please!")

The lack of shields on any province except Bremen means expansion is rich in BB points and even modest growth excites the other countries quite a lot. Bremen stays poor until a CoT can be conquered and free trade adopted, and I've been behind the tech curve for most of the game (which is complete to 1630 now and will be finished shortly). So Bremen develops with a HUGE case of paranoia, envy and petulance. Rather like the Germany of Kaiser Wilhelm II, as a matter of fact.

Thanks to Storey for the tip about finding a strong alliance, and for encouraging me to play slowly and carefully. Little Bremen doesn't have the room for error that major powers do, and I've never claimed to be a master gamer. As you'll see, I needed the help. :)
 

Judge

Field Marshal
6 Badges
Jan 8, 2003
3.645
0
Visit site
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • 500k Club
Nice start,

I guess you played the 1,05 style in earlier games and that is tough nowadays. I have always been a rather cautious player so the shift from 1,05 to 1, 06 and 1,07 has been pretty smooth:D
 

Owen

Field Marshal
42 Badges
Apr 23, 2002
3.775
0
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Cities: Skylines - Snowfall
  • Stellaris
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Cities: Skylines - Natural Disasters
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Cities: Skylines - Mass Transit
  • Surviving Mars
  • Cities: Skylines - Green Cities
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Surviving Mars: Digital Deluxe Edition
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Surviving Mars: First Colony Edition
  • Cities: Skylines Industries
  • Stellaris: Megacorp
  • Surviving Mars: First Colony Edition
  • Cities: Skylines - Campus
  • Stellaris: Ancient Relics
  • Stellaris: Federations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Magicka
  • March of the Eagles
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • 500k Club
  • Cities: Skylines
Originally posted by Valdemar
Director, what on earth are you doing starting a new AAR without telling me?
Or me. Grr.

A different style, but very well written nonetheless.
 

Commandante

The Treasurer
70 Badges
Aug 20, 2002
1.767
26
  • Surviving Mars
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Cities: Skylines - Mass Transit
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • PDXCON 2017 Gold Ticket holder
  • Europa Universalis IV: Third Rome
  • BATTLETECH
  • Hearts of Iron IV Sign-up
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Cities: Skylines - Green Cities
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization
  • Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Cities: Skylines - Parklife Pre-Order
  • Cities: Skylines - Parklife
  • Europa Universalis 4: Emperor
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Crusader Kings II
  • 500k Club
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Europa Universalis III: Collection
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Cities: Skylines - Snowfall
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
Creative and original writing as usual, Director. And this time I can stay with you from the beginning... :)
 

Director

Maestro
35 Badges
Aug 13, 2002
5.104
1.811
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Cities: Skylines Deluxe Edition
  • Europa Universalis III: Collection
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • 500k Club
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Europa Universalis IV: Third Rome
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Cities: Skylines - Parklife Pre-Order
  • Cities: Skylines - Parklife
  • Imperator: Rome Deluxe Edition
  • Imperator: Rome
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For the Motherland
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Semper Fi
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
Judge - I've always been a conservative, methodical player. i just wasn't prepared for the combination of small increases in BB score and European politics. The shield and flag of Bremen should be a huge red target.

Valdemar - this one wasn't planned, my friend. I was just having a good time (survival is fun!) playing a little country. Denmark comes out of all this OK (eyes moving nervously).

Owen - How I have missed your advice. I don't really mind being defeated (fingers crossed behind back) but it's a bit startling to find oneself the target of a BB-inspired war in 1430 with 8 BB points!!!

The style's going to be a bit academic. I've been reading a vast lot of history in the past weeks - Keegan, Chandler, Duran, etc, etc. And I thought to myself, 'What if there was this German Machiavelli...'

Commandante - THis one will move at a leisurely pace. It's mostly my musings about traditional politico-military grand strategy as run through the EU2 filter. There is no plot (but there are plots afoot, if you follow).
 

Owen

Field Marshal
42 Badges
Apr 23, 2002
3.775
0
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Cities: Skylines - Snowfall
  • Stellaris
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Cities: Skylines - Natural Disasters
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Cities: Skylines - Mass Transit
  • Surviving Mars
  • Cities: Skylines - Green Cities
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Surviving Mars: Digital Deluxe Edition
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Surviving Mars: First Colony Edition
  • Cities: Skylines Industries
  • Stellaris: Megacorp
  • Surviving Mars: First Colony Edition
  • Cities: Skylines - Campus
  • Stellaris: Ancient Relics
  • Stellaris: Federations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Magicka
  • March of the Eagles
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • 500k Club
  • Cities: Skylines
Originally posted by Director
Owen - How I have missed your advice. I don't really mind being defeated (fingers crossed behind back) but it's a bit startling to find oneself the target of a BB-inspired war in 1430 with 8 BB points!!!
Think about what happened to Burgundy in 1.05 in 1419. I imagine it was something like that. I also imagine that you didn't have many troops at the time. Still, 27 seems a trifle unlucky...
 

Syt

Holstein's Envoy in Vienna
136 Badges
Jan 26, 2001
6.712
42
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Stellaris: Necroids
  • Europa Universalis 4: Emperor
  • Battle for Bosporus
  • Stellaris: Federations
  • 200k Club
  • 500k Club
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Knight (pre-order)
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Cities: Skylines Deluxe Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Imperator: Rome Deluxe Edition
  • Europa Universalis III: Collection
  • Deus Vult
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Victoria 2
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Rome Gold
  • Prison Architect
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Premium edition
  • Surviving Mars: Digital Deluxe Edition
  • Mount & Blade: With Fire and Sword
  • BATTLETECH
  • Steel Division: Normandy 44 Deluxe Edition
  • Warlock 2: The Exiled
  • Warlock: Master of the Arcane
  • Supreme Ruler 2020
  • Age of Wonders III
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Pride of Nations
  • Shadowrun Returns
  • Shadowrun: Hong Kong
  • Shadowrun: Dragonfall
  • Supreme Ruler: Cold War
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall
Nice start, and a very good introduction of a shady character we know little about. I'm curious to learn more for sure. :)

Also, I commend your good style of writing fictious texts in the style of non-fiction - I figure that is why e.g. your battles are so intriguing, you manage to draw immersive large scale paintings with your words.

Here's looking forward to more. :)

About the failed tries and comparisons between them - I was once thinking of writing an AAR in dialogue form. I would play the same country twice, trying to make the same decisions in the same context as often as possible, to see how big a factor luck and chance play. The two rulers of the alternate realities would have talked about their respective experiences with each other.
 

Commandante

The Treasurer
70 Badges
Aug 20, 2002
1.767
26
  • Surviving Mars
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Cities: Skylines - Mass Transit
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • PDXCON 2017 Gold Ticket holder
  • Europa Universalis IV: Third Rome
  • BATTLETECH
  • Hearts of Iron IV Sign-up
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Cities: Skylines - Green Cities
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization
  • Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Cities: Skylines - Parklife Pre-Order
  • Cities: Skylines - Parklife
  • Europa Universalis 4: Emperor
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Crusader Kings II
  • 500k Club
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Europa Universalis III: Collection
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Cities: Skylines - Snowfall
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
Originally posted by Director
It's mostly my musings about traditional politico-military grand strategy as run through the EU2 filter.

If there's anything I like, it's traditional politico-military grand strategy. I'll muse along with you. :D
 

stnylan

Compulsive CommentatAAR
124 Badges
Aug 1, 2002
36.934
3.412
  • 500k Club
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • March of the Eagles
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Europa Universalis: Rome
  • Rome Gold
  • Semper Fi
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Europa Universalis III: Collection
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Europa Universalis: Rome Collectors Edition
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Stellaris: Necroids
  • Deus Vult
  • Hearts of Iron II: Armageddon
  • Cities in Motion
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Darkest Hour
  • Arsenal of Democracy
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III: Chronicles
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For The Glory
  • For the Motherland
  • Hearts of Iron III
Here's checking in.

Certainly an interesting idea.
 

Director

Maestro
35 Badges
Aug 13, 2002
5.104
1.811
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Cities: Skylines Deluxe Edition
  • Europa Universalis III: Collection
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • 500k Club
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Europa Universalis IV: Third Rome
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Cities: Skylines - Parklife Pre-Order
  • Cities: Skylines - Parklife
  • Imperator: Rome Deluxe Edition
  • Imperator: Rome
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For the Motherland
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Semper Fi
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
Part 2 - The Man Behind The Mask Has No Face

Gropius took as his model for a new city guard the armored, bow-wielding cataphracti of Belisarius the Byzantine, and he proposed disbanding the poorly trained and equipped militiamen to provide the necessary funds. Or at least, from the reported form, composition and armament of this force, which exactly parallels the famous Byzantine cataphracts, we may assume they were his exemplar. At first glance, this seems a poor model for a seafaring, trade-oriented people who were not abundantly equipped with horses or nobles to ride upon them. But as with so much of Gropius, in the contradiction lies the essence.

One of the first entries in his single and singular opus translates as: “Perform always the thought experiment. Never discard the apparently ridiculous; cherish the unexpected. As the appearance of weakness can be a strength, so apparent contradiction can in fact be unity.”

Where council members looked to the sea, Gropius saw Bremen as a city surrounded by land on three sides. He reasoned that a navy would not assist in repelling an overland assault, but an army could defeat an enemy who came by sea. If the city was to trust its fate to an army, then it must be a force powerful in arms, training, doctrine and supply rather than numbers, as the city could not – would not – fund a large array for long. As no power in Germany could match the warriors of the Dane Mark for individual prowess, so this new army must drill together and fight as a unified mass. It escaped no-one’s notice that the old-style guild infantry was solely suited for a defensive role but the new mounted force was eminently capable of offensive operations.

Members of the council were resistant, but a small force of five centuries (500 men) were trained in the new tactics and put on an exhibition in 1418. The council was so impressed with their skills with bow and sword, mounted and dismounted, that they gave their approval and the conversion program began.

This was not a standing, professional army as we understand the term today or as the Romans would have known it. Caught in the uniquely fluid, murky turbulence of the times, Bremen did not have a French lord’s feudal levies, a Papal guard or an Italian city’s force of crossbowmen. Instead, each guild undertook to furnish a certain number of men for the civic defense and a few wealthy men maintained horses and equipment to serve as cavalry. The usual result was an odd lot of ill-equipped and untrained men who might, at best, be counted on to hold a section of the city wall. All this, the reform of Gropius stood on its ear, and one may speculate that the city council had – in the beginning – little idea as to where it must all lead.

To minimize the guild rivalries as much as possible, the new cavalry soldiers were instructed to paint their shields red and to wear a red neckerchief at the throat. These were the men who were to pass into myth and legend, the bogeymen of half the households in Germany. Many a mother would quiet her children by hissing, “Be quiet! or Red Rover will come over!”

Fielding a large mounted force requires, of course, horses and equipment. Not all horses are suitable for cavalry use, and those that are must be trained and kept ready. Cavalry – while at this time undoubtedly more effective than the infantry rabble – are therefore much more expensive to keep and train. Also, crossbows are complex machines for this time, and require maintenance to work and practice to master. The city was wealthy enough to pay for the new force, but reluctant – as all wealthy, trade-based states – to pay the necessary.

Another revealing quote from Herr Gropius: “When confronted by a problem, multiply your enemies and allow them to fight each other over you. One crisis is a problem; two or more are opportunities.”

So Baumann, presumably at the behest of Gropius, set about reforming the city’s Byzantine unwritten tax codes in the name of paying for the army reform. Everyone complained, of course, from the archbishop down to the tavern, brothel and stable owners (frequently the same people). But politically, they offset each other – the old chant of ‘Don’t tax you and don’t tax me, tax that man no-one can see’ held true as old alliances collapsed. Convinced that everyone else was being hurt worse than they, and frightened by the fact that the old military system was dismantled with nothing to take its place, the new tax bills passed. The resentments thus incurred would be years in subsiding.

But, Herr Gropius had his army and Herr Baumann his city taxmen. As the Doktor so pointedly observed, “All power eventually flows from the economic and political organization of the entity as a beast’s power is derived from its ability to turn food into fuel. All politics depend on money, all money comes from taxes; the most intimate and immediate power is applied through enforcement of tax law. Tax collectors provide taxes, but more importantly they enforce terror. That is the fuel on which the beast of the state must feed.”
 

Owen

Field Marshal
42 Badges
Apr 23, 2002
3.775
0
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Cities: Skylines - Snowfall
  • Stellaris
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Cities: Skylines - Natural Disasters
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Cities: Skylines - Mass Transit
  • Surviving Mars
  • Cities: Skylines - Green Cities
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Surviving Mars: Digital Deluxe Edition
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Surviving Mars: First Colony Edition
  • Cities: Skylines Industries
  • Stellaris: Megacorp
  • Surviving Mars: First Colony Edition
  • Cities: Skylines - Campus
  • Stellaris: Ancient Relics
  • Stellaris: Federations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Magicka
  • March of the Eagles
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • 500k Club
  • Cities: Skylines
Originally posted by Valdemar
So if I was to venture a guess, you raised infantry, lowered maintaqnce on the fleet and went to infra one?;)
Well, if I were to guess, he raised cavalry, went to infra 1, promoted a tax collector and there was a slider move, probably +1 land, possibly followed by an offensive army reform event (+1 offensive, +1 quality).
Great writing
I think we agree on that one. :)
 

Owen

Field Marshal
42 Badges
Apr 23, 2002
3.775
0
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Cities: Skylines - Snowfall
  • Stellaris
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Cities: Skylines - Natural Disasters
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Cities: Skylines - Mass Transit
  • Surviving Mars
  • Cities: Skylines - Green Cities
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Surviving Mars: Digital Deluxe Edition
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Surviving Mars: First Colony Edition
  • Cities: Skylines Industries
  • Stellaris: Megacorp
  • Surviving Mars: First Colony Edition
  • Cities: Skylines - Campus
  • Stellaris: Ancient Relics
  • Stellaris: Federations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Magicka
  • March of the Eagles
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • 500k Club
  • Cities: Skylines
Originally posted by Valdemar
Stupid me :eek: of course I meant cavalry :) But do you think he had money enough for a tax collector? (well perhaps you're right, he did say taxreform)
There would have been more than 50d in the coffers at the start. No inflation necessary.
 

Commandante

The Treasurer
70 Badges
Aug 20, 2002
1.767
26
  • Surviving Mars
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Cities: Skylines - Mass Transit
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • PDXCON 2017 Gold Ticket holder
  • Europa Universalis IV: Third Rome
  • BATTLETECH
  • Hearts of Iron IV Sign-up
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Cities: Skylines - Green Cities
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization
  • Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Cities: Skylines - Parklife Pre-Order
  • Cities: Skylines - Parklife
  • Europa Universalis 4: Emperor
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Crusader Kings II
  • 500k Club
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Europa Universalis III: Collection
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Cities: Skylines - Snowfall
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
Originally posted by Director
Tax collectors provide taxes, but more importantly they enforce terror. That is the fuel on which the beast of the state must feed.

I'll remember to write that on my income-tax return before returning it to the authorities... ;)

Top-notch writing as usual.

:)