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Rensslaer

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Sforza!!!

FYI - Index Added!

This is an AAR I am playing (vers. 1.1 - (later upgraded to v 1.3 in about 1573 or so, and to NA v 2.2 in about 1637)) as the Mediterranean trading power of Milan. I actually had a fairly extensive Beta AAR (of the same name and general style) but I’m not going to take time to get approval for a Beta AAR now that the real thing is here.

I’m playing without a net here, by starting the AAR as soon I start my first game. It’s slightly possible I may meet some tragic fate, but during the Beta phase Milan was one of my favorite countries to play, and I am confident I can forestall disaster! :D

Thanks, Hajji, for honoring Milan with your demo-AAR -- fun country, eh?



My King is the vaunted Galeazzo Maria Sforza, who is a gifted administrator, but isn’t that great at a whole lot of other things. My concentration in this early period will be to build alliances, build my economy, and raise a defensive army – one army in 3 of my provinces (1 cav & 2 inf) and a galley for my navy in Liguria.

Milan starts in May 1473 (an arbitrary start date) with good relations with most of its neighbors. Her most powerful neighbor is Venice, but fortunately they’re pretty tight diplomatically. I expect Venice to get into a fair amount of trouble, though, so I’m not going to ally with her.

Other Italian powers of note include Sicily, and the Papal States. Austria and France are both uncomfortably close, and not very friendly. Switzerland is not a friend, but neither is it very powerful. Other worries include Aragon (with which we have relatively good relations) and Burgundy.

Savoy, just next door, is diplomatically friendly, and has some potential as an ally and/or annexation target. Neighboring Mantua is dinky, but I want to work toward diplo-annexation of her too. Modena would be nice, too. Fortunately, in my initial days Savoy offers an alliance, which I accept, and both Mantua and Modena accept my overtures for alliance.



The advisors at start are forgettable – I start with a 2-star philosopher and a 1-star artist (+2 to prestige & +3 to stability investment). Armies are Latin Knights and Latin Medieval Infantry (stock troops, with no alternative types, yet).

I have a University at Parma, and a Center of Trade at Liguria, both of which will be very helpful as I try to expand my economy and influence. I set my tolerance sliders like a good Catholic merchant cartel should – preferring our own, but not excluding those of other faiths who happen to have nice ports nearby.



I set my budget to prefer trade over anything else, and start off favoring economy over military, though that may change once I get those first levels. My income from trade is limited at the start, but will improve soon.
 
Last edited:

Rensslaer

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Interestingly, Bavaria is the current Papal Controller. That’s something I’m interested in, but I just spent my current-year income on my military, so we’ll wait until next year. I also need to keep in mind that the Bavarians actually have 3 Cardinals, so it may be a while before I can contest for this prize.



I spread daughters far and wide, and accept the daughters of others into my House, setting up Royal Marriage relationships almost as quickly as I can get diplomats, hoping that at some point I may inherit something, or have other opportunities. My targets are generally smaller countries in Italy and Germany. The Papal States asks for Military Access, and since I am a huge fan of the Pope (and don’t want him to declare war on me!), I naturally agree.



In the trading sphere, I begin with 3 merchants in Liguria – my home CoT. This is a low-level CoT (100 total trade, vs. 400 for the really lucrative ones). I successfully gain 2 merchants in Venezia, where there are still spots open, and where the trading is in the 300 range. Hopefully I can stay in that realm for a bit before getting competed out.



With these merchants bringing in approximately 1 ½ ducats a month, the economy remains stable and without inflation. The merchants actually get to stay for a little while.



When France declares war upon the Papal States in August 1473, I find that I’m not fond enough of the Pope to actually go to war for him (yet). I'm not an actual ally. War with France is a daunting prospect, so I’ll cool my heels for now, content to provide military access to the Papal States. That’s actually not that bad a deal for them – the Papal States can trace a line of access, now, through Urbino, Modena, Milan and Savoy into an isolated pocket of French territory that might be just the place for the Pope’s troops to vacation!

Plans for diplo-annexation are limited, somewhat, by the fact that some of my neighbors are republics or theocracies. However, it’s not long before I begin the first real great strides in that direction. In August, I successfully convince my really good buddy Savoy to become a vassal!

 

Rensslaer

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Walter Model said:
Nice game you've got there. What are your ambitions?
Ideally, I would like to become a regional military power in the Mediterranean within about 50 years or so -- enough to guarantee our independence. If I can eclipse Venice, gain some ground against the Islamic countries of the region, and hold off the French, Burgundians and Spanish, I'll be happy. After that, I will strive to extend my influence throughout Europe, and maybe go on a crusade. Not sure yet -- let's see what happens.

Walter, thanks for your interest! Another update coming in a sec...

Rensslaer
 

Rensslaer

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In October, I pressed my luck again and tried to vassalize Modena. This time, it didn’t work, and they didn’t take kindly to my presumption – we lost 30 points from our relations. Still not a big deal – we can build that back up.



As a consolation, we successfully put our 3rd merchant into a vacant slot in Venezia (which is almost full – hope I get another merchant soon!).

The ruler of Baden had actually managed to get the allegiance of 3 of the Electors for the Holy Roman Empire’s top slot… Which would have been really cool for them if the Austrian Emperor had died before Burgundy annexed Baden…. But he didn’t. :)

I’m not a fan of accepting Trade Agreements, because of the negative consequences for Trade Efficiency, but Venice offers such an agreement, and since they’re one of our primary friendly rivals for trade, I figure this could be a good deal. I accept.



In March, my stability increases, and I immediately spend it by moving a domestic policy slider. That keeps my income stable, rather than going up and down when it changes between pro/con influences. I chose to slide toward Free Trade, so we earn merchants at a better rate, though it was a tough choice between that and Centralization.



In April, I increase my trade income yet again by slipping a merchant into a vacant spot in Thrace (a 230-ducat CoT owned by the Ottoman Empire). The most lucrative CoTs (Vlaanderen, Lubeck, even Venice) are almost full now, but Thrace and most others still have slots open.

In May, I decide to start building a Workshop in Liguria. The economy is building slowly, but surely (and trade income is now generating more than 2 ducats a month).



The Papal States sends their army through, bound for southern France. The Papal enclave at Avignon has already been occupied, but perhaps quick action by them can save it still.



And at the end of May 1474 (the end of my first year of play), I successfully pick up another vassal – Mantua decides that it’s too small to exist without some pretty strong ties to a powerful neighbor. We welcome their allegiance!
 

berhaven

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Rensslaer said:
Ideally, I would like to become a regional military power in the Mediterranean within about 50 years or so -- enough to guarantee our independence. If I can eclipse Venice, gain some ground against the Islamic countries of the region, and hold off the French, Burgundians and Spanish, I'll be happy. After that, I will strive to extend my influence throughout Europe, and maybe go on a crusade. Not sure yet -- let's see what happens.

Walter, thanks for your interest! Another update coming in a sec...

Rensslaer

Go for the Iron Crown!!!!!
 

EvilSanta

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You had some great luck getting those vassals. Milan isnt that big of a powerhouse early on.
 

Rensslaer

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EvilSanta said:
You had some great luck getting those vassals. Milan isnt that big of a powerhouse early on.
I'm fortunate that I start off with very good relations with my neighbors -- much like German states do. And the royal marriages were mostly accomplished at THEIR behest, not mine, so I didn't have to waste Diplomats.

I'm going after vassals pretty aggressively, which is my style. In about 10 years I'll start trying to diplo-annex them so I can extend my power base.

In the beta-AAR which preceded this, I got Savoy to fall in line quickly, but had alot more trouble with Modena and Mantua. I actually had to force-vassalize Modena.

berhaven said:
Go for the Iron Crown!!!!!
Indeed -- probably need to build my economy and army first, but that's on my to-do list! :D

I might also try Defender of the Faith, if I can pull enough money together.

Berhaven & EvilSanta, thank you for dropping by!

Rensslaer
 

stnylan

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Becoming quite the local godfather aren't you ;)

Beware the Swiss...
 

HannibalBarca

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Looks really nice, Rensslaer. I'm making my first EUIII AAR about my first game too, so...

>.>
 

Lord E

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Great start Rensslaer, this sure seems like it can be a very nice story to follow. You are getting strong in Italy with several allies and vassals that is good, perhaps in time you can unite Italy under your rule and crown yourself King of Italy? Should be very interesting to see how that works in EUIII. Looking forward to more, good work :)
 

Freddan

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Nice start there with the vassals Rensslaer.

I'll be reading :)
 

Snake IV

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Nice AAR. It will be intersting to see how this will go.
 

Sophianumg@mer

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Nice AAR!

This will be the first EUIII AAR I'll be following. ;)
 

coz1

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Picking up vassals pretty quickly. Nicely done. I agree - no war with France yet. Build up and then challenge.

Looking good, Renss. Of course I'll be following.
 

Kurek

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I hope you don't go the way of the historical Sforza's! Although it seems you are getting off to a great start.
 

Olaus Petrus

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Good start. I like your informative writing style.