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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Landwalker

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After combing the forums and the AARs -- and especially having been inspired by Antracer's Aquileia Learning AAR -- I've come to realize that my many false-start campaigns are due to me general failure to fully understand the game or that, at best, I am taking a horribly flawed approach to it. Many of my previous games have resulted in brief early excess followed by finding myself in a gaping hole and hard-pressed to climb out of it. Case in point, my recent effort with Venice: By 1450, I owned all of Italy except Liguria and Piedmont, two of Aquileia's starting provinces, a couple of Austrian provinces, and Messina. By 1455, I'd added much of Morocco to my lands. I had also managed to get excommunicated, to antagonize virtually everyone (including a disturbingly massive Hungary and an immense Franco-Castilian alliance), and to become an extremely appetizing target for my neighbors. I realized the depth of the hole I had fallen into and decided it was time to try a new approach.

In addition to the goals of gaining a fuller appreciation for the many facets of the game, increasing my patience, and understanding "how" the game needs to be approached and played, I hope that this will mark three firsts for me:

(1) My first game on Normal. My hope is that this will force me to take a more even-keeled approach, and perhaps to see more clearly some of the challenges that playing on Easy (which I had hoped would ease me into the game) may have obscured.

(2) To enshrine this effort in a learning-oriented AAR (this one!) to chronicle my progress and decision-making processes, with an eye towards gleaning plenty of advice, suggestions, and information from the wonderfully knowledgeable community on these boards.

(3) To play this game to its 1821 conclusion no matter how bad shape I find myself in.

The first decision, of course, is the selection of the country that will be subjected to my stumbling for this fantastic little adventure/experiment. I wanted a country that was economically viable (or had the potential to become so relatively quickly), had built-in mid-to-long term goals (like Form the German Nation or Reestablish the Theme System), and was not a "major country" (like France or England) -- I didn't want this to be easy, but I didn't want it to be insurmountable for one of my limited ability, either. From an initial list of Switzerland, Milan, the Byzantine Empire, Hainaut, and Denmark, I finally settled on the last of these. I play rather slowly, and have so far completed and documented the first 25 years of the campaign, which shall follow shortly. So, without further ado, I give you:

Stumbling Through the North -- An [IN] Denmark Learning AAR

 

Landwalker

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In the Beginning (of the 15th Century)


The Starting Conditions:

This is a Grand Campaign, so the start date is October 14, 1399. All of the options are at their default setting, with the exception of Lucky Nations, which have been turned off. I am using Azonalanthious' fantastic Advisor Hiring Fair mod, but everything else is stock In Nomine.

We begin this tale of tragic comedy in northern Europe, just past the borders of the Holy Roman Empire, the throne of which bears the King of Bohemia. While there are no immediately adjacent threats, the specter of the Emperor looms over the small states to the south, while the warrior monks of the Teutonic Order swarm over the eastern Baltic coast. Just beyond lie the hordes of Poland and Lithuania. The large states over which King Eric VII presides as united ruler, the Kingdoms of Norway and Sweden, fill our northern view.


As you can see, we began the game with some decent but unspectacular advisors: A three-star Natural Scientist, a three-star Diplomat, and a two-star Artist to try to get my stability up to where it needs to be (+3, of course). The diplomat isn't necessary immediately, but I suspect he will be soon -- if my former Burgundy and Venice campaigns are any indication, keeping the reputation down is essential, and my monarch is certainly not up to the task.

For my first domestic policy slider change, I eventually settle on moving one tick towards Defensive (from 0 to 1). Reading certain threads and AARs indicate that fighting the defensive battle is the way to do things in In Nomine, and it certainly isn't something I've been very diligent about so far. Hopefully I'll be able to change that, but as you'll see, it won't come easily.


This is something very new to me: In all of my previous games, I balanced my investments. Sure, I favored one or another at times (and/or left Naval Tech at 0.0 Ducats/month), but I was usually always putting at least some money into most of my investment paths. I decided to take a stab at what I've seen a lot of other people here doing, which is dump all the money into one investment at a time. Naturally, Stability gets the honor of being first, since more stability equals more money.


Not having the wealthiest lands in Europe, I realize I'll have to turn to trade in order to make a couple of ducats. Since I plan to take this campaign slowly and not conquer half a dozen Centers of Trade, I go with the National Decision to Join the Hanseatic League so that I can get some Free Trade love for putting merchants in foreign Trade Centers. I don't have much money at this point, thanks to recruiting a unit of Latin Knights in Slesvig, but I decide that Novgorod looks like an inviting target for trade and take the necessary steps to set my merchants up there. I plan to be on bad terms with Mecklenburg in a hurry, so there's not much point in dumping my ducats into trading at Lübeck just yet.


I decide I need a couple of friends. My goal is to maintain strong relations with Norway and Sweden in the hopes that I'll be able to inherit them through my personal union, and I also throw out an alliance offer to Hesse -- they don't seem likely to drag me into trouble, but they're able to offer a little bit of muscle amongst the German Minors. My intention is to try to grab control over Hamburg, Bremen, and Mecklenburg (with their Center of Trade). Of course, the game has other plans and throws me a curveball mission: Conquer Osel.


This redirects my immediate plans considerably (and not to much purpose, as you'll see). I decline an alliance with the Teutonic Order and start fishing for ways to get into a war with the Order without a lot of collateral damage.

While I'm mulling this over, Sweden decides that it isn't going to make my life any easier:


I can't inherit them if we're on bad terms, but sending them gifts is very expensive. Fantastic...

If I've learned anything from my failed attempts to play as Novgorod, it's that the Teutonic Order can be counted on to try to eat the one-province states nearby -- Riga and Pskov are frequent targets, so I guarantee them both and hope that the Order bites. I also notice that Muscovy is allied with the Teutonic Order and has the mission to Annex Ryazan... another guarantee gets tossed out.

A few months later, everyone's favorite irrelevant German minor becomes Holy Roman Emperor. With Cleves on the throne, expansion in the south is now a real possibility, albeit one that does not coincide with my mission against Osel. Not long afterwards, Novgorod comes knocking with an alliance proposal. I figure I don't have much to lose here: Novgorod is a natural enemy of the Teutonic Order, and they have the Build Me An Army Worthy of Isengard mission, so hopefully they won't be pushovers in the conflicts to come.

Right around the time I finish maxing out my stability and switch over to Government for that first Idea, Novgorod delivers a facepalm moment:


Totally the wrong country that's supposed to be attacking Pskov. So I shake my head, mutter something about crazy Russians, and jump in. I'm hoping that I'll get lucky and be able to squeeze a couple of ducats out of Pskov's ally, Muscovy, in a peace deal, and if nothing else it means I get to raise War Taxes and make a bit of money.

On the economic front, I manage to complete my five-merchant quota at Novgorod, drawing a respectable 31.7 ducats, and start looking for my next trade target. For placement price, probability, and profits, it looks like Antwerpen is the place to be.


The Teutonic Order is already rocking the war exhaustion, but they have a 3/8/0 army running around (don't they always...), and that isn't something my weak economic situation can handle right now.


It is at this point in the game that the first novelty of Normal Difficulty hits me: Inflation. I hadn't realized I was getting a .25% deduction to inflation just for playing on Easy mode, so I was initially very confused when I saw this:


I guess all those people pushing National Bank for the first Idea weren't crazy after all...

Madgeburg keeps trying to ally with me, but they keep getting shot down. They don't bring anything to the table, they're a weak one-province minor with no other allies (and are only guaranteed by Switzerland, Thuringia, and Wurzburg... man, I'm shaking in my boots), so they are shown the door. In retrospect it probably wouldn't have hurt me to pick them up, since they're on Mecklenburg's back doorstep (regardless of whether or not they're actually a threat), but I decide to show them the door and kindly suggest they leave the big boys to their big boy games. Little did I realize that my Danish kingdom hardly qualified as a big boy itself yet, but soon I would be hammered over the head with this discomforting fact.

Antwerpen is paying off nicely: I got my five merchants in the door, and they're raking in 49.2 ducats per year, thus constituting roughly half of my entire economy. I finally throw Muscovy a bone and give them a white peace -- No restitutionary ducats for me, but two years of war taxes made my economy slightly less lethargic, so I'll take it.

Of course, with the end of war taxes, my economy becomes significantly less impressive:


Even though I warned Bremen, Hamburg, Mecklenburg, and Pommerania at the game's outset, they have been annoyingly docile thus far. My lack of patience and inability to wait for the most opportune moment rears its ugly head, and I start to wonder if I should just eat the Reputation and Stability hit and take the plunge.

Tune in next post when: Something interesting finally happens!

Sneak Preview:


Cheers.


Edit: In retrospect, if it's not already apparent, this AAR will be fairly slow-moving, as I am a fairly meticulous and slow-moving person. It also has the potential to be rather picture-heavy, although I'll try not to go overboard with that for the sake of peoples' internet connections.
 
Last edited:

Milites

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Danish AARs are a rare treat, so consider me a subscriber!
 

unmerged(70173)

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I love these learning AARs (and have thought about doing one myself), so count me in as following this.
 

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Excellent description of all your decisions!

Hopefully we'll all learn something in this AAR. :D
 

Landwalker

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DavidsonShdw said:
I believe that Sweden will keep up the insults until you have an army larger than their's.
That is very good to know. Now if only I could afford an army... Maybe I can scrape together some cannon fodder / infantry just to get my numbers up without making my treasury cry like a little girl.

Cheers.
 

Skyman

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One other trick with Denmark, if you want to be a little gamey, is to DoW countries like Morocco and Algeria. They won't be able to attack you with much, and eventually their war exhaustion from taxes will get to the point that they'll give you 50-150 ducats to get off their back (though you don't want to do this too much, since your PU friends in Sweden and Norway will also collect war taxes and get a high war exhaustion of you don't watch them).

I also get a mission to create a CoT in Denmark quite a bit, which gives some extra base tax. I'd try to finish or cancel that Osel mission (it's a pretty useless province anyway) to see if you can get that one. Using the trick above/minting for a while, you can get enough cash within a few years to have a CoT, which also gives extra merchants.

Anyway, good stuff so far!
 

Landwalker

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Thanks for the tips, Skyman. I won't be stooping to the Phantom War tactics, although it's an interesting notion that I hadn't considered. I'll definitely consider canceling the Osel mission (I don't especially want to go up against the Teutonic Order yet anyway) and see what I get, but as you're about to see, the Danes have already procured a Center of Trade. ;)

Cheers.
 

Landwalker

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This is a long post, but it wraps up the first part of this AAR and there was no clear breaking point between the end of the last post and the end of this one. Sorry to clog up the page like this, and hopefully it won't happen again.

With my itch for progress rising, I cast my eyes south to my most... appealing... neighbor: Mecklenburg.


Mecklenburg, Brunswick, Bremen, and Cleves? They have a whopping six provinces between them. I have seven all on my own, not counting my allies: Hesse, Novgorod, Sweden, and Norway. This should be a piece of cake, right?

As you can tell from the sneak preview above, I was mistaken.

My regiments stormed into Lübeck and won the day, but took a bit of casualties and didn't dish out as much damage as I'd have liked. As the Mecklenburger Army retreated, I split my cavalry and infantry and raced the cavalry ahead so that I would have the defense in Mecklenburg Province. Unfortunately, things did not go well for the cavalry--I left a siege contingent in Lübeck and moved the rest of the infantry in to support. They arrived just in time to accomplish exactly nothing. To top it off they then proceed to retreat into totally the wrong province:


Come on, Ruppin? Brandenburg isn't even in this war. You couldn't have at least retreated to our sieging army in Lübeck? With the Mecklenburger army approaching, my siege force has no choice but to withdraw to Slesvig and wait for the rest of the army to catch up.

About that time, my allies in Novgorod brilliantly decide they need to declare war on the Golden Horde. Real smooth, boys. I can't afford to start losing allies yet, and there's no stability loss for me to take this. The Golden Horde and their allies, the Ottomans, are too far away to affect me, so I can just let them chill and go about my business back around the neck of Denmark. Unfortunately it means I probably won't be seeing many Russian troops in the neighborhood for this war. That's not the best news, since my armies are continuing their truly outstanding performance.


Three months later, it looks like Cleves is ready to go about their business and is even willing to tip me on the way out. At the time, I figure that Cleves is too far out of my way, and hey, I'm getting a couple of ducats for nothing. Only much later (as in, right now, as I write this and look at the picture) did I notice that Hesse had captured Berg. I could have gotten a vassalization out of this but missed the boat. Bollocks. This picture also shows a couple of other fun points: One, Slesvig is under siege by Mecklenburg while the 1st Army of Eric VII is in Lüneburg licking their wounds. Two, Norway has finally come to the party: They're fighting the besieging army in Slesvig, and if you look very closely, you can see that they managed to sneak an army down to Bremen and lay siege. The Bremenese army has been obliterated.


With a lot of help from Norway, I'm finally able to score a victory over Mecklenburg while defending Slesvig. Thank goodness for competent allies. A few days earlier, I was able to squeeze 50 ducats out of Brunswick for a peace deal, but that money doesn't last long.


With Mecklenburg's army finally on the run, the chase is on, and Norway is kind enough to provide support along the way, leading to a string of minor victories but considerable difficulty in stamping the enemy out for good. I decide to pick up two regiments of mercenary Latin Knights in order to give me the edge I need to finally destroy the enemy's army. In the scramble to keep up with and pin down the Mecklenburgers, I lose track of a few things:


Because paying monthly interest on a 76-ducat loan is totally what I need right now. The background of this picture holds more positive notes: I got out of the Novgorodrian-Golden Horde war, not that I was worrying about it to begin with. I also scored another underwhelming victory, but more importantly, Norway has captured Bremen. Fact: Vassals and subject-nation allies are awesome. If they capture a province, it falls under your control. Norway continues to be the one shining light in this debacle of a war.

Meanwhile, my war exhaustion is starting to get way up there. I need to end this as soon as possible. (Those of you who stick out this AAR will quickly come to realize that whenever I find out that I need to end a war quickly, that war proceeds to last for damn-near ever.)


The next month, I finally destroy the Mecklenburger army. I immediately disband the mercenary cavalry to try to salvage my monthly finances--they did their job, and now all that's left is to finish the sieges of Mecklenburg and Lübeck. Piece of cake.


Or not.


The worst part is, I don't have the soldiers to both carry out the sieges and tromp out to an island so I can fight a battle against 9,000 rebels with significant crossing penalties. So I need to get these sieges taken care of.

Seven months later and I'm still sitting outside the walls. The damn rebels have been more productive than I have.


They head next for Fyn. Meanwhile, I breach the walls of Mecklenburg. And after four failed assaults, I'm still sitting outside of them.


Nine months later -- nine months -- I wrap up the siege of Mecklenburg. Lübeck is still under the cannon, but I can get everything I need right now and I'm not sitting around and waiting for the rebels to capture another of my provinces. Fortunately for me, Mecklenburg is loaded -- that money is vital for paying off that stupid loan. I also pick up the province of Mecklenburg, so Lübeck will be ripe for annexation down the line. This war also saw me annex Bremen, as you can see on the peace screen. Not the greatest gains in the history of conflict, but given the trouble I've put my country through, it'll have to do.

Thus concludes the first Danish-Mecklenburger War of 1404-1407. Unfortunately, I still have nine thousand rebels running around, and surprisingly they aren't killing themselves. Now that my army is freed up, I take them back to Slesvig, let them reinforce, and then throw them across the straights to Fyn. The rebels, blessedly, are annihilated, and I spend the next good while laying siege to and recapturing my capital.

1408 is a quiet year mostly occupied by my siege of Sjælland. Oh, and rebels popped in Skåne while I'm in the middle of trying to get my own capital city back. So I get to leave a siege for in Sjælland and transport everyone else to Halland before I'm able to come down on the second batch of rebels. 1409 rolls around, and I get a slight treat: Bohemia unsurprisingly annexes Silesia, and in the ensuing fire sale I manage to double my "Artistry".


I pick up a military alliance with Lüneberg in May of the same year, and not long after my stability is back on top, so it's back to the government investment. At the end of 1409 I'm finally able to eliminate all outstanding rebels, and all is right again in the Kingdom of Denmark.

I notice that my relations with Norway are pretty bad: a paltry 81, hardly the kind of relationship I need if I want to inherit their country. I don't like it, but I have to start dumping money on gifts. Unfortunately, being a decently-sized country, Norway (and Sweden even moreso) require quite the ducat investment in order to suck up to them -- 22.5 for Norway, 30-something for Sweden. My treasury weeps.

On the other hand, this was a nice little event:


Core on Hamburg? I was planning to annex it anyway, and that just makes my life easier. Granted, that will prove not to be very helpful for quite some time, but at the time, I'm happy.

By the end of 1410, however, I'm unhappy again. More specifically, my treasury is very unhappy.


By July 1411, my truce with Mecklenburg is winding down, and we all know what that means. This time around they poor Hannoverians were in even worse position: Their allies are a whopping Madgeburg (remember them? The guys whose alliance request I shot down? Good to see they're back on their feet) and Meissen (who?), while Cleves is still busy bringing shame to the office of Holy Roman Emperor. This is going to be a freebie, right?


Speaking of freebies, these were both nice surprises:



I went with the money on the latter event, because let's face it, I need cash way more than I need prestige right now. I also decided to finally start sending some merchants to Lübeck. Mecklenburg already hates me, and they're going to hate me more soon, but I may as well go ahead and try to get my foot in the door for the extra cash.

September 1412, and I finally hit Government Tech 4. I get to pick my first idea, and for the first time ever:



Like I said earlier, inflation is new to me, but I'm not going to be stupid about it. My economy isn't exactly blowing the top off Western Europe, and the last thing I can afford right now is to spend more money on things that, well, I can't afford in the first place.

Meanwhile, this was interesting. And by interesting I mean maddening.



You might have noticed that King Eric VII is listed at the commander of Denmark's 2nd Army. You might also have noticed that Denmark's 2nd Army has no leader. Eric VII has disappeared. I can't assign him to any army, and even if I actively "No Leader" every army I have (all, yep, two of them -- 4,000 Cavalry and 4,000 Infantry) he's still unavailable. It seems that King Eric has decided to knock off for the rest of his reign, but bribed the national historian to boost his legacy by claiming he continued to lead his men from the front. This gets more and more frustrating as time goes on, because I can't afford a real general, and once the next war starts (and you know it's coming), I've got nothing to give my armies anything remotely like an edge. The best part? This guy won't die.

Unfortunately, I can't wait for Eric to kick the bucket, because my treasury weeps. Well, the truce is expired, the army's a veritable chicken with its head cut off, so let's run around a bit. Specifically, let's run into Mecklenburg and see if we can't stir up some trouble. Cleves, still the emperor, tries to assert itself, but my allies in Hesse immediately annihilate the imperial army. So much for that. Hesse then goes on to a repeat performance of the first Danish-Mecklenburger War by capturing Cleves, and this time I'm not napping on the job.


What cracks me up here is that vassalizing Cleves was only worth 14 victory points (+2 for the ducats). They don't exactly put a high premium on their sovereignity, I guess. Of course, with the vassalization, the title of Emperor passes to another, and this time the Palatinate catches the bouquet.

I could always use cheaper stability, and now that I'm at Government 4, temples are an option. I go to investigate this, only to find out just what I've been missing on Easy mode, inflation-wise:


I'm used to getting these things for 34.5 ducats. Looks like minting is going to be forcing me to reevaluate things. And here I've been, wondering how the hell people were running up inflation through minting. That's me, Mr. Attention to Detail.

The Second Danish-Mecklenburger War goes much more smoothly than the first. After several failed assaults, Lübeck falls, and the Annexation Man immediately comes a-calling. The merchants immediately get the green light, my provinces are all reconnected except for Bremen, and with a center of trade under my thumb I finally have a chance to make a little money.

My immediate inclination is to turn this unstoppable war machine that is the Danish Army against Hamburg, but unfortunately circumstances conspire against me.


Brandenburg is boasting a decent-sized army that I can't handle right now, and Hamburg is guaranteed by a couple of problems: the Teutonic Order and Austria. Unfortunately, Pommerania is guaranteed by Poland, and that's definitely not something I want a piece of, so Hamburg is going to have to wait, my impatience be damned.

Since it doesn't look like I'll be going to war anytime soon, once my stability gets back up I decide to dump my research into Trade Tech and relieve my stability-boosting artist and fire up a generic hiring fair. Unfortunately, I don't get anybody worth taking, so the artist sticks around.. Meanwhile, I build up my relations with Lüneburg and swing a diplomatic vassalization, giving me a shoo-in vote for Holy Roman Emperor. Of course, nobody else is voting for me, so that's still a long way off, but it's always nice to have a friend.

Not two weeks later, I get this little gem in the mail:


Talk about having a friend. Bohemia's in a pretty good position so far, and they seem like they would be perfect for keeping either Brandenburg or Poland off my back in a future war. They're allied with the Teutonic Order, which isn't fantastic, but we'll cross that bridge when we get to it. Until then, I'd be happy to have the most powerful state in the Holy Roman Empire on my side. Especially when the second and third most powerful states in the Holy Roman Empire are allied with or guaranteeing people I want to eat. Namely Hamburg and Pommerania. Notice also that Burgundy is folding like a bad poker hand.

Trade in Lübeck is going well, turning 46.94 ducats per year with my five merchants. I decide to toss my artist for a second diplomat in order to bring my reputation down more quickly; Burgundy annexes Trier, but there's nothing good that comes from it, and the same happens with the Ottoman Empire and Karaman.

Meanwhile, that Conquer Osel mission is still handing around, and I'm still trying to figure out how to drag the Teutonic Order into a war. The Order is allied with Tver, which is very interesting, but unfortunately Tver is guaranteed by Novgorod. I throw them a warning anyway, but if I'm going to start a war with the Baltic Monks, it would be great to have Novgorod to serve as a minor speed bump to the Latin armies.

In other news:


Because that's totally what I need. Negotiations mean I lose a lot of money, and I figure I can handle six regiments, so I eat the revolt, and thankfully it only takes a couple of pings and pongs to wipe them out altogether. Minimal damage done.

I hit Trade Tech 4, and decide to keep plugging away. War isn't looking likely anytime soon, so I may as well focus on making as much money as I can in the mean time. In line with that, I get a new domestic policy slide in October 1417 and decide to centralize by one tick, bringing me to Decentralization 1. Not great, but a far cry better than, say, Switzerland. All this time, I'm desperately wanting Eric VII to kick the bucket. Even if I don't inherit Sweden or Norway, I still can't use the guy as a general (I tried saving and reloading, I tried quitting the game and restarting... the king's at his private estate and he ain't coming out), and if I'm going to get into a throwdown with the Teutonic Order, Brandenburg, Poland, or Austria, I'm going to need all the help I can get.

I stumble into Land Tech 4 and decide a change of investment is in order. I switch my investments from Trade to Land Tech, with the goal of getting access to Men at Arms or Longbowmen (advance question: Which do y'all favor? I've always gone Men-at-Arms, but if anyone uses Longbowmen I'm interested in hearing the arguments for both sides).

Bavaria gets elected emperor. It's better than Austria, but Bavaria is still pretty strong. A lot more so than the Palatinate.

Even though I'm not going to war now, I know it's going to happen eventually, so I decide to start getting ready:


If nothing else, it will at least give Bavaria one more point of stability loss if they decide to support an ally or a guarantee against whoever I decide to go after. In the same spirit, I toss military access their way, hoping they won't support Hamburg at all. If Brandenburg should decide to be my friend, who am I to complain?

Algiers annexes Tunisia, and a six-star diplomat is freed. I snatch him up for that annual -0.30 reputation drop. Meanwhile, I continue my preparations by giving military access to the Teutonic Order to screw with their stability should they decide to uphold any agreements that would get them into a war with me. Hesse has been a good ally, so when they offer me a royal marriage I decide to throw them a bone and pick it up, hoping they'll continue to be valuable supporters in the near future.

In April, 1421, my four-star diplomat kicks the bucket. There are only artists available, and I'm at max stability, so I leave the spot vacant for now. Not long after, France annexes Bourbonanais. A four-star Military Engineer (+40% Fort Defense) is available, and he's tempting, but I suspect I'm going to need the stability bonus soon so I let him go.


This page is not encouraging. Hamburg is already at Tech 5, so there's no way I can go after them until I get up to an equivalent level. Austria is Land Tech 6. How is this?


Check out those advisors: That's a trio of Level 6, Level 3, and Level 1 Army Reformers. Jealous. They get definitely get military access -- I don't want those guys messing with me for a long time. On the bright side, my good friend Bohemia is at Tech 5.

The next few years are all quiet on every front. I swing an Excellent Diplomacy event, but neither of the options are super-useful; I only have 0.84 Reputation, and a couple of Prestige points aren't going to make the game for me, but I "Bask in the Glory" nonetheless.


On January 1, 1425, I pop a one-star Statesman. Nothing impressive by any means, but I still have that empty advisor slot so I pick him up for the little bit of government tech help.

And thus, we reach the underwhelming conclusion of the first 25 years of Denmark's adventures in Northern Europe:


Danish authority has seen minor expansions in the last two and a half decades. The feather in the cap was the capture of Lübeck in the Second Danish-Mecklenburger War. King Eric VII is still on the throne, as absent as ever. The mission to capture Osel still stands.

Elsewhere in the world, Aragon and Burgundy are falling apart hard -- Aragon is getting devoured by Castile, and Burgundy is losing territory all over the place. Flanders has formed and grabbed both Flanders and Antwerp, France has snatched a few provinces from them (and annexed a couple of minors). The Golden Horde is turning out to be the Gilded Horde, mostly at the expense of Muscovy and Kazan, and Novgorod is hanging in there despite losing a couple of their eastern-most provinces. Beyond that, Europe on the dawn of 1425 sees little action.

And thus concludes the first section of this AAR!

I welcome all thoughts, suggestions, questions, and observations. Wondering why I did something? Want to thump me in the head for a boneheaded move? Holding back information that could enlighten me as to my present path? Let's hear it.

The next question is where to go from here? I really want Hamburg so that my territory is connected, but having Lüneburg as a vassal still means I can walk to Bremen whenever I need to. Should I just hang out and let time do its thing? Should I see if I can get Pommerania into a war and squeeze Vorpommern out of them? Should I make a bid for Osel or cancel the mission and hope something better comes along?

And on the other side of this little experiment is the AAR itself. Any comments on how it goes so far? Tips on improving it? Things you would like to see more or less of?

I'm open to all comments and welcome any discussion on the campaign thus far, so let's hear them!

Cheers.
 

Skyman

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That's not bad at all for your first 25 years. Lubeck is worth a lot, and your position seems relatively stable. How many troops does Hamburg have - even with worse land tech, can you muster numerical superiority?

PS Good for you not taking on the gamey tactics. ;)

Edit: One question, does Norway still have Iceland? If they can keep from losing the island colonies to attrition, then you'll have a very good place to start colonizing NA from when you inherit. I believe gifts go into their treasury and could help them keep the colonies going, which would boost relations at the same time.
 

Landwalker

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Hamburg's army is currently 4,000 infantry (Man at Arms or Longbowmen, I'm not sure which). By comparison, my army is 5,000 Latin Knights and 4,000 Medieval Latin Infantry, although I have no general until my king dies.

Hamburg is allied with Brandenburg (9,000 infantry) and Pommerania (1,000 Latin Knights, 3,000 Infantry). They are guaranteed by Brunswick (5,000 Infantry) and Cologne (4,000 infantry, 1,000 cavalry), as well as the Teutonic Order (6,000 Infantry, 5,000 Cavalry).

Arrayed on my side, in addition to my 4,000 Infantry + 5,000 Cavalry, is Sweden (5,000 infantry, 2,000 cavalry), Norway (4,000 infantry), Bohemia (16,000 infantry, 8,000 cavalry. I am jealous.), Hesse (4,000 infantry, 3,000 cavalry), Lüneburg (2,000 infantry), and Novgorod (15 infantry regiments totalling some 11,700 troops, and 1,000 cavalry). Unfortunately, Novgorod and Bohemia are not sure things in terms of honoring the alliance, depending on who I go after.

Norway has the western half of Iceland; England has colonized the eastern half. But given the chronic rebellion problems England faces on a regular basis, I don't know how permanent that outpost is going to be.

Cheers.
 

unmerged(92044)

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Your king is probably leading the 2nd army of Norway or Sweden; this happens with Personal Unions. Sometimes, you'll even see a king leading multiple armies due to PUs.

You should probably take Hamburg quickly - before you inherit Norway and Sweden - due to your low tax income, once you conquer it you'll get Hannoverian (I believe) as an accepted culture.

If Norway loses the eastern half of Iceland, make sure to colonize it.

You're aware of how non-core CoTs and reputation negatively impact foreign trade? That's one of the biggest limits on free-trade focused empires expanding. This especially slowed me in my Burgundy game, where I needed as much money as I could get to keep a France-sized army.

Park a ship in Oresund and rebels won't be able to cross the straights there. Speaking of that, as Denmark, having a competent defensive navy is essiential or your territory can be split up.

Denmark's in a prime spot to get at the juicy fur provinces in Canada.

If you want a little extra defensive security, consider joining the HRE.
 

Landwalker

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DavidsonShdw said:
Your king is probably leading the 2nd army of Norway or Sweden; this happens with Personal Unions. Sometimes, you'll even see a king leading multiple armies due to PUs.
Ah-hah, that's probably it. I guess there's no way for me to get him back, either?

You should probably take Hamburg quickly - before you inherit Norway and Sweden - due to your low tax income, once you conquer it you'll get Hannoverian (I believe) as an accepted culture.
Good call on that. I wasn't aware tax income was related to accepted cultures, but Hanoverian would be a good one to have (so would Pommeranian...). I'm scheduled to hit Land Tech 5 in about 6 months, so I should be able to launch the attack soon (circumstances permitting).

If Norway loses the (western) half of Iceland, make sure to colonize it... Denmark's in a prime spot to get at the juicy fur provinces in Canada.
I'll keep an eye out on it, and just in case England manages to lose their half of the island (although that's probably a lot less likely).

You're aware of how non-core CoTs and reputation negatively impact foreign trade? That's one of the biggest limits on free-trade focused empires expanding. This especially slowed me in my Burgundy game, where I needed as much money as I could get to keep a France-sized army.
I am peripherally aware that having a bad reputation significantly reduces your merchant placement chance in foreign centers of trade, although I don't know any hard numbers. I admit I have no idea what effect non-core Centers of Trade have, but I'd welcome the information. :)

Park a ship in Oresund and rebels won't be able to cross the straights there. Speaking of that, as Denmark, having a competent defensive navy is essential or your territory can be split up.
D'oh, I completely forgot about that... could've kept those rebels stuck in Sjælland, not that it really mattered in the long run.

Getting a competent navy is something I want to move towards eventually. Unfortunately, ships are expensive, and right now I don't have the financial wherewithal to start dropping a ton of ducats on carracks and galleys. Even the Teutonic Order has a (significantly) larger navy than me. I'm rocking only what I started with, which I believe is 2 carracks, 5 galleys, and 4 cogs.

If you want a little extra defensive security, consider joining the HRE.
Aye, as soon as I get the first whiff of someone sniffing around my provinces, that'll happen. I'll probably also do it if Bohemia gets elected emperor again, since it will greatly improve my relations with them and since they're the country that I really want on my side right now.

Since I get a prestige boost for every province of mine that joins the Empire, I'm also considering holding off until I need a good advisor, since the hiring fair is allegedly partially impacted by your country's prestige. This way, I can join the Empire en masse, get my prestige to a high point, and then open the doors to advisors.

As far as the defensive component goes, that's definitely a factor. However, right now I don't see any immediate or intermediate neighbors who are both likely to take the offensive in declaring a war against me and who are a significant military threat. I have reasonably good relations with Brandenburg, not-awful relations with the Teutonic Order (and they have more important things to worry about anyway), and... that's about it for my immediate surroundings. The minors are unlikely to declare war on me in the first place, and even if they do they are not significant threats on their own. One of the reasons I'm sucking up to Bohemia is that they are the biggest power in the region, and border both Brandenburg and Austria -- as long as they are my allies, then once Brandenburg or Austria get dragged into one of my wars, Bohemia will be there to keep them in line and off my back.

Cheers.
 

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A relatively short update. I've got plenty more for the 1425-1450 period, but I'll hold off on that until we hit page 2 so that this page doesn't become impossibly long.

If the first 25 years of the campaign were relatively uneventful for Europe, the second 25 would see surprising developments, great growth and collapse, and unexpected powers emerging on the scene.

The Danish-Pommeranian War (October, 1425 - May, 1427)

I started 1425 trying to find a way into Hamburg, thanks to the event that granted me a core there (and, of course, because it would unite my territory). Pommerania looks like the easiest approach to Hamburg--they're allied with Hamburg, Mazovia, and Riga, which are hardly continental heavyweights, but unfortunately they're guaranteed by Poland. Hamburg itself is allied with Brandenburg and guaranteed by the Teutonic Order, which isn't a combination I want to deal with. Brandenburg, of course, is allied with both Hungary and the Teutonic Order.

After looking around at the tangled web of alliances, I wisely conclude that not getting my butt kicked is more important than immediately uniting Bremen with the rest of my territory, especially since I still don't have a casus belli on anybody but Hamburg, so I focus on consolidation and development for the immediate future. I don't do such a good job, making it all of one month:


I have no idea how this happened, but it is not good. Once I find out that having a loan causes my Personal Union subject nations to get events that ruin relations with me, it's even worse. This has... unhappy consequences.

In the present, however, I decide that as long as I have a mysterious 150-ducat loan, I may as well do something with it. I recruit three more infantry regiments, as Hamburg and Pommerania are both at Land Tech 5, which I'm slated to hit in July 1425. Once I get there, a war is a much more feasible option.

Right on schedule, I hit Land Tech 5. I decide to pick Men-at-arms over Longbowmen -- I plan to mostly be using infantry for defensive and siege purposes, so the extra point of defensive morale seems like a better choice than Longbowmen's extra point of offensive shock. I wait a couple of months for morale to get back up following the reorganization, and put my research back in Trade, since that still seems like my best option for making some decent money.

October rolls around, and I check the players once more. I decide to go after Hamburg by declaring war on Pommerania, and am suddenly reminded that Bavaria replaced Cleves as Holy Roman Emperor:


I am not happy about both Poland and Bavaria coming to the party. Bavaria has swung their imperial title into a huge army: 19,000 infantry and 2,000 cavalry. Bohemia's still in good shape, so I'm hoping that they'll be able to take the punches from Poland and Bavaria. So, the plunge is taken, and in October 1425, the Danish-Pommeranian War begins. All of my allies jump on board, but unfortunately, so do all of Pommerania's, including both Poland and Bavaria.

My troops, 5,000 cavalry and 4,000 infantry, storm into Hamburg -- it's them I'm primarily after. After a "victory" where I lost eleven times the number of troops I killed, I manage to pin the Hamburgers back in Hamburg and wipe out their army. A siege force is left behind, and that's one goal in good shape. I get my troops together and head for Vorpommern -- as long as I'm at war with Pommerania, I may as well pick up another province. While I'm doing this, I get a pleasant offer:


Poland has to be on crack for offering this peace deal. They were one of my biggest worries going into this war, and I'm happy to see them gone. Bohemia can focus on Bavaria, and I can focus on my good friends on the Baltic. Speaking of being on crack, while I'm blasting Pommerania, they send me this gem:


Pommerania's sent all their troops down to harass Bohemia, so I leave my infantry behind in Vorpommern and send the cavalry to help out my allies to the south.

Hamburg falls to my siege and gets immediately annexed. The lands of Denmark are whole once again!


As an added bonus, a month later my country begins accepting the Hannoverian culture. Income bonuses for everybody (south of the Jutland Penninsula and not of the Pommeranian culture)! Meanwhile, Sweden does their last favor for me and captures Riga. I have no interest in annexing this place: It's slap-dab in the middle of the Teutonic Order, isolated and out of the way. Instead, I squeeze out 50 ducats and a vassalization, an excellent deal from my point of view.

Thanks to that mystery loan, my relations with Norway are tanking, down to only 27. A minute ago they were 125. This inheritance schtick isn't looking like it's going to be easy.

Down at Oberlausitz, my cavalry annihilates both Pommeranian armies in Bohemia. With Norway in Hinterpommern, it's just a matter of waiting out the sieges before Pommerania cracks. January 1427, I get two happy events: Production Tech 5 rolls around, and later in the month, Pommerania's out of the war with a nice parting gift: Vorpommern and 75 ducats. Now Bavaria's all that's left. Pommerania's reparations immediately go to sucking up to Norway and Sweden.

Out west, Norway's lost their colony in Reyjavik. Portugal snatched up Akureyri, but Reykjavik is now empty, and if I want to get some early colonies in North America, I'm going to need Iceland as one of my stepping stones across the Atlantic, so I get a colonish out there as soon as possible.

On May 3, 1427, Bavaria cops a peace deal:


I would have liked to get a couple of provinces for Bohemia, but I settle for the 50-ducat agreement.

The final analysis of the war? A huge success. I grabbed both of the provinces I was interested in -- Hamburg and Vorpommern -- picked up a vassal in Riga, and got plenty of money. Awards for this war have to go to Bohemia, for keeping Bavaria indisposed for the duration, and to Poland, for skipping out of the war so early that they left their smaller allies hanging out to dry.

Denmark at the end of the Danish-Pommeranian War (1425-1427)

 

Didaa

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I started reading your AAR and i couldn't stop, really interesting, I'm hoping you inerit both Norway and Sweden to form Scandinavia ASAP
 

unddu

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Why are you hellbend on inheriting Norway and Sweden? They are dirt poor, not even worth looking at. They will in short, only slow down research :( As well as costs tons in gifts.


Also that slider change at the start is a no-go ;) Dont waste slider changes on stuff as futile as defensive/offensive

In order of importance:
-cent slider <--- max cent
-naval/land <--- almost always max naval for 25% tariffs
-narrowminded/innovative <--- almost always narrowminded for enough Missionaries

I really wouldn't bother with any of the other until all of these are in the preferred position.

Although this is all my opinion and all that ^^



Next up is temples: dont bother spending ducats on them, they will in general

A) not pay off
B) you are better of paying for more armies

Then to longbow versus men at arms

I want to kill my enemy. I dont care if I loose a battle as long as I slaughter his troops. Meaning I prefer shock/fire over morale any day of the week.


Next up : Colonising. If you want to do this for role playing purposes, be my guest. If you want to power game, which i suspect you do: Dont bother with colonies at all.

Colonies will become worthwhile as of 1630 (or around that time). Before 1630, you are only dumping money in them, as well as slowing down your research!

Expand your powerbase in Europe, secure MP rich provinces and any provinces not producing wool (which is the single worst resource in the game) and when the timer hits 1599 go on a killing spree taking over 50 colonies per war (well sometimes slightly less, but they will be worth 2% to their colonial owner as long as that colonial owner is still located capital wise in Europe).

Taking over 50 provinces will cause too much BB so take what I said with a grain of salt. Ask for 10 or so. And only the ones with coffee//cotton//sugar//gold//tobacco//spices//chinaware (last two for Asia).

Ow and since Im at it anyways : I'll plug the WC aars I wrote as well , check my sig :rofl:
 

Didaa

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Carinthium said:
You do realise you can cancel missions, right? Might get you something better for you national interest.
I think he knows, but the prestige hit is though