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The Swert

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DISCLAIMER:

The return of the multi-award winning historybook AAR series is at hand, however this AAR unfortunately will not live up to its predecessors quality. You see, this time yesterday I was planning on scraping this AAR and moving straight on the fourth installment, the narrative. I did not want to procede with this AAR because I failed to find motivation for it and did not feel I could give it my all. Unlike the previous two AARs this one is for EU3 which, by my reckoning, has a poorer log and as such my notes on this game are far poorer than the previous and to add to that, this game was played way back in Jan 2008; you can probably see why I might struggle to write this. However there were several reasons which I came up with last night as to why I shall to continue with this AAR anyway. Firstly, this series was always setup as a quadrilogy, as denoted by the fact that the logo below is quartered. The narrative AAR would still work well without this AAR but I wanted it to be comprehensive and complete. Another reason is that by writing this AAR, it would justify the narrative's presence in the EU3 forum as opposed to the EU2 forum whereby it otherwise should be placed.

So this AAR shall go on however do not expect the same level of detail as seen in the previous installments. This AAR shall mostly focus on the gameplay aspects and have less of the characterisation that I included in the previous volumes. I hope to write this fairly quickly so I can move on the narrative which is waiting in the winds. It may be as little as 6 or 7 posts. Nonetheless, let's begin...

-------------

cover3li4.jpg


Liber Sancti Ioannis: The Book of Saint John


Preface:

Ladies and Gentleman I bring to you the Book of Saint John. The Book of Saint John is an extraordinary artefact which has just as much intrigue about the book itself as it does its contents. It was discovered only recently in a monastery in the hills surrounding the Tiber valley. The monastery, it is said, was once a hideaway for members of the Knights of Saint John after their expulsion from Malta by Napoleon in 1798. The author of the book is one Lionel Fortescue, a Knight of Justice, who during the occupation of the French, took to writing. Whilst one might assume he would write theological articles or the like, Lionel, in those dark days in which the Order, at least in his eyes, seemed all but destroyed, took his pen to write about the history of the Knights. But as Lionel began, he realised that the Knights history was an endless account of tribulation and failure but thankfully Lionel was an imaginative and inventive person and with this marvellous mentality he came up with the Book of Saint John.

The Book of Saint John consists of many different alternate timelines, represented as volumes, which provide insight into what Lionel thought the history of the Knights could have taken. Each volume, although providing a thorough history, tends to focus itself on one particular war or event which it provides with immaculate detail and each volume is well supported by a series of short poems scattered throughout. Although many of the volumes were either unfinished or lost, the surviving fragments provide a wonderful fictional presentation. Naturally, the original texts were written in Latin but they have since been translated into English for our contentment.

The Book of St John:
Volume 1: War of the Rhone
Volume 2: On Greece and the Byzantine Empire
Volume 3: The Tenth Crusade
Volume 4: TBA
 

The Swert

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Liber III: Decimum Belli Crucis
Volume 3: The Tenth Crusade

Opening Song
To the tune of “Let me Entertain You” – Robbie Williams

I know what I would like to do
I’d like to tell a tale to you
About the Knights of Rhodes and their story
Their noble fight to survive
Their gallant armies’ forward drive
Their courageous march to fame and glory

So come on, let’s join the Tenth Crusade
let’s join the Tenth Crusade

Without as much as a helping hand
From any other Christian land
The Knights would take them all on without fear
Futility is for the weak
Jerusalem is what they seek
The Arab armies stand ‘tween there and here

So come on, let’s join the Tenth Crusade
let’s join the Tenth Crusade

Fourteen fifty three’s the mark
From which this tale shall embark
And the knights first take up the blade
Sit back and enjoy the fight
As we watch a noble knight
The Holy Land of Palestine invade

The war wages on after kings have passed on
Battle after battle, will it ever be won?
Up steps a man who can take it all in
Steps up to the plate so that the knights can win

So come on, let’s join the Tenth Crusade
let’s join the Tenth Crusade

The foe may be strong, they may put up a fight
But the knights have the willpower and the might
After nine failed trips to the Holy Lands
Judah’s about to return to Christian hands

So come on,

let’s join the Tenth Crusade
let’s join the Tenth Crusade
So come on, let’s join the Tenth Crusade
let’s join the Tenth Crusade
So come on, let’s join the Tenth Crusade
 
Last edited:

canonized

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Ahh the next installment beginneth ! And with a song too XD

Great job so far , Swertsome !
 

comagoosie

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Alright, I have followed your first two, so count me in on this!
 

Enewald

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This seems somehow familiar, meaning that I'll be reading it too.
 

The Swert

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By the way I forgot to say that this game was played using vanilla EU2 v1.3 as the Knights of St John. No cheats were used, no reloads. I can't remember the difficulty level but it was probably normal/normal with lucky nations on. If you have any questions about the game or the AAR I would be happy to answer them.

-----------

Ahh the next installment beginneth ! And with a song too XD

Great job so far , Swertsome !

Yes a song this time. I was suffering writer's block trying to come up with a poem when Robbie Williams came over the radio and I thought "Hmm this tune could work" :cool:

Alright, I have followed your first two, so count me in on this!

I'm here too, sir, and a very happy reader! :D

This seems somehow familiar, meaning that I'll be reading it too.

Good to see some of the old fans still hanging around. Unfortunately this time there's none of that wonderful French-bashing we've come to expect from the Knights. And with EU3 providing a strait between Rhodes and the mainland, the Ottomans are a far greater threat than in EU2.
 

The Swert

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PS: Anyone who reads this should vote in the AARland Choice Awards. Don't vote for this aar though because it was started after the cut-off.

Part One: Background

Chapter One: The False Crusade

We begin our tale in the year of 1453, significant in that it was the year that Constantinople fell and with it the great Eastern Empire that had acted as a bastion of culture, faith and tradition. Its fall to the vindictive Turks represented a change in the way of things and the status quo between Islam and Christianity. The effects were felt throughout Europe. The Orthodox nations had lost their patriarch which would soon lead to the rise of Russia as the orthodox power. The Balkans found themselves in the firing line and even the Pope felt threatened and called for a crusade, the first in 150 years. However the kings of Europe were entering the renaissance and were not concerned with the pope’s antiquated plans. After all it was the crusades which led to Saladin urging for the capture of Constantinople and the Turks were just fulfilling a 250 year old dream. The pope attempted to launch a crusade himself but was died prematurely and it was thought that that was the end of things.

It might have been so had it not been for the Knights of St John. The fall of Constantinople was a major blow to the Knights as the Byzantines had always watched over them. With the crusades now an historic relic, the Knights role was dubious. Their disappearance would nearly go by unnoticed by the Western Powers and the Turks would think little of taking the isle of Rhodes. Luckily for the Knights, this would not eventuate due to a succession of good leadership and ingenuity. Their persistence and in fact growth would be legendary and the Knights would not forget that pope’s plea to renew the crusades. Constantinople may be lost but the crusader was not.

The Knights began humbly with only the island of Rhodes to base itself. In 1453 each of the former vassals and allies of Byzantium went their own way in search of hope; a means to survive against the Turkish threat. Some sort safety in alliances with Italian city states whilst others allied amongst themselves. The Knights however decided that the best security was in expansion and so in June 1453 they declared war on Cyprus. Neither side was well-armed or well-trained and the solitary battle was really little more than a skirmish but nonetheless it was fundamental for the future of the Knights. Had they been defeated their ambitions would have died there and then. Luckily then they were victorious and expelled the Cypriot army. Within 15 months the Knights’ 1000 strong army succeeded in capturing the island and routing it of all its former government. The Knights annexed Cyprus and became a two province state.

With its short-term existence at least assured, the Knights then followed the way of the other Greek states in searching for allies. They found cordial relations with Tuscany and Mantua; however these allies would soon prove counter-productive for the Knights. Just months after conquering Cyprus they were drawn into a war with Mantua and Naxos against Athens and Morea. Had it not been for the poor timing to the war it could have posed a good opportunity for the Knights, however they could not deploy quick enough to pose a threat. After a year of little progress on either side the war was brought to a pacific end. The Knights however were not allowed the liberty of peace for too long. Their other ally Tuscany began a war against the Pope and Albania in 1456. Once again the Knights were not prepared for such a war but tagged along for loyalty’s sake. They had no real incentive to attack these enemies as their lands were distant and foreign, to conquest them would present a liability more than an asset. Besides the Knights would not attack their pope, especially after the fall of Constantinople; the Christian world needed its spiritual leaders. The Knights did however invade Albania and captured the city of Durres. This prompted a peace offer to be presented towards Tuscany and within days the war was over, once again no territory was exchanged.

These petty wars were holding back the Knights ambitions and development. Finally the Knights entered a period of peace and built up both its economy and military. After a few years they were ready to expand but reasonable choices were few and far between. The Knights were reminded of Constantinople’s fall and wished for vengeance on behalf of Christianity. The Ottomans were too strong to launch an assault against however; they had already began expanding further into Asia and the Balkans. Instead why not hit the heart of Christianity and invade Judea itself? Unfortunately for the Knights it was in the hands of the regional power of the Mameluks. This would present a greater foe for the Knights and a palpable threat that would test the Knights strength, especially if the Mameluks wished to spread their wings. Nonetheless the Knights went ahead declaring war in 1460.

In the following years the Knights sent three forces across towards Palestine but each time they were defeated soon after making landfall. It soon became clear that this was no crusade. The Knights were clear outgunned as the sole belligerent since Tuscany was not contributing and Mantua refused to join the war. The Knights manpower was pitiful compared to previous crusades as was its impact. After four years the Knights had only made progress in Tunisia and what the Knights had hoped to be a valiant new crusade had descended into what became known as the False Crusade. In 1464 the Knights accepted a peace before the Mameluks could strike a counterattack on Rhodes acknowledging the Mameluks supremacy over the region and their own ineffectiveness. Nonetheless the war had at least shown a signal of intent from the Knights; just because Constantinople had fallen didn’t mean that the rest of Christianity would follow and the legacy of the crusades would not be forgotten.

In honesty the False Crusade petered out long before the peace was declared as the Knights found themselves in another war. After Mantua refused to join the war on the Mameluks, the Knights arranged a new alliance with Ragusa. Once again this proved more annoying than helpful as Ragusa went to war with Bosnia and Montenegro in 1462. The Knights were obliged to assist Ragusa in this war as Montenegro had recently conquered Morea and Naxos and were right on the Knights’ doorstep. With the False Crusade postponed, the Knights invaded Naxos whilst Morea was invaded by a separate combatant from Athens. As Ragusa struggled against Bosnia, the Knights were able to sneak into Montenegro and capture both Sarajevo and Zabljak. Along with the fall of Naxos, this left Macedonia at the Knights’ peril. At the same time that the False Crusade was concluded in 1464, a negotiated a peace with Macedonia which saw the Knights gain Naxos, a valuable Greek naval possession.

Once again the politics of southern Europe messed with the Knights’ plan. The alliance with Tuscany came to an end and was soon replaced by one with Montenegro; it’s amazing how quickly foe can turn friend. However being allied with Ragusa and Montenegro as opposed to Tuscany and Mantua would at least provide more local interaction and hence opportunity. The next of these opportunities presented itself just a few years later in 1467 when Montenegro found itself at war with Athens, Burgundy and Venice. The Knights decided to join the war and eyed of Athens whilst being cautious of Venice’s naval powers. From their powerbase in Naxos the Knights were straightforwardly able to overwhelm the Athenians and within a year they had added a fourth province to their domain. The Knights then moved on and considered their options regarding Venice. They were a powerful nation however their breadth meant it was hard for them to defend some of their outlying regions. The Knights realised this as they invaded Crete and succeeded in capturing Heraklion. The Venetians were slow to react to this and were well distracted in fighting with Montenegro and so for a year the Knights were able to hold Crete at ransom. Finally in 1469 Venice decided it would be easy to pay Montenegro and the Knights some tribute in return for Crete and so the war came to an end and provided a healthy profit for the Knights.

With four provinces now in their control, the Knights were looking more comfortable in their position that saw them nearly surrounded by Muslims. However they needed a stable period of peace in order to return stability to these new provinces and rebuild their economies. Luckily this eventuated and the Knights saw 7 years of peace before Ragusa found itself in another war. This new war was not one that threatened the Knights much as it was against Sibir and Corsica. The knights launched a fleet in 1475 and landed in Corsica and captured Bastia and quickly a treaty was established which return the status quo and peace to the Knights.

After another long period of peace lasting ten years Montenegro began a war against Cephalonia. This was provided an opportunity for the Knights as Cephalonia neighbouring the Knights’ greek provinces. In 1486 the Knights sent a fleet to the island of Corfu and with assistance from the Montenegrins conquered the island. However, unluckily for the Knights, the Cephalonians were able to negotiate with the Montenegrins to pay a tribute in return for the island and once was the treaty was signed the Knights were forced to surrender it.

Nonetheless, the Knights power was well and truly beginning to rise whilst that noble idea of recapturing Jerusalem idled on in the back of their minds. A time would come when the Mameluks could be fought but until then it would just be a matter of taking up the opportunities that presented themselves and watching out for the Turkish aggression.
 
Last edited:

Enewald

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Alone the fight against the crescent of moon.
Any mods in use?
 

comagoosie

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Waiting is a good idea. You sure expanded quickly with four provinces in 1475!

And btw,
But remember this: any AAR updated at any time during 2009 is still eligible, including ones that won only once so far.
 

phargle

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Moving this from EU1/2 to 3 is like an earthquake. . . well, maybe an earthquake somewhere where it won't kill anybody or start any tsunamis but will look pretty impressive from the air. Maybe a volcano that's far away - that's the ticket. I'm looking forward to seeing how this goes, although something delightful about the way EU 1/2 looked & felt may be lost.

Hurrah!

I notice you got boned on that peace deal. I hate, hate, hate the AAR always boning me on peace deals. My fondest memories of playing Savoy were of getting boned by Spaniards on peace deals. At least I got prestige out of it. I hope your knights got prestige too.
 

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Alone the fight against the crescent of moon.
Any mods in use?

Well I did say it earlier but obviously you missed it. No, no mods. Although I've now added the TOT graphics mod. So the screenshots I've taken from my old saves will have the new graphics despite the fact then when I actually played the game, there were no mods.

Waiting is a good idea. You sure expanded quickly with four provinces in 1475!

I supposed I'm used to playing as one-province minors now. Although I hate it in EU3 as you can only afford 1 regiment, you've really got to make the first attack work. I was lucky in Cyprus. As you pointed out, this aar is eligible for the ACA and I'm thankful for your vote, but I'm surprised you voted it as a narrative. I would have called it a history book or gameplay.

A good chapter. I'm glad to see you can set your base of expansion this well this early, even if it is a very lonely road... :D:eek:

Well I've got Ragusa and Montenegro on my side so far but they're more interested in petty wars.

Moving this from EU1/2 to 3 is like an earthquake. . . well, maybe an earthquake somewhere where it won't kill anybody or start any tsunamis but will look pretty impressive from the air. Maybe a volcano that's far away - that's the ticket. I'm looking forward to seeing how this goes, although something delightful about the way EU 1/2 looked & felt may be lost.

Hurrah!

I notice you got boned on that peace deal. I hate, hate, hate the AAR always boning me on peace deals. My fondest memories of playing Savoy were of getting boned by Spaniards on peace deals. At least I got prestige out of it. I hope your knights got prestige too.

Ah yes, prestige, one of those new fangled additions that I've never really mastered or worried about. Oh well who needs such things, all I'm interested in is conquering stuff. Actually in all these three Knights AARs I've sort of just gone with the flow without any real goal and in each case they've led to these epic wars.
 

The Swert

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Chapter Two: Crimea

In 1484, the Knights of St John were a local power of the eastern Mediterranean. During the previous 30 years they had conquered Cyprus, Naxos and Athens as a way of protecting themselves and the Greek people from the fearsome Ottomans who had captured Constantinople in 1453. The Knights had found themselves in an alliance with Ragusa and Montenegro, both of which were also threatened by the Ottomans and sort each other for safety in numbers.

In 1484 Ragusa decided to go on the offensive for once against the Muslims; however it was not the powerful Ottomans with whom they declared war it was Crimea. Crimea called upon her ally in Karaman to assist her whilst Ragusa called upon the Knights, Genoa and Tuscany. With those four naval powers, the Christians would have no trouble controlling the seas; it would just be a matter of whether or not they had the manpower to take on the enemies on the land. The Knights decided that defeating Crimea was of more strategic importance than Karaman as they was more to be gained in Crimea whilst conquering Karaman could incite the Ottomans. Of course Crimea would be the tougher opponent as their lands numbered seven provinces to Karaman’s one. Before the year’s end, the Knights made their invasion landing at their capital Salaciq and capturing the province before the Crimeans could respond. Petrus III led the Knights force but it only numbered a meagre three thousand men, however the Knights had a turn of good fortune. Crimea in 1484 was a split realm. They had conquered Voronezh and Tambow in a previous war and these provinces were separated from the rest of Crimea by the lands of Kazan. Fortunately for the Knights, the Crimeans armies were stranded in the Northern provinces and unable to attack Petrus III.

eu34u.jpg

The conquest of Crimea

Throughout the first half of 1485 Petrus and his 3000 men slowly worked their way through sieges against Crimea, Cherson, Kaffa and Zaporozhia and it during this period that the disturbing news arrived from home. The Knights had forgotten there was a second enemy in the war. They had assumed that Karaman would not get involved in the fighting so as to not risk the wrath of the Knights. However whilst Petrus and his men were occupied across the Black Sea, Karaman sneakily landed a three thousand men at Rhodes itself. The Knights had but one thousand men stationed to defend the capital but they found themselves completely outgunned and surrendered after killing no more than 8 Karamanids. Rhodes fell before Petrus could react however the grandmaster was not too concerned; once Crimea was dealt with Karaman would be small fry.

eu35.jpg

The loss of Rhodes!

After the provinces west of the Sea of Azov were occupied and Petrus was content that the Crimean front was under control he sent a third of his force back to the Mediterranean to invade Karaman. The Karamanids’ occupation of Rhodes would be meaningless if their homeland were to fall and since they had 3000 men occupying Rhodes Petrus assumed that Karaman was left vulnerable. He soon realised he was wrong when his regiment returned a few months later slightly smaller. Karaman had him trumped but at least Crimea were the alliance leaders. Petrus returned to his assaults and took Kouban in 1487 before exhausting his options in Southern Crimea. His options now were to return home to Rhodes with his 3000 men and take a chance against the 3000 Karamanids who had a well fortified position or to gain access through Kazan and fight through the Crimean armies to take Voronezh and Tambow. He chose the later option, due to the fact that Crimean army was initially split leaving Voronezh with only 1000 defenders. Petrus was successful in defeating this force and took the province but this now left all the Crimeans stacked up in Tambow. Petrus made his gallant attack in July 1487 but found himself outnumbered 12:5 and lost half his army before he retreated. This defeat now also meant that returning to Rhodes was out of the question and so the war was left in stalemate. Crimea and the Knights settled on a peace just a few days later and the Treaty of Tambow was recognised by all parties. The Knights would gain Kaffa and Cherson as return for their invasion but Crimea was allowed to retain the rest since their armies were more numerous and Karaman held Rhodes. It may have brought peace but it would not end the tension between the Knights and Crimea as the Crimeans felt themselves compromised in the war due to their armies’ incapacity.

After the Ragusan-Crimean War, the Knights experienced a lengthy period of peace. This peace was used to reconcile their new provinces with the ways of St John; however this would be a forlorn hope in Cherson as first they had to teach them the basics of Christianity. Also during the peace Petrus had to deal with the backlash from letting the capital fall to a one province minor and then his inability to retake it. This issue would overshadow the grandmaster’s achievements in Crimea and undermine Petrus’s latter rule.

It is perhaps fortunate that Petrus’ reign did not see another war for his actions in such an event would have been so heavily scrutinised it would have made effective war all but impossible. Petrus died in 1499 and was replaced by Raimundus I and whether by chance or by fate, no sooner had Petrus pass away that the Knights found themselves involved in another war. In 1500 the Montenegrins decided to invade Albania. However on this occasion, the Knights chose not to involve themselves directly and in fact the Montenegrins and Albanians themselves did little more than poke faces at one another before a peace was re-established later in the year. Had he been able to see what was to come, Raimundas I might have actually used this war to bleed in his troops as they would soon be called upon for a much greater war.

In 1501 the Crimean tension rose to new heights and they chose to resume hostilities with the Knights in an attempt to regain Cherson and Kaffa. However this time their brought with them a new ally, a mighty force at which any rational Chirstian soldier would tremble in his boots, the pride of the Islamic world, the conquerors of Byzantium, the big green blob, the Ottoman Empire. Whilst in a parallel world where the map is 2D, the Knights might not so much as gulp as the mention of the Ottoman Empire, in this world the Aegean Sea was particularly shallow in the Rhodes Channel such that an army would be able to transverse it without the need of a navy. This is what scared the Knights, Petrus III had already lost Rhodes once but if the Ottomans come their way, the Knights could foresee a permanent loss of Rhodes. And so Raimundus I had a real test on his hand.

To begin with, the Ottomans decided to invade Athens where the Knights had a substantial garrison of 6000 men. However it was soon realised just what kind of might the Knights were messing with when the Ottoman army appeared with 12,000 men at its disposal. The defence of Athens went predictably; the Knights killed 98, the Ottomans 207. Athens would soon be lost and the Knights armies forced back to Naxos. From there it would be difficult to recover; with the Knights armies stuck on two island provinces it would be easy enough for the Ottomans to constrain them with their navies and the Knights doubted they would be able to defeat the Ottomans in the seas let alone on the land. Nope this war from the moment it began was less about the interests of Crimea as it was about the survival of the Knights. Luckily for the Knights, on this occasion it was the Turks who were the leader of the alliance. Raimundus sent out his diplomats to negotiate with the menacing foe before they could launch any further attacks. In April, after only a couple of months of war the Turks agreed to a peace deal in exchange for the lump sum payment. The Knights were relieved, had it been the Crimeans who were the alliance leaders they probably would have fought to the death but whilst the Ottomans were mighty and dominant, they also had massive expenses and did not mind payments for peace from minor nations like the Knights.

This war, or more so the lucky escape, was the highlight of Raimundus I’s short reign as he died in 1506. He was replaced however by somebody far more noted, for reasons to be addressed in the next chapter, Petrus Raimundus I.
 

Enewald

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Surviving the green giant is awesome.
But watch out for Hulk.
 

comagoosie

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You are so lucky :p

I try that strategy oftentimes when I play a rich trading nation (which is always), and each time the AI is more resistent to my money...:D

It seems you have learned a valuable lesson of not underestimating 1 province minors.
 

canonized

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Unexpected capture of Rhodes but then it probably foreshadows this dangerous dance with the Turks XD Let's see how it goes !
 

The Swert

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Surviving the green giant is awesome.
But watch out for Hulk.

The Hulk :eek: Which nation is that?

You are so lucky :p

I try that strategy oftentimes when I play a rich trading nation (which is always), and each time the AI is more resistent to my money...:D

It seems you have learned a valuable lesson of not underestimating 1 province minors.

Too be honest I can't remember how I got peace with them. Knowing me I probably would've offered them peace just after the first battle was lost but I agree with you, usually the AI is more stubborn than that. I was certainly doomed without that quick peace though.

Indeed I shall never underestimate Karaman again. It's the first time in all my games I'd ever seen them amount to something. I think my guards must have confused their flag for a group of Jewish merchants. What's an Islamic nation doing with the Star of David on their flag anyway? (I just read that they actually used the Seal of Solomon as a symbol which just happens to look like the Star of David)

Unexpected capture of Rhodes but then it probably foreshadows this dangerous dance with the Turks XD Let's see how it goes !

What makes you think there will be a dangerous dance with the Turks? This isn't Volume 2. Actually for some reason the Turks don't seem that interested in me. However there's a mob on the horizon which will scare even the great green blob.

interesting, will follow. :)

Welcome aboard! Feel free to read the previous volumes too; they feature poetry and fancy gifs. I recommend them :cool:

Poor little Rhodes.... Ever since they lost their colossus it hasn't been the same... :rofl: Nice work, sir! :)

Well if this was Civilization I could rebuild it but alas the closest I can get is building a Fine Arts academy and I'm a long way off that. Interestingly enough I just remembered Rhodes is still orthodox at this stage so the inhabitants are probably no more loyal towards the Knights than towards Karaman anyway.