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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Junuxx

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The Last Greek Empire​



Soumela Monastery, near Trebizond

Contents

* 15/12/08 Contents & Introduction
* 15/12/08 Part I - Let's Greek Fire it up! (1405-1407)
* 16/12/08 Part II - In which France is repelled, which technically already proves our superpower status (1407-1416)
* 17/12/08 Part III - In which the search for Lake Van continues while I do some educationally sound ranting (1416-1423)
* 17/12/08 Part IV - Visions of Lake Van (1423-1431)
* 19/12/08 Part V section I - The Volatile Era (1430-1440)
* 19/12/08 Part V section II - It's like a reprise (1440-1445)
* 26/12/08 Part VI - Post X-Mas Action (1446-1457)
* 03/01/09 Part VII - Insert your bad joke about 'gobbling' and Turkey here! (1457-1471)
* 11/01/09 Part VIII - Trebizond invents the roundhouse kick (1471-1500)
* 21/01/09 Part IX - Summum Totius Awesomae (1500-1516)
* 31/01/09 Part X - Everywhere but home (1516-1530)
* 09/02/09 Intermission - State of the Awesomeness 1530
* 10/02/09 Part XI - To Africa! (neglecting the North) (1530-1542)
* 13/02/09 Part XII - The dawn of a new age (1542-1553)
* 17/02/09 Part XIII - Emperor and Maharadja (1553-1561)
* 18/02/09 Part XIV - The Great Timurid War and then some (1561-1568)
* 20/02/09 Part XV - Expansion for dummies (1568-1570)
* 06/04/09 Intermission II - 2681 A.D.
* 10/04/09 Part XVI - The Return of the Zebra (1571-1578)
* 31/05/09 Part XVII - The Nth war for liberation of Central Asia (1578-1590)
* 03/06/09 Part XVIII - Hunting the sunrise (1590-1600)
* 28/09/09 Part IX - Getting back on track (1600-1606)
* 28/09/09 Part XX - Titles Schmitles (1606-1615)
* 09/10/09 Part XXI - The triple assault (1615-1618)
* 14/10/09 Part XXII - Cutting the Boot (1618-1630)
* 28/01/10 Part XXIII - Trebizond Dead? What blasphemy! The Empire is Immortal! (1630-1643)
* 27/04/10 Part XXIV - Mopping up and success at last! (1643-1661)

Dates are DD/MM/YY

Introduction

Hi! After reading here for a couple of weeks I think I'd like to try my hand at an AAR myself. My choice has fallen on the magnificent Empire of Trebizond, a long time favorite of mine (in history - not so much in EUIII, yet). I only found one other Trebizond AAR in the LibrAARy, and it broke off rather soonish, so, you know, one more reason, huh? :)

As you are probably all aware, Trebizond is one of the successor states that emerged after the sack of Constantinople in 1204. By 1399, the Despotate of Epirus and the Empire of Nicaea have already fallen, despite their fantastic names. Quoting wikipedia, "Since [Trebizond] was the last of the Greek successor states to the Byzantine Empire to fall to the Ottomans (1461), it is often known as the last Greek Empire". Of course, this word 'last' could be read as 'definitive' or 'ultimate' as well as 'final', right?

I'm not going to start playing right now. Basically, I'll write this introduction, then I wait for some feedback while I'm studying for an exam I have tomorrow. After that we'll get going. Expect a bit of roleplay in gameplay decisions, but not too much in the reports. I like to immerse in history and my people's mindset, but I won't be conjuring up elaborate soap stories between leaders and advisors and such. I do like maps! And factoids! A lot! Just so you know what to expect. ;)

So, I've picked a start date. In 1405, the Ottomans are suffering a major revolt in Greece and the Timurids just lost their northern lands to the Turkic sheepmen. I think I'm a decent but not a brilliant player, so I probably need this.
So here's Trebizond (aka Τραπεζούντα (Greek), Trapezus (Roman) or Trabzon (Turkish), whatever) and environs.


We're a one province minor, and we are in the Eastern tech group if I'm not mistaken. We have a bunch of tiny neighbours, which is good. Candar, Karaman, Duldakir and Aydin are just begging to be conquered. However, they tend to ally up real soon with our scary big neighbours: the Ottomans, the Mamluks, the Timurids and the Golden Horde.

Here's our situation. My English vocabulary hardly suffices to describe it, but I suspect measly is the word. No manpower, no income. One infantry unit and one cog. And a half-decent king too. But on the other hand, we are blessed with a rather classy black-and-white flag design. Hurray! \0/



What we've yet to decide on is our long term goal in this game. Here's the ideas. Please, pick a challenge for me!

#I - The Orthodox Cross
The leaders of Trebizond are somehow all entranced by a strange geopolitical shape fetish! They envision our empire as the embodiment of the Orthodox faith, and to assert this they think we should expand in such a fashion as to form a cross on the map of the world. Due south, to the Holy City of Jeruzalem. Due west, to save Constantinople from the Turks, restore the Empire, then on to Rome. Due North, to our Orthodox brethren in Russia. And due east, because we all know that Paradise is located somewhere over there. Of course, it's hardly a surprise that magnificent Trebizond is at the center of this cross. :cool:



#II The Byzantine Navy
Our historians recall how the Eastern Empire used to have such a dominating navy that kept our territories secure for centuries. Dromons! Greek Fire! These times should relive, they say. We ought to focus on the navy, using it to capture every single city on the Mediterranean and Black Sea coast. We don't need a single inland province!

#III To Paradise!
Didn't I just say the Paradise is in the East? Surely the Bible says so. But the Great Alexander only found heathens in India and Bactria, and Marco Polo returned from the court of Kublai Khan in Cambaluc, Cathay (why do you say Ming? What's that?). Polo's journal is well known among the Trebizondian nobles. His tales are obviously amazing, but Paradise? No. It must be further still to the east, over the great Ocean. We ought to get there and relocate our nation to this land!

Some additional House Rules:
* Georgia and the Byzantine Empire are our friends. We will never hurt or betray them. No diplo annexing either. We should ally with them as soon as we can and always stand by their sides, no matter how foolish the wars they get themselves in. They should get their share of the spoils of wars. Give them provinces they occupied and such.
* Should the Byzantines fall, it will become top priority to recreate the Empire.
* No cheating, and try not to reload too.
* Maybe some initial restarts if I can't get set up right. But none after the first report.
 
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naggy

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Good luck - you'll need it!
 

unmerged(80667)

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Well i think the most difficult would be the cross, the only other one that really catches my imagination is the relocation to paradise.

If i had to pick between them i'd go for the cross.
 

PrawnStar

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Interesting and good luck.

As for AARs you've been looking in the wrong library, try the EU2 library :D

Seriously, there are two Trebizond AARs there you might enjoy ;)
 

Junuxx

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Everyone: thanks for posting and the good wishes :)

LeoGecko: I'm getting some early war alright. Though I really wanted to focus on trade first! Oh well.

Caligo: Yeah, I thought those two were most interesting, too. I can decide somewhat later on I guess, first I need to establish a bit of a base.

PrawnStar: Ah, I might have a look. Although I am not familiar with EU2.

Update of the first few years with some neat expansion coming up. Also, we kill Frenchies already! :eek:
 

Junuxx

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Thanks! I'm glad to say I survived the first ten years, so here we go!

Part I - Let's Greek Fire it up!

Oct 1405

First things are a royal marriage proposal to Georgia and 2 merchants to Astrakhan. This trade center is close, so merchants are cheapest to place. The revenue is decent, lots of empty spots so chances are relatively good. It's a start.:p



Did I mention already I really like our flag?

We get some missions to befriend Georgia, which we were planning anyway. Unfortunately, we’re too tiny too be an interesting ally to Georgia. They would rather be friends with some Russians. That’s ok, sure, I understand. They’ll change their minds soon enough. They'd better! Hopefully they will at least guarantee us pretty soon.

Anyway, no luck with initial advisors. A level 2 artist we don’t need. We set spending for Trade and plan to use our cash for sending merchants. Until our trade income starts to become more substantial, we’ll have to resort to either lending or ferocious minting. I’m inclined to pick the latter. But there’s no use in minting before we got some income, it will raise inflation at the normal rate but it won’t yield a buck.



For the slider change, I pick Free Market. The cheaper merchants are good for us, and the resulting events can only be neutral or good in our situation (no merchants in reserve or in CoTs that can be lost). Surprise, we get the good event. We get a compete chance increasing advisor (level 2). Do come in!



In November, the caravan arrives at Astrakhan, and both merchants manage to take a spot. There were empty chairs, but somehow there was still a good chance they'd fall off or something :confused: Also, stab rises to +2. More stab is more merchants. So far so good.:p



Oh look! This is nice! Ak Koyunlu has the mission “Remove Trebizond from the map!”. They got 3k in troops, which is more than I can afford right now. Also note that they start at tech 4 instead of my 3. But on the other hand, they are not allied to the big guys. Karaman, Kazach and Jayalarids are all some distance away, too. Then again, I fear the Georgians really need to protect us… Halp!:eek:



It’s hardly a surprise that in December, we reach stab +3.
We continue sending merchants to Astrakhan, while the white sheep betray their Mesopotamian allies. Ha! Meanwhile, Nogai and the Ottomans are collapsing. Is this good for us? I hope so.

Take a look at Ak Koyunlu's capital province of Van. There's an invisible lake :cool: But try to see what else I like about it. No wait, I'll just show you. It’s not just that it doesn’t have a fort, it has massive manpower! Even more than Thrace. And almost 5 times Trebizond’s feeble manpower. We want this province bad. But I think it might not make a very good first target.



You see, Candar has less of an army and is only allied to Delhi(!) As soon as our fifth merchant is placed, we take a loan and go for some mercenaries for our Glorious Army!



And guess who guarantees our back? :) Also notice how trade has already quadrupled our initial income. 300% economic growth within half a year, not too shabby :D



The Byzantines guarantee some weeks later. Now is the time to free the people of Sinope from their cruel Muslim overlords!



We DoW, and Delhi looks the other way. We hire another mercenary unit. Hope we can get rid of them as soon as possible because we really need every ducat.

The battle plan is simple. Attack, make them retreat to their capital, siege, capture, and settle for Sinope.



The first phase is executed according to plan. The red province to the south, Sivas, is Timurid, by the way. Not very good to share a border with them, but they can't reach it and will hopefully lose it to rebels or some upstart Duldakiri.



I could've seen this one coming... The white sheep attack with ferocious bleating! They drag in Karaman, too. My Orthodox friends rush in to protect me, and as you will see they do so splendidly while I wait and siege Sinope.



It's March 1407 and we have a serious siege race going on. They can't be half as glorious as we are, however, so there can only be one outcome. Also note that we are running out of money. We'll probably need another loan. That's ok, with that money we can expand merchant operations in Alexandria.



The Georgians are coming to our rescue! They're also taking some of Ak Koyunlu's provinces. Since I am the alliance leader, I get the money in the resulting peace deal, and an ally, hurray!



Surely the 12th of May, 1407 A.D. was a glorious day for the Empire, as peace with Ak Koyunlu was settled, we gain our first ally and Sinope fell. We start to train some regular cavalry, too! :cool:



Candar won't accept peace however. This means we need to pingpong their army some more, adding months to the bloody expensive contracts of the mercs :( We get a lot of casualties too. That's serious with our manpower, but we finally manage to overtake them and get a peace.



They accept after we overrun their army. We vassalise them because of the bit of money it will net us. Diplo-annexing them will not be possible because they are Muslim.



Notice that the glorious army has swollen to the huge amount of 4 regiments! Also, we have 10 merchants placed and will be moving on to richer pastures once we get rid of the mercs. Hopefully I'll get some conquer missions in the future, which give cores immediately. Any serious rebel stack could kill me right now.

Anyway, more excitement soon! Georgia will want us as an ally now we're now longer an OPM (or because our prestige rose?) and of course they'll drag us into very stupid wars. Do not fear! Trebizond is here! :cool:
 
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unmerged(126677)

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Make friends with Armenia, they used to be an immense power and rivalled Rome. They are Orthidox and in history had amazing cavalry (y) plus they're the first complete nation to adopt Christianity.
 

Junuxx

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Make friends with Armenia, they used to be an immense power and rivalled Rome. They are Orthidox and in history had amazing cavalry (y) plus they're the first complete nation to adopt Christianity.
Well, since they came into being here because I made Ak Koyunlu release them, they started as my ally and +200 relations. So that won't be a problem.

Unfortunately they are just a tiny OPM and a mere shadow of the Armenian nations in antiquity or the middle ages.

But yes, they are brothers in the faith and friends, and I will treat them as such.
 

Junuxx

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Update time! So, where were we. Ah yes. 1407, a year and a half in the game, with 2 provinces and our Armenian ally.

Part II - In which France is repelled, which technically already proves our superpower status ;)

Look! Georgia recognizes us now as the mighty Empire we are!



Also, we fire our mercs and get a new mission. Our trade position is still improving. 15 merchants placed and counting. Repaying the tiny loans will be easy.

Trebizond keeps quiet for a few years. We wait for WE and Nationalism to drop a bit, while sending merchants and slowly growing a nice army. We got one 3k rebel stack in Sinope, nothing we couldn't handle. But then this.



Why do they have to do this?! :mad: Oh well, I pledged to support them, so now we are at war with Cyprus, Burgundy and France. They'd better just stay home. Perfidious Gaul, go fight England! Or Castile for all I care.

Next, we complete a useful mission, get a worthless reward. Then we get a silly mission. Bah! Apparently, we need to protect our faith without Gods help.



We hire 2 Trade Efficiency Advisors. This should increase our income from trade considerably. Slowly, we're becoming filthy rich!



Next, our king died and got replaced by Manuel IV with rather pathetic stats. Historically, Manuel III's successor was Alexios IV, and he wasn't called a king but Megas Komnenos. His title was 'Emperor and Autocrat of the entire East, of the Iberians and the Transmarine Provinces'. Just thought you might be interested.



In the background, you see something strange. The Ottomans declared war on Candar while I was warring them too. Then I vassalized them, and after that the Ottomans captured their last remaining province. But they didn't annex it. I suspect they can't because Candar is my vassal. Anyway, let's hope it gives them lots of WE and rebels.

After turning the new king into a leader, it turns out he is not so bad after all, with 1/2/1/1. I especially like the siege point, as it can speed things up quite a bit.

The Byzantine Empire is doing mighty fine reconquering Greece. Keep it up guys!



We repay a loan and look! Our lazy finance minister finally submitted his much awaited report.



Trade income soared. Soon we'll get some techs and an idea.



And we're ranking 11th on the world income chart!

At some point, our alliance leader Georgia signs a white peace with Burgundy. But the other persevere, and soon we get a new enemy. This is one I rather welcome however. Ak Koyunlu attacks again. This time their infidel aggression is aimed at our Armenian friends. We rush to their aid while the sheep are abandoned by their allies. We're declared alliance leader too. I sense some landgrabbing coming up!



During our siege of Erserum, I get a nasty rebel event. Since I really can't fight 9k rebels at the moment I decide to give in. The tax cut won't hurt, but the 30 ducats loss is painful. I guess we should demand compensations from the sheepmen aggressors, eh?



Well, forget about that compensation, as the money just went into the Georgian treasury.



The siege succeeds in only 104 days ( I told you I liked the kings siege point! ), and we get a province and their core on Armenia. It's now september 1412, and 7 years after start we have 3 provinces, somewhat of an army and nice income. However, 2 of our provinces are uncored, Sunni and of a different culture too.



We immediately fire 4k mercs, as they cost us 3 ducats a month! That's like half a merchant! Manpower is increasing more quickly now, and as you can see we can almost afford to recruit a new regular regiment now.



Prestige is high enough for now, so we cancel the navy mission. We get a slightly better one.



Now the French are showing up! What in the Empire's name do they think they are doing? We're fellow Christians! 1204 all over again! Their amphibious army is tiny of course, and we overrun it for a lot of prestige and tradition. But no matter how you put it, this is a decisive victory against the French, the God of Might and Manpower. This is definitely a glorious victory, and all soldiers get double pay and a free muslim slave girl.

I thought that a Monty Python reference about African swallows or Trojan Rabbits would be in order here but I didn't quite see a way to incorporate it. Just imagine that it's there and that it's very funny, ok? :p



A messenger comes by to report that an event has occurred! That sounds rather abstract but it apparently has something to do with corruption. Must be one of those muslim magistrates in the new provinces. Either way, we get to choose between loss of stability or a substantial increase of inflation, and Imperial command favors the former. Notice our 30 placed merchants, and how Georgia valiantly takes care of our rebel problem in the background. I believe trade tech 4 arrived around here too, I forgot to make a screenshot.



The Cypriots and French send some more troops. After this battle, Cyprus gives up, leaving France as our only enemy. They are relentless, so we plan to buy peace. The Mamluks took a province from Duldakir and we now share a border. Yikes. Also, the people in the Timurid exclave to the south have finally broken their shackles and took the province. Yay! Oddly enough they are now headed towards us and they don't look friendly. Can't you just enjoy your freedom at home?



We pay France for peace and also release Candar. This is actually good, because we can now declare immediately and take their last province. If we ended the vassalisation ourselves, we would have had to wait a month before declaring. In that time they would already have collected a bunch of allies and guarantees. A bit gamey perhaps. Maybe not. Either way they are going down. Because, as one rhetorician put it, the Black Sea coast is Trebizond's manifest destiny. Someone later on copied that phrase, I heard.



8 months later we are a 4 province country just like our Georgian friends. The French are still bothering them though. I really hope they get away unscathed.



So here is Europe in 1416. The colours for Georgia and Ak Koyunlu were a bit too similar to mine, so I shifted their colors a bit. No, it's not Sardinia-Piedmont in the Caucasus.



Nothing too surprising going on in Europe, it seems. Writing has now caught up with the actual game. We still have our eyes on Van even though the lake is missing. We're hoping for a big succession crisis with our Tribal neighbours. We need to do some converting and hopefully Georgia will survive now 2 provinces are occupied by the French.

To be continued! :)
 
Last edited:

Enewald

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Maybe someone has drunken the whole lake away? :p
Just to confuse the greeks for now they can not find the lake. :rofl:

Nice survival!
 

Junuxx

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urdh: Thank you! Hopefully I can keep it up.

Enewald: That might actually be true! As we've already noticed, Ak Koyunlu ("the white sheep") were in fact pretty aggressive. So they must be masters of disguise and misinformation. But seriously, I think there's much more reason to represent Lake Van in the game as there is to include Lake Okeechobee in Florida. It's twice as large. Oh well, let's forget it! :p

Demon1: I suppose you're referring to my avatar? So far, I've been using the flag of Tanna Tuva, a former and very underrated state between Mongolia and Russia. It used to be mostly Buddhist by the way. I might change my avatar to the Trebizond flag though, because it's so classy and awesomely stripey. :cool:

Blackluck: Thanks a lot, I appreciate that :)

Didaa: :rofl:

I haven't yet had time to play today, as my girlfriend was top priority (as she should be). I'm correcting some typos and working on some nice maps and historic factoids though!