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Hello,
After running many small nations into the ground (The tales of several of which are recorded here ), I decided to give Hesse a try. After finding my nation not being ruined several years in, I thought it deserved an AAR of its own, separate from my miniseries of failures.

This will be primarily a story AAR, with some gameplay notes at the end of each section. Any comments or advice is welcome.


Hesse is a small kingdom in northwestern Germany.
Part 1: Hesse's rise to a local power.

Up until the reign of King Ludwig I, Hesse was a small country in northwestern Germany, eclipsed in Northern Germany by Saxony and Brandenburg. However, all that would start to change in the last years of his reign. As he neared his dying days, Ludwig I became determined to start Hesse on the path to greatness.

Someday he hoped Hesse would be able to challenge the great powers of the world, but for now he would have to start with small expansions. South of Hesse was Mainz, an even smaller country with no allies. In 1453 Ludwig declared war on Mainz and hired mercenaries to bulk up his army. He led it himself, despite being so ill as to have to give his orders from a cot.

War raged across the territory of both countries, But Mainz proved to be no match for Hessian might. Ludwig I made alliances with nearby Saxony and Hannover, while sieging the capital of Mainz itself. He died mid siege, but comforted by the knowledge that his efforts had made Hesse's position secure in Northern Germany.

He was succeeded in October by the able King Hermann II (Admin 7 Mil 5 Dip 7) an able administrator and diplomat, although a mediocre war leader. Herman II brought the Mainz war to a successful end, annexing Mainz on March 31, 1454. The Kingdom of Hesse had increased both it's province number and population by 50%, with some 30,000 subjects.

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Hesse received a second opportunity to expand when its ally Saxony invaded the kingdom of Wurzburg. Hesse joined their ally in the war, besieging Wurzburg itself while Saxony sieged Bamberg. The war was successfully completed in April 1455, with Saxony annexing Bamberg, while Hesse secured the vassalization of Wurzburg and freeing of the nation of Ansbach, previously conquered by Wurzburg.



Knowing Hesse's reputation was tarnished by the wars in which it took part, and the stability of the realm threatened, Hermann II spent the next few years building up relations with neighboring kingdoms, exchanging alliances and marriages with all he could. He even retained from war when Hesse's ally Hannover was invaded, not wishing to provoke the Brandenburg/Denmark/Saxony/Anhalt alliance that threatened it.



Eventually Ansbach and the Palatinate were vassalized after a long period of negotitation, and Hermann II hoped that they, along with Wurzburg, would eventually be annexed into the Hessian Empire.

Gameplay notes:
Most interesting moment of the game: Muscovy was inherited by Bosnia! :eek:

Hesse at the end of playing session one, diplomatic map:


Northern Germany, circa 1458


This is probably my best start with a minor faction yet. Hopefully that trend doesn't end, as I'd like this AAR to go on a while. :p

Not sure where to go next. Cleves' only ally is in Ireland, so I could probably conquer them, but I'm worried about my BB rating (8.5 or so). I'm not really sure if all my neighbors will start to hate me only after I hit the maximum of 37, or if there's some kinda sliding scale.

Anywho, comments are welcome, and thank you for your time.
 

Capibara

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Interesting challange, I hope it goes well, I will be following it. BTW, can I get a screenshot of the Bosnian territories in Russia?, that should be fun.
 

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I'm thinking you should hit Cleves sooner rather then later, you'll need every province, with France and Burgundy on one side and Austria on the other. Just wait until you annex your vassals, because I'm pretty sure BB has an effect on the success rate of peaceful annexations.
 

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Capibara said:
Interesting challange, I hope it goes well, I will be following it. BTW, can I get a screenshot of the Bosnian territories in Russia?, that should be fun.

I'll take a quick screenshot tonight and try to put it up with my next intallment tomorow. I may be mixed up, though. Can't remember if Bosnia inherited the territories outright or are just leading a union with with Moscuvy. Either way I think it's pretty funny. :p


yellomellojello said:
I'm thinking you should hit Cleves sooner rather then later, you'll need every province, with France and Burgundy on one side and Austria on the other. Just wait until you annex your vassals, because I'm pretty sure BB has an effect on the success rate of peaceful annexations.

Hmm..I'm a bit confused about how the BB thing works. Would it be safe to take a big hit for attacking and annexing Cleves as long as I don't go over the limit? Also, i going to -3 stability worth it to take one province?

If so I'll attack them right away. Can't diplo-annex any of my vassals for a good 7 years or so, anyway.

Edit: It was a personal union, led by Bosnia. Here are the territories they now(temporarily, at least) rule over. I have one of the message too, if you'd like to see it.


 
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Hermann II slowly began to look at the expansion of neigboring Burgundy and France with some concern. After a meeting with his advisors, it was decided to annex nearby Cleves to increase the power of the Hessian empire. Their only ally was far away in Ireland, and unable to aid them in war. Cleves wasquickly defeated and annexed.



Now peace would be the best friend of the Hessians. The stability of their nation was weakened by war, and their reputation tarnished. Gifted artisans were hired to increase stability, and Hermann focused on improving the nation's diplomatic standing with neighbors. This tactic apparently worked, and Hermann was named the Holy Roman Emperor. Wurzberg was even annexed to prevent it falling into the hand of Saxony with minimal damage to Hesse's reputation, since Saxony had been the aggressors, and Hesse dragged into the war to "aid" their all Saxony.

Then in 1464 a troubling event occurred. Perhaps angered by being beaten to Wurzburg, Saxony decided to expand elsewhere,declaring war on Bohemia. Hesse was dragged into a war neither she nor Saxony was really prepared for. Bohemia quickly beat Saxony, taking half of her territory and annexing the country, and Hermann acheived peace in 1466 only by paying Bohemia a tribute of 25 ducats.




After this point Bohemia would be a rising star in Germany, annexing or vassalizing many nations. Meanwhile Hesse stagnated. It's reputation ruined by war, it failed to annex it's vassals despite repeated attempts. It was whispered the the reason was that they wished to avoid annexation because Hesse was Bohemia's next target.

A series of mediocre and shortlived kings ascended to the Hessian throne, with names like Ludwig and Philipp and Meritz. Nothing was accomplished during their reigns except a defensive alliance with Burgundy, meant to make Bohemia wary of declaring war.

Meritz the first attempted to make his name attacking Cologne, but our vassal Ansbach beat us to it, annexing the country.

Finally Wilhelm I ascended to the throne. He was of questionable ability as an administrator and general, but an expert diplomat. He led a war against Munster and Uthrecht, and with his silver tongue was able to vassalize the former and annex the latter.




These would be golden years for Hesse. The country controlled the Papacy for a time, and was the leader of the Holy Roman Empire throughout Wilhelm's reign. A military alliance was signed with superpower France, gaining yet another powerful ally for Hesse in the event of war with Bohemia. Ansbach was diploannexed, and workshops were built all over the nation, increasing tax funds. Hesse's standing army was increased to ten thousand soldiers, but with little enough money minted for inflation to actually go down for the first time in decades.

Wilhelm's death in 1501 was a time of great mourning for Hesse, especially as his successor did not seem the type to follow in his footsteps (Admin 3 Mil 3 Dip 5 :wacko: ). However, his reign's been off to a good start, with Munster annexed through diplomacy and Hesse again becoming the Papal Controller. Hesse also remains leader of the Holy Roman Empire, which stretches from Denmark to central Italy.



OOC: Sorry about the relative lack of pics. Halfway through writing my good connection went down (thunderstorm). Dialup is working, but very, very slowly. Can barely get images to upload into image shack once every five minutes.

As it stands I'm up to 10 provinces, with Bohemia having eaten up most to the south and east of Hesse. They have about three times the military I do and hate me for some reason (-197 relations). Things will be over quickly if they attack. Even if Burgundy and France come to my aid, I'm inconventiently stuck between them and Bohemia, and expect to come off worst in any war. Denmark has Brandenburg's former territories, few soldiers and only one ally with many(Bremen, 10,000 almost all infantry). I might be able to grab a few territories from them in a war, but am not sure if Bohemia might take advantage if I do. Reputation is good, making about 50 ducats a year, with 200 saved.

As always, comments and suggestions are greatly appreciated. :cool:

Hesse in 1503:
 

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Great effort, seems you have hit the wall.

If there is any way of getting Bohemia up to say -100 and if they have no cores on your land I would take out those pesky Danish!
 

unmerged(70701)

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I reccomend annexing those three Danish provinces in Germany to get to the remaining weak nations and one-province minors.
 

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I concur with the previous suggestions. I would further suggest you bide your time, build up what you can and be ready to take advantage of when Bohemia and Austria decide to see who is the "real" Emperor.
 

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A short update, since a lot happened in a short time:

Wilhelm II eyed Bohemia's growth warily. It would only be a matter of time before they decided to annex Hesse's rich provinces. Imperial spies even reported that Bohemia had tried to fabricate a claim on one of Hesse's provinces!

Wilhelm decided this would be a good time to both expand and show the Bohemians that Hesse and her allies would not back down from a fight. FOr seven months, from Nov 1505 to May 1506 regiments were raised and trained to battle readiness. Then a declaration of war was made on Denmark and her allies Norway and Bremen. Allies Pommerania, France, and Burgunfdy joined the fight.

Denmark's German territories were quickly sieged and taken, and after losing several battles her ally Bremen capitulated and became Hesse's vassal. In a brilliant move Wilhelm convinced the Norwegians to sign a white peace, leaving Denmark alone to face the combined might of Hesse, Burgundy, and France.



Midwar Wilhelm was succeeded by a new king, Ludwig III, but and hope the Danes might have had that he would pursue a different policy were shortlived. The Danes were pushed back into Scandinavia and forced to cede Hannover, Altmark, and Ruppin before a truce was signed.



OOC:
A few things this newbie has learned after this last fairly short (half hour) playing session.
1. The people here at the forums know what they're talking about. Fighting Denmark I gained more territories (ceded and vassals) than any other for the lowest bb cost so far.
2. I can actually count on my AI allies to help me out.
3. Actually planning and preparing for a war (with money saved) is much better than just attacking a neighbor who happens to have fewer men.
4. The protestant reformation happened without my noticing. Altmark is Protestant, as are several of Denmark's and Bohemia's territories(hopefully this will cause Bohemia problems). Tolerance sliders were changed accordingly.

Now I have to make some more decisions. One territory Anhalt has no army and is of a different religion, so DOWing them would cost fairly little as far as stability cause, although annexing them might hurt. Luneburg is equally weak, but they're a vassal of Denmark's and thus I have a truce with them (whould have negotiated to free them from vassalization). Austria is having trouble with the Ottomans, but hopefully they'll win out. They've had it out with Bohemia a few times so hopefully they'll be able to again as Montague mentioned. Bohemia still hates me and I can't really afford to gift them for better relations(costs more than I make in a year).

Thanks for the help so far. As always suggestions are appreciated.
Hope everyone is enjoying the AAR. :cool:
 
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I like it. A great overview of the game so far.
 

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I might hate the Magna Mundi HRE in my Bavarian game right now, but I just have to say that at least there are still 90% of the German nations independent countries.

I hope you're able to fight off those two powers.. will be hard though! :eek:o
 

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Bohemia will annex Anhalt at some point... just let them take the BB hit for you, then take it in a war with them.
 

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Sr. Toledo said:
Bohemia will annex Anhalt at some point... just let them take the BB hit for you, then take it in a war with them.

That's what I was thinking. It's not a very rich province, and if I'm going to get the BB hit for annexation, I'd rather go after Luneberg after the truce ends, to bring myself closer to having my capital connected to the coast.
 

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Ok, after quite a few hours playing it's the early 1600s and I'm far behind in my AAR, so I'm going to start writing the next installment right now. SHould be up within the hour. Lots of stuff happens so it should be interesting.
 

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The Danish War
In 1509 the kingdom of Luneburg was annexed by Denmark. Although the Danes claimed it was by choice, Ludwig III and his fellow king in Pommerania had their doubts. They decided that that the Holy Roman Empire could not suffer such a thing from a country outside its purview. In 1512 plans were drawn up between the two Monarchs and war was declared. It was decided that Hesse would gain Luneburg to connect it’s capital to the lands of its vassal Bremen, while Pommerania would gain any tribute to be paid by the Danes.



Karl I



Although Ludwig died early on in a battle against Demark’s ally Norway, the war went well and the Danes were crushed. Hesse’s new king, Karl I, was not happy with the terms of the Hessian/Pommeranian treaty of 1512. Displeased by the limited amount of territory Hesse would gain by it, he negotiated separately with Denmark, convincing them to cede Slesvig and Jylland. The king of Pommerania reasoned that since Hesse gained more territory than had been agreed upon, they had no reason to object to their own annexation of Luneburg. Relations between Hesse and Hinterpommern deteriorated from that point, and the matter of Luneburg is believed to have caused the breakdown of their alliance and the Hessian/Pommerranian war of 1515. Hessian armies proved more than a match for their new foe, and Pommerania lost all but their capital in the war.



Hesse's rise to local dominance
Karl I, and his successor Wilhelm III, were men obsessed with making his country into a major power, and fearful of Hesse’s traditional enemy Bohemia. News of new lands to the west started to arrive in Hesse, and Karl was quick to get in on the new colonization craze. He spread colonies in the new land of North America, all while conspiring to improve Hesse’s position at home in Europe.



He also managed to vassalize Burgundy and take control of Sicily upon the last request of its dying king, ruling over it in a temporary Personal Union.




Wilhelm presided over a long cold war with Bohemia, during which both sides used infiltrated each other with spies, and Bohemia instigated uprisings in Hesse’s new overseas colonies. Wilhelm longed to go to war with his hated rival, but knew that his country lacked the manpower for a sustained conflict. However, when Bremen accepted a diplomatic annexation he decided Hesse had become powerful enough. In 1533, along with his allies France and Burgundy, he went to war with Bohemia.

The fighting was fierce but the sheer size of the armies of Wilhelm and his allies made its conclusion obvious. Bohemia was forced to cede Meissen, Dresden, Leipzig, and Bamberg. The independent kingdom of Anhalt was annexed by force shortly afterward. In the exultation of his recent victories, Oldenburg was released as a nation and Burgundy freed to go to the control of its Queen, Marie I.
 
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Hesse's Golden Age
The next decade saw relative peace, and the expansion of Hesse’s colonies and creation of the Royal Hessian Navy, with a mighty fleet of 2-3 cogs. :p In 1543 newly kinged Wilhelm V renewed war with Bohemia, but they were no longer the mighty rival feared by Hesse. Bohemia had become a shadow of its former self, and after a short war was forced to cede Franken, while its ally Sweden was made to release Finland. A short war with Austria secured the annexation of Lubeck. Hesse’s place as the premier power in Northern Germany was secured.

Another peace of 30 years followed, marred only by the short war of the Navarran Succession against England, most of which was fought in the New World and ended in the stus quo. Colonies were founded all over the land of “Canada” and South Africa, and legendary Hessian explorer Adelmar Eder made an expedition all the way to the Pacific Ocean. Edicts of tolerance were issued regarding the so called “Protestants” spreading through Germany, and Hesse saw a Golden Age.

In 1570 the legendary king Phillip Ludwig I ascended the throne, the most able administrator the nation had ever seen. He reorganized the political system of Hesse, making it into an “Administrative Monarchy”. He also reorganized the military, and had a weapons manufactory built in Meissen. He even weakened the temporarily ascendant Bohemians, taking Lausitz from them while the Ottomans took their new Balkan provinces. After his death a regency council continued his work, implementing the “national idea” Beauracracy. Hesse would now gather far more taxes form it’s far flung territories.

Hesse’s next king, Ludwig IV, is best known for involving Hesse in the disastrous Spanish war. Dragged into war with Portugal by his allies the Aragonese, Ludwig somehow forgot that Portugal was allied with Castille, the most powerful nation in Europe. The next ten years were spent trying to get Castille to sign a treaty, and sending armies to aid Aragon. Weary with war, the people of Hesse rebelled constantly, with new revolts every few months (War exhaustion + horrible stab hit brought chance of rebellion up to 10% in most provinces!).


A futile attempt to stem the tide of rebellion.


The nation breathed a sigh of relief when Ludwig was succeeded by Wilhelm VI. He vowed to bring peace back to Hesse, and for the most part did. However, he is most known two things. One was the single short war during his reign, in which hated enemy Bohemia was exterminated by Burgundy, France and Hesse, with Hesse gaining the province of Bohemia itself after Wilhelm’s allies had annexed the rest of the their realm.


The other was the conversion of his nation. Wilhelm was a man of deep conscience, and like most Germans, a convert to the new Protestant faith. In 1622 he formally changed his nations official denomination to that of the Lutheran church, satisfying his people but causing an upheaval across Europe. Relations with catholic nations around the world plummeted, and many courts wouldn’t even receive Hesse’s diplomats. After holding the emperorship for over 100 years, it became unlikely a Hessian would ever have the position of emperor again. Old allies Burgundy and the Teutonic order were suspicious, but renewed their alliance with Hesse, as did Tuscany. Notably, France did not, and with her self proclaimed title of Protector of the Catholic Faith, war between Hesse and the much more powerful France seemed inevitable. In preparation, Wilhelm ordered that minting should increase to a level to add .01 inflation, rather than -.07 as before, and that the national standing army be greatly increased.

OOC:Whew, that last two posts was a big update. Not sure I would have converted if I'd known everyone would start hating me, but if I didn't reload after that nasty war I got into with Spain I won't for this.

As you can see, I'll never be emperor again.


Hesse and allies. France despises me now, and even allies Burgundy and the TO aren't too fond.


Some stats. I'm behind in all but Land and government, mostly from minting so much in wars I think, but I'm catching up. At least I don't have France's crippling 25% inflation :eek: .


Can anyone who's united Germany tell me how long it took them? 70 years since I got the last needed province, and with the bonuses for the other provinces I've got, it seems like I'm far past the adjusted mean time(if the people in the thread I found the information on unification ar right).

Things should hat up now that everyone hates me and I'm still not the most powerful nation in Europe, not by a long shot, so it should remain interesting. :cool:
 
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Sr. Toledo said:
You need to be at peace for the event to fire.

Ah. In that case I may only have been eligible for about half those years. Hopefully converting to Protestantism doesn't result in all my neighbors attacking me.
 

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The Start of a New Era:

Abandoned by the Holy Roman Empire, as well as most of their allies, King Wilhelm IV decided a change was in order. He declared that since in its conquest Hesse had united almost all of Germany, that henceforth his nation would become known as the nation of Germany. A new flag was unfurled, and Wilhelm announced that he would not rest until every German province in the world was ruled under that flag. A new era had dawned...





Well, that's it, I reached my goal of uniting Germany. :D Now I could use some help. I plan on getting NA ASAP, and would like to start another AAR. I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions for country choices. Something in the Latin/Eastern tech groups, preferably (even with a rich Latin nation I managed to fall a bit behind in tech! :wacko: ).

I'll play which ever nation gets the most votes.

Thank you for reading.