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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

aldriq

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The Shortest Road to Damascus
An interactive Syrian AAR

As I was playing my first In Nomine game with an Italian nation, I saw how things got quite messy at the other side of the Mediterranean... a simultaneous Mamluk-Jalayirid-Timurid collapse in the late 1410s left the Middle East with an interesting set of choices to spin off a game from it.

I thought Syria could potentially provide great fun, then I thought even more fun could be had by turning the game into an interactive AAR.

So here's the plan: try to more or less recreate the Umayyad Caliphate -from Spain to the Indus- in the shortest possible time, without breaching the BB limit (a caliph cannot be a hated through the world type of figure).

Before each update everybody is welcome to give 2 policy recommendations. They can be diplomatic, administrative or military (i.e. DoW X, move slider Y, recruit unit Z). I'll try my best to follow the most popular ones. Of course the soon-to-be Caliph can always veto them depending on the situation and/or the mood :)

Settings: default, vanilla 3.2b, Strannik's map mod.
Difficulty: normal.
Start Date: 11 August 1426 (earliest save I had kept with Syria in it).
End date: when the Caliphate is attained - all of Arabia, Levant, Iraq, Mediterranean Africa, Persia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iberia.


_____________________



Table of Contents


Prologue. Syria in 1425
1. The shortest road is always the steepest (1425-33)
2. The road to Mecca is closed (1433-38)
3. The road rarely ends where you expect (1438-45)
4. Sealanes and roadblocks (1445-55)
5. The mountain road to Isfahan (1455-61)
6. Coastal road to Alexandria, desert road to oblivion (1461-70)
7. The roadrunner from Durrani (1470-79)
8. Caspian crossroads (1479-89)
9. Some roads lead to Rome faster than others (1489-1500)
10. Blood on the road to Mecca (1500-15)
11. Strange companions on the road to India (1515-29)
12. Roadtrip to the west and other Chinese tales (1529-42)
13. On the fast road to modernity (1542-51)
14. The Silk Road is not what it used to be (1551-63)
15. The road to glory must take you to Al-Andalus (1563-83)
16. East-West Mediterranean Roadshow (1583-99)
17. The not-so-rocky roads of Sierra Nevada (1599-1612)
18. Island roads and causeways (1612-1625)
19. Safer roads from Lisbon to Moscow (1625-1638)
20. Roadkill prevention for janissaries (1638-50)
21. Waiting at the roadside leads nowhere (1650-69)
22. End of the road for Castille (1669-88)
23. Down the same Sicilian road (1688-1705)
24. The last road to al-Andalus (1705-1715)
Epilogue. Syria in 1715
 
Last edited:

aldriq

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Prologue
Syria in 1425

Provinces: 8
At peace.
Allied with Yemen, Nadj and Tripoli.
Stability: +3
BB: 0
Monarch: Sultan al-Adil III (7/8/7)
Army: 12 (5/7/0)
Navy: 7 (0/0/6/1)

Neighbours
Mamluks: Allied with Persia, Qara Qoyunly, Swahili. CB on the OE, Syria. Guaranteing Yemen, Oman, Nadj, Hedjaz, Syria.
OE: Allied with Bosnia, Serbia, Golden Horde, Karaman. CB on Moldavia. Guaranteeing Nadj, Hedjaz, Syria. At war with Poland*, Moldavia.
Persia: Allied with the Mamluks, Delhi, Kashmir. CB on Khorasan, Qara Qoyunlu and TE. Guaranteeing Khorasan and Qara Qoyunlu.
Najd: Allied with Yemen, Syria, Tripoli. CB on the Mamluks. Guaranteeing Oman, Candar, Hedjaz and Tunisia. Guaranteed by OE, Yemen, Algiers, Mamluks, Morocco.

The Syrian nation seems in pretty good shape after only a few years of independence from the Mamluks. A solid king reigns, stability is good, the army is decent, the economy is not bad. Some opportunistic land acquisition (3 Iraqi provinces and Al Hassa) doubled the size of the country shortly after independence, but three of these provinces are not sunni, so it is a mixed blessing.


The allies of Syria are not something to write home about. The fact that both the Ottomans and the Mamluks are guaranteen us reveal the precarious reality: that of a buffer state with angry neighbours. Worryingly, Persia is allied to the Mamluks.

The Jizya has been introduced (+6% tax, +20% stab cost), the first NI chosen by the AI has been National Conscripts.

The sliders are all over the place but nothing urgent at the moment. More centralization will be needed as the country grows, and probably some push towards naval to be able to invade Iberia later on.

The current mission is not very nice, particularly when I'd rather have the OE as ally at the moment... But as you can see the Ottomans were also busy expanding when the Mamluks and the Timurids collapsed.


I don't think trade should be a priority for the time being, do you?


Questions and advice on a postcard, PO Box 0, Damascus :)
 

unmerged(48100)

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Quite a precarious situation you find yourself in there. I would have decided to invade the Mamluks, would they not have been allied to Persia. A two-front war is certainly nothing you can manage with your current manpower and finances.

I would in general advise against fighting Persia for now. Its provinces should be Shiite and not quite that rich, at least not on your border, so the fighting wouldn't quite that worthwhile.

On the other hand, the Ottomans should be out of question and your allies likewise (except for fighting them via guarantee or better, by getting a CB after attacking some other country far away).

But why exactly are you against trading, apart from some sliders? It would be quite easy to get rich on it with a small country in IN.
 

Brandenburg III

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I’d suggest guaranteeing a few nations, possibly warning the Ottomans (because they'd likely go to war against Persia sooner or later) so you can jump into an alliance (and a war) when you’re ready. And just because you warn or guarantee someone doesn't mean you have to help; prestige can be regained, opportunities are rare.

After a few games of IN I discovered that trading is easy, even if you only try it in a few CoTs. However I’d refrain from conducting any trade with a nation you could be at war with. No sense in losing cash on an embargo.
 

volksmarschall

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A nice beginning! Will be looking forward to much more of this AAR...
 

Abraxas

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This seems interesting, I'll be following. :)

As for a suffested course of expansion, I'd say Najd is probably the easiest place to go, even if you're allied. DoW Tunisia - unless they have some strong allies close to you - and hope Najd comes to their help. This way you'll face them basically one-on-one which should be doable. That would mean losing an ally but I think the OE is your best ally anyway and that alliance should be maintained at all costs untill you can take them down.
 

Azugal

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I'd maybe look at DoWing Khorasan to bring Persia in, depending on who else they're guaranteed/allied to. Persia has some damn rich lands from the last game I played as the Byzantines. Some of them are owned by others (such as OE), but there's some tasty provinces left.
 

Nikolai

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What about turning towards Najd? Granted, their provinces isn't that rich, but they lead the way to Mecca and Medina. And you are the Caliph, right?;)
 

aldriq

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Afom - Thanks! I hope so.

Sweboy - I'll take that as an 'Attack Cyprus'. It would be easy were they not guaranteed by France and Burgundy, that's why I didn't bother putting them in the neighbour list.

CSK - Thanks for the feedback. I agree, that Mamluk-Persia alliance is a pain, and yes, I've got enough Shiite provinces at the moment to pursue any Persian land. Right now I have two merchants in an Indian CoT, if you guys think it worth it I may send more there.

gabor - Thanks! I see what you mean, attacking Swahili or Qara Qoyunlu would bring in the Mamluks without bringing Persia. The only risks would be QQ getting military access through Persia or the OE, or the Mamluks not honouring their alliance.

daemonofdecay - Thank you very much!

Enewald - Thanks for your support :p

Brandenburg III - Warnings are definitely a tool to use. I already have a CB on the Ottomans (a core in Dayr Az Zor), so I can DoW them whenever it suits me; one option would be DoWing them when they are embroiled in a war in Europe. However that has the danger of them ending the war in Europe to come down on me with all their strength.

volksmarschall - Thank you!

demokratickid - Thanks!

Abraxas - The problem with Najd is that they have, like Persia, mostly Shia provinces, they may be more a hindrance than help at this stage. I'm not allied to the OE, I meant I would prefer to stay on their good side for now, but that might prove difficult.

Azugal - Are they rich enough to offset them being of wrong religion? How fast is conversion in IN on average?

Nikolai - Most of their provinces are Shia, but Al Jawf is Sunni, and that would give me a handy border with Hedjaz to get to Medina and Mecca. It is definitely an option to consider.
 

unmerged(48100)

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He mentioned it in his first post, 7/8/7. ;)

I would personally pursue a war that gets the Mamluks alone - like with Qara Qoyunlu.
Conversions aren't that big of a problem in IN, but they still cost money and take a while, which Sunni provinces wouldn't.
Using Najd to get to Hedjaz would be another good option.
 

Azugal

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Azugal - Are they rich enough to offset them being of wrong religion? How fast is conversion in IN on average?
From memory there were a bunch of 6-9 base tax value provinces down there )along with a bunch of much lower provs of course). Just have a click around to see, should be easy enough. I was surprised there were so many good provinces there.

Conversions will depend. Sunni takes a penalty from memory, so they're a little slower than normal. It will really depend on too many variables, but I don't find conversion to be too slow as long as you're prepared to make a couple of decisions to boost your chances and/or take a Missionary advisor.