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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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Introduction
The game starts with an imported file from CK (otherwise Bulgaria would be start the game owned by the Ottomans, and this AAR would be short) which takes some serious editing to make workable. The policy settings in particular are a mess... for non-CK players, or people who just hated my CK AAR, here's how the history books might write about 14th Century Bulgaria:

The decline of Bulgaria continued until 1330, the nadir reached when the Tsar Mihail Shishman was killed by the Serbs at the Battle of Velbuzhd. Bulgaria lost control of Macedonia to the Serbian ruler Stefan Dushan, and Serbia became the dominant power in Balkans until his death. The death of Mihail's successor, Aleksander Shishman in 1361, fighting the Turks, appeared to signal the complete disintegration of Bulgaria. Invading Turks had first fallen on the remnants of the Byzantine Empire, besieging and capturing Constantinople in 1359 before turning their attention to Bulgaria and this had prompted the Pope to proclaim a crusade aimed at recapturing the city. The dead Tsar's son, Mihail II, however rallied the Bulgarians to his cause and aided by the formidable commander Tomislav Tikh, defeated both the Turks and the rebellious nobility at the Battles of Ulstrem and Gramada respectively. Fearing the arrival of crusading armies who had landed in Albania and with the Emperor fled to Thessaly, the Greek population of Constantinople turned on their Turkish governor and opened the gates to Mihail's army. The Crusaders, when they arrived found themselves low on supplies and confronted by a formidable force fresh from victory already in occupation of the city. Mihail might still have been hard pressed to defeat them, but he was able to persuade their leaders that he would assist them instead in carrying the war to the Turks in Anatolia. Bulgaria remained in control, with the Byzantine Emperor permanently exiled from his capital.

Fighting against the Turks continued sporadically, but Mihail overreached himself in attempting, in alliance with Georgia, to launch an expedition against Trebizond. The Peace of Preslav ended the wars with Bulgaria agreeing to recognise Turkish rule beyond Constantinople. Despite further success in regaining most of the land lost to Serbia from the weak successors to Stefan Dushan, the latter half of Mihail II's reign was characterised by his descent into mental and physical feebleness, leaving the governance of Bulgaria to his Georgian wife Gulchara until the accession of their son as Tsar Aleksandar in 1387. His victory over Vlad Basarab brought Wallachia under Bulgarian control.


So, with a new Monarchs file and a small Leaders file for Bulgaria, the imported game starts. The first thing to do is split up Germany that CK imports feature so as to allow the usual EU2 events to run properly. I do this by event 94001ing several times and then waiting for the rebels to take a German province. Once they have done this, I save, cut all the rest of the German controlled provinces out and paste them to the rebels controlled provinces. The government falls. Here's how the 1419 starting positions are different from the usual:

-England is weaker: it has no territory in France apart from Normandy, and furthermore Lancaster and Cornwall aren't under the king's control. This won't be a problem in the long term, I shouldn't have thought.
-France looks stronger and has more territory at start, plus there's no Burgundy to worry about. However, I think France will be weaker in the end, because the French minors aren't all the same, so they're going to have to re-unify the country the hard way without handy events; also some Southern provinces, linked to Italy in the CK game, think of themselves as Italian rather than French.
-Turkey is totally different; because there was no Ottoman expansion into the Balkans, the tide turned the other way and Crusaders who had arrived to "liberate" Constantinople in 1360 were diverted into Anatolia. It's now a weird patchwork of various Christians and Muslims, with Portugal and Bohemia owning chunks, as well as the exiled rulers of Sienna claiming a portion from their stronghold in Rhodes. The Knights are clinging on in Samaria.
- No Aragon. No Aragon at all, but there is an independent Valencia. A strange Arab Christian kingdom has the Balearic Islands. Andalusia is Portuguese. Granada and Toledo are owned by Cordoba, but curiously it isn't Muslim, it's Catholic.
- The Mongols in Russia have been more successful. Only Moscow, Pskov and Kiev remain independent - even Novgorod is in the hands of the Khan of Kazan and Turkic rulers are occupying the Polish border. The Teutonic Knights have control of Lithuania and Belarus and it looks like interesting times are about to begin here. The Horde also control Moldavia, Georgia and Armenia for now.
- Hungary is split: the bulk of it was inherited by the King of Naples, but resistance to rule by Italians is stiffening, in particular an independent Hungary in the shape of the Duke of Pest, a nominal vassal, has a couple of provinces and Transylvania has broken away.
- The Maghreb is currently held Spanish and Portuguese, with the rest of North Africa under the Mameluks apart from Morocco. Hmm, who'll win this one?
- Last but not least, Bulgaria owns Bulgaria, Rumelia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Thrace, Wallachia and Dobrudja. Byzantium clings on in Hellas and owns Sardinia as well. Serbia owns Croatia and Ragusa and has Bosnia as a vassal - for now.


More to follow!
 

yourworstnightm

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Have you planned to add some events for Bulgaria?
I guess in this timeline a fall of Byzantium event should fire for Bulgaria, making the Bulgarian czar, not the russian the true sucessor of the emperors, making Constantinople the capital of the Bulgarian Empire!
 

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No, no events. I don't like them much for countries that should disappear but don't: I'd rather see how history pans out when it's just allowed to flow uninterrupted rather than push things in one direction or the other.
 

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Part I: Tsar Iosif and his Wars with Serbia
2nd May 1421. Tsar Iosif has only been on the throne a few months.
"It's a scandal, Sire,"
"It's not a scandal, Matuski... a country girl asked me if I wanted to dance with her and her friends. She didn't even know who I was."
"It's a pagan rite, Sire, in honour of the pagan god Yarilo. You have taken part in a pagan rite. People are going to be upset. It's a scandal."
"Look, a pretty wench caught my eye, that's all. I don't know about this Yarilo stuff..."
"I'm afraid, Sire, that 'pretty wench' thing isn't allowed anymore. It may have sufficed in your father's day, but this is an entirely different game we're playing, so to speak. People take religion very seriously nowadays and not just as in beating up Turks and Letigallians (whoever they are). It determines what countries look red on the map or green on the map."
"Well, thanks for the advice, Matuski. Anyway, I think the Serbs may try something sneaky next year. The map doesn't have them coloured red or green, but there is a little white eagle on Albania..."



The Capital of the Bulgarian Empire - it's that picture again

Following this court scandal, by October 1422, the Serbs are ready to make their move. The Balkans are divided into two power blocs: Serbia, Bosnia (their vassal) and Byzantium on one side and Albania, Venice and Bulgaria on the other. Helvetia and Crete are also in it, but somehow I doubt they'll make much of a contribution. We open by besieging Serbia, but suddenly there's a revolt in Kosovo that needs putting down. Albania's army is too small to withstand Byzantium's, and we also have to bail them out by breaking the siege there, which isn't accomplished easily. With the fall of Belgrade on 24th October, 1423, we can move on and capture Serbian-owned Croatia. The following August, Serbia accepts peace with Albania for 20d plus cession of Croatia to us. I decide to release the Croats as a vassal for now, since I've no link to them. The loss of Croatia shrinks Serbia sufficiently that Bosnia cancels vassalisation. That puts Serbia in further trouble, since their other province is Ragusa and they can't get to it should it revolt, which is what happens...

Tsar Iosif is a conversion from CK and has a very useful 8 in Admin, although he's mediocre in the other two. I'm putting everything into Infra or Trade while he's in charge. It's a quiet period until 1426 - not even any events. In May, Ragusa, under rebel control, declares independence from Serbia. Byzantium and Bosnia dishonour the alliance, as does their other ally, Helvetia (as if they mattered) so Ragusa looks safe... meanwhile we reach Infra 2 in October and New Land Claimed happens in Macedonia in December. 1427-28 sees Istria declaring (short-lived) independence from Naples-Hungary and Byzantium, at war with Sicily now, forming a new alliance with Ragusa. More importantly, though, Bosnia renews the Serbian alliance. I can't have this - one or other of them is going to annex Ragusa. In 1429 I DoW Serbia again. Venice and their vassal, Crete, honour the alliance but Albania doesn't. Armenia has joined in our alliance as well, but they can't do much here. It doesn't go so well at first: the Serbs beat off our invasion force and in December Bosnia conquers Ragusa. 1430 begins with victory over the Serbs, who are now an annexable one province minor. In May we capture Belgrade again and can erase them from the map, Wuhahahahar! Revenge for Velbuzhd and Stefan Dushan turns in his grave. April the following year sees Bulgaria reach Trade 2 and move on into Ragusa. In other news, Henry de Seagrave, Duke of Lancaster, finally realises Lancashire is only a county, not a country and becomes English, Jakob becomes Margrave of Baden and Pommerania and Aleppo decide trying to be at war with each other is a bit of a waste of time. But the war is dragging on too long. I decide to take some money (38d) from the Bosnians to end it. Good Government Policies happens, and now Byzantium allies with Bosnia while Albania finds three utterly useless allies in the new Margrave of Baden, Strassburg and Helvetia (someone should buy those Swiss a good atlas and they might realise they aren't in the Balkans... or maybe it's the Albanians who think they're in the Rhineland).

1433: Both Bosnia and Albania decide for some reason it would be a really good idea to give Portugal military access to their countries. The following year we decline cessation of church functions to the nobility, whatever that means. All hell is breaking loose in the West: France, Denmark, Orleans, Bourbonnais and Auvergne are at war with Mecklenberg, Holland, Gelre, Pommerania and Holstein and with Sweden and the Teutonic Order as well, while Cordoba and Castille decide to wipe Valencia off the map, and strangely Scotland decides to get involved as well.

1435 sees us drawn into one of those pointless wars you have to fight just to avoid stab hits. This one is on the side of Armenia against Trebizond, which is Greek but Sunni. We could actually send a couple of thousand men over the Black Sea to help, but what for? In January '36, Armenia wins the war on its own, annexing Trebizond. There's also a Plague! A nasty outbreak of exclamation marks sweeps through the empire. Elsewhere, England is at war with Scotland and Portugal joins in but Corboba dishonours... it's too confusing now. I'm going to ignore Western European politics, especially with Wurtemburg joining in as well. It all ends with Scotland getting annexed by England anyway. We reach Land Tech 2 in 1440 and revolters in Bujak defect to us from the Golden Horde for a nice Orthodox Romanian free addition to the growing Bulgarian Empire. It doesn't take the Bujakans long to decide they don't like being Bulgarians much more than they liked being Mongols, though and they decide to revolt. It's a pain beating rebels across rivers in marshes. We don't finally dislodge them until 1445. The alliance with Venice is renewed the following year, with vassal Croatia joining as well. Croatia in the meantime has also decided to grant military access to Portugal. Nobody knows why.
 

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Congratulations on moving over to EU2, plus it means I can nominate this AAR for the weekly showcase, since it's no longer a CK one! :D Looking forward to the 1450 screenshot, hint, hint... ;) Oh, and yes, times have changed - those pretty wenches won't do you a bit of good now, I fear! After all, what use are kids in EU2? :D
 

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Well, Farquharson carried out his 'threat.' Congrats on winning the AAR Showcase!

I am curious: I'd heard there was a major problem with the colonizing AIs in a CK/EU2 conversion. Has that been taken care of?

I enjoyed your CK AAR, and am just now catching up on this part of it. I also like your 'blunt' and quick moving style!
 
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Very good. I enjoyed the prequel. I will be watching this one with great expectation. :)
 

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I now feel burdened with responsibility... :eek:
CatKnight... I have a makeshift fix for the "no colonising" problem, but because I didn't notice it until the early 1500s, I had to seriously hack the savegame to give Spain and Portugal lots of discoveries and a few starting colonies, as well as making Spain inherit the Aztecs. I then scripted events for first Spain and Portugal to start using their proper AIs, then events for the other colonisers; Russia, England, France, Morocco, Netherlands and Sweden.
 

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Part II: Tsar Dobroslav Bashes Byzantium and Irritates the Italians
April 3rd 1447 sees a new Tsar, Dobroslav, ascend the Bulgarian throne. He's the last of the converted CK monarchs, and was only a black silhouette when that game ended. His two 5s and a 4 make him decent but nothing special. A year into his reign, there's some sort of regional heresy which needs to be suppressed. All around Bulgaria war breaks out: Byzantium, Tuscany, Genoa, Valencia and the Balearic Islands decide to attack Albania whose alliance with all those landlocked Rhinelanders seems to have expired, while Sicily, Naples and Hungary decide to attack Tuscany, bringing them into another war. Valencia drops out when they are force vassalised by Cordoba. The war ends with Hungary diplo-vassalised by Naples - their bid for independence appears to be coming to an end - and Albania annexed by Byzantium. Grr. This means war in November 1451:

"Ah, the emissary from the Doge of Venice... show him in."
"Immediately, Sire... Signior Giovanni Costantini."
"Aha, Signior Costantini, I trust we can count on Venice's support for another round of Byzantine bashing? Not that they even own Byzantium anymore these days. Ironic, isn't it?"
"Indeed it is, your majesty. You don't like the Byzantines much, do you?"
"No, we don't... can't think why, apart from them naming one of their most famous emperors 'The Bulgar-slayer'... maybe that's something to do with it."



The Situation at the Start of Dobroslav's Reign

Tuscany, Genoa and, bizarrely, Brabant join in the war against us, but the Balearic Christian Arabs are too busy with their 500 year plan to develop a tourist industry and dishonour the alliance. Venice and my Croat vassals come in on our side. As the Golden Horde falls to bits and the Timurids drive the last Crusaders out of Palestine (and then go bankrupt as their government falls), we besiege Albania only for the oversized Byzantine army to capture Macedonia and another batch of rebel scum unhelpfully pops up in Bujak, spilling over the border with the disintegrating Horde. A new force is built up and, assisted by Venetian reinforcements, smashes the Byzantines and recaptures Macedonia. We move on to attack Athens and force a peace on the Byzantines, but the rebel scum I haven't been able to do anything about have now moved to besiege Dobrudja and the Byzantines annoyingly defeat us and return to Macedonia in 1453. Next year, Genoa, which had lost naval battles to Venice and kept landing tiny armies which were stamped on, has such a poor warscore they agree to bow out and pay a hefty 126d. Byzantium is driven out of Macedonia by armies paid for with the Genoese indemnities, while Bujak is recaptured from rebels and Albania falls at last. It takes til August 1455 for Hellas to fall and Byzantium is finally forced to hand over Albania. All that for one province and a small amount of cash to keep Venice happy (they're into money, those Venetians). Phew. All this fighting, and the news that Valencia has been annexed by Castille and Edessa has declared independence from the bankrupt Timurids whose government has fallen again, makes the Serbian peasants unhappy, and they revolt. Unusually for rebel scum, they fail to defeat our army and the revolt is quickly crushed.

The fighting isn't over: in March 1459, Hungary having just annexed the Siebenbürgen, Naples decides conquering neighbours is fun and declares war on my vasssal, Croatia, which more or less forces a DoW by Bulgaria. Hungary, Sicily and Hannover join in. Venice dishonours the alliance but then changes its mind and when I invite them back. Stability drops immediately when the cities decide that the start of a major war would be a good time to demand stuff. Almost immediately Bosnia declares war on Venice, which doesn't help. The Neapolitans start well, defeating a small Bulgarian force in Serbia, but they can't stand up to the main army and are soon driven out. We besiege and capture Banat, then Ragusa (part of Bosnia, you may recall, after the last war) Raising more troops in Wallachia, we also besiege Transylvania. Venice is being quiet: I'd expected them to make an effort in Istria. Control of Banat doesn't last long, but Naples has soon had enough and pays the Croats 110d. With Ragusa captured, Bosnia is empty and an inviting target with its army away in Dalmatia... its fall on New Year's Day, 1463, forces the Bosnians to give up and hand over Ragusa. That August, Bulgaria reaches Infra 3. The Italian-Hungarian-German alliance decides to go and fight France next and are joined by the Balearics again. France wins.

In 1468, an Exceptional Year, Moldavia revolts away from the Horde. This will be significant later. We swap maps with Armenia, but they don't know that much. The alliance with Venice runs out, and a new alliance with Croatia is created. Searching around for another ally, I invite Syria, which revolted away from Edessa recently, but they aren't interested. Byzantium gains a free province when Morea revolts away from Bohemia. Not much else happens for the remainder of Dobroslav's reign: the merchants are unhappy in 1471 but 1473's Internal Trade Ordinance and Granting of Export Licences might cheer them up. Or perhaps a new Tsar will...
 

unmerged(28944)

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Intriguing.... I'm in. Anyone who can control the Balkans has got something to take seriously, eh? :cool:

*subcribes with a evil grin*
 

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Part III: Mihail III's Peaceful Reign and Lazar's Short and Warlike One
Mihail III takes the throne in 1476, and Croatia for some reason declares war on Venice. Idiots. We're not joining in that one. The war eventually dies away. This would, however, be a good time to start building a decent navy now we can't rely on Venice's for help.

Having a good amount of cash on hand, I decide the inevitable Fine Arts Academy would be a good idea; it's begun in 1479, the same year there's an unprovoked revolt in Dobrudja, but otherwise things are quiet. Too quiet, in fact... someone's up to something. It's the nobles: they demand their former rights in 1481. The traitors are executed. Serves them right, too. The following years are quiet, with Good government policies in 1485-86, until a meteor is sighted in 1487. Everyone panics and proclaims the end of the World to be nigh, running around with sacks on their heads, causing things to be unstable. More Internal Trade Ordinance in 1491, Merchants Harrassed in 1493, then June 1493 sees the end of Mihail's reign. Uninteresting times, indeed.


Bulgaria's Neighbours in the Late 15th Century
Following the Collapse of the Mongol Khanates
Catholic States:
1 - County of Sinope (Portuguese) 2 - County of Nicaea (Portuguese)
3 - Grand Duchy of Smyrna (Czechs) 4 - Kingdom of Rhodes (Italians)
5 - Duchy of Cyprus (Portuguese) 6 - Principality of Isauria (Italians)
7 - Margravate of Ancyra (Czechs) 8 - Duchy of Samosata (Italians)
9 - Duchy of the Levant (English) 10 - Kingdom of Syria (Italians)
11 - County of Lycia (Portuguese)


Tsar Lazar, his successor, is a military man who is poor at administration. He's also the first leader in the little leader file. For the first year and a half our new warmongering Tsar is on the throne, there's frankly not much fighting to be done, only Granting Export Licences. However, in 1495, there's an opportunity to get into a war! Byzantium, Austria and Venice are at war with Bosnia. By joining the alliance, there will be an opportunity to force-annex them. Driving them out of Serbia, we manage to arrive in Bosnia first so that it's our siege and not Byzantium's. Lazar has a siege bonus and invades Dalmatia which the Bosnians had taken from Venice. This is important, because they must fall in sequence, or Venice will be able to dictate a peace where we only get money. Dalmatia falls in February 1496, Bosnia not until May, allowing a force-annex, heh, heh, heh. Rush of Merchants 1497 - not interested: there's no fighting in it! But there is in 1499: again Naples declares war on Croatia (and there's a boundary dispute) but we now have no other allies. Naples has now diplo-annexed Hungary. They bring Sicily and Moldavia along for this latest war, which means, unfortunately, we will have to fight Stefan cel Mare and his oversized army...

We have one advantage over the Moldavians as they set off to pile up one of the AI's heavily overstacked sieges in Croatia: serious as Stefan is as a general, he doesn't have a siege bonus and Lazar does: therefore, there's a good chance we can take their one province and possibly force annex Moldavia while they're still busy fighting away from home. Moldavia has a minimal fortress. On March 25th 1500, it falls while their siege in Croatia is still orange. End of Moldavia, and as a bonus, their troops in Croatia are now ours! These defectors drive the Neapolitans out of Croatia, inflicting very heavy losses. Krain, Transylvania and Maros are all put under siege and duly fall. Lazar dies during a siege in July 1501, shot by an Italian crossbow outside the walls of Pest. It doesn't save them, however: we demand Transylvania and release it as a vassal, but more trouble awaits Lazar's successor Tihomir...

Let's take a short break and look at what's been happening elsewhere in the World. We can now see quite a lot of it, because Moldavia, as a revolter from the Golden Horde, had very extensive maps of Asia, all the way to India. One of Lazar's ministers adds:
"The Ottoman, otherwise Osmanli, Turks were driven from Brusa by the former Greek Emperor. They fled to the fortress of Hadim in the Taurus Mountains and from there they drove the Latins from Iconium, or Konya, as they call it."
Yes, the Ottomans have appeared again, as one of the revolters from Germany early on. They started with just Konya and Bohemia DoWed them twice resulting in Angora and Smyrna being captured, but then, on both occasions, they were persuaded to withdraw for a trivial amount of money. A revolt in 1490 against Siena (which is in Rhodes) has given them Taurus. Spain formed from Castile and annexed Cordoba, which had beaten up Portugal, taking Andalusia and the Algarve from them. Spain went to war with Navarre, a vassal of France and lost some of their northern provinces: Cantabria and Asturias to France, Aragon to Navarre... this got France some serious BB wars, resulting in Auvergne and Languedoc grabbing big chunks of what was beginning to look like a powerful France in spite of my predictions. England has finally annexed Cornwall as well as eating Scotland. Sivas also revolted, meaning there are two Turkish states - the Muslim Ottoman and the Christian Dulkadir. Our Russian friends are finding it hard against the Tartars and Astrakhan has beaten up the Armenians... the real power in the Muslim world, though, is the Mameluks. They've driven all the Christian countries out of Syria and Palestine, including a briefly powerful looking Armenia Minor, grabbed territory all the way to Algiers and diplo-annexed the Hejaz. Further East, the Timurids are gone completely, having been annexed by Bukhara - no Babur.
 

unmerged(28944)

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Quite interesting happenings.... quite interesting indeed.

So, where's Bulgaria headed next? :D
 

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Part IV: Tsar Tihomir Has No Friends
Tihomir has Admin 6, Military 4 but Diplomatic 3...
"I hate foreigners."
"Well, Sire, it appears they hate you as well. The triumphs and conquests of your predecessor have aroused the anger of our neighbours: their jealousy has moved them to attack us!"
"We are attacked, Matuski? By whom? Bohemia? Venice? Poland? All of them together?"
"No, Sire, Podlasia."
"Where? Where's that... oh, yes, I see. A vassal of Poland. They can't be much of a threat, surely?"
"Podlasia has an army of some 27,000 men."
"They've what? Can they do that?"
"Hmm... yes, Sire, yes they can. The Archduke of Podlasia has apparently issued a decree abolishing manpower support limits in his realm, it says here. We can expect them all to arrive in Moldova shortly."


In November 1501, just as I'm about to release newly-won Transylvania as a vassal to reduce BB, Podlasia declares war and moves its oversized army into Moldova. Sometimes BB wars are really scary, like the ones France keeps getting against everyone in Germany and Italy, and sometimes, like this one, they're just not. The Moldovans hate foreigners even more than Tsar Tihomir and just refuse to surrender. An uncooperative philosopher appears to make trouble while this is going on. The Podlasians, having lost lots of men to Winter attrition, foil our first attempt to throw them out of Moldova in the Spring of 1502 no doubt because of our troops being too busy reading the works of Uncooperative Philosophers who are now allowed to say innovative things, but after another year of failing to capture the province and more men lost to Winter, the Podlasians are finally defeated by a new attack in February 1503, taking heavy losses. My forces are able to go on a pillaging expedition and stamp on newly built recruits in Galizien and Podlasia, giving them a terrible war score and forcing them to pay some money. With the war won, I invite both vassals, Croatia and Siebenbürgen, into a new alliance. This is more or less forced on me because, with BB on the high side and Tihomir's low Diplo rating, nobody wants to talk to him. Following a peaceful resolution of a boundary dispute, the foreigner-hating Moldovans rise in revolt in July 1505 and again in October 1506. In September 1508, enthusiasm for the army happens to us, which is fortunate, because Naples decides to attack the Siebenbürgen in February of 1509.

Croatia annoyingly dishonours the alliance. Furthermore, I'll have to concentrate on mopping up armies and not do much besieging: since the Transylvanians are the leaders in this war, I can't take any provinces, or they might give them to me in the peace and push BB back up for another war, possibly against someone nasty this time. It's the expense of major wars that cause the most trouble: I can raise big armies but can't pay for them for very long. Moldova is again the target of the enemy invasion, but they are thrown out. For the rest of the year, we defeat the Neapolitans in Banat and throw them out of Transylvania, capturing Banat. That will open things up for more sieges, but I really don't want to end up owning Banat. 1510 sees Naples again thrown out of Transylvania and sieges begun in Magyar and Pest. In the middle of all the fighting, the Peasants decide now would be a good time to present a Petition for Redress. It's accepted for a load of stab hits. Naples' ally, Sicily, tries landing small armies in Macedonia - they are given a good kicking by Bulgarian cavalry I built for kicking people who land in Macedonia. Magyar falls in September, which prompts the Neapolitans to give up in the new year and pay Siebenbürgen's new ruler, Janos Zapolya, 174d in indemnities and, luckily, no unwanted provinces for us. I invite Croatia back into the alliance.

Sadly, the lack of new territory isn't enough to prevent another BB war. This one is rather oddly begun by Austria. Their only border with us is between Moldova and their isolated, ungarrisoned province of Ruthenia. I could probably ignore the war and wait for WP, only Austria brings Venice and Byzantium into it. About the same time, by the way, one of those really weird and ill-advised wars breaks out in Asia Minor: Bohemia and Denmark against Armenia Minor and Dulkadir. Byzantium has spent the intervening years building and building. Their large army marches North and again captures Macedonia. I'm offered a Foreign Drill Instructor, but don't want the expense. A battle with Byzantium in March 1512 results in defeat, but heavy losses for the Greeks, whose army has suffered attrition. Shortly after, a big army of Croats marches south to Macedonia and defeats them, forcing the invaders back to Hellas. By August, my forces are bigger and heavier in cavalry than theirs and I feel confident enough to launch a new attack. We are victorious, the Byzantine army evaporates and we can now besiege both Hellas and Macedonia. October sees Venice refuse my offer of a white peace - that's probably Tihomir's crap Diplo rating at work again. At the second attempt, in February 1513, Austria accepts our terms: 25d indemnities plus loss of Ruthenia to the Siebenbürgen, making them no longer a one province minor. Good government policies happens in September. While under an Excellent Minister December 1516 sees us reach Land 5, allowing assaults in future wars. Investment is being poured into Land Tech now, in order to make sure that as little time as possible is spent with potential enemies enjoying Land 9 before we get there: a war in which your enemies get a fire phase and you don't can be a disaster. The war between Bohemia and Dulkadir, by the way, ended up with Dulkadir grabbing Angora... presumably Christian Turks don't want money as much, or Bohemia couldn't even scrape together any indemnities.
 

unmerged(20077)

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Draco: controlling the Balkans has got to be my long term aim, but I have a feeling it will take some time. How much of a threat could a respectably sized OE be? Will the Big White Blob start fighting with me and the Siebenbürgen over Hungary? How do I get rid of Byzantium with their annoying Sardinian province, no doubt with a huge army in it? Can I find useful allies?
 

MAlexander06

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Nice job so far. I especially enjoyed that little bit of comic relief at the beginning of part IV. But I wouldn't worry about everyone hating you. That's a pretty reliable sign that you're doing well. It's like the Yankees - no one likes you when you always win.
 

unmerged(20077)

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Part V: Tsar Tihomir's Triumphs and Failures; the Ottomans Get Interesting
With Bosnia gone, the final annexation of Croatia is long overdue. This is something Tihomir wouldn't have much of a chance of doing with his awful 3 Diplo rating, but the Excellent Minister raises this significantly; after a couple of gifts, they are united with Bulgaria on 7th January 1517. A stab hit restores our Centralisation value. The Ottomans now take Angora off Dulkadir and a serious war on Bulgaria's Western borders comes to end, with Austria and Venice smashing Sicily and Naples: Austria gets Istria, Krain, Magyar and Pest from Naples while Venice gets Corfu from Sicily. The Big White Blob is beginning to take shape! Banat and Maros are now totally cut off. In 1519, some nobles give us more stab hits:

"Some angry noblemen, Sire."
"Hmm. Show them in, Matuski... now, what has made you so angry?"
"Grr! Well, we think we should have our Old Rights back - in fact, I'd go so far as to say we demand it! We're not happy. As things have gone, wealthy merchants and other riff-raff seem to be well on their way to getting as much power as the aristocracy! Once again, Sire, grr!"
"So you want people who make money to have less power, and people who are born with money to have more power, basically... well, having inherited the title of Tsar from my father, who inherited it from my grandfather, I can see that point of view, but..."
"Excuse me, Sire, but that isn't what we want at all. We want you and your ministers to have less power. We want pretty little shields all over the map, like there used to be, when Bulgaria was blue instead of orange. We want pretty wenches and fake complots. Otherwise, there's going to be trouble."
"It sounds to me as if you want Bulgaria to be a bit crap. And pretty wenches and fake complots? This is the 16th Century, you know? You'll be wanting tournaments next..."
"Grr! Well, then, we vow to make things unstable, your Majesty. Slightly troubled times are ahead. The skies over Trnovo will turn an unpleasant shade of grey."


Far away, in 1520, the last Pagan nation in Europe, Finland, is gobbled up by Sweden. We get a useful Gift to the State in October of that year. Next year sees Muslim victories as the Ottomans annex Dulkadir before gaining Nuyssaybin and Dulkadir from Armenia Minor, while Lebanon defects to the Mameluks. In Bulgaria Colonial Dynamism happens, giving us a Conquistador. I send him out of the Mediterranean, losing a ship in the process, so he can discover Tassaret where his expedition is massacred by the natives. So that's the end of this brief, early colonial period, then. Hmm. 1524 sees the Ottomans grow yet more as Kastamonu defects to them, but more importantly, they enter a war against Bulgaria for the first time...

The Ottomans don't do much in this war, in fact. At the outbreak, they can't get to us. The real war was caused by a really stupid DoW on the Siebenbürgen by Naples, which I join in. I know the Transylvanians will soon end the last traces of Italian rule in Hungary without my help; my real goal is Sicily which owns the Ionian Greek Islands which I have a CB shield on. 1525 is awkward; rebellion has swept across Anatolia and all the former Crusader states are in rebel hands. This results in Anatolia defecting to the Ottomans while Smyrna defects to us. Smyrna is Greek, so right culture, but unfortunately Catholic and it will cost nearly 400d to convert at a chance of just over 40%. It's the year for rebels: Gotland declares independence from Denmark and bizarrely enters into the Neapolitan-Sicilian alliance, so they're at war with Bulgaria! But, now I have a border with the Ottomans and have to cut down on my efforts against Sicily to deal with them first. The fall of Anatolia in 1526 (as Cantonments being established happens) persuades them to pull out of the war for a white peace. Of course, we all know what else happens in 1526: Austria has just annexed Bohemia. Ionia falls the following March as we help Siebenbürgen beat off the Neapolitans in Hungary. We steal Sicily's rutters that Summer, but they don't show us anything new, so we decide to give the rutters back, although only after writing "BULGARIA" all over the bits that show the Greek Islands.


Europe at the End of Tihomir's Reign. France is Rubbish.

A big operation begins now: I move my respectably sized fleets across to Ragusa and Albania. From there, I will carry troops across to invade the Italian mainland. Bulgarian armies land in February 1529 and are victorious, in spite of the distraction of being offered another foreign drill instructor for a stupid price. In November, it falls, we move on to Apulia, but here we fail to make any progress and my plan to cross to Sicily looks doomed by the size of the Sicilian forces facing ours. In the end it's a waste and I agree to peace for a modest amount of money the following year. Now I begin hitting the desk with my head. Why? Because I just remembered, Sicily owns Rome and Marche, both of which were lightly defended and could have given me the war score to demand Ionia. Gah! Before too long, the Transylvanians have occupied Maros and Banat, but there is no peace. The war is doomed to drag on until something else happens, like a government falling. The Reformation has happened by now - the first Protestants are the Pommeranians in 1525. 1532 sees unhappy peasants revolting in Wallachia and it takes until the following January to finally crush the rebel scum. Tihomir's long reign ends in November 1534.