The Ultimate Spanish Inquisition: A Castilian One-Faith Attempt

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bleakie

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The idea of achieving One Faith as Castile has been in my head for quite a while. Castile has the apparatus for conversion in its ideas, and Catholic is probably the best religion for One Faith (maybe except Sunni). In this first post, I will lay out a general strategy, and the later chapters would be progress reports and strategy evaluations. My ultimate goal is to precisely deliver the key elements of this campaign.

The plan is as follows:

1. Idea set-up: Exploration, Administrative, Religious, Influence, Diplomatic, Quantity. The main drive of Exploration is through Africa for trade companies, and America will not be a priority. Admin, Religious, Influence, Diplomatic are quite self-explanatory. Quantity is the best idea for maintaining global projection in the mid to late game.

2. Early diplomatic set-up: Alliance with Portugal and France, who will almost always stay Catholic. Targets of expansion are England and Africa. If Iberian Wedding fires, then the Ottomans can be a good target as well. Marriage with Burgundy just in case. The HRE would be of low priority.

3. Medium term targets: Destruction of England and conquest of Scandinavia. Vassal feed France next if the timing is right. Conquest of the Middle East, most notably Jerusalem and Mecca for extra missionaries. Trade route to India for trade company revenue. Limited American expansion, particularly to conquer Mexico and Inca. Help the Catholic League when necessary.

4. Late game techniques: Catholic protectorates. Become Emperor to cleanse heresy. Storm Russia for a highway to Manchuria. World conquest not in mind.

At this stage, I cannot guarantee success, but I will try my best towards the goal. The first progress report would be made when the starting phase is over.
 

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Chapter 1: From Castile to Spain, 1444-1523


1. European affairs

With France rivaling me on day 1, my initial plan cannot be executed. Instead, my allies are Portugal, Burgundy and Austria. Aragon and France forms an alliance, which prevents me from taking aggressive actions throughout this period. The strongest alliance web is necessary to discourage Aragonese aggression.

My first expansion lies in the vassalization of Navarra, which needs to be done within 2 years (maybe even less), before France gets there first.


Before I can annex Granada, Burgundy declares on Provence and calls me in. Provence is occupied by me, and Burgundy gives me one of the provinces in the peace deal. Later on, the Papal States is forced to release Avignon, which I manage to diplo-vassalize, giving me a fort in southern France.

The southern front is probably something you would expect: annexation of Granada, and capture of Tangiers and Melilla (for the trade power).

Otherwise, I find no opportunity to expand for the first 30 years. The worst thing during this period is Burgundy dragging me into 2 more pointless wars, got badly beaten in the second, and triggered the Burgundian inheritance event. Bohemia, being the Emperor with at least 8 provinces, got the Imperial partition, though the personal unions have broken free before the inheritance fires.

At almost the same time, the death of the 0-0-0 Enrique (as heir) triggers the Castilian civil war, in which in got the option to support the Aragonese faction to get a 5-4-3 heir with strong claim. I need to kill 4 15-25k stacks to end the civil war, which costs a lot of manpower.

A swing of fortune starts in 1473, when the first Anglo-French war begins. Now that France and Aragon are distracted, I can declare my own war against England.

The most difficult part of this war is to defeat the Royal Navy, which still has the largest number of heavy ships. However, after a long series of maneuvers, I managed to collaborate with the Portuguese fleet to sink a few heavies with a bit of French help. This allows me to land troops on England, and finally reach 70% warscore after 6 years of war.


It’s unfortunate that Labourd has been taken by France, but I still get a core to release Guyenne, which is the best tactic to carve out a part of France in the first conflict. Bit of England everywhere, so that I can claim wherever I wish.

This pattern is later repeated in the 1490s, when France once gain declared war on England, and I follow suit to reap my share of profit.



2. The Iberian Wedding

Frankly speaking, I would restart if it does not fire. The entire Aragon at virtually no cost makes a huge difference in the first century of the game. My hopes of getting the union rise high when Enrique IV succeeds to the throne (not the 0-0-0 one, but the one that spawns in the civil war) and got Juana as an heir.


As you can see in this screenshot, Juana eventually succeeds to the throne in 1509, and within that year Iberian Wedding fires:


Aragon still has Naples under union, so I get two unions by this event.

This has shifted the balance of power between France and me in my favour, and it is best to strike before France can find other allies to replace Aragon.


3. European affairs, continued

Having the right Casus Belli is essential for expansion in Europe. My OPM vassal Guyenne gives me a Reconquest Casus Belli, ideal for taking land from France without incurring massive AE.


This war is badly conducted. France surprised me by having significant higher morale than me despite Castile having +15% morale as tradition. Later on, I find out the answer: the combination of Elan and defensive idea give them 20% extra morale than my armies, while Portugal and Aragon suffers even more badly.

At one point, my warscore drops to as low as -45% despite I took one of their forts and lost none of mine, due to the abysmal battle warscore and ticking warscore against me for failing to hold the war goal. However, the war of attrition eventually has an impact on France; their only ally Florence is peaced out, and they finally lost their first key battle in southern France with their 45k troops and a little luck on my side. Bohemia finally senses the weakness of France and joins the conflict, allowing me to sweep across France almost unhindered.

The war has dragged on for 11 years before I can finally reach a desirable settlement.


I could have stayed in the war for a bit longer, but Picardie is about to fall to the Bohemians, and that province is the most important one to take.

England is allied to Bohemia, and participates in the war with France. Bohemia failed to beat the 25k French stack on their own, and is too weak to honour their English alliance. Despite the drain of resources in the French war, England is now an easy target. A 19-month war is enough to completely occupy England, so that another slice can be annexed.


With 10 admin tech and full legitimacy, now I can enact the decision to inherit Aragon.


Spain is finally formed. To summarize the first 80 years in Europe, I have destroyed England, weakened France, and secured Aragon and Naples. I don’t really have a choice as the French-Aragonese alliance is threatening my flank until Iberian Wedding fires in 1509, but with Spain formed, I can have a lot more freedom in picking overseas targets.


4. Idea selection, and the overseas theatre

Exploration, Administrative and Influence are the first 3 idea groups that I have taken.


Admin and Influence gives bonuses to 2 critical limiters in expansion: coring cost and diplomatic annexation cost. The -25% coring cost is already in effect, while the annexation cost reduction still requires 2 more ideas to be unlocked.

Exploration synergies with the Castilian Idea of Inter Catera, which gives a bonus colonist. Starting from the 1470s, the colonization begins. I pursued 2 paths at the same time: the African route to reach India, and the American route to the Mexican and Incan states ripe for taking. By 1523, I have reached the Cape in Africa and formed the first colonial nation in the Caribbean Islands.


5. Summary, or TL;DR

Initially limited by the French-Aragonese alliance, early expansion options are curtailed. Still, being opportunist allows me to take part of Provence and much of England before the Iberian Wedding in 1509 shifts Aragon’s allegiance and allows me to beat France for the first time after an initially disastrous 11-year war. At the same time, colonization begins in the 1470s, and starts to gain momentum after 1510. Cape and Havana are the furthest extent of the colonial empire in 1523.

This is not an optimal start (late Iberian Wedding, Burgundian Inheritance not in my favour, the Middle East ignored, only 5 provinces converted), but at least my principle rivals (England, France and Aragon) are either gone or weakened, the rulers are decent (currently 6-5-2 Juana) and the colonial empire is about to take shape. If I can dismantle France and the Ottoman Empire efficiently enough there may still be time for the One Faith to be achieved.

Finally, there are maps and screenshots to provide more information about the bigger picture.







 

bleakie

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Chapter 2: The Beginning of the Spanish Empire, 1523-1595


1. Overview

By 1523, I have laid the foundations of a global empire, with the land of 3 major powers in Europe, as well as a network of colonies reaching as far as Havana and the Cape. The next 70 years see the assets getting utilized, in expanding the influence in Europe as well as getting footholds across the globe.

In this chapter, I will attempt to put more emphasis to the bigger picture instead of the individual events, so that the 70 years of gameplay would not appear tedious.


2. The Protestant Reformation and Religious Leagues

The Reformation has started years before 1523, spreading steadily in Europe throughout the century. The Protestant Centres are in Sweden, Denmark and Liege, while the Reformed Centres are in Scotland, Milan and Ragusa. I have stamped out the Liege one by force converting that OPM during a war with France; the Milan one by absorbing it through a vassal reconquest war. Ragusa has been diplo-vassalized and converted towards the end of this period, but the Centre has no signs of being converted, so I will need to deal with that myself after annexation.

The Religious League has reforged the diplomatic landscape of Europe in the latter half of this period. Austria, being Emperor, naturally leads the Catholic League, which I have every interest to participate in. France, Poland, Lithuania and the Ottomans are the notable majors in it. On the Protestant side, Bohemia is the leader, supported by Sweden and Russia.

Having France and the Ottomans in the Catholic League is a two-edged sword. On one hand, the Catholic League is stronger than usual because of them, and Catholics are almost certain to win by default; on the other hand, France and the Ottomans are able to gain a collection of weird alliances, making expansion in Europe more difficult.

The following screenshots shows the religious distribution in 1595.









3. Expansion in Europe

One of my the first move that I made is to annex the remains of England, which is relatively easy. Howver, the treatment of France remains the biggest issue. Early in this session, I waged 2 wars against France, but both proved to be very costly, draining most of my resources for 5 years in each of them. Those are necessary to contain the threat of France, but Elan, Vauban fortifications and Defensive ideas make France a very tough nut to crack.

After that, I shift the focus away from Europe. The only further expansions in Europe are mostly based on vassal feeding. In particular, the vassal reconquest CB of Burgundy that I used against France in one of the wars also works to make Bohemia spit out its share of Burgundian inheritance. The latest development is the diplo-vassalization of a Savoy recently trashed by France, which gives me opportunity to expand further into Italy.

There is one last point to make: with my power steadily growing, Threaten War is now a viable option to slowly expand in Europe. Scotland and Tuscany are non-Imperial heretic states (both Reformed), and will be my primary targets.

A political map of Europe in 1595 is shown below. Note that Savoy and Ragusa are my vassals.




4. The Overseas Empire

The colonial network established by 1523 us beginning to show its uses in this period. Starting from the 1550s, I start to dedicate one of my regular stacks around with my first fleet to sail around and take land from the weakest targets. Mexico, Morocco, Benin, Mutapa, Kochin, Majapahit and Chimu are all technologically backward and diplomatically isolated, allowing one stack and one fleet to trash their countries in less than 2 years. The Holy War CB gained in 1570 removes the need to get claims (still requires a border), allowing more efficient target selection. Eventually, Imperialism CB would be the optimal choice, but there is still 100 years of gameplay to reach that point.

Portugal, France, Scotland and Holland are the other colonizers. Portugal focuses on Brazil and has a colonial nation in Florida as well; France is about to get 5 colonies in Canada; Scotland and Holland have just started colonization.

Maps of Spain in 1595 in political and player map modes:






5. Military strength and finances

In 1523, I can only have 40k troops on the field as Spain, due to the heavy attrition in the war with France. Over the years, my economy gradually improves, and I surpasses the Ottomans in power, even if they have conquered Syria and Egypt. By 1595, I can field 4 25k stacks and 2 proper navies that can beat every country in the world on their own, with the exception of the Ottoman galley fleet.




The first 11-year war with France cost me 4 loans and all my manpower, and the second war still requires taking loans to win. But as the war with France subsides, the financial situation dramatically improves over time as local autonomy ticks down and new trade routes are established. Many buildings that I fail to afford in the early game are constructed with a huge surplus starting from the 1540s. I intentionally delay forming new armies and navies for a bit to gather the funds for various buildings, which snowballs nicely within 50 years, and by 1595 my total income is at 160 ducats, which allows me to field 100k troops, 25 heavies and hire level 2 to level 3 advisors, together with a decent surplus for buildings and unexpected expenses.


6. Future expectations

The European theatre is the most important for a power base. France, Scotland and Tuscany are the major targets of expansion, the latter two can be slowly eaten with Threaten War option. Also, with the annexation of Ragusa, the Ottomans can soon be Holy War’ed, which can also give new European provinces, but their alliance with Persia and Tunis can be troublesome.

The overseas theatre, on the other hand, offers lots of easy targets. Whenever a war in Europe drains too much resources, Asia and Africa can offer new provinces to convert.

The League War will hopefully not happen, so that the Empire can slowly rid itself of Protestants and Calvinists. With only 55 years in activity, the Centres of Reformation will be of lower priority.

Mecca is still not under Ottoman rule. It can be conquered for the extra missionary as I trace northward from East Africa.

And idea group selection: now I have Exploration, Administrative, Influence and Religious unlocked. The next one would be Diplomatic for the warscore reduction. At the current development, Expansion would not be needed, so the sixth idea group will be a military one, most likely being Quantity.

Feel free to leave comments if you have any opinion about my current progress.
 
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pikaemperor

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I'm also going to do the one faith achievement as castille very soon, but with a little something unique that is much harder(let's say I will paint the world green but not sunni green).
You are doing it good, but in my opinion it was too early to get north africa land directly and the adm points would be better spent on conquering west africa. In my opinion it's better to hit morroco and take the sus cores, convert and release sus as a vassal as they take religious first and can be fed tons of right culture province that you don't even need to integrate. Hit china asap else it might get reunited making it troublesome. You should consider conquering portugal, it makes you a lot stronger without much ae on europe(total sevilla control is a must).
 

bleakie

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I'm also going to do the one faith achievement as castille very soon, but with a little something unique that is much harder(let's say I will paint the world green but not sunni green).
You are doing it good, but in my opinion it was too early to get north africa land directly and the adm points would be better spent on conquering west africa. In my opinion it's better to hit morroco and take the sus cores, convert and release sus as a vassal as they take religious first and can be fed tons of right culture province that you don't even need to integrate. Hit china asap else it might get reunited making it troublesome. You should consider conquering portugal, it makes you a lot stronger without much ae on europe(total sevilla control is a must).

Now that I have played through another 55 years, I can give some feedback.

Firstly, on Portugal.
I don't have intention to annex parts of Portugal, not until at least Imperialism CB and tier 3 admin efficiency are available. The reason for this is that Portugal is actually providing help in West Africa and in Brazil, conquering and colonizing provinces on their own, most of them being converted to Catholic. That's also why I chose to take parts of Morocco instead of West Africa in the early game, when choice of targets was limited. The only problem that they have caused in the few trade company provinces on West African coast (note that inland does not belong to trade company) and a protectorate over a Sunni West African state. Those can be fixed in one short war later on.

Secondly, on the use of vassals and protectorates.
In places with overseas coring discount, the diplo point cost of vassals is larger than the admin point cost of direct coring. This makes using vassals (or client states later on) outside Europe suboptimal (unless there is no intention to annex them), and vassals are better used within Europe. In Asia, a viable strategy is to convert the provinces and release as protectorate, which would however require a very fast conversion speed.
 

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Chapter 3: Spain as Global Hegemon, 1595-1651


1. Overview

By 1595 Spain has the ability to project power to more than half of the world, which gives Spain the freedom to choose its targets. In the next 50 years, Spain would use this ability to conquer bits of Asia in Arabia, India, Indonesia and China.

The Ottomans is the closest rival to Spain, with 100k troops and Persia and Tunis as allies. Two wars have been fought to curtail their power througout this period.

Meanwhile, the purge of heresy is the main theme in Europe. Using the Cleansing of Heresy CB, a few medium non-Catholic powers are trashed for the benefit of Spain.


2. General strategy

The focus of the campaign has gradually shifted from beating major threats like France to efficient religious conversion of the world. In terms of religious conversion efficiency, Mecca and Jerusalem have been conquered for the 2 missionaries, and in terms of acquiring new heretic and heathen provinces, much emphasis has been put in conquering large swaths of poor provinces, as missionary strength is strong enough to convert either rich and poor provinces to convert within 10 months. Scotland, Norway and Egypt are thus preferred over the rich provinces in Asia.


3. The list of conquests

The actual wars that I have fought from 1595 to 1651 are listed below:

France (1599-1601, for Savoyard cores)
Mutapa (1602-1604, for the Horn of Africa)
Timbuktu (1604-1605, for parts of West Africa)
Hejaz (1608-1610, for Mecca and Aden)
The Ottomans (1613-1618, for western Turkey and Jerusalem)
Madurai (1619-1621, for southern India)
Chimu (1621-1622, for Peru)
Milan (1625-1626, for Cremona)
Pacajes (1625-1627, for Peru, including Potosi silver mine)
Tuscany (1628-1629, for Genoa and Florence)
Scotland (1630-1632, for Scotland proper and connection to Norway)
Pagarruyung (1634-1637. for Sumatra in Indonesia)
Serbia (1639, diplo-vassalized splinter state of Ottomans)
Norway (1640-1641, for Norway proper)
Scotland (1645, for the capital and overseas provinces)
The Ottomans (1647-1651, for Egypt, Bosnia and parts of Ethiopia)

Some interesting instances:


One of the key battles in the First Turkish War in 1613-1618. It is the last attempt for the Ottomans to save Europe, and the war will carry on over the straits after the fortresses of Edirne and Konstantiniyye falls.


Taking Western Turkey is the most effective way to weaken the Ottomans, and Jerusalem has that sweet extra missionary. Alliances with Tunis and Persia are annuled in an attempt to incite rivalry, and Persia does break up with them permanently by declaring them rival. The Ottomans stops becoming a real contender for the top place after this war.

Orkney has been ceded to Norway to acquire the Cleansing of Heresy CB. Norway is an ideal target in Europe for its generally poor provinces and strategic position for access to Russia and Sweden.


The final settlement of the Second Turkish War. There are provinces for my vassals (Bosnia, East Africa), and provinces for myself (Egypt). The Ottomans are most likely heavily in debt, as their forces have been cut down by almost a half since the first war, more than what I expect.


4. Maps and national statistics

This section is a gallery of information about Spain in 1651.

Firstly, political, player and religious maps:













5. Future directions

There are 2 types of provinces that are suitable for conquest at this stage. Either the conquest can reduce the total number of countries, or the provinces conquered are poor in general. Experiments on releasing Catholic protectorates will soon be conducted in East Asia. Japan is also worth conquering, as there are quite a few Catholic provinces already, which are worth protecting.

Hopefully, Spain can truly reach every corner of the world by 1700.
 

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Chapter 4: At Every Corner of the World, 1651-1708


1. Overview

Half of the campaign has passed. This chapter continues the general strategy in the last chapter, which is to core a large number of poor provinces and extend the reach to more parts of the world. At the end of this period, Spain can reach almost every part of the world, with the exception of the deep inland of North America and the Mongol hordes.

The ultimate goal of this campaign is to turn every non-empty province Catholic. Besides my own efforts, Portugal, France, Austria and Japan also played their part, reducing my burden in religious conversion.

The following sections will be about how each country get involved for the cause of Catholicism.


2. Austria

As the Emperor of the HRE, Austria is doing a decent job in dislodging the heretics through 2 means: diplomatic and military. Despite the lack of Imperial Authority, Austria manages to Enforce Religious Unity on some minors like Frankfurt. And through the powerful Austrian army, many heretic princes are forcibly converted or even directly annexed. By 1708, only 5 heretic princes remain in the Empire, which are Lubeck, Mecklenburg, Pomerania, Switzerland and Bremen.




3. Portugal and France

Portugal and France are active colonizers who fill up the spaces that I don’t have the colonist to fill. Portugal has Brazil, Florida and California, while France has Canada. The nearby pagan tribes do convert on their arrival, so they are a threat towards One Faith.





In addition, Portugal successfully converts most of its West African posessions to Catholic, despite triggering multiple revolts in the mean time. There are a few trade company provinces and a Sunni protectorate that require a eventual war with Portugal to resolve, but the time is yet to come.






4. Japan

Japanese provinces randomly turn Catholic some time into the game. In my campaign, Japan becomes very unstable by the mid-game, and the Catholic zealots eventually become majority in Japan proper (Japanese Manchuria is still overwhelmingly Sinto). When the Manchurian revolts and Catholic zealots eventually break Japan, it converts to the Catholic faith.



Since then, Japan is slowly converting the rest of its possessions to Catholic. I hope that I don’t need to fight Japan for Manchuria, but at this rate it may be necessary.


5. Spain

The most representative of Spain’s contribution is the long list of wars fought against heretics and heathens.

Sweden (1654-1655)
Malacca (1656-1658)
Ayutthaya (1659-1662)
Ethiopia (1664-1665)
Haasa (1668-1671)
Russia (1671-1674, 1692-1694)
The Ottomans (1676-1679, 1705-1708)
Persia (1684-1688)
Wu (1679-1682, 1699-1702)
Majapahit (1704-1705)

Of all the opponents, Wu is the most memorable. In the first war, I had hoped that their conflict with Yue would distract them enough for my 30k leading troops to take at least one enemy fort, but that failed and my armies got stackwiped by 90k enemy troops as my ships were away for reinforcements. Realizing that it will take a very long time to regain any standing (let alone winning the war), I yielded and gave one province to Wu.

In the second war, I amassed 90k troops to the theatre, and maneuvered carefully to conduct necessary sieges while repelling the slightly superior enemy number when they tried to relief the siege. It is one of the more difficult wars in this campaign, especially since the French wars in the early 16th century.



This war also results in the creation of multiple Catholic Chinese protectorates. The peace deal covers the majority of land in 3 of the Chinese tags, which means more land can be taken away from the enemies in the future through protectorate feeding.



The biggest strategic move in this period is the advances in Russia through Scandinavia. This opens a new front for tackling the huge Eurasian continent, as can be seen in the maps shown below.


6. Maps and statistics

This section is a gallery of the usual maps, religion province count, as well as army and navy strength comparison.









7. Some guidelines for the final century

There is only 115 years of game time left. The base plan is to rotate between different theatres with one being the emphasis at a time. Protectorates are to be used as much as possible in China, while India will most likely require more direct coring. More vassal feeding will be attempted, so that each target country can be carved up more quickly, especially since Imperialism CB becomes available. The next 50 years will hopefully be even more fruitful in terms of religious conversion.
 

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Better start sharpening your swords against japan, manchuria is shinto so they probably won't be able to convert it because conversion resistance from shinto and the unaccepted culture(that land is so low dev compared to japan islands).
 

bleakie

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Better start sharpening your swords against japan, manchuria is shinto so they probably won't be able to convert it because conversion resistance from shinto and the unaccepted culture(that land is so low dev compared to japan islands).
It turns out that Japan does convert its share of Manchuria to Catholic. It's a low priority target anyway, as there are so many countries that I need to deal with, particularly the ones who are agiltating liberty against me.
 

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Chapter 5: Schemes and Conquests, 1708-1760


1. Overview

By 1708. easy targets are running out. This means brutal force has to be applied to break down to network of alliances between the larger nations.

The emphasis of this period is China and Indo-China. By 1708, I have got a large amount of AE towards almost every single nation within the region, so clearing them can remove the remaining possibility of coalition war of the entire Asia if I turn on the Muslim nations first. Besides, 3 of the nations in the region (Dali, Luang Prabang, Muan Phuang) have Espionage ideas and are using Agitate Liberty against me, so they need to be removed from the map as soon as possible. (Khandesh in India also falls into this category) In order to shorten the truces that stand in my way, I often take extra time to get separate peaces, which has the added benefit of breaking inconvenient alliances. In 1760, Shun and Korea are the only surviving non-Catholic states in the region, which greatly simplifies the treatment in the future.

The HRE is another focal point. My ally Austria has grown to about 2/3rds of the HRE, which means 2 things: firstly, our alliance eventually breaks due to rival mechanics, and secondly, they lose the Imperial title due to the AE they have accumulated. I react to the changes in 3 ways.

Firstly, I use the weakness of the new Emperor to convert the remaining 3 heretic princes, Switzerland, Hamburg and Mecklenburg. Secondly, I find a new ally in Oldenburg, who is an elector and lord of the Netherlands. Austria is curtailed by the combination of Oldenburg’s Nationalist War (in which I contribute the most) and the coalition war triggered by the progress of it. Lastly, I start going for the Imperial throne. My first attempt for the Imperial title in the 1720s fails because of Wurzburg, while the second attempt narrowly succeeds in the 1750s.

The colonial theatre is less important, but still significant. Even though uncolonized provinces do not count towards the actual achievement, I have set the colonization of the world as a secondary objective. Besides, I need to reach those Pagan minors whose provinces do count towards the achievement (most of the Pagans have been reached and either converted or conquered). Spain, Portugal and France are rapidly filling the remaining islands, but there is also the Ottomans, who surprisingly took Exploration and colonized about 10 islands in the East Indies and the Pacific. The extra burden on religious conversion is not much, so it ends up being a fun trivia. Navajo in North America and Arawak in South America are the only surviving Pagan states in 1760.


2. China and Indo-China

The overall strategy is to feed the region to protectorates. Dai Viet, Yi and Khmer do convert provinces, so unconverted provinces can be handed to them directly; the Chinese protectorates take Humanist ideas, and almost never convert provinces, so I have to convert the provinces first before granting the provinces to them. Over-extension, rather than admin points, is the major limiter of expansion in this region. The timeline is as follows:

Yue Imperialist War (1708-1710), full conquest
Ayutthaya Conquest War by Khmer (-1710), 5 provinces conquered
Bahmanis Imperialist War (1720-1722), Luang Prabang concedes 5 provinces
Muan Phuang Imperialist War (1725-1727), full conquest + all but 2 of Dali’s provinces
Taungu Imperialist War (1729), Taungu and Ayutthaya fully conquered
Wu Imperialist War (1733-1735), half of Wu conquered
Tripura Imperialist War (1736), full conquest
Luang Prabang Imperialist War (1736-1738), Luang Prabang and Dali fully conquered
Wu Imperialist War (1749-1752), full conquest
Qi Imperialist War (1753-1754), full conquest
Buryatia Imperialist War (1758-1760), full conquest



With all these wars as well as some Siberian colonization, I have established a land connection from Canton to Europe. This will facilitate the conquest of the rest of Asia in the final years.


3. The Holy Roman Empire

Since the victory of the Catholic League, the heretics within the empire are slowly being purged by Austria and a few other medium Catholic princes. By 1708, only 3 heretic princes survived. The purge of these minors are conducted in the 1720s, when Austria loses the Imperial title due to its over-aggression in acquiring new land.




I could have left the Empire on its own from this point, if Austria has not become too strong and declares me as rival. In order to counter the threat of Austria (with 160k troops, Lituania and Papal States as allies), I maintained the alliance with elector Oldenburg from the earlier failed attempt to become Emperor, who has conquered the Netherlands with my assistance, and became very rich from the trade there. Their declaration of war on Austria has initially caught me off guard, but I quickly realized the importance of supporting them and eventually got half of my armies involved. This is the result of the war:



The coalition war triggered by the weakened state of Austria turns out to be underwhelming. Austria only loses Luneburg and Hannover and pays reparations, which is hardly a blow compared with what Oldenburg gets.

At this point, Frankfurt becomes Emperor, but the ruler is old and its support base is fragile. I have tried hard to get the Imperial throne when Austria was bound to lose it in the early 1700s, but failed to Wurzburg despite my best effort. The contest is very tight this time, particularly when Spain’s ruler dies and the new ruler starts with 77 legitimacy. In fact, if I were at 100% overextension when the election commences, I would have lost it. Frankfurt’s ruler dies in 1757 at the age of 72, after I withhold the peace with the Ottomans for a few months. This screenshot is taken immediately after the election, and the pre-election margin is even narrower.



I can now gain the benefits of the Imperial title, at the expense of losing the Empire rank bonuses. Reforms will be passed by adding provinces to the HRE, which will be possible when I get the chance to stay at peace with 0% overextension.


4. The colonial theatre

Despite there is no need to do so, I am determined to colonize as many provinces as possible, so that the religion province count ledger page can be wiped clean. Besides, there is still the need to reach the Pagan minors and to conquer every province that the Ottomans colonize in the East Indies and the Pacific.

The alliancce with Portugal was broken for a while due to the need to eliminate protestant Netherlands who got expelled from Europe. I used to chance to cancel the protectorate over Sunni Kastina, but the uncoverted company provinces will wait till another time.

French Canada declares independence when France got smashed by Provence in Europe, which eliminates France as an active colonizer in exchange for Canada, who lacks Exploration ideas but do have Expansion.

A screenshot of North America in 1760, where the majority of uncolonized provinces are located:




5. Maps and statistics

As usual, the basic information is given in this section:








6. Epilouge

Once again, I find myself hanging on a balance to finishing the achievement before the deadline. I am optimistic in getting the actual achievement, but not so much about the colonization. Anyway, in a couple of days the final result shall be revealed, and it would be time for celebration or remediation.
 

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Good call in becoming the emperor. You could vastly sped up colonization if you had granted independence(in early to mid game) to CN soon as they formed and then formed a second CN in the region. You could even conquered those nations later if you wanted thing is they would colonize and do it much faster than a CN would.
 

bleakie

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This is a very tricky situation.


Arawak's sole province converts to Catholic, Arawak refuses to convert to Catholic, convert the province back despite me supporting rebels, giving this terrible modifier. I was in a 15 year regency council and cannot do anything.

I have been theory crafting for a while. The long chain of action is to firstly buffing the province I am colonizing to higher than Arawak's capital, cede it to Arawak in the first war, support Catholic Zealots, break truce to support rebels in war and enforce their demands.

The main problems are on the type of rebels (can be nationalist rebels) and on the possibility of supporting rebels during a truce. The first one is something I don't have control on, so I want to know if it is possible to support rebels during a truce. If not, my campaign will have to end in bitter failure.
 

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This is a very tricky situation.


Arawak's sole province converts to Catholic, Arawak refuses to convert to Catholic, convert the province back despite me supporting rebels, giving this terrible modifier. I was in a 15 year regency council and cannot do anything.

I have been theory crafting for a while. The long chain of action is to firstly buffing the province I am colonizing to higher than Arawak's capital, cede it to Arawak in the first war, support Catholic Zealots, break truce to support rebels in war and enforce their demands.

The main problems are on the type of rebels (can be nationalist rebels) and on the possibility of supporting rebels during a truce. The first one is something I don't have control on, so I want to know if it is possible to support rebels during a truce. If not, my campaign will have to end in bitter failure.
You can support rebels during a truce, you can't if the spy was caught in the last five years.
 

bleakie

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It turns out that my support of Catholic zealots does prevent the rebel type from changing even after the province is converted.
The scheme is now to sell a province to ensure Catholic majority, and then simply declare an Imperialist war to trigger the Catholic zealot uprising.
The province is now at 20+ unrest, but Arawak keeps using harsh treatment to reverse the progress.
I am determined to get the province converted at any cost though, it means everything to this campaign.
 

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The plan failed, as no rebel stack spawns when the rebel progress reaches 100%. Is it because the province is not Catholic as progress reaches 100%?

By the way, this freak event cost me the entire campaign. That's also the reason that I stayed quiet for the last week.

I have started writing up the last chapter, hoping to round up the matter nicely.
 
Last edited:

bleakie

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Chapter 6: A dramatic endgame, 1760-1820


1. Multiple goals, complex considerations

Converting every non-empty province to Catholic is the primary goal all along. In 1760, there are still about 500 provinces left, so I need to convert 100 provinces every decade on average.

But I have greater ambitions. My mercantilism is pretty high, and there is a chance for me to actually get 100% mercantilism in this game, for the achievement A Protected Market.

A third possible achievement is Neither Holy, Nor German. As the Emperor with lots of non-German territory, it is easy to create client republics and release them to accept becoming free cities.

Up to 1760, the considerations of getting these 3 achievements are similar, at least not conflicting with each other. As I conquer and convert provinces to Catholic, I get closer to eliminating non-Catholic religions and getting more mercantilism through the papal influence from religious conversions. Getting the Imperial title also helps me to control any possible rekindling of heretic flames (at worst I can unite the Empire and get the province for myself).

But as I fail to secure any of the achievement and the endgame approaches, some minor but conflicting considerations would prove disastrous towards getting these achievements. The following sections will explain it in detail.


2. The conquest continues

At first, it’s business as usual. Non-Catholic states are eliminated one after another, while colonists are filling up the blank provinces. One screenshot for one war:











One thing that I have noticed during these wars is the tendency for some (but not most) states to build up extensive level 8 fortifications that considerably slows down my progress. Persia and Kutai are the states that give me trouble in this aspect. This screenshot shows how 11-province Kutai builds 5 level 8 forts in Brunei.


The religious conversions themselves are not a problem, when Castile can stack up this many modifiers and have 6 missionaries at the same time:


Up to this point, everything is still under control. But things start to go wrong starting from 1790.


3. The 2 events that ruin the campaign

Firstly, 2 successive royal deaths in 1790 brings me a 14-year regency council.


14-years of not being able to start a war. That’s half of the remaining time. It’s a heavy blow, but there are not many non-Catholic provinces outside my control by now, and there is still 16 years left after the regency, so the situation is still salvageable at this point.

I use the regency to work on Neither Holy, Nor German. It turns out that things are more complicated that what I thought. The client states need to be set free, which tanks our relations (-200 relations) and my prestige (25 prestige per release). I tanked my prestige to get the 7 necessary releases, but this costs me the Defender of Faith title and thus quite a bit of papal influence for the mercantilism (religious conversion is still fine). I eventually got this consolation achievement in 1815.



What kills my campaign is Arawak, an Animist OPM in South America, suddenly getting its only province converted to Catholic. But it refuses to convert the state religion and instead convert the province back to Animist, giving a -100% local conversion power modifier for 30 years, which is until 1829.



It’s not like I have not noticed the potential threat of this. In fact, I have tried to give this province to Portuguese Brazil decades ago, but it was simply not interested and refuse to get the province in the peace deal. I was reluctant to reach Arawak due to the need to colonize 2 provinces in the Brazil Colonial Region claimed by Portugal, which would hurt the relations with the Pope, consequently making me lose papal influence and thus mercantilism. I delayed until around 1790 before I decide to reach and annex this OPM, but it is already too late.

There is only two ways that can bypass this modifier. The first one is to force convert religion of a country, which will also convert the religion of the capital province. This works for heretic states like this:


But not for Animist Arawak.

The second way is to spawn Catholic zealots, who convert the provinces that they occupy.

I did all I can to facilitate this from happening. As soon as the province turns Catholic, I start supporting Catholic zealots (diplomatic action). When the regency ends, I immediately start a war to occupy the province and drive up war exhaustion. Arawak keeps using harsh treatment, which drags the war for over 7 years. But at the end, there is simply no rebel stack when there is supposed to be one.



Notice the “Recent Uprising” modifier and the absence of rebels.

At this point, all hope of getting the One Faith achievement within this campaign has been lost. However, I still managed to conquer and convert all the remaining non-Catholic provinces elsewhere, and I can at least get this clean screenshot, after defeating Portugal, Poland and Lithuania for their refusal to convert due to trade company mechanics or having taken Humanist Ideas:


The religion province counts is like this. 18 uncolonized provinces, together with a single Animist province that can’t be converted till 1829:



4. The race for 100% mercantilism

By 1812, there is only one question left: is it still possible to get 100% mercantilism before 1 January 1821? In 1790, the answer appears to be no, but this event gives me some hope:


This brings me to 93.5% mercantilism, so only 664 more papal influence from the achievement when this screenshot is taken.


There is not much that I can do, other than maximizing relations with the Papal States, and keep converting provinces to Catholic. I have almost converted every province that I can, and the result is hanging on a thread up till the very end. This is the final result in 1820:



I am at 99.5% mercantilism, needing 36 more papal influence to get the last 0.5%. So, I have narrowly missed A Protected Market as well. This disappointment overwhelms me for quite a while, enough for me not to touch this save for quite a few days. I have been going for a new Mongolia campaign in the mean time (it is surprisingly easy, just gather support from Uzbek or wait till Uzbek strikes and declare independence immediately for a start), until I calm down enough to get the business finished.


5. Epilouge

So my journey ends here. The new achievement tab gives me an easy way to tell my collection of achievements within this campaign:



The 2 key ones, One Faith and A Protected Market, are missing, which is a huge disappointment, especially considering how close I am to both of them (1 province left to be converted, 0.5% more mercantilism to go). I am not going to try for them again in the short term (much like after the failure in Beyond the Sultan of Rum, my first AAR), but I may try again a few months later with another country, when the memory of this campaign starts to fade. I will post my progress when it eventually happens, but for now this chapter is the last for this AAR.

I hope that these chapter can deliver the essence of what a One Faith campaign feels like. If there are anything about this campaign that appears to be missing in my chapters, feel free to ask and I will try my best to provide the answer.
 
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