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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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unmerged(6777)

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Just thought I'd give you a brief AAR about a test game I was playing this morning using yesterday's latest beta. I started a game in 1453 as Castile, with the primary purpose being to test a few things so I can close my last remaining bug reports. Most related to colonization and such, so Castile seems as good a choice as any.

As is my habit, I began the game by building up my military into three solid armies (2 at 4k and 1 main one at 6k...that's about all I can afford to maintain) positioned along my border with Granada. This involved recruiting in many of my provinces (I generally don't use mercenaries except for emergencies since I don't want to miss out on the tradition, and I hate paying double maintenance) and then marching them all into position. With somewhat limited cash, my preference is for infantry-heavy armies with a small portion of cavalry -- usually more than sufficient against Granada. During the year or so that it took to get that done, I expanded my trade into various local CoTs and invested heavily in government tech so I could get my first idea. When I got it (don't recall exact date) I picked the Quest for the New World so I could begin exploring westward and do my bug-report tests (normally I wouldn't pick this until later).

Since Portugal owns the Azores out in the Atlantic, I arranged a royal marriage with them, and then later I convinced them to give me military access so my ships could use the island as a staging point for exploration (and can return there to repair attrition damage). I also RMed Aragon in the hopes that I might get lucky and inherit it which would also let me confirm that the creation of Spain historical event is still WAD (haven't done that in a while, so thought it would be worth checking).

In Decemeber '53 I have all my forces in place and DOW Granada. The ensuing war is uneventful since I vastly out-number them and they have no allies to help them. I think it took me less than 18 months to bring them to their knees and capture all three provinces. As usual, I demanded Gibraltar and Almeria which will make Granada an easy target for annexation later.

So all of that is fine...and while I'm waiting for the sieges to finish I'm gradually exploring my way to the Caribbean. Anyway...I make peace with Granada, war exhaustion begins to receed, my troops continue to replenish some of their combat and attrition casualities, I spend a ton of cash (part of it war tribute) and am just about to send a colonist to Bermuda (my explorer happened to notice it in passing) when....

This screen is the political map mode from just after the Granada war, when my coffers are still flush since I haven't yet blown it all on some other stuff. I didn't think to take one when the succession war started, but this will give you reference to the provinces, etc.



On Sept 18, 1454:
The War of Castilian Succession!

Oh oh! Crap!!! Yikes! I have to choose whether to side with Aragon or Portugal to determine my succession. Thinking that this is a different way to try for the creation of Spain, I side with Portugal since I figure I'll smack the AI around a bit, grab a bunch of Aragon's provinces, and be somewhat closer to being in position to satisfy the Spain formation trigger requirements.

Hm....I have virtually no tradition from the Granada war because I didn't fight many battles of note (Granada only had 3k compared to the 14k I attacked with...I didn't even bother converting my ruler into a general since I didn't need the leadership with those odds) and I only completed the 3 sieges. I also have somewhat less cash than I'd like since I recently spent money on the explorer and I used the remaining cash for merchants and expanding my pre-existing colony in the Canaries.

Oh well...I use what little cash I have to recruit one general -- an okay 0/1/1/1 leader which isn't bad considering the 12% tradition and the era (and my DP settings). I also start marching my scattered military northwards to assemble in Toledo. There, I will merge them and then create two balanced armies...one to deal with the 4k (2kcav/2kinf/0art) Aragon army I can see in a border province, and the other to go and begin the long process of bringing Aragon to submission. It will move up the coast and kill stuff along the way.

There's nothing I can do navally right now since I only have two combat-class vessels, and they're half a world away trying to discover America, etc. I can't convert my ruler into a general, of course, because it's a succession war over my country (so I'm currently the junior in a personal union with Portugal). I also have almost no money, and only a little reserve manpower since most of my manpower has been used to replenish losses from the Granada war.

I guess I should be okay, though, because I have a decent sized army that's mostly recovered, and he doesn't seem to have much...plus he hasn't been involved in a war yet that I've noticed so he probably doesn't have much of an army or any military tradition either.

That's all fine and good, until I see the next Aragon army come into view: a nasty 7k force consisting of something like 6 cav and 1k infantry...and lead by the king himself! Wow...Alfonso's taking the field and he's bringing pretty much his entire realm's army with him (I hope!). Hm...he's heading towards my currently undefended capital of Madrid. Why exactly didn't I leave an army there? Oops. Hmmmm....do I vaguely recall that Alfonso has a decent military rating? I check his monarch stats via the diplomacy interface. Yikes! He's a mil 9 ruler...that might be bad because he's far more likely to be a kick-ass general. Ouch!

I guess I'd better send a bigger army than originally intended...Unfortunately, my army is mostly infantry but I should be able to get to Madrid before he can, and he'll have to attack me there. The terrain selection for the battle stands a very good chance of being hills which would favour me, and he'll have to cross a river so I'll get that bonus. I create the 8k (roughly) army, from my semi-strength regiments and send it to Madrid (that'll be enough, right...and it will get some reinforcements at the end of the month as well, so it should eventually grow to about 10k); and then send a small 4k force to Valencia. The best laid plans and all...

Well I guess good ol' Alfonso has a great manouevre rating because he manages to arrive in Madrid just before I do. Drat! That's not good. No I'm the one attacking across a river and into the hills. Hm...no...not hills...just my luck...it's a plains battlefield. I suddenly have a bad feeling about this...
Code:
(this is taken from the save game file)
            battle={
                name="Battle of Madrid"
                location=217
                result=no
                attacker={ <----that's me
                    cavalry=2451
                    infantry=5000
                    losses=3743
                }
                defender={ <---- that's Alfonso
                    cavalry=7650
                    infantry=3000
                    losses=1884
                }
            }
As you can see, he thumped me pretty badly. He managed to get his 4k army to the field before the battle was over (hence his nearly 11k total force) and I hadn't recovered as much via reinforcement as I'd hoped to.

I won't give you the full blow-by-blow because it would take too long, but I'll post a few of the major battles as Alfonso methodically ripped my armies to shreads, laid siege to my provinces, and basically handed my ass to me on a platter. Yups...the AI totally DOMINATED me in the field because I was poorly prepared and had really bad army composition to fight with. (No...I didn't have enough manpower to recruit more, and I didn't have enough cash to hire mercs).

After a brief pause, he leaves a 1k siege force in Madrid and proceeds to chase my retreating army to Toledo.....and he's got another 2k marching in from the FoW to join his siege. Yikes!!! :eek:
Code:
            battle={
                name="Battle of Toledo"
                location=219
                result=no
                attacker={ <--- Alfonso the Annoying!
                    cavalry=1960
                    infantry=4000
                    losses=2220
                }
                defender={ <---me...still smarting from my loss in Madrid
                    cavalry=1273
                    infantry=4140
                    losses=3600
                }
            }
I retreat, abandon my plan of sieging in Aragon and recall my only other army, then after I've assembled and regained morale I attack his siege of Toledo:
Code:
            battle={
                name="Battle of Toledo"
                location=219
                result=no
                attacker={ <---me
                    cavalry=2403
                    infantry=6111
                    losses=5293
                }
                defender={ <---Alfonso the Increasingly Scary!!
                    cavalry=6505
                    infantry=1888
                    losses=796
                }
            }
Oh boy! I re-assemble everything I've got left and move it all to Salamanca to recover morale. By the time this is done, he's successfully captured Toledo and has returned in force to besiege Madrid. I shudder at the thought of losing control of my capital so I have no choice.
Code:
            battle={
                name="Battle of Madrid"
                location=217
                result=no
                attacker={ <---me...that's all I could muster
                    cavalry=1550
                    infantry=4000
                    losses=1790
                }
                defender={ <--- Alfonso the Invincible!!!
                    cavalry=5234
                    infantry=774
                    losses=10
                }
            }
Ouch. Now I'm kinda up a proverbial creek...I raise war taxes, take a loan, buy mercenaries, recruit a general (my tradition's not too bad now after those previous battles) and try again...
Code:
                name="Battle of Madrid"
                location=217
                result=no
                attacker={ <-- Me the Desperate
                    cavalry=1412
                    infantry=6663
                    losses=6864
                }
                defender={ <-- Alfonso the Godlike!!!
                    cavalry=5433
                    infantry=873
                    losses=31
                }
Not too long after this, my capital falls and my prestige (and therefore morale) plunges! He moves on to attack my retreated force in Castilla La Vieja. I withdraw immediately, wait for a while to recover morale and get some reinforcements (though with 2 provinces already under enemy control the manpower recovery rate is dropping) and then...
Code:
            battle={
                name="Battle of Castilla La Vieja"
                location=215
                result=no
                attacker={ <---Me the Extremely Desperate
                    cavalry=3738
                    infantry=2856
                    losses=5909
                }
                defender={ <----Alfonso the Devil Incarnate!!!!!!!!
                    cavalry=7626
                    infantry=2566
                    losses=945
                }
            }
There are a dozen or more battles of varrying size as I try to retake some of my provinces. While I periodically succeed, he always turns to react and creams me. I take a second loan and wonder if I'm cursed.
Here's a small selection of notable battles from the save game file:
Code:
        1459.8.11={
            battle={
                name="Battle of Madrid"
                location=217
                result=no
                attacker={ <---Me the Lowly Worm
                    cavalry=2991
                    infantry=2440
                    losses=4016
                }
                defender={ <---You Know Who
                    cavalry=5504
                    losses=404
                }
            }
        }
        1460.4.11={
            battle={
                name="Battle of Salamanca"
                location=216
                result=no
                attacker={ <---Mr Hopefull
                    cavalry=3137
                    infantry=2113
                    losses=2981
                }
                defender={ <---My Nemesis
                    cavalry=7731
                    infantry=670
                    losses=107
                }
            }
        }
        1461.3.9={
            battle={
                name="Battle of Madrid"
                location=217
                result=no
                attacker={ <---Me after another loan and purchase of mercenaries
                    cavalry=4377
                    infantry=1100
                    losses=4509
                }
                defender={ <---*at a loss for words*
                    cavalry=6137
                    infantry=1265
                    losses=1679
                }
            }
        }
So...I realise that I'm screwed and change tactics to at least try to capture some of his provinces and hopefully soak down his manpower to try to reduce his ability to recover from attrition and my occasional pathetic combat attempts. With any luck, I can lure him back out of my country, or at least slow him down and hope that Portugal (who's been fighting naval battles and has launched an invasion of some of the Aragon islands but doesn't seem to be having any more success than I am) can do something. At least Portugal will periodically send an army to recapture on of my lost provinces for me if it's on the Portuguese border. All things considered, that's pretty good.

I have some success with this strategy, managing to capture a couple provinces while also sneaking a second smaller army in behind him (when out of range) to recapture some of my provinces.

Here's a screen shot from March 1462 (8 years into the war!!!). I have captured Valencia and Barcelona and am besieging Aragon and my lost provinces of Madrid and Castilla La Vieja. The Aragon army has just captured Salamanca, and is besieging Badajoz and Toledo (both of which I had lost earlier, recaptured, and then been repulsed from). Portugal has an army moving from Beira to help me recover Salamanca. Note how effectively Aragon is blockading Portugal's ports after having managed to gain control of the seas. Again, this is in political map mode.



Quite frankly, I was looking for a way to surrender but then suddenly the main Portugese army of about 12k which was led by their ruler (I didn't make a note of his name) managed to attack Alfonso in Salamanca. Alfonso only had about 6k cav and 2k infantry with him so I watched the battle unfold in the hopes that Portugal might succeed where I had failed. Then the miraculous happened: Alfonso died on about the 4th day of battle!!!! Leaderless, the Aragon army was quickly crushed by the Portuguese ruler, who then proceeded to recapture Salamanca for me (for about the 5th time at least).

Even though Aragon still had some decent forces in the field, and had a bunch of generals, none of them was as impossible to defeat as Alfonso had been. I took another loan, hired some more mercenaries and recruited another general (a good one since my land military tradition was now at something like 85%) and proceeded to methodically push back their armies and retake my provinces.

Finally, towards the end of 1464, just over 10 years after the War of Castilian Succession began, Aragon sued for peace, offering to cede me the province of Aragon (which I had captured). I happily accepted because I was already in serious war exhaustion trouble (3-5% in all of my provinces) and it would have taken me ages to achieve a more complete victory. Aragon also had too large a navy for me to contend with, so I'd never have been able to achieve a 100% war score.

Peace!!!



Anyway, I just thought I'd share that with you...one of the most intense 10-year wars I've had, and an incredibly entertaining bit of game play. I will definitely have to adjust my tactics and army composition strategies (a lot!) before playing a "real" (not-bug-check) game else I think the AI will crush me.

Well done, Johan, on your latest AI tweaks. :cool:
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Ayeshteni

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Balor said:
yeah, the first little beta aar :)

Fantastic to see it posted to the believers (and the infidels). :cool:

Ayeshteni
 

dtroiani

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Soo Cool
 

Sir Humphrey

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Thats looking really great. Do individual regiments gain experience, or is it overall?
 

Wolf52

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Good God, this game is going to be something else...
 
Oct 27, 2002
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Visit site
Thanks for sharing.
You really listen to the voice of the people. ;)
 

unmerged(59737)

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Awsome!
 

unmerged(6777)

Field Marshal
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Sir Humphrey said:
Thats looking really great. Do individual regiments gain experience, or is it overall?
It's not "experience"...its land tradition. Regiments are all equal to one another in terms if performance (i.e. all Latin Medieval Knights are identical in stats...though these will be different than the stats of a Turkish cavalry unit). The BIG advantage comes from having superior leaders -- like that hell-spawn Alfonso who must have been a simply awesome leader. He completely dominated me on the field.

There are 2 ways to get a leader like that: have a very high military stat monarch and convert him into a general; or have very high military land tradition and recruit a general. Converting a ruler is dangerous because he can die during the battle which can have very nasty results, so ideally you want to get high tradition and recruit one. Trouble is, to get tradition you have to fight battles, win sieges, or (to a lesser degree) do lots of land exploration. Tradition is slowly lost over time (faster if you're at peace) so if you've been passive (or mostly passive) then you probably don't have the tradition to get the kick-ass leaders. That's as close to "experience" as EU3 has, although your unit's stats will improve as you go up levels in land technology; and once you've researched far enough you will have new, more powerful units available to you (at which point you'd pick a quiet moment to upgrade your army -- a 1-click process).
 

Jolt

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Awesome, awesome Mini-AAR, I loved it. It seems the AI can now actually help us if we're in trouble. I wonder, do they do the same thing when it's about rebels? I usually remember to send armies to some of my allies to clear out rebels if they get an infestation of them (From War Exhaustion, etc), but I never saw them help the player. The only game I remember watching the A.I. help with rebels was in Victoria. I was Sardinia and had a few rebels on the border provinces with France. Turns out they were kind enough to clear that mess for me and save a bunch of time and effort to my troops. It'd be nice to see that also in EU3. :)

MrT said:
Hm...he's heading towards my currently undefended capital of Madrid.

*Ahem* ...Of Toledo. Castille's capital of Toledo. ;)
 

Dr. Zoidberg

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Very nice :)
I hope we get more AAR's in the future, it's a very good way to generate more interest in the game. Stardock can attest to that.
 

unmerged(43658)

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interesting aar thx!

europa universalis is a game where ai allways loses.
(tweaked or not :D )
 

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Rocketman said:
I must say, I like the way the game displays occupied provinces.
Yeah, I wasn't as impressed when I first saw it in the dev diaries but it looks very very nice in this screenshot.
 

Registered

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Nice AAR, scary AI , looks promising.
and am just about to send a colonist to Bermuda (my explorer happened to notice it in passing)
You wouldn't have know where he was going if the explorer hadn't seen him?

EDIT: updating archive:)
 

unmerged(6777)

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grabah said:
interesting aar thx!

europa universalis is a game where ai allways loses.
(tweaked or not :D )
The only reason that the AI lost this war was that another AI nation (my ally) bailed me out. If Portugal hadn't come in and crushed the main Aragon army, I was toast. I would have accepted almost any peace Aragon demanded before that happened. I even made a couple tentitive offers that were rebuffed as being too little.
 

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I think we'll probably see more of these in the near future, as it must be getting close to "gold" time. I cant wait.
 

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Registered said:
Nice AAR, scary AI , looks promising.

You wouldn't have know where he was going if the explorer hadn't seen him?
Explorers are naval leaders so they normally only discover sea provinces, but they can also discover an adjacent land province (same as they could in EU2). Unless you get lucky and discover Bermuda that way, you'd have to transport an army led by a conquistador (land explorer) over to Bermuda (which would be displayed on the map as a white terra incognita island) and then land there. Once it's discovered and added to your map, you can send a colonist there.