macd21

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So, time for my next AAR! This time round I've decided to go for Tuscany (obviously, given the name), however I'm planning on trying something slightly different this time. I've decided to go for a different strategy - rather than simply focus on expansion, I'm also going to try to build as many buildings as I can. I'll be choosing national ideas with that in mind and perhaps not taking as much territory as I would normally. This isn't to say I won't be expanding at all, just that I hope to go 'up' as much as 'out'. I want to see what kind of impact having maxed-out buildings will have on my game play.

I think Tuscany is especially suited to such a plan. With their university, national ideas and membership of the HRE giving them discounts on new technologies, they'll have more MPs to spend on buildings. It also starts with a great leader, giving us some extra MPs to play around with at the beginning of the game. As a republic, I'll be able to focus my MPs on whatever type of building I'm constructing this election cycle. Tuscany also starts off with a few buildings (as do many of the nearby soon-to-be-conquered provinces of the region), giving me a bit of a head start on construction.

Other details: ironman, normal settings, WoN, CoP and Res Republica all active.

Chapter 1: Northern Italy
Chapter 2: Western Adriatic
Chapter 3: Italy
Chapter 4: Border Clashes and Internal Affairs
Chapter 5: The Venetian Territories
Chapter 6: Austria
Chapter 7: The Aragon War
Chapter 8: Greece and Savoy
Chapter 9: Rome
Chapter 10: The Danish Road
Chapter 11: Imperial Vassals
Chapter 12: Bulgaria
Chapter 13: North, South, East, West
Chapter 14: Aragon
Chapter 15: Germany
Chapter 16: Scandinavia
Chapter 17: Ukraine
Chapter 18: The Colonies
Chapter 19: The Holy Roman Empire
Chapter 20: Loose Ends
 
Last edited:

macd21

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Chapter 1: Northern Italy
Tuscany's certainly has an interesting starting position. While two provinces may not sound like much, it has the advantage of being surrounded by equally small (or smaller) neighbours. Tuscany's university is certainly a valuable asset and having the great Cosimo de Medici to run the country was certainly nice. Unfortunately, Cosimo was not a young man, so we couldn't rely on his reign lasting all that long.

On the other hand, we were still a minor power. We had a handful of regiments, certainly nothing that could stand up to one of the great powers of Europe (or even one of the middling powers of Europe). Aragon already had a foothold in Italy through its union with Naples - if Naples failed to break free by itself, we might have to take steps of our own. The Venetians were another potential threat, but hopefully they would be busy dealing with Austria, Hungary and the Ottomans. In the long term, France and Austria would inevitably begin to take an interest in the region. I would need to consolidate my hold over Italy before that happened...


With that in mind, I quickly forged alliances with Milan and Mantua, before launching an attack on Urbino. I had intended to simply annex the province, increasing our territory by a whopping 50%, but while my forces lay siege to Ancona, the Papal States also declared war on Urbino. This presented me with an unusual opportunity. The Pope had forged an alliance with Aragon, who would easily crush me if I dared to threaten Rome. But if Urbino was to swear an oath of fealty to Florence, I would be forced to defend the province against the Pope's unwarranted aggression. Aragon would have no call to intervene...


The Pope's army was quickly wiped out. Romagna and Roma fell by November of '47 and the Pope recognised the authority of Tuscany over the Papal State's foreign affairs.


In the meantime, Savoy had offered to join our alliance. Unfortunately our other neighbours were not so pleased and Siena, Genoa and Ferrara formed a coalition against us. I was happy with my conquests so far, however, so I decided to sit back for a while.


The Emperor soon passed an Imperial Reform, reducing the cost of technologies and buildings. Perfect!


While I waited for my neighbours to let their guard down, Ferrara integrated Modena.

I finally managed to bring up my Administrative Tech enough, allowing me to pick my first Idea Group. Normally I'd probably take a Diplomatic tech (given that Dip points are a low priority for me this early in the game). Alternatively I might take an Admin Group. This time, however...


Madness, you say? Well, yeah, probably. But I decided to take the group as early as possible, in order to avail of that sweet tech discount as quickly as I could. I wasn't going to entirely neglect my military tech, but I didn't mind keeping it at simple parity with my enemies (rather than exceeding them) in the early game, simply because I expected my enemies to be weak and easily overwhelmed. Should a power like France or Austria attack, it wouldn't matter how good my troops were, I'd be crushed anyway.

Things were pretty quiet for the next few years. Someone found some documents proving Modena was rightfully a possession of Tuscany, not Ferrara (Claims on our Rivals event). But the next truly significant development was the death of Cosimo de Medici in 1453. Antonio Piombante (1/1/4) was elected to succeed him, but he could never replace the great leader. It would be some time before another Gonfaloniere served more than a single term.


Urbino was integrated. With one less diplomatic relationship to worry about, I felt free to establish an alliance with Venice. They had fought a long and fruitless war with the Mamluks over control of Cyprus, but would now be free to help Tuscany. They would, of course, expect our assistance in return... but we had no intention of maintaining this friendship any longer than necessary.

Evangelista Chigi was elected in 1457 and planned to bolster support for his rule with another war. The coalition against us collapsed in January of '58 and our military technology advanced to 5 in August of '59 (we also had the second Plutocratic Idea, giving us a small boost to morale). This left us free to conquer another one of our neighbours. Our army (15,000 strong) was joined by that of Venice, Mantua and the Papal State as we marched on Siena. Unfortunately Milan and Savoy both sided with the enemy and Brittany answered Savoy's call to arms. Despite, that, however, the advantage clearly lay with us.


Sienna forces were quickly wiped out. However, we were now faced with a slight problem. Ferrara lay between us and our enemies in Milan and Savoy. While Venice could probably defeat them without our assistance, that would take far longer than I would like. Rather than negotiate for military access, however, Gonfaloniere Chigi chose to attack! Modena was rightfully part of Tuscany in any case, might as well take it while marching on Milan.


Ferrara's army was destroyed without difficulty. A small force remained to secure their cities, while the rest marched in support of the Venetians. Milan's forces were broken at the Battle of Brescia, allowing our allied armies to move on Savoy.


Despite defeating Milan and Savoy's combined forces in Piedmont, the war dragged on. The enemy retreated first to Nice, then across the mountains to Vaud. Savoy's continued resistance was an embarrassment for the Gonfaloniere, leading to his replacement by Innocenzo Pieroni. Negotiations were completed with Ferrara (who chose to cede Modena), and Milan (who became our vassals).


Savoy finally surrendered, recognising our control over Sienna and returning their northern provinces to the Swiss. Almost all of northern Italy was either a province, vassal, or ally of Tuscany.

Of course, the remaining parts of northern Italy quickly formed a new coalition against us.


The next Plutocratic advance should keep the number of rebellions down nicely, as well as unlocking a 5% reduction in the cost of both ideas and technologies.

And finally, to round out this chapter...


Dang French.
 

unmerged(58610)

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An entertaining start. Interesting choice of country and powerful start. Tuscany should have a core on Siena. The French warning could mean they've got the Northern Italy mission. Your main rivals are France, if that's the case and Aragon. Good move allying with Venice, at least until Austria looks south, hungrily. As long as Venice is fighting in northern Italy, you'll have the chance to continue to expand.
 

macd21

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I was lucky with the Papal State, it allowed me to snap it up pretty easily. This should make it fairly easy to snap up a few cardinals. I'm going to keep Sienna as a vassal for a while, for one simple reason - tech. They have a university of their own and won't be wasting MPs on coring or diplo-annexing, which should make them he most advanced country on the planet. I'll be able to take advantage of that. I have a good bit more gameplay complete, so should have another chapter up soon.
 

blitzthedragon

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Let us see how this plays out.
 

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Subbed. Nice start!
 

macd21

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Chapter 2: Western Adriatic


I was quite pleased with our position. The Urbino War and the War of the League of Sienna had left us in control of the Papal States and Milan, two of our more powerful neighbours. There were a few remaining outposts of hostility in the region, but with luck I would be able to snap them up fairly quickly. As my expansion continued, however, I would begin to come up against more dangerous forces - France, Austria and Aragon.

As we sat back and enjoyed the fruits of victory, I took a look at the rest of Europe.

France had handily won the Hundred Years War, though the English had managed to hold on to some of their lands on the continent. Burgundy had launched a war of conquest, taking a number of provinces, but were then crushed in turn by the coalition that formed to oppose them. Hungary foolishly declared war on Austria and lost two provinces as a result. The Swedes had failed to win their independence from Denmark and remained in the Kalmar Union. The Byzantines were no more - the Ottomans Empire sat to our east, an ever-present threat.


Castile and Venice were in the middle of a war with Aragon, Portugal, Hungary, Genoa and Naples. I watched this conflict with some interest, given the importance of all of the countries involved to my own plans. While I waited for the results of that war, I put down a noble rebellion that rose up in Ancona. Given an almost 2:1 advantage in my favour, the outcome was never really in any doubt.

The Venetians withdrew from the war, but Castile still emerged victorious, taking two provinces from Aragon. More importantly, however, was that somehow Naples was no longer under a personal union with Aragon. Not entirely sure what happened there... Now that they were independent, they proceeded to declare Aragon and Tuscany as their rivals. So, no new allies to the south. On the other hand, taking provinces from Naples would be lot easier than Aragon... if it wasn't for the fact that they very quickly secured an alliance with France.


Having the Papal States as a vassal paid off, as it helped me to seize control of the curia. Plenty of little bonuses to avail of.

I was somewhat concerned by the Franco-Neapolitan alliance. If Naples chose to declare war on me and the French joined them I would be doomed. But I hit on a fairly simple counter to this problem - I allied France. This not only countered the threat from Naples, but quite obviously would allow me to crush any other targets I might have beneath a horde of French troops.

I continued to engage in some diplomatic wrangling, eventually winning an alliance with Austria as well. With both France and Austria in my pocket, I wouldn't need Venice anymore, so...


It was time to take my next target, the mighty city-state of Ferrara! In August of 1474, I declared war. Of course, Ferrara was both a member of the coalition arrayed against me and had plentiful allies. Soon I was at war with Ferrara, Castile, Burgundy, Venice, Genoa and Savoy! Austria, thankfully, joined in my war effort, but unfortunately the French were not inclined to help.

The combined forces of the League of Ferrara outnumbered our own. We still had the advantage, however. The enemy's forces were divided, with most of their troops in Castile or Burgundy. It would take time for them to reach our lines, allowing us to destroy the Italian forces first. I had also just brought up our military technology to 6, making it as good or better than that of our enemies.


Ferrara and Savoy were soon overrun. The Burgundian army arrived in Piedmont, only to be driven north again with heavy casualties. The Venetian army remained in the capital, eventually emerging to relieve Treviso, only to be defeated by a combined force of Tuscans and Austrians. The Burgundian army returned, this time attacking Austria, only to be driven off once more.


More and more Venetian cities fell, when shocking news reached us - Duke Charles of Burgundy had fallen in battle! His lands were immediately divided between the Emperor and the King of France.


With that, the war was soon over. Venice surrendered Brescia to Milan, while Tuscany took Ferrara. The Venetians, of course, immediately joined the coalition against us, but as we were allied to both France and Austria, I wasn't too worried about an attack.

With the seizure of Ferrara, I felt it was time to start concentrating a bit more on trade. I moved my Trade Port to the city, allowing me to better avail of the Venetian trade node. I also began to build a number of light ships and sent them to the Adriatic. With the extra income, I would be able to construct more buildings.

Amusingly, the Venetians dropped out of the coalition a few years after the war. Perhaps they hoped our alliance could be renewed? If so, their hopes were in vain - they would be my primary targets for expansion for some time.


With the integration of Milan, the number of provinces under our direct control almost doubled. When combined with our vassals, Sienna and the Papal States, we were starting to become a real power.


As for the 'tall' part of my strategy, so far I had it pretty easy. Many of my provinces had level 1 or even level 2 buildings already completed by the time I took them, leaving few slots for me to fill myself. I would soon be able to construct level 2 buildings, which would require more resources and careful consideration.


I finished the Plutocratic idea group, just before increasing my Admin tech to 7 and selecting a second group. This time I went for Innovative. A good all-round group, it also contained yet another reduction to technology costs, which was the main reason I picked it up. It would also reduce the cost of employing mercenaries, which would combined with the Condottieri and Tradition of Payment ideas would mean my mercenaries would be cheap and plentiful.


My plans were disrupted when Trier decided to try to take Aachen. I was faced with an awkward choice, as this pitted my two allies, France and Austria, against each other. After considering my options, I decided to accept the French call to arms. With luck, I would be able to patch things up with Austria after the war.


Our forces fought in just one battle in the Trier War, the critical Battle of Luxemburg. We then withdrew, having no interest in spending more manpower in a war that was already won. France annexed Liege and Trier, adding to their already substantial holdings. Their growing strength was a concern, but for the moment all I could do was take advantage of it.

We quickly sorted things out with Austria and reestablished our alliance. Keeping both France and Austria as allies was clearly not a viable long-term proposition, but for now I would use them both to further my own ends.




Over the next few years, I continued to take more Innovative ideas, while constructing the odd building and bringing up my military technology. Elsewhere, civil war wracked Scotland, while Austria conquered a swath of Bavarian territory, cutting the duchy in half. Denmark had integrated Norway, securing their control over half of Scandinavia. We unfortunately lost control of the Curia, but it was nice while it lasted. Alessandro Tonelli was elected Gonfaloniere, the latest in a long string of leaders, none of whom had served more than one term. Finally, in 1490, we were ready to go to war again.


Taking Verona would strengthen my control of the Venetian trade node and weaken my Venetian rival. Equally valuable, however, was the fact that Naples and Venice were allies. Once Naples joined the war I would be able to attack them without angering the French.

Just like the War of the League of Ferrara, the list of force arrayed against us grew quickly. Castile took charge of the enemy's war effort again, leading Portugal, Scotland, Naples, the Knights and Venice. This time, however, we had the vast armed forces of France on our side, not to mention the fact that our own military was much bigger than it had been 16 years previously.




The army of Naples was quickly destroyed. Leaving a few regiments behind to secure our southern flank and occupy their cities, I marched the rest of my troops north. The Venetian army was caught between our troops and those of France and was quickly defeated. Our position in Italy was secure.



]

The arrival of Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli would prove rather beneficial (a bit of free stability is always nice), but the Church, concerned by the influence this schemer might come to have, decided to curry favour by canonizing Gonfaloniere Tolleni's great-grandfather.


The focus of the war now moved to southern France, where our allies were struggling to turn back an invasion of Castillian and Portuguese troops. The arrival of our army tipped the balance, and the Iberians were driven back across the mountains.

A Portuguese army did manage to make it to Verona, only to be attacked by a Turkish army. The arrival of the Ottomans came as something as a surprise, but they marched right past our forces to engage the enemy - a welcome development. Our victory was assured.

Naples surrendered, ceding Abruzzi. Fighting continued in southern France, but a year later we came to terms with Castile.


The western coast of the Adriatic from Abruzzi to Verona was now under our control. Ferrara was gone, Aragon no longer controlled southern Italy and Venice was much weakened.

Now, if I can just stay out of trouble long enough for my manpower to recover.
 
Last edited:

blitzthedragon

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Looks like you're off to a good start. Keep your nose clean for a decade or two, then you can give Venice another spanking.
 

unmerged(58610)

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Tuscan expansion is continuing apace. Venice and Naples as allies of Austria and Tuscany has the mighty French, who just happen to have Austrian land they covet right next door. I can see the French alliance being essential for Tuscany's growth, especially the push in 50 years or so into Iberia. That was a very helpful Ottoman army. Just happened to come along at precisely the right moment.
 

macd21

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Tuscan expansion is continuing apace. Venice and Naples as allies of Austria and Tuscany has the mighty French, who just happen to have Austrian land they covet right next door. I can see the French alliance being essential for Tuscany's growth, especially the push in 50 years or so into Iberia. That was a very helpful Ottoman army. Just happened to come along at precisely the right moment.

Yep, having the French as allies is certainly helpful, but at the same time a little problematic. I feel like it's only a matter of time before they turn on me.

The Ottoman's turning up to do my fighting for me was certainly nice, though not really necessary. The war was pretty much won at that point. Still, it saved me a few thousand casualties. Of course, the Ottomans are another looming threat to the east of me. I just hope I don't end up with the French, Austrians and Turks all out for my blood at the same time...
 

blitzthedragon

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Well, if France does turn on you, you can always give them a firm talking to, then ground them from owning Occitania.
 

macd21

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Chapter 3: Italy

To the west, Castile and her allies fought to conquer North Africa. While they made advances against Algiers, their Venetian allies suffered at the hands of the Ottomans. In the north, Denmark stood out as the most powerful realm. England and Scotland seemed trapped in a cold war - while England was more powerful, Scotland was allied with Castile, and the English did not seem willing to test their strength against the Iberians. To the east, the Poles and Lithuanians continued to fare poorly, as their neighbours took them apart one province at a time. The crown of Muscowy had fallen to a Ukrainian ruler, leading to a succession war with Hungary. With the nobles of Moscow siding with Ukraine, Hungary's defeat was inevitable.

In the center lay Tuscany. I hoped to stay out of any conflicts for at least a few years, in order to give my forces a chance to recover and to develop my provinces - not to mention give my neighbours time to relax (and drop their guard).


The fact that the Venetians wouldn't be a threat for some time should help with that. The loss of two more of their provinces to the Ottomans was certainly welcome news. They were rapidly being reduced to the status of a minor power, one that we would eventually have to take under our wing... for their own good, of course.

Mantua saw the wisdom of just such an arrangement, agreeing to become our vassal. The wealthy little city-state was a welcome addition to our list of domains. Meanwhile the time had finally come to integrate Sienna. They had provided us with a nice little neighbouring tech bonus for the past few decades, but we had now caught up with them. One more chunk of Italy was added the Republic.

Venice's woes continued, as their subjects in Crete succeeded in breaking free. The Byzantine Empire had risen again! Only to fall to the Ottomans a few years later...

I decided it was time for Tuscany to build a proper fleet. Until now we had been at a definite disadvantage at sea, relying entirely on our land forces for victory. This had forced us to recall our trade fleets when at war, left us with no response to blockades and allowed our enemies to transport their troops as they chose. Now we would be able to challenge our rivals for control of the Mediterranean.

Gonfaloniere Constantino Cybo-Malispina won his reelection in 1497 and again in 1501.He was the first leader to serve more than one term in decades. His administrative skill allowed us to quickly pick up Innovative ideas. We also gained 'Patrol of the Arts' from the Tuscan idea group, granting us +1 to Prestige. We already had 'Patron of the Arts' from the Innovative group, which granted -1 prestige decay, so keeping our Prestige score maxed out shouldn't be a problem from now on. Guess we were patronising a lot of art.


Gonfaloniere Constantino decided we had been at peace for long enough. Venice was once again our target. This time, however, they had been abandoned by their Castillian allies, while we had been joined by both France and Austria. The outcome of the war was not really in any doubt.


After defeating the Neapolitan army at the battle of Ancona, my forces moved south to seize control of the kingdom.


Meanwhile the rest of our forces attacked the Venetians. The added strength of my fleet paid off, as I was able to destroy the Venetian navy and blockade their ports. Another army besieged Genoa.


Well, this was unfortunate. It would seem that the Austrians wanted to press their claims on Northern Italy and would no longer be cooperating with our forces. A pity. I had considered working with the Austrians to drive the French from the Holy Roman Empire, but that didn't seem to be an option anymore. I wonder how long it would be until the French turned on me?

While we waited for the Venetians to surrender, we learned that Castile had defeated Aragon again, taking another province and forcing them to release Sardinia as a sovereign state. Interesting...


Until now, Corsica had been too well defended to consider launching an attack against them. However the King of Sardinia allowed us to stage troops from his territory, allowing us to gather on his island before crossing the short distance to Corsica. The Genoese army was soon defeated and, trapped as they were, their entire force surrendered.

As word of their defeat reached the mainland, Naples surrendered, becoming our vassal. The Genoese gave in a few days later, ceding their capital to Tuscany. This just left the Venetians...


Reduced to a mere handful of provinces, the Venetians were no longer a worthy rival for Tuscany. Given Austria's increasing belligerence, I decided that they would be my new rival.


Unfortunately, the conquest of Naples, Liguria and Treviso led to an expansion of the coalition against us. The Swiss and Genoese were particularly belligerent, but I felt confident I could convince the Hungarians that we were not a threat with a little diplomacy. Meanwhile the Sardinians agreed to become our allies. The small kingdom wouldn't be of much assistance in our military endeavours, but I hoped to make them my vassals through diplomatic means (and didn't want some other power snapping them up before I had the opportunity to do so).


I had hoped to have another period of peace in which to prepare for my next conquest, but unfortunately the French felt that it was time I repaid them for their assistance in my wars against Castile and Venice. They wanted to take Friesland from Münster, who would be joined by Austria, Utrecht and Aachen.

The war raged back and fourth along our northern border, but the Austrians never stood a chance. At the beginning of the war, they were outnumbered two-to-one, and that ratio only got worse with every battle they lost.


The Austrian army was completely wiped out and many of their provinces occupied before the French finally made peace, adding three more provinces to their holdings and returning another two provinces to Hungary.

The Sardinians, clearly impressed by our military might, agreed to become our vassal. Just one more province to add to the Republic.


Upon reaching diplomacy technology 9, I began to build a small squadron of carracks to add to my fleet of galleys. I would have need of them for the next stage of my conquests.

Meanwhile, in Ireland...


Some damn heresy or another seems to have taken root amongst the Hibernian savages. Surely the King of England will out a stop to such nonsense... right?


Damnit! I had no intention of converting, so this was not the most welcome of news. Nothing to do about it but wait for the zealousness to wear off and then convert the cursed heretics.

The time had come to attack my next target - Aragon! I hoped to force them to cede Sicily to Naples. To that end, I had sent my spies west, to initiate a trade conflict. I also increased my military technology to 10, despite the ahead-of-time penalty. Now, I just had to finish bringing up my military maintenance...


Damnit France!

I have to say, I was sorely tempted to say no. But I couldn't afford to anger France at this point. I answered their call to arms... and then proceeded to declare war on Aragon anyway. I'm sure the French would be able to handle the Hansa on their own.


The enemy were joined by Genoa, Portugal and Galicia. The first battle of the war was fought in the Ligurian Sea, when our warfleet ambushed a convoy of Aragon mechants, sinking 10 enemy barques. This left the enemy with a combined naval strength slightly stronger than our own, but our carracks were larger than theirs, which would hopefully give us an advantage. In terms of troop numbers, our armies were fairly equal.


Our navies clashes in a number of battles across the Mediterranean, as our ships hunted down and sank their trade convoys. Aragon's warfleet was destroyed in the Gulf of Lion, giving us a decisive numerical advantage at sea. Meanwhile my armies focused on securing Sicily, destroying the force protecting the island before laying siege to its cities.

The French made peace with the Hansa, adding Ostfriesland to the kingdom. At least I wouldn't have to worry about a band of angry Germans descending on me from the north while I was busy in the west. In a spot of good news, the Hungarians left the coalition against me. Seems they've accepted my assurances that my ambitions were now focused on the south and the west.


Machiavelli's 'The Prince' was published in 1513. 'The ends justify the means' - sounds good to me!

With the fall of Corsica in November, Genoa was forced out of the war. Sardinia fell to Portuguese forces, but the occupation force was quickly destroyed and the island retaken.


Having won the war at sea, the conflict now moved to a new front. Our forces faced those of Portugal and Aragon, neither side willing to make the first move. Both sides were relatively equal, making an attack a risky proposition. Rather than take that gamble, I decided a distraction was in order. I raised a small force of mercenaries and moved them via transport to the coast of Portugal, where they landed just outside of Lisboa. When word reached them of the attack on their capital, the Portuguese began to march west.


I quickly engaged Aragon's army. The Portuguese quickly turned around and tried to rescue their allies, but by the time they arrived, half of Aragon's army had already been killed or broken. The enemy's armies were broken.


The war continued for another few months before I sent my terms. In addition to Sicily, I also took the Baleares islands. This would provide me with a useful naval base in the Western Mediterranean, should I need to go to war with the Iberians again.

The Italian Wars were over, with Tuscany the clear victor. But from now on expansion would be more difficult. Austria threatened us from the north. The French were going from strength to strength. The Ottomans had swallowed the Balkans and the Aegean islands. What to do next?
 

macd21

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For someone who tries to go tall you conquer a lot - even outside of Italy :cool:
But it's nice to see that Tuscany is doing well.

To be honest, the tall strategy hasn't slowed me down much. Because I have so many discounts to tech, I can keep up with (or stay ahead of) my neighbours, while still building as much as I can afford to and have space for. Once I integrate a few of my vassals (especially Naples), I'll have a lot more provinces to fill with buildings. Unlike northern Italy, Naples doesn't have very many buildings (most of my provinces were filled with level 1 buildings before I'd even conquered them).