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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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damienreave

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V For Victory!​

More than just a slogan, or an excellent series of WW2 turn based strategy games for Machintosh and MS-DOS, or a thing that Japanese schoolgirls do in photographs, its now the title of an AAR! Specifically, a gameplay oriented AAR (DW 5.1) that switches between the three nations in EU3 that start with the letter V... those being Dai Viet, Venice and Vijayanagar.

I'll be playing each nation for a period of five years, except for an additional few months during the initial turn with Dai Viet. The only deviation allowed is to switch without unpausing to use the sliders for Vijayanagar and Dai Viet, because otherwise I'd never get westernized.

Now, in alphabetical order (and in order of play):

Dai Viet


Now infinitely more survivable due to Ming being less likely to DoW you, Dai Viet is a 3PM in the mess that is South East Asia, with the added bonus of having exactly zero forts for any of your provinces. Getting a good start and not pissing off Ming are keys to survival. Dai Viet needs to make 10 slider moves to westernize... not counting any stupid decisions the AI makes for events that pop up during its turn. 1520 is the absolute earliest I can hope to start.


Side Note: I restarted nearly 100 times to get a decent Statesmen in my Malacca game and ended up settling for a three star. This game I get a 4 star effortlessly.

Venice


A scattered maritime empire with a powerful CoT, with its home provinces mostly surrounded by the Empire. The AI has a strong tendency to get dragged into ruinious wars with the Emperor and the Ottomans. Joining the HRE cuts down on your possible expansion, but provides a measure of security. I also have a Trade League to manage, which the AI is quite efficient at, so I'm not too worried about that. Venice is in a decent position to unify Italy. Unfortunately, Italy does not start with V, so that option is closed to me.

Vijayanagar


With a name that much fun to type, you can't lose. Vijayanagar is debatably the best state in India, due to it being relatively large, having two same religion vassals, and bordering several Muslim states that control Hindu provinces for easy expansion. It also DOESN'T border the Timurids, which is great since they seem to have a tendency to go absolutely wild in DW. Vijayanagar can form Hindustan, giving it a ton of cores and turning it into a juggernaut. But again, Hindustan does not start with V. Vijayanagar also needs to make 10 slider moves to westernize. The AI Vijayanagar usually gets a good start, which is helpful since I don't get to touch them (besides the slider) for 10 years...
 
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damienreave

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DAI VIET (1399 - 1405)

I hire my amazing Statesmen, which contributes four times my national budget to government research each month. I set all money to stability, and then before unpausing, I declare war on Lang Xang (note to self: keep them in mind for doing an X letter style AAR).

Without a CB, my stability drops to -2, but its worth it to grab a powerful (relative to the region) nation as a vassal without much effort. I play it out slowly, watching the timings of army movements extremely carefully, because letting even a single army into my territory would be disasterious. Luckily I manage to enter several territories just before armies are finished, effectively killing them effortlessly.


By January 2nd 1400, I've taken all of their provinces without forts, and now I have enough warscore to vassalize, not even having touched their capital.




Lang Xang contributes a sizable bonus to my income, as well as increasing my force limits by 50%. A good start, but not nearly enough to leave the AI alone for 10 years without being reasonably sure I'll have a country to come back to. Alliances and royal marriages with Lan Na and Khmer set me up for the next conflict.


I reduce military maintenence and wait for my stability to recover. Champa and Brunei are involved in a long, inconclusive war that finally ends around 1402. Not leaving Champa time to recover, I jump in against them. Khmer dishonors our alliance (Fools!), probably because they're overrun with rebels.


If you look closely, you'll see that Majapahit is actually the alliance leader. Hindus stick together and all that. Well, they're a minor island nation way out there. They shouldn't play a big part, right?






The enemy alliance has me completely occupied within a few days. I turn minting off to save inflation, since my income is so low, minting doesn't even help.


Things are looking grim...


No wait, no they aren't. My sieges finally finish against Champa and somehow they have 120 ducats, also known as 40 years of 100% minting and no spending for me. I'm not sure where they got all that money, possibly a peace settlement with Brunei? In any event, taking all their money plus vassalization adds up to a nice neat 100% war score, so I do believe I will.

I spent a few more months ping-ponging Majapahit's army around, and they eventually accept a concession of "defeat" from me.




Here's my position as the turn ends. I burned through my windfall of cash setting up two forts on my coastal provinces, which is the most likely attacking path of any non-Ming opponent. I'm also about halfway to my first NA, which I can only hope that the AI chooses wisely. I have two vassals, one of which is same religion. The AI can diploannex like a champ, so its not impossible that I'll find Lang Xang incorperated when I return in 1415. Champa refused my offer of royal marriage five times in a row at 'maybe', but other than that, I think the position is well set up to prevent the AI from imploding. *crosses fingers*
 

Mr. Capiatlist

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Posts that have been posted within an hour of the previous one are considered one post for the sake of calculating whether you have breached the image count. Since all of your posts were within 50 minutes of one another, you've exceeded the image limit of 20 by 13 for a total of 33 images. Please cut this down.
 

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VENICE (1405 - 1410)


Position Summary: My position is... suboptimal, but not awful. The AI is allied to Austria, although relations with them are fairly low (60s), and I'm involved as a subordinate partner in a war against Aquiliea I cannot hope to get anything out of, as Austria is already in control of seiges in every province. I have aquired Zeta, which is nice, but nothing else, and I have a bunch of mercenary armies for no apparent reason that need to be disbanded. I have two stupid embargos going against the trade powerhouses of Ragusa and Achaea, and the AI managed to rack up 1% inflation somehow in the last 5 years for no appreciable gain. Sieges are running with Orthodox rebels in two of my provinces (thanks Byzantium).

Frankly I think the reason why AI Venice fares so poorly is because it's given missions to take a province from Milan or Aquiliea virtually 100% of the time. I currently have a mission to take a province from Aquiliea, probably why I joined in with Austria, but they beat me to it the siege. I'm fairly certain that canceling this mission will only switch my target to Milan, who is currently allied to Bohemia, the Emperor. So this is really the lesser of two evils, since at least Austria is on my side.

Scrolling through my CBs, I see that my potential list of targets is... no one. At all. Genoa is the only even vaguely viable target, and they're a solid ally. Without a monarchy, I cannot fabricate claims, making things even tougher.


I do a double take on that one. I was bracing for a fairly boring turn, but this is a godsend (herp derr... bad puns). I doubt I'll hold on to it for very long, but its long enough to try and damage my Ottoman foes.


I can't excommunicate anyone for a year and a month, so all I can really do is get ready and look through my list of possible foes. Naples was my first thought, but they have too much influence. A shame, really. Sicily is my next choice but they're allied to the Pope? I'm not too sure how that would work...

Aragon annexed Urbino and Sardinia, so they're another decent target. I'm fairly certain I can beat their fleet. Weakening Castille's perennial foe may turn out to be a poor choice in the long run, however.


That would be Austria annexing all of Aquiliea. I don't trust the AI with a CB on Austria, no matter how good of relations we have, so I switch mission. Shockingly, I get a CB on Milan. /cry

I finish research on Production 4, and immediately begin construction of Constables in all my provinces.


I end up choosing Aragon as my excommunication target. There's Urbino, plus Aragon's two islands that I could potentially take. Castille immediately begins the dogpile, and I declare war a month later. So much for my solid ally.


But much more importantly, Austria comes along for the ride.


Who needs a ship building program when you can just steal them?

With their fleet blockaded into port, its a simple matter of besieging the isolated provinces while Castille mops them up on land. I manage to score a few ducats and Urbino's old province. I finish out the year by diploannexing Corfu.






I close out the year with a flurry of diplomatic activity to shore up my relations with the Papal States and Austria. In the event that the AI does go after Milan, I can only hope that Austria honors the call or else I won't have much of a nation to come back to. They seem powerful enough to at least come to a draw with Bohemia, so we can hope.

I managed to secure two new provinces (Corfu and Ancona), as well as improve my financial and diplomatic situations. Now all I can do is hope the AI doesn't muck it all up.
 

damienreave

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VIJAYANAGAR (1410 - 1415)


The AI managed to grab 3 provinces off of Deccan, which I approve of. I also find myself at war with Brunei and Maldives, both who are foes of little consiquence. However, I only have two regiments of land units and quite a high war exhaustion, seeming to indicate the AI lost it's doomstack somehow not too long ago. That's fine. I can rebuild.

As a side note, Maldives apparently declared unprovoked war on me without a CB. Suicidal minors are fine by me.


As my armies build, I concede defeat to Brunei and go land troops in Maldives. Neither annexing it nor vassalizing it seems worth the infamy. I settle for a concession of defeat from them.

The war against Deccan is as simple and straight forward as they get. I smash their main stack and chase it until its destroyed, then spread out and beseige their provinces. They just barely eek in under the warscore needed for annexation.






I'm forced to wait several years until my truce with Gujarat expires, and build my forces up to the force limit in the meantime. Gujarat is suffering from major instability problems and rebels, but luckily they collapse literally the day the truce expires, before I can declare war, clearing the way for me. They have no forces to speak of, and by December 31st, all of their provinces are under seige. I hope the AI can finish this one up without too many problems.




Khandesh somehow ended up Hindu, and... not owning Khandesh... so they'll avoid annexation for now. My current mission is a conquest one against Delhi, one that might prove a bit tricky for the AI to pull off, but with my increased force limits, its not impossible, so I leave the mission be. The Timurids are fully collapsing now, and this is probably the earliest I've ever seen them go down in DW 5.1. Its bad for the Ventitians because it means that the Ottomans will have fewer rivals, but it does open up the path for my conquest out of India, west into central Asia. I'll leave the various Bhuddist states as fodder for Dai Viet. Going to need a LOT of missionaries for all those Islamic provinces...

Well, that's it for this week folks. I'm going to update once a week on Sunday at a minimum, so feel free to chime in with advice, comments, requests, flames, etc. This is honestly going MUCH better than I had anticipated. Dare I hope for a joint WC? Time will tell...
 

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Thank you and good luck.
 

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How did you come up with the idea for this? I love these unusual AARs.
 

damienreave

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Very cool idea; I'll be following!

Good to have you aboard!

Thank you and good luck.

You're welcome! *tips hat*

How did you come up with the idea for this? I love these unusual AARs.

Hrmm... frankly I don't know. I tried an XYZ based effort earlier (Xia, Yemen and Zapotec) but it fell apart when I couldn't find a path to success with Yemen. I might give it a try after this one using Yaroslavl. You know Yemen is bad when an OPM in Russia dangerously close to the Horde is considered a step up... either that or I don't know how to play Yemen.

Sorry if that didn't answer your question. I guess a more accurate answer is "with my brain!", but that sounds rude :)

good luck with the AI maintaining your empires

Yes, that is half the "fun", cleaning up the AI's messes.
 
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damienreave

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DAI VIET (1415 - 1420)



I come back surprised to find that the AI managed to somehow diploannex the wrong-religioned Champu. I had expected (and wanted) Lang Xang, but at least this way there's more time for Lang Xang to fortify it's own provinces instead of making me do it.

I spend a little while wrapping my head around my situation. I'm relatively safe (as safe as you can be bordered by Ming), but I'm still terribly poor. My sliders prevent trade from being profitable, which leaves me with more vassals as being my only option. The AI chose Military Drill as my NA, rather than something more dovelike, and that seals my decision. On to Malacca!


I manage to move the majority of my army over before Malacca's fleet smashes mine. I end up losing a cog, leaving me with 3 remaining. I eventually trap their army down in the tip of the peninsula and destroy it to the last man.

Annexation is terribly tempting, as it would allow me to put all these useless merchants to work and make my mercantalism slider something of an asset. But the staggering infamy cost, combined with the idea of trying to fortify five rebellious provinces, convinces me vassalization is yet again the correct path. Who knows, maybe the AI will work it's diploannex magic. One can hope.






The gods tempt me. I should lie low and let this infamy wear down, but fortune favors the bold, and I may not be so lucky as to get a good CB like this again anytime soon.

Attack!


Malaccca had no troops and rebel problems, so I didn't bother allying them before going in. With Lan Na's betrayal, it end up with myself and Lang Xang versus Khmer, Pegu and Lan Na. My campaign in the south was quite successful, but Khmer's main army group refused to die, bouncing between my various efforts to kill it for more than a year while Pegu obliterated my vassal in the north. Unfortunately, my time with Dai Viet expired with quite a bit of the war left to fight.




Here is the state of affairs as I depart. I have no idea what the AI can pull taking over from this position. I hope that it will at least be able to manage a white peace in my absence. Still, I'm prepared to find Lang Xang or Malacca having been released when I return. It will be a setback, but not an insurmountable one. I'd rather have tried and failed than never have tried at all.

Next up, Venice. A sneak preview for my adoring fan(s)...


Northern Italy seems to be slightly more of a confusing mess than usual...

An Important Question

Hopefully someone more familiar with HRE mechanics than I can help... Is there a way to remove the Unlawful Territory modifier? Heh....
 
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There are only two ways to avoid the Unlawful Territory Modifier: leave the HRE or wait until it cores. I don't think you can remove individual provinces from the HRE if you're still in it.
 

generalolaf

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Great idea for an AAR! I'll defdinitely follow this - it looks like it's going to be good. :)
 

Vladislav

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Hrmm... frankly I don't know. I tried an XYZ based effort earlier (Xia, Yemen and Zapotec) but it fell apart when I couldn't find a path to success with Yemen. I might give it a try after this one using Yaroslavl. You know Yemen is bad when an OPM in Russia dangerously close to the Horde is considered a step up... either that or I don't know how to play Yemen.
Oh yes, I remember that one, too. Perhaps these letter-based AARs can be chalked up to some form of insanity. ;-)
 

sprites

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Interesting AAr , I had read the XYZ one too

Once you got hit with the unlawful territory , you have to wait for the event to remove it , once it's cored ...
 

Omen

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Well written, entertaining and a neat idea. I'm following this one for sure.
 

damienreave

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VENICE (1420 - 1425)​


Northern Italy is a total mess. Let's start by trying to sort out what's happened here. First off, and most importantly, I'm not at war (phew!). I've also gained Verona and Cremona as provinces from Milan. Milan has been reduced to an OPM, and was vassalized by me(!). All in all, an amazing 10 years for the AI.

Sadly, Cremona is branded an Illegal Territory, despite me never having been in the HRE, and from what everyone is telling me, I can only remedy that with a core, which I won't get for fifty-ish years. I quickly remove Verona from the HRE to prevent it from suffering the same fate. Hey, relations with Bohemia can't get worse than -200.

Broadening my analysis, I notice that Aquileia has been released from Austria, although as an OPM itself. Bohemia also controls a single disconnected province of old Austrian territory, as well as a single province of Milanese territory. I'm going to venture a guess that AI Venice and Austria defeated Milan, Bohemia tried to defend it but came too late, arriving only in time to beat up Austria and take some territory. Now, Austria called France into a new war against Bohemia, and Bohemia is getting keelhauled, to put it mildly. Anything that weakens the Empire is fine by me!

I started to flip through my CBs to see if I have any nice targets, and realize I have a Reconquest CB (!) against Genoa (!!), and its on their capital (!!!). I must have gotten a Claims on Our Rivals event. I also have a core on Napals (yay) and the Ottomans (meh). But Liguria is the real prize. Taking it would make me the owner of a huge swath of European trade, and be a huge step up in power and income. And with the Emperor on the ropes, there will be no better time to act.


Before long, the Venetian Legions (yes, I just made that up) are landing on Genoa's shores. Bohemia doesn't even bother to honor their guarantee. Within a few months, Liguria and Corsica are occuped, and Genoa is annexed.


Sweet Victory.

I release Corsica as a vassal, since the last thing I need is yet another uncored, rebellious, isolated province.

Once the afterglow of victory over my hated rival has passed, I start poking around my trade empire, and am shocked to find my trade efficiency is shockingly low. I'm apparently running five separate embargos, including one against Milan, who is in my trade league! As the diplomats trickle in, I slowly cancel those pointless measures.


France concludes a peace treaty requiring Bohemia to pay ducats and... repeal the most recent Imperial Reform. I wonder what the reaction in Vienna was to THAT.

Anyhow, I complete my current mission (relations with Napals) and it asks me to annex Aquileia (again). Well, I'm never one to turn down a free cored province. Let's see if they're a viable target. Their allies are me (heh), Bohemia and Bavaria, with guarentees by Tuscany, Pisa, Achaea and... the Pope. Well, what's a little excommunication between freinds? I'll have enough gold to smooth things over with him soon enough anyway.




Aquileia is quickly annexed, but an array of minors are attacking me from all sides. A new mission comes in.


No thanks. I quickly cancel it.


Augh! Are you serious? Oh wait. After a moment of panic, I realize that it was just France annexing the portion of Naples that I have a core in. Guess what I'm "conceding" to Tuscany in our impending peace treaty?

Anyway, I start off by lifting the siege of Ancona, with my Doge personally leading ten thousand men. Opposing him is an army lead by the Pope himself, Honorius V, a man with a name so mind bogglingly awesome I almost surrendered right there. I'm naming my firstborn son Honorius VI in his namesake, no matter what my wife says.


Oh, that's cute. Ragusa is besieging French territory as if it's a real country.


Wait, Ragusa is a lucky nation? How did that happen?

After lifting the worst of the seiges, I go after the head of the snake, Tuscany. I manage to storm one of their provinces, and that gives me the warscore I need. I glady give up my core on Abruzzi, taking away my CB against France. God knows the AI would love to try and use it if I don't.


I finish up my actual mission (5 trade rights, easy as pie), and I'm greeted with this.


Venice seriously has the worst missions. I understand that this was supposed to be against Milan, and by some fluke, its now Bohemia, but still. More demands to steal Imperial territory that the AI is too stupid to remove from the Empire before it gets branded unlawful. Hello to more +10% revolt chance. Yaaaay. Actually, I get a core on it at least. Verona didn't get branded unlawful, so maybe a core prevents that event? There's a lot about the HRE I don't know, now that I think about it. In any event, I can't drop it even if I wanted to, so no use worrying about it.


Guess who's going to be the next Emperor?

A quick check reveals that my relations with Austria have deteriorated to 34. I quickly spam them with gifts until we're in the 190s. Frankly, gold is cheap, especially now with both Italian CoTs in my mercantile hands, and avoiding war with Austria would be worth it at twice the price.


I'm so happy to have a country large enough to have it's name on the map.

Overall, while I could not be more pleased with Venice's progress, we've got a long, long way before we're out of the woods. On the home front, Austria will probably soon be blobbing heavily. I have absolutely no long term plan on how to beat them, except for a possibly an alliance with France. Even that is a very poor idea, since I'll face the brunt of Austrian armies for some time before France bothers to show up.

Other nations to watch out for... Poland is huge, having absorbed a large swath of Hungary, and has managed to hold on to their PU with Lithuania. If they do inherit, and manage to crush the Golden Horde and start colonizing nomad lands, they'll be a fearsome beast. Personally, I actually want to see that happen, since I've never seen AI Poland fare all that well... but from a gameplay point of view, it's a dangerous possibility.

Then there's the usual suspects of Castille and France. They're at war right now, and hopefully will remain so for some time. I've been pumping trade at 100% research the entire 5 years, but if the AI's priorities are elsewhere, I highly doubt I'll be able to beat anyone to the New World...

For those wondering, I checked in with Dai Viet when I changed it's slider in 1424... the AI managed to win the war, scoring three provinces, but infamy and war exhaustion are through the roof. Hopefully it lays low for the next five years so I can bring you another exciting turn.

Next up is our Indian friend!
 

Rabid

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With those missions you're going to have a really bad time with the AI. Austria, France and Bohemia own all those provinces you will get conquest CBs on...
 

Sybot

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Cores prevent the unlawful territory event from happening, so at least that's not a problem if the AI goes for Brescia. Bohemia's in fairly bad shape from the sounds of it so that won't be much of a problem hopefully. I'd be more worried about the subsequent mission as Rabid says.
 

CivandEUIII

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Interesting idea. Subbed.