Victoria 3 Diplomatic Framework Suggestion Thread (oh noes, another one)

  • Crusader Kings III Available Now!

    The realm rejoices as Paradox Interactive announces the launch of Crusader Kings III, the latest entry in the publisher’s grand strategy role-playing game franchise. Advisors may now jockey for positions of influence and adversaries should save their schemes for another day, because on this day Crusader Kings III can be purchased on Steam, the Paradox Store, and other major online retailers.


    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

mcmaha1

Sergeant
66 Badges
Sep 4, 2016
69
5
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Europa Universalis IV: Third Rome
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Magicka
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Steel Division: Normandy 44
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Hearts of Iron IV Sign-up
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • War of the Roses
  • Victoria 2
There we go, here is another one of those pesky Victoria 3 threads, filled with the bottomless wishes of a misty-eyed PDX fan. That being said, I hope to be bringing some fresh and intriguing thoughts to the table in the case such a project would ever be attempted.

Having recently read the Hobsbawm 19th century trilogy and Kissinger's "Diplomacy" opus, it becomes clear that the world of 1836 constituted a form of world order and the game should ideally try to represent elements of it, namely, the Vienna Congress System and the Holy Alliance. These were two institutions of the international order, devoted to discussing and resolving the political tensions of the day and upholding the conservative world order and the balance of power. An example was the toppling of the liberal regime in Spain in 1823.

These institutions were steadily eroded over time as the forces of liberalism began to overpower conservatism in many countries, particularly in France and as the UK decided not to intervene extensively (Lord Castlereagh, his paper, subsequent suicide I will leave for readers to read on Wikipedia). The climax in 1848, represented both the last stand and last triumph of the system. While the Congress system would survive albeit in a different form, the Holy Alliance would be doomed soon thereafter in the Crimean War.

Post unification of Germany, the balance of power could only be maintained through pursuit of alliances as Germany was considered too powerful for the existing balance. Thus spheres gave way to two opposing and increasingly rigid alliances meaning that the stakes were being increased and talk of a general war became widespread, as the two alliances increasingly played chicken. Backing down one too many time would result in the alliance fracturing, but upping the scales came with increasing risks.

Additionally, the start of the game should already have a German Confederation system, in many ways similar to the HRE mechanic in EU4. However, the confederation should always be a tool of deterrence for outsiders, but a source of great frustration for insiders as diplomats should maneuver to advance their agenda within Germany. There would no longer be an emperor position, meaning that advancing any agenda should be slow, tedious, BUT worthwhile.

On the Western side of the Atlantic, the Monroe Doctrine should be existent at the start. While the US could revise this down the line, the idea should be that Europeans should be more attracted to Africa and Asia, rather than the Americas at this point. Interference with the Americas should run significant risks.

So how should all this and should all this be represented in a grand strategy game? Well, the answer is maybe. To take a page out of EU4, splitting the game into ages would not be a bad start. Hobsbawm breaks them down into the Age of Revolution (1798-1848), Age of Capital (1848-1871) and the Age of Empire (1871-1914). This is quite a neat framework for a few ideas.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
The Age of Revolution is where the game could make the most of introducing the Congress System and the Holy Alliance. At the beginning, every country should have a vested interest in supporting the world order, i.e. repressing liberalism and nationalism. By allowing liberals to come to power, it could face risks of not only civil war, but also embargo, coalition/containment and even in its most extreme blockade and invasion - with the explicit goal of restoring the status quo and reaction. This would represent the pressures of respecting the world order, while also trying to either repress or harness the forces of liberalism. As time goes by, the forces of liberalism should become stronger, thus making it harder and harder to respect the world order. If you're in Eastern Europe, the Holy Alliance should be an acute threat to any liberal or nationalist forces.

So in some sense, ideally, a system should be in place to try and moderate the transition to liberal regimes. Initially, the system should punish and disincentive any attempt at undermining the world order, however, as time goes by, the rewards and appeals of liberalism should grow, while the forces of conservatism should become more difficult to harness and even produce radicalism at home (for those interested in later segments of the game).

In the meantime, the congress system should be used to moderate nationalist and international disputes, thus preventing a general war. The costs of backing down should be limited, in order to incentive compromise and avert a war. At this stage of the game, the wars should be brief and with limited goals. Countries and the congress should always aim at achieving a balance of power, thus not allowing any country to become dominant in the early stages of the game OR creating a massive coalition when that threatens to be the case.

The result should be a time of great underlying change with a slow and steady erosion of the international order, but one where a balance of power is also maintained between the great powers for the sake of peace and stability.
______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The Age of Capital should start once one or more of the major countries adopts a certain level of liberalism and when the conservative forces fall apart and are no longer able to put on a united front. The Russian intervention in Hungary was the last hurrah historically. At this point, the congress system should no longer serve to preserve conservatism, only to maintain the balance of power. At this point, sphere could become an option. Harnessing the forces of liberalism to create markets, educated populations, railway connections and thus start creating the nation state. This is also when class consciousness should start accentuating to represent the transition from aristocratic societies to capitalist ones.

One could use their own sphere to back them in a crisis, but also make deeper integration more desirable, especially if the nationalities are considered similar. This would then produce spheres which need not be nationally homogeneous (British India), but ones which would incentive national groupings into a single sphere, like Scandinavia, Italy, Germany, Yugoslavs, Romanians, etc. Members of the German confederation should here have an added incentive bonus to joining Austrian or Prussian spheres, instead of French ones. In this particular stage, Austria should have a strong hand to play in southern Germany, even as maintaining influence in the Balkans and over its non-German restive dominions should become more difficult. At the same time, France should have increasing difficulty playing a role in southern Germany, though it should still be possible for it to have a significant presence.

As Austria and Prussia vie for dominance inside the German Confederation, their spheres would basically create gridlock inside its institutions. At this point, the solutions should be permanent gridlock, throwing the other out of the Confederation, dissolving the Confederation or some sort of compromise between the two. France should reserve the right to interfere, as well as anyone else with a sphere reaching into the Confederation. There should be an implicit understanding that dissolving the Confederation would wreck the security situation, thus being France's preferred outcome.

In this age, nationalist movements should start gaining traction, while liberalism should start producing mass reforms and economic gain within countries. At this point, remaining an absolute monarchy should be difficult and at least some reforms might be necessary to keep the mobs at bay. The absence thereof should produce rapid radicalization. That being said, the congress system should still be used to prevent hegemony and couple it with the threat of a coalition.
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
The Age of Empire should be where the game opens up a lot. World conquest should be almost impossible in the first two ages of the game, but in the age of empire, it should be possible to become a superpower, a hegemon. This is the part of the game where colonization should ramp up massively and competition for colonies should become paramount.

As the balance of power becomes harder and harder to sustain, due to the creation of new powers and new colonies, countries should be pressured into building alliances such as to preserve the balance. After all, France and Russia allied in order to isolate Germany. At this point, powers should seek resolution of issues with potential allies - much how France, UK and Russia resolved theirs, but also Germany and Austria didn't have lingering resentments thanks to Bismarck, but also an increasingly uncompromising stance towards their rivals.

The Congress system itself should at this point break down. With alliances increasingly fostering gridlock, each congress would become an increasingly risky game. Backing down could cost you the unity of your alliance and a domestic revolt, but escalating should have the risk of triggering a general war. Compromise should be harder and harder to agree on.

Once such a war breaks out, the cassus belli should be almost irrelevant. At this point, the game should almost become like Hearts of Iron. Negotiated peace should be extremely difficult. In parallel, the forces of socialism and proto-fascism should make an appearance, to demonstrate the risks of civil war if a country backs out too soon, attempts to stay neutral, suffers a national disgrace, participates in a war for too long, etc.

As the international system becomes harder to sustain peacefully, the risks of war should multiply also internally. Backing down too many times should collapse your alliance and lead to revolt. Having a revolt should initially kick the country out of the congress and alliance system, to show that the new regime has nothing but disdain for the intricacies and subtleties of the international order. The countries which failed at reform in previous ages should now have furious, angry populations, making them prime targets for revolutions.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
If there were to be a fourth age, it could be called "The Age of Extremes" (again Hobsbawm), and would be roughly 1914-1936. After a general war, there should be no more congress system. This is where international order has stopped existing. At this point, any potential superpower that has emerged, could have a shot at world conquest. The absence of a balance of power would mean that coalitions at this point should fight hard to prevent domination, or have countries accept submission. The international order could be invented by any superpower in a variety of ways, a combination of a sphere with certain extra bonuses, including likely ideological pressures.
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
So what would all this amount to in the end? Quite simply, for a world conquest, one would have to try and adapt his strategy to each age. In the beginning, bide your time, build up the foundations of your economic expansion and slowly undermine the world order, without inviting too much unwanted attention. Then, proceed to build a sphere of countries and work towards integrating them with yourself, while preventing the others from doing the same. Consolidate your sphere or reform your country into a nation-state (United States of Austria could here also be an option) and build alliances to contain your rivals. Finally, have a massive showdown and remake the map.

My current issue with Victoria II is that in many ways, while the sphere system was great at the time, it gave you still a very limited tools to work with. Here, the idea would be that wars would be brief and decisive until that third part of the game at which point all the previous efforts would produce, what previously appeared small and marginal gains, into a significant edge. Diplomacy could be used to seriously hinder your rivals when wielded properly.

I hope reading this wasn't too tedious and I hope some of these ideas could be interesting to implement in a potential 19th century grand strategy.
 
Last edited:

GeorgiosK

Recruit
11 Badges
Apr 11, 2020
1
0
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Hearts of Iron IV: La Resistance
Greetings to everybody. This is perhaps the most appropriate topic for my first post, the eternal cry for a Victoria III. I find your ideas really intriguing and fitting to the game concept, so allow me to perhaps expand on them a little bit.

The Congress system could work wonders, perhaps even as a substitute to the Great, Secondary Power etc system. This should perhaps be depicted as a collection of peripheral "Congresses" at first, to reflect the situation of the post-Vienna european situation, the rather complex South American foreign relations system of that age, the US policy in the Americas and the traditional Chinese diplomatic system. Those should be under a hierarchy, perhaps depending on an overall development level or industrial score and should interact in a way. That is to simulate the opening of the East Asian markets by the European powers, for example.

The era defined by E.J. Hobsbawm as the Age of Empire could work as the period of assimilation of peripheral "Congress systems" into a world system dominated by the biggest imperialist powers. This period in the game could enable, or actually require, big capital investments in other countries in order to unlock the full potential of a sphere of influence, as it was in this period that export of capital took precedence over export of commodities. Before this period, the economic benefits of a sphere could be minimal and instead be more of a way to gain diplomatic bonuses.

Those are just some thoughts that came to me by reading your excellent thread. I cannot say if they could be implemented in a game seemingly lost in the vast realm of Paradox players' fantasies, or even if they would be beneficial to the game experience at all.
 

mcmaha1

Sergeant
66 Badges
Sep 4, 2016
69
5
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Europa Universalis IV: Third Rome
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Magicka
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Tyranny: Archon Edition
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Steel Division: Normandy 44
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Colonel
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Hearts of Iron IV Sign-up
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • War of the Roses
  • Victoria 2
Greetings to everybody. This is perhaps the most appropriate topic for my first post, the eternal cry for a Victoria III. I find your ideas really intriguing and fitting to the game concept, so allow me to perhaps expand on them a little bit.

The Congress system could work wonders, perhaps even as a substitute to the Great, Secondary Power etc system. This should perhaps be depicted as a collection of peripheral "Congresses" at first, to reflect the situation of the post-Vienna european situation, the rather complex South American foreign relations system of that age, the US policy in the Americas and the traditional Chinese diplomatic system. Those should be under a hierarchy, perhaps depending on an overall development level or industrial score and should interact in a way. That is to simulate the opening of the East Asian markets by the European powers, for example.

The era defined by E.J. Hobsbawm as the Age of Empire could work as the period of assimilation of peripheral "Congress systems" into a world system dominated by the biggest imperialist powers. This period in the game could enable, or actually require, big capital investments in other countries in order to unlock the full potential of a sphere of influence, as it was in this period that export of capital took precedence over export of commodities. Before this period, the economic benefits of a sphere could be minimal and instead be more of a way to gain diplomatic bonuses.

Those are just some thoughts that came to me by reading your excellent thread. I cannot say if they could be implemented in a game seemingly lost in the vast realm of Paradox players' fantasies, or even if they would be beneficial to the game experience at all.
Thanks for the reply and the compliment. I would see the participants of Congress as the Great Powers PLUS MAYBE the country in the underlying issue. Some Great Powers could choose to abstain from crises, like US if it decides not to meddle abroad. Countries could propose compromise solutions and thus work towards finding a compromise and use their soft and threat of hard power to find a workable solution. The idea is that it should be fluid at the start and increasingly rigid at the end. Ideally, at this stage of the game, you could start building a diplomatic framework to contain and even cripple your future rivals, by denying them opportunities through peaceful means. I completely agree with the investment idea, yes, the spheres should be created through economic and political engagement. For example, the US could invest into Mexican railroads, but therefore also draw it firmly into its own orbit. Before this era, spheres would be more political, similarly to late 18th century with only really guarantees etc.

As to the Congress mechanics, I think a lot of it could come down a bit to council mechanics of CK2, as in, you could later on arrange secret favours and pacts with your allies, such that they back you in a crisis, in exchange to backing them another time. An example is Tangier crisis, when UK backed France. The trick would be to keep your alliance and sphere as consolidated as possible, getting your strategic aims, but also not trying to risk war TOO much.

EDIT: There should be an achievement for finishing the game without a world war.
 
Last edited: