- Mar 28, 2004
Taking Constantinople is crippling, but not for hitting their manpower. I you can take both of the straight crossings you can drop max level forts and that just destroys the Ottomans in future wars. Even if you cannot beat them at sea, which really should not be that hard, they still often get caught with their troops on one side or the other and you can go run amok while they get to deal with max forts (or walk around the Black Sea). Before the next war you station your invasion forces in Constantinople and jump off in whichever direction is most useful (either go hunt and kill their armies in a much smaller region or avoid them until after you have sieged the wargoal and half their land). You can also have fun with popping any smaller armies that cross by landing, stack wiping, and then retreating onto your ships.I'm not going to question your goals here - role playing is a real thing - but I will point out that taking equivalent dev in low-dev lands will drop their manpower/force limit roughly the same as taking high-dev lands (depending on buildings). Even taking Constantinople won't be particularly cripping, if you could have five other provinces of theirs. As others have pointed out, the best strategy is to load up on the gold and cause them to go bankrupt eventually. You can fill out the war score with land, sure, but the money will actually be more crippling. Truces are based on the war score you take in a peace deal, not how much land you take, so you will still get the same truce length.
To avoid getting called in by Russia, just carry a bunch of loans! Buy buildings and upgrade centers of trade instead of paying off loans from your last war. AI won't give you an offensive call to arms if you're loaded with debt.
Worse, if you deny MA to them or anyone else they war, it dramatically increases the time it takes the AI to move troops from one front to the other and slows their expansion rate. This can allow other powers to either make enough gains to win or at the least to drag out their defeat.
I will, of course, second the load up on gold option ... but the absolute best option is to milk their manpower down with penny packet losses, wait for the WE to rise as you almost completely carpet siege them, and then let some rebels spawn. Ideally they will be separatists that you can encircle without taking anything they would want and then peacing out. Yeah the OE would get some revanchism but with the rebels already ticking down they may get more wars and if they cannot access rebels lands those might just declare independence. Unfortunately, I think the best cores for this are already likely dead, but rebel breaking with bankruptcy is still stronger.