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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Peter Ebbesen

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World Conquest for Dummies: An Introduction

Welcome, Class.

Over the next several weeks you will be subjected to incredible hardships as you struggle to come to terms with the concept: World Conquest. I will be the gentle but firm hand, that guides you through a simulated World Conquest, and the rules and regulations that you should follow, when it is your time to conquer a world on your own hand. The simulated WC may very well fail, but if so, that will be a lesson in and of itself.

First, of course, you need to select a world. Obvious, I know, but you would be amazed by how many would-be-WC'ers have failed their first assignment because they chose an already conquered, pacified, or in a few cases immolated, world. So forget about Middle-Earth. Morgoth has everything in hand, and it is highly implausible that anyone should arise to challenge his dominion. Likewise the com-worlds are already under assault by the Dreel, and nothing can stop their conquest save a universal reset, so forget about those worlds.

Let us rather choose Earth. (The Earth in the rather unremarkable solar system seventeenth hand on the left, not one of the countless other Earths). Let us forego the pleasure of modern weaponry and take charge of our simulated country in the year 1419, according to the prevalent local calendar. Due to final exams, we will only have 400 years to complete.

Our simulated country? I hear you cry. Well, yes. Any decent WC must begin with a single nation dedicated to a common cause. Study the holographic display of the world, which I have just made available, with particular emphasis on technological development and map-knowledge (unknown areas are clouded white). Would anybody care to make a suggestion?

No, sorry. Spain is out. This is a lecture on WC, not cake walk. You can't expect such a fortuitous setting in your own WC. Try something harder.

Well, admittedly Tibet would be harder, but "I am a Glutton for Punishment 101", this is not. An army of old men named grasshopper who goes 'Om' when hit? Be serious.

The Timurid Empire? Be serious. Look at the facts, man! They control a multitude of provinces and two centres of trade. Anyone could do a Timurid WC on autopilot.

Byzantium. That's a good one. Capital of the fallen eastern empire with casus belli on a huge part of the world acknowledged by their neighbours (good), it only has two provinces (bad) and it is surrounded by a mortal enemy (very bad), the Ottoman Empire. Encouraging the citizens to revitalize the Empire, seize their destiny, and boldly bestride the world stage as a colossus should be child's play. Surviving would be rather harder. So while Byzantium would be the obvious choice, and well done that man to point it out, I will rather choose Trebizond.

Don't tell me you overlooked tiny Trebizond! Admittedly it is only one province, and a rather poor one at that, what with its low population and production of naval supplies, but still! A splinter kingdom of the defunct Byzantine Empire, it has all the advantages and disadvantages of Byzantium, mentioned previously, and the added challenge of being smaller, being much poorer, and having a midget army. Trebizond it is. The challenge will be set to Very Hard and the aggressiveness to Normal (the enemies aggressiveness, that is. Definitely not ours.)

Before embarking on lesson one, let me give you this vital bit of information: Should Trebizond manage to conquer the old Byzantine capital of Constantinople, it will have the chance to Restore the Empire, thus transforming into Byzantium, and will have good and sufficient reason to take on any and all comers. Unfortunately, the Ottoman Empire lies between, and don't forget that 30K army in Ak-Koyunlu next door. It outnumbers our initial 6K army considerably.


The Rules
Trebizond
GC v1.04
Very Hard/Normal
Modified major_tre.txt to give Trebizond slavonic and italian culture should it transform into Byzantium to give Trebizond the same cultures as Byzantium (since it would in essense be a continuation of the same state).

The Goals
World Conquest or as much as is feasible within the time frame. Weren't you listening, class?


Notes
This game is mostly the result of those annoying World Conquest Desirable and World Conquest Possible threads in the General Discussion Forum. I chose the smallest nation, which I consired viable for WC (assuming one survives, the many core provinces will be nice). I will be playing rather less cautiously than usual, at least for the first century or two, so I might just crash and burn, or be ground under the heels of Poland, Austria, France, and Spain. But let's see what happens.

(My first attempt saw me bankrupt by July 1420, owning four provinces by August 1421 (Angora, Macedonia, Smyrna, and Trabzon), and struggling under two (grew to three) loans at 36%+ over the next five years. I fought and won two wars while bankrupt using up my remaining mercenaries. Cronically short on money, the next war with the Ottomans saw me without an army. Let's face it. I lost that one.)

Questions and/or suggestions from the class are welcome. Who knows, the teacher might even listen (saint performs miracles).

-----
EDIT: And, who knows, a friendly moderator might even rename this thread to "World Conquest for Dummies" rather than "Introduction". I hate making such typos :D

EDIT2: Thanks.
 
Last edited:

e-stab

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**lifting the right arm**
Mr. Ebbesen - eh! hello! over here! I want to say something! :D
 

Sharur

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Sharur raises his hand

"Mr. Ebbesen, I concur wholeheartedly with your selection of Trebizond, however, I would like to ask if you would, once the course has been completed, give us a demonstration of your unmatched skills in such endeavours by doing a world conquest demonstration with first Orleans and then Zimbabwe?"
 

Norgesvenn

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Trebizond??? Loonie! :D

Well, there's a gold province in Armenia of course... but otherwise, I must concur with the above post, Ebbesen...
:)

Good luck, my friend!
 

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This will be.... interesting.

;o)
 

unmerged(6777)

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Gee. Another class to audit. I'm really getting a good education on this board.:) I had half a mind to try Trebizond after my France AAR...fortunately it's the half that is pickled most of the time so I've already selected another candidate instead. Looking forwad to seeing you turn the world...err...what colour is Trebizond anyway?
 

Peter Ebbesen

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G'Kar: Your appalling lack of faith in your teacher has been noted, youngster.

Sharur: WC:Orleans - possible if you get France early, I guess. WC:Zimbabwe - yeah, right. Barring a random Conquistador you have absolutely nothing to do until the Europeans arrive and slaughter you. MrT showed how to do it with style in his play on Zimbabwe. - And stop looking at Dan Cook like that. He is not to blame for his lack of gills, and we must be charitable towards those less favoured by nature, till we can slaughter, enslave, or annex them. So sayeth the sage.

EFI: No, no. With all those CB shields it ought to be easy, right? (Ignoring the fact that I crashed and burned within a decade in my first two attempts)

Mimir: I tried playing Inca's but Spain didn't form, Portugal didn't want to colonise near me, and I got no conquistadors. When I had finally colonised every single province I could reach to 5000 inhabitants and still knew nobody (the Chimu died within the first ten years), I typed Columbus, saw the world, and quit in frustration. The one bright spot was not being able to build ships, but gaining 5 warships in an enthusiasm for the navy event. And when that is the highlight of 150+ years of play, it is time to leave off. Of course more nations might visit the Aztecs, so I might give them a try one day. As is, I much prefer to annex them :)

Wulfram: 1) That has not been proved conclusively (as yet). 2) That is no way to address your teacher. You just gained a black mark.

Norgesvenn: That goes for you as well. :D

Rictus: You can visit the loo after class like all the other incontinents!

Soulitaire: Come and see...

Dan Cook: Of course he is looking at you, naughty boy. Though why you would do that to a sweet little kitten in public is beyond me. One should not mix business with pleasure (except for looting). :p

MrT: Trebizond is that light blue so commonly associated with Lithuania. Not purple, if you had that in mind. Byzantium, however...
 
Last edited:

Peter Ebbesen

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Installment the first

I hope you have been studying hard, class?

Of course you have.

Let us briefly consider our adopted country. Since direct rule tends to fail spectaculary as the locals join forces to resist the evil invaders you will usually have to rely on a puppet monarch. It is often convenient to use the one who is in place and just goad him along, rather than to install a new one. Catering to the vices of puppets is an old ploy that works rather well. For the purposes of demonstration we will abstract the puppet to a set of adminstrative, diplomatic, and military skills - and then, at random, throw some nastiness at you to simulate the uncertainty inherent in even the most brain-dead puppet. Also included are the nobles of the realm, who will principally be delivering outrageous requests, getting assassinated, or allying with foreign powers. This is a random nuisance factor that you will need to factor in your calculations. You will also need to consider the domestic policies of the country, as it slowly develops from a relatively free and innovative country, to a focused gathering of mindless slaves toiling for the dark overlord (or whatever title you choose to assume). Changing policies is usually a gradual process. It takes time for changes to get implemented.

Our first Trebizond puppet is Alexios IV Kommenos, who has excellent diplomatic, poor administrative, and average military skills. Of these the military skills are the least important, since we will take care of military affairs directly, whereas the diplomatic and administrative are of prime importance.

Trebizond is blessed with a strong aristocracy and is a fairly run of the mill state with regards to domestic policies. Militarily it is slightly tilted towards defensive armies in quantity. With regards to trade, it is merchantilistic. Even the most casual glance will, however, show that it is not nearly decentralised or narrowminded enough, and that the population as a whole is too free. In time we will rectify these errors.

But first things first. Who would care to describe the strategic situation? Ah, you in the back franctically waving your hand?

The Strategic Situation, 1419
Us
Trebizond(orthodox) has one province and 6,000 men.

Neighbours
Georgia(orthodox) has two provinces and 12,000 men.
Ak-Koyunlu(sunni) has four provinces and 30,000 men.
Dulkadir(sunni) has one province and 8,000 men.
Kastamonu(sunni) has one province and 6,000 men.
Ottomnans(sunni) has six provinces and 60,000 men.

Allies
Byzantium(orthodox) has two provinces and 21,000 men.

And then there are Antalya, Karaman, the Mamelukes, Qara Koyunlu, and the Golden Horde right next door, but they are probably enemies, not allies.

Well done that man. You didn't mention that all of the neighbouring provinces are core provinces, but we don't need to think too much about that issue, as yet. Based on this otherwise excellent presentation we have two choices. We can expand slowly, absorbing the smaller states one by one, or we can make a grab for glory and attack the Ottomans. You failed to notice that the Ottoman provinces are all majority Orthodox, and in religious worlds like this one it is always preferable to have a match between state and province religion. Since there is no way to introduce religious liberalism in this world at this time to counter that linkage, the answer is obvious:

Expand rapidly and if in doubt, go for the throat

Now some of you look slightly dubious. You have noticed our small army, general lack of funds, and low manpower. That, my friends, is why mercenaries and bankers were invented.

Now watch the holographic representation as I begin the simulation. Notice how our military just got more land focused, and how I have begun hiring the 3,000 cavalry we can ill afford. Now, a few months later, and with more than 20,000 mercenaries hired, we declare war on the Ottoman Empire, and our ally Byzantium joins us. The Ottoman Eastern forces are out of position being embroiled in a war with Kastamonu and Karaman, while the Western forces will have to fight through the entire Byzantium army. See how the Ottoman armies are being whittled down while our troops invest Anatolia and Smyrna. Watch as I hire even more mercenaries. Gasp as our victorious armies bypass Constantinople and begin besieging the Western provinces.

A good first war. It is only May 1422, and we gained the rich provinces of Smyrna and Macedonia and 311 ducats, but the interest on the five loans as well as the upkeep of our mercenary army is crippling us. So the extra money is partially spent on new cavalry (mercenaries are mostly infantry, you know), and a few days after the Ottoman peace, I declare war on....

The Ottomans again?

Wrong. The inhabitants of this particular world dislike seeing people break their solemn vows. This means that attacking people with whom you have a truce tends to hurt the stability in a major way. Negatively. Thus I declare war on Karamon, since Ak Koyunlu and Dulkadir are in alliance.

But Byzantium declines to join and breaks our alliance. This is a great opportunity! Making a hasty peace with Karamon, I join Trebizond in alliance with the Knights (a one province minor controlled by an obscure religious order), and declare war in December 1422 on Byzantium, completely justified! Remember, backstabbing with a casus belli is great.

Byzantium having lost its army to the Ottomans is defenseless but is allied with Genoa (an Italian state) and Georgia (our neighbour). So we besiege Byzantium posthaste.

Now by May 1423 our finances finally collapse and Trebizond goes bankrupt. Small wonder. All our loans are cancelled, inflation increases by 20% and morale is low. Unfortunately the military expenses force an immediate new loan - at a steep 36% interest rate. That's 70 ducats per year. We can't afford that for long, even though we are minting coins like mad.

Notice how our allies have minds of their own? The Knights just declared war on the Ottomans and ask us to join. Since we will be aiding an ally, this does not count as breaking our truce, so let's join the fun! See how I split the army besieging Constantinople into smaller units to put every Ottoman province under siege.

Now please notice how Venice has joined the Byzantine alliance and are besieging our provinces, even as Genoa keeps landing small forces in Trabzon. Though Georgia accepted a separate white peace recently, Venice and Genoa reject all such proposals. The good news is that any peace agreed with Byzantium as leader of their alliance will also hold for Venice and Genoa. That bad news is that Byzantium doesn't want to give up its second province, Morea, which we don't control, and to which we have no access, the Duchy of Athens blocking our way. There is only one solution: Gain military access through the Duchy of Athens or attack and defeat them. Since we don't need any more wars right now, and can't free enough troops to take on the Duchy if needed, we will go the diplomatic way - i.e. bribery.

Notice how the last Ottoman province just fell while I was raising bribery money? That means they are ripe for a deal, and we had better strike one fast before they make a deal with the Knights, who are our alliance leader in this war. Turnabout hurts, so let's preempt it. Watch as the desperate Ottomans gives up every remaining province bar their capital as well as 50 ducats. 1425 is a good year. This victory frees up some forces to fight the Genoese and Venitians, but let us not waste our troops on futile fighting, for even as I speak, time has advanced to 1426 and a military access treaty has signed with the Duchy of Athens, and the low cost of something like 100 ducats total.

August 1428, we end the Byzantium war gaining 100 ducats, Morea and Ionia. The three Genoese controlled provinces are thus returned to the control of Trebizond. The first nine years have seen us expand from one province to nine provinces, an exceptional gain. We are no longer suffering from lower morale due to bankruptcies, but we have three exceptionally expensive loans. The combined interest is greater than our yearly income, even though we coin all the money we can. Thus bankruptcy lies just around the corner (again).

Todays lesson should have taught you the basics of WC: make war not peace, and the rule of thumb: it is better to besiege than to fight set battles (though the latter often proves necessary).

A few of the next moves will be obvious to everyone, like installing Trebizond as the true Byzantium and getting rid of the Ottomans, but the assignment for next class is to consider the overall strategy: Northern, Southern, Western, or Eastern Expansion? Hunker down, very temporarily, and research better weapons? Or perhaps a radical (and probably flawed) new approach? Being the teacher I have, naturally, a superior plan to anything you might develop, but your keen attention now will have a major impact on your grades.

Class dismissed.

Trebizond, 1428. Inflation: The Name of the Game.

927146380.jpg
 

Wulfram

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You are trying to conquer the world with Trebizond. You must therefore be insane. If you succeed you must be even more so.

Sir, I suggest you let the Ottomans annex Thrace before you do, as I predict that will cause interesting market fluctuations which will in the long run be to your benefit
 

Peter Ebbesen

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Originally posted by Dan Cook
Also, how can you join an alliance with yourself?:confused:

Deliberately mangled syntax? :D

I join A and B in alliance is not equivalent to I join A with B in alliance. The former implicitly assumes that I am a distinct entity from both A and B, whereas the latter does not. It states, in fact: "I did this: Joined A and B in alliance."

...Or at least that was my intention when I mangled that sentence.
 

unmerged(5664)

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Originally posted by Wulfram
You are trying to conquer the world with Trebizond. You must therefore be insane. If you succeed you must be even more so.

Sir, I suggest you let the Ottomans annex Thrace before you do, as I predict that will cause interesting market fluctuations which will in the long run be to your benefit

An interesting strategy, but won't that cause several provinces to convert from Greek culture to Turkish, including Thrace itself?

BarristerBoy
 

Avocado Aguila

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go for Mamewluks and Holden Horde :))
 

Wulfram

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Thrace get's changed back to Greek when Trebizond regains it. Anatolia and Smyrna will stay Turkish and you'll need to convert them from Sunni, but I think it would be worth it.