- Jul 31, 2005
Salah al-Din 'Amir I, from his spring palace on the island of Socotra, looked out on the endless expanse of ocean before him. He had spent most of the day listening to his advisors, listening to all that was going on among the other states. He cherished this moment at the end of the day, a chance to clear his head and consider nothing but the sight and sound of the waves.
But his thoughts kept intruding. Of distant rumbles from Europe, there were many: the fall of Constantinople and war between the Ottoman Sultan and Hungary in the East but at the same time the last gasps of Granada as it ended its long struggle with Castille-Leon in the West. He heard too that the long struggle between France and England was drawing to a close. More whispers came from the north, with Orthodox Muscowy raising its head. And of course his traders brought news of the mightiest of all: the great Ming Empire of the Far East, poised to begin an inexorable march westward.
He heard rumours and whispers of them and spent his days agonizing over all those reports, but of course of Yemen they knew practically nothing. Such had it always been. Of course, Yemen was his home and so he loved it, but his was a sparsely populated land on the southeastern edge of the Arabian Penninsula, notable only for its valuable spices and coffee and its position at the head of the Red Sea, astride a major trade route between East and West.
And now the most troublesome news of all came the Mamluks and the Ottomans, twin rising behemoths. They looked greedily upon the little wealth his homeland possessed. He had tried all his life to play the diplomatic game, to play off his large neighbors, one against the other, to unite temporarily with the smaller states surrounding him to ward off the expansionist rumblings that seemed to emanate constantly from North, East, and West.
The sea held no solace for him today, and so Salah al-Din 'Amir returned to his palace. In the mood he was in, he might as well retire to the addition he built last year, with its giant map of the known world laid out in the tiles of the floor. As always, the latest updates with regard to troop movements and war gains were set out.
In truth, this little enterprise had taken a full month of his country's revenues, 4.7 ducats. As he pulled out the extra Yemeni markers, he could not help but remember with bemusement the small argument that had accompanied their creation. "What do you need 500 for?" his chief advisor had asked, as always a hawk with even the smallest expense, "Ming only has 200. A dozen would be more than enough for us and for your son for that matter." But he had insisted,and now with the full box in his hands, he kneeled upon the floor. He scattered a few more on the southernmost tip of the Mamluk empire. He moved more up through Cairo, then pushed the Mamluks back to the sea, and finally removed them from the map.
Picking up speed now, caught in the fever dream, Salah started flinging markers with abandon. He scampered around the room, pushing and throwing markers, ever faster, kicking all in the face of the Yemeni onslaught off the map and into the vast ocean. Yemen crashed through the Mamluks, Qara Koyunlu, the Timaruds, the Ottomans - the states he had lived in the shadow of all his life, and his father, and his father before him. For a blessed moment he almost believed those worries of annihilation were no more, that Yemen was safe and secure and would be for the rest of his life, and for that of his son.
Soon enough he ran out of markers and had to content himself with merely kicking those of the other countries off. Finally, no one but Yemen was on the map and he collapsed on the floor sated.
But soon enough, the worries he could never escape for long returned. Carefully, he removed the extra Yemeni markers and put back up those of his neighbours. He studied and pondered the map for a long time before slowly and soberly, no trace of the fever dream anymore, drawing two markers from the box, and placing them on the map. For a long time after, there was no motion but for his eyes on the map. It was a risky move, but not impossible. And success or failure in this move, the Mamluks or Qara Koyunlu could still crush his country like a bug. But it was a beginning.
So to celebrate this Easter, what better than a Yemeni AAR whose ultimate goal is a Sunni Caliph over the whole world? A disclaimer to begin with, in that I know pretty much nothing about Yemen. I even thought the adjective and noun for people from Yemen was Yemenese or Yemenian until perusing wikipedia a few moments ago. I must say, Yemeni sounds far cooler than the alternatives. Kudos to the people of Yemen for the choice.
Now on to the crucial details,
Game: EUIII vanilla 1.2
Difficulty: Very Hard
Goal: World Conquest (or as close as possible).
And for extra-game rules, I only have one big one: No conquest of Native American countries until the end of the game. I also won't be using trading at all, but that has more to do with my gameplay style than with any attempt to make the game harder.
[edit:2007/04/09] Oh yes I just remembered the other big rule: no loans/mercenaries.
For those of you who want a sort of preview of what will happen this game, see my Papal States AAR. The early game will be somewhat similar (or that is the plan) and the final "AAR" post of mine contains some reflections on how my Papal States game should have been different.
Oh yes, this will be a gameplay AAR first and foremost, despite that little narrative intro. At this moment I have played until 1490. Still, any and all suggestions are welcome. Oftentimes they provide good ideas for what I should have done and for the next game. Plus, I'm always interested in the alternate paths that people see, given the state of the country at any given point, and how they differ from my own. In a little while, I'll catch up on updates to the point where I have played. Tomorrow should be the first actual gameplay update. Cheers!