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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

unmerged(47003)

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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
Country: Yemen
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!
 
Last edited:

ZachMayo

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Here's to another rousing AAR. You do seem to have some fixation on surpreme religious and temporal powers intermixing, though. First the Papacy and now a Caliphate! Well, good luck... to your enemies (they'll need it more, I predict).
 
Last edited:

Corbett

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If your Papal States AAR is any indication, I predict that the Umayyads will be put to shame by roughly 1550... at the latest ;)

Good luck, though I doubt you will need it.
 

basharious

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Corbett said:
If your Papal States AAR is any indication, I predict that the Umayyads will be put to shame by roughly 1550... at the latest ;)

Good luck, though I doubt you will need it.
Ummayyads?! No way in hell they are in the game :wacko: Those guys were done in mid 7 hundreds (unless you're talking Spain, of course)

Anyways, I am so gonna follow this ;). Good luck.
 

Corbett

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basharious said:
Ummayyads?! No way in hell they are in the game :wacko: Those guys were done in mid 7 hundreds (unless you're talking Spain, of course)

Anyways, I am so gonna follow this ;). Good luck.
I was referring to the size of their empire - a memory can still be surpassed and put to shame, after all :)
 

burning_phoneix

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This AAR looks pretty intresting. Can't wait to see what the Yemeni empire will look like. :)

I'll dive into your Papal States AAR while I'm waiting.
 

unmerged(63576)

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Your Papalstates AAR was really good, a shame that you quited on it for the 1.2 patch!

...
...
...

:rofl: No seriusly this AAR looks like it will be so good that your illdeed will be forgiven. :rofl:

Edit: Forgot to say Good luck... to your enemies. (they willbe needing it)
 

stnylan

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Sounds to me like he has big ideas. The Mamluks, Ottomans, and Qara Koynulu should watch out!
 

Lord E

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That is a lot of grand goals and ideas. Shall be interesting to see what you can do with Yemen and if you are able to rule the world in the end.
 

unmerged(59737)

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Subscribes.
 

unmerged(47003)

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Thanks for all the well wishes. Let's just say at this point having played a bit into the 1490s, it's clear that this AAR has the potential to become very . . . interesting.

It reminds me of the line from How the Grinch Stole Christmas, "Then he got an idea. An awful idea! The Grinch got a wonderful, awful idea." Oh this is a most dastardly and unusual plan. I haven't tried it yet though. If it works... Well let us just say that in the hands of a human player, Muslim countries are not quite so handicapped as they first appear.

...

Funny enough, I just got out of a four hour lecture on the Arabian penninsula from Roman times to the beginning of the nineteenth century. So my knowledge of Yemen history just increased a hundred fold (which isn't all that hard when you start with almost nothing;)).

So for real the Ottomans conquered the Mamluks in 1516, and then (at least the coast) of Yemen in the 1530s. And as it turns out, the mountainous northern regions of Yemen were actually Shiite, though a sort of odd brand of Shiism, and modeling them as Sunni in this game is probably closer to the truth.

But enough about real Yemen! Time for the first update!
 
Last edited:

unmerged(47003)

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1453-1455: From Small Steps

Ah lovely Yemen. Let's talk Yemen, shall we? I tried a few other countries first in 1.2 in fact. Pegu and that little 2-province Hindu one by Dai Vet? I forget what it's called. And both times, I promptly got my ass handed to me. Well I actually had a decent start on the third try with Pegu, but then I realized I wasn't going to be getting any colonists for a very long time.

So Yemen. A pathetic 4.7 ducats per month, and most of that from production from the peppers and coffee, so an even worse ~9.7 opening annual census tax. And a whole 3 force limit at start and a cap of 1.8k manpower. Not even two regiments!

Seven total provinces, two of which are mere colonies, with 600 and 300 population respectively. So they increase stability and tech cost without providing the economic benefits of a full province. And to top it all off, it isn't even all Sunni: the island of Socotra is Orthodox, with all that that brings.

So why choose this small country despite the fact that there are richer, more efficient minors with higher base force limits and better immediate opportunities for expansion?

It boils down to this: Yemen gets +.2 colonists a year at start, as compared to the -.8 colonists of many other non-Latin countries. All non-Christian countries get +0 base colonists per year (versus +2 base for Catholics), so all of that comes from sliders. Given the ability to build an incredibly efficient and rich empire with all those new world colonies, this is a very, very important factor. Not to mention the necessity of moving quickly in order to get any decent colonies in 1.2. And with the opening slider move being one step toward narrowminded, Yemen comes to a respectable (for non-Christians) +.6 colonists a year from the get-go.

...


So how to begin? It's always the same: the initial war. Expansion 101: You are only truly limited by your BB. Must keep it above 0 at all times.

My basic initial plan is to build up relations with Hedjaz and Najd, my two immediate neighbours to the north. Then to try for a diplo-vassalization followed by annex of both of them. That leaves Oman to the East as a target for conquest.

Of course it takes a long time to gather the money for 2 cavalry. And then to build them. And that puts me above my force limit of 3.5, to 4, but it can't be helped. I tried with my 2 initial infantry and just 1 cavalry and it just doesn't work on VH.

So war is declared in 1454 with No Cassus Belli. I could have done a royal marriage/claim throne, but I only get +2 diplomats a year and Hedjaz and Najd, both of whom I want to pursue diplomacy with, offered me royal marriages. I didn't want the relations hit for claiming a throne (Which I admit, I've never actually done. Does it decrease relations by a lot?). Oman is only allied with Hausa - a 1 province Shiite minor north of Najd. All to the good!

Initially, my 3 cog fleet crashes through the Omani 1 cog navy and lands a single cavalry at Haasa. I need to knock them out of the war first. Thankfully, Najd's 1 infantry, who I am allied with, arrives a few days later and Hausa's 1 infantry is defeated:



And there is no fort, so Haasa is instantly forced to 100% warscore and,



50 ducats, by the way, is huge at this point - 5 years of my annual tax. And since it makes wool, is Shiite, and has no land connection, it's more than 50x what I would make annually if I were to annex Haasa directly. And of course the lesser BB costs of diplo-annexing.

My cavalry and Najd's infantry move from Hausa into eastern Najd, and from there into north Oman. Meanwhile, my 2 infantry and 1 cavalry in the south have been separating and chasing around Oman's 1 cavalry and 1 infantry.

Now the Omani province that borders me is a colony. And so I seized it of course. But I should have waited for the peace settlement, because in the various chasing Oman seized it back. So I took an extra BB hit to get it back that I needn't have taken. Also, my ally Najd seizes 1 of Oman's northern colonies. Damn.

Najd by the way has two additional colonies bordering Oman. So what I should have done is lured the Omani troops to seize those, so I could seize them for myself. Ah well, hindsight.

Oman has 1 level 1 fort, so it takes a bit to get that. This is complicated by the fact that I only have 4 total units, Oman has 2, and it takes 2 to beseige. But eventually fall it does and,

 

stnylan

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Good initial conquest.

I believe, incidentally, that claiming a throne drastically reduces relations with all nations with which you have a royal marriage - not what you really want to do if you have two diploannexation targets you are already have RMs with.
 

Lord E

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Nice start, and a lot of good conquests. Your empire is growing it seems good news, and with all the money you can build more armies so that you can invade and conquer even more land next time…
 

unmerged(59737)

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All WC’s begin with baby steps…
 

basharious

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I can't believe you dropped the Papal AAR :mad:

I just went through it. It's so good (kinda funny too :rofl: )

Although this is looking great. Excellent expansion.

:D
 

ZachMayo

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I avidly followed his Papal State AAR, and I think he's more apt to Easternize the West than Westernize in Yemen. :D