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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Gruekiller

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I can't help but wonder if I should have shoe-horned 'AAR' into 'TarasCAN' - or if I should have said 'Yes We MichoaCAN!' instead.

I digress. After countless months of lurking and playing EU3, I've decided to pick one of the more obscure nations available in Death and Taxes for my first AAR. Situated in the environs of Lake Patzcuaro in the modern Mexican state of Michoacan is... Michoacan!

I have to take a small bit of umbrage with the name, since Michoacan comes from a Nahuatl (Aztec) word, and the Tarascans called it Irechecua Tzintzuntzani, but it can't be helped. The Tarascans, in our world, remained outside of Aztec rule for their entire existence, and in fact outlasted the Aztecs by almost a decade. Just that impressive feat, however, is not impressive enough for the purposes of this AAR! I'm determined not just to outlast the hated Mexica, but to push the perfidious Europeans off of our shores altogether, when the time comes. Mesoamerica is a cutthroat place where war will rage until one of the myriad states there achieves complete hegemony. I don't know what to expect from the years to come, but with my relative inexperience, one thing I know with dreadful certainty:

I am going to die horribly.

Yes We TarasCAN! - A Michoacan D&T AAR

 

Gruekiller

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I've made it to 1370 - that's not instantly! Hooray!

EDIT: I forgot to note my settings: 1356 start, E-Z-mode, no lucky nations, and no inflation (I simply don't have a head for economic matters in this game, I'm afraid).
 
I. - 10 January 1356

Gruekiller

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10 January 1356 - Tzintzuntzan




The morning air on Lake Patzcuaro is chilly. In the winter months, the weather is rainy and the temperatures often drop below freezing. Today, however, the weather promises to warm up. The waxing light of the sun is cresting over the hills and mountains far to the east, setting the surface of the lake alight and chasing away the fog which shrouds the mountaintops. The water glitters like gems as the sun's rays glance off of the surface, but few in the great city at the lake's southern shore stop to appreciate the sight - Tzintzuntzan, the Place of Hummingbirds, appropriately buzzes with human activity.

The hive of nearly 30,000 P'urhepecha lives is uncharacteristically busy for so early in the morning. At the greatest pyramid in the city center they gathered, a thronging mass, hooting and cheering as the incessant bang of drums came from all sides. Atop the pyramid, two warriors drag forth a strong-looking foreigner - a Mexica warrior, captured at the frontier. For all that he tries to look dignified and fearless in the face of his doom, the youth cannot conceal the animal glint in his eye - an all-consuming fear of his fate, which approaches all too quickly.

The petamiti, or head of the priestly caste, comes forth. Resplendent in his feathered robes and sporting a magnificent headdress, even the excited crowd is forced into a moment of awed reverence. Hands raised to the sky, he brandishes a dagger of volcanic glass, bejeweled with green jade, and begins to speak. With his powerful voice, he shouts and sings praises to Curicaueri, the god of war and of the sun. Held down upon the altar, the captive stares listlessly at the skies, lips moving in some futile prayer to Huitzilopochtli, his city's patron god.

At last, his dreadful wait is over. With a final shout to the heavens, the petamiti brings the ebon blade down. With a twist, the captive's ribcage is opened. There is no screaming, only a stunned stare and the near-numbness of terrible agony, as he watches his own still-beating heart leave his chest cavity and be presented to the skies above. As the steps of the pyramid turn scarlet with blood, the P'urhepecha cry out as one, safe in the knowledge that, nourished with human blood, the sacred round would continue to turn.

All they could hope is that it would continue to turn in their favor...
 
II. - Opening Moves

Gruekiller

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Opening Moves - January 1356



The sun has just risen on the 10th of January, in the year AD 1356. Not that this means anything to most of the inhabitants of Cem Anahuac, the densely-populated isthmus between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. To most of the people living here, the date is 11.6.13.18.13, and no one has the faintest idea what "January", "anno domini", or "Gregorian" even means. This year falls squarely in the middle of the Postclassic age of Mesoamerican civilization. It has been over 600 years since the imperial power of Teotihuacan waned, and over 200 years since their successors, the Tolteca, likewise faded into the annals of history. Although the Classical heyday of Maya civilization is past, Maya kingdoms still war in the Yucatan and Guatemala, and the power of the Mexica at Tenochtitlan has only just begun to rise.

To the west, in what would be the modern Mexican states of Michoacan and Jalisco, another empire rises as well. These are the Tarascans, or the P'urhepecha in their native tongue. Recently unified under the purview of the great cazonci Tariacuri, these fierce and proud people have sprouted up around the city of Tzintzuntzan on the south shore of Patzcuaro.



The current cazonci is Tariacuri's successor, Tangaxuan I, a mildly competent ruler whose only useful skills seem to be his strengths on the battlefield.


'Huetlatoani'? Do we look like Mexica to you?

It is this position I inherit, as (sort of) almighty god-player of this EU3 session - a two-province, New World minor with no forts and hardly an army to speak of. I am fortunate in that every other nation in the region is in precisely the same unfortunate position. If I'm lucky, and play my cards right, I should be able to bring all of Mesoamerica under my "benevolent" rule in time for the inevitable coming of the Europeans.

My first step is to consider pushing the sliders into some more beneficial positions. Unwilling to deal with potential huge rebellions while I'm still fort-less, I ignore Centralism/Federalism for now. I leave Innovative/Narrowminded where it is (firmly in the latter camp), because I will need colonists in the not too distant future. For now I decide to make a move to Free Subjects, which mildly destabilizes us. It hardly matters at present, as I set the Stability slider to maximum. We should reach +3 stability by the middle of the year.



Policy changes thus accounted for, my next goal is to cut the Aztecs down to size. At about the same time that Tariacuri was unifying the P'urhepecha, the Mexica (for that's what the Aztecs call themselves) had built the grand city of Tenochtitlan atop Lake Texcoco. Although they're a far cry from the Triple Alliance that Cortes conquered in our own time, they're very much a rising star in the region and possess the enviable boon of the only fortified province in all of Cem Anahuac, which also happens to be the region's only center of trade. It's too good of a target to ignore.

Our first step is to secure a ring of allies around the growing Mexica state to dissuade them from making any preemptive moves against us. To this purpose, we enlist two traditional rivals of the Mexica - Tlaxcallan (the place of maize tortillas, a name which I felt necessary to share), another Nahuatl-speaking nation to the Aztecs' east, and the Yopi or Tlapanec to their south. Both states in our reality offered the most long-lasting resistance to the Triple Alliance, so it's only natural that they stand with the P'urhepecha against them.



With two taps of the space bar, a day passes and the Tlaxcalteca and Tlapaneca enter a coalition with the Tarascan state. My opening moves are thus concluded, a pair of alliances secured, and the future of my young empire seems a little brighter than before...

 
Last edited:

Grundius

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Sounds like an interesting challenge. Prawnstar nearly conquered the world as the Iroquois. That was with Vanilla though. Let's see how you die with Death & Taxes (which have not seen in action yet, so should be double interesting). Good luck!
 

Gruekiller

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Sounds like an interesting challenge. Prawnstar nearly conquered the world as the Iroquois. That was with Vanilla though. Let's see how you die with Death & Taxes (which have not seen in action yet, so should be double interesting). Good luck!
The Audacity of Hope! I remember reading that. It's a happy coincidence that my own natives AAR likewise has a fairly Obama-esque title.
 
III. - The Death of Huitzilopochtli

Gruekiller

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The Death of Huitzilopochtli - 1356 & 1357



As the campaign begins, I keep a close eye on the rest of Mesoamerica for my chance to strike at the Aztecs and begin the ascendancy of the Tarascans. It's only a couple months before the first blood is spilt in the region - hapless Cozumel is devoured alive by the confederacy of Mayapan. The Yucatan is far removed from our concerns right now, but I worry briefly that Mayapan may soon grow to be a rival of ours.



The next month, we see an opportunity. The Mexica, along with their allies Teotitlan and the Huasteca, have ganged up on poor, helpless Metztitlan in an orgy of senseless, tribal bloodshed - I'm starting to like playing in this region. Once the bulk of the Mexica army has crossed the border, we declare war and move in, soon calling our allies Tlaxcallan and the Tlapanec into the fray as well. (In hindsight, I should have used Tribal Feud, but oh well. I wasn't paying close enough attention.)



The province of Huastec is soon under our control, and the capital at Tenochtitlan-Mexico put under siege. As our armies ransack Huastec, the Captured Slaves event triggers. A unique event for Mesoamerican nations when occupying foreign provinces, it gives the state a welcome infusion of cash and prestige. In the north, Metztitlan is completely occupied, one province by the Mexica and the other by the Huasteca.



Our main army intercepts them at Ixmiquilpan, achieving a victory at a fairly steep cost, apparently due to some incredible terrain advantage on the part of my enemies (my leader has much better shock than theirs, so I'm at a loss). The battered Mexica flee into allied territory in the Huastec lands as my army liberates Metztitlan's cities, meeting the enemy again at Tohancapac, Tziuhcoac, and finally Huastecas, where the Aztec army is completely obliterated.









As the last resistance to our alliance is destroyed, all three Huastec provinces are occupied, and we force them to pay tribute to Tzintzuntzan. With the eastern front thus closed, and Teotitlan apparently unwilling to commit to combat against us, the Tarascan army returns west to join the Tlaxcalteca in besieging Tenochtitlan.



Soon the province is under their control. Having no possibility of taking the great city on Texcoco, the unhappy Tlaxcalteca sign a somewhat lenient peace, returning home to glower at their Tarascan allies.





As the Tlaxcalteca vacate, our army immediately renews the siege, overwhelming the 100 defenders and completely occupying the Mexica state. Their national cohesion destroyed, the entirety of the Aztec state is absorbed into the growing empire of Tzintzuntzan, ending the war and catapulting the Tarascans to primacy in northern Cem Anahuac. Throughout the great city of Tenochtitlan, idols of their patron god, Hutzilopochtli are cast into the lake, and the city burns for a month in the flames of chaos and looting.





I don't have long to appreciate the sight of our name on the map, however. Soon, the first nationalist revolts flare up, starting a series of frustrating rebel battles which would occupy most of the next two years...

 
Last edited:

PrawnStar

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Interesting, although the sub-optimal CB choice is a worry :)

I always enjoy an American native AAR - so subscribed and following even if I don't comment that much as Death & Taxes is a mystery to me.
 

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Interesting, although the sub-optimal CB choice is a worry :)

I always enjoy an American native AAR - so subscribed and following even if I don't comment that much as Death & Taxes is a mystery to me.
Treating it like Vanilla is working for me so far! Or at least until it inevitably comes around to bite me in the bum!
 
IV. - Cazonci Musical Chairs

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Cazonci Musical Chairs - 1357 to 1361



While fighting the Mexica rebels in the Valley of Mexico, Tangaxuan I succumbs to wounds sustained in the heat of the battle. Our nation is wracked with grief, and we lose stability. A new leader is chosen to take his place as the rebels bounce back south to Huastec for what feels like the hundredth time, and the nobles choose Moctezuma I.

... Wait, what?





Sure enough, closer inspection of the MIC file in the D&T folder shows that all of the leader (and ship) names are Aztec. I grumble something about Mexica favoritism and move on with the story; I'd invade and crush the Aztecs if I hadn't already.

Heritage notwithstanding, Moctezuma looks to be a somewhat uninspiring choice to lead our nation, and the Tarascan people agree. It's scarcely more than a year before he's tossed out on his rear (or more likely drowned in Lake Patzcuaro or sacrificed to the sun god), and a new, equally unimpressive leader, Tlacotzin I, takes his place.



At the same time, I realize that I forgot to check out the Great Men roster in January 1357. Woops. All that's left is a one-star infamy reducer - the rest are all naval tradition advisers, useless to me for what is likely to be centuries to come.



An event pops which doesn't affect us in the slightest - the alternative would hurt our stability, and I'm already at max Federalism.



In 1360, news arrives from the Yucatan. Rebels have toppled the confederacy of Mayapan, defecting to the state of Kan Pech to the southwest. Kan Pech has now transplanted Mayapan as the great power of the peninsula, but they don't enjoy it for long, as Mayapan nationalists crop up and give them a wild ride that makes our troubles with Aztec nationalists earlier look like an April picnic.



An upset surfs... er, serfs... event gives us a free slider move towards Free Subjects.



Towards the beginning of 1361, Tlacotzin gets the same treatment as his predecessor, and another Tlacotzin rises to the throne. I'm fairly sure this isn't how Mesoamerican succession actually worked, but anything beats a regency council.



The rest of the year passes uneventfully, our sliders moving slowly towards Land Tech 1 (and forts!) as Tlacotzin II watches his back for the assassin's blade. Without wars to keep us occupied, the coming centuries, it seems, will test my patience.
 
Last edited:
V. - Tzintzuntzan Rising

Gruekiller

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Tzintzuntzan Rising - 1361 to 1366


In late 1362, our faithful tributary of Huasteca defaults, nearly dropping into bankruptcy. In our benevolence, we offer 48 ducats to them. I'm not overly concerned. At the moment, our treasuries are sitting at about 90 ducats and rising, and the loss will be recouped in a year or two. With a stern warning to be responsible with the money we've lent them, Huastec runs off to deplete its treasuries again. Stupid AI.



Bugger.



After some time with the stability slider set to max, the loss of stability is remedied and Land Tech research resumes. In April 1363, we reach Land Tech 1, and the Tarascan leadership sets as its goal the fortification of the capital to external threats. In my wisdom, however, I decide to build the fairly expensive forts in Huastec and Xiriquitzio first to fortify the frontier. I wait until our treasuries recover to pursue the mission.



By May 1364, the Huasteca seem to have forgotten our benevolence, and their king slanders Curicaueri, Tzintzuntzan's patron god, in plain earshot of one of our diplomats. We grit our teeth and refrain from teaching them a painful lesson - we can show mercy every now and then.



As 1365 begins, the fort in Tzintzuntzan is completed, offering a nifty 50 ducats to our treasury. All of our nation is now fortified, with only the Tlaponeca and Zapoteca in the south able to say the same. The Huasteca follow within the next couple of years, but the Maya appear to remain fort-less for now.



Years of quiet have dulled the senses of the usually warlike P'urhepecha, so Tlacotzin decides to subjugate the Metztitleca to the north. They're allied with Tlaxcallan and the Tlaponeca, but so are we, and we've granted military access to them to boot. We doubt that they will defy us openly.



They chose... poorly.



Our army drives east first into Tlaxcallan, the most powerful of the coalition arrayed against us. They still seem angry that we beat them to destroying their enemy, Tenochtitlan, so a lesson in humility will have to be taught to them. The Tlaxcaltec army flees into the uncivilized area south of their capital, which is defenseless when we reach it. The Tlaxcalteca are soon subjugated, and our army turns north to face the Metztitleca besieging Mexico.



By April, the enemy is routed, and both of their provinces under our control. Like Tlaxcallan, Metztitlan now pays tribute to Tzintzuntzan. The Tlapanec decline to face us in battle, meaning the war is now over, and Tarascan domination of northern Mexico is complete.



What this means, however, is that our infamy has risen fairly high, so the Tarascan state decides to refrain from further conquest for a few years and to focus on quietly securing its newfound dominance.



The Huasteca seem to have learned their proper place.



The time comes for another slider change, and this time we go for Centralization. With time this should increase our--

Oh.



Oh dear.
 
Last edited:

ATBKING

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That Is Freakin Priceless!!! I didnt know they did that!! HAHAHAHAHA!!!!


The time comes for another slider change, and this time we go for Centralization. With time this should increase our--

Oh.



Oh dear.
I would Rage. Not Rage quit, but some very very choice words would be said....
 
Interlude - Terms used

Gruekiller

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Ah, don't worry too much. When confronted with such odds, always remember: the AI is stupid. ;)


Here's some notes on Mesoamerican terms, since I realize I've used a lot of fairly complicated ones without much (if any) explanation:

Tarascans:

P'urhepecha, or Tarascans: The people of the nation central to our tale. The former is the name they have for themselves, the latter the one the Spaniards invented for them.

Tzintzuntzan: The place of the hummingbird, capital of the Tarascans. Used in place of the name of the country at times, especially with regards to another country acting towards us. E.g., the Huasteca are paying homage to Tzintzuntzan.

Michoacan: The anachronistic in-game name for this country, invented by the Aztecs.

Peoples:

Mexica: The name the Aztecs used for themselves, and by which they are usually called.

Nahuatl: The language of the Mexica and Tlaxcalteca

Tlapanec: This is what the 'Yopi' were usually called back in the day. They're the dark grey nation to my south.

Suffixes:

As a descriptor for a place (let's use Tlaxcala as an example), the suffix -ec or -tec is used. Thus Tlaxcaltec. The plural for the people of this place would be the Tlaxcalteca. Also Olmec, Metztitlec, Huastec. 'Aztecs' is the only exception used here, since 'Azteca' sounds awkward.

When referring to a place, -lan is used. Thus the country of the Tlaxcalteca is Tlaxcallan, 'place of maize tortillas'. Also Metztitlan and Teotitlan.
 

InvisibleSandwi

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D&T's comet options, then, are better than WAMMO's. Also, good luck being a Native American minor. You'll need it, of course. To be fair, if you do get it, I'm sure you'll be able to go rampant and perhaps even colonize Europe. It's too bad Heir to the Throne added tons of penalties for going over the infamy limit, because it makes world conquests more difficult by far.
 

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So far so good. I have no doubt you can conquer all of Mesoamerica quite rapidly. Going over BB is nasty, but at least you will be able to handle all the BB wars as long as there are no Europeans. Once they show up, that will be the make or break moment of this AAR (stating the obvious ;) )
 
VI. - Revolting Trade Troubles

Gruekiller

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Revolting Trade Troubles - 1366 to 1370



At the time of the revolt, we have 16,000 men in our army, split in half on guard duty in the former Aztec provinces, where revolts (as it turns out) are the most likely. Our 8,000 men in Huastec manage to force the Aztec nationalists into a retreat, and hurry to Mexico to assist the other half of our forces, who have somehow managed to hold off all 17 regiments of brigands for almost a month. The nationalists come along for the ride, and what ensues is a ridiculous fit of violence in which the Tarascans, Mexica rebels, and brigands fight each other in a flurry of insanity which I couldn't quite capture in screenshots.











By November 1367, more than a year after the revolts began, the last of the brigands are destroyed at Tzintzuntzan and the nation is at peace again. During the revolts, the Tarascan government pursues two changes in policy in the hopes of stymieing future rebellions of this kind. At the cost of one stability, we gain another move towards Free Subjects.



The loss is soon made up by a decision to avoid further Centralization for now, which also has the benefit of improving our relations with two of our tributary states.



Our army's success against the vastly more numerous rebels seems to impress our neighbors, who are ever more wary of expanding Tarascan power.



Meanwhile in the east, unaffected by politics in Mexico proper, the Yucatan is wracked by warfare. The rebels in the state of Kan Pech have reestablished the nation of Mayapan in the heartlands of the extinct principality of Cozumel, and are waging a war of revolution against their former masters of Kan Pech. Although the Mayapanteca are occupying the Campechano capital, the Q'iche, who have come north to assist their Yucatec friends, are holding Tulu'um, the Mayapantec capital.



The Mayapanteca put up an admirable resistance, but against the great armies of Kan Pech and the Q'iche, it is ultimately futile. Mayapan is reduced to a tributary, and Kan Pech forces it to annul its treaties with... Kan Pech.

What?



Having reasserted their dominance in the Yucatan, Kan Pech offers an alliance to Tzintzuntzan. Seeing no need to entangle ourselves in affairs to the east, we politely decline.



Early in 1359, we discover that our tributary Metztitlan is having some succession issues. Cacamatzin Quimichetl, a rebellious noble, is trying to depose the rightful lord of Metztitlan, and, curiously, the Tlaxcalteca and Huasteca have stepped in to help their Metztitleca brothers. Since our tributaries seem to be having some trouble vanquishing the rebels, we send our army in Mexico north to intercept the pretender.



At Ixmiquilpan, we (and our faithful allies) inflict a punishing defeat against the pretender, who bounces back north to be destroyed by the waiting Metztitleca army.



Soon, though, Tlaxcallan is getting uppity again. We're beginning to wonder whether the Tlaxcalteca are worth the trouble of keeping independent.



Soon, we (finally) get a new mission, to annex our vassal of Tlaxcallan. At present, I plan to wait a few years and diploannex them, but the temptation is growing to just cancel our vassalization and absorb them by conquest.



In the spring of 1370, I notice that my merchants aren't trading in Mexico any more, and hit 'T' to discover a rude surprise. The COT was destroyed because of stagnation, and the provinces of Mesoamerica are now, inexplicably, trading through two COTs in India.

The subcontinent, needless to say, is somewhat outside of our trading range. We'll need to wait until said center's value rises so we can create a new COT to replace Mexico. Mildly disgusted, I retire from the campaign for the evening and pick on small European countries in another game for a while to vent my frustrations.



----------------------------------------------------------------------​

This is as far as I've played. What do you think so far?

Should I diploannex Tlaxcallan, or speed up the process at the tips of 16,000 spears?

Should I continue to expand at a leisurely pace as I have so far, or try to conquer the whole of Mesoamerica in one, fell swoop?

What should I do about this disgusting trade nonsense?

Inquiring minds want to know!
 
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InvisibleSandwi

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If I were in your situation, I would probably try to form Mexico as quickly as possible, especially if it gets you into a better government type. It would be self-consistent to then speed-annex Tlaxcallan.

As for Mexico trading through Malabar... I get the feeling it would go something like this:

Kozhikodi Merchant: "Who is this foreigner?"
Kozhikodi Noble: "He claims to have come from across the ocean to sell his wares."
Kozhikodi Merchant: "That means he must have come from Arabia! He is most certainly a spy sent to destabilize us before an invasion! Kill him!"

Never mind the fact that the kingdom of Kozhikode had been trading with Islamic merchants for centuries, or that their knowledge of Amerindian languages would probably be marginal at best, or any of the other problems with this occurring.