Monday, March 26, 2018

EU4 - Sneaky Savoy Part 4: The Prussia of Italy

Licking my wounds from my drubbing at the hands of Castile, I concentrate on improving my technology. Luckily, I’ve been fighting a shitload of wars, so I have been accruing military points at quite a rate. The spread between myself and the other countries is decreasing. Before long, I’m actually a level ahead of time, neck and neck with Spain.
It’s time to do some colonising, however. I hire an explorer and put him in charge of three ships. I first send him to the Caribbean for a look around. Hispaniola is split between France and Brittany, while most of the Antilles belong to England, with the exception of Trinidad, a Spanish possession. Down into South America, England is slowly colonising the whole of the Coast of Brazil while Portugal is entrenching itself in Columbia.

I set up my first colony in Bahia, Brazil, right in between two English colonies. Immediately, though, I realise this is a dumb plan. I don’t want to be competing with England for territory. They are a good ally and I don’t want something like this to screw it up. I send my explorer into the Gulf of Mexico to look for a good place to start and new colony. What I find is French Texas and Spanish Louisiana.

However, Florida is not taken yet, probably because it’s a forbidding swamp with a pitiful development level. So I decide to build my colony there, with an eye to expanding up the coast.
I’ve got to say though – after swinging my explorer back to the Med and down around South Africa – the Cape looks like the best place to colonise. I bet there’s gold nearby, too. Unfortunately, it’s too far for me to manage, so until my colonial range increases I’ll have to settle for building up Florida. After a few false starts, and the realisation that every time my soldiers leave the colonists get genocided by natives, I leave a permanent garrison in Mayami.

I turn my attentions back to Europe. Spain has Sardinia, something that I need if I’m going to form Sardinia-Piedmont as I intend. So how to get it? A plan begins to form. Since I’ve been hoarding Pope mana I sink it all into Papal Influence with the intention of buying a Pope the next time one is elected. Then perhaps I can excommunicate the Queen of Spain and justify a war against them.

However, before this plan comes to fruition, opportunity knocks. England, my trusty ally has had its eye on conquering Ireland for some time now. In fact, the only Irish duchy left is Desmond. Since Desmond is cosy with Spain, England has been cautious about attacking it. But perhaps because of the poor showing in the War of Aragonese Independence, England seems eager to get its groove back on the world stage, especially if that means a rematch with Spain. So England declares on Desmond, and I join in.
I have no idea what AI England is doing in this war. The armies of Desmond instantly ravage their way across Ireland, taking English provinces. The English army inflict a defeat on them that sends them running off to siege Edinburgh – but then they sit there without relieving the captured provinces or attacking Desmond’s army. And weirdly, Desmond actually beats England in not one but two sea battles. The only real progress England makes is to capture Trinidad.
Meanwhile, I’ve sent a small detachment of men from Corsica to siege Sardinia (it will be mine) and sent the rest of my army across the Pyrenees. This time, I don’t have any problems matching Spain militarily. By keeping my armies close together and able to reinforce each other I’m able to trap smaller forces of Spanish troops in between my two armies. I’m also getting absurd bonuses for defensive fighting, so I stay in the mountains wherever possible and let them come to me. Before long, I’ve occupied all the way across the former territory of Aragon.

This seems to wake up England, and they start relieving their occupied territory, and the warscore rockets up. All this time I’ve been quietly feeling out the Spanish to see what they would give me in a separate peace. I could get them to agree to cede one province of Sardinia to me, but not the second, so keep hanging on to see if I can get a better deal.
The warscore hits 100% and England and Desmond come to terms. England fully annexes Desmond, probably unnerving the Scots, who are bound to be next on the list. Thankfully, England has recognised my contribution for the war and makes sure that Spain ceded the northern half of Sardinia to me. It’s also cemented England as my most valuable ally.

Because they’ve done quite a turn for me. I now hold all the provinces I need to emerge fully onto the world stage as a big player, if not a major power. I am now able to create… The Kingdom of Sardinia-Piedmont, the Prussia of Italy!

It’s good to be the king.

Friday, March 02, 2018

EU4: Sneaky Savoy Part Three – The Aragonese Independence War

Caesar Tudor, King of England, is the bomb. A 6/6/5 leader, he’s expanding across half of Ireland and his fleets have demolished the French time and time again. Even his name sounds cool. Filippo the Bastard, the new Duke of Savoy, wants very much to be his friend. One royal marriage later, and we have an alliance. Since relations with the French seem to have soured (I fear I may have disappointed them one too many times) Caesar will be my new attack dog, helping me maintain my sovereignty.
Losing the French alliance means I’m free to pick up another. Hungary seems like a good bet. With my one remaining diplomatic relationship I also royal marry Bohemia in the hope of picking up the crown when their heirless ruler snuffs it.

Another interesting development seems to be brewing. The Kingdom of Aragon, in a personal union with Castile seems very keen to break away from the super-powerful Castile-Aragon-Naples bloc that has emerged. This seems to have brought some very strange bedfellows together – both England and France are guaranteeing their independence. This means that should they try to break free from Castile, both countries will automatically be called into the war. Normally, I wouldn’t want anything to do with a war against Castile, but I figure if Aragon is freed I have a better chance taking Sardinia from it than the Castilian supercoalition. I also guarantee their independence.

It’s also time to try and fix my forces. I fire a bunch of infantry to make way for artillery, and set to building a couple of large warships. Hopefully that will put me in a good position when Aragon declares independence.

The Caribbean looks like this apparently.
Now to pick another idea group. I figure I’ll take colonisation ideas because I’d quite like to take the Quest for the New World mission and get some prime American land before everyone else gets in. What little I do know about the New World indicates that England is getting on with colonising. They have the West Indies and a few provinces in Brazil. I don’t know what my colonial range will be but, I’ll give it a shot. If the Americas fail I can always try colonising Africa or even going round to India.

About this time I’m called into a fight with Mantua by my tiny ally Ferrara. Now, Ferrara has been a faithful friend to me over the years, so I figure I can take a one-province Italian minor to help a pal out. Mantua’s 8K army makes a beeline for my 28K forces waiting in Genoa. Now, their maintenance isn’t up but it shouldn’t be a problem because of my absurd defensive bonuses and the fact I outnumber them 3 to 1.

However, I get utterly trounced. It’s at this point I realise I’ve fallen badly behind on military technology (the ultimate rookie error). I have 7 tech for their 10, so naturally, I’m completely outclassed. I ragequit about here out of sheer shame out of losing to Mantua. I’m not afraid to admit it. I reload and refuse to join the war. I need to do something about this tech points problem. I have a +2 military advisor, so that helps a bit. Then Filippo the Bastard dies and is replaced by his slightly more competent heir. I manage to get up to 8 military development in short order.

The King of Bohemia dies. I don’t inherit, since it appears he produced an heir from somewhere mysteriously. Baws.

However, now it looks like Hungary is spoiling for a fight with Venice over Dalmatia. Since I like to take any opportunity I can to kick the Venitians in the cods, I wade in. I figure I can actually be of assistance despite my shit army if I avoid giving battle and concentrate on sieges. I quickly occupy Brescia while the Hungarians take Treviso, then make my way across the straits to give Venice another thorough drubbing. I complete the siege and wait for the ticking warscore while the Hungarians finish sieging up the remaining provinces.

Venice is sacked yet again.

Unfortunately, Aragon chooses this moment to break its chains. I’m instantly plunged into a war against Castile with its 11, that’s right 11, military tech. I quickly make a separate peace with Venice in exchange for Brescia, and leave the Hungarians to their own devices. Now the real battle is on and I will need all of my might to even stand a chance against Castile. Fortunately, with France and England to do the heavy lifting I should be OK. Right? Right?

Looks like good odds, right?

Actually, it’s really not. My armies are ineffective against the Castilians’ assault – I mean, they even have a little early modern arquebusier model, and I still have a medieval pikeman. Unfortunately, France and England aren’t doing super well either, and Castile has called Austria into the war. England make some gains in Castile’s north African possessions, but Austria blitzes through France’s northern half, occupying a vast swathe of territory. Aragon and myself are too puny to take Castile alone, so we settle for completely occupying Naples. It’s not enough.

FFS Austria.
France cuts its losses and makes peace, turning the vast Austrian army in my direction. Kaiser unt Koenig! Buddy! I thought we were pals! I realise quickly if I don’t make a separate peace before England does, there’s a good chance I will lose some provinces. So I peace out for a lump of cash and eat the opinion malus with England.

England fights to the end, but only on the seas, as it prefers. I can only watch as Castile’s arquebusiers massacre the brave Aragonese rebels. Aragon falls once again under the Castilian yoke, and very quickly after integrates them, forming Spain.

Goodbye, poor brave Catalonians!
I lament, because along with those brave rebels died my last chance of conquering Sardinia, therefore my last chance of creating Piedmont-Sardinia. Spain is stronger than ever before. God forbid if they annex Naples.