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King of Men
Posted: Saturday, December 09, 2017 9:21:03 AM
 Legatus legionis

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Joined: 11/23/2007
Posts: 8,470
Location: Nowhere
For the seventh session, I abandoned the sinking ship of Holstein and took over Scandinavia from Clonefusion, who had left in frustration at his unending bad luck with rulers. The sensation was somewhat like getting out of an ancient Honda from the second millennium, and pushing down the accelerator on a Tesla; the feeling of immense power under your command is intoxicating. Scandinavia has 3000 men just in retinues, and can call up another 6000 from the demesne; that's before considering vassals. I don't think Holstein ever had 9000 men in the field at any time in its 180-year history, to include the invasion of Scotland and the Great Holy War for England.

  • Corporate Raiding: Naturally, with all this leverage, I immediately went looking for distressed assets to liquidate. Fortunately, in the current business environment, it wasn't at all difficult to find some; in fact, it appears that when you park 9000 men in a province, any local assets become distressed remarkably quickly. Across the session, as I acquired new equity, I held fire sales, wrote down goodwill, and took money out of pension plans - in this primitive age, with index funds yet to be invented, most people's pension plan is their children, and they are surprisingly reluctant to consider that they can just acquire some more. In this manner I acquired several thousand ducats, which I immediately reinvested in the business, ie my demesne. Shareholder value increased considerably.
  • Loot Boxes: While looking through the assets of my newly-acquired companies, deciding what to liquidate first, I came across no less than three keys to the Strange Chest you occasionally acquire. Two with gold, one with ancient, useless parchments. (I mean, for all I know they contained the vital information that the DNA of the herb moly is twisted into configurations that channel the fundamental force, and blunt the mental powers of the Jackal... but as Kuipy isn't playing in this campaign, that would still be useless.) Anyway, I'm shocked, shocked I tell you, that Paradox allows gambling in these games.
  • Agent-Principal Problems: I made independent several counts who held land directly of me, in an effort to keep below 150 realm size; they were promptly reconquered by my vassals empire-building middle managers.
  • Activist Investing: Noticing that Scotland was having a revolt, I headed over there to help out Zirotron by raiding the rebels voting my shares for the incumbent Board. Unfortunately I hadn't paid close enough attention; it turned out that Ziro was the rebels. My bad! I apologised and started raiding voting against the usurper king instead, but to be honest I don't think I'm going to be very popular in Scotland for a while. However that may be, I do have to salute Ziro's ability to play tall; in Scotland the baronies would consistently yield 60, 70, even 80 ducats - immensely satisfying after spending years sieging buying distressed real estate in Eastern Europe for shillings on the ducat, and getting a measly 8-12 ducats apiece.
  • Hostile Takeover: The kingdom of Saxony is currently held by a branch of the Iverings, Vaniver's dynasty; it is obviously the rightful clay of the Ynglings. With the prestige of my raiding, I was able to declare a Kingdom Subjugation war, which is currently going quite well - although who knows what will happen next session, when Vaniver returns and, perhaps, decides to defend his kinsman. Fighting a player is quite a different affair. But whatever the outcome I will have burned large parts of Saxony to the ground and extracted all movable goods and some that their owners thought were nailed down, and thus marked my displeasure with the annexation of Jutland, which I had given to an Yngling to keep below the realm size.




    I don't know, maybe people see this all the time? It was new to me, anyway.



    Player map, 967. Vaniver missing this session, which is why France looks so empty; James (in Byzantium) dropped due to work changes. Notice Ranger expanding into Mali, and Ziro again in charge of Scotland. If anyone would like to join and pick up a slot, drop me a PM.


    Read my blog.
    Norway Rome The Khanate Scotland Scotinavia Christendie the Serene Republic has always been at war with the Bretons False Empire Caliphate Persians Russians English Hungarians Oceanians Saracen Jackal! Death, death, death to the Frogs barbarians infidels necromancers vodka-drinking hegemonists Sassenach nomad menace Yellow Menace heathen Great Old One!
  • King of Men
    Posted: Sunday, December 17, 2017 8:43:51 AM
     Legatus legionis

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    Joined: 11/23/2007
    Posts: 8,470
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    Events of the eighth session:

  • Poison Pill: As the seventh session ended I was in the middle of a hostile takeover of Saxony, which at that time was going well. Unfortunately the Saxon board of directors rallied, and passed a poison-pill addendum to their charter, such that if any shareholder with more than ten percent of the shares attempted to acquire a controlling interest, the other shareholders would be issued new stock, drastically diluting the would-be acquirer. And additionally, Vaniver and Gollevainen both joined the war on Saxony's side, and I could not siege quite fast enough to reach 100%; so I white-peaced.
  • By-the-Numbers Sequel: I admit that you've probably seen this movie before, but that's ok, you're still going to pay for your ticket. I invaded England on a Kingdom Subjugation CB; Vaniver joined on the English side; I wasn't able to destroy the gathered armies of Christianity, including their very annoying camp followers, the famous HOs.
  • Late Fees: I'm told that Blayne had an arrangement with Clone whereby he would give one gift per session, and then Venice would not be raided. This insurance premium has not been paid since 935, in spite of several dunning letters, so I got some repo men together and set sail for the Med to collect the late fees. Unfortunately, it seems that the Adriatic neighborhood has really gone downhill lately; they've got a new landlord - Dragoon made Venice tributary - and he's jacked up the rent and cut down maintenance. A really rough crowd has moved in; and Blayne has apparently spent money upgrading the siege hail, the immense catapults throwing a mix of rocks and incendiaries that protect Venice from intruders by sea. Long story short, my repo men ran into some Venetian backstreet gangs (back-canal?) and came home without the money they'd been sent for.
  • Subsidiary: In order to concentrate on my principal areas of focus, and also because I was over the realm-size limit, I have spun off the Kingdom of Nordriki, giving the shareholders a one-for-one share dividend. The initial stock market response has been very positive - the two companies have a combined market capitalisation about 10% over what they did as a single company - indicating that the investors agree with me that this will enable both companies to concentrate on their strengths.
  • Empire Building: My middle managers, to their credit, keep trying to expand my market share; this session saw, among others, the Fourth Vestfoldian and Fifth Alfheimr Conquests of Insee Orc. Admittedly Insee Orc remains under Scottish sovereignty, but you have to give some points for identifying the most-synergistic strategy and then committing whole-heartedly to it.
  • Aggregate Demand Shortfall: The Black Death washed over Europe, drastically reducing the number of consumers for my products and hence my revenues.
  • The Gathering Storm: While nothing definite has been decided, no infallible edict has been handed down from the throne of St Peter, still there is a strong sense in the air that the next Crusade must be in the Baltic.





    Europe at the height of the recession.



    Players, 996. Notice Finland released, Pruthenia conquered, and new player 'Gamechanger' on my eastern flank. Golle suffered a rebellion and was reduced to a kingdom within the British Empire, but the rebel was a kinsman and he'll switch to playing him when the new session starts, so no permanent damage. Hadogei absent this session, and Jerusalem collapsed as a result.



    Political map of Europe, with two interesting characters. Top is my current Doge, whom I managed (at last!) to get elected in his twenties, and who is also Quick. With, I hope, a thirty-year career ahead of him, I hope to make him a Sea King; so far I've never gotten higher than Ravager with something like sixty raids. This current one has five raids so far (after the dozen-or-so it took to get Viking, which is MTTH rather than deterministic), but they do accumulate. The second character is an old Yngling battleaxe: A scarred, one-handed Shieldmaiden who has survived two husbands. This by way of warning for anyone considering a crusade in the Baltic: This is the sort of opposition you'll be facing.


    Read my blog.
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  • dragoon9105
    Posted: Sunday, December 17, 2017 9:37:01 AM
     Lieutenant General


    Joined: 8/25/2014
    Posts: 2,148
    I will have you know my properties are the best properties. The Absolute Best, Nobody is better. In fact we are so good we expanded our real estate market to Egypt, Greece and Africa and let me tell you those are some of the best lands you can get this side of China. The Absolute Best, I know becuase I oversaw the construction my self. The Pope, hes a great friend, he tells me all the time that he loves my properties and invests in them. Now would such a popular man like the pope ever donate money to something that wasn't the best. No of course not. Those Venetians don't know how good they have it, Im giving them the best deal those merchants could ever get, Honestly its not even a good deal on my end, but im such a great guy im giving it to them anyway. Also I'm running the MR Catholic contest pretty soon, its going to be great becuase im hosting it make sure to tune in.
    King of Men
    Posted: Friday, January 05, 2018 8:43:23 AM
     Legatus legionis

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    Joined: 11/23/2007
    Posts: 8,470
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    Events of the ninth session:

  • Monarch of the Ocean Sea: Having gotten the election as Doge in his twenties, Thorsteinn has had thirty years to spread the terror of his name; the black dragon-headed ships have drawn up on beaches from the Faeroes to the Crimea. In 1029 he was proclaimed Sea King by the acclamation of the leidang, giving him - in Yngling legal theory at least - the right to tax all ships that move upon the ocean sea, and all who live within three leagues of the coast. I celebrated by painstakingly raiding every coastal province in Scotland.




    Thorsteinn. Note the scars, the hook hand, the hard-learned caution with which he now approaches raiding.


  • Strategic Debt-Equity Swap: A new Crusade being in the offing, I was naturally worried that it might come to the Baltic; although the Ynglinga Rike is now, probably, a match for either France, England, or Bohemia individually, I would have great difficulty fighting all three, the more so if Scotland and perhaps Castille joined. Fortunately the Pope is currently under the muscular thumb of the Lotharing state that dominates Italy; and I was able to reach an agreement with Dragoon whereby I would give him a gift, and he would direct the Crusade elsewhere. At least, that was my understanding at the time. Dragoon seems to think that he was asking for a loan, as he was at that particular moment being attacked by a coalition of four other players worried about his power to, among other things, direct Crusades, and in dire need of money. With my princely gift, he was indeed able to maintain the field against them, and drive them off; apparently they had difficulty coordinating their armies, and were defeated individually. In any case Dragoon both sent the Crusade to Mali, and later repaid the gift with a handsome interest. It must be admitted, however, that this brilliant stroke of diplomacy may have somewhat annoyed the players of France, Castille, Venice, and England.
  • Jomsvikinga Saga: My very own Holy Order finally appeared, modded to be of a useful strength. (Let would-be Crusaders be warned.) I sent my third son Gudfrid to join them, hoping to bind this strong force to my family by making him its head. Alas, he slept with the wrong person, or possibly in the wrong position (the code of the Jomsvikings isn't against homosexuality, per se, but you'd better not be the bottom) and they burned him at the stake.




    Gudfrid. Obviously chastity and celibacy only applies to women.


  • Vertical Integration: Using my de-jure claim, I recovered Jutland from the Saxon kingdom.
  • Subcontractor Failure: One of my vassals attempted a Holy War for Holstein against the same Saxons; thinking that the war would be easy but I might as well help, I sent my raiders down to get some gold and take any opportunity they found to smash the Saxon armies. Unfortunately, as it was a Holy War, the Saxons had this time provided themselves with three Holy Orders, and any smashing went the other way. Holstein remains German and Christian.
  • Conflicts of Interest: Thorsteinn has accumulated 15000 prestige, and is quite unlikely to be able to use all of it in Kingdom Subjugations before he dies. Alas, his sons are nowhere near as good.
  • One Special Lion: Once again over the realm-size limit, I spun off Finland to a promising Yngling.
  • Yule Break: We've had a two-week break for the midwinter blot; in between hanging thralls and laving the æsir-images with horse's blood, I found some time to update my CK2 converter, which now works for the Japan patch and Cradle of Civilization - to include the new provinces, for which Paradox has not yet found time to update theirs.




    Player map, 1031. Missing Gollevainen in England, Ziro in Scotland, and Hadogei in Jerusalem.



    Political map, 1031. Note Finland released; I'll edit them the remaining worthless Finnish provinces and make the Ynglinga Rike lean and hungry once more.


    Read my blog.
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  • King of Men
    Posted: Sunday, January 14, 2018 8:49:51 AM
     Legatus legionis

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    Joined: 11/23/2007
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    I am occasionally reminded that, although I am perhaps the most visible player of these megacampaigns, and so may be said to have something of a reputation, this does not come about because I'm actually any good; it's all persistence, showing up every week, and writing AARs. This was one of those sessions:

  • Not Yet Dead: With the excellent Sea King Thorsteinn on the wrong side of sixty and, alas, unlikely to reign much longer, I wanted to use some of his 15000 accumulated prestige on a few kingdom subjugations (a custom take-a-kingdom CB in our mod, 3000 prestige a pop). I therefore decided, as one does, to invade Poland; a subsidiary of Bohemia, spun out by Yami with a king of his dynasty ("von Borghest"Wink to satisfy the realm-size limit. Beating an AI kingdom is not difficult; I was confident in my ability to take on Yami as well, when he inevitably joined to protect his kinsman; unfortunately I had not reckoned with Dragoon deciding that he is the World Police, and sending 20000 men to protect the Catholic Succession in Poland. Consequently Poland is not yet dead.
  • The Svithjod Crusade: It had to come: The thirty-year cooldown ran out, and the Pope declared a Crusade for Sweden. With fifty thousand men on the march, and technology sufficiently advanced that attrition wasn't much of a factor, I had only one chance: Send my men south to Rome and convince the Pope himself that he was actually losing. Unfortunately Dragoon, though not part of the crusade, took exception to this and I had to retreat; after that there was nothing I could do to prevent the loss of my wealthy heartland.



    Diplomatic situation at the beginning of the Crusade.



    Not kidding about the fifty thousand.


  • Gjenerobringen: Obviously I wasn't going to let that stand. As soon as Vaniver had set up Sweden to his satisfaction, with Ivering Dukes and an Ivering King, I attacked. Vaniver, naturally, joined the war to defend his kinsman; my army was roughly equal to what he sent to Sweden, plus what the Ivering king could muster. However, his ability to maintain that level of mobilisation was superior. We fought back and forth for several years, during which I won three major battles but was unable to force Vaniver's army to quit the field; and even with several gifts from various player helpers my reserve of money and men attrited. I was at one point up to 70 warscore, but couldn't quite close the deal to make it 100; then Vaniver finally put all his knights on one flank and managed to actually win a battle, and I sued for a WP while I still had enough warscore that the AI would agree.



    Some victorious but unfortunately not decisive battles of the reconquest.


  • The Power of Balance: To his credit, Dragoon did apply the World-Police concept even-handedly; he invaded Sweden, beat the AI like a drum - in this case Vaniver didn't bother to contest the outcome - and then invited me to retake it from him, which I did. Thanks Dragoon.
  • Patches and Rags: While I was busy with all this, Scotland (subbed by Khan) snuck in an attack on my wholly-owned subsidiary, Nordriki, and had 80% warscore before I noticed. I joined the war, but not fast enough to prevent them getting to 100 - they were only two sieges away - and peacing out for Lappland. Now Lappland is actually an insult; the indigenous people who call themselves Sami were called 'Lapps', 'patches', from the alleged state of their clothing. And indeed those ten provinces are possibly the most worthless in the game. Nevertheless they make an unsightly hole in my tidy Scandinavian Empire and I fully intend that they shall be returned, and Scotland burned to the ground to pay the interest on the loan.



    Player map, 1054. Not shown: Scotland and Spain, Castille, Iberia, whatever-the-devil that peninsula is called; both subbed by people who had to leave early.


    Read my blog.
    Norway Rome The Khanate Scotland Scotinavia Christendie the Serene Republic has always been at war with the Bretons False Empire Caliphate Persians Russians English Hungarians Oceanians Saracen Jackal! Death, death, death to the Frogs barbarians infidels necromancers vodka-drinking hegemonists Sassenach nomad menace Yellow Menace heathen Great Old One!
  • King of Men
    Posted: Saturday, January 20, 2018 7:19:13 AM
     Legatus legionis

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    Joined: 11/23/2007
    Posts: 8,470
    Location: Nowhere
    Events of the eleventh session:

  • Paying the Dane-Geld: Although Dragoon prevented me from conquering Poland last session, the need for his intervention apparently scared Yami; it is true that the Bohemian and Polish kingdoms together would have some difficulty fighting me, if those were all the players in the war. We therefore reached an accommodation: Bohemia is my tributary, which saves me the trouble and expense of actually sending tax collectors across the Baltic, and in exchange the various Borghest kings sit their thrones securely. (At least from the Ynglings.) There was another timeline once, where Poland was a fief of the Ynglings; it didn't work out so well, in the end, but it was none of the Poles' fault. There weren't many of them left, when the Chinese nuked Nuremberg. "Poland is suffering from a fantastic amount of overstretch; it has been bled totally dry. It has no manpower left, no supplies, no oil, and is trying to support an army of 400 divisions of which 60 (!) are armoured. Its dissent is 30%. These days I think very carefully before ordering Polish troops to attack, because the casualties cannot quickly be made good"; these are the occupational hazards of spending a decade in a global total war as the expendable front-line vassals of the Ynglinga Rike. Perhaps this time will be better.
  • Great Holy War: I finally managed to unleash the Great Holy War for Saxony that I've been planning for several ingame decades. Saxony is rightful Yngling clay, and currently held by an Ivering; additionally it contains the Norse holy site at Braunschweig, meaning that a successful war would give me two achievement points rather than one. Vaniver chose not to dispute this one; even so, the AI put together quite an impressive army, equal to what I invaded with at 14k. However, that took time and allies, and by the time it was ready to fight I had assaulted enough castles to give me the victory.



    Alfgeir leads his men in a very satisfying victory against the Christian defenders of Saxony.


  • The Swedish Inquisition: Speaking of Iverings, there are still some quite powerful dukes and counts of that ilk left over from the Crusade. Being followers of the White Christ, they are quite vulnerable in the majority-Norse Ynglinga Rike; in effect the only ones annoyed when I revoke a title from an Ivering are the other Iverings. I did however have to spend some time managing my council, as every time someone became malcontent he would block my revocations just to be difficult, and apparently buy enough favours to take half the council with him. I ended up making Nordriki independent again just to get rid of king Bersi - I was also well over the realm-size limit, and in fact still am, so it was somewhat convenient as well as satisfying to be able to fire him not just from the council but the realm. The Inquisition is not yet ended, but the power of the Iverings has been vastly reduced with just one civil war to enforce my edict, and the spread of the religion of slaves has been contained and partly rolled back.
  • Ut! Ut! I now found time to turn to the Scots infesting the northern part of Scandinavia, and begin the process of chucking them out with a holy war for Norrland.
  • Vox Popoli, Vox Diaboli: I handed out the Saxon provinces to various Ynglings, carefully following the Duchy boundaries to make nice holdings that could in principle become viable Holy-Roman-Empire minors (or even an elector in the case of Braunschweig); unfortunately I forgot to make the castles into province capitals first, and so they were all handed out as "Grand City of Foo". Thus they became Republics, and inland ones at that; and my grand design of Yngling Saxony was gone, thanks to this damn "democracy", within a generation. Apparently if you give the peasants a vote, they don't feel obliged to use it as you intended, and will elect completely random nobodies!






    Player and political maps, 1082. Note the Ynglinga Rike stretching well down into Germany - sadly, most of this will have to be made independent again so as to comply with the realm size limit. Also note Khan in Gaul and Egypt. Hadogei missing again from Anatolia; sadly, we may be about to lose him, his presence has been very sporadic recently.


    Read my blog.
    Norway Rome The Khanate Scotland Scotinavia Christendie the Serene Republic has always been at war with the Bretons False Empire Caliphate Persians Russians English Hungarians Oceanians Saracen Jackal! Death, death, death to the Frogs barbarians infidels necromancers vodka-drinking hegemonists Sassenach nomad menace Yellow Menace heathen Great Old One!
  • King of Men
    Posted: Sunday, February 11, 2018 6:37:39 AM
     Legatus legionis

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    Joined: 11/23/2007
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    Location: Nowhere
  • Corporate Rebranding: In order to demonstrate our commitment to a forward-looking, up-to-date policy for meeting the challenges of the eleventh century, the "Ynglinga Rike" will henceforth be known as "Yngl, Inc" - a lean, modern look for a lean, modern corporation!
  • Diversity Initiative: Yngl, Inc is passionate about strengthening diversity and inclusion in our workforce. In token of that commitment, we have sent a strong recruiting taskforce to the Iberian peninsula, an area which (due to a deplorable bias for which we accept full responsibility) had never yet paid the sea-scot. We're pleased to report that our ships came home full-laden with hard-working, committed, and above all diverse interns, ready for lengthy careers in our farms and workshops.
  • No-Score Winner: This session saw some major wars against Italy, or the "Latin Empire" if you prefer, as people decided that Dragoon was way too powerful and should be cut down a notch or two. The Norwegian army covered itself in glory in both these wars by managing not to get killed, which sounds like sarcasm but was actually a fairly uncommon achievement on the coalition side.
  • Class Interest: There was some sort of rebellion in Venice, which wouldn't have been a problem for Blayne except that Dragoon decided he could be doing with some of the rebel lands, apparently not so much for the land as to give Blayne an added incentive to move out of Venice upon conversion. I did not get the full story, but there seems to have been a 'negotiation' which took the form of Dragoon gently suggesting that Venice is not viable in the long run and that the Chinese climate is much more conducive to health, Blayne objecting, and Dragoon deciding to demonstrate the truth of his thesis - by attacking the rebels. Now, clearly the inevitable workings of the dialectic will eventually lead to these feudal lords, who can currently throw their weight around against the capitalists, being relegated to the ash-heap of history; but the dialectic works by individuals asserting their class interests, and so I decided to intervene on the side of my fellow merchants. This worked splendidly, between my 14k troops and Blayne's largish army we actually had more soldiers in the field than Dragoon did. (Which is not to say that anyone was necessarily 100% mobilised. ) Indeed, we quickly reached 100% warscore, and found that we could not finish the rebellion because Dragoon was occupying the area he had attacked for. So we decided we'd have to destroy the Italian army, and joined forces to do so, and meanwhile Dragoon finished his war against the rebels.
  • Coalition Warfare: The acquisition of a whole duchy evidently put Dragoon well over his human badboy limit, for a coalition immediately formed to fight him. It was led by Khan, playing the Abbasid (formerly Ivering, and presumably a tale hangs thereby, but I don't know what it is) state in southern France, the soi-disant "Gaulbasids". I, being allied to Blayne and not to Khan, could not directly join this war, but there was nothing stopping me from raiding southern Italy to become hostile to Dragoon, and then joining the coalition armies - with which I would not be hostile as long as I stayed out of their territory - for the inevitable climactic battle. Unfortunately, the coalition was entirely unable to coordinate its armies; Dragoon, working on interior lines and with sealift capacity to move quickly around the shores of the Gulf of Lyon, was able to first meet Vaniver's Bretonnian knights innocently marching down an Alpine pass and crush them in detail, then turn to counter-invade Gaul. I could not help with that, as if I had landed in Gaul I would have been hostile to them! Additionally, I was somewhat paranoid about Dragoon suddenly landing his 20k on my 14k stack and crushing it, so that my army spent most of its time in its boats, trying to figure out where the Italians were, not to mention where the dang [i]coalition army[/s] was. Answer, it wasn't. Vaniver, seeing that his heir was drastically superior to his emperor, committed suicide with the intent of increasing his realm levies by several thousand men; that worked so far as it went, but also threw him out of the war. A rebellion erupted in Atlassia (the other Mediterranean republic) and Dragoon was able to defeat the damaged pike retinue by the skin of his teeth. I'm not sure what happened to the Gaulish army but presumably it wasn't good; we finally compromised on a white peace. The one bright spot was that the Ynglinga Hird once again covered itself in glory, being the only one of the four coalition armies not defeated by the Italians.
  • Ill Met in Italia: Two separate Fylkirs, leading their troops on Italian soil, were badly wounded, one of them so badly that he died. There is no luck in attacking Italy, apparently.
  • Conversion! We reached fifty years since the last conversion vote, and this time nobody had any projects they wanted to complete in CK2, nor was anyone in the middle of a civil war. The conversion passed, seven votes to two, and we will now enter the second part of the campaign, Our Doom and Our Pride.




    Europe before the conversion, with realm-size enforcement in a few places - for example Kurland was released to reduce Yngl, Inc to the accepted size.



    Player slots at conversion.



    Europe after conversion. There will be some new slots, as well as five players in Asia; Vaniver (Bretonnia) and Blayne (Venice) are both moving, to Korea and China respectively. The humongous Khazaria will be played by Clonefusion - however, being overrun by nomads in CK2, it's much less formidable than it looks, roughly half its provinces convert without holdings! Medina will be played by Tazzzo, Hooonter will return to play the Peasant Republic of Bavaria, and we have a promise of a player for Bretonnia. The AAR will continue here, where I'll likely have a lot to say about the conversion, the auction, and custom national ideas.



    Read my blog.
    Norway Rome The Khanate Scotland Scotinavia Christendie the Serene Republic has always been at war with the Bretons False Empire Caliphate Persians Russians English Hungarians Oceanians Saracen Jackal! Death, death, death to the Frogs barbarians infidels necromancers vodka-drinking hegemonists Sassenach nomad menace Yellow Menace heathen Great Old One!
  • King of Men
    Posted: Sunday, February 18, 2018 9:23:09 AM
     Legatus legionis

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    Joined: 11/23/2007
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    In accordance with custom older than the Crown Princess of Men, in fact older even than the founding of the of-Men dynasty by my marriage to the Queen of Men, I will mark the transition from CK2 to EU4 with an overview of the geopolitical situation; for this first session I'll concentrate on the players in northern Europe. Here is the situation in 1444:



    with four players surrounding the North Sea, namely my Scandinavia (also known as Yngl, Inc); Scotland (or "The North"Wink played by Zirotron; England played by Gollevainen; and Bretonnia, the French-blue strip along the Channel, which in CK was played by Vaniver but has been taken over by djones for EU4. Also relevant to northern politics are the aggressive Bavarian Peasant Republic, played by Hoonter; the vast yellow blob of Khazaria, played by Clonefusion; and tiny Bohemia, played by Yami-Yagari. Bohemia is about half the size it needed to be, because Yami, in a surfeit of perhaps-misguided altruism, decided to split off his Lithuanian duchies so as to encourage anyone considering taking an Eastern-European slot. It's true that eastern Europe might have needed the help - I think Bohemia still converted with more development than Khazaria, which was overrun by nomads in CK2 and is essentially a wasteland - but in light of the largish Bavaria right next to him, splitting Bohemia, which wasn't even near the realm-size limit, in half seems a bit surplus to requirements.

    Before going into the alliance politics and expansion goals, I have to explain our customisation system for the conversion. To play with historical national ideas would be a bit silly in this completely alternate history; the ones from the converter mod are OK but uninspired; and if everyone builds custom idea sets with X points, then everyone has to spend as many of those points as they possibly can on discipline and combat power, and we end up with ten identical builds. Our solution is to create a number of reasonably balanced national idea sets which are not Space Marines, and then auction them off; since the idea creators don't know what set they'll end up with, they have some incentive to make them all fairly good without just going for twenty bonus discipline every time. The points for the auction are acquired by spreading your dynasty in CK2, points being given for every day a dynasty member holds a title, and more points for higher tiers; then there are bonus points for achievements such as winning a Crusade or reforming your faith, and for dynasty members having interesting (not necessarily good) traits like Sea King and Kinslayer. Any points not used in the auction are converted to mana; the median player gets 1000 points, while the highest-scoring player (Vaniver) had 2800 or so. In addition to our custom idea sets, we auctioned off tag-specific Splendor bonuses, unusual governments, and the Holy Roman Empire; the three highest-bidding players had their entire dynasties entered into the HRE, and we ended up with the Empire spreading from Portugal to the Baltic, thus:



    Clearly this is an important factor in the northern balance of power, at least if the player emperors play correctly. For most of the first session Bohemia was emperor, but so far has proved quite unable to defend the imperial borders.

    With these notes in mind, here are the North Sea and Baltic players:

  • Yngl, Inc: It is perhaps not entirely obvious from the map, but the former "Ynglinga Rike" - recently rebranded in a more modern style to mark our readiness to meet the challenges of the fifteenth century - is the most powerful of the northern nations. As a merchant republic in CK, with a vast additional income from raiding, I was able to develop my Swedish heartland quite heavily as well as converting with about 2000 ducats; the auction gave me the fairly powerful artillery-focused Bombard ideas, English monarchy, and (for this first age) Venetian Trade. What I didn't get was an obvious expansion path: Russia is worthless, taking Bohemia would run me right into the Bavarian Republic (which would no doubt be backed by the Med powers on the principle that if I took all of Central Europe, they would be next), colonisation is blocked by the Scottish dominion of the Atlantic, and Bretonnia is the one northern power that can probably defend itself against me one-on-one. Before worrying about this I need to reunify my immediate surroundings; but with that done I'll have to pick a direction and fight for it.
  • Tweedledum and Tweedledee: You would think there could be only one, but the two British powers seem to have worked out a modus vivendi for splitting their islands and working together; they threw back several Norse invasions in the crusader era, including a Great Holy War for England. Their alliance is of necessity close - clearly, it is either that, or fight like cats in a bag until there is, indeed, only one. It seems clear that they intend to stand away from continental conflicts, which they might have some difficulty fighting effectively in, and focus on trade and colonies; Gollevainen is packing the Friendly Coloniser set which is, let's say, not very military-focused, and Zirotron has the Merchant, which is just what it says on the tin. However, the white Scottish stuff spread stickily over Finland is a bit of an obstacle to friendly, or even standoffish, relations with Scandinavia; the Ynglings are not very forgiving of those who hold what they consider rightful Yngling clay.
  • Silent Knight: Bretonnia's heavy-cavalry retinue won several important wars in CK, most notably my first attempt to reverse the Second Baltic Crusade which briefly won Sweden for the cross. (My second attempt involved diplomacy instead of battle and was much more successful. ) However, the era of heavy cavalry as the arm of decision is perhaps drawing to an end - and more importantly, Vaniver has taken his impressive skills and decamped for Korea, leaving Bretonnia in the hands of new player djones, of whom nothing is known. I give him the epithet 'Silent' because he has, to my knowledge, attempted no diplomacy with anyone; no offer to help me partition the Isles, no arranging of a trade league to bring Asian money to the Channel, nothing. In a multiplayer game this is usually a bad idea. However, he does have some strengths: Before leaving, Vaniver got Bretonnia the Polish Monarchy government, the thematic Hussar idea set (being cavalry-focused, it is probably strongest in the early game), and the Holy Roman Empire.
  • The Bohemoth: I have already mentioned Yami's possibly-suicidal splitting-off of Lithuania; however, this certainly does clarify his choices. Sun Tzu notes that men fight their best when "in death ground", that is, when they have no possibility of retreat; Bohemia is, at any rate, in a very clear-cut position of "expand or die". For this purpose he has the inspiringly-named idea set Divine Right, with early bonuses to unjustified demands and province warscore cost; as of 1470 he is also Emperor and has a personal union with Poland, which must certainly help a bit. The immediate priority for Bohemia is to survive the imminent aggression of the Bayerische Bauernrepublik right on his border; that aggressively-egalitarian polity Does Not Approve of emperors, divine rights, or countries that are not part of the People's Republic. Fortunately for Bohemia, both Scandinavia and Khazaria have an interest in a balance of power in Central Europe; I have no desire to defend my Baltic dominions against a unified German-Polish-Hungarian empire.

    In the first session, people were naturally focused on consolidating a power base, absorbing the nearby AIs that had been protected in CK by the realm-size rule. The main events in Scandinavia:

  • The Hammer of the Gods: My Marshal, Starkadr Sleggja (a well-named man - 'Sleggja' means 'Sledgehammer') converted as a near-divine general; the converter, noticing that he was a Brilliant Strategist, Narrow Flank Leader, Flanker, Zealous, Wroth, and Brave, gave him no less than seven Shock pips. (Two for Brilliant Strategist, one for each of the others). I will perhaps tweak this a bit in the next iteration, it seems balanced for an older version of CK that didn't have so many traits, but for this one I just gave him a cavalry army and watched him rack up the kill count.
  • One Eye, One People, One King: In a series of short wars I hammered Scandinavia into one unified empire under the watchful eye of Odin, getting my first Splendor objective by vassalising Kurland, Nordriki, Austergautland, Estonia, and Sjaelland, annexing their more important provinces on the way.
  • Landnåm: I really could not be having with the Scots presence in Finland, the more so as they annexed the brave Jomsvikings (the black blot in the middle of Finland in 1444). With a shock-7 general I quickly destroyed the Scots army in Finland, then landed in the Highlands to complete the war. Negotiations were opened; I stated that my aims were Finland and Iceland, but offered to share Iceland so we could both colonise. Gollevainen, however, did not consider this satisfactory, believing that three North-American colonisers were at least one too many, and decided to fight to keep Iceland. We therefore had a few minor skirmishes, but nothing to signify:



    When the fortress at York fell, both British powers surrendered.
  • Landnom: For my first idea group I took Exploration, and quickly reached the Americas from my new base in Iceland. However, we have modded our game, giving each trade region an "Off-Limits" modifier until specified dates; in the case of North America, until 1492, so I wasn't able to actually land. The Off-Limits modifier gives an immense malus to colony growth, and is thus supposed to be self-enforcing; unfortunately we recently learned that when someone gains control of an uncolonised province, its modifiers are cleared! However, humans are presumably able to self-police this; the off-limits modifier can still serve as an ingame guide to what is allowed and not. It also applies to India, Persia, and Africa; indeed the interior of Africa will be off-limits for the whole of EU4, so that we can have an actual Scramble for Africa in Victoria.
  • Swallowing the Whale: Not a Scandinavian event, but the Bohemoth managed to live up to its name by acquiring a Personal Union with Poland, twice its size. That should help a bit with resisting Bavarian aggression.



    Players, 1470. Note Spain fully in control of its peninsula, Clone spreading across Russia, Tazzzo uniting the Arabs into a world-conquering force.



    Europe, 1470, with some added Norwegian stats. Top left, my starting and current monarch; bottom left, my Splendor objectives (note Venetian Trade activated); top right, my first custom idea, with Yngling flavour.

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  • King of Men
    Posted: Saturday, February 24, 2018 9:34:51 PM
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    Last time I spoke of the nations surrounding the old grey widow-maker, the North Sea; this time I turn to the wine-dark waters of the Mediterranean Sea. There are four: The Latin Empire under Dragoon; Occitania under Khan; Leon under Sauron; and Atlassia, my fellow pagans (although they follow the effete Greek versions of the true gods rather than worshipping them in their proper manly incarnations) under Ranger. There is also Medina under Tazzzo, but I'm counting it as a Red Sea power to keep this to a manageable size. Everyone has expanded considerably since 1470:





    I am myself getting fairly close to turning the Baltic into an Yngling lake; I also absorbed some of the important trading provinces from Bretonnia in the spectacular collapse of that power. But back to the Med players:

  • Latinx Empire: Dragoon is the most powerful player at the moment, although he claims that he will shortly plateau while the colonisers bypass him; to mitigate this he clearly intends to absorb most of Anatolia, if Clone and Tazzzo let him. Two coalitions have already formed against him in CK, neither of which was successful. He controls the Venice end node and has a strong share in Genoa. Draw your own conclusions on his alleged weakness. That said, it does seem a bit unclear where he's going to expand, though he has flung some colonies into Brazil to participate in the race for South America. This does make quite a few colonisers in a relatively small continent; I wonder if that might lead to Drama? If so, Dragoon is likely to be the winner; with the second-highest auction score, he acquired the all-rounder Knight ideas, Spanish Tercios, and the Ottoman government that more or less guarantees him superb rulers.
  • Bright Blue Blob: The toothpaste colour of Occitania has spread itself north and east by means of backstabbing the Bretonnian player, whose diplomacy was apparently not entirely silent after all, but still highly unsuccessful. As a result, Khan's empire is now the second power of Europe, possibly even the first considering its excellent combination of the Cincinnatus idea set with the Ambrosian Republic government. However, it has now run into what Khan considers his natural border, namely the Weser, which in my opinion is an extremely un-natural border for a French empire; the Rhine and the Seine are really much better eastern limits on these constructions. More to the point, any further expansion will clearly arouse widespread and desperate player opposition; there's nowhere for Khan to go (leaving aside the remnant of Bretonnia) that doesn't have a player power defending it.
  • Definitely not Spain: The most important thing about the Iberian power is its berserk button, which consists of referring to it as 'Spain'. Apart from that, Sauron picked up the trade-focused Mercantilist set, and nothing else, in the auction, and is currently living up to the name by directing all the world's trade through Sevilla and sucking the blood out of it. Sauron looks set to play a peaceable, colonising/trading game; his only known European ambition is to acquire the little bit of Occitania that sticks into Iberia, the better to have two forts block his entire land border. As it currently stands he needs three. He is, however, in sharp colonial competition for Brazil - indeed he mentioned pointer-hovering over the COT there for the two years before the zone opened up, and this appears to have paid off, in that he has the COT.
  • Subject of Greek plays: The worshippers of the effeminate Greek versions of the Indo-European pantheon (still, to be sure, an improvement over the religion of slaves) rule most of western Africa, and have spread their gaily-painted statues even to the Ivory Coast; they are also in the competition for Brazil. The Ivory Coast is a possible flashpoint for conflict with the northern powers, since it is the decision point for where the circum-African trade goes - to the English Channel or to the Med. There are English colonies in the zone, no doubt trying their best to direct the trade north; but so far the Hellenics have had the best of it, seizing the estuaries before the English could get there. Atlassia has the Sea Trader idea set - another of these dang peaceable trade/colonising players! - and the Mamluk government; we've also buffed the Hellenic religion to have the Norse personal deities, suitably re-flavoured. I expect Ranger will try to throw colonies in trade-heavy provinces around Africa, probably all the way to the Gulf of Aden, to ensure that the trade flows around the continent and not through the Levant; he'll wet his beak somewhere near the end before sending the rest to the Med so as not to annoy his powerful neighbours. At the same time he's competing for South America; possibly he'll be spread somewhat thin. However, his territory is eminently defensible by a strong navy, almost as much so as Scandinavia.

    Some events of the session:

  • Silence of the Lions: I was immensely annoyed by Khan's treacherous attack on Bretonnia, coming as it did about three months before I would have declared war myself; I had been contemplating a war for the English Channel trade for the whole week, and then suddenly this French upstart makes me look like a copycat. The Breton player, djoes, had permitted himself to fall behind in military tech, being at level 4 when all his neighbours were at 6. Between that, and the diplomatic error of trusting a player whose name is a clear invitation to outraged shouts of "Khaaaaaaan!", the fall of the much-feared Knights was as swift as inevitable. Bretonnia is still technically a player slot for this session, perhaps even recoverable by a player of sufficiently legendary skill; but the expected outcome is that the stump will be partitioned as soon as the AI protection expires.
  • Revolting Peasants: Hoonter (playing Bavaria) didn't show, which was a great pity since everyone had been anticipating his inevitable bid for the hegemony of Central Europe by crushing Bohemia. Alas, we did not get any such dramatic war (I would have joined Bohemia; an aggressive peasant republic on my southern flank is the last thing I need); instead we got the Bavarian AI attacking Bohemia to free Poland and promptly getting smacked down by every surrounding player, because, after all, AI peasants. This probably ends the ambition of the Bauernrepublik to be an important European power, since Bohemia has expanded considerably and can now credibly fight one-on-one.
  • Spain is not the Emperor: Italy, however, is; Dragoon managed to get himself elected in spite of not being a member.
  • [b]Scramble for America: The Brazil and St Lawrence trade nodes opened, and colonists were instantly dispatched - as in, the day of. Sauron had apparently been doing nothing except holding his mouse on that "Send Colonist" button for two game years, and the howls of outrage were loud in Discord when the other Med powers discovered they had been cheated of their COT. Meanwhile in the north, Golle managed to colonise four provinces while I was working on my first one; however, mine was Stadacone COT at the base of the Gulf of St Lawrence. It's not clear whether this matters, however, since presumably Golle and I share an interest in sending the trade of the Americas to the English Channel.
  • [b]Freezeland: Colonialism popped in my new province of Friesland, which is a bit ironic since I have the fewest colonies of anyone, and it's in the freezing Gulf of St Lawrence at that.

    Maps 1502:

    [center]


    Europe, with my newest Yngling idea and Splendor situation. With the Splendor pouring in from other sources and the age nearing its end, I've started absorbing my vassals.



    North American colonies, such as they are. England with four colonists is expanding very rapidly here, but failed to nab Stadacona.



    South Atlantic. Note the English colonies in not quite the right places to steer the trade. Also note the doomed Latin colonies outside Brazil, where the off-limits modifier was taken off by migrating natives and has been re-added in the edited save; centuries from now an explorer is going to come across a tribe who speak Latin, wear transverse feather crests on their helmets, and ritually shout "Deus Vult!" before eating outsiders.
    [center]

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    Norway Rome The Khanate Scotland Scotinavia Christendie the Serene Republic has always been at war with the Bretons False Empire Caliphate Persians Russians English Hungarians Oceanians Saracen Jackal! Death, death, death to the Frogs barbarians infidels necromancers vodka-drinking hegemonists Sassenach nomad menace Yellow Menace heathen Great Old One!
  • King of Men
    Posted: Saturday, March 03, 2018 8:27:31 PM
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    In the previous two installments I considered the powers surrounding the Old Grey Widow-Maker, the North Sea; and those circling Homer's Wine-Dark Water, the Med. This week I will look at countries which Yngling raiders internship recruiting teams can reach by the Sea-Steed's Road, the rivers and inland seas of Europe; 'sea-steed' is a traditional kenning for 'ship', and the dragon-headed long ships can go wherever there is water, whether salt or fresh.

  • The Alpine Jackal: In the political map of 1444, Bavaria looks rather like a gigantic wolf covering much of central Europe, with powerful German hind legs in the act of extending to send the shaggy Carpathian head surging for the Black Sea. Sadly, Hoonter has been MIA for two weeks, and the aggressive Bayerische Bayernrepublik he created has proved to be more of a jackal, losing territory to the Empires on its southern and northern borders that it was intended to topple; the country is no longer a player spot, and will no doubt disappear shortly, unless Yami keeps a rump state around to support him as Emperor. There just seems to be something about the Alps that attracts jackals. Bavaria has a peasant republic government and the Emperor idea set, which go very oddly together - the ideas are intended to synergise with being Holy Roman Emperor, which is not possible for a republic. But that enduring scourge of countries, a player losing interest, proved more devastating than an odd choice of auction strategy.
  • The Brave Free Men: In past campaigns I have variously fought Cossacks and recruited them, but there has not usually been a player slot centered on the Ukraine and commanded by a player of known skill. Clonefusion actually created the Scandinavian slot I am currently playing, before quitting CK in frustration at what the RNG did to his dynasty; he is not to be discounted whatever nation he plays, and all the more so in one that is clearly going to dominate All The Russias. Khazaria, or Tataria if you prefer, did convert dirt poor, and remains so on a per-province basis, but quantity has a quality all its own; it is counted a Great Power, and rightly so. However, Clone seems unwilling to meddle in Europe; instead he is driving east as fast as he can beat the AI, apparently in an effort to reach the border of Korea before the Hermit Kingdom becomes unstoppably powerful. This development pleases me greatly; although I have fortified my Finnish border I don't care to defend it any more than I have to, and peace in the poverty-stricken east leaves me free to concentrate on the lucrative business of managing the Atlantic trade. Tataria has the Captain idea set, possibly the best naval-oriented ideas in the game; the irony is not lost on anyone, but that was what Clone could get, as he wasn't present at the auction. The formidable Tatar navy will no doubt be dominating the Black Sea any century now.
  • The Medina Traders: Tazzzo joined this game in EU4, and has quickly shown his strength by extending Medina from its start on the coast of Arabia all the way up to Turkey, where his borders meet Dragoon's and Clone's, and into Egypt to the Fourth Cataract. Some may remember Tazzzo as the player who took Fox from a one-province native minor to a continent-spanning power that could fight Baron's England on equal terms, which is one major reason why there are no American powers this time around; they tend to either die or become monstrosities. Medina wields the Byzantine idea set, an all-rounder intended for long-term resilience in war. His Persian neighbours will open up this session, and I have no doubt he intends to absorb a large amount of the Middle East unless stopped; if anyone would like to play Persia, we now have a First Punch rule to ensure that new players aren't attacked until they're ready. Meanwhile he will no doubt keep an eye on the Indian Ocean, ready to extend a gripping hand into it when the subcontinent opens in 1700.

    As for events, it was largely a peaceable session with much building and little action:

  • Vinlander Saga: My first colonial nation formed, and quickly grew to ten provinces in spite of the surprisingly effective resistance of the Mohicans, of whom we have now, however, seen the last.
  • Amazon Crime: The Amazonas trade zone opened, and was quickly split between no less than six colonisers - Leon, Atlassia, England, myself, Occitania, the Latin Empire - producing an amazing amount of border gore:




    The South Atlantic in 1536, showing the immense coastal bordergore of the Amazonas. From north to south Occitania, England, Ynglings, Afer, Ynglings, more Afer, more Ynglings, Occitania, Latins, and then we get into Brazil which is split between Afer and Leon but still pretty mixed.


  • Treaty of Tangiers: Not strictly an event of the session, but of between-session diplomacy; however I include it to soothe eyes scalded by the previous item. The three powers worst affected by the bordergore were able to reach an agreement and consolidate our settlements into reasonably contiguous colonies:




    Treaty for the Relief of Bordergore between the Ynglings, Leon, and Afer Ultima. Unfortunately it was not possible to get the Latin Empire or Occitania to sign, a crime against humanity for which they will surely face drastic international sanctions.


  • Founding Fathers: Two colonial nations will henceforth be played, namely Golle's Canada by Ziro (formerly Scotland, which will no doubt be annexed) and Ranger's Elysium, which will be taken over by James Craig. They're just ten-province minors, what can possibly go wrong?




    North America, showing the immensity of my colonial nation Vinland as well as the pathetically tiny British and Atlassian colonies, and the interloping Occitanians in Greenland. Also my court, as a marginal improvement on unexplored bits of frozen wasteland. You'll note that unlike some people I haven't been able to run all level-3 advisors and five colonies at the same time.



    Player map, 1536; missing Khan because he dropped a moment early.



    Political map, showing the Yngling ideas I unlocked this session. Notice that 'internal' is a pun between "domestic" and "using interns". Regarding the Triangle Trade, Yngl, Inc is much too progressive to participate in any such barbarous remnant, but we'll note that our intern contracts are transferrable for compensation.


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    Norway Rome The Khanate Scotland Scotinavia Christendie the Serene Republic has always been at war with the Bretons False Empire Caliphate Persians Russians English Hungarians Oceanians Saracen Jackal! Death, death, death to the Frogs barbarians infidels necromancers vodka-drinking hegemonists Sassenach nomad menace Yellow Menace heathen Great Old One!
  • King of Men
    Posted: Sunday, March 11, 2018 5:59:11 AM
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    From the cool blue waters of the west I turn my attention eastwards, where the Yellow Peril lurks around its eponymous sea:

  • Lazuli Dragon: Blayne's choice of Venice in CK was notoriously a placeholder; now that the map allows it he has returned to his beloved China and set about unifying All Under Heaven. He is playing the aptly-named Large idea set, optimised for wide play with bonuses to state number, force limit, and coring. He also has Mughal Artillery, Guns of Urban, Polish Crown, and Danish Subject Loyalty Splendor bonuses. With that build he almost has no choice but to expand, and already every other player in the region is his tributary - although I note that Korea does not, in fact, pay any actual tribute, and it may be worth asking the extent to which that particular tail may not only wag, but actually comprise, the dragon. Whatever the case there, Blayne clearly has no intention of suffering any Unequal Treaties or Great Occupations in this timeline.
  • Permit Kingdom: Vaniver, playing the Ivering dynasty and the Bretonnian kingdom, scored by far the highest in CK achievement points, but chose to move to Korea rather than build Bretonnia into the Big Blue Blob it by right should have been. He has taken the Scholar idea set, focused on cost reductions; he also has the Prussian Monarchy government, and no less than three late-game Splendor bonuses: French Musketeers, Prussian Discipline, and Dutch Officials. Vaniver's Korea scares the hell out of skilled players in European Great Powers; this country is the reason Khazaria has snaked its way across Asia, to get in touch and be able to intervene before it becomes unstoppable. Such panic is, however, uncalled for; the scholar-bureaucrats of Korea are already choking on the mountains of paper they generate, and have not even been able to muster the aggression to take their victory card from Jinshi. It appears that they require their generals to get permission before invading people who have good land; presumably also to fill out form P-33 in triplicate before digging a slit trench. Such a country will never be dangerous to a commercially-minded people exposed to the bracing wind of competition, who must innovate just to survive.
  • Fallen Cherry Blossoms: At conversion, Hadogei intended to play Japan, or more particularly Oda; he got the Viking idea set for it, giving it the ability to raid and a strong naval theme; he then added Manchu Banners for extra armies. To allow Japan time to unify, we apply the Divine Wind to it until 1500, by which mainland players may not send armies to the islands unless first attacked. Unfortunately, Hadogei wasn't able to attend the first session, and Oda was subbed by a player of slightly lesser skill, who found it necessary to raid Korea - breaking the protection of the Divine Wind, and letting the Koreans into the islands before they unified. Hadogei's move to Hosokawa for the second session came too late; Japan is now a Korean protectorate, and unplayed.




    The Yellow Sea in 1576.


    It was another quiet session with much colonising, some sort of internal theological dispute in the religion of slaves, and many complaints about the spawn location of the printing press:

  • Small Colonial Wars: James Craig has taken over Atlassia's colony of Elysium and equipped it with the Imperialist idea set and the Dutch Republic government; he soon demonstrated the aptness of the idea set by attacking Golle's colonial nation British Columbia and managing to annex it fully before Golle could master the game interface sufficiently to interfere. Ranger's other colonial nation, Mu, was apparently inspired by this success into attacking both my CN Vinland and Golle's other colony, Canada; however, in these cases no player intervention was necessary, since both these two colonies had three times the army of the Greek colony. Mu's core in Newoundland has been annexed to Canada, with the island Anticosti going to Vinland.
  • Probe Majorem: The followers of the White Christ appear to have gotten themselves into a dispute about how many angels can pass through the eye of a needle, or possibly it was how many rich men can dance on a camel? To be honest it was a bit abstruse to me, but anyway, the upshot seems to be that Occitania, Britain, Khazaria, and Medina are in the faction holding that camels are valuable for their works alone; the Latin Empire has formed its own splinter faction which asserts that people become rich by the grace of God, and Leon and Bohemia remain firm in their old-school belief that churches should be built out of rocks.




    Religious map of Europe, 1576. Note the pagan north and south, and Druze Persia!


  • Trademark Litigation: In this iteration of the Great Games, the multiplayer megacampaigns that have been my principal hobby for lo these fifteen years - I wrote the first fan-made savegame converter, from Crusader Kings 1 to Europa Universalis 2, in 2004 (in Java, and because I didn't understand parsing it sucked to maintain) - I am counted a Great Power, mainly due to inheriting the Scandinavian empire that Clone created. That hasn't always been the case; I've usually played much more minor powers, and when I've come out on top it's been due to persistence and luck more than skill. (Really, it's amazing how much you can achieve by just showing up every session). So it has often happened that someone has declared war on me and taken half my land, or even all my land. These things will happen, and usually do not ruffle my good cheer or my steely determination to burn the offender's capital to the ground. Likewise it is inevitable, over a long enough sequence of games, that one will occasionally be on the receiving end of the big battalions; such is the nature of wargames. And of course, in a wargame that includes nuclear weapons, I have sometimes commanded armies that quickly became radioactive dust; as a general rule I do not allow this to affect me, since splitting the atom is a game that two can play. But then, every so often, I will be playing a trading nation, and someone will interfere with my profits. And then, gentle readers; then I remember that I am, in fact, descended from men who gnawed the edges of their shields and made Europe tremble with the fear of their fury. So you will understand that, when for the second time I caught Bohemians selling cheap, shoddy knockoffs of my trademarked "Model Yngling Longship", hand-carved by passionate interns from seasoned oak, with striped sail, separate mast, and detachable dragon figurehead, only three ducats, immensely popular with kids of all ages, order now to get yours in time for the midwinter gift-exchange of your choice... Ahem. Shoddy knockoffs, I say, of my trademarks, known ingame as "Slandering Merchants"; I have a memory of looking at the -10% trade power modifier, and then the next thing I recall is ordering the guns to bombard Bohemia's capital. Looking at the map I see that I must have besieged at least two fortresses to get there, but I have no memory of doing so, and to the extent that any Bohemian armies were indiscriminately slaughtered to the last man, their officers hung from oaken trees in Odin's honour, and the population of five provinces offered internships, I can only apologise, while noting that I was somewhat provoked. Once I came out of my rage I offered fairly lenient terms, taking only the three provinces that were missing to complete my Baltic shore; Bohemia is now landlocked, and the Baltic is an Yngling lake.
  • Am I Not A Man and A Brother: Between sessions, there has been some discussion of whether James will abolish slavery, and of what impact that might have on the global economy. I have no strong opinion on that, but wish to note that Yngl, Inc, is far too progressive and advanced to have any truck with these relics of the first millennium; there have been no slaves in the Ynglinga Rike since 983, when we invented the internship. And even before that, the long ships have been rowed by free men since as early as 925, when we first began granting athletic scholarship contracts.
  • Fire and the Sword: Further in offline discussion, there was a suggestion that the Dutch Republic would have been a more thematic government for the Ynglings than the English Monarchy I actually ended up with, which is true, but by the time it was up for auction James was able to bid more mana than I had left. However, in the ensuing discussion Vaniver noted, and I quote, that "Parliaments are basically a Norse thing". Vaniver claims that this pun, or play on words, was in fact unintentional on his part. I say that, if so, it was reckless negligence and no less culpable than if he had planned it for a month, and that flattening Hanyeong in retaliation, with nukes if necessary, is nothing more than simple self-defense.




    European players, 1576, showing also the current Great Power ranking. I would be fourth if I could just get the pesky printing press into my Finnish and northern backwaters, but even allowing for that I have fallen somewhat behind the top three.



    Atlantic borders; blobbification is now sufficiently complete that the political map at least in Europe approximates pretty well to the player map, but they're not yet identical. Also my final two national ideas, the powerful artillery kickers and the land fire damage ambition that complements it.


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  • King of Men
    Posted: Sunday, March 18, 2018 7:02:16 AM
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    I continue my tour East of Suez, where the placeholder states await the coming of European administrations to drag them into the seventeenth century, replace slavery and burning widows with internships and hanging people of all marital statuses from oak trees, and generally speaking give the place a good tidying-up. This week, the powers surrounding the Bay of Bengal (and its reach), where the dawn comes up like thunder:

  • Ma, Alla Us!: Hadogei, defeated in Japan by a mighty fate beyond the power of man or god to withstand, to wit, being subbed in the first session, has cravenly quit the Sunrise Islands and sought refuge in the Ganges Delta, in the renamed country Mahavalos. He brings with him his Viking ideas and Manchu Banners bonus, and (presumably) a devouring, soul-eating determination to run still further into India if Korea looks at him funny. Fighting to the bitter end, evidently, is not in it.
  • Ayuh, They, Yah: New player Stiefellecker has taken Ayutthaya and given it the defensive Switzerland idea set and the Oligarchic Republic government; he has unified the Malay peninsula and much of Indochina, and with fort defense, enemy attrition, cheap WE reduction, and (if all else should fail) hostile core creation cost in his ideas he is ready to make anyone fighting in Vietnam have an extremely thematic experience. The Asian powers seem united in their determination not to give Europeans a foothold on their continent, however, which raises the question of where this defenively-oriented power can expand. It does however have the right colour, as well as ideas, for a turtle.
  • Brown, Ey?: Brunei is played by new player LaxSpartan, who demonstrated his Spartan-ness in the first couple of sessions by trying to support Mahavalos (then named Bihar and played by a transient whose name I forget) against a powerful AI; he then demonstrated his laxness by losing the war and plunging Brunei into immense economic trouble, which it has only recently climbed out of. It is now renamed Malaya, and is in the process of uniting Indonesia; it is not a very military power, having Friendly Colonist ideas (not to be confused with Golle's Peaceful Colonist, they are not the same) and Swedish Recruitment as its only bonus, and Feudal Theocracy government.
  • Literary Device: Yue are clearly relying on linguistic confusion for yuer survival. Already there have been several classic comedy moments when somebody would say "Yue did (something bad)", and the other fourteen players respond "Who, me?" "No, Yue!" "I didn't, what are you even on about?" "Not you, Yue!" Meanwhile Yue are quietly cleaning the blood off yuer knife and looking for another kidney. Probably the solution will be to impose a roleplaying requirement and make everyone call each other "thou"; incidentally, authors who write novels in the second person will be up against the wall right after we're done with the lawyers. Yue are a Chinese tributary and had probably better remain so; Yue have the early-peaking Racehorse ideas, and already we are past the peak effectiveness of cavalry.


  • Fine Print: I was finally able to embrace the printing press and restore my Great Power position, and thereby gained the ability to print some very fine letters, indeed. The Yngling position is that the Treaty of Tangiers rectified the colonial borders in South America as a matter of convenience for the Contracting Powers, making contiguous regions that are easy to administer and defend, with everyone getting lands or other considerations of equivalent value to what they gave up. No agreement was reached, or even suggested, as to the future inviolability of the new borders any more than the old ones; no treaty organisation was created to arbitrate colonial matters. To the extent that the colonial powers wish to dispute the borders of their settlements, they are free to do so without any violation of treaty or compact; pacta sunt servanda, by all means, but first pacta facta esse - agreements must be made.
  • No Peace Beyond the Atlantic: Golle and I attempted to dispute the colonial border of Elysium, the Atlassic colonial nation, in two ways: Golle wished to restore British Columbia, and I wanted to add three provinces to what will become Yngling Venezuela when I fully core it, so as to make a ten-province colonial nation that would give me all the bonuses. Our navies were able to close the Atlantic, leaving Elysium isolated from its motherland and, in principle, helpless even against just 25% of our respective force limits, since one-fourth of a European Great Power is about equivalent to one uppity colonial nation being generously subsidised by its overlord. Unfortunately, we had neglected to consider that Ranger could recruit directly in his colony, and so there was an Atlassic army as well as the Elysian one to contend with; the numbers were therefore about equal - and Ranger had a general of semi-divine ancestry, as shown in the screenshot. The result was a long-drawn-out war of attrition, in which we were able to win battles and inflict casualties but not to finish the deal; when Dragoon threatened to intervene just to have the war end, we gave up and offered the white peace.




    War of Columbian Restoration. Note the half-divine general on the Elysian side - the one thing that prevented us from enforcing our will. Even so we inflicted more casualties than we took; but we could not break an army commanded by a godling.


  • Vår Ære og Vår Makt: Having completed Maritime ideas, I was able to get Thalassocracy. As the Baltic is an Yngling lake it was no trick to be the strongest trade power in Novgorod, Lubeck, and the Baltic Sea; but to get the North Sea and the English Channel at the same time required some careful juggling of my light ships, a couple of Protect Trade edicts, and - as a last resort - asking Khan nicely to drop his retaliatory embargo on me for a few months.
  • Initial Colonial Offering: In 1594 another tier of trade zones opened for colonisation, namely the Caribbean, La Plata, and Australia, and there was a bit of a land rush. Golle and I have split the Caribbean islands between us, while Khan has got Florida. James, in Elysium, declared independence from Atlassia specifically so he could colonise without being adjacent to the target, and has managed to get the bits of the Caribbean trade zone that are on the South American mainland. Leon, AI this session, has done some colonising in La Plata, without making a great go of it.
  • Released from Reformatory: The end of the Reformation will arrive a few months into the next session. My accomplishments here were not so great as those of the First Age; the Wheel spins as the Wheel wills, but there are Ages yet to come in which my Splendor will surely grow.




    Splendor bonuses in the Age of Reformation.



    Europe and colonies, 1607.



    Asia, 1607, with the other half of the Khazarian Military Highway.


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  • King of Men
    Posted: Sunday, March 25, 2018 7:18:38 AM
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  • How Many is a Brazilian?: To speak the utter and absolute truth, I had in fact intended to fight a war with Brazil this session, for the sake of the three provinces that would have turned Yngling Guyana into a fully-useful ten-province colonial nation. What I had not intended to do was to be attacked by Brazil, allied with Atlassia and also with the Latin Empire. With thirty Brazilian regiments, thirty Atlassian regiments, and thirty Space Marine Chapters Latin regiments on the South American mainland, there was evidently no way for me to win the land war, even with English support. My war goal, therefore, became to get out of the war without losing my Caribbean islands, which were also demanded; for this purpose I could at least use my fleet - which, however, was numerically superior to Ranger's or Dragoon's, but not both. I was, therefore, very happy but somewhat surprised by the battle of Cape Orange, in which my 55 heavy ships engaged 114 (!) enemy ones supported by 30 galleys, and emerged victorious. This was partly due to my highly superior admiral, who by my calculations should get 11 heavies into the line of battle against my opponents' 9 - which by Lanchester's Laws works out to a 50% advantage - and partly from Ranger neglecting to upgrade his fleet, so that his ancient carracks were facing my galleons. Even so, it seems possible that Dragoon might have won the battle if he had kept his nerve; but seeing Ranger's ships sink like so many stones, he concluded that I had some policy or other advantage which was making my ships impossibly superior, and retreated, losing - in his own words - "only 4 ships, the rest escaped" from fighting a force half the size of his own. With the resulting sea control, I was able to seize James's Caribbean islands (which I had intended to colonise myself, so I was quite satisfied to get them after all) and repulse two attempts to get troops into Cuba by stealth. The net result was that I lost Yngling Guyana, but gained exactly the two provinces I needed to turn my Caribbean colonies into a ten-province CN. I may actually have come out of the war stronger, in spite of technically losing, since I went from having two colonial nations short of the ten-province limit, to having one that was just over it.
  • Brokehemia: Already deep in debt from dealing with a disaster and the resulting rebellions, Yami decided to lean into it; he maximised his loans, spent the money on productive assets, and declared bankruptcy - trusting in his status as the Designated Buffer Zone of Europe to protect him from attack; to be fair, it's not as though his armies could have fought off any of his neighbours even without the crippling morale penalty. This immoral defrauding of the investors who had in good faith bought Bohemian government bonds worked, of course, perfectly; for questions of right arise only between equals in power, and the strong do what they can, while the weak suffer what they must. Bohemia, it is true, is counted the least of the Powers of Europe; but its investors are - more accurately, they were - only wealthy men, merchants and nobles and perhaps even some capitalists, and they can no more fight Prague than they can fight Rome. Nevertheless, for this evil act there must be, sooner or later - and I choose my words with care - an accounting and a reckoning. How can men do business, if sovereigns can merely break their sworn word, and go unpunished?
  • Bohemoth: Yami also finally managed to integrate Poland into Bohemia, making him vastly stronger; Bohemia matters to the balance of power in Europe, now. It is still, I'd say, least among the powers; but it is no longer negligible.
  • Yue're Fired: There was a war in China, when Blayne moved against his former tributary in Yue, which is somewhat similar to me moving against Bohemia - that is to say, the war was nasty, brutal, and short. Blayne claims that he originally intended only to take a few border provinces
  • Hermit Kingdom: The word 'hermit' comes from the Greek 'eremites', "of the desert"; hence it means to be alone, to inhabit uninhabited lands. We have unfortunately lost Vaniver to the pressures of Real Life (tm), and thus Korea is now in truth eremitic, uninhabited.
  • Chili Con Khanage: I want to be clear that this is entirely Dragoon's fault; obviously, left to my own devices, I would never dream of attacking someone with whom I have a land border and who has a bigger army than me. But Dragoon - whose chosen gamer name, you will observe, is cognate with 'Dragon', as in, "and the Dragon fought, and his angels" - Dragoon, I say, tempted me with an alliance, and there was the victory card, just inside Khan's border, right on the Rhine... So I mustered the black-clad army of the Ynglings on the North German plain, and marched, as I have done before, upon Eindhoven. But, although the mercantile Ynglings of this timeline are hardly a match for the grim warrior nation that the pressure of constant defeat created in the first Great Game, it is also true that the Occitanians are no Burgundians. Khan, clearly overawed by the immense fleet of dragon-headed ships blockading his English Channel coast, surrendered as soon as he realised what he was up against, and Westphalia and the North Rhineland came into my possession without a shot fired.
  • How Many is a Mexican?: The Mexican trade node opened, and the wolves descended like Assyrians on Jerusalem; I was fortunate enough to end up with most of the gold provinces. However, in my preoccupation with chasing the spear-chucking savages out of their fortresses, I utterly forgot that South Africa had opened as well, and neglected to get a colony that would give me a stepping stone towards India.




    Europe and the Americas, 1641. Note the Yngling blue in Mexico, and the disappearance of Yngling Guyana.



    Asia, 1641, showing the crippling loss of Vaniver.




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  • King of Men
    Posted: Monday, April 02, 2018 1:20:26 AM
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    It was not a good session for me; I lost my victory card in the Rhineland to Khan, who also took Utrecht and Gelre to fill out his own VC; and then Dragoon attacked me for Mexico. Apparently I had annoyed him more than I realised when I invaded Kiche at the same time he did and took the gold provinces. There wasn't any question of me fighting both Occitania and the Latin Empire on land, so I surrendered the Rhineland without combat, just as Khan did when Dragoon and I attacked him - you may be seeing a pattern here. However, the war for Mexico was colonial, meaning it couldn't be fought in Europe, and I thought I might be able to win the naval war and wear down Dragoon's expeditionary force, or otherwise force a stalemate; the more so as I was allied to Great Britain and between us we had a much larger navy than the Latin Empire. Unfortunately, a mere doomstack with 50% numerical superiority is apparently no longer sufficient to win a naval battle in this EU4 of early 2018. It is somewhat unclear to me what precisely went wrong; but the fact remains that Golle's and my combined fleets were twice defeated by Dragoon's. Theories for the cause include a series of very lucky die rolls; a better admiral (with 2 extra points of maneuver giving one or two extra heavies in the front line, and the Naval Gunner trait giving 10% combat ability); and considerably higher naval morale due to completing a mission, Defender of the Faith, Fervor, prestige, and power projection, in that order of importance. I also wonder if the old habit of just putting all one's ships in a doomstack and seeking out the enemy doomstack to win or die is now bad tactics? Since you can't fight with the whole doomstack all at once anyway, most of your ships will be wasted whether you win or lose; if you had several smaller stacks, then if you lost you could put in fresh ships against the enemy's damaged ones. Against this is the risk of having your ships captured when you lose. It is not clear to me what the answer is.



    Eurasia, 1667. Note the closing up of Africa and the continued absence of Korea; happily, longtime peanut BootOnFace has volunteered to play this crucial slot.



    Atlantic, 1667. Mexico in Latin orange, a dramatic entry into the colonial game and a very visible loss of prestige for the Ynglings, not to mention those yearly shipments of gold.


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    King of Men
    Posted: Sunday, April 15, 2018 8:31:43 AM
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  • Wait on Thee to Trouble It: Obviously there was going to be a coalition against Dragoon; I mean, why wouldn't there be a coalition against Dragoon? He's the biggest power, he's recently fought against most of the secondary powers surrounding him, and his name is 'Dragoon', which is a very weak disguise for the fact that he is, in fact, the Dragon, that is to say, the Serpent, the tempter, the one who prevailed not against Michael when there was war in Heaven. Alas, this world is given into his power until the Second Coming, and he goes to and fro in the Earth, and walks up and down in it, his wicked works to accomplish. And this week he breathed temptation and fear into the heart of some weak player, and was told of the plot against him; and Took Steps. And Khan was called away from the game, and could not attend; and without the two hundred regiments of Occitania, the coalition dared not fight. And Dragoon went to each of the allies alone, and spoke of his terrible wrath; but spoke also soothingly, saying that for a mere token, not half the tribute he would extract in a true war, he would sign peace. And behold it was so; and the remains of Yngling Mexico were given over to Zirotron, and some other tributes also were paid; and there was peace in Europe, where the Dragon prevailed.
  • Internal Narrative Dissonance: I just realised that the severely Christian metaphors of the previous paragraphs don't match my usual narrative point-of-view in which the Norse religion is taken as obviously true and I refer to the White Christ and the religion of slaves. That's because I'm immensely tired as I write this, having been run ragged by the Children of Men, and have gotten a Christian slave intern to write my AAR.
  • Matter of Spain: I said there was peace in Europe, which wasn't entirely accurate; Dragoon allied with Leon to extract a price from Khan (ably subbed by Vaniver), and took the bit of Occitania that stuck out into Iberia. Thus Leon has its Pyrenees border.
  • Pivot to Hardware: I disgustedly gave up on war and diplomacy, and turned to more peaceful matters; I finally managed to get a good exponential manufactory growth going, and now have manus all over Scandinavia, where they feed my English Channel trade. I also built a large number of universities.
  • Promo Process Reform: I changed the internal promotion procedures of Yngl, Inc, allowing people into the management track (for satellite offices) even if they don't speak Norse. Thus I gained the Splendor bonus from having multiple promoted cultures.
  • Comoro War: I tried to participate in the partition of Kilwa, I really did. I bought a South African colony from Atlassia (subbed by Gutrage) for the range, and declared war even before my claim fabrication procced. I still wasn't fast enough; Tazzzo and Vaniver split the whole coastline, and I ended up taking the utterly useless Comoro islands - and to get even that much I had to march an army overland from the Kongo, since both of them refused to give me mil-access. (The Kilwan interior will remain off-limits until Victoria). I suppose I got a little closer to India, but what I actually wanted was gold, ivory, and interns.
  • Pacific War: Yes, that's a contradiction in terms, I can't help what they named the ocean. The Asian powers conspired against Khan, and declared war for his colonies in the Pacific (including on the best coast of America); Vaniver sent his fleet and the largest army allowed by the rules, somewhere around 50-60 regiments - but he was fighting the whole of Asia, several hundred regiments total. Incensed at this treatment of our ally, who'd already had a rough session what with being attacked by Dragoon, Golle and I entered the war on Occitania's side. (In terms of Realpolitik, honestly, we might have been better off joining the other side, and snapping up Occitania's Atlantic colonies. But we were somewhat annoyed at the gangbang of five players against one, the one being subbed, and the five being an Asian hugbox.) We sent our respective fleets - mine, unfortunately, still in the process of rebuilding after the disastrous War of the Appointed Limits last session; I had held off until Dip 23, so as not to build ships that would quickly need upgrading - and I sent 40 regiments, not quite the maximum allowed by my force limit of slightly over 200. There were several successive naval battles off Sarawak, in which the Ynglinga Leidangsflåte blazed its old glory by defeating successive waves of lightly-armed Asian ships before finally succumbing to the sheer immense numbers of them; then the Royal Navy came in and blew the Asians out of the water. Meanwhile my 40 regiments had landed in Malaya, where they proceeded to fight a classic colonial campaign - that is to say, machine guns against muskets, or very nearly; Malaya somehow manages to be five tech levels behind Europe, and didn't put up any more resistance than so many spear-chucking savages. However, having said I was entering the war to save Khan's colonies, I stuck to terms that wouldn't get me into renewed conflict with Dragoon (who has said he'll protect Malaya against aggression), and peaced out for nothing more than the coalition peacing Occitania, plus Christmas Island. A convenient naval base in Asia will surely come in handy, and enabled me to activate the Ynglinga Øst-Indiske Handelskompani, the East Indian trade company decision.




    Some battles of the Pacific War. Note the immense numbers of tiny little Asian vessels, three men and a dog to each boat.



    Eurasian player map, 1694.



    Americas, 1694. Note Zirotron in all of Central America.


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  • King of Men
    Posted: Sunday, April 22, 2018 7:15:19 AM
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    The ninth session was not without events of interest, but no major player drama:

  • France Is Away, Post Cheese-Eating Memes: Khan was absent and subbed by new player Mike The Knight, who - since Khan has gone silent in all forms of communication known to man with the possible exception of smoke signals - will be taking over Occitania. He is, clearly, perfectly suited to do so by virtue of his name, for Occitania must necessarily be the centerpiece of any anti-Dragoon coalition; and for this task there can be no more auspicious name than 'Michael', who cast the Dragon out of Heaven:

    Quote:
    And there was war in Heaven, and Michael fought, and his angels; and the Dragon fought, and his angels; and prevailed not! Neither was their place found any more, in Heaven.


    The only possible improvement would be 'Thor', who once pulled the Midgard Serpent out of the sea, and who on Vigrid field will fight the monster, kill it, and be killed in turn by its venom. But as much as I despise the religion of slaves, one must be practical: Most of Europe is Christians of one stripe or another; the one exception outside Scandinavia worships the pansy Greek versions of the Indo-European pantheon, and both sexes shave. Sadly, Michael will probably inspire more courage on the field of battle against the finest army in Europe than Thor, even though Thor has a much better beard. All of which being said, if you're reading this between me posting it and game time on the 22nd, and your name is Thor or a reasonable variant, feel free to pop up in our Discord and claim your free Occitanian player slot.

  • Raj Against the Dying of the Right: The off-limits rule for India expired in 1700, and all of Europe descended like the wolf on the fold; in fall of 1699 the waters around the subcontinent were filled with two-deckers and merchantment, waiting for January when they could offload their soldiers and begin the conquest. The actual fighting was over by March or so, when it became a question of who would occupy what, and how the various alliances could maneuver to maximise their share and get reasonably contiguous borders. The Ynglings came out of it with four provinces, but good ones, around Coromandel; the major winners were Dragoon, who got the southern tip (including Ceylon) as a vassal and territory up the spine, and Hadogei, who got most of the Ganges valley and the central region. Some salt was shed here, Hadogei feeling that his long patience as an Indian power entitled him to dominate the subcontinent, and everyone else feeling that if he thought so, he was welcome to bring an army to back it up, or even better, reliably show up every week to build that army.



    Vultures waiting for the word.


  • Oh Why, Oh?: In 1720 the Ohio trade node opened, but the land rush was less noticeable since it had to be conducted with colonists. Aside from the African interior which won't open until Vicky, that leaves only Hudson Bay and the Plains region, both of which open in 1744. The off-limits mechanic has, I think, worked well to give everyone a chance to colonise and shoot natives; there's been much more competition, less of a first-mover advantage, and less monopolisation of the colonial game than I've seen in previous Great Games. Nevertheless we might move up the schedule a bit next time.



    Eurasia, 1720; India is partitioned among the outside powers.



    Americas, 1720; note new player Astat in the 13 Colonies.


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  • King of Men
    Posted: Saturday, April 28, 2018 9:16:53 PM
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  • Not a Numerous People, and Nobody Loves Us: The history of the Ynglings, in the original Great Game timeline, is of course a completely logical extrapolation from the ingame events, devoid of authorial intent and merely following the dialectic in its inevitable working; that's my story and I'm sticking to it. But some unkind people have suggested that it is not completely irrelevant that I was reading the Draka series at the time. Whatever the truth of that, it seems to be the case that the Ynglings, like the Draka, have a gift for making themselves unpopular wherever they go. In this game year 1746 we have 17 players, of whom 16 are not me; and of these, exactly half, eight people, have me as one of their rivals. And even this is somewhat down from the peak, when I had thirteen enemies - surely an unlucky number, in itself entirely sufficient to account for the Yngling Rike's low position in the ranks of the Great Powers.



    Diplomatic position of the Ynglinga Rike.


  • The Dragon Wakes: It is generally good, in these megacampaigns, to have one or two loose-cannon players who will attack anyone, break up hugboxes, and stab any carelessly-exposed kidneys, just to shake things up a bit. Our Japanese player, Mark, is just such a one. In this particular week his greedy, beady little eyes happened to land on the Dragon of the East, China, then fifth of the Great Powers of the world, but first among the Asians; but this is random. Like the excellent loose cannon that he is, Mark might have chosen anyone for his target - any Asian, at least; our force-projection rules probably prevent any really efficient stabbing across the world oceans. Be that as it may, the chosen target was China, and the stabbers were Japan, Korea, Malaya, England - and the mercenary soldiers of the Latin Empire, a hundred thousand strong, probably the finest infantry in the world; but to the nations of Asia, an outside force, the first time that Europeans have been brought in to settle Asian disputes. Empires have ended thus; civilisations too; once the barbarians pass the border, "allies" or no allies, it is only a question of time before they tread the jeweled thrones under their sandalled feet.

    And then, having carefully arranged the war with overwhelming force and subtle treachery, Mark did not show up for the session.

    The remaining allies went ahead anyway: China stood alone, and they had the finest infantry in the world on their side; how difficult could it be? The demands were for nine provinces, carefully chosen to make a hundred percent of warscore. The invasion crossed the Luan He river, half a million strong, and were met by Chinese and Ayutthayan troops, also half a million strong; for China did not stand alone, and the allied war plan had not survived even to reach contact with the enemy. With Japan, the invaders might still have been sufficient to crush the Chinese armies swiftly and dictate their peace; as it was, there were three years of grinding, attritional war, and no end in sight.

    Until now I have been relating consensus history, dry agreed-upon facts. We now come to points of contention, areas where there is no consensus even of fact, much less law or morality. One side claims that the war was a gangbang, and the offered terms of peace crippling, that they would have made China helpless against the inevitable next war, and would necessarily end with one fewer Power in Asia. The other side claims that (without Japan) the war was even, and that there were no plans for another war and, moreover, in the next one the Latin Empire with its invincible Janissaries would stay out, leaving the fight as a purely Asian affair which even a reduced China would be well able to handle. You must form your own judgement of these competing claims, making note that one is presented by a Dragon Throne which is not noted for its attention even to verisimilitude, much less truth, when there is propaganda to be had; and the other is the work of the literal Prince of Lies, the Dragon that was hurled down from Heaven. At any rate, we in Europe who are of old acquainted with the work of our local Dragon, we believed - in the fog of war, and with time pressing - that a war of five players against two was indeed a gangbang, and that if the terms were not of themselves crippling they were certainly a good start at a cascading takedown. We intervened.

    Four nations of Europe declared their intention to defend China from partition and the Long Night: The Ynglinga Rike, Occitania, Leon, and Atlassia. We declared war on Malaya, bringing in its ally Korea and avoiding direct war with the Latin Empire; which was a mistake, as Dragoon simply turned about and allied himself directly with Malaya, then invaded Iberia across the Pyrenees, forcing the much-vaunted Roncesvaux Line (three layers of level-8 fortresses, mostly in mountains) in a year of blood and bombardment. Meanwhile, however, the invasion of the Malayan home islands had forced that reluctant conscript from the ranks of the invaders, and the combined Leonese and Yngling navies had gained control of the Indian and Chinese seas. The Yngling troops that had reduced Malaya to asking for an armistice were marching up the Yellow River, and meanwhile the Eight Banner Armies stood, as they had stood for four years, close to the prewar border, now drawn in blood, where the northern capital had changed hands five times.

    The facts remained, nonetheless, that the Janissaries of the Latin Empire are the finest infantry in the world, and that China's casualties had run well into the millions. The Legions stood in Barcelona, and without the Leonese navy control of the seas might be lost. When the Koreans offered improved terms, the Chiense accepted, ending the greatest war this history has seen. Macau is a Treaty Port, and the Korean border has moved a few dozen miles southwards, towards Beijing; the total territorial changes might, or then again they might not, be sufficient to give each of the dead six feet of land. But were they tall men and needed seven, they would be out of luck.

  • Border Rectification Agreement: There were some states on my border with Bohemia that were, annoyingly, incomplete; a matter of six provinces. I decided to fix them. In addition to my territorial demands, I required Bohemia to build an army capable of fighting me seriously; Yami assured me - and I could hear the sincerity in his voice - that he would definitely do so. I have altered our borders; pray I do not alter them further.



    Two selected battles of the session - one immense attritional slaughter that would not look out of place in the twentieth century, involving the finest infantry in the world; one cuddly little border skirmish against some random Germans.



  • Copyrighted Unit Types: This isn't an ingame tech, but it should be; when our player Dragoon is commanding the Latin Empire, then anyone else who uses the "Latin Dragoon" cavalry is clearly in breach of copyright, or at least trademark, and anyone found doing so will be required to pay reparations.



    Eurasian players, 1746 - Korea missing although it was in fact subbed during the session.



    Americas, 1746.


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  • King of Men
    Posted: Sunday, May 06, 2018 8:19:07 AM
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  • Second Bohemian War: Fought basically as outlined above, including the hyperbolic initial demands (Vinland and a list of states (not provinces!) that took up three lines of the chat), attack while I was busy in the Americas, defeat in and occupation of Germany, and incredibly lopsided defense of Finland at the Fortress City of Viborg, which by the way is now a thing.
  • Rocky Mountains War: The reason I was "busy in the Americas", this was Golle's and my misguided attempt to take some of Korea's colonies. It turned out that not only does Korea have Space Marines - my troops could handle them, I believe - but also that Korea's ally Occitania, which also has pretty good troops, had its entire allowed colonial force already in the Americas when we attacked. Between me and Golle we could obviously isolate France from the Americas, but that doesn't really help when they've already shipped their troops across; and while my army is a match for either Korea's or Occitania's, I was outnumbered by the two of them together and the British Army seems unaccountably to have issued its units flashlights and T-shirts instead of proper smoothbore muskets and heavy woolen uniforms. Even so, we might have made a go of it if not for the treacherous very well-timed attack by Bohemia, supported by Leon. I lost my Hudson Bay colonies in the peace treaty.
  • Imperial Vassal Swarm: It turns out that there was, actually, some method to Yami's apparent madness with the HRE: When you stack that many member states together, you can get a force limit nearing the full million - noting that Dragoon, the first power of Europe, has about half a million - plus something like 300k vassal troops; I confess it was a bit disheartening to see a Great Power's worth of regiments descending on Finland in addition to Bohemia's army and Leon's mercenaries. I did recover a bit when it turned out that the Imperial vassals had the same military contractor as Britain, though - the lowest bidder, no doubt.
  • Viipuri kestää: I'll just put up some screenies. Have a look at the casualties.




    First Viborg, in which I smashed the Leonese field force.



    Second Viborg, in which the Emperor led the siege personally to see that it was done right. And to give him his due the approach trenches were very professionally dug; my troops were very jealous of the splendid graves the Imperial troops were getting, with the nice straight walls and seven-foot depth!



    Third Viborg, in which one of my stacks was caught without support by the entire Imperial army. Note the casualties in spite of this. And fear not, the ensuing siege lasted only the couple of weeks until I could bring up some other stacks; Viborg holds!





    A small counterattack out of Viborg.

    The Battle of Lauenburg (early in the war), in which the Leonese expeditionary force drove off my German garrison with no more than 2-to-1 odds (well, three to one in infantry) - their finest moment of the war.



    Final result of the war. I assume that Yami's corresponding popup was also labeled 'Defeat' in spite of the territories he gained.



    Eurasia, 1772. Bohemia's two new states form horns on a man (troll?) walking northwards, that mountain range is his arm and his nose points towards the Baltic.



    Americas, 1772. Note the expansion of Korea.


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  • King of Men
    Posted: Sunday, May 13, 2018 8:57:50 PM
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  • Memory Hole: There was no Third Bohemian War this session, so I created a purely fictional war for your edification and entertainment instead. I do encourage all the peanuts (and players!) to start writing fanfics of the war; no knowledge of any game events or mechanics required - if you want the Japanese fleet to show up off the coast of Norway, sure, why not? It's a fanfic, no need for any sensible logistical constraints. Besides, nobody will read it anyway.



    Yngling fan-wank fanfic, entirely fictional.



    Bohemian fan-wank fanfic, which definitely did not happen.



    Accumulated casualty statistics in the "official" version of the fiction war, that is, using Þormondsen's and Cilek's accounts of the Baltic and Finnish campaigns, carefully collated by some total nerd. Note that everyone agrees that, defeated or not, the Ynglings inflict drastically heavier casualties than they suffer - in fact, this tendency may be even more pronounced in fiction than in real life, as authors tend to Flanderize and hyperbolize the traits of their characters, or in this case armies. Most of the dead in the Viborg War, it's worth noting, died from frostbite and exposure, not from Yngling guns.


  • Stupid, Stupid Vassal Creatures: A recent trend in online fiction about the 3BW is to make a running joke of the stupidity of officers in the Imperial Vassal Swarm, for example having them send tiny ten-thousand-man armies (and in some cases even single regiments!) across the Øresund into the teeth of the well-prepared Yngling defenses, where they instantly die to the last man. Obviously this would never happen in a real war, and no serious publisher would allow such an event in their books, but, well, 90% of everything is dreck and this is even more obviously true online, where there are no gatekeepers and any idiot can just write whatever they want.

  • The End Is Not Yet: This will likely be our last session of EU4, after which we'll have a break to polish the Victoria conversion; because of the importance of the last session we are taking a Mother's Day break to accommodate several weaklings who prioritise their parents over the balance of power in Europe.



    Eurasia, 1797, Ayutthaya absent.



    Americas, 1797.


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  • King of Men
    Posted: Sunday, May 27, 2018 7:06:27 AM
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    March 19th, 1814
    East of Poznan, Bohemia (OTL Poland)
    Late afternoon

    They were an even dozen, one officer and eleven men remaining of the hundred that had begun the day - or a little less than twelve; one of the soldiers had lost two fingers parrying a slash that would have taken his head off, and half the rest bore the marks of sabres in one place or another. No serious wounds, for those who couldn't walk were lying where the Russian cavalry had caught them, midway between the lines; or had been carted off to the rear, hopefully to join the rest of the company, wherever they were. It was beyond belief that Ulf's eleven could be all that was left of it; he'd been out on the left flank, that was all, and the Russians had gotten between him and his brother officers. Bad luck, but the sort of thing that would happen in battles; they were all veterans and knew the chaos well, and would laugh about it tomorrow, when they'd found each other and the terror and adrenaline began to seem like a dream. Companies of a hundred men were not wiped out in three minutes, not even by Cossacks that appeared out of nowhere when they were advancing to the attack... Ulf abandoned the line of thought as unfruitful. Marek, the lowest-ranking officer of the Bohemian company they'd attached themselves to, was approaching; and there was a stirring in the blue-and-white mass, shouts of command and men moving, loading muskets, fixing bayonets; it did not take an experienced soldier's eye to see something happening.

    "Herr Løytnant," Marek greeted him; his arm twitched reflexively, but he withheld the salute, as was proper when in sight of the enemy. "We are ordered to attack." He spoke a guttural, accented German, the common language of the officers of northern Europe; Ulf answered in the same tongue.

    "Very well," he said. He wasn't, technically, obliged to take Bohemian orders; but having lost his own superior officers and attached himself to these allies, it would look ill, after the battle, if he insisted on that piece of protocol. Besides, it was obviously the right thing to do; if they did not break the Russian line soon, the Medinan army would be on their flank and there would be no holding anything east of the Oder. "Our target?"

    "Those banners," Marek said, pointing ahead and to the right. "We will form column for the charge. How will you deploy to support us?"




    The battle of Poznan, showing the immense scale and confusion of the fighting.


    Ulf considered it briefly. The Bohemians, courteous to a fault, were treating him as an officer of an allied sovereign, not giving orders but asking him to support their attack as he thought best; but just then he would rather have preferred to be told "go there, shoot that way, keep your men in order" and not have to think about the problem. However, it wasn't that difficult:

    "I will form a flank guard for your rightmost company," he said. Twelve men were about the right number for that, and would free up a dozen Bohemians to lend weight to their column's charge; and it was work that Norsemen could do better than scrawny conscript Bohemians, even these elite conscripts of the Imperial Guard, calling for weight and size as much as cohesion.

    Marek had clearly been expecting it, and nodded sharply. "The drums will beat to signal the advance," he said, then turned back towards his countrymen without further words, ending the conversation. Ulf looked again at the banners that were their target, and frowned; they would have to march obliquely, exposing them to fire from the walled farmhouse that protected the center of the Russian line for much longer than was strictly necessary. It would have been better to march straight across, as fast as possible. But there was nothing to be done about it. The Imperial Guard wasn't going to change its line of attack for one Løytnant of an allied power, and anyway there wasn't time. Out on the right flank, Ulf had, of course, been the last to get the word, and formations of eight thousand men did not change their line of attack in less than half an hour. It would take five minutes just to get to the center... Ulf shook himself; he was getting distracted by things he could not change.

    "All right, you men," he said instead, addressing the tiny part of 3rd Company, Fourth Bergenhus Line Infantry, that he still commanded. "We're going to form up, and advance when the drums sound. Head for those banners over there" - he pointed - "take the ridge, shoot any Russians that come near, wait for our friends to bring up their guns and pound the enemy line to scrap. We're the flank guard."

    That was the plan, anyway, he noted to himself; plans, of course, rarely survived Russian drumfire. He scowled at the ridge while his men got ready, putting out their pipes, fixing bayonets. In truth it wasn't much of an obstacle, a long, low rise, its top no more than five meters above the endless Polish plain. But the Russians had held it all day, had withstood cannonade and cavalry, had hunched over and dug in their heels and held with the endless bitter stubbornness of serf conscripts for whom nothing in their lives had ever gone right, and the massed fire of the Grand Battery of the Ynglinga Hird was just one more misfortune in a life of disasters... and now time was running out. The Medinans were no slugs; they marched to the sound of the guns, and if they reached the allied flank while the Russian army still held the field, the battle was lost and the campaign with it. All the careful work to get in between the two enemy forces, to engage the Russians on their own terms while the Medinans were distracted by the Leonese cavalry's raid to the south, all wasted... if the Russians held. And so the Imperial Guard got ready for attack, one more charge across the stricken field to take the ridge, to break the Russians' hearts and make them run. And on their right flank, a tiny unit of Norsemen, separated from their officers and their standard, running low on powder and shot, half of them wounded... but not defeated yet, Ulf thought defiantly, looking around at his men. They were enlisted, most of them half a step ahead of the thief-takers, the headsman, or the poverty that was worse than either, and couldn't be relied upon to feel patriotism or duty in the same way that Ulf, the son and grandson of officers, did; nor to understand the bigger operational picture, the desperate importance of taking the ridge before the Medinans arrived. But they were veteran soldiers, of an army that had been in the field for a decade; they understood stubbornness, and courage, and putting your head down and advancing into the lead rain until the enemy ran away. Their own attack had failed, when the Cossacks surprised them, and they had lost the rest of their company in the scrambling retreat from the sabres. But they weren't defeated yet.

    The drums sounded at last, the slow dun-dun-dun of the Bohemians' advance, and Ulf stepped out before his men, leading from the front as his honour required. There ought to be a sergeant to keep them in formation, but for twelve men it hardly mattered. The difference between a 'square' and a 'clump' wouldn't be noticeable to anyone but an inspector general - certainly the Cossacks would not care, as long as the bayonets were sharp. The bullets wouldn't care either, they never did.

    Behind and to the right, the Grand Battery thundered, working its way up to the three rounds a minute that conserved ammunition and broke armies. They were mainly targeting the farmhouse, he saw, cannonballs crashing through the stone wall that had never been intended for a military fortification, turning the rocks into deadly projectiles; the sniping, galling fire from there slackened noticeably. So someone else had noticed the problem, and done something about it; Ulf spared a moment's gratitude that he was on the side with Yngling artillery, the finest in the world. The Russian guns were firing back, but they were shooting at the densely-packed mass of the Imperial Guardsmen, wasting no powder on a tiny target like Ulf's flank guard; for a long minute, as they advanced across the plain towards the ridge, Ulf walked as though in a charmed bubble, with the immense sound of the guns all around and the screams of men hurt beyond bearing assaulting his ears, but no shots coming near. Then they came within musket range, and green Russian uniforms were rising from the ridge; they had been lying down, Ulf realised with a jolt of near-panic, to make them less of a target for the artillery, and now they rose as though from dragon's teeth and leveled their muskets, four lines deep. A shout of command, and the shattering sound of hundreds of muskets going off a hundred yards away - and again, and again; the Russians were firing by ranks - there was a clatter and rattle of the immense lead bullets striking musket barrels and bayonets, and the Guards bent and ducked in waves, like a field of corn in the wind, but kept advancing at their steady pace. The Russian infantry hadn't fired on his little group any more than their artillery, Ulf realised with relief; a quick glance backwards confirmed that none of his men were hit.



    The last, desperate charge of the Imperial Guard.


    The drumbeat changed, the steady one-per-two-seconds dun-dun-dun of 'advance' becoming a quick rattling drrrapp, drrrapp, and eight thousand Guards cheered as they broke into a run. "Storm!", Ulf shouted, but his men hardly needed the order; he had to hustle to avoid getting a bayonet in the butt and to stay out in front where he belonged. It was only a hundred yards; ten seconds' run, if you were an athlete on a hard track; forty, for soldiers carrying thirty pounds of gear across a muddy field. A hundred yards, or a hundred years; time enough for the Russians to fire three volleys, time enough for a thousand men to die. Time enough, also, for a wavering to run across the green-clad ranks on the ridge; and then, before the bayonets could sink into flesh, there was no Russian line in front of them, only the backs of fleeing men. There was a panting, hissing scream of disdain, and Ulf realised that he had joined it himself; a spatter of musketry from the front ranks of the Guard cut down a few fleeing Russians. They'd done it, they'd taken the ridge; all that remained was to bring up the Bohemian guns and batter the rest of the Russian line to scraps, and then turn to destroy the Medinan army and drive them back beyond the Vistula - and as he turned to grin in triumph at his men and get them into line, he saw them falling, like ninepins; two heads disappeared in immense splashes of blood, and the canister, liberally mixed with bone fragments, sliced into the Guards behind them. He snapped his head around and froze in horror; three batteries of horse artillery, nine guns, hidden behind the ridge and in the perfect spot for their fire to rip the Guards' flank to shreds - and behind them, a formation of infantry, battalion strength at least, in fine order and advancing for the counter-attack that would shatter the disordered Guards formation and restore the Russian line. He drew a breath to give an order, unsure what the order would be or even if anyone was alive to obey it; and before he could speak the second battery fired, and he stared in horror at the stump of his wrist, where his blood poured out in a spurting, jetting stream. There was no pain, not yet, or the pain was too immense to register; even then, as he fell, he had time to think that a hand lost to enemy artillery was an honourable wound, and if he lived he could go home, and draw a pension, and fight no more. If he lived; he clamped his right hand down on his left stump, trying to stem the flow while his vision darkened.

    Dimly he heard the shouts of "StráΕΎ ustoupí!", but could not find the attention to translate the Czech. He would have to save himself, if he could.




    Slavibor Mikulas at the battle of Poznan; the exact timing of the painting is unclear, but the clouds of smoke and the ragged Hussars departing to the right suggest that it is after the defeat of the Imperial Guard's charge, the last throw for victory, and that Mikulas is about to orchestrate the brilliant fighting retreat that capped his reputation.



    The fearsome casualty statistics of "Bloody Poznan", each individual death a dreadful tragedy.


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    King of Men
    Posted: Saturday, June 30, 2018 10:13:38 AM
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    As the first session of Victoria wasn't very eventful, I shall combine my AAR with some notes on the last EU4 session.


  • The Vistula War: There are three Big Powers in this game: The Latin Empire, Medina, and Khazaria. As is the custom, there have been rumblings that the Great Powers are too powerful, that the balance of power has become an excuse for stasis, and that we may as well declare a winner and start over from Crusader Kings; and as is also the custom, a coalition formed to test these claims, and attempt to end the stasis by force. In particular, Bohemia, also known as the Holy Roman Empire, bravely led the Ynglings, the Chinese, and the Koreans to attack Khazaria, the Yellow Colossus of the East. Khazaria was joined by its ally Medina, making two of the Three Greats on one side of the war; the Latin Empire stayed neutral, although the threat of the tercios marching from Anatolia to the Caucasus was an important part of the diplomacy surrounding the peace treaty. Occitania was also supposed to join the coalition, but like the treacherous surrender monkeys they are, stayed home to maintain their protective alliance with Medina; on the other hand Leon joined at a late point - too late, as it turned out, for the hordes of mercenaries to stay the tide.

    Various diplomatic delays had, unfortunately, given Khazaria fair warning, and by the time we attacked Siberia was completely, continuously fortified from Lake Bajkal to the Urals. The war's strategy therefore resolved itself into two parts: On the eastern front Khazaria would stand on the defensive against China and Korea, while those two powers blasted a path through the immense fortresses in some of the world's worst terrain. Meanwhile, in the west, two Great Powers would fling their immense armies at Scandinavia and at the Holy Roman Empire, trying to knock them out of the war before the Asian armies could reach the Urals. For the Ynglings, therefore, the war was very simple: All we had to do was stand off two powers each of which was twice our size, while our allies sieged their way through Siberia.

    Simple is not the same as easy.

    The war opened with Khazaria's armies swarming across Bohemia's eastern border:




    The "Battle" of Mazyr - dignified by that name mainly because it was the first engagement of the war; fighting on this scale, if it had occurred in 1806 or 1807, would have been labeled an "action" or a "skirmish".


    The battle of Mazyr immediately showed the pattern of the war: The Yngling armies could inflict more casualties, but lacked staying power relative to the Khazarian armies with their modifier upon modifier for morale; the Imperial armies, especially the Vassal Swarm, were useless except as cannon fodder. However, the easterners had to attack, as the coalition was on the defensive in Europe; so after the initial hard-fought border battles, in which we turned back the invaders but were unable to pursue them into the depths of Russia, we formed a vast defensive line, and the war became attritional:




    Polish Front, 1806.


    Then, every so often, the easterners would win a siege, and move to attack one of our armies; we would move our surrounding stacks into the defense, the whole Khazarian and Medinan army would be drawn in, which in turn would draw in the entire coalition side, and we would have a battle with half a million men on a side:




    The defense of Warsaw.


    Depending on who won, the front would move one fortress either east or west; but because of their morale advantage, the easterners would win slightly more often than they lost in spite of taking more casualties - which their greater manpower reserves allowed them to absorb. ("That's why they're called Great Powers."Wink Nevertheless, while the front was yielding it was by no means collapsing; and meanwhile the Asians were taking one fortress after another.




    Spring counteroffensive, 1807, after the Khazarian retreat from the walls of Warsaw.



    Rearguard action at Braslaw.


    After the failure of their spring attack in 1807, the easterners changed tactics slightly: Instead of pushing into Poland they began to probe north, towards the Yngling domains. I naturally shifted my army north to ward them off, and inflicted vast casualties:




    Kovno, 1811; the Medinan army has reached the Baltic coast and is striving to widen the breach by driving the Ynglings north into Finland.


    However, by sheer weight of metal the Medinans forced their way to the Baltic coast, splitting off my army from the Imperial one. Here I made a mistake: Obviously I had full control of the Baltic, and thus in effect could operate on interior lines even with the enemy controlling Konigsberg. However, believing that they would next attack Finland, I moved to defend the Fortress City of Viborg. The eastern alliance, however, kept their eyes on the ball; realising that without a Bohemian front I could be isolated and made irrelevant, they struck hard for the Oder, and drove back the Imperial Guard fortress by fortress. It was at this point that Leon joined and that Occitania's betrayal became clear. Both Leon's army, and my belated shift to the Polish front - which was rapidly becoming a German front! - were too late.




    German front, 1812; the eastern alliance marches on Prague.


    Even a series of brilliant Yngling victories, and the advance of the Asian armies halfway to the Urals:




    The Ynglinga Hird, striking at the exposed northern flank of the Prague salient, inflicted immense damage - but too late.



    The Asian armies' advance. While it does not look too impressive on the map, note that each and every one of these provinces had a level-8 fortress, and many of them are mountains.


    could not stop the Russian steamroller in its drive on Prague. With the Emperor's capital in enemy hands he had no choice but to sign their diktat. The peace, admittedly, was generous, since the victorious easterners had still taken well over a million casualties each and were perforce looking nervously towards the Alps, wondering whether half a million Latin Dragoons might be riding to the relief of Prague; the very polite presence of Latin "observers" at the conference assured a rapid convergence on a treaty without annexations.




    Final result of the war: We ran through the int32 casualty limit, in fact we likely did so twice, but no provinces changed hands.


  • Weak Piping Times of Peace: With no great dramas to occupy our attention, we whiled away the last few years of EU4 by trying to develop our provinces for Great-Power status; in this contest I was defeated by the barest of margins by those cheese-eating traitors in Occitania:




    Great-Power rankings. So close!


  • Truce of God: For the first ten years of Victoria no player can attack anyone; this is to ensure that everyone gets a chance to have their army in order after the conversion.




    Eurasia, 1821.



    Americas, 1821 - missing the Vast Green Blob that is Brazil.



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