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the Pentarch Protector of the Holy Places going Beyond the Indus to fulfill Saint Thomas’s Dream (Crusader Kings II 2.6.1.1) — 24 September 2016

the Pentarch Protector of the Holy Places going Beyond the Indus to fulfill Saint Thomas’s Dream (Crusader Kings II 2.6.1.1)

I20160913160610_1.jpgnterested in getting the Kingdom of David achievement (As a Jew, create the Kingdom of Israel), I had a few run a Semien (some duchy in Ethopia).

It was not a success: playing non-aggressive and slow expansion let you weak and, since you are of another religion, you get chomped quite fast as the easiest to grab territory in holy war; playing agressive allows to grow very fast but soon enough you are way too threatening and get attacked by coalitions of both opposing religions in the area (miaphysite and islam).

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achievement-19

It made me, though, realize that Egypt could actually be a nice starting location for an orthodox game, since Tulunids muslim have opporunity to switch to christianity and having ethopia, if not allied, as safe border. That would make  Pentarch (as an Orthodox Christian, hold Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem) and Protector of the Holy Places (have Rome, Jerusalem, Mecca and Medina within your Realm) doable at once.

1. Christening Egypt

First step is to convert to christianity to be able to expand in Arabia through holy wars. That requires an united country, so I revoked my starting sultan’s sons duchies and, at the same time, managed to get my heir educated by some miaphysite character. In just on generation, the switch was over and most provinces were converted too.

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The annoying thing, though, was that the change of religion also change inheritance law. As muslim, you start with said Open succession law: the most powerful descendant inherits. Since it is tied to muslim rulers specifics (cons and pros), I understand this kind of succession law is not kept to avoid otherwise gamey conversions. Still, once christian, I got Gavelking succession, which is strange, since it is quite unrelated to the previous one.

So the next urging step was also to change to another type of inheritance: seniority was readily available so I went for it.

2. War on islam

Next, I used holy war to expand in muslim territory. The fact that Egypt starts with cheap half-mercs Mamluks was a plus.

Being christian allowed also numerous wedding with orthodox. It made the switch to an orthodox ruler quite straight forward.

Along with a policy of creating arch-bishops vassal instead of dukes, the territory get consistantly converted.

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Since it is all based on holy wars, where any previous ruler is removed, it is quite convenient to shape the kingdom so no vassal got a massive united block, beside yourself.

Aside from all my arch-bishops, I created some Republic town vassal, in order to have one vassal I could give many duchies (impossible to give more than one to bishops, you have to wait for them to usurp a title to get several; too annoying with a real duke that could, in a matter of generations, sprout into splitted multiples dukes all annoying to deal with).

This Doge was never really satisfied, always joining as soon as you can whatever faction (you name it: claimant support, change of succession law, more power to the council, etc) so it had to be kept as small as possible, giving him duchies with none of the lands it relates. I also almost always got my king to be focused on intrigue in order to get this convenient “threaten … to stay out of factions” action on my vassals. It works quite well, either he accept or you have valid cause to imprison him and revoke title. If one faction is actually threatening, it is best to cut it to pieces by imprisoning/fighting one of the main characters and waiting for the whole faction to pose its ultimatum.

Aside from that, I create a mercenary company and dissolved it. It does not provides that much cash but remove too much of your own levies – which is really annoying since it makes small factions feels bigger, since they evaluate their power by comparing levies size.

Soon enough, I was powerful enough to handle whatever all the united muslim sultans could throw. The extra > 10000 mamluk troops was a great bonus, plus it misled the computer when accessing my troops at the ready. Obviously, I kept lot of cash in treasury at all times, for the start of war when some additionnal expensive mercs were required.

So getting Mecca/Medina would not be a problem from now on.

3. War on christians

Next step was to get both Constantinople and Rome. It seemed to me I could easily get Elected Basileus of Byzantine Empire so I decided to swear fealty and join it. Also, Byzantines had foothold in Italy, so that could be helpful to get Rome.

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Rome was still independant so I managed to get a claim and submit it. Byzantine was not an electived title at that time so I was not getting any of it. Worse, I lost a bit of territory due to some mismanaged inherintance. For instance, one vassal manage to get the title of King of Africa (titular title) and so was then just under the Basileus, having a title of the same rank as me.

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For a while, I enjoyed belonging to this big empire so no catholic in Italy would challenge my belongings there, including Rome. But these inheritance issues made be go to war for independance as soon as possible – as soon as there was a big revolt in the Empire.

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I had to deal with my sharing of revolts but where all manageable. Only twice I had to accept factions request (empowered council – that I shut off as soon as possible next by buying favors) because I was in the middle of another major war.

4. Expanding in Europe through weddings

Seniority succession makes it actually very easy to expand through weddings. Males easily get decent offers to mary female potential heirs (when they are not directly heirs on the day of the bethrotal). You can force heir with bad traits to go nun/monk.

Soon enough, I found many heirs that we’re already duke of something somewhere. Some died before inheritance but I managed to get several duchies or kingdom as far as Lithuania or Mercian or in the middle of Byzantium Empire.

Seniority inheritance means your average heir wont be living long. But you get no regencies and it no longer really matter whether the heir as overal good traits or not, since they are short lived. It matters only that they bring more titles within the realm.

One drawback, is that you change culture often: so any culture-related building on your holding get lost (if anything, you should loose the benefit of the building an allow you to pay to convert it, but not make it disappear in thin air). Also, you change sometimes of christian religion (catholic, etc), that gives you an annoying malus towards vassals, prevent you to renew your court chaplain to proper orthodox if you are not.

There is a fix for that: later in the game, when I got Empire of Arabia, in intrigue, it allowed me to switch ruler to egyptian culture and to orthodox religion. It was not the case earlier, not with custom Egypt Empire for instance. I do not know if it is intended like this and why it would be, if so.

5. Building number one world Empire

At some point,  I had multiple kingdom titles and the biggest real on all accounts (gold, size, army). At enough prestige to create an Egyptian empire: that is not so easy with seniority and short lived rulers. If your rulers was not duke of sort being inheriting of the main title, it is unlikely he will reach thre required 8000 prestige.

Getting Constantinople now was just a matter of striking at the best time. Problem is, all this expansion rose dangerously the threat level.

 

6. War on indians

Achievement-51.pngAchievement-58.pngAt the same time, I noticed I could easily grab an indian kingdom, getting  both Saint Thomas’s Dream  (rule an Indian Kingdom or Empire as a Christian and convert all its provinces) and Beyond the Indus (as a ruler of non-Indian culture, conquer a King or Emperor title in India) at once.

To be able to wage wars without getting world coalition, I released some far away useless duchies (Mercia, etc). I was about to attack Malwa but with > 90 % threat, France, Byzantines, HRE and Venice would all have went to war. Such coalition could not be handled.

I also tried to  simplify vassal management by giving some king title to some vassal. My arch-bishop were too strong to be easily managed so it was convenient to give them some king (Syria was de jure liege for their title) as canon fodder. This policy worked for a while but, still, the said king was growing in power and could have been a problem in a game with no time limit.

Nonetheless, I managed to get foothold in India and ultimately convert Sindh to orthodox.

7. Last steps

Once done, it was quite impossible to wage any war due to threat levels. Any expansion was now tied to weddings and the dynasty sprouting over Europe. I was counting on getting the massive Bulgar kingdom but timing was wrong, even with a very active management of the inheritance (useless heirs made monks, commiting depressed ruler suicide)

So, starting in 867, by 1453, I reached 622175 score, and growing fast (you can see the inheritance next: next Kaiser of HRE and King of Bulgaria).

I think that is my best score in this game but usually I start from lower rank (count, duke).

Hungary run: Take that, von Habsburgs!, hungary being world military #1 (Europa Universalis IV 1.16) — 14 May 2016

Hungary run: Take that, von Habsburgs!, hungary being world military #1 (Europa Universalis IV 1.16)

I tried a failed a few games with minor balkanik states. I dont get how to handle Ottomans properly. Getting to war against it is a lost cause, not getting to war against it mean it just grows indefinitely until it actually attacks. Being orthodox makes it even harder to maintain proper alliance. So I tried to get some playthrough with Hungary.

Take_that,_von_Habsburgs!

There is an achievement to get with Hungary, Take that, von Habsburgs!: as Hungary, own all of Austria as core provinces. It is marked as hard was created with 1.12. There is an playthrough stating that one logically simple method for owning all Austrian core provinces, would be to form a personal union over Austria Austria and then inherit or integrating them. Thanks but no. Seems boring and lazy.

No, I decided to go the hard way. Hungary playthrough would be easy allying Austria but I decided not to, in order to get it weak enough to be able to grab its territory. It means getting other possibly strong allies. Lengyel, magyar – két jó barát, együtt harcol, s issza borát, Poland only come as natural, since it is strong and allows not to care about north frontier or eastern threats like Russia. The rest is more circumstancial: best is to ally Poland allies to make sure the ally is still worth it.

First moves were getting as much of balkans before Ottomans. So I conquered Wallachia, Bosnia, split and vassalized Serbia.

I thought smart to also ally Venice, since it is an obvious strong enemy to both Austria and Ottomans. That was quite dumb, in retrospect: a war broke out and we got punished by Ottomans. Even when the number were in our favor, which were not most of the time, we got destroyed. I only manage not to loose anything but soon spending energy just to make sure that no territory corable by Ottoman was occupied, instead of doing any real fighting.

Logical conclusion: Ottoman will need to be defeated not only but numbers but also by quality, which mean I need some technological edge. So, by 1528, the country succesfully westernized.

I followed polish alliance with Swedes, which was actually good to handle eastern enemies, especially since Poland ties to Lithuania were severed (no commonwealth!). I noticed that with current version, Papal State is over dominant in Italy, so I allied it also, since I need strong ally with ties to the mare nostrum. This was convenient to make a strong alliance to dwarf Austria, even though there was some failure, especially against France allied to Bohemia.

Since Ottomans and Muscovy were involved in christian leagues, I did not get involved. I kept my focus on developing my area and also conquered Raguse as soon as it was not tied to too strong allies.

Attacking Ottomans seemed premature. But Austria was getting weaker due to internal HRE wars, including religious war.  Instead, I went against Bohemia that was getting way to strong. As the same time, I tried to get a military technological edge paying a lot to advisors.

By 1600, I had some personal union with Tyrol (dont know how, except that I forced Austria to free Tyrol as state), Serbia as southern balkan march, Poland, Swedes, Papal States, Bavaria and Venice as ally. The question was: should I or should I not attack Ottomans?

More war against Austria, more victories. Our alliance in Europe is probably the strongest worlwide, as shown there, it is quite hard to resist a 200k stack led by swedes. I keep my allies happy by giving them the territories they expect while I feed Tyrol that I intend to integrate later.

Finally, AI stopped the final countdown: Ottoman declared war on Poland. I was then called to war. First battles were tight. After that, it was just a matter of properly handling Constantinople choke point. Clearly, the technological military advanced helped.

This war Ottomans’s Stalingrad: we split with Poland territory. It was smarter for me to take only half of the balkan and have my main ally also involved in the same territory. I picked territory depending on trade zone (and set priorities with the new diplomacy thing). After that, once against we pounded Austria. In the meantime, Ottomans was still world #1 military wise. Once done, once again on Ottomans. We gradually grabbed massive amount. And reach the point that our armies (with Poland and Scandinivia) were all among the world top 6, which means that, combined, they would be invicible.

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So now, even France or Great Britain would not be a concern and Ottomans are definitely now some minor country up for grabs:

I also have a strong religious conversion policy, useful to deal with muslim territories. By 1762 (yeah, late), I got all of Austria. Or I think so, but still no achievement: Istria is required!

To sum up, you need:

28 Kärnten Austria.png Austria 6 6 5 Catholic.png Catholic Austrian Iron.png
132 Steiermark Austria.png Austria 5 5 3 Catholic.png Catholic Austrian Grain.png
1863 Graz Austria.png Austria 5 5 3 Catholic.png Catholic Austrian Grain.png
133 Linz Austria.png Austria 5 5 4 Catholic.png Catholic Austrian Grain.png
134 Wien Austria.png Austria 7 7 7 Catholic.png Catholic Austrian Wine.png
1770 Ostmarch Austria.png Austria 5 5 6 Catholic.png Catholic Austrian Wine.png
129 Krain Austria.png Austria 7 7 2 Catholic.png Catholic Austrian Grain.png
130 Istria Venice.png Venice 2 3 3 Catholic.png Catholic Croatian Salt.png
1769 Görz Austria.png Austria 5 5 2 Catholic.png Catholic Austrian Iron.png
73 Tirol Austria.png Austria 4 4 2 Catholic.png Catholic Austrian Gold.png
110 Trent Austria.png Austria 4 4 1 Catholic.png Catholic Austrian Iron.png
1768 Lienz Austria.png Austria 4 4 2 Catholic.png Catholic Austrian Iron.png
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Considering the large amount of troop I’m using, I started using the template system. It is fine. My base army (usually join in pair, an split when there is no enemy to fight but just territory to grab) is now:
  • 8 infantry, including 6 mercenaries
  • 2 calvary
  • 10 artillery

(artillery only since we already reached advanced technology)

Finally, in 1778, it is done, Istria is cored and the achievement obtained:20160426213638_1

What next?

I reached the point to have the biggest army and strongest worldwide. But, that late, starting big conquest would not make that much sense. I continued, then, grabbing territory in africain.

So reach the end date. Not my best score. I guess, with such army, and being allied to next major powers, I could have played more aggressively. Still, for once I properly dealth with Ottomans. Fine by me.

Empressive on English neck a Norman yoke (Crusader Kings II 2.5) — 19 April 2016

Empressive on English neck a Norman yoke (Crusader Kings II 2.5)

Ever read Maurice Druon’s Les Rois maudits? If not, you ought to fix that. If you did, you certainly understand the whole point of playing some more Crusader King II: even though the period covered isn’t right, the whole vassal-suzerain, dynasties and murder plots are in.

Achievement-10

In that spirit, best starting date is the bookmark the Stamford Bridge, with Guillaume de Normandie conquest of England, since the chain of events that drives Les Rois maudits is bound to the specific link between France and England.

Considering you start with a fat 1000 cash, it is not really an achievement to win this war over the two other opponents and then get said on English Neck a Norman Yoke achievement. By 1076 it is over:

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the broken vassal link:

And then, back to reality: ahem, Crusader King II mishandle the notion of vassal link:

  • there is the Emperor/King/Duc/Count/Baron hierarchy
  • you can rightly be Emperor of some Empire X and Baron of some barony Z

So far, it is right. But the problem follows: Crusader Kings II does not tie title/territory to vassal links. It is assumed that you hold on your own any title less important than your main title, for instance it is assumed that you hold barony Z as part of your kingdom. You can have only one suzerain, so even if you got two titles from diverging origins.

Confused?

Let’s explain and, if you read Les Rois maudits you’ll understand that the whole book serie should be trashed to the toilets if abiding by Crusader Kings II rules: horay, Guillaume de Normandie won English kingdom. What should be next? Well, Guillaume is autonomous King of England and vassal to France for Normandie. And what happens in Crusader Kings: Guillaume not only is autonomous King of England but keep Normandie as well, and no longer pay hommage to France for it.

Odd.

It gives a casus belli to France to get Normandie back. Ok. That how the game cope with this situation. But it is not the same. At all. As a matter of fact, Crusader Kings II deprives the player from the opportunity to continue paying hommage and force him to either go to war or drop the title. It also put the player in the situation in which he must go to war against a vassal that got elsewhere an equivalent title to his, even if it matches his interest, or loose the vassal altogether, no matter if the title gained by the vassal is nothing more than vanity.

Crusader Kings II tries to counterbalance the whole by the notion of de jure territory. If territory is not de jure your, laws that applies within depend from the relevant de jure entity. That would mimic, for instance, law of France applying in Normandie, or have Duchy of Normandie vote in France if France was an Elective monarchy. It is, as a matter of fact, a poor band aid. Why would France allow Normandie any say in Election, if it was deemed independant? Why would specific rules of France (papal investiture of bishops) applies to territories that are entirely under English control. Instead of actually fixing the issue, it leads to random troubles about which the player is powerless.

To sum up: the player cannot decide to pay or not to pay hommage to his liege for a territory; the player cannot change the laws of this territory even if he is the sole ruler.

That is really disappointing. Each titles should always being either own as liege or with hommage. And rules that applies should be the ones of the liege. This logic is unbeatable and would rule any other, works both ways (for instance, France does not have to get involved in war that only relates to English territory, even if England is vassal; but may do so as ally or friendly).

It is not only that it deprives the player from a choice here and there: it actually limits each character to what happen in one kingdom, it cut off the player from the internal politics of kingdoms he would have interest in.

Anyway.

the abused de jure non-electors

After the conquest, the problem is to keep England. First France will attack you (as said, because CKII does not give France any alternative). Who cares, maybe it would be best to forget about Normandie?

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Well, no. It is important to beat France to be able to handle internal politics: England is an elective monarchy, no matter how your vassals likes you, it is massively unpredictable, even though it gives you the quite interesting benefit to allow you to hand pick heir.

The best option is to have only one vassal able to vote, one that you can sway towards you. Two vassals is too much. They might both just vote for somehow of one other dynasty and game over you.

Achievement-03For that purpose, prince-bishop are convenient: as they cannot be king, no matter how powerful they are, they’ll never try to take your place. You just have to make sure they favor you.

So I set up shop in Duchy of York and Lancaster (it is always important to have a compact demesne, the ability to regroup levies fast matters) and made a prince-bishop giving him a county just up north my territory, give him Kent as duchy. I fed him a few counts in order for him to be able to, in turn, appropriate further prince-bishopric (you cannot give him more than one duchy rank title: but he can usurp/create them for himself).  I made him antipope, so he definitely likes me – since there was already one, I got the achievement All Three Popes.

The logic is as follow: only this guy will ever get duchies in de jure England. Only one voter, only a guy that cannot be elected. That’s convenient.

Obviously, you cannot have only one vassal in the game. He would be too powerful and, if not, you’d have many counts too powerful, all wanting to siege in council. No, I created other duchies: within de jure France.

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Sometimes, some small count within England created for himself a duchy like Hwicce: I immediately revoked it and made sure it could not be re-obtained, or only by my Pope. At some point, I also got Anjou being long enough within England to be also de jure. The same: revoked. I paid attention not to get Normandie fully so it’ll stay forever de jure France.

the Cathar catharsis

I made Normandie a vassal Republic to get cash, since it is supposedly profitable, thinking it’ll be as handy as my pope.

It proved unbearable. Over generations, the doge was almost always opposing me – so probably not giving much. I dont think you can have both theocracies and republic in your pocket.

I found very convenient to seize the opportunity to convert to cathar so I could remove easily this now heretic doge from title within de jure England. During that period, I reorganized a lot my territory.

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(see, even there, one guy opposing: the damned doge)

And I was glad my king died, with catholic heir, when multiple holy war against me arised – not to mention my prince-arbishop could no longer a be a nice pope.

the broken vice-royautés

Achievement-15 This cathar experience made me fear the wrath of a crusaders: and I decided it was a good time to do some on my own. Soon enough, there was a crusade on the way and, with my massive monthly cash income, I could play a decise role. Decisive so I was granted, after victory, the kingdom of Jerusalem and, so, the Crusader King achievement.

There is now a system where you can land Crusader orders when you get Jerusalem. I did so. Obviously, considering the fragile position of Jerusalem, I gave the lands to new vassals. Most notably, I gave Jerusalem as vice-royauté.

I was surprised to find, a few years later, that one duchy of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, was now autonomous, with territory within de jure England. That must be a bug, there was no war I was called about it. Could be tied to how CK II works (back to step 1: Normandy getting out of England).

The territory was not lost from long. Still, last time I played with vice-royauté, I noticed similar issues. In the end, even though vice-royautés are nice in principle, it is then best to give a up a real title: at least I understand how it works.

killing the Kingdom in the name of the Empire

Achievement-09Next, I was contemplating the notion of creating Britannia Empire. So it led me to consider the United the Kingdoms achievement.

Nonetheless, it was much more convenient to use now the intrigue function create empire of England instead of having Britannia later. So I did that, which I soon set to primogeniture – and on the way, I actually destroyed the kingdom not to bother for the time being about elective monarchy.

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That being done, I then focused on Britannia. At the same time, Muslim decided to severely attack Jerusalem.

Even though I sent massive amount of troops, I got not much help from other christian leaders and could not handle as much as 75000 troops at once. It was clearly time to focus back to Europe, where the Normandie dynastie was quite something:

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the pogrom

At that moment, I was quite happy to get Poland for free. Almost. My heir was king. Thing is: he was also of judaism. And, after a regency where I tutored him and try to get him to be proper English catholic, as soon as he was ointed, endless holy wars started. The whole Europe decided to grab her part of the Kingdom:

I was hoping he’d convert or died fast. He died after loosing at least a third of his kingdom.

Achievement-47Achievement-86During the same period, in actually got a few female emperor (Empressive: play as three consecutive generations of empresses) and some wolf blood (Run With the Wolf: Play as a character with Wolf’s Blood).  Not much to comment on that, since it is contextual. The wolf blood was an unexpected perk of having some altaic bloodline, having a cheremisa duchy.

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So I finally focused back on the United Kingdom. After getting all relevant territories, I found out I need to hold in my own hands each king title. I used the very convenient “Spy On” feature giving by intrigue high skill and focus to revoke the title of the King of Wales resisting arrest.

Later, it is already the endgame. By far not my best score, fun game nonetheles.

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Aragon run: become the Emperor or Trade Hegemon, with No Pirates or a Grand Armada (Europa Universalis IV 1.15) — 18 March 2016

Aragon run: become the Emperor or Trade Hegemon, with No Pirates or a Grand Armada (Europa Universalis IV 1.15)

otSpain_is_the_EmperorI was contemplating the notion of doing the Spain is the Emperor achievement (Become the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire as Spain, added in 1.1 classified hard). Except I already had both a Castillian and Portuguese run already. So I went for Aragon, with has the perk of starting in personal union with Milan, not so far from the Holy Roman Empire.

20160316213552_1Starting Aragon strategy is determined by attitude toward France: ally or oppose fast. You need either a strong ally to defeat Castille or a weakened french rival for him not to be able to destroy you. At that moment, I thought possible to progress towards the Empire through Italy.

For that I needed a strong France focused on beating Austria. So I allied France and destroyed Castille pieces by pieces, expanding in Maghreb otherwise to get confortable on Genoa trade node by having Tunis. I also stole Provence (the county) during a french-joint war against Provence (the duchy), considering it has a lot of trade power on Genoa trade node also. I also moved my capital up north also to get bigger trade power but the result was trivial. My massive conversion of Maghreb to christianism provided me with lots of papal influence which I turned into mercantilism increase systematically.

Trade_HegemonBy 1512 I was earning 22 zł/month by trade. By 1558 I had the world highest trade income and second highest total income. At the same time, I was still allied to France and Austria and had no clue as how to actually keep such strong allies and getting the vote of any Holy Roman Empire prince. Plus Ottomans were not attended to, growing massively, which could be a problem in Maghreb. That actually made me consider focusing on Trade Hegemon instead (Conquer and have cores on Aden, Hormoz and Malacca with any Western European, added in 1.2, classified hard), which implies getting to these location fast, especially in Hormoz before Ottomans. Side note: the name of the provinces varies depending on the owner (Adan, Melaka, Hormuz, etc).

I usually got benefits from the Protestant/Catholic league. So I tend to easily join them. In this game, since Ottoman joined the Protestant league along with Great Britain, Sweden, Bohemia, Brandebourg, Muscowy, Venice, I thought smart to make sure to keep my alliance with France and Austria, along in the Catholic league. Not so smart.

Yeah, the Catholic league got utterly destroyed, my French strong ally not so strong anymore, etc. The only thing that saved is that I was far away from the front line, so my territory was not up from grab in peace treaties. And now, the notion of getting elected seemeed even less plausible, as Empire center moved to the Protestant east.

No_Pirates_in_my_Caribbean So I changed my focus and made some protectorates in Africa while grabbing colonies built by Portugal or Castille. No one was in Carribeans: it looked still possible to get the No Pirates in my Caribbean (own or have a subject own the entire Caribbean, added in 1.1, medium difficulty).

In 1623, I still had the world highest trade income and second highest total income.

20160317171517_1French, dwarfed by the Protestant league war, turned on me, made me a rival, since it could not expand anywhere else now. Ottomans were growing and going towards Hormuz. Then, for some reason, Hormuz got independant as one province country: I attacked it on the spot and conquered it due to my ships preventing any enemy to do anything. I made it a vassal, since annexing was not an option since I had neither possibility to core it neither relevant casus belli. I got a massive expansive aggression and stability hit from attacking with no casus but that was worth it.

By 1660, I was earning 117 zł/month by trade in Genoa with 993 trade power in the node. Next in line in this node was Papal State, earning 5,74 with 70 trade power.

Afterwards, the Papal State, now my ally along with Austria, attacked Venice allied to France. Now hateful France got cut even more.

In 1685, I still had the world highest trade income and had now also highest total income – along with the largest navy, the second largest army, 3rd most provinces and 3rd highest provinces value.

20160318000005_1Later, I got a casus belli and started a war against a small entity allied to Hejaz that owned Aden. Hejaz had decent army stack with a decent army level. And, by experience of my wars in Europe, I knew that my troops were numerous but shit, often destroyed by much smaller stacks. I let Hejaz get to Hormuz and and blocked the stack in Hormuz. Note that in current version of the game (1.15), troops are blocked by straits only if they dont hold both sides of the said strait (which totally makes sense). So the trick was to jump to conquier the Qwasim.  That allowed my to get Aden without too much effort – and clearly the situation in Europe was dire, loosing a massive amount of troops would have caused my rivals (notably Great Britain and Ottomans) to attack me on the spot.

20160318001621_1So if France was not going to be an ally, I tried to ally Great Britain. And after a while, it worked, it stopped consider me as rival.

But for that result, I had to join a war against France, on which occasion I noticed that, no matter how big, my troops could never defeat the French. Too stacks of 40k joined were unable to defeat 50k french. Not glorious, I had to let my allies do the work, hiding being castles.

I had a much better time in the straits of Johor, 20160318011156_1getting Melacca, fighting against primitive troops.

There, I was fine and got the Trade Hegemon achievement.

Well, it was already 1728!

So what next? Getting Emperor was out of scope. Plus I already formed Spain as Castille and fancied staying Aragon until the end.

So I focused on the Carribean. I went to war against Scandinavia, which was not much an issue since Lithuania utterly destroyed it, and got very cheap a colony it made in Carribean. To avoid further issue, I started to colonize every little carribean island at once: the price of such approach seems to go exponentially. So I devoted all my income to that effect. Only to discover at some point that I missed Bermuda, part of the Carribean region, but further north and already part of the Thirteen Colonies – yes, my ally, Great Britain, colony.

The_Grand_ArmadaI noticed that Great Britain was not having as many troops as my other allies and me – and a smaller navy. At that time I was contemplating the idea of doing also the The Grand Armada (Have 500 heavy ships and no loans, added 1.6 marked as hard) achievement, so I had tons of heavy ships. I later dropped the whole notion when I reached around 250 heavy ship and noticed that I would have to stop any development in any way to continue building these useless ships: useless since the exact same amount of cash spent in light ships would not only be a invicible war party plus would bring benefits in trade, beside war.  The achievement might be hard to get: it is mainly boring.  Anyway, Great Britain looked weak and so I dropped it and went to war against.

It was not possible to set foot in England: my allies where only sending small parties and my big stacks were not able to overcome the only big stack Great Britain had. But I ruled the sea and made Great Britain leave Bermuda to me. And that was it: No Pirates there!

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A bit later, I got the Market Control achievement (Be trade leader of seven different goods, added in 1.1, medium difficulty).

I did not do anything toward this goal but, eh, trade profit was getting nicely.

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Next, I started a war against Ottoman, along with Austria, Papal State and Lithuania as allies. The alliance was much stronger in any regards so it was the perfect opportunity to strike. 20160318120858_1

FactionalismLater, I got the Factionalism achievement: have 3 different estates in your country with at least 70% influence each (added in 1.14, very easy). It is really not an achievement, it is more mismanagement reward, since you actually don’t want this situation, since if any of the estates reach 80%, they’ll stage a coup against your regime. Anyway, the estate mechanism introduced in the Cossacks is quite smart.

By 1821, I got a bit distanced by Ming. To improve technologically,  I was using +3 level advisors so I did not maintain troop up to my landlimit. And there was no easy target for war anyway. So I end ed with only the 3rd highest income (though still 1st in trade), 5th largest army (though still the biggest navy), 4th most provinces and 4th highest province value. It is nonetheless my best score (19728) as far as I remember. No colonial power beside Aragon were not dwarfed. Ottoman was broken but still big, Ming and Lithania were massive, Austria, Teutonic Order and USA major.

To sum up:

  • seems to be that to be Holy Roman Emperor as Spain would require to get involved earlier in the Empire. The way through Naples is non existant due to Papal State (which in all my recent games -1.14/1.15- became the most dangerous player in Italy);
  • there is something broken with the notion of the Grand Armada achievement: it does not seems to have much historical ground; it is no fun;
  • Bermuda is easy to forget for the Carribean achievement.
Terra Mariana run: liberty desire is not to be trifled with (Europa Universalis IV 1.15) — 15 March 2016

Terra Mariana run: liberty desire is not to be trifled with (Europa Universalis IV 1.15)

Terra_MarianaI noticed a new achievement was added with Europa Universalis IV’s Cossack extension: as Riga, own and core all provinces in the Baltic region.

Quite a fun area this Baltic Area… In my (failed) Baltic Crusader run, I had the opportunity to get a taste of the Swedes wrath. So I allied them. And kept this alliance until the end of the game. By keeping it, I mean most of the time keeping a diplomat assigned to maintains relations, unless the guy was really needed elsewhere. Only once, Scandinavia (what became of the Swedes) made a separate peace. And this alliance kept at bay Muscowy and Poland/Lithuania, until they got weakened so we could actually beat them. Great!

20160314225305_1Soon enough, I got enough in advance technologically that it made sense to use “Policies”, which I never used before, instead of overpaying technological progress (maybe not even possible, with -190%), which I used to favor trade.

And with trade, I made a massive amount of cash. By 1619, I was earning 21.75 monthly from the Baltic Sea, collecting there and forwarding with a merchant in Krakow, Kiev, Crimea, and Novgorod (each merchant from related note provides +10% to the collecting node). By 1740, it was up to 53,34, with an additional merchant in Kazan, with a trade power of 1122,5 in Baltic Sea.

For long, Papal States prevented me to attack Lithuania or Poland that still owned 4 20160315094541_1provinces needed for the achievement, having more than 78000 troops at the ready and defending them as good christian leader – since I went Protestant as soon as Scandinavia did. I finally attacked when even Hungary was joining me. It went good since Ottomans find it was a good time to strike on Austria and Papal States. By 1777, I got the Terra Mariana cored. Well, I’d mention that I only survived this war due to cash: I was up to the max of mercernaries at all time and was consolidating obliterated stacks and producing new mercenaries continously. Only this allowed me to actually defeat the powerful 178000 troops from Austria/Papal State and the weaker ~ 100000 troops of Poland (Scandinavia having ~63000 good troops at that time).

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Then Riga became Kurland. And then I learned, really deep, about the mecanism of liberty desire of vassals. I had a very good and strong march, bordering Bohemia and Hungary, a client state named Neumark. When destroying Lithuania, I made it release Polotsk that I later vassalized and overfed. Yeah, overfed. Troops of Neumark and Polotsk got big enough20160315143739_1 for them to never ever have liberty desire below 50%. So annexing Polotsk goes impossible. Worse, the interface led me to think I’d decrease liberty desire of Potosk by giving it a province big enough. So I gave it Pskov. And I only made it stronger and even more impossible to handle. I tried to make Neumark weaker by removing its March status: the only resultat that now Neumark hated me. At some point, Neumark and Polotsk gone together to war for independance, with Papal States as ally, and I did not get white peace willy-nilly. Interestingly enough, Papal States was only interested, when asked for peace conditions, into canceling my alliance with Scandinavia.

This whole issue with vassal seriously slowed down the end game.

Not a surprise, Kurland in 1821 get the worldwide highest trade income.

Too sum up, notes:

  • policies are actually useful: it makes perfect sense not to waste monarch points when you are too far in advance so you’d pay technology way too much, instead of getting something like +25 % trade steering for instance ;
  • for this Baltic game, Scandinavia was a perfectly alliance, since it focused for conquest on further away (Russia or Denmark) but was readily available with big stack of decent quality ;
  • if cash allows, continuous production of mercenaries is a valid option to overcome low manpower – for most of the game, only canons and cavalries where regular non-mercs;
  • marches are useful but growing one to have a noticeable army makes it very hard to deal with big vassals later – clearly diplo-annexing is not as easy as it was (and that’s good, but habits need to be changed) ;
  • forts are actually much more useful than I thought – for instance, a stack of at least 30000 is necessary to even attempt to capture in years a level 8 fort ;
  • good approach to deal with an enemy that takes a lot of allies to prevent you to attack him is actually to remove his alliances separately, in war against only a few of the allies.

Around the World in 49 Days with £24500 balance (80 Days) — 6 December 2015

Around the World in 49 Days with £24500 balance (80 Days)

In my sixth attempt, I went down to 52 days, I improved in the seventh by going down to 49 days, not by taking more direct routes but by making a few lucrative extra steps to avoid being stuck due to low cash.

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DAY 49 — “Arrived in London at 2:00 PM”

DAY 47 — “Departed for London”

DAY 46 — “Trombone, sold for £3100/0d!”

DAY 46 — “Arrived in New York at 9:00 PM”

DAY 46 — “Smith and Wesson, sold for £570/0d!”

DAY 46 — “Arrived in Washington at 8:00 AM”

DAY 44 — “Departed for New York”

DAY 43 — “Sugarcane, sold for £510/0d!”

DAY 43 — “Arrived in New Orleans at 3:00 PM”

DAY 41 — “Departed for New Orleans”

DAY 41 — “Harmonica, sold for £550/0d!”

DAY 41 — “Accordion, sold for £850/0d!”

DAY 41 — “Arrived in Acapulco”

DAY 39 — “Departed for Acapulco”

DAY 38 — “Arrived in Honolulu”

DAY 38 — “A murderer brought to justice!”

DAY 32 — “Departed for Honolulu”

DAY 31 — “Hand Mirror, sold for £500/0d!”

DAY 31 — “Arrived in Yokohama at 3:00 PM”

DAY 28 — “Departed for Yokohama”

DAY 26 — “Arrived in Hong Kong”

DAY 26 — “Departed for Hong Kong”

DAY 25 — “Arrived in Canton at 4:00 PM”

DAY 23 — “Lost all my luggage!”

DAY 23 — “Departed for Canton”

DAY 21 — “Arrived in Pangsau Pass at 4:00 PM”

DAY 21 — “Departed for Pangsau Pass”

DAY 20 — “Handwoven Carpet, sold for £7400/0d!”

DAY 20 — “Arrived in Rangoon at 9:00 PM”

DAY 20 — “Departed for Rangoon”

DAY 19 — “Arrived in Yadanabon at 5:00 PM”

DAY 19 — “Departed for Yadanabon”

DAY 19 — “Saved a British soldier’s life!”

DAY 18 — “Arrived in Chittagong”

DAY 18 — “Departed for Chittagong”

DAY 17 — “China Tea Set, sold for £620/0d!”

DAY 17 — “Arrived in Calcutta”

DAY 14 — “Departed for Calcutta”

DAY 14 — “Arrived in Agra at 2:00 PM”

DAY 13 — “Departed for Agra”

DAY 12 — “Hand Mirror, sold for £570/0d!”

DAY 12 — “Arrived in Kabul”

DAY 10 — “Departed for Kabul”

DAY 9 — “Arrived in Tehran at 11:00 AM”

DAY 6 — “Departed for Tehran”

DAY 5 — “Arrived in Istanbul”

DAY 3 — “Departed for Istanbul”

Around the World in 60 Days through the North Pole (80 Days) — 23 November 2015

Around the World in 60 Days through the North Pole (80 Days)

This fifth attempt, I got down to 60 days – despite bad timing on several occasions. If you compare with the 4th journey, I already lost a few days even before reaching Saint-Petersburg (route not known soon enough, etc). Much later, on my arrival in Reykjavik, on the 53th, I was short £20 to take an immediate two/three day flight to London and had to go to bank and wait for another flight. All these small mishaps could actually amount to 10 days easily.

Untitled.png (a color for each 4 days leg)

DAY 60 — “Arrived in London at 11:00 AM”

DAY 58 — “Departed for London”, “Left early on the “Silver Seal””

DAY 58 — “Collected £700 from the bank in Reykjavik”

DAY 54 — “Slept rough in Reykjavik”

DAY 53 — “Arrived in Reykjavik at 9:00 AM”

DAY 51 — “Departed for Reykjavik”, “No bags allowed!”

DAY 50 — “Arrived in New York at 4:00 PM”

DAY 43 — “Departed for New York”, “Departed early on the Transcontinental Express”

DAY 43 — “Departed for San Francisco”, “Arrived in San Francisco at 2:00 PM”

DAY 41 — “Arrived in Gastown”

DAY 40 — “Departed for Gastown”

DAY 39 — “A Council at the top of the world!”

DAY 37 — “Arrived in The North Pole at 4:00 PM”

DAY 27 — “Disaster has struck and we are doomed…”

DAY 13 — “To the Pole!”, “Departed for The North

DAY 12 — “Arrived in Smeerenburg at 10:00 AM”

DAY 8 — “Departed for Smeerenburg”

DAY 6 — “Departed for St Petersburg”, “Arrived in St Petersburg at 5:00 PM”

DAY 4 — “Departed for Stockholm”, “Arrived in Stockholm at 6:00 PM”

DAY 2 — “Departed for Kristiania”, “Arrived in Kristiania at 5:00 PM”

 

Around the World in 70 Days (80 Days) — 22 November 2015

Around the World in 70 Days (80 Days)

Visited 19 cities, travelled 29936 milles, balance of £16970, I’m satisfied by my first attempt. I first thought I’d travel through Russia and North-America but events made me go through South-America. From there, I assumed I’d pass by Africa but more events saved me that trip. Undoubtfully: this 80 days is a nice way to relive Jules Vernes’s Tour du monde en quatre-vingts jours.

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this map will kept updated with future attemps – one color for 4 days legs

DAY 70 — “Arrived in London at 4:00 PM”

DAY 70 — “No time for puddings!”

DAY 69 — “Arrived in Lisbon”

DAY 68 — “Arrived in Ponta Delgada”

DAY 64 — “Changed course for Ponta Delgada”

DAY 62 — “Can this really be Atlantis?”

DAY 59 — “We are going down!”

DAY 58 — “Departed for Freetown”

DAY 57 — “Arrived in Rio de Janeiro”

DAY 56 — “Arrived in Asunción”

DAY 52 — “Arrived in Lima”

DAY 49 — “Digging the Panama Canal!”

DAY 48 — “Altered direction to Panama City”

DAY 47 — “Climbing the rigging of an airship!”

DAY 46 — “Departed for Acapulco”

DAY 45 — “Arrived in Honolulu”

DAY 39 — “Re-routed to Honolulu”

DAY 33 — “Departed for San Francisco”

DAY 32 — “Collected £700 from the bank in Yokohama”

DAY 30 — “Arrived in Yokohama”

DAY 26 — “Arrived in Pyongyang”

DAY 22 — “Arrived in Karimskaya”

DAY 19 — “Changed course for Karimskaya”

DAY 18 — “Departed for Irkutsk”

DAY 17 — “Arrived in Omsk”

DAY 14 — “Arrived in Ekaterinburg”

DAY 12 — “Questioned by the secret police!”

DAY 11 — “Arrived in Moscow”

DAY 8 — “Accordion, sold for £990/0d!”

DAY 8 — “Departed for Minsk”

DAY 7 — “Arrived in Warsaw”

DAY 5 — “Thrown into jail in Berlin!”

DAY 4 — “Château d’Yquem Wine, sold for £2300/0d!”

DAY 3 — “The Orient Express!”

DAY 3 — “Departed for Munich”

DAY 2 — “Château d’Yquem Wine, bought for £32/0d!”

Baltic Crusader run III – to an Early Reich: third rule, gluttony is still not rewarded, diplomacy is (Europa Universalis IV 1.13) — 25 October 2015

Baltic Crusader run III – to an Early Reich: third rule, gluttony is still not rewarded, diplomacy is (Europa Universalis IV 1.13)

Following up of my Europa Universalis “Baltic Crusader” achievement run, after an second epic fail, the bruised Krzyżacy were looking ok once again.

Good sign, in a holy war along with Austria, Ottomans were kept at bay and Crimea lost territory. Disturbingly, Swedes were extending in the Russian area needed for the achievement. And they look strong.

Yhat's the Russian area neededSwedes getting down
At this point, I had enough cash to maintain two big army stacks (20+8+8) with infantery all mercenaries. This avoided any manpower issue.

Lituany was all in revolt with no ally. That was an easy grab. Livonia was going to Novgorod. I assumed it was better to make a vassal out if it instead of an ally. I went to war, made it smaller so it could be made vassal next. Bad move. Swedes then attacked Livonia and took a part of the cake.

In 1694-1697, I took revenge on Bohemia (see previous post), partly because I needed a better march than broken Silesia. Gluttony was back: a big coalition appeared in the Holy Roman Empire. Just after this, in 1698, Hungary, Austria and Muscovy went to war against Naple that has Swede as ally. It looked like the perfect opportunity to push back Swedes.

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It was not. Every battle with Swede was lost even when my side had a considerable numeric advantage. A real nightmare. After tons of lost battles, the coalition went to war with perfect timing. Once again, gluttony was not rewarded. Even with big armies, decent manpower, I could not make any progress, surrounded.

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At some point, I had to go for the less terrible peace offer – loosing Kiev, Pommerania, Mecklemburg, Polotsk, Postdam, etc. And the Baltic Crusader achievement looked impossible at this point: no way to expand east with such a strong contender going the same direction, not without getting stronger in central europe first. Swedes should have been kept at bay earlier. The only sane decision was not change objective: forming Germany and getting the Form an Early Reich achievement, supposedly as hard to obtain as Baltic Crusader.

I completely went to the other direction. I switched to Prussia – which forced me to move to Protestant. That allowed me to befriend and ally Great Britain, the only Protestant country, with incidentally could pose threat for Swedes, keeping them at bay. I also change the governement type to monarchy, so I could benefit from royal ties.

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That was a fine idea. Being allied to Austria, the Emperor, for a moment to Bavaria, and Bohemia until the end, it was not so hard to make a path through Germany without getting unlawful territory sanctioned. I took only what was absolutely necessary to form Germany (requires cores in Hamburg, Rostock, Berlin, Braunschweig, Sachsen, Thüringen, München, Nürnberg, Hessen, Köln, Pfalz, Augsburg, Frankfurt, Königsberg/Elsass). They once again made some coalition, but it was never strong enough to actually act upon it.

Side note: I removed all forts. They are expensive to maintain, still expensive when empty (mothballed). And when lost during war, it makes it longer to get back territory. That is a bit strange – though Modern Era was probably both the historical high point and the decline of fortress.

In the meantime, I got a few easy achievements, more or less by accident: This is My Faith (Convert to Protestantism and unlock 3 Aspects of Faith), A Fine Goosestep (Form Prussia and have at least 125% Discipline), Bleed Them Dry (Have 10 different War Reparations being paid to you at the same time) and Marshy March (Have a march with at least two marsh provinces – Mazovia got Brest and Turow).

I soon reach the point where I missed only three provinces owned by Austria or Holland (French ally). I ended rivalry with France, use to my benefit the fact it was also Protestant at the moment. Finally, I went to war against Austria along with France when Austria had no manpower anymore and smaller armies than mine, according to the relevant ledger. It worked perfectly.

Later, France got involved in a war with Great Britain – I did not went against Great Britain that I still needed for the Swedes not be a problem. But France also went to war against Holland, so I could take the latest province required. By 1793, Germany was formed. A very Mitteleuropaish one, if not easternish.

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Next year, Muscovy went into revolutionary state, giving me a malus. I went to destroy this revolution. After some painy micromanagement, it took up to the very end of Asia. It gaves me the This Revolution Was Crushed (In a war against the target of the Revolution, control their capital and have at least 99% war score) achievement.

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To sum up:

  • all infantery as mercenaries
  • no forts at all
  • Marches are useful
  • for the Baltic Crusader achievement, Swedes must urgently be kept at bay
  • allying powerful enemies of your enemies is a working strategy, even if is means they wont get more friendly
Baltic Crusader run II: second rule, gluttony is not rewarded (Europa Universalis IV) — 23 October 2015

Baltic Crusader run II: second rule, gluttony is not rewarded (Europa Universalis IV)

Following up of my Europa Universalis “Baltic Crusader” achievement run, after an epic fail, the Krzyżacy are back to shape circa 1573.

Circa 1497, Poland got attacked by Lituania and obviously lost it Swedish not interesting in getting into such mess. So I also attacked Poland and fed it the Marches, that put and end to the Polish threat. Polish fighting Lituania, that cannot be right!

In 1527, similar deal: Lituania went to war with Moscovy, its Bohemian ally itself being involved in war with Austria. I grabbed land and made it release Kiev. In the meantime I completely finished off Poland. Later, in 1643, Lituania was all alone in the world: same punishment, Polotsk was released and few provinces grabbed.

I went through the process of vassalizing Polotsk and Kiev (and momentarily Wallachia, to get the Full House achievement – a bit gamey, but less gamey than using England to release 6 subjects at starting date).

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Lituania was later again allied to the Swedes. Which is historically odd. But, in 1660, they could not participate in war. Same punishment, I reduced Lituania so it could be, hopefully at the next war, diplo-annexed.

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Having a tremendously big army, good finances, I decided, in 1665, to finish Bohemia, for the benefit of my marches – no real immediate gain, so. But surprisingly, Bohemia and german allies (Ansbach, Brunswick), managed to have constantly one stack of 50000 soldiers and two stacks of 25000. Even though I could indefinitely produce mercs, I was nonetheless gradually loosing territory. To the point I had to find the less horrible deal, instead of, like last time, getting weaker and weaker, risking that every other moron around would decide to attack me. Instead of feedings Marches, I actually weakened them. Once again, this was a case of was bad timing. And this bad timing came from gluttony.

And, yeah, at this speed, I wonder if it is even doable now to get core on all Russian areas, after wasting time in the west.

Baltic Crusader run: first rule, don’t attack someone at peace (Europa Universalis IV) — 22 October 2015

Baltic Crusader run: first rule, don’t attack someone at peace (Europa Universalis IV)

I just finished reading Pour l’Honneur et pour la Croix, french translation of Krzyżacy, so it only made sense to try the Europa Universalis “Baltic Crusader” achievement. This one requires you, as Teutonic Order, to invade and convert to christian all provinces of Russian area.

In 1448, I allied Austria and included every of my provinces in the Empire. I was attacked by Poland in 1453 – and that war was won, in 1456, only thanks to the support of Austria defending the Empire and his Hungarian ally.

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In 1465, being 140% ahead of time military technology wise, I started “Defensive Ideas” as first idea group. Later, I picked “Religious Ideas” – so far I was not even able to convert Gardinas/Garten won over Lituania. So far I was ok, making lot of cash, keeping all forts mothballed and army with 10% maintainance when at peace.

Seems that no progress could be made to the east without attacking a big alliance group. So instead, I beat Pommerania as soon as I seen it involved in wars.

2015-10-22_00007 Mazovia was left without ally after a war against Poland. I got mission to vassalize it, which I did. Immediately, it asked to be a March. As vassal, it gave me only 0,10 ducats per month. With no intention to expand south near my allies Saxony/Austria/Hungary., it made sense.

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No making progress East, I completely annexed Pommerania, cut to pieces Brandebourg and took the opportunity to make a March of Silesia.

What next? I actually see Poland and Lituania get separated, the first being allied to Sweden, the second to Novgorod and Bohemia. I thought it was the perfect time to hit. I had around 1500 ducats, getting 15 ducats per month in peacetime, 10 with army to 100%, big army stack and being allied to powerful Austria, Hungary and Saxony. And I forgot the basic rule: dont attack someone big if he’s not already at war. So I attacked Lituania. And then Poland thought it was a good time to start its own war. With my cash and armies, I managed to survive both these war, up to the point that every part involved got out of it with a white peace. Every part : Poland, Hungary, Swedes, Novgorod, Austria, Saxony, all but Lituania. And then Lituania spammed me with horrible peace offers, making me getting -1 stability each time, to the point that I actually ended up loosing two provinces. Gosh. I feel like I’m back to square 1!